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|Brad and Mark Crandall
Battle Creek, Mich.
Crandall Dairy Farms LLC is a fifth-generation family farm started in 1883. We farm in partnership with our dad, Larry, just north of Battle Creek, Mich., milking 260 cows and raising 230 replacement heifers. The cows are split into high and low groups, with the high group milked 3x a day. Our cows average 28,500 lb. of milk with a 3.6 fat test and a 3.1 protein test.
We consistently produce very high-quality milk, with SCC between 50,000 and 100,000. The farm has received a number of awards, including two straight Gold Milk Quality awards from the Michigan Milk Producers Association.
The farm employs four full-time and four part-time employees. Brad serves as herdsman, with assistance from Mark, and both of us do all the feeding. Brad also manages the dairy side of the farm, while Larry and Mark control the crop side of the business. Brad's wife, Monica, does all of the farm's accounting and payroll, with help from Michigan State University's Telfarm system.
We focus on cow comfort, genetics and putting up the highest-quality feed for our animals. We owe much of our success to a strong family structure, loyal employees and many industry professionals. Our goals are to improve productivity, quality and profitability of the farm business, as well as create opportunities for future generations.
The farm's land base is roughly 900 acres total and 760 tillable. Of the tillable acres, only 35 are rented and the rest is owned by the families involved with the farm. Crop rotation includes corn, alfalfa, wheat and soybeans. Annually, the farm averages 350 acres of corn, 210 acres of alfalfa, 120 acres of wheat and 80 acres of soybeans.
We also have 65 acres of pasture for heifers from spring to fall. The land is very rolling, with several hills and slopes. Erosion is controlled with numerous waterways and sound management.
The 2010 forecast is for an improvement in dairy prices and we hope producers will see a return to profitability. Turning a profit won't necessarily fix all the damage, as there is plenty of debt to repay. Our management will look a lot like this past year in an effort to keep costs down, pay off loans and maximize efficiency.
|Crandalls' November Prices
|Milk (3.6% bf, 3.1% prt):
|| $155/ton (spot)
- January 2010