Drake Dairy’s herd consists of mostly the black and white Holstein breed with a very small percentage of red Holsteins.
The health and well being of our cows is very important to us. Our cows are housed in modern free-stall barns that allow our cows to move around freely. The barns include a high-efficiency ventilation system for constant airflow as well as sand to minimize odors.
The use of a computerized heard management system helps us to monitor our cows’ health, production, reproduction and profitability.
To maintain the health of our cows, a veterinarian does a herd check every week. The veterinarian checks for pregnancies and overall cow health. All cows are inspected during each milking to ensure proper health, which helps us to maintain such low levels of mastitis. If any cows are being treated for mastitis, their milk is discarded.
In addition to the veterinarian visits, the herd receives routine visits from the Ferrier for hoof trimming and daily visits from the AI Technician.
On average, thirty calves are born each week. Our heifer calves are custom raised at an off-site facility nearby until the age of five months. When a calf reaches the age of five months, she moves out to Colorado to our partner calf raising facility called The Heifer Authority, LLC. The Heifer Authority specializes in raising top quality heifers; Colorado is an ideal location because of its consistently warmer, sunnier and drier climate, whereas Wisconsin’s climate is more challenging on the developing cattle. Our heifers then return to us two months prior to giving birth and becoming part of our milk production.
We work with a licensed Nutritionist to provide a high quality of feed that will result in a high quality and quantity of milk. We maintain a consistent feed schedule using TMR, which is a mix of corn silage, haylage and a mixed ration purchased from local feed mills. A TMR mixer keeps track of usage of each ingredient and downloads information from the computer on exact ration recipes.
Producing nutritious milk, ice cream, cheese and other fine dairy products means our dairy handles lots of feed. Fresh, clean water is an absolute must. This means we are very concerned about our environment. As milk producers, Drake Dairy is committed to making sure nutritious food and water is available for our animals and for everyone that lives and works in this community.