I can feed 1,000 animals and still get to church Sunday morning.
Dairy Focus Consultant: Josh Gertz
- More digestible fiber and decreased grain diet improved feed efficiency, reproduction, and milk production
- Team is focused on creating high quality forage for their animals
- Decreased feed intake, taking their feed efficiency from 1.2% to 1.5%
Whether it’s talking about fishing or hand-weighing feed in the dead of winter, Keith and Kent Spicher have worked closely with their Cargill Dairy Focus Consultant (DFC) Josh Gertz over the past several years. But it hasn’t always been that way. After attending a large herd discussion group hosted by their veterinarian, the brothers realized they were not doing as well as their peers. They were struggling with feed efficiency – cows were eating but they weren’t producing adequate milk. After this revelation, Keith reached out to Cargill Technology Manager, Dr. Chris Canale, who brought Josh into the picture in December, 2015. Keith had known and trusted Dr. Canale for quite some time, but he wasn’t sure he could trust Josh to feed his cows, “It used to be that everyone I took advice from was older than me, and now they’re all my kid’s age and I’m not sure I’m comfortable with that.” Dr. Canale encouraged Keith to trust Josh, and those feelings of skepticism soon dissipated as Josh helped solve Kish-View Farms feed efficiency problems.
Started by their grandfather in 1947, Kish-View Farms has been in the family for over 70 years. Keith and Kent took over in the late 1990’s, and have since grown the farm from 120 cows to over 550 cows today, spread across three locations.
“Make good forages and get cows bred when they should. The rest of it will fall into place,” said Keith. Josh confirmed that’s exactly what they’re doing. Since working with Cargill, Kish-View Farms has increased their herd’s feed efficiency and reproduction. Within 60 days of rebalancing the diet, cows showed reproductive improvement, resulting in 10% internal herd growth the last two years. Feed efficiency increased from 1.2% to 1.5%, fresh cows had improved body condition and they reduced their feed bill by decreasing average feed intake from 62 to 59 pounds of dry matter in their high cows.
“Anyone can feed cows,” says Keith, “but part of it is a personality thing. I like all the guys we work with.” This sentiment is the very reason Kish-View Farms continues to work with Josh Gertz and the dairy team at Cargill. Keith trusts that no matter the issue, Josh will work with his resources to bring in the expert that can help resolve the problem.
“I wish my grandpa could see that I can feed 1,000 animals and still get to church Sunday morning,” says Keith while reflecting on how far they have come. The brothers dream of passing Kish-View Farms down to someone who will pick up where they left off and keep it growing like it has in the past. Laughing, Keith said, “What I dream about now is hiking the Appalachian Trail.”