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Californian (and now South Dakota) Dairyman, an early adopter of Teatwand technology, continues to be an advocate for the robotic systems.
 

The Lemstra family had been dairy farmers for over 40 years in California and, due to diminishing water resources in the Central Valley and ever-increasing state regulations, owner David Lemstra began looking for other locations to farm.


After a long search, he found a 400-cow dairy near Humboldt, South Dakota, and in 2020, he demolished the old dairy and built a new 80-stall dairy that is now milking 4,000 cows twice a day. Pre- and post-Teatwand Exact teat sprayers were installed during the build of his new GEA parlor.


Dairying is central to the Lemstra family culture, and David states, “I guess you could say dairy farming is in the blood, and what I like most about it is being able to work with our family. Maartje, my wife, and I love working as a team with our children. We also have a great bunch of helpers on the farm that are a joy to work with, some have been with us for almost 25 years.” 


In 2016, David Lemstra was the first dairy farmer in California to install a Teatwand automated teat spray system. When he rebuilt his new farm in South Dakota, he knew he wanted to install a Teatwand product due to the efficiencies it afforded. Finding people who love livestock and can work at a high production level is one of the challenges in managing a farm of any size, according to David. This is where technology that can minimize this pain point comes in. Automating the mundane but essential task of teat spraying is beneficial for both the parlor workers and the farmer. 


Installing a Teatwand system eliminates at least one labor unit from each shift in the parlor, resulting in savings on the weekly wage bill. Additionally, the farmer has peace of mind that the job is being done consistently and efficiently. Teatwand products are developed by a leading mastitis specialist and a R & D team that are dedicated to excellent teat coverage ensuring low bacteria count.  


“The Teatwands have helped with daily operations and not having to worry about applying teat dip to the udders, allowing us to reallocate human resources to other tasks in the parlor like ensuring a complete milk out of the cows,” David says. 
“Another saving is the consistent use of iodine; I have very little variation in its usage. We know what to expect.” 


David reports that they have been able to reduce the milking teams by one person on both morning and afternoon shifts, resulting in a net saving of US$6400 per month. 


He encourages others to look at the Teatwand as a solution to labor shortages. “I like to say a Teatwand is a simple solution to a simple problem.” 
 

Sioux Dairy Equipment, the main contractors on the Lemstra’s Dakota Line Dairy, are one of Onfarm Solutions USA Teatwand dealers.


Onfarm Solutions teat sprayers have treated over a million cows and have partnerships with over 30 Dealerships in the United States. They have been partnering with dairy farmers for over 15 years, providing innovative teat spraying systems that reduce mastitis resulting in improved farm efficiency. 
 

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“With the Teatwand, it’s not only a labor-saving activity but also a milk quality thing. We are obviously saving money on chemicals and since we started with the Teatwands our somatic cell count has come way down"

Skylar Gericke, Herd Manager, Triple G Dairy

Triple G Dairy is owned and operated by the Gingg family, who have been farming in Arizona since 1957. Ben Gingg and his son, Max, are actively involved in the daily running of the 2000-acre dairy farm near Buckeye, Arizona. They are milking 3700 cows 3 times a day through a double 48-stall rotary parlor with pre and post Teatwands on each rotary. The name Triple G relates to the 3 G’s in the Gingg family name.

 

Skylar, their herd manager, has been with them for 4 years. He is also managing the logistics of a new dairy the Gingg family are building, due for start-up in in 6 months. 

Skylar has been dairy farming for nine years and enjoys working with animals.  

 

“We are always trying to do better; we’re always trying to get more milk and figure out how to be more efficient. I like problem-solving challenges. It’s a good mix of physical labor and actually having to think and use my brain. People are the biggest challenge. We have a very low staff turnover, getting good people and retaining them is really important,” he says. 

To help improve labor efficiencies in the parlor, five years ago, two Teatwands were installed as post sprayers, one on each rotary. A year ago, two more Teatwands were added to deal with pre-spraying, relieving parlor staff of this task.

“I like Teatwands because if there’s anything wrong with them, I can fix it myself. And I know that with the right chemical I will get the right coverage. The Teatwand sprayers create labor efficiencies for us as well as making managing that aspect of the dairy so much easier,” he says. 

“I go and look at those robots once a day where I would have to watch every person on every shift to make sure they’re doing their job. If something does go wrong, we have trained people in the dairy that can figure it out and they let me know asap. You think robots and you think 'complex', but I’m not a technology guy and I can figure it out.”

Cow health is always front of mind with every dairy farmer, primarily from an animal wellbeing perspective and also from a milk quality point of view - these things impact the bottom line. 

"We're an open-lot dairy, so the rain really affects our somatic cell count. Around this time of year, our cell count before we had Teatwands was averaging around 205,000; now, with the rainy season, we’re down around 175,000,” Skylar says.  

 

“I recommend the Teatwand Exact for the simplicity of it. We’re building another dairy, and we’re sticking with the Onfarm Solutions spraying systems for their simplicity and accountability, and we have TDS with us as our dealer and they are always able to fix any issues that I can’t. These are very reliable systems for us.”

 

The new parlor, just two minutes down the road, will be a 24-aside parallel with a capacity for 4500 cows and a focus on automation. They plan to run this operation with just ten people. Onfarm Solutions Teatwand Stepover sprayers will be installed for post spraying.

Triple G Dairy has a history of pioneership. In 2013 they won the Environmental Stewardship Award from the Arizona Farm Bureau for installing the first methane recovery system in the area, collecting methane gas from their six-acre effluent pond and converting it to electricity. Not only do they innovate for efficiency, but they also abide by an ethos of reducing waste aiming for ‘carbon zero’. 

 

TDS in Buckeye are an Onfarm Solutions dealership and they support the Teatwand maintenance at Triple G dairy.

Onfarm Solutions teat sprayers have treated over a million cows and have partnerships with over 30 Dealerships in the United States. They have been partnering with dairy farmers for over 15 years, providing innovative teat spraying systems that reduce mastitis resulting in improved farm efficiency.
 

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