Archive for July, 2010

Dairy proposal economic analysis release to be delayed

By Julie Walker, AgriVoice Enterprises

CHICAGO -  “Progress is steadily being made.  But it is our duty to be responsible to the industry, and to make sure we are thorough in our assessments before we release incomplete information on a very profound subject.”  This was the consensus opinion of a cross-section of dairy producers and officials who met in Chicago,  July 20-21, for the purpose of initial review of new economic models designed to evaluate leading dairy policy proposals.

The border-to-border group convened to consider the preliminary information contained in “An Analysis of Programs to Reduce Dairy Price Volatility.”  This complex and innovative economic model has been built to independently evaluate the long-term impact of the Dairy Price Stabilization Act of 2010, the Foundation for the Future, and the Marginal Milk Pricing Proposal.

Dr. Mark Stephenson, UW-Madison, and Dr. Chuck Nicholson, Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, collaborated in constructing the long-anticipated models.   The interactive format of the meeting gave all participants the opportunity to question the study, provide feedback, and ensure that input figures are correct.  The developers were commended for the details and dimensions they had applied to the model structure.

Meeting participants concluded the preliminary information is credible, but due to the complex nature of the project, the models need a bit more evaluation and thought before widespread release.

All growth management scenarios were shown to reduce price volatility for farmers, a priority industry goal as constructive changes in national dairy policy move forward.

The Costa/Sanders Bill (formerly known as the DPSP and the Holstein Plan), NMPF’s Foundation for the Future, and the Marginal Milk Pricing Proposal were each measured using a variety of economic factors.  Costa/Sanders has been introduced in the House as H.R. 5288, and in the Senate as S. 3531, and titled “The Dairy Price Stabilization Act of 2010.”

Gene Paul of the National Farmers Organization noted   “We are going to have to answer three questions for dairy producers before this study is complete:  “How can volatility best be reduced? What price levels can be expected in the future?  How will individual farms and herd sizes be affected by any of the programs?”

The group plans to schedule their next meeting for early September, at which time a final review will take place and the plan evaluation results released.

This study was funded by a coalition of industry groups, including AgriMark, AMPI, Dairy Farmers Working Together, DFA, Holstein Association USA, the Milk Producers Council of California, National Farmers Organization, Land-O-Lakes, Northeast Dairy Leadership Team, Family Dairies USA, Northwest Dairy Association, and St. Albans Cooperative Creamery.

Dairy industry could use some assistance

ACCOUNTING FOR PROFITS

By Ralph lizardo

Thank goodness 2009 is long gone. By the time this article is published, the second half of 2010 is also long gone. When I looked at the Class III Milk Futures yesterday, for the months of August 2010 to July 2011, it is roughly in the mid $14 range, an improvement from what we had seen in 2009 and early parts of 2010.  Hopefully this will have increased again by the time this article is published.

Dairy is economic driver

According to the Dairy Farming Today’s website, “America’s dairy industry is more than milk. It’s jobs and economic activity for the people of our country. It’s also a way of life for more than 60,000 farm families.” The worst economic downturn in the dairy industry since the Great Depression has caused many dairies to go out of business and the domino effect is too many to list.

To President Barrack Obama, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Senators and members of Congress, what are you going to do in response to the crisis that is being faced by the dairy industry and the millions of people it affects?

In May 2008, the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008, also known as the 2008 Farm Bill, was enacted. The provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill that are most important to the dairymen include Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program, revisions to the Dairy Products Price Support program, and Federal Milk Market Order amendment procedures revisions. However, when the 2008 Farm Bill was enacted, the dairy industry’s economic situation was very different and did not address the issues that concern most dairymen today.

Milk pricing

Based on the Dairy Farm Operating Trends published by Frazer Frost, LLP, average milk income for dairies located in Southern California, the San Joaquin Valley, Kern County, Arizona, Idaho, New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle was between $16.84 – $19.11 per hundredweight during the time when the 2008 Farm Bill was enacted.

During 2009, the price of milk dipped for the same regions to $11.94 – $13.83 per hundredweight. It costs roughly $17 to produce a hundredweight of milk. It doesn’t take an accountant to tell you that the current situation is a recipe for disaster.

USDA investigates

It is highly likely that the next government intervention will not come until the passage of the 2012 Farm Bill.  The USDA is currently in its investigative stages of what will be included in the next Farm Bill.

On Jan. 6, 2010, the USDA established the Dairy Industry Advisory Committee (DIAC). The DIACairy will operate under the rules of the Federal Advisory Committee Act to advise Vilsack on issues impacting the dairy industry. The purpose of the DIAC is to review the issues of farm milk price volatility and dairy farmer profitability. The 17-member committee is to provide a report to Ag Secretary Vilsack on how the USDA should address these issues both short and long term.

The report will also include an assessment on the recent actions taken by USDA affecting the dairy industry. The committee members were selected from more than 300 nominations representing producer and producer organizations, processors and processor organizations, handlers, retailers, consumers, academia and state agencies.

Fair, competitive

In the addition, USDA and Department of Justice recently put on a public workshop in Wisconsin to examine the enforcement of antitrust and other regulations in the dairy industry. According to Vilsack, “the dairy industry has been hit particularly hard over the past 18 months, and, like other agricultural sectors, is experiencing consolidation and shrinking farm numbers. A fair and competitive marketplace is important not only for producers, but also for consumers.”

The milk pricing system, milk supply management and the recession that the nation is currently facing are critical factors in the crisis in the industry and dairymen across the nation must unite to find a common solution. Be active and participate in the various workshops and town hall meetings that are being conducted throughout the United States. While we wait for the results of the USDA’s findings and new rules and regulations are set in place, every dairyman must look at their own dairy operation to find ways to increase efficiencies and decrease costs.

FYI

Ralph C. Lizardo, CPA, senior manager, Frazer Frost, LLP, in Visalia, Calif. Contact him by e-mail at: rlizardo@frazerfrost.com or call, 714-990-1040 ext. 178.

Cheese production from Jersey milk cows conserves resources, reduces impact on environment

By Jude Capper Washington State

Roger Cady, Elanco Animal Health

DENVER, Colo. – With more than 40% of U.S. milk production utilized in the manufacture of cheese, using nutrient-dense milk produced by smaller Jersey cattle produces substantial reductions in water and land usage, fuel consumption, waste output, and greenhouse gas emissions compared to using Holstein milk.

Per unit of cheese, the Jersey carbon footprint (total CO2-equivalents) is 20% less than that of Holsteins.

These were the key findings from a life-cycle assessment study presented by Dr. Jude Capper of Washington State University on July 13 at the Joint Association Meetings of five North American scientific societies for animal agriculture, including the American Dairy Science Association and the American Society of Animal Science.

“Not only does the Jersey population conserve finite resources needed for cheese production,” Capper observed, “the total environmental impact is lower.”

Conclusions were based on a year of dairy herd performance information from nearly two million dairy cows in over 13,000 herds located in 45 states.

Capper and coauthor Dr. Roger Cady (Elanco Animal Health) broke new ground with this study by analyzing farm milk production required for the annual manufacture of 500,000 metric tons (1.1 billion pounds) of Cheddar cheese.

They compared two production systems, one using the large breed Holstein cow (average mature bodyweight, 1,500 lbs.) and the other the smaller Jersey cow (1,000 lbs.). Characteristically, the Jersey produces less milk measured by volume, but containing substantially higher fat and protein content. For the manufacture of Cheddar cheese, expected yields are 12.5 lbs. cheese per hundredweight (cwt.) from Jersey milk compared to 10.1 lbs./cwt. from Holstein milk.

Capper and Cady quantified the environmental impacts of producing Cheddar cheese from these different milks. The production system model included all primary crop and milk production practices up through and including milk harvest. It did not include transportation to the manufacturing plant, production and sales systems.

They determined that to produce 500,000 metric tons of Cheddar cheese (1.1 billion pounds):

• 8.8 billion pounds of Jersey milk was needed, which was 19% less than the required amount of Holstein milk (10.9 billion pounds).

• More Jerseys (91,460 animals) were needed to produce the same amount of cheese as Holsteins. That represents just 0.5% of the total U.S. dairy cattle population.

• Despite the greater number of animals, the total body mass of the Jersey population was 26% smaller (276 million fewer total pounds) compared to the Holstein population.

• Total feed consumption decreased by 1.75 million tons with Jerseys, and Jerseys produced 2.5 million tons less manure compared to Holsteins.

• Water use was reduced by 32% with Jerseys, conserving 66.5 billion gallons of water, equivalent to the needs of 657,889 U.S. households.

• The land requirement dropped by 240,798 acres (376 square miles), which was 11% less than that required to support cheese production from Holsteins.

• The Jersey system used less fossil fuels than the Holstein system. The savings of 517,602 million BTUs in fossil fuel consumption is equivalent to freeing up the energy necessary to heat 6,335 U.S. homes per year.

• The 20% reduction in the carbon footprint for the Jersey system is equivalent to removing 443,900 cars from the road annually.

The study’s findings are explained by Jersey breed-specific characteristics that both reduce and dilute maintenance overhead in the production system.

The lower total body mass of the Jersey system reduces maintenance costs per animal, and the greater nutrient density of Jersey milk dilutes maintenance resource requirements, especially for water, over more units of cheese. “Water use in Jerseys comes down because there is more fat and protein in milk,” Capper noted. “The savings is not just water intake for the smaller animals, but will carry through in transport and processing the milk into cheese.

“This study demonstrates that the number of animals in a population is not a good proxy for body mass,” Capper added. “In previous work, we assumed that the number of animals in a system equaled bodyweight. More animals meant greater bodyweight and thus greater environmental impact.

“In this study, because Jerseys weigh so much less than Holsteins, even though more animals are needed to produce the same amount of cheese, the total body mass comes down,” she said. “Going forward, we need to account for differences in body size among animals.

“To produce the same amount of cheese, you need more Jersey animals,” concluded Capper. “Holsteins do have an advantage in milk yield per animal. That is overcome by the two-fold advantage that the Jersey has. The animals weigh so much less and the milk they produce is a more nutrient-dense product.”

Major funding for this research was provided by National All-Jersey Inc., representing 1,000 producer members to promote the increased production and sale of Jersey milk and milk products.

Is Roundup Ready alfalfa in your future?

Opinions & sacred cows

by Ron Goble

Monsanto can breathe a collective sigh of relief. The U.S. Supreme Court in early summer ruled in favor of Monsanto, 7-1, and reversed the lower court’s ban on Roundup Ready alfalfa (RRA), which had thousands of growers unable to take advantage of  the advanced technology.

“This Supreme Court ruling is important for every American farmer, not just alfalfa growers. All growers can rely on the expertise of USDA, and trust that future challenges to biotech approvals must now be based on scientific facts, not speculation,” stated David F. Snively, Monsanto senior vice president and general counsel.

“This is exceptionally good news received in time for the next planting season. Farmers have been waiting to hear this for quite some time,” said Steve Welker, Monsanto alfalfa business lead. “We have Roundup Ready alfalfa seed ready to deliver and await USDA guidance on its release. Our goal is to have everything in place for growers to plant in fall 2010.”

The high court ruled favorably on the side of Monsanto in the case that centered on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s procedures in approving biotech alfalfa.

In the lower court case, environmental groups and individual organic alfalfa farmers sued USDA, claiming its decision to grant deregulated status to glyphosate-tolerant (Roundup Ready) alfalfa violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

The ninth circuit court determined that USDA should have done an environmental impact statement (EIS) before making the deregulation decision, and the court ultimately halted almost all planting and sales of Roundup Ready alfalfa pending issuance of the impact statement.

The highest court said the District Court “erred in entering the nationwide injunction against planting RR alfalfa, for two independent reasons: 1) because it was inappropriate for the District Court to foreclose even the possibility of a partial and temporary deregulation, it follows that it was inappropriate to enjoin planting in accordance with such a deregulation decision; 2) an injunction is a drastic and extraordinary remedy, which should not be granted as a matter of course.”

The court documents went on to explain that if a less drastic remedy was sufficient to redress their injury, no recourse to the additional and extraordinary relief of an injunction was warranted.

The case could have far-reaching impacts on environmental policy as well as on the lower court’s decision on biotech sugar beets. Prior to the injunction, Roundup Ready alfalfa was planted by approximately 5,500 growers across 263,000 acres. Alfalfa is the fourth-largest crop grown in the U.S., with 23 million acres grown annually.

If environmentalists want to obtain an injunction for NEPA violations it still must go through a four-part test: 1) the party must have suffered irreparable harm; 2) the remedies available at law must not adequately compensate for the injury; 3) a remedy in equity is warranted; and 4) a permanent injunction must not do the public interest a disservice.

Since almost every area of our lives is impacted by an over-reaching environmental lobby, this decision is a breath of fresh air, for sure! At a time when it seems we can no longer drill for oil in America, no longer build oil refineries, no longer build nuclear power plants or more clean-burning coal plants, maybe this decision is a small indication we are returning to common sense decision making.

“All growers can rely on the expertise of USDA, and trust that future challenges to biotech approvals must now be based on scientific facts, not speculations.”

–David F. Snively

Monsanto Sr. VP


Have an opinion or response? E-mail Ron Goble, Associate publisher/editor, Western DairyBusiness at: rgoble@dairybusiness.com


State dairy product export declines reveal part of overall price problems

A down year for U.S. dairy exports was mirrored in individual state export totals in fiscal year (FY) 2009 (see Table 1), according to latest estimates from USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS).

Wisconsin retained its No. 1 state exporting position, with sales estimated at $494.7 million. Even though it is the leading milk-producing state, California remained No. 2 in exports, with $458.3 million.

Those two states alone saw the value of dairy exports decline from about $1.789 billion in FY 2008 to just $953 million in FY 2009, a decline of $836 million (47%).

Overall FY 2009 U.S. dairy exports declined 43% compared to FY 2008, a decline of $1.76 billion. Total U.S. and most individual state export estimates were the lowest since FY 2006.

Other major dairy product exporting states in the Eastern DairyBusiness readership area, and their export estimates ($ million) for FY 2009 included: New York, $197.6; Minnesota, $109.9; Pennsylvania, $81.5; Ohio, $41.4; Iowa, $37.2; Vermont, $21.3; Illinois, $13.9; New Jersey, $5.5; Tennessee, $3.4; and Missouri, $2.4.

Other major dairy product exporting states in the Western DairyBusiness readership area, and their export estimates ($ million) for FY 2009 included: Idaho, $140.7; New Mexico, $103.1; South Dakota, $39.2; Utah, $22.7; Texas, $13.4; and Oregon, $0.4.

Another $548.6 million was listed as “unallocated” by ERS.

Starting in FY 2007, ERS began making export share estimates based on each state’s dairy product production, instead of using data from shipping locations. ERS said ag commodities are frequently produced in inland states, but were previously credited to states where the products began their export journey.

For more information, visit www.ers.usda.gov.

Herd health has become production medicine

By Ron Goble

The process for keeping your dairy herd healthy has changed dramatically over the years. It hasn’t been too long ago that veterinarians had a different vaccination for most every disease. Today, one vaccination may prevent up to 10 different diseases.

Pete Kistler, DVM, for Valley Veterinarians in Tulare, Calif. has seen the evolution of that phenomenon.

“When I was finishing up school in the mid-1980s, herd health changed to production medicine,” explained Kistler. “The idea was that we’ve pretty much cured all the diseases. The only time we have an outbreak is when someone forgets to vaccinate.”

All inclusive vaccination

Today, vaccinations tend to have 10 different antigens, usually IBR, BVD, PI3, BRSV and five of the Leptos. “Right now there are only a few companies from which you can purchase these vaccines,” he declared.

Kistler said their vaccination program is basically one shot with most everything in it. However, he added that they will boost a lot of the animals with a killed product during pregnancy sometimes and it probably does help the immune system, especially with BVD. “I think – of all those classical organisms – what we see most now is probably abortions due to BVD,” he said.

“All those viruses used to cause problems – and the bacteria like lepto. Of all those, what do we see today? We’ve pretty much wiped out all of the diseases. The only thing we seem to see consistently is abortions due to BVD,” Kistler said. “The problem is that the BVD virus mutates. So the vaccine might be effective for a year or two, and then you get a mutation that runs through the herd and you get a bunch of abortions.”

Kistler said their team of vets has always used live products on non-pregnant cows. “We think it works better, and believe you get a better immune response. Companies that produce the killed product say the advantage is being able to give it to pregnant cows while not risking abortion. But they were not as immunogenic,” he said. “That’s why we recommend live product on non-pregnant cows.

As dairies modernize

“Back in the 60s and 70s,” Kistler recalled, “contagious mastitis was a huge problem. Because when dairies and milk parlors were getting bigger and the same claw was used on 20 or 30 cows a day, you could transmit infection from one cow to another quite rapidly. As dairies modernized, you had a rise in contagious mastitis, until people figured out they needed to use teat dip to stop the spread in the parlor and dry cow therapy to kill any early infections to help control the problem.

“It’s really not a problem in most of our herds today,” Kistler said. “A 1,000-cow herd may have five staph cows a year and maybe one year they will get into trouble with mycoplasma.”

Kistler said they use computer benchmarks and look for significant variations in order to flag herd health issues before they become more problematic.

Like the annualized abortion rate in our herds, we have a variation from 9.7% to 13.7%, not too wide. However, if we look at the percent culled, we see a huge variation. “That’s where I think the most opportunity is right now,” the vet said.

The average culled prior to 60 DIM is about 10% in California. It may vary from a 5% to a high of 18%, said Kistler. Culling practices will impact the annual death rate, which ranges from 3.7% to 9.7% in the herds they service.

“An elevated cull rate probably has something to do with animal movement in the closeup cows, and the dry cows, losing weight. Anytime a dry cow loses weight, she’ll mobilize fat that gets infiltrated into her liver and she ends up with a fatty liver – Type 2 ketosis, they call it, which doesn’t respond well to treatment at all.”

While the computerized benchmarks are updated daily, the big updates are input from test days when they get milk weights and herd check days, when they get new herd pregnancy data.

‘The move of death’

Moving dairy animals can be very disruptive to their social standing in the herd and has often been called, “the move of death,” a phrase Kistler attributed to John Lee, a veterinarian for Pfizer Animal Health. Kistler talked about research conducted at a Wisconsin dairy that put numbers to the “move of death” theory.

Researchers looked at animals that got moved into the closeup pens. They followed what happened on the dairy. Some animals got moved into the maternity pen at 7 days before calving. Some got moved in at 12 days, and others at 20 days.

They looked at what the risk was of having type 2 ketosis and maybe going to beef. Animals that were moved three days prior to calving didn’t have any problems, Kistler said. However, those moved at 7 or 8 days before calving were hurt the hardest. Because that adjustment happened, those animals might not have eaten for two or three days. They started developing ketosis, which showed up really early in lactation when they really started milking hard.

Cows with Type 1 (classic) ketosis, is two weeks fresh and chewing on the pipes. She’s giving a lot of milk and just can’t eat enough to keep up with her production. Type 2 ketosis might show up in cows at 5 or 6 days fresh. She’s been working on this prior to calving. She’s got fatty infiltration in the liver and her metabolism is just wacko, Kistler stated.

Some dairies are going to the dry pen and pulling out animals that are 250 days with calf and put them in one pen and leave them there until they calve, with no pen movement and no social upheaval.

Kistler said his experience at one dairy showed that a group of cows that didn’t get moved into the maternity pen had 9% sent to beef. But of those animals moved into the maternity pens before calving, 18% were sent to beef. “You can look at these animals and they look gorgeous, but internally they’ve got fatty liver and are just ticking time-bombs,” said Kistler.

Preg rates rise and fall

He said preg rates (PR) at many of their dairies for first-calf heifers ranged from 28 to 24, and  19 to 25 for milk cows. PR measures the percentage of cows in a herd that become pregnant every 21-day period past the voluntary waiting period.

Kistler said they achieve these numbers by following a strict A.I. synchronization program in their herds. Of all their herds, average age at freshening for youngstock is 24 months, with a conception rate of 63% and first service conception rate of 65%.

But Kistler also pointed out that he has seen nutrition impact pregnancy rates when certain commodities are removed from the cows’ ration. To save on feed costs, one producer told his nutritionist to drop cottonseed from the ration. He saw his herd’s reproduction suffer. Some nutritionists will add a little corn and bypass fat to replace the cottonseed, but those who don’t represent the more severe examples.

Bunk space matters

Besides watching when to move animals or not move animals, Kistler stressed the importance of adequate bunk space per cow on the dairy. “Facilities often dictate what’s going to happen in your herd. It used to be that cows had 24 inches of bunk space. But those who provide 28 inches of bunk space per cow are doing better,” he said. “The highest producing herd in our practice has 28 inches of bunk space per cow. It’s not just fans and soakers; it’s bunk space. It may be difficult to measure, but give them the adequate space and reap the benefits.”

Bring in experts

Kistler stressed that many of their dairies lean on their nutritionists and occasionally bring in lameness experts to help fine tune herd care from a preventative perspective.

The 12 DVMs at Valley Veterinarians service approximately 250,000 milk cows in Central California – with most of those animals located in Tulare and Kings counties. Four lab technicians provide testing and analysis for their clients’ herds.

Valley Vets is also known for development of Dairy Comp 305, a very successful software program for individual, group or herdwide analysis. Dairy Comp is the heart of the firm’s dairy records analysis services.

Kistler said studying a dairy’s computerized statistics can answer a lot of questions concerning the operation. “You see where they are excelling and where they could use some help. Dairy Comp is an invaluable tool for us,” he said.

FYI:

■  To contact Pete Kistler at Valley Vets, call 559-686-1447 or e-mail him at, pete@valley vets.com.

■  For information on Valley Veterinarians, Inc., visit their website at www.valleyvets.com.


Pfizer Animal Health launches new online resource for milk quality 

As the global dairy industry continues to raise the bar on milk quality, Pfizer Animal Health recognizes a need for easy access to resources to help producers improve their milk quality decision-making. As a result, the company has launched a new online resource — www.milkqualityfocus.com — offering technical and actionable information on mastitis management and milk quality.

“We understand the challenges dairy producers face and the constant commitment they must have to manage mastitis and produce high-quality milk,” says Dr. Bradley Mills, DVM, Veterinary Operations, Pfizer Animal Health. “With more stringent European Union somatic cell count (SCC) standards on the way, Milk Quality Focus will provide a timely and valuable source of technical, practical and easy-to-use information on mastitis and milk quality.”

Each month, Milk Quality Focus will feature video perspectives from industry experts, veterinarians, dairy producers and processors on a new topic that incorporates the most recent research and efficacy data on mastitis therapies; practical and easy-to-implement advice on mastitis management; and insight on ways to improve milk quality and increase productivity.

The video series currently posted to the Milk Quality Focus website explores dry cow mastitis therapies, featuring insights from Sandra Godden, DVM, DVSc, professor, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, and Ron Locke, Top ‘O The Morn Farms in Tulare, Calif. Future videos will highlight and incorporate:

  • Benefits of extended therapy and broad-spectrum treatment;
  • How milk quality impacts the bottom line;
  • Incidence and management of coliform mastitis;
  • Positive impacts of a structured milk quality management plan; and
  • Examining the milk quality supply chain.

Mastitis is a common disease and is estimated to cost the U.S. dairy industry nearly $1.7 billion annually.1, 2 Producers who implement a structured mastitis detection and treatment program will more effectively combat negative impacts of mastitis, including lowered milk production, reduced milk quality, extra labor, increased replacement cow costs, veterinary fees and treatment costs.

“Even if a dairy’s average SCC falls within minimum standards, we have a real responsibility as an industry to produce the best quality milk on each operation that we can,” Mills adds. “There are real dollars at stake here and our experience tells us that producers are continually seeking tips and new information to help make better, more educated treatment and animal health management decisions. This resource will serve as another tool in their arsenal.”

Dr. Mills advises dairy producers to use Milk Quality Focus as a starting point for discussions with their veterinarian or animal health representative about improving their mastitis management program. A successful milk quality program includes proper identification of disease, both clinical and subclinical; milk culturing to determine pathogens and proper treatment options; and appropriate management techniques to reduce mastitis incidence.

“Milk quality makes a difference — both in the grocery store and on the dairy operation,” Mills says. “We hope this resource will not only help producers make better day-to-day decisions on the operation, but improve the quality of milk produced across the dairy product supply chain.”

Pfizer Animal Health, a business of Pfizer Inc., is a world leader in discovering and developing innovative animal vaccines and prescription medicines, investing an estimated $300 million annually in animal health product research and development.  For more information about how Pfizer Animal Health works to ensure a safe, sustainable global food supply from healthy livestock and poultry; or helps companion animals and horses to live longer, healthier lives, visit www.PfizerAH.com.

1 Ott SL, Novak PR. Association of herd productivity and bulk-tank somatic cell counts in U.S. dairy herds in 1996. JAVMA 2001;218(8).

2 Fetrow, Stewart, Eicker, Farnsworth, Bey. Mastitis: An economic consideration, in Proceedings. Annu Meet Nat Mast Coun 2000.

CWT tentatively accepts 194 bids, 34,000 cows in herd retirement program

ARLINGTON, VA – Cooperatives Working Together announced, July 7,  that it has tentatively accepted 194 bids its latest herd retirement, representing 34,442 cows and 653,893,409 pounds of milk. Farmers had submitted a total of 209 herd retirement bids to CWT.

CWT’s three herd retirements last year were the primary reason why U.S. cow numbers dropped steeply in 2009, “but cow numbers have leveled off since the end of the year,” said Jerry Kozak, president and CEO of National Milk Producers Federation, which administers CWT. “This latest herd retirement will push cow numbers lower still, which is what our industry needs to better align supply and demand.”

Starting next week, CWT farm auditors will begin visiting the farms whose bids were accepted, checking their milk production records, counting cows, and then tagging each cow for processing. All farmers will be notified no later than July 30 as to whether their bid was among those accepted in this herd retirement round, the tenth that CWT has conducted since 2003.

Once CWT auditors approve the herds accepted during the bid process, farmers have 15 days in which to send their animals to a processing plant. CWT will again provide each farmer the NMPF animal handling guidelines for the proper culling and transporting of dairy cattle, Kozak said.

Producers whose bids are accepted in this herd retirement will be paid in two installments:  90% of the amount bid times the producer’s 12 months of milk production when it is verified that that all cows have gone to slaughter, and the remaining 10% plus interest at the end of 12 months following the farm audit, if both the producer and his dairy facility – whether owned or leased – do not become involved in the commercial production and marketing of milk during that period.

In CWT’s three herd retirements conducted in 2009, the program removed a total of 200,000 cows and 4r billion lbs. of milk. Details of past herd retirements can be found at www.cwt.coop/sites/default/files/pdf/past-herd-retirements-060210.pdf.

Alltech hosts Dairy Solutions Symposium

[Dublin, Ireland] – Over 200 delegates recently attended the fifth annual Dairy Solutions Symposium, which took place at the Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands. The symposium was a joint partnership between animal health and nutrition company Alltech, Utrecht University, Wageningen University and Wageningen UR Livestock Research.

Themed Rumen Health: A 360º Analysis, 13 experts presented their research in the area of rumen health to an audience of dairy scientists, veterinarians and other specialists representing some of the dairy world’s most distinguished and influential thought leaders.

Welcoming delegates to the symposium, Professor Wouter Hendriks of Wageningen and Utrecht University said that “The rumen is of critical importance for efficient transformation of dietary nutrients into dairy products for human consumption. As such, it can be a major cause of economic losses in the dairy industry and is important in maintaining the health and welfare of the animal.”

Alltech’s Dr. Juan Tricarico highlighted the evolution of yeast technologies over the past 30 years and how these have developed to target specific areas of rumen development such as; increasing microbial protein; stabilizing rumen pH; generating more energy and; increasing nutrient intake.

The panel of speakers were invited from a variety of diverse dairy-related backgrounds, from veterinary scientists to nutritionists and top academic researchers. Their varied and in-depth analyses of subjects pivoting around rumen health provided delegates with unique perspectives, proposals and solutions.

One of the key perspectives shared by speakers however, related to the topic of sub-acute ruminal acidosis (SARA) as researched during studies of rumen health in both fresh cows and cows at peak lactation. Speakers concurred that much remains to be discovered about the disorder and that important questions about the condition require further research before its occurrence can be explained.

Another topic that provoked great interest was the exploration of Penicillium contamination in the rumen and the similarity of this condition to SARA. The close resemblance shared by each condition highlighted how important ongoing research is in combating such problems.

Building on the strength of Dairy Solutions Symposium as a forum for open discussion, delegates were regularly provided with real solutions to some of the key subjects explored. From farm managers to feed-industry nutritionists and veterinary practitioners, attendees were provided with practical information that they could take home and put to use in improving the rumen health of their respective dairy enterprises.

DFA engineer Johnston named to NREL

Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. (DFA) corporate project engineer Dave Johnston is one of 20 U.S. business, community and government leaders who have been selected to participate in the 2010 National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Executive Energy Leadership Program.

NREL, a research agency of the U.S. Department of Energy, brings together energy executives from across the country and teaches them about clean energy solutions through renewable energy technologies. The executives then become ambassadors who help with future energy decisions and stewardship in their organizations.

Johnston has had key roles in expansion projects at DFA manufacturing facilities in Winnsboro and Schulenburg, Texas. He and the other energy executives will meet monthly through September. The sessions cover topics ranging from solar and wind power solutions to biofuel and transportation. The program also features discussions about the future of energy markets and tools for renewable energy, briefings by technology experts, research laboratory tours and visits to field applications.

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