Farm Horizons, February 2017

Mayer dairyman wins 2016 World Forage Analysis Superbowl

By Jennifer Von Ohlen

Whenever they were able to attend, Tom Luebke and his wife, Jody, of Edgewater Meadows Dairy in Mayer always took time to admire entries at the annual World Dairy Expo in Madison, WI – though they never submitted anything themselves.

All that changed the winter of 2015, when Luebke brought a ration of his alfalfa (interseeded with Italian ryegrass) into Munson Lakes Nutrition in Howard Lake for testing.

After analyzing the results – with a relative forage quality (RFQ) value of 289.86 – dairy and livestock sales nutritionist Mike Foust of Munson Lakes made the comment, “This is really good stuff – you may want to consider entering it.”

Taking Foust’s advice, Luebke entered a 25-pound sample of a late-fall 2015 fifth-cutting into the World Forage Analysis Superbowl competition.

There, the sample was retested and received a RFQ value of 216, and a value of 4,086 of pounds of milk per ton of feed, with a 30-hour neutral detergent fiber digestibility of 77 percent.

Initially, Luebke simply found it thrilling to enter an event he respected and enjoyed, but a new thrill awaited him as he learned his entry made finals.

By the end of the event, Luebke was declared Grand Champion Forage Producer, and was awarded $2,500.

Luebke’s was one of 373 samples from 24 states and provinces entered into the competition. This was the second consecutive year a Minnesota sample won grand champion.

Edgewater Meadows Dairy

While receiving the grand champion prize was a surprise, Luebke said he has always tried to produce quality forages, since “It’s very important to our success,” at Edgewater Meadows Dairy.

Luebke’s days at the farm started after he graduated from Hutchinson Area Vocational-Technical Institute dairy program in 1977. Later on, Luebke decided to partner with his father, and eventually bought the family farm in 1985.

The dairy farm currently has 90 milking cows, which are housed in a bedded pack and are milked in a double four step-up parlor. Including young stock, there is a total of 180 livestock on the farm.

While caring for his milk cows, Luebke feeds each of them high-moisture corn and corn silage with an additional 10 to 15 pounds of hay per head per day.

“To be profitable, a dairyman must put up ideal, high-performance forages to lower out-of-pocket costs,” Foust stated.

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