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Wisconsin Holstein Association Announces 2012 Spring Barn Meeting Schedule

Baraboo, Wis — March 8, 2012 —The Wisconsin Holstein Association invites all members and dairy farmers to the 2012 Barn Meetings. The focus of this year’s barn meetings is caring for high value Registered Holsteins in a freestall environment. Along with guest speakers from the UW-Extension system, all of the hosts will share their experiences and management practices they have implemented over the years to help their herd remain healthy and productive.

Four locations have agreed to be host farms for these barn meetings and will take place on the following days:

• March 19 - noon, Bears Grass Dairy, Augusta; Speaker: Maria Bendixen, Clark County Agriculture Agent

• March 23 - 11 a.m., Sunnyside Dairy Farm, Valders; Speaker: Scott Gunderson, Sheboygan County Dairy/Livestock Agent

• March 27 - 10:30 a.m., Nor-Way-Pete and Four-of-a-Kind Holsteins, Eland; Speaker: David Kammel, UW-Madison Center for Dairy Profitability Ag Engineer

• March 29 - 11 a.m., Stone-Front Farms, Lancaster; Speaker: Mark Mayer, Green County Dairy Livestock Agent

The WI Holstein Association is excited to have these outstanding Holstein members host our educational meetings.


Our first Barn Meeting is hosted by an example of today’s modern “family farm”. Bears Grass Dairy, Inc., is run by the extended family combination of Donald and Tamara Schroeder, Gary Schroeder and Gary and Donald’s nephew, Donald Honadel. The current herd of 366 cows is a combination of several herds brought together from tie-stall operations into their current freestall dairy.

Donald Honadel started his Registered Holstein involvement as a young man with his project calves and took over their Honadel herd of 55 cows from his dad in 1998. Donald and Tamara started with Registered Holsteins in the 1980s. They were converting from a predominantly Guernsey herd and purchased some Registered Holsteins to go along with their grade Holsteins. They used the “Donamara” prefix. Gary started with Registered Holsteins in the 1990s, buying a couple of project calves for his sons to show. Shortly after, he discontinued working at a diesel truck mechanic shop to aid his brother in farming the farm where he grew up. He used a “Schrobro” prefix and together with Donald and Tamara, they milked 60 cows at their tiestall barn.

The Bears Grass Dairy team joined these three herds along with a combination of dispersal cattle, local grade replacements and some key purchases at consignment sales as the base and foundation of the current herd. They were able to grow into the original freestall barn, as well as an addition, and have been using the “Ursa-Grass” prefix for the current herd. In addition to the owners, there are also two more family members of Donald Honadel’s who work part-time and three full-time employees.

They maintain a rolling herd average on two-times a day milking of 25,934 3.63 942F 3.03 785P. They have a 104.2 BAA and for the last 12 years have received the PGH award. They farm 885 acres in partnership with the families growing primarily corn, alfalfa, grass hay, and oats. The main cow family featured at Bears Grass is descended from “Erinn” who was purchased as a first choice in the Wisconsin Spring Sale in 1992 and has sampled several bulls into A.I. Some of the daughters to look for are Escargo a VG-88 daughter of Scoop who has a +1916 GTPI and sisters by Onward, Iota, and Gerard. Embassy is a daughter of Toystory who scored VG-86 and has a GTPI of +1891. She and her full sisters join daughters by Boliver, Man-O-Man, Garrett, Shottle, O-Style, and Jives. Embassy also has an O-Style son going to Accelerated Genetics.

Buying into some fresh genetics is also important and they have brought in animals from many established families in the Holstein industry. Miley is a Glen from EX-93 Goldwyn Maritime who is out of EX-91 Miss Maui Miracle, then EX-95 2E Miss Mark Maui. She freshened in January with a Windbrook heifer and will be a highlight of the barn meeting for visitors. They also purchased Calorie, an Observer from Larcrest Cosmopolitan, who will be in their flush program this spring.

The combination of herds moved into the current freestall facility seven years ago. Originally one of the tie-stall barns was kept as a hospital and fresh cow facility to help lower the risk of contamination in the milk tank and to house the dry cows. Over time they observed cows having difficulty getting up that had been moved from one facility to the other. In 2009, an addition to the freestall barn was completed and all mature cows were moved over to the main facility. Treated cows are milked in a small parlor separate from the rest of the herd.

The Bears Grass Dairy group has learned several things over the year, including minimizing the number of movements of cows from pen to pen and making sure there is adequate sand in the freestalls. There is also additional pack areas for those cows that may still have trouble with the freestalls. Hoof trimming is a priority for the management team at Bears Grass Dairy as they have about one-tenth of the herd trimmed every two to three weeks.

The Schroeders and Honadels invite everyone to join them at their barn meeting and look forward to showing their facilities as well as the herd of cows. To find Bear Grass Dairy take Hwy. 12 north from Augusta, turn west onto County V and go approximately two miles to the farm on the left side of the road.


Sunnyside Dairy is our second host of the 2012 Barn Meetings. This family farm near Valders is a partnership between Bill and Todd Borgwardt. This uncle and nephew duo has made their mark on the Wisconsin Dairy landscape not just in their breeding and management of the Registered Holsteins at Sunnyside, but also in their leadership and involvement in WHA. Both men have had their turn as state board members with Bill leading the board as President in 1998.

The current herd of Registered Holsteins began over 90 years ago and both Todd and Bill have been involved their whole lives. The herd consists of 250 milking females. On a three times a day schedule, the rolling herd average is 27,305 3.9 1064F 3.13 854P. Type is a priority in the Sunnyside breeding philosophy and currently they have 6 EX, 40 VG, 80 GP and 33 G cows resulting from their last classification.

The current freestall barn and parlor were built in 1999 with the newest additions being a new heifer and calf facility With the help of four full-time employees and Todd’s father, Roger, they maintain their high production through feeding and management while breeding for type.

Sand bedding has been the main cow comfort tool used in the freestalls for the last 12 years. Though it works well for the cows, Todd feels it isn’t the best bedding for cleaning and handling with the manure pit. The four-row barn has drive through feeding and headlocks for all groups except the very fresh group. Todd has found that their double-8 herringbone parlor has worked very well with their larger cows versus a parallel parlor system. He has also found that the optimal stall width for the larger cows is 48 inches or wider. They have both 46 inch and 48 inch stalls in the facility and feel that if they built today they would use the larger stalls.

Several notable ladies of Sunnyside have made their way through these freestall facilities and left their mark. Sunnyside Daffy Goldwyn-ET EX-90, Sunnyside Daisy Goldwyn-ET VG-86 and Sunnyside Della Talent-ET VG-88 are daughters of Sunnyside Dede Linjet-ET EX-92 who goes back to Roulette Dewdrop-Red EX-91 3E. Elm-Lawn-G Horace Michigan has left her stamp on the herd with several notable daughters. The first, Sunnyside Mel Aspen-ET EX-91, was the first place Senior 2-Year-Old at the District 10 Holstein show in 2011. There is also a Dundee daughter, Sunnyside Melody Dundee-ET VG-87, as well as their Linjet sisters. Sunnyside Cora Debo-Red-ET VG-87 is a fancy red 2-year old, who along with herdmates Danville-ML Finest Missy-ET EX-90 and Astrahoe Jo Lee Roll-TW EX-90, will be highlights of this barn meeting. Missy is an 8th generation Excellent granddaughter of Golden-Oaks Mark Marion-ET and Roll is a 14th generation Excellent granddaughter of Royal Rosa, both cows that thrive in this freestall environment.

Todd and Bill look forward to having everyone join them at the Barn Meeting to share some of their insight and their great group of cows. They have a strong interest in Registered Holsteins and have a goal to breed good solid cows and hope to continue to do so in the future in the current facilities. Directions to Sunnyside Dairy from I-43, take exit 144 west. Go 6 miles on County Hwy. C to Borgwardt Rd., then south 1 mile to Newton Rd. The farm is on the southwest corner of Newton and Borgwardt Roads.


Our third barn meeting will be held in Eland at Nor-Way-Pete Holsteins. Nor-Way-Pete is owned by Andy and Chad Peterson. The herd is comprised of both the Nor-Way-Pete cattle and all animals owned by the Four-of-a-Kind partners. The herd manager and part owner of the Four-of-a-Kind animals is Dan Cnossen. For the most part, Andy and Chad do all the crop work and feeding as well as serving as a sounding board for cattle decisions. Dan supervises the parlor as well as making the breeding decisions and merchandising any members of the herd.

The current rolling herd average for 249 cows on three-times per day milking is 30,887 3.75 1157F 2.93 904P. Their BAA is 108.7, which ranks in the top 10 nationally for their herd size.

Their breeding philosophy consists of using bulls who make cows that are outstanding in mammary system, feet and legs and dairy strength. Their goal is always the same: breeding great type with outstanding production.

There are several Excellent cows in the herd, almost all homebred with several 92, 93 and 94-point cows. They have milking daughters of Sanchez, Alexander and Million among others. The herd also features the family of Four-of-a-Kind Roy Reba EX-93, which includes several outstanding individuals. The influence of Durham can be seen throughout the herd.

The farm’s milking facility was built in 2002. They feel sand freestalls are the most important ingredient in cow comfort, and say breeders should build their facility for the kind of cows you want to milk. Keeping show cows comfortable and in shape while running with the rest of the herd is challenging but doable.

The Nor-Way-Pete and Four-of-a-Kind partners would like to invite everyone to come tour their facilities and see this outstanding group of cows. Visitors are welcome to tour the facilities starting at 10:30 a.m. followed by a meal and plenty of cow talk. Nor-Way-Pete and Four-of-a-Kind Holsteins are located 5 miles west of Wittenberg on Hwy. 29, then go south 1½ miles on Cherry Drive to the farm on the right.


Andy and Lyn Buttles, along with their daughters Christina (5) and Kayla (2), will be hosting the final barn meeting at Stone-Front Farms just outside of Lancaster. Together they milk approximately 600 Registered cows on the farm in the rolling hills of Grant County. They farm 1,000 acres of tillable land to grow the majority of their feed needs and utilize an additional 600 acres of pasture for raising replacements.

Stone-Front Farms has been the breeding ground for some amazing animals that have moved on to do great things for their new owners. In recent years, Stone-Front Iron Pasta EX-96 has made a splash in the show ring and was sold as a young cow. Andy still has five milking daughters and many other family members in the herd from Pasta. Windy-Knoll-View Ultimate Pala and Odyssey Chief Mark Ina also have outstanding descendents making their mark in the herd.

Andy and Lyn have expanded the herd size to the current size of 600 and built on the foundation of animals started in 1913 by Andy’s great-great-grandfather. Andy and Lyn took over the herd from Andy’s parents, Elam and Barbara Buttles, who are still an important part of the operation as they raise all the young stock at a farm nearby. Though Christina and Kayla are not full-time helpers yet, they can often be found helping in the calf barn or office. Andy also credits their outstanding staff of employees for helping the farm run smoothly.

A decision to move the herd 15 years ago from Waterford to its new home in Lancaster allowed for an expansion to the current freestall barns. Andy was sure to pay attention to stall size and design when adding on to the facilities. This helped to transition from their tie-stall barn and to feel comfortable in putting great cows in a freestall environment versus the traditional tiestall.

The Buttles are delighted to invite everyone to see their facilities and cows at this year’s barn meeting. Please enjoy the camaraderie and a lunch featuring Dave Schmocker’s world famous grilled bacon. Stone-Front Farms is located 3 miles east of Lancaster or 12 miles west of Platteville on Hwy. 81. The farm is on the south side of the road.

All barn meetings are open to any interested Holstein breeder. Any other breeders wanting to host similar barn meetings should call the Wisconsin Holstein Association at 800-223-4269 and we’ll work with you to set one up for your local breeders.