It’s going to be a totally different ball game.
Hetrick Dale Farms
Consultants: Alyssa Dietrich and Ken Otis
- Built new calf and heifer barn around an autofeeder system
- Switched their calves to Cargill feed in 2017
- Currently feeding a combination of pasteurized waste milk and Cargill’s 24:18 milk replacer to support a healthy immune system and promote lean tissue growth and better stature.
Since Roy Hetrick began his dairy journey in 1952, Hetrick Dale Farms has grown to a successful herd of 2,200 animals. His sons Kirk, Scott and Joel are now part of the dairy team.
Kirk specializes in the calf and heifer portion of the herd, ensuring that their young stock successfully transition into the milking herd. In 2017, the family determined that it was time to make a change in their calf and heifer program. They wanted to raise healthier, bigger calves while also saving on time and labor. After weighing the options, the Hetricks decided switching to an autofeeder was right for them, and that they would build a barn around it. In March 2017, calves were moved into the new barn.
The farm switched their milking herd to Cargill Animal Nutrition shortly before they built their new barn, working with Cargill nutritionist Ken Otis. A newfound success with Cargill opened the door for new partnerships. Once they were in the new calf barn, Otis recommended they work with calf and heifer specialist Alyssa Dietrich for technical and nutritional advice regarding the autofeeder. “Anything I ask, she’s there for,” Kirk continues, “If she doesn’t have an answer she’ll find it.” Kirk and Alyssa work together on the milk diet, which is a combination of pasteurized waste milk and a 24:18 milk replacer. This nutrient-focused diet supports a healthy immune system and promotes lean tissue growth and better stature.
While it hasn’t been a significant saver on time, the calves are receiving more meals and total volume of milk without the need of any additional labor. You can see and hear the excitement when Kirk talks about their results, especially in the size and lower levels of stress of calves at weaning and later on. Kirk said “Our animals are bigger and healthier. Their growth is crazy. It’s going to be a totally different ball game when they freshen.”