Housing and Care for Donors
“We care for the cows everyone cares about”
More than just the slogan on the front of the barn, Sunshine Genetics staff and facilities provide the comfortable housing required for elite genetic donors. The farm has housing for 200 dry cows and heifers and maintains one of the very few milking facilities for embryo donors in the U.S. The high visibility of the herd attracts thousands of visitors to the farm each year, providing individual donors with a worldwide audience of potential buyers.
The tunnel-ventilated milking facility was rebuilt in 2001 and features tie-stalls and box-stalls with mattresses which are bedded generously with wood shavings. Cows are fed a total mixed ration supplemented with dry hay to optimize milk component production. Milking is done twice-a-day with monthly DHIA testing by AgSource Cooperative Services. Classification is conducted routinely and photography from Agri-Graphics is also available.
Dry donors and heifers are housed in three open-front steel buildings on a sawdust bedding pack in groups of six to eight individuals. Dry donors are fed dry hay, protein, and minerals to maintain body condition. Cooling fans are provided in the summer and donors have access to 20 acres of pasture. Extensive fly control measures are taken on the entire farm.
All individuals housed at Sunshine Genetics are given frequent vaccinations to ensure health. Weekly reproductive examinations are conducted by a trained embryo transfer professional to monitor reproductive status. Regular hoof trimming is also practiced.
Sunshine Genetics employs a strict new arrival protocol to ensure the health of new donors as well as those already at the farm. All new donors must be tested free of TB, Brucellosis, and BVD.