Leveraging Automated Milking Systems, Minglewood Inc.

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Minglewood Inc. is a fifth generation dairy and crop farm located in Deer Park, WI, owned by Kevin and Roxann Solum and Jacob and Kristin Quist. They milk 1,250 Registered Holsteins and farm 3,300 acres of corn, soybeans, and alfalfa. The current rolling herd average is 30,440 pounds of milk with a 4.5% fat and 3.4% protein test. The farm employs 22 team members and Travis Ullom is the herd manager.

In 2018, the farm began milking in eight DeLaval classic robots; today 40% of the herd is milked via robots. “We see a cow that is able to work on her schedule, not ours, and we put them in a barn that is far superior to our other facilities to allow them to perform like the athletes they are,” says Kristin. “We have a never-satisfied mentality and once we reach our goals, the bar keeps getting inched up.”

The herd is on a double ovsync program, with 60% of animals bred to beef or receiving embryos and the remaining herd is bred to gender SELECTED™ semen. Focus is given to breeding a moderate-sized, feed-efficient cow, with a quality mammary system and correct teat placement.

“Breeding an average cow is not our jam,” says Kristin. “We want to breed cows that are going to be productive and last, and being stylish is icing on the cake. Our cows can be interchangeable, spending time in the parlor and robot herds. Teat placement is important for both facilities. Of course feed efficiency has a direct impact on our bottom line, which is why we take FeedPRO® designations into consideration when selecting sires.”

The past 10 years have brought substantial change to Minglewood Inc., all of which has paid off in increased efficiencies and profitability. “Our goal has been to continually improve our pounds of solids per cow. In 2014, we were happy to be at six pounds of solids, but today that isn’t enough. We want to routinely be at eight pounds of solids, and that doesn’t happen without good forage and management.” Five years ago, the farm put an emphasis on putting up high quality forage while focusing on sound agronomic planning.

Kristin sees the next chapter of Minglewood targeting what’s best for the herd as a whole. With 60% of the milking herd going through a 30-year-old double-nine parallel parlor that’s showing its age, is the future more robots or a rotary parlor? In 2020, they began selling some beef by the cut and quarters and halves. Kristin says the family would like to continue expanding the beef business. “We want to continue to be the producer of choice, in all aspects of the dairy industry.”

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