Determined and driven to help others, 11 years ago, Ethan Kunkel of Kempton, Pa. found himself as an ANC Consultant. It was not mere will that lead him to this career, but the passion and drive to help those he cared about strive to have an excellent herd like his own.
Before implementing the ANC program on his herd at Sunnyside Farm, Kunkel struggled with low production, poor breeding and a high mortality-rate within the first 60 days of milk on his 210-cow dairy farm. However, since starting with ANC, he can proudly say his reproduction is among the top five in Pennsylvania with Select Sire Power.
When Kunkel started using ANC products himself, he started solely with the regular calf milk replacer. It was not long before he saw tremendous health improvement with his calves, so he started using ANC’s calf feed and eventually added Micro N-R-G Plus to the feed.
With each one of these additions to his calf program, his calves were healthier and growing faster.
Kunkel’s first-calf heifers had been calving in at 26 months of age, but as soon as he enhanced his calf program, they were calving in at 24 to 25 months.
When Roger Heller, a good friend of Kunkel, became ill, Kunkel asked him if he needed part-time help with his consulting business. Heller said ‘yes,’ and Kunkel soon inherited three or four customers. “I got sucked in,” said Kunkel. “I tried to help people I knew in the community that wanted help and wanted to succeed.”
When ANC proposed their All Milk 26:15 milk replacer, he jumped right on the opportunity and became one of the first users of the product. With this additional change, as well as adding a calf starter with 21 percent protein, he was able to shave an entire month off of his heifer-growing process.
Currently, his average age at first calving is 23 months, which has resulted in increased milk production. His heifers are now at a 305 ME of 30,000 pounds and are either averaging his herd’s bulk tank average or milking one to two pounds higher than his aged cows.
On his farm, Kunkel is also culling heavily in the cow herd and selling the bottom 10 percent of his heifers for dairy, so his family does not have to expand or overcrowd their barn.
Once Kunkel saw all of the improvements ANC helped him make in his herd, it made it easy for him to help others develop their herds on the ANC program as well.
“I stand in customers’ shoes seven days a week, so I can relate to them and help them,” explained Kunkel.
Kunkel’s skills and expertise have recently helped a customer make significant improvements to increase productivity on their farm. One-third of their cows are milking over 100 pounds a day. They also recently flushed a first calf heifer 113 days in milk at 99 pounds, and received 12 number one grade embryos.
“This herd of Ethan’s is on a roll and just keeps on impressing me,” stated Sara Hendrickson, the Calf and Heifer Program Specialist at ANC. “I have been to this farm. They are excellent managers and do a phenomenal job with their calves.”
Another customer of Kunkel’s recently achieved a 25,000 RHA with continued positive herd health. This young family takes the extra time to look at all of the little variables on the farm, such as testing their Pro-Store treated forages for changing moistures and feeding Calf Armor 150 Colostrum Replacer to their calves to ensure optimal calf health and Johne’s control.
After introducing the ANC program on his farm, Kunkel was not spending as much time treating sick cows, allowing him to spend more time with his family and be more involved in his community.
With a wife who works off-farm, five growing and active kids, and recently being named Chief of the Kempton Fire Department, Kunkel maximizes his time on the farm and with his customers as much as possible.
The improvements to the young calf program on his farm, value-added heifer ration formulations and Kunkel’s strict reproductive protocols have even allowed his kids to be competitive in the show ring. The Kunkel family is able to share their passion for dairy cattle and agriculture with friends and spend more time together as a family by being involved in cattle shows.
“I like being my own boss, I love hanging around people, I love the flexibility of my schedule,” said Kunkel, “which means I can spend time with my kids when they need me.”
Kunkel strives to be a great consultant and dairyman by continually asking questions and learning about new or different ways to execute effective strategies on farms. He also puts a high priority on forage harvesting and management to make the most of home-grown feeds for not only his own herd, but his customers’ herds as well.
Kunkel may have only stumbled upon a career as a consultant with ANC, but this hard-working family man’s success has not gone unnoticed within the company or those around him. His accomplishments are only the beginning to many more to come.