You will always see Duane Ducat, his son Derek, and business partner Dale Bogart trying something new at Deer Run Dairy in Kewaunee.
The try-it mentality at Deer Run Dairy helped them garner the Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability Award from the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy last month. Showing off the operation to media members on Wednesday, Ducat showed how their cover cropping strategies have evolved from just planting one species in the fall to interseeding within their active corn fields.
The farm has also been involved in improving its manure digester, transitioning it from producing electricity to a renewable natural gas that can be transported. The digester also removes almost all of the pathogens while making animal bedding and a nutrient-rich fertilizer.
Ducat adds that on top of it all, they have taken the necessary steps to improve the health of their herd so they can limit the use of additional antibiotics as much as possible,
A sustainability award is not stopping Deer Run Dairy from looking at new ways to improve even more. They are trying new cover cropping techniques through their work with Peninsula Pride Farms and the Door-Kewaunee Demonstration Farms Network. They have also initiated the engineering work that could allow their digester to expand so other local farms could use it. Ducat says it is all about the culture they have established at Deer Run Dairy, where they are always learning and trying to improve their practices.