Five takes with OYDC finalists Eric & Brittany Carson

Meet 2019 MMPA Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperator finalists Eric and Brittany Carson from Hesperia, Michigan. Eric and Brittany are leaders within their community. Eric is a graduate of MSU’s dairy management certificate program and is a member of the Newaygo County Fair Dairy Committee, Newaygo County Fair Board, Newaygo County Farm Bureau and MSU Extension Advisory Team. Brittany also has the interests of their community at heart as an employee of Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial.

Eric and Brittany farm 450 acres and milk 180 cows on their farm Carson Acres LLC. Sustainability is at the core of the farm’s mission with the goal of producing crops and milk of the highest quality with respect to the animals, people and land that produce it. Eric and Brittany are proud members of the Muskegon Local in District 3.

What makes a difference on your farm?

1. Consistent care
“From milking procedures to caring for the animals, each employee provides consistent care following the same milking procedure and keeping an eye out for any cow acting abnormal. We work close with our nutritionist to ensure we are reaching our goals, while maintaining healthy cows and making minimal ration changes.”

2. Quality forages
“We strive to put up the best forages because without quality feed it’s hard to achieve our herd goals. From picking the correct hybrids of seed corn that will work nicely in our rations, to maintaining a consistent cutting window for alfalfa (26-28 days), we work to feed our cows the highest quality forages possible.”

3. Genetics
“Genetics play a big role in our herd. We are 100 percent AI bred herd and we select bulls that have good feet and legs, while also increasing milk production, fat and protein. By being a mostly closed herd and raising all of our own heifers, we have been able to develop some very productive cow families.”

4. Activity monitoring
“To help better manage our herd, we installed SCR activity monitoring in 2017. With the system, we have been able to diagnose sick cows quicker before there’s even visual signs, pick up on the cows who may not show signs of heat, and determine how the cows like a ration change or how heat stress affects them.”

5. Cow comfort
“In 2012, we built a modern freestall barn with larger stalls, wider alleys, curtain sidewalls and fans has allowed us to keep cows around longer and worry less about air movement. We remove any foreign matter from the stalls at each milking (3x), add new sand every ten days and clean each drinker at least once a week.”

This article was originally published in the January/February issue of the Milk MessengerSubscribe »