Semex Premier Program Impresses California Dairyman
Michelle Nelson, Semex USA West Coast Premier Consultant
Hilltop Holsteins in Oakdale, California is owned and operated by partners Michael and Carrie Dotinga and John and Susan Vander Schaaf. Michael takes care of the daily operations of the dairy and some of the farming.
Michael grew up and worked on his family dairy. In 1998, Hilltop Holsteins began. The Dotinga’s and Vander Scaaf’s purchased the current facility along with the dairy’s 800 cows. In addition, Hilltop Holsteins also purchased 600 bred heifers to help grow the herd to the current size of milking 1,350 Holsteins with a rolling herd average of 10,425 milk 3.7% 384 fat 3.3% 326 protein kgs.
In 2003, the facility was completely remodeled; new freestall barns were built along with a brand new double 20 parallel milk barn. To help relieve heat stress in the summertime, fans are provided for the fresh cow pen, close-up dry cow pen, and far-off dry cow pen. Fans, misters, and soakers also were installed in the milk barn.
Hilltop Holsteins farms 220 acres of corn and oats. In addition, 220 acres are currently used for pasture. There are 8 employees working on the dairy: 5 milkers, 1 feeder, and 2 herdsmen who work closely with Michael. All heifer calves are sent to a nearby calf ranch at 1 day old; the calves return to the dairy at 5 months old. At a year old heifers are sent to another nearby heifer raising facility to be bred; heifers return to the dairy when they are approximately 5 months pregnant.
Hilltop Holsteins has been using Semex sires and participated in the Premier Young Sire Program since 1998. Recently, they have partnered with the Semex Premier Club Young Sire Program. Currently, the herd is using 70% Semex sires and is very pleased with their results.
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