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I-29 Moo University to Host Dairy Field Days in November

BROOKINGS, S.D. - The I-29 Moo University will be hosting dairy field days on Wednesday, Nov. 13 and Wednesday, Nov. 20. The field days will begin at 12:30 p.m. CST and end at 3:30 p.m. The field days are a collaboration of South Dakota State University, University of Minnesota, Iowa State University, North Dakota State University, and University of Nebraska Extension Services, Iowa State Dairy Association, South Dakota Dairy Producers Association, Nebraska State Dairy Association and the Minnesota Milk Producers Association.

The field day being held on Wednesday Nov. 13 will be held at Summit Dairy (5564 390th St, Primghar, IA 51245). Owner John Westra will take the group on a tour of the milking parlor, cattle housing, and the commodity and mixing building, followed by a discussion on Summit Dairy’s breeding strategy. Then, Dr. Hugo Ramirez, Iowa State University, will discuss feeding this year’s silage, feeding issues, and pile management.

John Westra and his family purchased Summit Dairy in 2012. They moved from California and jumped right into caring for the 400 cows. Since then, they have expanded their herd to 800 dairy cows. The cows are housed in free-stalls and milked three times per day. As part of the expansion, John built a commodity and feed mixing building which allows feed to be loaded and mixed indoors, resulting in reduced waste and decrease of moisture variability in the feedstuffs.

The field day on Wednesday, Nov. 20 will be held at Tri Cross Dairy (45144 289th St, Viborg, SD 57070). Take a tour of the facilities and engage in open discussion with co-owner, Tom Koolhaas, and manager, Kris Vander Kooy. They will share their experiences with utilizing crossbreeding within the dairy to create a durable and productive cow herd. Amy Hazel, University of Minnesota, will discuss why interest in crossbreeding in dairy cattle is growing globally, explain the basics of rotational crossbreeding for dairy cattle, and present the detailed results of a 10-year study in high-performance Minnesota dairy herds.

Brother-in-laws, Wes Blysma and Tom Koolhaas, founded Tri Cross Dairy in 2017. They both grew up on California dairies. Hoping to expand their farms, they landed in the I-29 Dairy Corridor, near Viborg, SD. The dairy is named for its Tri-crossed, or Pro Cross breed of cattle, which are a combination of Holstein, Montbeliarde and Swedish or Viking Red Cattle. The 4,000 cows are housed in a 1,200-foot, cross-ventilated-free-stall barn and milked in a 100-head rotary parlor.

Registration for both events is available at the University of Minnesota event page. This program is open to the public and free to attend. Light refreshments and SDSU ice cream will be provided.
For questions about the field days, contact Jim Salfer by email or 612.360.4506, Fred Hall by email or 712.737.4230, or Tracey Erickson by email or 605.882.5140. 

SDSU Extension is part of the I-29 Moo University Collaboration. Established as a multi-state learning community, the I-29 Moo University Collaboration connects extension dairy staff and dairy producers from North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska to share research, information and management practices through workshops, webinars, monthly e-newsletters and on-farm tours.

This program is made possible by our 2020 sponsors. Gold sponsors are STgenetics, Sealpro Silage Barrier Films by Connor Agriscience. Silver sponsors are Central Plains Dairy Foundation, Automated Waste Systems LLC, Form-A-Feed, Elanco Animal Health. Bronze sponsors are Nebraska State Dairy Association, Western Iowa Dairy Alliance, Agropur Inc, American Agco Trading Company, Cottonseed LLC, Alforex Seeds, AminoPlus Ag Processing Inc, Phileo by Lesaffre, Trans Ova Genetics,Iowa State Dairy Association, Minnesota Milk Producers Association, Associated Milk Producers Inc, Quality Liquid Feeds, South Dakota Dairy Producers, DCC Waterbeds ISO, Diamond V, ProAg Engineering Inc and Pipestone Veterinary Services.