More than 375 dairy producers, consultants and industry peers came together Dec. 11-12 for the Vita Plus Dairy Summit 2013 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. MilkSource Genetics LLC was one of the pre-conference tours.MilkSource Genetics: Specializing in the showring elite
Milk Source was co-founded in 1999 by Jim Ostrom, John Vosters and Todd Willer. Known well for its large Wisconsin dairy enterprise, Milk Source is home to 9,000 cows housed at several sites, including Tidy View Dairy, New Chester Dairy, Rosendale Dairy and Omro Dairy. The company also includes calf and heifer raising facilities, Calf Source and Heifer Source.
A step in a different direction from the commercial side, MilkSource Genetics made its first appearance in the elite dairy cattle show circuit in 2007. This collection of top animals - smaller in contrast to the other much larger dairies - provides a unique opportunity for the partners and their families to be involved with the cattle in a hands-on way.
From helping with chores on the farm to leading cows in the showring, MilkSource Genetics is built on strong family values and a love for good cattle, both of which are being passed down to the next generation.
A tunnel-ventilated barn with tie stalls and box stalls was constructed adjacent to Tidy View Dairy near Kaukauna, Wisconsin to house these special cattle. The barn extends to include heifer pens with drive-through feeding and bedded packs. Calves are raised in hutches, and additional outbuildings house more of the farm’s heifers.
At the present time, the herd includes 73 cows, 90 heifers and 20 calves, with an additional head of 97 recipient heifers for the farm’s intensive embryo transfer program.
These animals are predominantly registered Holsteins and Red and White cattle. The operation is under the management of herdsman Jamie Endvick, who works closely with his Vita Plus dairy nutritionist, Dr. Laurie Winkelman, to provide a special diet for the show animals.
In just a few short years, MilkSource Genetics has risen to the top of the dairy cow show world, taking home some of the highest honors from prestigious state, national and international shows.
Its 2013 World Dairy Expo winnings included the banners for Premier Breeder, Premier Breeder of the Heifer Show and Premier Exhibitor of Heifer Show of the International Red and White Show, along with Premier Exhibitor of the International Holstein Show.
Key purchases from some of the most decorated show cow pedigrees in the Holstein breed have built the foundation for the herd. Among them is Blondin Redman Seisme-Red, EX-96.
She has twice been named Holstein International’s Red and White Cow of the year, first in 2011 and again in 2013. In 2012, the show-stopper was grand champion of the Red and White Shows at both World Dairy Expo and the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, Canada.
Beyond the thrill of the competition, getting out in the showring allows MilkSource Genetics to promote its animals to other breeders. The farm specializes in marketing theses cows and their offspring through high-profile sales, including the MilkSource Tag Event, which will be held March 28 and 29, 2014. PD
Check out a slideshow featuring various activities at the Vita Plus Dairy Summit.
You can also read more about certain Vita Plus Dairy Summit events on our website:
- Doug Williams: The nuts and bolts of TMR mixers
- Chris Eisele: Practical application of positive pressure ventilation in holding areas
- Dr. Frank Garry: Cull rate analysis of dairy herds
- Building the heifer-raising strategy that best fits your farm
- Employee empowerment through the understanding of hispanic culture
- Dr. Frank Mitloehner: Clearing the air about cows and climate change
Other aspects of the summit are covered on the Vita Plus website.