SNYDER, Texas — Only three months after moving into their new barns equipped with robotic technology, the Collier family is opening up their T&K Dairy on Nov. 7 for the Southwest Dairy Day, organized by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.
Southwest Dairy Day will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free, including a noon meal. The dairy is located at the intersection of U.S. Highway 84 East and Country Road 1673 east of Snyder.
“We are very excited that Will and Lauren opened up their facilities to us for this event, and that they are willing to talk to us about their experiences with the new robotic technology,” said Juan Piñeiro, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension dairy specialist, Amarillo.
The Colliers are third-generation dairy producers. T&K dairy started in 1982 as a traditional dry-lot dairy with a parallel milking parlor. This past August, they expanded to start milking select cows in a new barn equipped with 18 stationary milking robots. The expansion will allow them to increase their herd size from 2,000 cows to almost 3,000 cows.
Their automatic milking systems will be the main highlight this year, Piñeiro said, as they are the first conventional dairy operation with this technology in Texas.
Piñeiro said Southwest Dairy Day typically rotates between the Stephenville area and the High Plains, but this year’s event is more centrally located for all the Texas and New Mexico dairy areas.
He said he expects the tour talks on automatic milking systems, radio frequency identification of cattle, rumination collars, cow brushes, robotic feed pushers, water beds, ventilation and manure management to draw dairy producers and industry representatives from a wide circle.
“This year will be special also since we are celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the event,” said Jennifer Spencer, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension dairy specialist, Stephenville. “Our goal is to show dairy producers technologies they could adopt and use on their farms. We also want to invite everyone from the local community to come learn more about dairy farming.”
Morning tours to the new barn will start at 9 a.m. and depart every 20 minutes until noon and then resume in the afternoon.
At noon, lunch will be provided by Hi-Pro Feeds and Jason Smith, AgriLife Extension beef specialist at Amarillo, will discuss the use of beef semen in the dairy industry.
The event also will include 60 exhibitor booths inside the tent and bigger equipment outside the tent, Spencer said. Booth registration and sponsorships for vendors is open through Oct. 31, and the rates and information can be found at https://agriliferegister.tamu.edu/Dairy.
–Texas A&M AgriLife Extension San Angelo
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