Passion + Expertise = Success
Maplekeys Farm located just east of Aylmer, Ontario is an innovative dairy farm owned and operated by Paul and MaryAnne Vis and their two sons, Kevin and Jason. The moment that you drive up the laneway and enter Maplekeys Farm it is evident that the Vis family are proud of their cattle and facility and are passionate about the dairy industry. The Vis family “are very happy to have made such a successful business with family from humble beginnings.”
THE BEGINNINGS OF A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS
How did this successful operation get started? Paul is a 2nd generation dairy farmer and farmed with his parents who moved here from Holland. Paul and MaryAnne started with a 40 kg tie-stall barn but soon realized that to be successful; they would need to expand their operation. Paul and MaryAnne started with a fresh approach with Maplekeys Farm at the current location just east of Aylmer in 1993. Kevin and Jason, who had grown into keen dairymen, transitioned into the business following school. Kevin stated “I guess it’s just in our blood!”
Maplekeys Farm is a large free-stall operation; milking approximately 250 cows. The current milk production (2X milking) is very impressive at 39 litres with 4.15% milk fat and 3.4% milk protein. This translates to a 305 milk equivalent (ME) of 12,035 litres and over 1.6 kg of milk fat/head/day.
The key mission statement for Maplekeys Farm is “to produce the highest quality milk, as efficiently as possible”. They are “living” this mission with five gold seals for quality milk production.
The entire Vis family is very passionate about the dairy industry but specifically with genetics and showing great dairy cattle. The current herd is comprised of five Excellent (EX), 117 Very Good (VG) with the remainder Good Plus (GP). The numerous awards displayed on the office wall are a testament to their sound breeding program and strive for excellence in the herd.The strong genetic base coupled with an excellent facility and management has been key to achieving such high production.
This passionate dairy family makes Maplekeys Farm work. Kevin is involved in herd health and breeding while Jason focuses on maintenance and crops. Paul looks after feed and commodity organization and purchase and is also a current DFO board member for region 9. Plus, Paul still loves to drive truck and still does within the operation! MaryAnne plays a key role and is the on-farm “jack of all trades” and farm support system! The teamwork approach has ensured that Maplekeys Farm runs smoothly.
A LOOK TOWARDS THE FUTURE
What does the future hold for Maplekeys Farm and the Vis Family? The Vis’s are quite excited about the future! In fact, the 4th generation are still quite young but are all very interested in the dairy herd and spend a lot of time at the farm! With growth in mind, the Vis’s are planning for an expansion to accommodate 350 milking cows.
After many years working with an independent consultant the Vis family felt that they were missing opportunities with herd health and production. The Vis’s made a strategic decision to work closely with their local Dairy Nutrition Advisor, Jason Sutherland. The results have been tremendous! The Vis’s comment that “we have healthier cows, production is up 1500L per lactation with lower feed cost, below 15 cents per Liter of milk. Return over feed (ROF) has increased with higher milk and lower feed cost. This has been the smartest decision we have made in the recent past.”
The ration is balanced using Newton® software, using the return over feed spreadsheet to determine cost. RM104® and Rumensin are used in the ration for efficiencies.