UW-Extension in cooperation with the Green County Milk Quality Council will be sponsoring Dairy Facility Farm Tours on Thursday, August 24, 2017. The tours will include six dairy farms located in Green County that have all made modernization improvements to their dairy facilities to increase productivity and animal comfort as well as reduce labor.
The Dairy Modernization Tours are held every two years and attract dairy producers and agriculture professionals from over 12 counties and three states. The tours are popular with dairy farmers as they feature an open house format in which dairy producers can visit any number of the six farms they wish between 10:30 am and 3 pm. There is no central meeting place or any formal presentation for the tours. Farmers can simply select which farms they would like to visit on their own time schedule between 10:30 am – 3 pm on August 24th. A farm representative will be on hand at each farm to answer questions for the tour participants.
The tours will feature various sizes of dairy farms with herds ranging from 75-475 cows. For producers interested in upgrading their milking facilities the tours will include a free flow robotic milking system, Swing 12 and 14 Parabone parlors, along with double 12 and 15 Parallel parlors that are all built inside new buildings. The tour will also include one Auto flow parlor that was built inside an existing dairy barn.
Several milk cow housing configurations will be featured on the tours including: three, four and six row freestall barns with natural ventilation systems and drive through feeding. One of the farms will feature inflatable sidewall curtains, flexible freestall dividers and a high tension fabric roof. Bedding systems featured in the barns will include sand on four of the farms with two farms using water beds.
The tours will include two young calf housing facilities. Each building was designed for baby calves from 0-2 months of age. One barn features an automatic calf feeding system and positive pressure ventilation. The other barn features both individual and small group pens.
Several manure handling systems will be included on the tours. Many of the host farms on the tour have daily scraping systems with mini manure pits for short term storage. Four of the farms feature gravity flow manure transfer systems to the storage pits. One farm features a long term 1.5 million round concrete storage structure with a built in access ramp to remove settled sand.
These tours are designed to help generate ideas for dairy producers who are considering future improvements and modernization in their own dairy facilities. Host farmers will be on hand to share their experiences in the building process and to explain what they like about their facility and what they might change if they were to do it again. Tour participants will be required to wear plastic boots that will be supplied at each of the farms.