Archive for the ‘Western DairyBusiness’ Category

Midwest Dairy Digest: March 19, 2011


MMPA sets I-9 compliance, immigration, migrant and seasonal employee workshop

Minnesota Milk Producers Association (MMPA) members are welcome to attend an Executives Workshop, March 23-24, on I-9 Compliance, Immigration and the Migrant and Seasonal Worker Act.  This workshop is only available to MMPA members at no cost (non-members are able to register for $200 registration fee and only if referred by a MMPA member).

Donald C. Erickson and John Gasele, from Fryberger, Buchanan, Smith and Frederick, P.A., will present the information and answer questions.  Don Erickson is a Labor and Employment Law Specialist certified by the Minnesota State Bar Association and a former Workers’ Compensation Judge with the State of Minnesota, Office of Administrative Hearings.

This workshop is limited to the first 50 participants.  To reserve your space, contact MMPA by phone at 877-577-0741 or by e-mail Hotel rooms are avilable at the Cambria Suites Maple Grove by calling 763-494-5556.

Dairy drug use and compliance webinar is April 5

Dairy farms are the key link in the chain of protection of food from contamination with drugs. Prudent, label use under the supervision of your veterinarian, good record keeping, reliable animal identification, and appropriate testing can help the dairy industry keep the trust of the consumer and avoid the risk of regulatory enforcement.

Dr. John Fetrow, VMD, MBA, University of Minnesota, will present a webinar on those issues for Minnesota Milk Producer Association members, Tuesday, April 5, 12:30-1:30 p.m.

Topics for the presentation include:

• Background on drug residue and use issues

• Rules regulating drug use on dairies

• What the future holds

If you have any additional questions, or if you are not a member and would like to participate, please contact MMPA by e-mail at or toll-free at 877-577-0741. A confirmation e-mail will be sent to you with login information for the webinar upon completion of your registration.


South Dakota

SDSU Jackrabbit Dairy Camp scheduled

The 8th annual South Dakota State University Jackrabbit Dairy Camp, a three-day workshop for youth wanting to learn about the dairy industry, will be held  June 16-18, at the South Dakota State University Campus, Brookings, S.D.

The South Dakota State University Dairy Club is sponsoring this event for youth between the ages 8-18 who want to enhance their dairy cattle skills and learn about the dairy industry.  Campers from all states are welcome to attend.

“The SDSU Jackrabbit Dairy Camp is a great place for the youth to learn about the dairy industry.  This is a fun event for kids to interact and meet other dairy enthusiasts.  The participants learn about both sides of the industry; production and manufacturing.  They learn about clipping, showmanship, and judging while also learning about proper care for animals.  There are also dairy manufacturing activities, including making products such as ice cream and touring the SDSU Dairy Plant. “Dairy Camp is a place where campers can put their showmanship and judging skills to the test.” said SDSU Dairy Club President and past counselor, April Johnson.

Highlights of the dairy camp include:

• Dairy Workshops on fitting, showmanship, oral reasons, dairy promotion, and dairy products

• Hands-on fitting demonstration

• Mock heifer auction

• Dairy Judging Contest

• Showmanship Contest

• Other  activities – bowling and movie night

Lodging for two evenings in an SDSU dormitory, meals, and materials provided are included in the $50 registration fee.  Registration materials can be obtained by going to the website or by e-mailing  The registration deadline is May 25. Registration is limited and on a first-come first-serve basis.



ISDA offers scholarships

The Iowa State Dairy Association (ISDA) will award six college scholarships of $500 to Iowa students. The scholarships are available to any level undergraduate student, incoming freshmen through seniors, pursuing a degree in any field.

Candidates must complete the ISDA scholarship application and attach a one-page essay. All applications and essays must be received by April 1. The ISDA scholarship application can be downloaded from the ISDA Web site ( or contact Jessica Bloomberg, ISDA industry relations manager, to request an application at (515) 971-3620 or

Return completed application and essay via email to, fax to 515-964-5498 (attention: Jessica Bloomberg), or mailed to: Iowa State Dairy Association, Scholarship Application, 101 NE Trilein Dr., Ankeny, IA 50021.

Applicants must be the child or grandchild of a current ISDA member.  If you are not currently an ISDA member or if you have not yet renewed your membership for 2011, you can find a membership application on the ISDA Web site or contact Jessica Bloomberg to request a membership form.


Workshops to provide environmental issues updates for medium-sized dairies and beef feedlots

ISU Extension and the Iowa DNR will offer three workshops in northwest and western Iowa featuring environmental issues for feedlots and dairies that are medium-sized concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

Each workshop will cover the following topics: definition of a medium-sized CAFO; National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit requirements; design criteria for manure and effluent handling and storage; operation, maintenance and nutrient management plans; and resources for technical and financial assistance.

Consultants and companies from Iowa and surrounding states are sponsors for the workshops and will be available to discuss engineering services, manure plans and technical assistance.

Workshops include:

• March 29: Spencer Community School Admin Bldg (10 a.m. – 3 p.m.) Call: 712-262-2264 to register

• March 30: Corporate Center, Sioux Center (10 a.m. – 3 p.m.) Call: 712-737-4230 to register

• March 31: American Legion Hall, Arcadia. (10 a.m. – 3 p.m.) Call: 712-792-2364 to register

Registration for the workshop is $30 for the first person from the operation and $15 for each additional person, which includes materials and lunch. Register by March 23 by calling the ISU Extension county office associated with the site to be attended. Payment may be made at the door, but pre-registration is required. (Source: ISU Extension)


DFA member, employee honored

The Missouri Dairy Hall of Honors Foundation recently recognized the dedication and service of James A. Coats, a Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.’s (DFA) member, and Steve Davis, a manager in DFA’s Southeast Area. The Foundation awarded Coats its Leadership Award and Davis the Meritorious Service Award. The Foundation’s awards program recognizes and honors Missouri individuals who have made noteworthy contributions to the progress and welfare of the dairy industry.

Coats held several roles in the Missouri dairy industry over the course of six decades. He served as a leader with the University Extension Council of Texas County, Mo.; MFA, Inc.; Farm Credit Land Bank; the Missouri Holstein Association and the Texas County Cattlemen’s Association. Coats recently retired and his son, Tom, assumed management of the dairy. Before retiring, Coats was a district chairman for DFA and served as an elected delegate, representing fellow DFA members at the Cooperative’s Annual Meeting.

The Meritorious Service Award is given to those who have served milk producers and processors in exemplary fashion. Davis, a resident of Seymour, Mo., and a former field representative for DFA, has more than 20 years experience working in the dairy industry and currently serves on the Missouri State Milk Board Advisory Committee.

Dairy business planning grant application deadline is March 25

The Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority (MASBDA) is accepting applications for the Dairy Business Planning Grant Program. This funding will enable dairy producers to work with a qualified dairy business planning professional to develop a business plan for the startup, modernization, expansion or increased production of a Missouri dairy farm.

The dairy planning grant shall not exceed $5,000 or finance more than 90% of the cost of the business plan, whichever is less. The dairy producer is required to pay at least 10% of the cost of the work done. The Missouri Soybean Association and the Missouri Dairy Growth Council will provide the funding for this grant; MASBDA will implement and administer the program. Applications will be scored competitively.

Applications must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, March 25. To contact MASBDA, call (573)751-2129 or

Missouri Dairy Grazing Conference is July 6-8

The Missouri Dairy Grazing Conference will be held July 6-8, at the Holiday Inn Hotel, Joplin, Missouri. Presentations will be given by university faculty, industry and dairy producers on the latest information related to dairy grazing systems. Farm tours are planned to local pasture-based dairy operations both during and after the conference. A trade show is planned for 30-40 businesses affliated with this industry to showcase their products and information during the conference. Highlights include:

• Learn the latest in dairy grazing systems

• Tour some of the nation’s best grazing dairies

• Network with national dairy graziers

For more information, visit

Students Face-Off at Western Dairy Challenge to Prepare for Nationals

55 students from six universities put their knowledge to the test

Fresno, Calif., March 7, 2011 – Fifty-five students from five western universities and one Canadian university competed in the sixth annual Western Regional Dairy Challenge March 3-5, 2011 in Fresno, Calif.

Hosted by Fresno State University, the Western Regional Dairy Challenge is an innovative management analysis competition developed by industry and university professionals from across the U.S.

A key objective of the dairy challenge is to present students with real-life situations that stress the importance of teamwork and professionalism.

Students from the different universities were partnered in teams of four or five. In preparation of being divided into teams, Charlene McLaughlin of Elanco Animal Health conducted a team building exercise. The exercise was to help the students to understand and recognize different personality types and to prepare them to work with their new team members.

Once the aggregate teams are formed, each group conducts a comprehensive evaluation of a working dairy farm. The evaluation includes everything from cow comfort and herd health to reproduction and finances. The teams are looking for opportunities to improve operational efficiency of the dairy farm being evaluated and ideas to improve that particular dairy’s bottom-line.

This contest is a hands-on event where students take what they have learned at the various schools and actually apply it to real-life situations, says Tami Tollennar, 2011 Western Regional Dairy Challenge Chair.

Participating universities at this year’s competition included: the University of Alberta (Canada), University of Idaho, Washington State University, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Texas A&M University and the California State University of Fresno.

The host farm for this year’s Western Regional Dairy Challenge was Diamond H Dairy a 4,500-cow operation in Chowchilla, Calif. Diamond H Dairy is owned by Greg and Jennifer Hooker.

The owner of this year’s contest farm says he was interested in hosting the event to get different perspectives on his operation. “Students get an opportunity to learn and I get a fresh set of eyes to evaluate my operation and hopefully come up with some ideas that I can apply – there is a mutual benefit in hosting the event,” says Hooker. He also adds that he wishes there was an event like this when he was in college.

Judges for this year’s competition were: Bud Keister with Cargill Animal Nutrition; Henry Tevelde, JVJ Dairies; Michael DeGroot with DeGroot Dairy Consulting; Claudio Ribeiro with Western Milling; Brian Mitchell with J.D. Heiskell & Company; Chad Wright with Walco Vet Outlet; and Scott Tripp with DHI- Provo.

Judges at this year’s competition agree that the dairy challenge is one of the best development tools for dairy science students to see and evaluate dairies and then be judged by recognized experts in the industry. “Students who participate in these events are our future industry leaders, dairy farmers and allied industry,” says Henry Tevelde, owner of JVJ Dairies and judge at this year’s competition. “It’s a Joy to see the quality of the students who participate each year.”

Receiving Platinum awards were:

Philip deVries – Washington State University, Jami Lady – California State University Fresno, Heather Fleck – University of Alberta, Jennifer Trice – Washington State University, Tyler Reynolds – University of Idaho

Receiving Gold awards were:

Edward DeJager – California State University Fresno, Keliesha Roth – University of Alberta, Jeff Blickenstaff – University of Idaho, Everet Leyendekker – California State University Fresno, Nicole Hoff – Texas A&M University.

Students from the regional contest will go on to compete at the national contest which will be held March 31-April 2, 2001 in Hickory, N.C. This will be the 10th anniversary of the North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge and it will be hosted by North Carolina State University and Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

About Dairy Challenge

The mission of the North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge is to facilitate education, communication and an exchange of ideas among students, agribusiness, dairy producers and universities that enhances the development of the dairy industry and its leaders.

The program is fully funded through the generous support of companies and producer associations serving the dairy industry, as well as a growing number of individual dairy business owners. For more information or to become a sponsor of the Dairy Challenge program, visit or contact Molly J. Kelley, NAIDC Executive Director,



Podcast: WDMC Brings Positive Attitude

Western Dairy Management Conference audio feature


Dairy labor: You willing to do time for hiring undocumented workers?

By Ron Goble

Anthony Raimondo, labor attorney, speaking to a group of dairy producers at recent Dairy Profit Seminars during World Ag Expo in Tulare, Calif., says the one thing he can tell you about immigration is something you already know – it’s a real problem.

“I don’t think there is anyone on either side of the issue, whether it’s an employer, business group, government agency, or labor advocacy group, that thinks this system is working the way it should,” Raimondo declared. “We all know we need some kind of change and reform in immigration. While we may all agree with that, it doesn’t appear that Congress is in any hurry to give us anything. Immigration is such a political hot potato, I haven’t seen any progress made since the first AgJobs Bill introduced during President Bush’s first term in office.”

Raimondo went on to discuss what the producers’ obligations are in the current environment surrounding the immigration issue.

With the attorney on the panel were Central California dairyman Melvin Medeiros, sharing his own story about the drama of immigration issues, and Kul Brar, representing the Department of Homeland Security, who provided the agency’s role and perspective on immigration.

“Be certain you have completed I-9 forms for all new hires, including U.S. citizens,” Raimondo said. “Make sure that all staff who process new hires are trained to properly have people complete the I-9 process.

He suggested that periodically producers should audit their I-9s to make sure they are properly processing new hires. Incomplete or improperly completed I-9 forms will result in exposure to liability.

Complete the forms at the same point in the employment process for all employees – after you have made the decision to hire the person.

Be certain you keep I-9 forms on file for three years after the date of hire or for one year after termination of employment, whichever date is later, he stressed.


Immigration compliance protocol

• Have a knowledgeable designated representative in place, who is authorized to meet and talk with ICE or U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) personnel. Make sure that the representative knows when to contact the company’s attorneys and owner.

• Educate your employees to refer ICE or other government inquiries to your designated company representative. All employees must be trained to inform ICE agents that the company has a standard protocol implemented by legal counsel, and that the agents need to wait for the designated person to follow through on that protocol.

• No management employee should submit to an interview or provide documents to the ICE or other government agency without first conferring with your designated company representative.

When ICE shows up: Determine who the investigators are. Ask for a business card.  Make sure they really are with ICE. Contact your attorney immediately.

Find out why the investigators are there.

IS IT A RAID?: Generally requires a search warrant, and no advance notice.

AN I-9 AUDIT?: Requires three days’ advance notice in writing – Even if the audit is part of a Department of Labor drop-in inspection – Always demand 3 days notice before showing anyone the I-9s. No search warrant.

Raimondo stressed to “always stay calm. Be polite no matter how you feel. Losing your temper will only make matters worse. Don’t refuse or delay providing documents you are legally required to provide.”

“Don’t forget you can ask for time to compile the records requested by ICE agents. Don’t allow documents to be removed from your property without making copies, and don’t turn over more documents than the law requires,” he stressed.

“You are not required to keep or produce photocopies of the documents employees presented to establish identity and/or employment eligibility, so don’t do it.

“If, while preparing for the audit, the employer discovers errors on I-9s or missing forms, he should not correct the errors prior to the audit.  Federal regulations allow employers 10 business days after notification of a technical error on the I-9 to correct the error, and most minor technical problems can be corrected during this period. If an I-9 is missing altogether, then the employer should immediately have the employee complete an I-9.

“Never back date an I-9 to the date of hire!

“Know your rights. For example, no one is required to answer any questions. Make sure you consult with your attorney before giving agents access to employees or management, or before allowing any press contacts. Also, you have the right to continue operating your business during the ICE visit.”


Immigration law — Employer obligations

It is unlawful for any person or entity to hire (or recruit or refer for a fee) an alien for employment in the United States knowing that the alien is not authorized to work in the United States.

It is also unlawful to continue to employ an alien while knowing that the alien is, or has become, unauthorized for employment.

An employer has an affirmative defense if it complies in good faith with the verification process set forth in the statute, typically referred to as the I-9 process.

“KNOWLEDGE” indicates not only actual knowledge but also “constructive knowledge, which is awareness of certain facts or circumstances that would lead a person exercising reasonable care to know about a certain condition. Constructive knowledge that an employee is not authorized to work includes, but is not limited to, circumstances where an employer fails to complete the I-9 form, has information available to it that would indicate that a person is not authorized to work, or acts with reckless…disregard for the legal consequences of allowing another individual to introduce an unauthorized alien into its work force or to act on its behalf.

Knowledge that an employee is unauthorized may NOT be inferred from an employee’s appearance or accent, NOR may it be inferred from mere suspicions or rumors.

I-9 Compliance

Section 1: MUST be filled out by the employee before performing any work.  The preparer/translator certification must be signed by anyone who assists.

Section 2 (document verification): Must be completed within 3 days of starting work.

Make sure all new hires are provided with a copy of the list of acceptable documents that is on the back of the I-9 form.

Documents must be originals that “reasonably appear genuine on their face.”  If so, they must be accepted.  Employers cannot specify which documents to produce.


Document verification

Make sure the employee presents ORIGINAL documents. Copies are not acceptable!

The law does not require you to copy employee documents! If you keep copies, you are giving ICE an opportunity to second guess your judgment on whether the document appeared genuine – except that ICE will be looking at a COPY when you were looking at an original.  Copies are often of poorer quality than originals, and may not look the same. Whoever fills out the I-9 for the employer has to certify that the documents appeared genuine under penalty of perjury, and that is enough.

Employees must produce 1 document from List A, or 1 from List B and 1 from List C. Make sure you know the difference between them, and the purpose for each. List A documents prove identity and authorization to work.  List B documents prove IDENTITY ONLY.  List C documents prove work authorization, but do not show identity.

Errors, typos, and white-out – let your mistakes be seen. There is no reason to make ICE suspicious about what you might have blacked out.

Document abuse: Absent a legitimate reason for requesting additional documents or refusing to honor tendered documents, a discriminatory purpose will likely be inferred.

Reverification: If an employer has information available to it indicating that an employee is not authorized to work, there is a duty to inquire further about the employee’s status, but the employer must be careful to avoid committing an unfair immigration related employment practice. An employer may inquire further by requesting more or additional verification documents without risking charges of document abuse when reliable information arises suggesting that an employee is not authorized to work.  If an employer receives a mismatch notice and the employee used an SSN for List C on the I-9, it should reverify the I-9 without using the questionable SSN.


Frequently asked questions

Q: What do I do if I discover an unauthorized worker?

A: If there is information suggesting that an employee is working without authorization, you should reverify their work authorization.  Suspend the employee for three days pending production of acceptable documentation.  You must terminate the employee if he does not produce acceptable documentation.  Remember, if information comes up when following up on a Social Security mismatch that shows that the employee is undocumented, or if the employee admits he or she is undocumented, then the employer must terminate the employee.

“Terminating a good employee is tough, but you have to ask yourself, am I willing to go to prison for that person? That’s what it comes down to,” Raimondo asked.


Q: When do I need to reverify employment authorization?

A: You must reverify employment eligibility when an employee’s work authorization expires or when information arises that calls the work authorization into question.  You must reverify employment authorization on Section 3 of the I-9 or by completing a new I-9 (to be attached to the original I-9) no later than the expiration date of the prior work authorization.  You are not required to reverify an expired U.S. passport or Permanent Resident Alien card (Form I-551), which are issued only to lawful permanent residents, and you need not reverify expired List B (identity only) documents.  Temporary evidence of permanent resident status, in the form of an unexpired foreign passport containing a temporary I-551 Alien Documentation Identification and Telecommunication System (ADIT) stamp, must be reverified upon expiration.  List B (identification only) documents do not need to be reverified when they expire. You cannot accept expired documents for the initial hire.


Kul Brar, Homeland Security brought seminar attendees copies of the “Handbook For Employers,” a guide to filling out I-9s. Brar had this advice to offer: “If you are given a Social Security card that is typed, remember, they don’t come that way. That’s a big red flag. Ask for original documentation.

“On the website ( are copies of updated I-9 forms and information on most every situation and scenario you will run into as an employer. Remember, a person under 18 must have their parents fill out the I-9 for their child.

“I look for the certification process  and the date – having been completed within three days of hire. If you certify their I-9 a week later, it’s not valid and will become a technical error during the audit process. The producer will receive a list of their technical errors and they will have time to correct them. We’re really out here to help educate employers. Most of our audits are mandated through the agency and their goal is to increase the audits up to several thousand a year. Other audits result from complaints from workers or employers.”

Raimondo: “I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this is California. You guys are farmers and you have a target on your back for just about everything, immigration being just one.

Medeiros: “I had an employee who came to me and said he wanted to go through the legalization process. His wife was legal, he wasn’t and he was going through the process and he needed to reenter his homeland and go back to Mexico. He asked if I would hold his job for him and if his wife and family could continue to live on the dairy? I didn’t know what to expect, but he said it could take anywhere from three months to a year. He reentered Mexico in November and in December he had a hearing at the counsel in Juarez. He hired a bodyguard to transport him from the hotel to the counsel. He did his interview, took a physical and had his immunizations, which cost him $800 and his attorney fees $5,000. He had to reschedule another interview in February when he’ll find out if he has been accepted. In February he called me and was crying on the other end of the phone. He had been denied, ‘for lack of evidence.’ He said he was told he would have to  stay in Mexico a year.

“His wife was still living on the dairy. She was pregnant and their baby was due in July. Their lives had been totally disrupted. He sold everything he owned to do it right. During the process, he lost his brother back in the U.S. and was unable to reenter to attend the funeral. However, that tragedy got his case moved along faster than expected and he was cleared for legal entry into the U.S. in 7 months. He is currently working for us. It was a lengthy and difficult process, and this is one big reason we do need immigration reform. There are a lot of employees out there who are afraid to go through the process. We need to simplify something in order to get these people legalized who deserve to be legalized.”

Raimondo: “I get calls like this all the time. In some ways, the challenge for this industry is the humanity of the situation. I can tell when I look out at your faces, nobody like the idea of firing these people because they can’t fill out this paperwork, especially for those who may have been with you for a long time. You tend to work side-by-side with these folks and in many cases they live on the dairy and you watch their children grow up and become part of your family.

“This process is very disruptive for families and for your average dairy worker, $5,000 is a fortune. As Melvin said, this man had to sell everything he owned; lost his brother in the process and couldn’t even attend the funeral. There is a human toll here that we often forget about over political rhetoric. Melvin did what he could do by helping the man’s family. But the one thing Melvin couldn’t do was to keep the person employed. When he was back in the country legally, he could employ him because he was authorized to work.


California/Arizona Dairybusiness: The skinny on fatty acids

Beyond energy to improve bottom line

By Ron Goble

TULARE – Clemson University dairy animal nutritionist, Dr. Tom Jenkins, shared some of his research findings with Dairy Profit Seminar attendees recently at World Ag Expo in Tulare. He was joined by James Tully of Pine Creek Nutrition Service, who added some practical evaluation tools to the panel presentation.

The overall presentation, “The Skinny on Fatty Acids: Beyond energy to improve bottom line,” was sponsored by Virtus Nutrition.

Jenkins told the group of dairy farmers, “we need to determine what we are trying to accomplish when we are putting fat supplements or fats from other sources in the dairy ration. We’ve been misled in the past by thinking too narrowly on the subject; thinking there is only one benefit that comes out of it – energy.

“Fat obviously supplies a lot of energy that can be used to help with the milk income check. And while we don’t want to forget that, we want to think what are some alternative uses of fat supplements,” he said.


Debunking three lipid myths

In pursuing these alternatives, Jenkins set out to debunk three lipid myths:

• Myth No. 1 – Cattle don’t have any significant fat in their feed unless you add high fat supplements.

“That’s not true. Every feed ingredient you put in front of a cow has fat in it, with the exception of maybe water and a mineral pack,” Jenkins declared. “When you consider the huge amounts of grain and forages cows eat each day, that’s a pretty good load of lipid going into the rumen environment. The first place it goes is to the rumen microbial population and they don’t like high amounts of lipid; especially unsaturated fats.”


Fatty Acids in Hay and Grain

Cracked corn

Ether Extract % – 4.23

Fatty Acids % – 4.03



Ether Extract % – 2.64

Fatty Acids %– 2.01


Corn silage

Ether Extract % – 3.19

Fatty Acids % – 2.21


Alfalfa hay

Ether Extract % – 3.50

Fatty Acids % – 2.28


Pasture Fatty Acids:

Higher than hay –

6.8% annual ryegrass (Freeman et al., 09)

11.6% perennial ryegrass (CPM v 3.0.8)


What is the upper limit of fat that should be in a dairy cow ration? “Some of the guidelines have been 7 to 9% total. Sometimes it’s like having cows on a high fat diet when they are out on these pastures,” Jenkins said. “Don’t count on your hay analysis to reflect what the cows are eating out there on pasture.”


Five forages Jenkins analyzed at Clemson included: red clover and alfalfa at 3% total fatty acid; crimson clover at nearly 4%; wheat and ryegrass at slightly more than  6%.



The thing about byproducts is the inconsistency and their unpredictability. If you try to go by book values alone, you can get burned. They could be way too high or way too low. A notorious example of that is distillers grains. Jenkins data went from a minimum of 5% to a high of 13%. So there are several places where fats can come in besides your fat supplements. Jenkins has a formula he uses to help monitor this variation. He calls it his Rumen Unsaturated Fatty Acid Load, or “RUFAL.”

The three major unsaturated fatty acids were, 18:1 = oleic acid; 18:2 = linoleic acid; and 18:3 = linolenic acid.

“The most abundant one dairymen are feeding their cows is usually linoleic acid. If you let that number get too high, it will interfere with the microbial population in the rumen and bad things are going to happen. The same is true if it gets too low,” Jenkins said.


There’s fat in them TMRs

In five studies, Jenkins reported that typical RUFAL values in a TMR with no added fats totalled 473 grams of unsaturated fat consumed per day.

“Look at the spread on that from 220 grams to 973 grams, all in a control diets with no added fat. So there were differences in the feed ingredients that was dumping a lot more unsaturated fat in one study than in another, even though they proclaimed they were all control diets,” said Jenkins. “So, in your animals, how much unsaturated fat is coming in? If I leave it up to your judgment, to decide what has fat in it and what doesn’t, it is easy to overlook some things.”

Jenkins’ RUFAL calculation is a simple way to make sure you don’t leave anything out, and sometimes the results can be surprising, he said.

“By contrast, a TMR with fat added shows a RUFAL number of 696 grams per day. I’ve seen dairy herds go over 1,000 grams of unsaturated fat per day and do perfectly fine with it. Others crash at 600 or 700. We are still trying to figure out the rules that guide where some work and some don’t.

“Hopefully, I’ve convinced you that there is fat in almost everything you put in front of a cow. It all adds up and the rumen micro-organism in there don’t care where it’s coming from, if it gets too high bad things will happen,” Jenkins said, as he moved on to the next myth.


• Myth No. 2 – Fat serves only a single purpose of supplying energy for milk production.

“We don’t want to discount the energy. Comparing it to corn the way we’ve done in the past, corn has 85% TDN and vegetable oil has 184% TDN.

“On a digestible energy (DE) basis, the amount of energy absorbed for digesting, corn has 8 Mcal DE/lb and oil 17 Mcal DE/lb. So if you want to supply the cow with an equal amount of energy from fat, it would take a much smaller amount of fat to supply the same amount of energy than corn would supply. That means you have space in your diet and could put other things in there. Maybe you could add more forage to take up that space.


Don’t compromise forages

“Fat has been a way to supply more energy, maintain our high energy for our cows, but not compromise forages too far. So that’s energy and it’s important, but fat does other things. It carries vitamins through the animal. It makes sure they get mixed into the digestive tract well and absorbed. And those are fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K,” Jenkins explained. “Also, fat is absolutely critical and a necessary component of every cell in the body. If you don’t have fat, those cells are not going to function.” Jenkins explained there are dozens of different fatty acids in the cells. A lot are nonessential fatty acids that the body will manufacture for the cows. You don’t have to have them in the diet. However, there are two essential fatty acids (EFA) that the body can’t make that nutritionists must provide in the diet for things to work right.

The final lipid function is synthesis of cell regulators. These are made from EFA and includes prostaglandins and various omega3 fatty acids that are made from these two essentials. These EFA play a role in regulating cell growth, reproduction and immune response. “So if you don’t have the right amount of EFA,” said Jenkins, “what do you think is going to be compromised? Reproduction? Disease resistance? just to name two.”


Forage, grains rich in EFA

Jenkins also pointed out that “forage and grain lipids are rich in these two essential fatty acids, and cows need a lot of them. You have to supply them, but there is a lot of them in typical TMRs. The problem is, most of the EFA in the diet are destroyed by the microbial population in the rumen during biohydrogenation. Microbes don’t like unsaturated fats so they protect themselves by destroying the two EFAs. The EFA are converted to a group of compounds called CLAs, and then to trans fatty acids and then to saturated fatty acids.”


• Myth No. 3 – Varying fat levels in cattle diets has little impact on animal health and production.

Jenkins took a look at this from both ends – too little fat and too much fat.

Too little fat may mean a shortage of EFA that might compromise reproduction and immune function.

“Once the animal consumes the EFA it has to use it for either body condition or making milk. If there is too little of it, you may be compromising these two functions.


Losing EFA in the milk

Studies by Jenkins have shown that in most cases the cows are losing more EFA in the milk than they are digesting. So slowly, day-by-day they are depleting the plasma membrane (two fat layers) that holds the cell together.

“Reproduction is an example where we’ve seen responses from adding back these essential fatty acids,” said Jenkins. “Studies have shown an increase in the diameter of the corpus ludium, increased synthesis of series 3 prostaglandins and increased pregnancy rates, which has shown increased first and second service conception; increased early embryo survival; and 15 more pregnant cows for every 100 confirmed pregnant.”

In a research study, cited by Jenkins, of “cows pregnant over time” in a 100-cow pen, cows were given two diets – a control diet versus one that had omega3 fatty acids in it. The percent of cows pregnant 60-days post-insemination was 25% on the control diet and 30% pregnant when fed omega3 fatty acids after first service. After second service it went from 44% to 58% pregnant.

Citing two other studies from University of Florida, Jenkins pointed out that pregnancy loss was 5% and 3% for the cows that received omega3 fatty acids from fish oil, compared to losses of 13% and 12% for the control, which received a saturated fat source.

Too much fat, however, results in reduced DMI, negative effects on ruminal fermentation and digestion, reduced milk yield and milk fat components, and milk fat depression.


How about milk fat depression

Jenkins said he has helped numerous nutritionists battle milk fat depression. He found that increasing distillers grain in the diet resulted in a steady drop in milk fat percent. “It doesn’t always work that way. A lot of people feed distillers grains and don’t have the milk fat depression problem. But when you get too many risk factors in your diet, all piling up on each other, things work against you,” he said. “We know a lot more today than we did 10 years ago, about milk fat depression.

What are the causes of biohydrogenation shift? Jenkins cited: low rumen pH, antimicrobials (antibiotics, monensin), forage-source and amount, and too much fat.

Fat risks for CLA shift go from a high level with restaurant greases, bakery wastes and spoiled fats from prolonged storage to a moderate risk from vegetable oils, and low risks for oilseeds and Ca salts, saturated fats.

Jenkins concluded making the following key points:

~Animal tissues REQUIRE fatty acids:

• Plasma membrane of all cells.

• Synthesis of cell regulators.

• Body makes all fatty acids except EFA.

~Fatty acids in all feed ingredients including EFA.

~Rumen bacteria destroy EFA and may compromise tissue function.

~Too much fat may cause problems.


Evaluation of products

James Tully of Pine Creek Nutrition, brought some practical perspective to the presentation. He said his firm will focus on dairy nutrition and management, and he provided a step-by-step process for the chore of evaluating products on the dairy.

Tully said he always asks a series of questions when evaluating the validity and effectiveness of variious products presented to the dairy producer:

1) Does the product make sense? All products make a wide range of claims about what they will do for your bottom line. “You’re going to get a 20:1 return; feed this and you will get 8 lbs. of milk. “Outside of BST, I don’t know anything that will get you 8 lbs. of milk. Do this and all the cows get pregnant! Yeah, right!” said Tully. “If we follow these steps, most products that are presented to a dairy or feed company are going to be eliminated. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

2) Is it research supported? “Are there biological reasons why this additive, or product, or a specific fatty acid are going to do the result? If you can’t find a physiological pathway to get from point A to point B, probably eliminate that additive or product as well. But, if the chemistry is right and the story makes sense, then we like to focus on the research and proceed to what the researcher is going to tell us.

“Dr. Jenkins talks about the university research that he is conducting. Is there a database behind the research,” Tully asks. “Some companies fund research; some don’t. Without the solid science behind a product, we get a little skeptical about it. Were the studies done with true controls? Combining that with actual on-farm results is very hard to accomplish, he said.

Tully said he didn’t like using testimonials. “Everything changes every day on a dairy, so a testimonial is probably not going to cut it. We prefer the unbiased, well controlled study,” he said. “So if the product makes sense; if there is research behind it; then you  proceed to determine whether you can actually apply it.”

3) Is there a practical application? So, if you have to add 2 lbs. to a 30,000 lb. TMR to get it to the specific animals, it probably isn’t going to fit your equipment. The product that you want to get to 20 cows in a particular group, your equipment might not be able to get it done.

“Sometimes the whole thing has nothing to do with products, but is management based. The key to everything on a dairy is management. Dr. Jenkins mentioned variation being a big thing, and that is what we are trying to manage or control on a dairy…is the variation. It is up to good management to find the application for any of the products,” said Tully. “If the management is so-so, we probably need to focus on that first, before the product is going to make any improvement.”

4) Can you measure the response promised? “We look at bulk tank milk as just that; milk that is leaving. It’s probably not a very good reflection of daily milk production. If you’re trying to get a 1 lb. response, and the product does 1 lb. that’s normal variation. it better happen very consistently if they are going to pay you with 1 lb. Another example is a product that is supposed to help your feed efficiency. That’s critical because feed is expensive. But if you’re not tracking DMI very well, or having equipment that is unable to give you very accurate milk production figures, I’m not sure a product that is going to improve FE is really the way to go. You won’t be able to measure it. If you can’t measure it, the response on your operation probably doesn’t have application,” Tully concluded.

However, if you can get those things done, then proceed. We focus on measuring key performance indicators that are correct for your operation. Every dairy is different as to what their key performance indicators are that they can actually measure.


Southwest DairyBusiness: Evaporative cooling — Does it pay for dry cows?

By Texas A&M University

AgriLife Extension Service

Traditionally, dry pregnant cows receive little protection from heat stress (HS), because they are not lactating. It is incorrectly assumed they are less prone to heat stress. Additional stressors occur during this period due to abrupt physiological, nutritional, and environmental changes. These changes increase the cows’ susceptibility to HS and have a critical influence on postpartum cow health, milk production and reproduction.

Researchers in California observed that dry cows with feed line sprinklers, fans and shade (evaporative cooling) had an increase in milk yield for the first 60 days after calving compared to cows with only feed line sprinklers. No difference in body condition score changes, incidence of postparturient disorders, or serum non-esterified fatty acid concentrations occured.

To estimate the potential economic benefit, a partial budget was constructed with marginal costs and returns (Table 1). Marginal capital costs included the cost of purchasing and installing the fans, metal frame, and shade cloth. Annual operating costs include an estimate for routine maintenance and cleaning of fans, electricity required to power the fans, and an additional marginal 1.32 lb of feed (dry matter basis) that cooled cows might consume. Economic returns from the evaporative cooling include the additional milk over the first 60 days of lactation for cows completing a 14 day stay in the dry pen and successfully completing the first 60 days of lactation. With the 3.08 lb increase in milk per day, cows ate additional feed, netting a marginal milk price of $0.10/lb of milk.

Cooling dry cows with shades, fans, and sprinklers compared with only sprinklers improved milk production within the first 60 days by 185.5 lb/cow, and increased estimated annual profits by $8.92/cow (based on milk only). The $8.92/cow/yr return is probably underestimated, since reproduction information was not collected to estimate the added benefit reported in other studies. Additionally shade structures were positioned in a north-south orientation, so there would not have been shade over the feed line during the late morning and mid-afternoon.


Table 1. Projected economic returns for dry cow pen fans, sprinklers, and shades vs. sprinklers only based on marginal milk production for the first 60 days of lactation for dry multiparous Holstein cows enrolled from June to October 2002.

Period, yr. – 5

Fans used, no. –   7

No. cows cooled/summer – 239

Interest rate (cost capital) – 7.00%

Cows culled in first 60 d (%) – 10.00%

Median DIM at culling – 25

Capital costs:

Fans, shade cloth, frame, etc. – $7,040.00

Residual value of capital equipment after 5 yr – $1,500.00

Annual capital costs – $1,456.15

Annual operating costs – $776.78

Total annual costs – $2,232.93


Additional milk over 60 DIM, kg/day – 3.08 lb/d

Marginal milk price for additional milk, $/lb – $0.10

Total annual benefit (milk returns) – $4,363.66

Profit per year (based on milk only) – $2,130.72

Profit per cow per year – $8.92


Western Pulse: April 2011 Western DairyBusiness

Livestock auction website to impact agricultural industries worldwide

Steley, the first 24/7 online auction website specifically for livestock, allows consumers to buy and sell cattle genetics  worldwide.

The concept for Steley was born out of owner, Stephen Maddox Jr.’s frustration for having to wait for the right auction to market and sell his family’s genetics and Registered Holsteins. “In  this tough dairy economy we believe that it is important to market the genetics that we have worked hard to achieve,” said Maddox. “In our eyes, having registered animals is one of the ways to further diversify our family business.”

Before Steley, potential buyers and sellers had to wait for the next scheduled sale that could be weeks or even months away. Today, facilitates daily online auctions for any type of livestock worldwide 24/7. Potential buyers can go online to and browse through a wide variety of live animals, semen and embryos for sale.

“The days of buying animals sight-unseen or flying cross country to find the perfect animal are a thing of the past,” says Maddox. “At anytime from any computer a buyer can find his next show ring winner, great cow family, or profitable pen of animals at”

Posting for sellers on is free with a low commission charge of 5% on all sales. If a lot does not sell, there is no cost to the seller. “Steley offers excellent advertising and sales opportunities in one shot,” said co-owner Haley Maddox. “With free posting and complete control over their lot listing Steley is a great risk-free option for today’s farmers.”

Sellers have the option of regular auctions with safe reserve prices or fixed priced sales. There is also the option for sellers to open their own “store” on the website where buyers on Steley will only be looking at that particular seller’s animals and genetics. “My wife, Haley, and I have created Steley with the hopes of helping our peers market their animals with ease in a more efficient and cost effective way,” said Maddox.

For information, visit or call 559-903-0051.

Intervet/Schering-Plough relaunches Vista vaccines
Vista vaccine, which provides dairy veterinarians and producers with protection for their animals against some of the most common and costly bovine respiratory and reproductive diseases, is being relaunched across the country.

Vista vaccines protect dairy cattle against Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis (IBR), Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVC Type 1 and Type 2), Parainfluenza3 (PI3), Bovine Respiratory Syncytial Virus (BRSV), leptospirosis, vibriosis, Mannheimia haemolytica and Pasteurella multocida.

The Vista line of vaccines was introduced to the market in 2005 with more research supporting its safety and efficacy than any other cattle vaccine at the time. A stop sale was issued on the vaccine in 2009 due to a variability issue with the BRSV antigen.

Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to resolve the issue and is pleased to welcome back this cattle vaccine to its portfolio and the market with even more research that confirms its superior respiratory and reproductive disease protection, said Ron Bryant, who leads the U.S. non-confined beef and dairy cattle business for the company.

“Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health is committed to providing innovative, high quality animal-health products that dairy veterinarians and producers trust,” said Bryant. “We are excited to welcome back Vista to our portfolio of products, are committed to being a reliable supplier and are confident Vista will deliver the protection needed to keep dairy animals healthy and productive.”

Vista provides protection from BRD, commonly known as pneumonia, which is the most prevalent disease in calves older than 30 days. Long-term effects of pneumonia include a negative impact on growth, reproductive performance, milk production and logevity.

“Vista’s avirulent-live M.haemolytica and P. multocida fractions provide an immune response that more closely simulates that occurring in natural infection,” said Scott Nordstrom, DVM, director of Dairy Technical Services for Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health. “This provides a more comprehensive level of immunityh compared to killed vaccines. In addition, its non-adjuvanted formulation redeuces reactions and minimizes tissue damage.”

The vaccine provides the following reproductive health benefits: At least 217-day DOI for IBR and 206-day DOI for BVD Type 1 and 2; persistent and fetal (congenital) infection protection for BVD Type 1 and 2; protection against Leptospira hardjo, including L. borgpetersenii serovar hardjo-bovis – available in a five-way viral / five-way Lepto combination; IBR abortion protection; prevention of L. harjo-bovis urinary shedding; single-dose L. hardjo-bovis protection; and Campylobacter fetus protection.

EIMI marks 27th year in portable ultrasound

LOVELAND, Colo. – E.I. Medical Imaging (EIMI) rings in 2011 with great pride celebrating their 27th year as a world leader in portable veterinary ultrasound. EIMI is the only U.S. based manufacturer of veterinary ultrasound designed specifically for veterinary use.

EIMI President, Chas Maloy acquired the company in 2005 and states, “As we celebrate our 27th year of being in the veterinary diagnostics industry, we are proud that our customer base is growing rapidly. We now have a much larger, diverse and international set of customers and partners than ever before.”

EIMI continues to innovate. For 2011, EIMI will be introducing several complementary products to our Ibex platform of ultrasound systems.  Our customers continue to look for more ways to incorporate ultrasound into their veterinary practices and EIMI research and development works with them to develop products to fit their needs.

For more information, contact Mia Varra, marketing director, at 866-365-6596 or visit

Pfizer pursues young vet students as ‘externs’

For the past two years, Pfizer Animal Health (PAH) has helped to increase interest in livestock animal medicine by giving first- and second-year veterinary medicine students some “hands-on” training in the field.

“We have students who were not previously considering practicing in rural communities and certainly not working with food animals,” says Mike Nichols, beef veterinary operations. “After their externship, the response they give is that this is an area of practice they were previously unaware of. They are appreciative of the opportunity and are now strongly considering entering that type of practice.”

PAH strongly believes that veterinarians are irreplaceable in the cattle industry. To increase support of this critical profession, the program is aimed at helping first- and second-year veterinary medicine students with a potential interest in large-animal medicine gain the “hands-on” training that they will need to be successful. The first- and second-year veterinary medicine students are placed at participating veterinary clinics to expose the students to the “real world” aspects of this type of practice.

“The first students went out on externships in the summer of 2009,” Nichols says. “We supported more than 100 students that summer and continued in 2010 with the support of 112 students.”

The program is available to students at every veterinary school and/or college of veterinary medicine in the United States, and gives them the ability to work with accomplished veterinarians across the country. Not all veterinary school programs have many options for working with large animals, and Pfizer is working to change that.

“They do a lot with small animals at the UT,” says Rachel Buffkin, third-year veterinary student at the University of Tennessee. “We do a little bit of large animal, but it’s good to be able to get additional large animal experience out here. It’s nice to get out on the farm and work with great practitioners.”

The externship program is part of Pfizer’s Commitment to Veterinarians, an initiative supporting veterinarians through training and education, research and development, and investment in the future of the veterinary profession.

In addition to the externship program, Pfizer Animal Health also provides scholarships to third-year college students who are nearly ready to enter the work force. This spring, Pfizet offered a 1% rebate to local veterinarians, who then could donate those funds to the American Association of Bovine Practitioners Foundation scholarship program.

“We want to be there to support them with scholarships to help offset educational expenses,” Nichols says. “The cost of veterinary education is enormous.”

PAH has also partnered with the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) for a national scholarship program that will provide $2 million over its first three years. In the first year, 222 second- and third-year U.S. veterinary students were awarded $2,500 each in scholarships.

To look beyond the university level, PAH, along with its veterinary and distributor partners, also provides funding to FFA chapters across the nation. Veterinarians have the opportunity to direct their own 1% rebate to their local FFA chapter.

“Through the FFA program, we’re encouraging agriculture as a whole, we’re encouraging livestock production and we’re encouraging those high school students to take a look at what the opportunities for them will be in agriculture in the future,” Nichols says. “Since 2008, Pfizer has committed more than $2.3 million to those FFA and AABP programs.”


Calf ranchers: Raise bar to animal welfare ‘gold standard’

By Cecilia Parsons

Calf ranch managers are raising the bar, setting goals for the next generation of milk makers under their care.

The “gold standards” developed by the Dairy Calf and Heifer Association, and private, third party guidelines set by animal welfare certifiers are being surpassed by some managers intent on raising the bar when it comes to calf and heifer nutrition, housing and handling.

Heifers raised at the Cameiro Heifer Ranch in Brawley will return to their owners at weights of 1,250 to 1,300 pounds and calve six to eight weeks later, said manager Diana Gonzales.


Animals need good start

They do this with a forage-heavy diet, Gonzales said, because they believe the rumen develops better on a forage diet. Calves at the Teunissen Calf Ranch in Tulare are fed adequate amounts of colostrum, even if they were properly cared for at birth on the dairy. Manager Donna Force said they are under close observation when they arrive at the ranch to make sure they get a proper start health wise.

They won’t grow and thrive without having their nutritional needs met, she said. The calves are scored for health and placed in sanitized hutches for the first 60 days.

“ I watch them; my workers are trained to know what to look for, and we make sure they are receiving enough calories to maintain themselves,” she said.

The Cameiro Heifer Ranch takes weaned heifers from about 12 dairies in Chino, the Central Valley, Arizona and the high desert area of California. They are currently raising about 9,000 head, down from a peak of 18,000 a few years ago.

Long time dairy producer and nutritionist Jerry Craveiro started the ranch in 1986. Gonzales said he taught her all he knew about raising good replacement heifers.

Starting with 300-pound heifers, the ranch feeds and breeds them to calve at 23 months of age. Gonzales said the heifers are bred at 800-850 pounds and about 48 inches in height depending on age.


Following protocols is key

Their health protocol begins when the heifers arrive. The receiving corrals hold heifers from the same dairy and allow no contact with other heifers for seven to ten days. During that time they initiate stanchion training and begin a vaccination protocol.

If they spot a health problem heifers are treated – if the problem is one that spreads quickly – coccidiosis, for example, Gonzales said they treat all the heifers in that pen. They are on the lookout for heifers that are poor doers and cull them to eliminate persistent infective carriers. Poor doers are one of the biggest challenges to heifer raising, Gonzales, said, because they look good when antibiotics are administered, but then disease symptoms return. Most are pneumonia and BRD problems, she said. They necropsy all dead calves and find those that have been chronically ill have compromised lung function.


Heifers fed different ration

Feed costs are the biggest expense at all calf and heifer ranches, Gonzales said, but at Cameiro they do feed a little differently than other heifer raisers. Their heifers are fed a mix of chopped alfalfa straw and dried distillers grains. They do not feed silage, haylage, green chop or corn.

“We feed a lot of hay. It works for us,” said Gonzales.

They also focus on their workers and their ability to handle heifers. Gonzales oversees a crew of 17 with specialized training in handling, breeding and feeding. She said they do training for all parts of the operation and bring in veterinarians and pharmaceutical reps. At staff meetings they go over new protocols to make sure all understand.


Hire those who fit the job

Force said she only hires workers who like handling animals and understand their behaviors.

“They can’t get mad at calves for doing what comes naturally to them,” Force said.

The ranch does not allow the use of hot shots and the contracted truck drivers who deliver calves to the ranch also have to follow that rule, she noted. No one misses the hot shots, Force added.

She oversees a full time crew of 19 to take care of 2,500 to 3,000 calves. Day old Holstein heifer and bull calves are delivered to the ranch seven days a week. They are age and source verified and tagged for identification. The program ensures traceability of the bull calves, which will go to feedlots.


Animal welfare certification

For the past three years, Teunissen Calf Ranch has participated in an animal welfare certification program that audits them on care of the calves. Most of the protocols, including feeding, handling and comfort were already part of their routine, she said.

Calves arriving at the ranch are evaluated for health and given colostrum, even though they may have already received it a their dairy where they were born. They are placed in clean hutches and have water and grain in front of them from Day 1. New calves received powdered milk for the first few weeks then are fed hospital milk that has been pasteurized.

Use of calf hutches has made some calf ranches the targets of animal rights activists. Force disputes their characterizations. “We put the calves where they will grow the best and be healthy. Our calves are warm, dry and well fed.”

They don’t wean and move the calves to corrals at the same time. Force said they wean them off milk over three or four days before moving to lessen the stress on the calves. In the mixing corrals the calves receive a total mixed ration plus silage.


Clean, dry and comfortable

The animal welfare certifier’s goal for dairy calves, says consultant and veterinarian Jim Reynolds, is that they be clean, dry and comfortable.

The animal certification programs verify that the calves are allowed normal behaviors and not mistreated, that there are disease prevention and treatment protocols in place and that the calves are fed appropriately to keep them in good condition. There also must be a protocol for humane euthanasia, Reynolds said.

Animal welfare goals are similar to economic goals, Reynolds said. More dairies and calf ranches are doing welfare audits to show they are caring for their animals.


CSI-Dairy: A mysterious ‘positive’ test

Numerous ‘culprits’ exist on dairy farms, robbing herd performance and injuring the dairy’s bottom line. Identifying and arresting the offender isn’t always easy, and often requires a full investigation, gathering and analyzing evidence on the farm and in the lab. This mystery reveals how a small detail can open the door to a ‘hot’ problem.

By Norm Stewart, D.V.M., M.S.

Dr. Norm Stewart is a dairy technical services veterinarian for Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health.

Ed Smith, owner of A Plus Dairy, worked diligently with his veterinarian, Dr. Heartly, for more than 20 years, developing and implementing residue prevention and treatment protocols for his dairy. They knew the harm a single positive milk or meat residue test could cause the dairy’s reputation and business, in addition to the dairy industry’s high-level of consumer confidence.

With recent public attention to the issue rising, Ed reminded his employees to adhere to residue prevention and treatment protocols, and all other on-farm protocols to produce wholesome products. Dr. Heartly oversaw all protocol development, and together they conducted on-farm training, so all employees knew and understood the protocols.


Then, one day, a cull cow tested positive for antibiotic residue. Ed called Dr. Heartly in disbelief. He was sure it had to be a mistake, since they always observed the milk and meat withdrawal periods. Dr. Heartly agreed to meet with Ed, review the records and begin his own investigation.

Physical evidence

Dr. Heartly and Ed reviewed their treatment protocols and records for the cows treated that week. In addition to the “positive” cow, they noticed 11 other cows received a particular antibiotic that day, and a total of 18 had received it that week.

A review of the records supported Ed’s belief employees had administered proper dosage according to the product label, and meat and milk withdrawals times were observed.

Drug inventory records confirmed the correct amount of product was used. All product was properly labeled and inventoried. There have been no positive bulk tank milk tests for the antibiotic – or any product – in the last eight years.

Dr. Heartly visited with the two workers who treated the 18 cows. They confirmed the cow in question received the correct dose, outlined in the treatment protocol. The remaining 17 cows treated that week re-entered the milking line following their respective milk withhold periods.

Dr. Heartly observed employees administer antibiotics, as well as other products. He noted that proper restraint for the animals wasn’t always adequate.

Laboratory evidence

Dr. Heartly talked to the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service personnel. They  confirmed the cow, selected randomly, tested positive – greater than 4.0 ppm in the liver – for violative residues of the antibiotic.

Dr. Heartly also contacted the antibiotic manufacturer to ask that pharmacovigilance records be checked to see if they received any complaints of animals testing positive at processing for the antibiotic. No such complaints for tissue or milk residues were on record.

The culprit

Following a thorough review of the physical and laboratory evidence, Dr. Heartly and Ed concluded this one-time antibiotic tissue residue occurred inadvertently, due to improper animal restraint, thereby leading to improper administration of the antibiotic. Dr. Heartly hypothesized the cow was able to have enough movement when restrained, whereby the product was accidentally administered intramuscularly, not subcutaneously, as labeled by the manufacturer. This could have caused a longer meat withdrawal than the labeled prescribed.


Dr. Heartly retrained all employees in animal-restraint protocols for each class of animal, by location, including calves in hutches, calves in large pens, lactating cows, dry cows, and others. The on-hands training helped  employees maintain and build their confidence, in addition to maintaining animal and employee safety by properly and humanely restraining animals.

He also stressed that if an employee believed they incorrectly administered a product, they should tell the manager, so it can be documented and dealt with to avoid an inadvertent milk or meat residue.

The extra attention to detail gave everyone more confidence another drug residue problem could be avoided.


• Dr. Norm Stewart is a dairy technical services veterinarian for Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health. Contact him by phone: 815-479-8872 or e-mail:

Each month, DairyBusiness Communications will check the case files of lead dairy  ‘investigators’ to uncover  another ‘CSI-Dairy’ mystery. Episodes are archived at

Milk Matters: Product innovation a strategy to boost demand

By Dr. Joseph O’Donnell

Like many of you, I came back from the World Ag Expo in Tulare inspired and full of new ideas. Everyone likes to see innovative new products whether new food products or new farm equipment, new technology, new features, new advantages – innovation is always exciting. It is clear to me that milk producers and processors alike appreciate innovation and understand the importance of keeping competitive in the food marketplace. That means constantly introducing innovative new products or discovering new benefits of existing products.

Sometimes we promote the newly discovered nutritional benefits of new dairy products; sometimes we position innovative products designed for today’s culinary advances; often we have products that are used as ingredients in other manufactured foods such as texturing proteins for meat products or cheeses that deliver a new taste sensation to consumers not familiar with something like pizza (as in China). The world keeps moving forward and so must dairy product development. What is less understood by our own industry is the process by which a new product sees the light of day.

Product development is a continuous process that starts with generic, fundamental information and gradually works its way into becoming more and more a proprietary product sold by a manufacturer in a competitive environment. The process starts with the milk producer. Producers market raw milk – no brand. The truck comes and takes the milk away. While all producers do not compete with each other for the market, the condition of the market itself does influence all producers. Pricing formulas lie way beyond the understanding of this scientist but I do know that the old supply/demand ration is a major factor. One way to increase the demand side of the equation is to increase the variety of dairy products attractive and available to consumers either as retail products, foodservice products or dairy ingredients in food products (bakery, sports beverages, infant formulas, etc.).

Consumers have ever-changing needs and desires. Our non-dairy competition nimbly reacts to these changes. In order to keep up in the market, our dairy product development work can never rest. If product development does its job, the producer sees increased demand for raw milk but how can the milk producer possibly influence product development?

Just as producing milk is a mostly generic process so is the generation of the fundamental research necessary to start the ball rolling. For example, working out the structure of complex milk fats or proteins or finding new concepts to support the nutritional value of milk products are all things that benefit the entire industry – globally. It is riskier since you really don’t have a finished product in mind. That is the nature of innovation. What you do have is confidence in your product and in your researchers. It may take some time before all the feasibility studies and variables are worked out. Universities excel at this kind of research. The costs are kept modest because universities are usually state supported thus faculty salaries are covered; the infrastructure established; and they are not-for-profit. This is where many of the great advances in the world spring forth. Going to the moon started in basic science laboratories. That antibiotic that saved your life started in a basic science lab. In the case of dairy food research, the scientific data are published and product developers from anywhere can access and move forward with product innovation.

The milk processor buys raw milk and converts it to a finished product. In the end, the processor is selling a competitive product. The pricing is competitive, the quality is competitive, the application is competitive, and it’s all competitive, not only with other dairy manufacturers and products but also with non-dairy products.

Maintaining a research and development laboratory is expensive. The product developers working in these labs consult with the marketing departments to transform ever-evolving university research into new products that meet the constantly changing consumer needs. This is all done at significant cost to processors with an end goal of putting a constant flow of new products on the consumers’ table and, at the same time, fuel demand all the way back to the raw milk.

Because data on the sales of these new products are proprietary, it is difficult to assign a true value to the basic research that started it all. This is why the not-for-profit dairy associations that interface with both producers and processors are critically important. A trust factor is essential so the work on basic research will relate to the needs of the product developers in those R&D labs. Once that network is established then the engine runs. It’s all about intelligent communication and innovation.

In summary, we have producers all responsible for the same raw product and dependent on market demand to move it along with processors trying to out-compete other dairy or non-dairy processors. Both milk producers and processors depend on the entire product development process in order to expand their markets and increase demand for their dairy products. As a nutritionist, I believe the more dairy products our industry can deliver to the global market, the healthier the world will be. That delivery depends on developing the proper products as much as any other factors, including price.

I have left out a lot of steps but the point I am trying to make is that producers, processors and the ever-important consumers all benefit from research. In fact, quality of life and even corporate survival depend on it. New products are constantly in the pipeline; consumption of milk products lies in the balance. Innovation has always been a defining characteristic of the American psyche. Innovation happens when our industry works together, believes in our products and is committed to contributing to the health of our nation by delivering the finest products made from the greatest food nature has created.


Dr. Joseph O’Donnell is executive director of the California Dairy Research Foundation. He can be reached at 530-753-0681.

Information on the California Dairy Research Foundation can be obtained from the organization’s web site at