Hello from Florida

January 10, 2012 05:40 AM


TravisLarsonTravis Larson

Okeechobee, Fla.

Larson is a third-generation dairy producer in southern Florida, milking 4,200 cows.




**Extended comments in blue

I am a manager/stockholder for Larson Dairy Inc. Okeechobee is the southernmost point at which milk is produced in Florida.

My grandfather started our dairy business in 1947. We milk 4,200 cows in two separate freestall facilities with double-32 parallel parlors. The facilities share commodity facilities and young stock operations. We raise our own heifer replacements and raise steers to be sold at around 350 lb.

We milk mostly Holstein cows with some Holstein and Jersey crossbreds. We feed a total mixed ration (TMR) to milk cows, dry cows and heifers. Corn silage and citrus pulp make up a large portion of our TMR. We grow all of our own haylage and purchase 40,000 to 50,000 tons of corn silage from vegetable growers in Pahokee, Fla. This corn is mostly grown on the soil known as muck that surrounds the southern portions of Lake Okeechobee.

Larson Dairy has 55 full-time employees, and many of them live on the farm.

I graduated from the University of Florida in December 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in dairy science. Upon graduation, I worked at Aurora Dairies in Branford, Fla., managing a 2,000-cow operation. This experience added to my university training to prepare me to return to Larson Dairy in January 2003.

My responsibilities range from developing herd health programs, coordinating our corn silage planting and harvesting, pricing and purchasing commodities to spending the day pregnancy-checking and working in the hospital pen.

I also sit on the Farm Bureau board for our county and the Okeechobee County Livestock Show Committee. My wife, Colleen, and I have two children, Jenna, 6, and Josh, 3, who love spending time on the farm whenever they can. Our family is also involved in the beef business. We own or partner in cow-calf operations.

Larson Dairy is in a great location to sell milk. Florida is an all-fluid milk market and our dairy is a member-producer of Southeast Milk Inc. One of the challenges in our area is feed price and availability. Citrus is one of our greatest utilized, locally available feeds. The cost of freight limits our ability to efficiently feed alfalfa. We grow and harvest haylage seven to eight months of the year, meeting our forage needs.




Larson's Most Recent Prices  
Milk (3.54% bf, 3.14% prt) $25.16/cwt.
Cull cows $600/head
Springing heifers $1,600/head (delivered)
Cottonseed $321/ton
Ground corn $316/ton
Corn silage $51/ton (delivered)
Citrus pulp $153/ton


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