By Lucas Sjostrom
The Heintz Badger Valley Farm, Caledonia, Minn., was named 2015 Producer of the year during Minnesota Milk Producer Association's annual conference last week in St. Cloud. The Doug and Julie Heintz family, as profiled in the December 2014 issue of Dairy Herd Management, switched to robotic milking with two Lely automatic milking system robots in 2008.
The herd remained at the top of the charts in milk per robot when compared within other similar robots, as they milked 130 cows with the two robots on opposite sides of their freestall barn, operating as two herds. Before robots, Heintz was milking 75 cows in a 52-tiestall barn after taking over when his father and grandfather died in his junior year of high school.
Today, he and his wife, Julie, work with one part-time employee, Matt Feldmeier, in their current 150-cow and 400-acre operation in southeastern Minnesota's rolling hills. Their son, Dayne, works off the farm with an independent robot consulting company as a robot startup specialist, hoping to join the farm in the future. Their daughter, Jackie, is a teacher at a local elementary school.
Read more on DairyHerd.com.