Tricounty News

World Dairy Expo

Iowa and Minnesota dairy farms featured in World Dairy Expo virtual tours

Steve and Lori Dockendorf's Watkins dairy and the VanEss dairy of Sanborn, Iowa, will be among the operations featured at the World Dairy Expo's Virtual Dairy Tour.Other dairy farms from Illinois, Wiosconsin, Arizona, Kansas and Michigan will also be highlighted during the virtual tours Oct. 2 to Oct. 6, in Madison. The VanEss Dairy will kick off the event Oct. 2 at 2 p.m. while the Dockendorf's presentation is planned for Oct. 5 at noon in the Madison Wisconsin Expo Exhibitiln Hall.

VenEss Dairy has 3,800 cows. The family moved from Washington to Idaho and again from Idaho to Iowa in 2008. With each move, the family expanded their herd.

The farm has 260 tillable acrews. By contracting for their corn silage, they have better control of quality. They have a low somatic cell count and work closely with their nutritionist to develop rations.

The Dockendorfs have two Lely robotic milkers and an automatic feed pushed on their 100-milking cow farm.

They broke ground for a five-row free-stall barn with offices, robot room, utility room and milk house April 25, 2011. A few months later, they started milking with the robots. After just seven months in the new barn, the cows hit 90 pounds of milk, Steve said. The herd's somatic cell count also dropped about 100,000 within the first six months.

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