The Illinois Milk Producers’ Association will be sponsoring their 6th annual "Dairy Tech Showcase" farm tour. These tours are for dairy producers and industry representatives to see and hear the latest in dairy technology and management. The tours will be held on Tuesday August 1, 2017. There is no need to register for the event, and you can attend either one or both of the host farm operations. Lunch will be available between noon and 1:00 p.m.
The first farm stop will be the Willow Valley Dairy, owned and operated by Ron, Julie and John Lawfer. The farm is located at 4389 South Willow Rd., Kent, IL 61044. The tour will run from 10:30 a.m. til noon. The Lawfer family farm is operating in a 6-row free stall barn construction utilizing 3 Lely robotic milkers and is expandable to handle 4 robots. The Lely robotic milking system facility was built in 2014 to maximize technology, milking management, cow comfort, and labor needs for their 180 cow Holstein herd. The farm also handles the replacement heifers.
The second farm stop will be Rancho Cantera Dairy, managedby Bill Croatt. The farm is located at 2866 N. Sunnyside Rd., Kent, IL 61044. The afternoon tour will run from 1:00 p.m. til 2:30 p.m. The dairy farm consists of a 1,235 cow Holstein herd and milked in a 20 on-a-side parallel parlor. The lactating herd is housed in a free stall facility utilizing recycled solids for bedding and a modified scrape/flush manure handling system. Their dairy management concentrates on maximizing cow comfort, consistent and quality feedstuffs, and herd health.
Each farm stop will include an organized tour conducted by the dairy owners/managers along with management discussions and Q&A sessions, which will be led by Dave Fischer, former University of Illinois Dairy Educator. Also, joining Fischer will be Dr. Mike Hutjens and Dr. Phil Cardoso, University of Illinois Dairy Specialists.
Schedule will be:
10:30 a.m. – noon at Willow Valley Dairy, 4389 South Willow Rd., Kent, IL 61044
Noon – 1:00 p.m. lunch
1:00 – 2:30 p.m. at Rancho Cantera Dairy, 2866N. Sunnyside Rd., Kent, IL 61044