Dairy Facilities Conference

Dale Thoreson, Field Specialist-Dairy/Beef/Forages; Robert Tigner, Field Specialist-Farm Management; Chris Mondak and Larry Tranel, Field Specialists-Dairy; Northeast and Northwest Areas

Problem Statement:

The dairy industry is undergoing tremendous remodeling, expansion and building of new facilities for dairy cows. Numerous players are involved in various aspects of these changes. These include lenders, builders, DNR, economic development planners, extension, agri-businesses and of course dairy farmers. The need exists for all players to become aware of new research, and decision-making tools that can assist in building a dairy facility for todays situations.

Programmatic Response:

The Dairy Team determined a 2-site conference aimed at the audiences described above was needed. We also developed a nine member planning committee representing builders, planners, engineers, lenders and extension. The planning committee identified 10 major issues: manure, DNR rules, future dairy markets, size implications, milking center options, bio-economy in 2010, cow barn options, cow comfort, alternative energy systems, and different sizes and styles of dairies. These were ranked and speakers were selected to address the five highest priorities. A severe ice storm forced postponement for one month but all speakers were able to attend or were accessed via telephone and on-site presentations. A tour was planned but was not conducted due to time constraints.


The ice storm postponed Conference was attended by a total of 130 participants. A post meeting survey was completed by 54 persons. 100% either agreed (A) or strongly agreed (SA) the conference increased their dairy facility awareness; 98% A or SA they gained a better understanding of the critical components in a good dairy facility; 91% A or SA the conference broadened their knowledge of on-farm energy conservation; 94% A or SA it increased their knowledge about milking center planning; 90% A or SA the conference increased their knowledge about manure management strategies; 89% A or SA it increased their understanding of dairy financial planning guidelines and 97% A or SA the information presented in the conference was useful to them.

 When asked What key points from the conference are you likely to apply? participants replied: Free stall layout; Milking effectively, time for the cow to rest and feeding importance. Respect for all the many items a dairyman needs to manage and cash flow (from a banker); Sand lanes; Use websites to find bottlenecks in facilities; Stall comfort; Energy conservation and financial planning; are just a few of the responses.

The Dairy Team hired Ron Orth to assist in soliciting sponsors. Fifty participated.

July 2007
110 Dairy

Page last updated: August 2, 2007
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu