No one knows this better than Scott and Steve Wolfe, co-owners of Oak Spring Farms in Centre Hall, Pennsylvania. The Wolfe brothers define success as getting more high-quality milk out of their 850 Holstein cows. They know a good dairy cow ration starts with forage, but a great ration comes from proper management and constant innovation.
Here are three strategies the Wolfe brothers use to propel their farm toward success:
Work with a trusted partner
The Wolfe brothers rely on Frank Janicki, Ph.D., technical sales specialist with Purina Animal Nutrition, to keep their cows healthy and productive.
“We’re always trying to improve, and I think with Purina’s help and their guidance – that’s made a pretty big difference,” says Scott.
Janicki visits Oak Spring Farms weekly, where he does a walk through to evaluate the rations and cow performance. Each week, his goal is the same— help the Wolfes increase milk production in cows as economically as possible.
“Balancing diets for lactating cows is a moving target,” says Janicki. “You have to take into account the science and art of feeding cows.”
Embrace feed technologies
The Wolfe brothers have a long history of adopting feed technology early, even in a challenging economy. When something new comes along, they review the information, do the research and discuss how it might fit their operation. If it makes sense, they quickly implement it into their practices.
“It’s exciting to see the information and have the technology,” says Scott. “One thing we’ve done a lot here is different trials to learn new things, so we can see how it happens on our farm.”
Testing out new feed technologies sets the farm up for a bright future.
“At some point in time, the dairy economy is going to turn around,” says Janicki. “And when that happens, Oak Spring Farms will be ready to capitalize on that.”
Forages are key to dairy feed rations
“In the end, I think the forages we put up are a major part of why the production is where it is, and what we're doing,” says Steve. “We're constantly trying to improve milk production and find any little thing that can give us an edge.”
Steve and Scott Wolfe, in partnership with Janicki are regimented when it comes to their cows’ ration. Whether it’s forage inoculants, ration changes or taking samples, they’re constantly innovating and looking for efficiencies.
“It all comes back to doing a good job with forages and still having the products in the ration that we need to achieve our goals,” says Scott. “If we have that, we’ll be alright.”