The Dairy Business Innovation Center is sponsoring two educational dairy sheep field days in May and August, offering dairy sheep producers and the public a chance to learn more about one of the fastest-growing segments in the state's dairy industry.
The field days will provide an opportunity to learn more about milking sheep in both a parlor and movable stanchion system, as well as lamb rearing and milk testing techniques. Wisconsin is home to 13 dairy sheep farms, which produced more than 829,000 pounds of milk in 2009. Six of the state's cheese plants today process sheep milk into specialty and artisan cheeses, meeting a growing demand from consumers.
Field day dates and locations are:
May 22: Dream Valley Farm in Strum, will host a field day from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. Owners Tom and Laurel Kieffer will give a tour of their operation, which includes more than 200 milking ewes which graze on the hillsides of central Wisconsin, and which are milked in a crowd-system parlor. The Kieffers will also discuss their lam rearing system, and Dr. Bob Leder, a practicing large animal veterinarian and sheep producers, will discuss important topics related to lam rearing. Location: Dram Valley Farm, N 50768 County Road D, Strum, Wis.
Aug. 14: Eckerman Sheep Company in Antigo, will host a field day from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. Darlene and Steve Eckerman will give a tour of their farm operation, which includes more than 150 dairy ewes milked in a movable stanchion. Paul Jandrin, an AgSource representative, will discuss milk testing of dairy ewes, including how to sample milk and interpret milk analysis results. Location: Eckerman Sheep Company, N681 South Rollwood Road, Antigo, Wis.
Each field day is free and open to the public, but registration is encouraged for event planning. Call Claire Mikolayunas, DBIC Dairy Sheep Initiative, at 608-332-2889 for more information.