Rosendale has an exceptional base of nearby crop producers

PICKET, Wis. — The site for Rosendale Dairy near Picket was chosen for its exceptional base of crop farmers and central location.

Three partners own the dairy, which was featured on Minnesota Milk Producers’ Summer Bus Tour.

Jim Ostrom, John Vosters and Todd Willer chose the site. The project team spent more than two years on environmental research and an engineering design to fit the farm’s location and develop technological features to minimize the dairy's carbon footprint.

The dairy has 7,050 milk cows and 2,850 heifers and youngstock. All calves are custom raised.

Their average somatic cell count is around 227,000.


Cows are milked in a twin 80-stall Rota Tech Rotary parlor. Fifteen people per shift are involved in the milking. The length of a typical milking is 7.5 hours.

The cows are housed in two cross-ventilated, sand-bedded free-stall barns. The south barn was completed in November 2009 and the north in March of this year.

Sand bedding is recycled and is scraped to a cross auger. The manure-sand mixture is run through McClanahan sand separators with hydrocyclones, screw presses and induced air floatation with centrifuges. Manure fibers and liquid is applied with trucks.

Rosendale dairy operates in compliance with a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources-approved nutrient management plan that places on the field no more nutrients than the crop can use over a rotation. It also requires manure application setbacks and restrictions to protect wells, ground water and sensitive areas. The manure is incorporated with the soil surface to minimize odor and place the nutrients where the plant roots are located.

The dairy also had an environmental assessment as part of its Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit application. The DNR completed an air modeling analysis to determine the potential off-site impacts of emissions from the dairy.

Rosendale Dairy also hired consultants to perform an analysis of potential air emissions. The analysis focused on ammonia and hydrogen sulfide and concluded that air emissions from the dairy will be within the standards for air quality.

The farm developed a foot-bath formulation that improves hoof health.

Calves leave the farm within two days of birth and go to a custom raiser. They are moved into hutches when they are one to two months old and to a counterslope barn when they are four months. A free-tall barn becomes their home at five to nine months of age. They are moved to a dry lot at 22 months.


Before cows calve, they spend 18 to 24 days in a pre-fresh area. AT the first sign of calving, they are moved to a calving pen. Colostrum is collected at the end of each shift. Cows are moved to a fresh pen after they give birth. All fresh cows are observed and treated twice daily during their 14- to 21-day stay in the pen.

It takes a three-person staff working 12 to 13 hours per day to feed the cattle. Five employees work in the feeding operation.

The feed storage is a large concrete pad. Most of the corn silage and alfalfa silage is raised on or near the farm.

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