Sandy-Valley Farms, of Scandinavia, will host one of three farm tours during the Wisconsin Holstein Association Adult Convention. The convention will be held Feb. 24-25, in Waupaca.
Established in 1963 by Frank Bauer Sr., the farm is owned and operated by the David, Patrick and Frank, Jr., Bauer families. The three brothers took the helm in the 1980s as they became known worldwide for their superior Holstein genetics in 1988.
Frank, Jr., is in charge of the feeding program and nutrient management. David specializes in herd health and milking, while Patrick handles finances and milking. A fourth brother, Greg, manages the breeding and marketing program.
In addition, David Bergan is their full-time hired man who helps wherever needed.
Frank, Jr., is married to Ruth (Hintz). They have four children – Danae, Ethan, Seth and Ryan – who are also actively involved in the day-to-day operation. Danae manages the calf program, oversees their embryo flushing program and helps with merchandising. Ethan’s passion lies in cropping and fieldwork, but he also assists with various other farm chores, while Seth and Ryan work in the calf area.
Patrick and his wife Tammy (Rasmussen) have two girls, Katie and Emily, who also help care for the many calves born due to the extensive flushing program on the farm.
The farm currently consists of 1,250 acres of cropland, primarily corn, alfalfa and soybeans. They milk 400 cows and care for an additional 500 head of youngstock.
Sandy-Valley’s current Rolling Herd Average stands at 28,444 pounds of milk, 1,085 pounds of fat and 857 pounds of protein.
A new freestall facility was constructed in 2001. It houses around 400 head and features sand bedding with matresses underneath, automatic scrapers, a double-12 herringbone parlor and a 120-cow tie-stall barn.
Bunker silos and a recipient heifer barn were added in 2009. The most recent addition is a 117-stall calf barn.
“We built a new calf facility to make feeding calves easier and more productive,” said Danae Bauer. “It was hard to get huts cleaned out in the winter between calves. It is also a bonus to be able to have lights to see the calves when feeding in the dark.”
Danae explained Sandy-Valley places a lot of value in getting live calves from their top cows, developing bulls to sell to AI, and raising heifers. They have marketed embryos worldwide.
Sandy-Valley Farms is home to several high-indexing cow families, evidenced through the marketing of nearly 60 bulls a year to AI organizations.
One of those cow families includes the descendents behind Sandy-Valley Bolton-ET, a millionaire sire and former number one TPI and LPI sire.
Their innovation and involvement in the dairy industry were recognized when the Bauer brothers were named Wisconsin’s 2008 Distinguished Dairy Breeders. Also, the Sandy-Valley herd is the recipient of the 20-year Progressive Genetics Herd Award.
The Bauer children enjoy showing, judging and participating in Dairy Bowl. Danae was named Wisconsin’s Outstanding Holstein Girl in 2010 and went on to the national level where she was recognized as one of 12 semi-finalists.
Danae, Ethan, Seth and Katie have all earned the Outstanding Holstein Boy and Girl honor on the county level.