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Dairy Night on the Farm a huge success

Fri, Jul 5th, 2013
Posted in All Agriculture

Dorothy and Fred Mundfrom of Spring Valley, Minn. enjoy a meal during Dairy Night on the Farm. Photo by Barb Jeffers

Boettcher Dairy was the place to be on June 29, 2013, for anyone who works in the Dairy Industry and also for people who knew little to nothing about dairy farming. Curtis and Cheryle Boettcher and their sons, Chad and Brian, hosted this year’s Dairy Night on the Farm and had an amazing response with cars lined up and down Highway 16 which is adjacent to the farm.

The big draw for most visitors was curiosity in seeing the technology the Boettcher’s are using to milk cows with Robotic milking machines. A tour of the barn where the robotic milking takes places was on the top of most people’s list of things to see and do that evening. Chad Kieffer of Benson Farm Service of Lewiston, Minn., greeted visitors at the entrance to the barn, handing out protective boots for those who wanted to tour the barn. Chad is a Nutrition Consultant and has an extensive range of responsibilities including determining what feed the cows need, the correct balanced ration, and making sure the right amount of feed goes in the robots. There were several examples of feed on display to show visitors the different types used in dairy farming.

Gregg Luebke with Dairyland Services, Inc., of Plainview, Minn., who sell and install the Robotic milking machines, was on hand to answer questions from the crowd gathered to view the robots at work. Gregg explained that each cow has a “box time” of about seven minutes from when the cow enters until they leave. The robots do not only perform milking, they also do the cleaning, weighing, and more. Gregg Luebke states that they can often tell if a cow is sick before symptoms start with the technology the robots provide.

Robotic milking machines are quite an investment, costing on average of $190,000-$200,000 each, depending on options chosen. However, the robots save the Boettcher’s quite a bit of time spent in the barn and prevent stress on the cows. Gregg Luebke states that “robots are a tool that gives the producer information and the flexibility to manage their herd more efficiently by working smarter not harder” which is what the Boettcher’s are now doing. For more information email Gregg at gluebke@dairylandequipment.com or go to Lely.com.

Although the robotic milking machines were the biggest attraction, there was much more to see and do at Dairy Night on the Farm. Children had a great time petting cows and calves and letting the calves suck their fingers. The two bounce houses available for the kids were busy throughout the night with children going up and down the slides many times over. For the kid in everyone, there were malts available at Dairy Night on the Farm served by the American Dairy Association malt wagon with a choice of chocolate, vanilla, or twist. Alison Freese, age 10, was one of the volunteers cheerfully handing out the delicious malted treats to attendees.

A tasty meal of hamburgers, cheeseburgers, pasta salad, beans, and cheese curds were served along with milk and chocolate milk for beverage choices. Hundreds of perfectly cooked burgers were grilled by the Fillmore County Cattlemen’s Association which was a very warm job for the cooks. Nick Ruen, of Lanesboro, Minn., was one of the persons volunteering to grill burgers for Dairy Night on the Farm and he and the other cooks did a fantastic job. Fillmore County 2013 Dairy Princess Margaret Alexander helped served the meal as well as handing out stickers to children with a constant smile on her face. Margaret, the daughter of Tom and Ruth Alexander of Canton, Minn., is a fine representative of the American Dairy Association.

Dorothy and Fred Mundfrom, of Spring Valley, Minn., enjoyed the food that was served and spoke of their interest in the robotic milking machines as did most guests at Boettcher Farms. It was a pleasant evening for a visit to the farm and for wagon ride tours or walking tours of how the operation has been modernized.

Cheryle Boettcher said the family enjoyed hosting Dairy Night on the Farm and said, “It didn’t rain which we were concerned about.” The amount of people served was a few over 1,200, which was tremendous. For more information on the American Dairy Association visit the website for the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council, Inc. website at www.adadc.com.

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