Partnership is their Key to Success
Consultant: Bryant Hlavaty
- Ration balance solved reproductive issues and lowered feed bill
- Average herd production jumped from 85 pounds to 90 pounds
- Cargill 6 Pound Club member now with goal of hitting 95 pounds
Raised on a 50-head dairy farm, Lydell Horning always dreamt of being a farmer, but he wasn’t sure if that dream would ever become a reality. In fact, he started his career as an electrician. It took a few years, but his childhood dream of becoming a farmer came true when the opportunity arose for him to work for his father-in-law, Irvin Brubaker, at Bru-Crest Farms. Now, eleven years in, Lydell is a partner in Bru-Crest Farms, along with his brother-in-laws Arlyn and Delmar Brubaker.
Bru-Crest Farms started working with Cargill Dairy Focus Consultant (DFC) Bryant Hlavaty in 2012 when they were experiencing retained placenta issues among their fresh cows. “We just couldn’t seem to get ahead of it,” said Lydell. “Bryant came and tested the dry cow feed and he said, ‘Hey, I know what you need.’” Bryant adjusted formulations to create a more balanced ration. After getting things back in balance, Lydell not only saw fast results, but also a reduced feed bill.
The partnership with Cargill grew to include calves and heifers to lactating cows in the Bru-Crest herd. HerdFirst™ calf and heifer feeds are fed from birth to six months of age when heifers are transitioned to a heifer total mixed ration. When asked about HerdFirst™, Lydell said his calves “go after it like it’s candy. They like it, and it smells really good.” The rest of the herd is fed a one-group lactating ration and a one-group dry cow diet.
Bru-Crest Farms is already members of Cargill’s 6 Pound Club, but that has not stopped them from continuously raising the bar. “Our goal is to always try and do better and see where we can go with it.” And that is exactly what they have done. Bru-Crest has grown their herd to over 300 cows today. Since working with Bryant, Bru-Crest has also improved their milk production, – increasing from 85 pounds to 90 pounds a day, with a new goal of 95 pounds.
Lydell attributes Bru-Crest’s success to not only their Cargill representative, but also to the well-working partnership that has formed in the family. “One thing that I’ve observed from them that I think makes them successful is they are really efficient for 300 cows and the amount of ground they have.” says Bryant. “They really just do it internally with the three partners, their wives, and Irvin. There’s no hired labor.”
Lydell now dreams of continuing to run Bru-Crest Farms in an efficient manner, that way the dairy can run family-owned and operated for generations to come. Cargill is helping them do that. Lydell stated “When we get on about something Bryant doesn’t just shrug us off, he listens to us. I’d say he works with us well as far as what our goals are."