Another set of eyes really makes the difference
Maple Leaf Dairy
Calf & Heifer Specialist: Jennifer Wiley
- Implements a graduated feeding calf program
- Calves start eating HerdFirst™ grain as early as 2 days old
- 11,500 cow dairy in east-central Wisconsin
“It just feels right, I don’t know how else to explain it.” This is a common sentiment among dairy farmers, and the reasoning behind Crystal Behnke’s passion for the dairy industry, an industry which she’s now worked in for over twenty years. In 1976, Maple Leaf Dairy was started by Tod Leiteritz in Cleveland, WI. Over the past eleven years, Crystal has served as an Operations Manager for Maple Leaf Dairy, which has since almost doubled in size and is now one of the largest dairy farms in Wisconsin.
Maple Leaf works with Cargill Calf and Heifer specialist Jennifer Wiley. From monitoring calf health to providing monthly metrics on performance, Jennifer oversees Maple Leaf’s calf program.
Maple Leaf was one of the first dairies in the country to try HerdFirst™, and they have found success in encouraging calves to start grain early. “This is one of the places I see two-to-three day old calves eating grain.” Jennifer said, “It’s impressive.” As a result, calves are outgrowing their hutches by nine weeks of age. Calves are fed three times-a-day, and are on a graduated feeding program from birth to two months of age.
Over the past five years, Jennifer has developed a strong relationship with Maple Leaf Dairy and their management team. She takes a hands-on approach, walking through and observing calves, and speaking with employees during her visits. Since working with Jennifer, Maple Leaf’s calf intakes and performance has improved and costs have been significantly reduced.
“Jennifer gives us a heads up on things that we get so accustomed to seeing.” Crystal says of the 1,000 calves in hutches and other youngstock. “Another set of eyes really makes the difference when it comes to keeping on top of healthy calves.”
Learn more about how Maple Leaf Dairy has worked with other Cargill team members and made improvements on farm, including a growth to over 11,500 cows, to help their business thrive