Whatcom County Dairyland News: Vol. 13, Sept/Oct 2016 - Washington Dairy

Whatcom County Dairyland News: Vol. 13, Sept/Oct 2016

New Appel Creamery facility aims to meet demand for artisanal cheeses

The Appel family is expanding their cheese making facility to meet demand

The Appel family has been producing high quality milk and cheese from their Ferndale farm for more than 60 years.  Brothers Rich, John and Gerald, along with their extended family and 30 employees, work on the dairy farm, creamery or in the farm’s popular cheese shop and café.   The Appel family produces eleven farmstead artisanal cheese varieties, several sold only in Whatcom County while other cheeses are distributed nationwide.

The popularity of Appel Farms  artisanal cheeses prompted the family to break ground on a new cheese making facility last year.  Appel Farms’ cheese plant has grown from the original 20 x 30- foot space to a 10,000-square-foot, energy-efficient building that is expected to be finished in November.
Appel Farms produces artisanal cheeses including Cheddar, Cheddar Curd, Feta, Gouda, Maasdammer, Paneer, Parmesan, Quark and new additions Havarti and Nokkelost Norwegian dessert cheese.   Appel Farms homemade ice creams and yogurts are only available at their cheese shop and cafe in Ferndale.
According to artisanal cheesemaker and president of the Washington State Cheesemakers Association (WASCA) Rhonda Gothberg, there are now 70 licensed artisanal cheese makers in Washington, up from 15 in 2004 when she put out the call to form an association.
“Ruth and the Appel family have been involved with WASCA since the beginning, and as multi-generational farmstead artisanal cheese makers, they are a leader in the development of various varieties adding to the breadth of Washington state cheese offerings,” Gothberg said.  “People have more refined palates, so when they are exposed to these flavorful cheeses at a farmer’s market or restaurant, popularity grows.”
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Precision dairy cow feeding produces more milk, less manure & odor

New dairy farm equipment ensures precision feeding using software that provides nutritionally balanced feed delivery

Dairy producers are applying sophisticated approaches to develop dairy cow feeding formulas that provide the appropriate amount of protein, nitrogen and phosphorus to increase milk production while reducing nutrients in manure and related emissions.

Dairy nutritionists, nutrient specialists and veterinarians are working with dairy farmers to assess the cow’s rumen, or how the cow breaks down and digests the feed silage.
Dr. Joe Harrison, Washington State University Nutrient Management Specialist and Professor, meets with dairy farmers individually and in groups to discuss the importance of feed management.  He describes precision feeding formulas based on the nutritional needs of the dairy cow for milk production and efficiencies across nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, vitamins and minerals.
He poses the question, “How can we get more of what the cow eats into the milk truck and less into the manure?”
“Feed management is feeding cows nutritionally balanced feed for maximum production, and reproduction, while reducing the amount of nutrients in manure — particularly nitrogen and phosphorous — by minimizing overfeeding,” Harrison says.  “The primary export off the farm is milk, with a proper nutrient balance of ‘nitrogen in’ for maximum production — and ‘nitrogen out’ converted in the form of by-products such as nutrient-rich compost.”
“With feed cost representing over 50% of total production,” Harrison says, “every dairy farmer pays attention to the cost of feed as a major cost for producing milk.  There is great awareness about the importance of balanced nutrients in feeding formulas for milk production and the environmental implications of over-feeding.”

Family members use best farm practices at Coldstream Farms

Lynne Rainey Wheeler inspects feed developed by animal nutritionist Dr. Gale DeJong, DVM, during one of his regular visits to Coldstream Farms.

Over the years, sisters Lynne and Laura Rainey have worked every job on their mom and dad’s evolving Rainey family dairy, now a 1,000-acre operation near Deming renamed Coldstream Farms – and they are still at it. Since 1978 the Rainey family has produced high-quality Darigold milk by taking great care of their cows while maintaining high standards for worker safety, training and manure management/ dairy nutrient planning. Although the farm has grown over the years, it remains a family farm, now with 23 full time employees.

While Laura Rainey Smith and her mother, Vickie Rainey, manage the business side, son-in-law Galen Smith has taken a larger management role with family patriarch/founder Jeff Rainey, who works to apply best farming practices. Galen’s brother, Brad Smith, manages the farm’s Dairy Nutrient Management Plan and all the required record-keeping.

Lynne Rainey Wheeler performs a “mixed bag” of work on the farm. She invests most of her time working the “cow side” with a veterinarian, an animal nutritionist and employees to keep their 1,300 dairy cows healthy and productive – while emitting less manure with nutritious feed formulas that are prepared every day in a computerized mixer. The farm’s new Trioliet Stationary Mixer can provide various feed formulas to keep their cows healthy and productive while emitting less.

“I work directly with our veterinarian on everything from new born babies to milking protocols and pregnancy checks,” she says. “I have a wonderful relationship with our vet as we work with individual animals and look at the herd as a whole to prevent disease and make certain our herd is moving in the right direction.”

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Dairyland News is distributed to dairy farm families, business leaders/dairy farm suppliers, government staff, elected officials, and news media to show how dairy farmers contribute to the community, with safe operations, best farm management practices and effective stewardship of land and animals. Dairyland News is produced by the Washington Dairy Products Commission in cooperation with the Washington State Dairy Federation.

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