Thank you, Krueger Dairy KDFC LLC for hosting the 2024 Breakfast on the Farm!
MEET THE HOST FAMILY
ALLENTON, Wis. – Before moving into new facilities in April 2023, Justin and Samantha
Krueger were milking 102 cows in a 42-stall stanchion barn.
“We were doing 2.5 switches,” Samantha said. “It was a little insane.”
The Krueger’s had outgrown their buildings and were looking towards the future with plans of
expansion on the farm near Allenton where Justin began working when he was 11 years old. It
had always been more than a job for this farm-loving boy who wasted no time making his mark
on the operation he would one day run.
“In July, I’ll be here 29 years,” Justin said.
Two years in, he began buying heifer calves, and when he graduated from high school, Justin
owned 12.5% of the 60-cow herd. He and the farm’s owners, Jim and Carol Maul, set up an LLC
and the farm became a partnership. Justin bought the rest of the herd in 2009.
Today, Justin and Samantha milk 180 cows and farm 700 acres. The couple nearly doubled the
size of their herd when moving into their new facilities. Their goal is to get up to 200 head
Building a farm of their own alongside the farm they rent, the Krueger’s completed a building
project last year that included a new freestall barn, special needs barn, and milking parlor on
land they purchased on the farm in 2015. New facilities solved problems of overcrowding and
relieved the stress of switching cow’s multiple times while creating a simplistic system for
working with animals.
Within their modern setup, the Krueger’s have discovered improvements in efficiency,
convenience, and cow health. They have also seen an increase in milk components.
The new 160-stall, four-row, freestall barn features a hybrid ventilation system with curtains on
both sides and on the west end. The barn is set up for tunnel ventilation with the east end boxed
out for tunnel-ventilated fans. The barn also features automatic scrapers, and cows love the
automated brushes located on either side of the barn.
The special needs barn features dry cow, maternity, and fresh cow housing. Connected to the
main barn by a breezeway, this building is situated close to the parlor and contains 40 freestalls
for dry cows on one side, and two bedding pack pens for maternity and one for fresh cows on
the other side. Cows spend two weeks in the maternity pen prior to calving.
“We have a lot more room in these maternity pens,” Samantha said. “I keep fresh cows in the
special needs barn until I feel comfortable they are ready to move on. Once they hit a certain
level of rumination for 2 to 3 days, we’ll move them out.
The Krueger’s also appreciate the ease of transferring dry cows to the maternity side. “We don’t
have to move them across the yard anymore or deal with ice,” Justin said.
The special needs barn is a four-row style that can easily be adapted for freestalls on the fresh
cow side as well if they chose to in the future. Both barns feature headlocks which are
convenient for following health protocols, breeding, or working with fresh cows in the bedded
Cows are milked twice a day in the double-10 parallel parlor. The parlor is a used model
purchased from a farm that was switching to a rotary. The Krueger’s upgraded to a rapid exit
style and rebuilt the parlor with new equipment. The parlor/holding area features push-button
air-operated sort gates and a double return alley that enables easy sorting. An automated
footbath in the return alley is filled twice a week for cows to step through as they exit the parlor.
A 3,000-gallon bulk tank also came with the parlor. The parlor had been in operation for 20
years, but the fronts were 3 years old, so they stripped the box clean and put all new equipment
in but didn’t have to rewire or put in new air lines.
The Krueger’s also began using an activity monitoring system when they moved into their new
barn, and additions to the parlor included waterjet cutouts for the readers. Monitoring milk,
activity, and rumination took animal health to a new level. Samantha said the system helps
identify sick cows before she notices they are sick. Having the monitoring system on the herd
frees Samantha from having to be in the barn milking cows every day.
The Krueger’s employee three full-time and four part-time associates and their new milking setup
has benefitted the labor situation. “Milking shifts are a little longer now which makes it easier to
find help as we can fill a day’s work between two shifts,” Samantha said.
The Krueger’s put in a 3.4-million-gallon manure pit last summer. A 7-to 10-day reception pit in
the barn holds manure temporarily and when full, they open the gate and release it. They do a
big flush at once so the sand doesn’t build up in one spot. The sand is used for bedding – “you
can’t beat the cleanliness of sand,” Samantha states. A prototype auger by Patz – which Justin
said is the first in the country – pushes manure from the special needs barn towards the pit.
Runoff from the heifer barn drains into the manure pit as well.
New facilities freed up older facilities, enabling the Krueger’s to move their heifers back home in
October. Since 2009, heifers 8 months old to springing were housed nearby. The former dairy
cow freestall barn was transformed into housing for breeding-age heifers that includes an
outdoor area with fence line feeding. Every breeding-age heifer wears a monitoring collar to
detect when they’re in heat.
They also converted their old dry cow barn into bedded pack housing for heifers ages 6 to 12
months. In addition, they planned to gut the stanchion barn in summer of 2023 and put freestalls
The couple has a son, Max, and a daughter Kodi who was born in June of 2023. With facilities
to take the family far into the future, Justin and Samantha are hoping the next generation will
share their desire to farm.