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Dairy Management at Kentuckiana Dairy Exchange

09 July 2009

US - Purdue University and the University of Kentucky will come together showcase innovative practices in the dairy industry.

The Kentuckiana Dairy Exchange will focus on the exchange of ideas and information between producers in Indiana and Kentucky. It will be held on July 28-29 near Logansport, Ind.

"This event will give participants the opportunity to observe and learn about four very unique family-operated dairy farms in north central Indiana," said Mike Schutz, Purdue Extension dairy specialist.

The farms include a diverse blend of management practices and approaches to producing milk. New Schoonebeek Dairy began in 2004 with 900 cows and, by 2006, owner Harry Bekel and staff increased the herd to 2,100 cows. The farm utilizes the Afimilk herd and parlor management practices.

Deardorff Farms manages 500 cows and 2,900 acres of forage and grain nearby. They incorporate innovative manure management and heifer raising practices.

Riverview Dairy will showcase intensive grazing practices and New Zealand genetics. "They are a low-cost operation but not low technology," Schutz said. The farm features a new double-36 swing milking parlor, automatic sort gates and an innovative waste management system.

Jones Robotic Dairy is the only robotic dairy farm in the state. The automatic milking stalls were introduced to the farm in 2003 and upgraded this spring.

"The milking system works with practically no human interaction and can accommodate 50-60 cows per day," Schutz said.

The farm also produces grain and forage and sells breeding age bulls to local dairy farms.

Guest speakers on the tour include three dairy Extension specialists from the University of Kentucky.

Jeffrey Bewley will talk about issues concerning compost bedded pack barns. "This is a growing interest in the housing practices because it offers cow comfort and a low-stress environment," Schutz said.

Donna Amaral-Phillips will discuss reducing feed costs and how to cope with the continuing low milk prices.

Jack McAllister, a world-renowned geneticist, will discuss the pros and cons of crossbreeding in the dairy industry.

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