Healthy cows make work fun
West Liberty, Ohio
Consultant: Laura Homan
- Third generation dairy managed by father-son duos
- Focused on improving health in 580-cow herd
- Cull rate dropped from 42% to 28% in two years
“Healthy cows make going to work fun,” Jerrod Henry says with a smile. The young dairyman operates Henry Farms with his father, Mark, Uncle Doug and Doug’s three sons. Healthy, high-performing cows are exactly what they have at their farm thanks to their passion for cows, strong dedication and a commitment to improving.
Mark grew up on a dairy farm, but his father sold the cows to focus on grain farming when he was in school. However, Mark knew since high school he’d milk his own cows again. He is now the 2nd generation farmer on Henry Farms, located in West Liberty, Ohio, where he and his partners manage a herd of 580 cows. The father-son duos began working with Cargill Dairy Focus Consultant Laura Homan in the fall of 2015. “The very first thing out of the gate we worked on together was cow health,” Mark comments. Along with a heavy focus on appropriate nutrient balance in all rations, Laura created a new diet for their transition cows, dropping starch percentage and making other adjustments. As a result, they’ve seen an improvement in fresh cow health, and their cull rate has dropped from 42% to 28% in the last two years. This freedom from fresh cow issues allows them to focus on other areas where they’d like to improve, such as foot health, while also selling healthy replacements for extra income.
“It’s her secret recipe and Laura just handles it,” Mark explains when asked what changed. “I can’t complain about our lifestyle or the time we spend in the barn. It’s different now. We can go away or miss a milking knowing our cows are healthier. It really takes an edge off.”