On the Move to Improve Dairy Farming
Mark Kroes comes from a long line of dairymen who are not afraid to take risks. This includes relocating to the other side of the world to improve their operations. Kroes’ great-grandfather decided to leave his native Holland to seek out greater opportunity in America. In the early 1900s, he immigrated to California to carry out his vision of the perfect dairy.
One hundred years later, Kroes would follow in his great-grandfather’s footsteps, though on a smaller scale, when he moved his family from California to Platteville, CO. He felt the future of the dairy industry lies elsewhere and points to higher feed prices, lower milk prices and miscellaneous labor and environmental issues to support his claim. “I knew I could survive in the current environment and be alright,” says Kroes, “However, I didn’t think my children would be as fortunate. As time goes on, dairies in California will probably have a tougher and tougher time staying profitable.”
Kroes started milking in Colorado in 2013, a year after his move. On the first day of operation, he brought 200 Jersey heifers and slowly grew the herd. Currently he has reached the maximum the farm can house.
Though his family owns farms that operate with parallel and herringbone parlors, Mark felt a DeLaval® PR3100 rotary parlor was the right choice. When making this decision, he noticed that several rotaries on the market had gone through significant design changes. DeLaval has maintained its design, with minor safety upgrades, for years. “What impresses me,” mentions Kroes, “is its durability and because of that, the functional aspects of the unit have remained essentially the same.”
The rotary was the primary driver for the purchase of a DeLaval herringbone parlor since Kroes prefers to work with one supplier whenever possible. The parlor has gotten a rigorous workout since the 106 stall rotary is still under construction, but it has been able to handle the additional tasks due to its superior quality and durability.
As the dairy grows, Koes notices most of the roadblocks are labor rather than cow dictated. He chalks this up to growing pains as they ramp up to begin milkings on the rotary. Currently they milk twice a day, four times for fresh cows, but plan to increase to three times a day once the new barn is fully operational.
The goal of Twin View Farms is to start milking on the rotary parlor early this summer. Currently the concrete in the holding pen has been poured with the electrical systems and equipment room under construction. Once the farm is fully up to speed, Kroes is confident his family’s tradition of improving dairy farming will continue.
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Tel: (847) 478-6364