|By CELESTE BAUMGARTNER
QUERETARO, Mexico — ODA Director Fred Dailey joined Ohio Gov. Bob Taft to visit the Rubin family’s dairy farm while on a Mexican Trade Mission.
The Rubins’ dairy operation was similar to newer dairy operations in Ohio, Dailey said. The cattle were in a dry lot. They are free stalled - they can go in and out of stalls at will.
“They had a milking parlor that milked about 30 cows at once,” Dailey said. “There was a viewing area over the parlor so you could see the cows being milked and see out over the whole operation.”
The Rubins had a flushing system to handle the manure. They recycled much of the water and separated the solids. They then dried the solids and used them for bedding for the cows.
The milk was high quality with a low somatic cell count and low bacteria, Dailey said.
“The operation was computerized,” he said. “The cows had tags in their ears that would identify them so they knew how much milk came from every cow.”
The farm had bunker silos and fed a number of different crops including corn silage and triticale. They raised most of the feed.
The cattle produce an average of 25,000 pounds of milk per year, which is more than the 17,500 average in Ohio, Dailey said.
The Rubins said COBA/Select Sires, Plain City, Ohio, supplied all their genetics.
One new product that the Rubins were interested in was sexed semen, Dailey said. It costs about twice as much as a regular straw of semen. They were interested because it gave them a 92-percent chance of getting a heifer calf.
“In Mexico the bull calves aren’t worth as much as they are here, so it makes a big difference,” Dailey said. “If you’re expanding in the milk area you want heifers. They were using that on virgin heifers because not only do you get the fastest genetic improvement there but also the heifer has less trouble calving with a heifer calf instead of a bull which would be 10 or 12 pounds heavier.”
The family was interested in the ethanol market in Ohio and the Midwest because of the possibility of buying more dried distillery grain to use in their feed ration, Dailey said.
“It was a very modern and successful dairy operation,” Dailey said.
This farm news was published in the Oct. 25, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.