by Jon M. Casey
More than 100 visitors attended the first of two Open House and Dairy Tour events presented by Pennsylvania’s Center for Dairy Excellence (CDE) on June 28 at Hopeway Farm near Greensburg, PA. Wayne and Hope Frye, along with son Patrick and daughter Kelley, served as hosts for the morning event, which featured a self-guided tour of the operation, followed by a brief program featuring Frye family members, CDE Executive Director John Frey, and industry professionals who worked together with the CDE to help make this informative event possible.
Wayne Frye began by saying that he and Hope began milking at this location in 1978, beginning with 28 cows in a tie stall barn that has since been converted into a calf barn. Since those early beginnings, the Frye family has added a freestall barn that was expanded in 2008 to accommodate their growing milking herd that today numbers approximately 310 head. Frye said they have done their expansion over the years, “piece by piece” as a way to remain economically secure during the years of volatile milk prices that have befallen the dairy industry.
He said more recently, they added a new DeLaval Cascade parallel double-12 milking parlor installed by Graham Dairy Supply, Inc. They also have built manure storage for approximately one million gallons of manure that they use on nearby crop and hay fields. Over time, they also built grain and silage storage in the form of a Harvestore unit for high moisture corn and a bunk silo system that is used for storing their corn silage, and brewers grains. They also have acquired a round bale wrapping system that helps preserve the 1,200 or so, bales of round baled hay they regularly grind as a part of their daily TMR feed ration.
Patrick Frye, who is regularly responsible for the feeding and fieldwork, continued by saying that they farm about 1,200 acres of land of which they own approximately 260 acres. They rent the remaining acreage from neighbors. They produce approximately 3,200 tons of corn silage annually, as well as around 700 tons of alfalfa haylage. They grow corn for grain as well as to be stored for feed as high moisture corn. They also grow some soybeans and oats as well.
Kelley Frye oversees the calving and breeding program and maintains the dairy record keeping as well. She said that they raise their heifer calves until around 6 months of age. Then, they are moved to neighboring farms where they are raised to breeding age, for somewhere around 15 months or so. Then, they are returned to the home farm where they are bred. When fresh, they enter the herd. She said that the cows already in the milking herd are each bred at around 50 days in milk. Overall, she said that the dairy herd has a pregnancy rate of around 23 percent.
The Fryes have two other children, Stacey, who works as a therapist and lives next to the farm, but is not currently involved in farming. Their son Craig, is a commercial contractor who has a career away from the farm, but helps out on the weekends as he is needed. Together, along with five employees, Hopeway farm has demonstrated that dedication to dairy farming is still a viable enterprise. One that serves as a model for others who love milking dairy cattle and desire to preserve the dairy industry in Pennsylvania.
Following a brief description of the purpose of the Center for Dairy Excellence and the role that it plays in the Pennsylvania Dairy Industry, CDE Executive Director, John Frey, he thanked all of the attendees and sponsors of this event.
by Jon M. Casey