Two Dairy Field Days Spotlight Forage Management and Crossbreeding

The I-29 Moo University is hosting two dairy field days in November. Each field day will start at 12:30 PM CST and wrap up around 3:30 PM. Light refreshments and SDSU ice cream will be served. These field days are offered at no cost, so be sure to come join us for a tour of the dairies and in-depth discussions. Details for each of the field days is below.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019: 12:30 pm – 3:30 pm

Join us at Summit Dairy, 5564 390th St, Primghar, IA 51245. Owner, John Westra will take us through a tour of the milking parlor, cattle housing, and the commodity and mixing building. Summit Dairy’s breeding strategy will be discussed. Dr. Hugo Ramirez, Iowa State University, will discuss feeding this year’s silage, feeding issues he is seeing, and pile management.

John Westra and his family purchased Summit Dairy in 2012. They moved from California and jumped right into caring for the 400 cows. Over the years, they expanded the dairy to over 800 dairy cows. The cows are housed in free-stalls and milked three times per day. As part of the expansion, John built a commodity and feed mixing building. This allows feed to be loaded and mixed indoors, which reduces waste and decreases moisture variability in the feedstuffs.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019: 12:30 pm – 3:30 pm

Join us at Tri Cross Dairy, 45144 289th St, Viborg, SD 57070. Take a tour of the facilities and engage in open discussion with owners, Tom Koolhaas/Wes Bylsma, and manager, Kris Vanderkoy. They will share their experiences with utilizing crossbreeding within the dairy to create a durable and productive cow herd. Amy Hazel, University of Minnesota, will discuss reasons why interest in crossbreeding in dairy cattle is growing globally, explain the basics of rotational crossbreeding for dairy cattle, and present the detailed results of a 10-year study in high-performance Minnesota dairy herds where ProCROSS cows were found to be more profitable than their Holstein herd mates.

Brother-in-laws, Wes Blysma and Tom Koolhaas, founded Tri Cross Dairy in 2017.  They both grew up on California dairies and desired to expand their farms and landed in the I-29 Dairy Corridor, near Viborg, SD. The dairy is named for its Tri-crossed, or Pro Cross breed of cattle, which are a combination of Holstein, Montbeliarde, & Swedish or Viking Red Cattle. The 4,000 cows are housed in a 1,200-foot cross-ventilated-free-stall barn and milked in a 100-head rotary parlor.

REGISTER for one or both field days at

QUESTIONS about the field days, please contact: Jim Salfer (, (612) 360-4506), Fred Hall (, (712) 737-4230), or Tracey Erickson (, (605) 882-5140).

The field days are hosted by I-29 Moo University, a collaboration of South Dakota State University, University of Minnesota, Iowa State University, North Dakota State, and University of Nebraska Extension Services, Iowa State Dairy Association, South Dakota Dairy Producers Association, Nebraska State Dairy Association and MN Milk Producers Association.

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