From the Field: Hinchley's Dairy Farm
Posted by: Joel Dennis on Jan 20, 2017 9:10:38 AM
Geringhoff customers can be found around the world; each have unique perspectives that makes for great stories. We'll continue to feature stories from the field as a way to not only highlight customers who rely on Geringhoff for harvest but to celebrate the agriculture industry that is so important to the U.S.
A Conventional Dairy Farm That is Anything But
Duane Hinchley and his wife Tina run a conventional dairy farm where they milk 120 purebred Holstein cows and operate over 2,500 acres in Cambridge, WI. Duane's parents were the farm's original owners and bought it in 1958. Duane grew up farming and began running the combine at age 12. You could say farming has always been in his blood. Duane and Tina tackle the dairy side of the operation as a team with Duane taking care of the feeding, nutrition, and breeding side of things while Tina handles everything involved with the intensive responsibility of daily milking. Tina also leads the charge on what most people know the Hinchley Dairy Farm for - its famous farm tours.
The need for a dairy farm tour schedule didn't come out of wanting extra income. For the Hinchley's, it was about proper education of youth and adults alike. They wanted people to be familiar with what happens on a real dairy farm - not just what a cow standing in a barn looks like. Duane and Tina have twin daughters, Anna and Catherine. When the girls were kindergartners, they went on a field trip to a dairy farm and throughout the tour kept correcting the tour guides! That event prompted Duane and Tina to consider hosting tours of their own and the family added that to their ever-growing list of farm operation 20 years ago. Today, Hinchley's Dairy Farm is open for tours daily April through November.
The Other Side of the Farm
Duane is responsible for planting and harvesting crops which serve as both a cash crop and feed for their milk cows. It takes a lot to make a business successful, and while the dairy side of the farm holds its own, the Hinchley's also farm 1,750 acres of owned land and an additional 750 acres. To harvest their corn, they put their trust in the Geringhoff Rota Disc. As with many farmers, Duane grew tired of pulling around the stalk chopper, wasting both time and labor. With that much land to work, chopping the stalks added an enormous amount of time to the harvest. Duane said, "We sometimes plowed at night after harvesting when the grain elevators were closed." Since investing in the Rota Disc, worrying about and managing stalk destruction is a thing of the past. "Now that we don't have to chop the stalks, one of us can go milk, and the other can go plow. The stalks are all processed right in front of you. So then it's all cut, and you drive over it. They're cut into the size you want," Duane said.
Not only has time in the field been saved, the Rota Disc has proven to grant the Hinchley's a better yield. "With the decomposition of the stalks from the way they are processed with the Geringhoff, it's definitely helped out my corn yields. I do a lot of corn on corn and have enough residue for the soil conservation plan. The quick decomposition, that's been the secret to having about 15-20 bushels better yield than using the traditional stalk chopper," Duane added. Their farm is in its eighth year of planting corn on corn and according to Duane, it's proven to bust a myth. "It doesn't get any worse after the second year, regardless of what most people think. We are 232 bushels-dry in 2015, and average in 2016 was about 250 on dry land corn," he said.