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Published June 19, 2008, 12:00 AM

Low cost dairy parlor tour Thursday

The number of low cost dairy parlors has been growing throughout Wisconsin, including St. Croix and Pierce counties.

By: Greg Andrews, Pierce County Ag Agent, Pierce County Herald

The number of low cost dairy parlors has been growing throughout Wisconsin, including St. Croix and Pierce counties.

Producers installing the parlors have reported improved health as their knees, backs and hips do not hurt as they did in the stall barn. They have also noted an increased interest by the next generation in taking over the dairy farm. There is also increased efficiency, as milking times are reduced or they can milk more cows per hour or person than in the stall barn.

The Pierce-St. Croix UW-Extension Low Cost Parlor Tour will be held this Thursday to tour a couple of dairies that have successfully installed a low cost parlor to achieve some of these goals.

The first stop on the tour will be the Croes Udder Dairy—Jerry, Char and Jeff Croes at 10:30 a.m. The Croes built a 94-cow four-row freestall barn and installed a home-built double eight parallel parlor. The freestall barn is sand-bedded and manure is daily hauled.

The second stop on the tour will be the Bob and Nancy Johnson dairy at 11:30 a.m. The Johnsons built a 154-cow three-row freestall barn in 2006. In 2007, they installed a used double six herringbone parlor and holding area into their two-story barn. At the time of installation, they expanded the parlor to a double eigh. They continue to use the old milkhouse. The freestall barn features cow mats with sawdust bedding and alley scrapers. They also have an earthen manure lagoon.

The Croes Udder Dairy is located at 1950 220th Ave., Deer Park. To get to the dairy, take Hwy. 48 to 215th Avenue south of Deer Park. Turn west onto 215th Avenue and travel one mile to 200th Street and turn north. Travel one mile north on 200th Street to 220th Avenue and turn west. The farm is located on the north side of 220th Avenue, about 0.3-0.4 of a mile from 200th Street. Watch for the sign.

The Johnson dairy is located at 1963 110th Ave., Baldwin. To get to the dairy, take Hwy. 63 to 110th Avenue north of Baldwin about 3.5 miles. At 110th Avenue, turn west and travel about 1.5 miles. The farm is located on the south side of the road. Watch for the signs.

Producers may attend either or both of the dairies. The Croes and Johnsons will provide comments about their facility and the process of building it. Information will also be available regarding building low cost parlors.

Refreshments will be served at each site, courtesy Bremer Bank, Amery and AgStar, Baldwin.

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