Visiting other farms is great way to explore new ideas for your own dairy

Fall is officially in the air and as we wrap up corn silage harvest in northeastern Ohio and northwestern Pennsylvania, I would like to encourage area dairy farmers to take a break and participate in the Ashtabula County Dairy Tour sponsored by OSU Extension and the Ashtabula County Dairy Service Unit Board of Directors.

This tour will be held Saturday, Sept. 8, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will feature Ringbyre Jersey Farm and Shiloh Acres Family Dairy in Monroe Township. Start your tour at either farm and then travel the short distance to the second farm.

The tour is open to dairy farm families, dairy industry personnel and other interested individuals.

We are pleased the Ring cousins, Jeff and David and their families, have opened up their farms for us to “steal” management ideas.

These families have a long history in Ashtabula County dairy industry and each dairy farm will be open to showcase their approach to producing high quality milk and in raising healthy, vibrant dairy calves and cows.

Ringbyre Jersey Farm

Ringbyre Jersey Farm has been in operation since 1960. This farm has recently made a successful transition between generations from Loren and Nancy Ring to Jeff and Carole Ring. The farm currently milks 285 Jersey cows and raises over 550 acres raising high quality alfalfa, corn, corn silage, oats, and mixed grasses.

During the tour, participants will tour the new calf-raising facility (66-by-160). This state-of-the-art barn includes heated floors, 72 Agri-Plastics calf pens, Poly Dome calf warmer, and a post-weaning heifer section.

See how the family seamlessly converted the wet brewer’s pits to now store dry hay and bedding materials.

Participants will also tour the calf kitchen, which includes a dairy tech pasteurizing unit in which all colostrum, fresh cow, and treated milk are pasteurized before feeding to the calves. Learn how this new facility and pasteurizing unit are helping to produce healthier and more vibrant calves.

Shiloh Acres

The second farm on the tour will be Shiloh Acres Family Dairy, started in 1983 by David and Laurel Ring. They’ve been shipping certified organic milk since 2009 to Organic Valley Dairy. The family currently milks 50 Holstein, Jersey and crossbred cows and raises over 225 acres of organic corn, oats, barley, hay and pasture.

Learn the steps on how the farm became and stays certified to ship organic milk and to raise organic crops. Cows are fed an organic feed ration and are pastured on intensively managed pastures during the evening.

During the tour, participants will tour the milking and cow free stall built in 1985 and the heifer/dry cow barn built in 1990.

Guided tours will be provided at each farm. No reservations are needed and this tour will be held rain or shine.

Dairy refreshments and restrooms will be provided at each stop. Participants will enjoy ice cream compliments of the Ashtabula County Farm Bureau at Ringbyre Jersey Farm and will enjoy organic milk and cheese compliments of Organic Valley Dairy at Shiloh Acres.

Visitors are asked to help these dairy operations maintain biosecurity by wearing clean and appropriate clothing and footwear. Disposable boots will be provided.

Additional information is available online at http://ashtabula.osu.edu or by calling the Ashtabula County Extension office at 440-576-9008.

I hope to see many of our northeast Ohio dairy farm families at this event! Have a good and safe day.

About the Author

(David Marrison is an agricultural extension educator in Ashtabula County.) More Stories by David Marrison

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