Natzke Farm offers tours of brand new barn
The Natzke farm, whose barn was completely destroyed by the April 2011 tornado, will hold an open house Friday night at their brand new barn.
The farm at W6643 Joe Snow Rd. was directly in the path of the tornado that devastated parts of the Merrill area. The farm’s original dairy barn, built in 1907, was a total loss.
The new barn took about 12 months of planning and seven months of construction to complete, said Phil Natzke. The Natzke’s were able to move their dairy operation into the new barn in November 2012.
The single-story barn is quite a bit bigger than the old one and represents the state of the art in milking stall barns, as opposed to the modern milking parlor systems.
“This is the new style, old-fashioned way,” Phil said.
The building is designed around cow comfort and features an automatic take-off pipeline milking system. The Natzke’s have 160 head of cattle on the farm, with about 80 milking.
Friday’s event, sponsored by the Lincoln County and Marathon County Holstein Breeders, starts at 7:30 p.m. The evening will feature dairy judging, food and drinks, barn tours and a presentation by guest speaker Bill Mahanna, a dairy science expert and Global Nutritional Sciences manager for DuPont Pioneer.
This is the annual twilight meeting of the local Holstein Breeders groups. With the new barn recently completed, the Natzke’s volunteered to host this year’s meeting. The public is invited to attend.
“We were willing to do it this year,” Phil said. “We thought maybe some local people would be interested in stopping out and seeing it.”