The Dave Lane Family of Colwich has been named the 2012 Distinguished Dairy Family of the Year, an award sponsored by Kansas State University and Kansas Farmer.
Dave Lane is the fourth generation of his family to operate a dairy in Sedgwick County. However, while the location has stayed the same, the dairy operation certainly has not. Dave's creative mind and talent for numbers have made many improvements to the farm and has allowed his small dairy to remain viable and efficient.
The Lane herd now totals about 110 cows. Cows are milked three times daily in a double four herringbone parlor that was built in 1977. A new 88-cow free-stall barn and manure separation system were added in 2001.
At the same time the free-stall barn was added, the dairy barn was modified and a crowd gate was added to improve cow handling and efficiency at milking time. A special-needs barn was constructed in 2004 to provide a pre-fresh pen, calving pen and recovery pen.
"I felt better facilities would mean healthier cows and that would mean greater milk production," Lane says. He said his herd has also shown better reproduction, lower somatic cell counts and better body condition scores.
The old free-stall barn was converted into a calf and young heifer facility in 2008. The current rolling herd averages are 29,010 pounds of milk, 1,059 pounds of fat and 891 pounds of protein. He does not use supplemental production enhancing hormones.
In addition to the dairy herd, Lane operates about 475 acres of row cropland including 125 acres of corn, 125 acres of soybeans, 125 acres of wheat for certified seed, and 50 acres of grain sorghum.
This year, he converted 50 acres from wheat to winter barley to provide a replacement for straw in the dairy herd diet.
Dave and his wife, Dawn, have four children: Cecilia, Madeline, Loren and Clara. Read more about their family and their award in the April Kansas Farmer magazine.