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Obert Dairy

Prioritizing Cow Comfort

People who are overheated, overworked and stressed are less productive. The same is true for dairy cows.

“The happier and more comfortable the cows are, the better milk producers they are,” Kelly Obert says.

Creating cool, luxe surroundings for their dairy cows is a priority for Obert Legacy Dairy of Fort Branch, Indiana. To that end, the dairy has expanded and improved in recent years, all with the goal of improving their animals’ well-being.

Fifth-generation farmer Steve and his wife, Kelly, their three sons, Wes, Klint and Mitch, and Steve’s brother, Tom, run the southwest Indiana dairy.

Steve and Kelly’s sons oversaw the design and construction of the dairy’s newest barn. They have also expanded the feedlot and manure storage, installed a new air ventilation system and grew the farm’s calving facility.

“It’s about keeping the cows cooler and content,” Mitch says. “Adding another barn allowed for growth, and, more importantly, specialized care for newborn calves, new mothers and cows experiencing illness.”

The dairy’s cows are sheltered and pampered. They receive clean water, high-quality feed and comfortable beds while misters and large fans ensure their year-round comfort. Their stalls are cleaned three times a day and refreshed with clean, recycled sand bedding.

The cows are fed corn silage, alfalfa hay, corn grain and supplemental protein, minerals and vitamins.

The farm’s recent addition is phase two of the dairy’s long-term operation and transition plan. “Phase three will add another barn to the dairy if that’s what the boys want to do,” Kelly says.

“Efficient growth is a component of all successful businesses, including the dairy business. Scaling up often makes us more efficient,” Steve says. “We’re a large farm, but we are still a family farm.”

Steve recently became executive director of the Indiana Dairy Producers Association and the couple’s sons now run much of the day-to-day business.

“I’m in the back seat, hoping to get in the passenger seat soon,” Steve says.

Steve and Tom’s father, Winfrid Obert, is credited for founding Obert Legacy Dairy in the 1950s, and the dairy is now home to more than 1,000 Holstein cows and heifers.

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