Virhada Holsteins, LLC – Mt. Horeb, WI
Virhada Holsteins: A Testament to Tradition and Cutting-Edge Dairy Technology
Tucked away in the rolling hills of Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, the Haag family’s Virhada Holsteins is more than just a farm. It’s a living testament to enduring family values and the seamless integration of tradition and technology.
After years of detailed planning, Virgil, Dawn, Kody, and Karsen saw the completion of a new robotic milking barn in August 2023. The family built a new facility, installing four Lely Astronaut A5 systems, and also brought in long-time partner, Agromatic, for its expertise and excellence in dairy technology and equipment.
The Agromatic team designed and installed a full barn ventilation solution, including: round chimneys, barn curtains, and powerful exhaust and cyclone fans. For cow comfort measures, the family chose the popular RELAX stalls to provide the herd a more natural way to move and Agromatic headlocks for extra durability.
Preparing the Next Generation of Farmers
The unique name of their farm, Virhada Holsteins, stems from a fusion of the names Virgil and Dawn, which was created after they bought Virgil’s family farm in 1996. It is a symbol of the strong partnership and shared commitment the two have to uphold the farm’s legacy and values.
At Virhada Holsteins, their dairy legacy spans over a century and continues to thrive. Owner and matriarch Dawn Haag reflects: “Our farm’s history mirrors our family’s story,” she says. “We’ve combined the wisdom of past days with current innovative solutions to ensure the farm’s continued success.”
The journey continues to grow as Karsen and Kody return to farm alongside their parents. Dawn says the agreement was that they needed to take three years after college to work somewhere else, but both are now integral players in the farm, and spearheaded the new facility’s design and functionality.
Karsen recently married and of course, had to pose with her favorite girls for some pics on that special day. She has a long history of showing animals, and truly enjoys working 1:1 with the animals at her family farm.
The road to today’s excitement took years of dreaming and endurance, as any dairy farmer knows. In 2001, a double-8 flat parlor was built to replace the original stanchion barn, and that worked for a while, until Dawn and Virgil welcomed the children back.
After a short time, everyone knew the time was coming for a change. “We were just patching together the equipment down there, and people weren’t showing up when they were supposed to,” Kody says. “We were trying to figure it out.”
The process was not immediate either. They toured, interviewed, and reviewed a variety of options, finally settling on a Lely robotic facility. The next generation for Virhada Holsteins has arrived!
Optimized Barn Ventilation for Superior Airflow
Teaming with Agromatic was a given for the family. Virgil recalls his early childhood experiences accompanying his grandfather, father, and uncle on trips to Fond du Lac to pick up parts, since all three served as Agromatic dealers!
All four say that the installation of state-of-the-art ventilation systems in their newly constructed barn has been a breath of fresh air… literally.
Kody says he left the fan choice up to the experts at Agromatic, as he trusted their judgment and a long history with the company has built a strong partnership through the years.
Agromatic’s team installed more than a dozen of its new round chimneys, as well as exhaust fans, and both 55” and 36” cyclone fans. The family has been impressed, and Virgil says so have those that have seen the ventilation system in action.
“The one guy said he was amazed at the airflow we had in the barn, and that’s exciting to hear,” he notes.
Enhanced Cow Comfort
Cow comfort is definitely a trending industry term these days, and for good reason! It matters, and is a defining mission for the Agromatic team.
“Our cows’ comfort and well-being are paramount,” says Dawn. “Improved air movement within the barn is essential to ensure the well-being of our animals.”
The choice of stalls within the barn was a big one, and a game changer for the level of cow comfort for the Virhada Holsteins.
Karsen shared that the previous 90- freestall barn often faced crowding issues, and after she tried a few of the Agromatic RELAX stalls in there, she was hooked. So was her herd!
“That was the first row the cows would go into,” Virgil adds, and Kody says they knew when designing the new facility, it would definitely include all RELAX stalls.
The biggest decision, however, was what color, jokes Dawn. It wasn’t a tough one though: the family agreed on red!
The new barn is equipped with these innovative stalls but also a full rows of Agromatic headlocks, which are well known for being less noisy, lightweight, and an affordable option for any farm.
A Family-Community Mission
Beyond the barn’s upgrades, Virhada Holsteins is committed to educating the public about modern agricultural practices. Their goal is to serve as a model, demonstrating that cows lead comfortable lives in well-ventilated barns, sheltered from the elements.
They emphasize the positive impact of these practices on dairy product quality, aligning with the growing consumer demand for transparency and enhanced animal welfare in the dairy industry.
Virhada Holsteins’ beautifully encapsulates the fusion of tradition and innovation, serving as an inspirational model for fellow farmers and a resource for consumers eager to trace the origins of their food.
Their legacy is a testament to the enduring spirit of Wisconsin’s farming heritage, and Agromatic has been honored to be a part of their story.
Virhada Holsteins Media
Video: Agromatic Presents: Virhada Holsteins, LLC, Mount Horeb, WI
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