Farm1

Over the past 20 years or so, the Boersmas have learned many lessons on how to operate a dairy. And, with each new facility, they've improved on the previous one.

For example, Forget-Me-Not actually operates as two separate dairy entities in Cimarron. It has two separate rotary milking parlors on opposite sides of the main building and two separate herds.

Because of this, the Boersmas are in a unique position to experiment with new facilities, nutritional and veterinarian approaches to improve cow comfort and milk production in a measurable environment.

One such experiment includes the two Saudi-style barns in the drylot. These barns are designed for extra shade and ventilation for drylot dairies such as Forget-Me-Not, and were originally created for Saudi Arabian dairies to reduce heat and cold stress.

"The herd with the extra Saudi barn seems to show a measurable advantage, but we're still debating putting them in the rest of the dairy," Boersma said.

One more improvement they implemented was in creating two-way traffic lanes so cows are free to come and go to the parlor.

"We have someone guiding them from behind, but we don't have to close a gate and create an exit lane," Boersma said. This ease of cow movement makes it easier for cows to enter and exit the rotary parlors quickly.

Another improvement they've brought is in sourcing their feed.

While the Boersmas own several acres of farmland surrounding their dairy, they lease it back to farmers and buy feed from them as well. Forget-Me-Not trucks in about 12.5 semis of feed per day, Curtis said. The dairy feeds corn silage, haylage and grain commodities, along with dry and wet distillers grains from local ethanol plants. The Boersmas have a nutritionist on staff who balances their cow rations for body condition, milk production and reproduction.

"We don't push our cows for tremendous production, instead we look for longevity in the herd," Boersma said. "We don't expect these cows to enter beauty contests."