Archive for January, 2011

Dairy gets ‘dietary’ boost

USDA and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services released new 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), recognizing the role of dairy products in a healthy diet.

The new DGA encourages three daily servings of low-fat or fat-free milk and milk products for adults and children nine years and older. For children ages 4-8, the recommendation was increased from 2 to 2.5 servings, and for children ages 2-3, the recommendation remains 2 servings.

The DGA emphasizes the importance of establishing good milk drinking habits at a young age, as those who consume milk at an early age are more likely to do so as adults.

In a joint statement (below), dairy organizations – including the National Dairy Council, National Milk Producers Federation, International Dairy Foods Association and  Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), said most Americans fail to meet these recommendations, even though they have been previously established by the DGA and supported by independent health organizations.

Joint dairy industry statement

Today the U.S. dairy industry joins the federal government in urging most Americans to add one more serving of low-fat and fat-free dairy each day as they strive for healthier lifestyles that reflect DGA recommendations. According to the DGA, current evidence shows intake of milk and milk products is linked to improved bone health, especially in children and adolescents. In addition, intake of milk and milk products is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and lower blood pressure in adults.

The dairy food group (milk, cheese and yogurt) is a substantial contributor of many nutrients in the U.S. diet that are important for good health, including calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, protein, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and riboflavin. And milk is the number one food source of three of the four nutrients the DGA identified as lacking in the American diet – calcium, vitamin D and potassium.

The new DGA includes a variety of dietary patterns that support a healthy lifestyle, and dairy foods fit for most everyone. For those who are sensitive to lactose, the DGA recommends low-lactose and lactose-free milk products. For those who follow vegetarian diets, the DGA recommends milk and other dairy foods because they supply essential nutrients that can be hard to get from other foods.

One dairy serving is equal to an 8-ounce glass of white or flavored milk, an 8-ounce cup of yogurt, 1½ ounces of natural cheese or 2 ounces of processed cheese. The DGA emphasizes choosing lower fat options, and there are many affordable and appealing products in the marketplace. The dairy industry is working with farmers, dairy foods companies and consumers to develop an even wider array of products — including cheeses with lower sodium and fat levels and flavored milk with less added sugar — that can help Americans meet the 2010 DGA recommendations without compromising on taste.

An executive summary of the Dietary Guidelines is available

The full draft can be found at:

National Dairy Council

National Dairy Council® (NDC) is the nutrition research, education and communications arm of Dairy Management Inc™. On behalf of U.S. dairy farmers, NDC provides science-based nutrition information to, and in collaboration with, a variety of stakeholders committed to fostering a healthier society, including health professionals, educators, school nutrition directors, academia, industry, consumers and media. For more information, visit

National Milk Producers Federation

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), based in Arlington, VA, develops and carries out policies that advance the well being of dairy producers and the cooperatives they own. The members of NMPF’s 31 cooperatives produce the majority of the U.S. milk supply, making NMPF the voice of more than 40,000 dairy producers on Capitol Hill and with government agencies. Visit for more information.

International Dairy Foods Association

The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation’s dairy manufacturing and marketing industries and their suppliers, with a membership of 550 companies representing a $110-billion a year industry. IDFA is composed of three constituent organizations: the Milk Industry Foundation (MIF), the National Cheese Institute (NCI) and the International Ice Cream Association (IICA). IDFA’s 220 dairy processing members run more than 600 plant operations, and range from large multi-national organizations to single-plant companies. Together they represent more than 85 percent of the milk, cultured products, cheese and frozen desserts produced and marketed in the United States. For more information, visit


The Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), Washington, D.C., is funded by the nation’s milk processors, who are committed to increasing fluid milk consumption. The National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board, through MilkPEP, runs the National Milk Mustache “got milk?”(R) Campaign, a multi-faceted campaign designed to educate consumers about the health benefits of milk. For more information, go to Deutsch, A Lowe and Partners Company, is the creative agency for the National Milk Mustache “got milk?”(R) Campaign.

Gross not quite so ‘gross’

DairyBusiness Communications calculated its annual gross income per cow estimates, using preliminary annual milk price and milk production estimates. The good news is your cows put a little more on the gross income side of the ledger.

By Dave Natzke

If it’s any consolation, your cows gave you more money to pay bills in 2010. Whether you can consider last year a “recovery” depends on just how big those bills were.

Using USDA’s monthly milk production and price estimates, DairyBusiness Communications editors returned to their Excel spreadsheets to calculate the “average” gross income from milk sales generated annually, based on production per cow and the all milk price in major dairy states. (Individual information for major dairy states will appear in the March 2011 issue of Eastern DairyBusiness.)

Based on those preliminary estimates the “average” U.S. cow produced about 21,153 lbs. of milk in 2010, up from 20,576 lbs. in 2009, a 577-lb. gain. USDA’s preliminary 2010 all milk price was $16.29/cwt., up $3.46/cwt from 2009. The result: an $805 increase in gross income per cow, with an estimated $3,446 generated in milk sales in 2010, compared to $2,641 in 2009.

How does 2010 gross income per cow compare to other previous years? Less than 2007 and 2008, for sure, when milk prices averaged $19.21/cwt. and $18.33/cwt., and gross income averaged about $3,881 and $3,763 per cow, respectively. Average gross income per cow was $2,574 in 2006; $2,976 in 2005; and $3,050 in 2004.

“Averages” tend to level out peaks and valleys, but individual state information provides some remarkable disparity. For example, among the 23 major dairy states, there’s a $1,500 spread between the state with the lowest gross milk income per cow in 2010 (Missouri, at $2,429) compared to the highest (Michigan, at $3,930).

What’s ahead

Looking ahead to 2011, milk production per cow could be impacted by feed prices, but USDA’s latest estimate puts it at about 21,425 lbs. per cow. The agency’s January forecast put the mid-range for the 2011 all milk price at about $16.30/cwt., virtually unchanged from 2010. With the slight increase in milk production, gross income per cow should be about $3,488, about $40 more than 2010.

DairyProfit Monday, Jan. 31, 2011

An (almost) daily recap of dairy information: Jan. 31, 2011

California 4a/4b milk prices announced

California’s January 4b milk price is $12.49/cwt., up 27¢ from December 2010, but 23¢ less than January 2010. The 4a milk price is $16.49/cwt., up $1.82 from December 2010 and $2.74 more than a year ago. January 2011 federal order manufacturing grade milk prices will be announced Friday morning.

Op-Ed: IDFA report on supply management ‘suspect’

A study unveiled at the 2011 International Dairy Foods Association Dairy Forum paints winners and losers under the Foundation for the Future supply management program. Dairy Profit Weekly’s Dave Natzke says the narrow focus of the study creates results that are ‘suspect,’ and could lead to acrimony at a time when consensus on dairy policy is getting closer.

MARKETS: Cheese, powder and Class III higher

Closing on Monday, Jan. 31:

Cheddar barrels: up 2.0¢, to $1.7250/lb.

Cheddar blocks: up 2.0¢, tot $1.7550/lb.

Butter: unchanged, at $2.10/lb.

Extra Grade nonfat dry milk: up 5.0¢, to $1.65/lb.

Grade A nonfat dry milk: up 1.0¢, to $1.6675/lb.

Class III milk futures: +16¢ to +75¢/cwt. through December 2011.

Corn futures: +14.4¢ to +19.6¢/bushel through September 2012.

Soybean futures: +16¢ to +18¢/bushel through September 2012.

Soybean meal futures: +$3.30 to +$4.70/ton through September 2012.


Tuesday: Gould provides market overview

In Tuesday’s DairyLine broadcast, University of Wisconsin-Madison dairy economist Brian Gould discusses current – and somewhat puzzling – trends in dairy markets.

To read the comments, visit under “Today’s Dairy News.” Or, listen to the conversation with DairyLine’s Lee Mielke by clicking on “DairyLine Daily Broadcast.”


Northeast Dairy Digest

• Vermont adds ACAP agronomists to aid dairy producers

• 2011 Herd Health and Nutrition Conference set

• Dairy Alliance to host Pennsylvania calf health workshops

• New England Dairy Conferences set

• NEDPA/PRO-DAIRY manure handling webinar is Feb. 9

• Vermont Dairy Producers Conference planned

• Pike Dairy to host Agri-Palooza

• 73rd Annual Cornell Nutrition Conference planned in October

Midwest Dairy Digest

• Missouri offers dairy business planning grants

• Tri-State Dairy Nutrition Conference scheduled at Fort Wayne

• Iowa State University’s Spring Ag Career Day Set for Feb. 2

• Michigan labor seminars to turn out top-notch agricultural employers

• Iowa: Be aware of winter manure application rules

• MDA appoints new dairy princess consultant

• Minnesota nutrient management conference is Feb. 15

• MMPA offers farm business webinar

• UMDIA offers scholarships

• Minnesota Extension offers labor management programs

Check for daily DPW news updates at

For a sample copy of Dairy Profit Weekly, or subscription information, visit or phone: 800-334-1904, ext. 244.

Dave Natzke, Editor

Op-Ed: The evidence is ‘suspect’

Study refutes ‘Foundation for the Future’ dairy supply management plan

By Dave Natzke

Some of the more vocal readers of Western/Eastern DairyBusiness magazines have painted me – for the most part correctly – as opposed to a national milk supply management program. I’ll get to that later.

First, however, I’d like to address a new economic study being distributed and – I believe – wrongly interpreted. The study, titled “Regional and Farm Level Impacts of the Foundation for the Future’s Dairy Market Stabilization Program,” was commissioned by the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and conducted by Informa Economics. Results of the study were unveiled at the 2011 IDFA Dairy Forum, which I attended.

The study looked at one segment – and only one segment – of the National Milk Producers Federation’s Foundation for the Future (FFTF) dairy policy proposal, the “supply management” piece, called the Dairy Market Stabilization Program (DMSP). Simply put, during times of tight income margins for dairy farmers, DMSP withholds a percentage of milk payments from farmers who surpass their base production, as a market signal to reduce milk production.

Most dairy processors – of which IDFA represents – see dairy’s milk glass as half full, and I believe rightly so. Citing market growth potential in a (hopefully) improving economy, both home and abroad, anything seen as having the potential to limit an adequate, affordable milk supply would understandably be opposed.

However, the way this study is being interpreted and presented smacks of  selective reading, and would suggest a goal of perpetuating regional divisiveness among farmers.

Briefly, the Informa study concludes DMSP would have been triggered four times in the past decade (2000-2009), with milk payments withheld from affected dairy farmers during 18 months. Total dairy farmer milk payment withholdings in those months were estimated at $626 million. In 2009 alone, $390 million would have been withheld, with the majority of it, $236 million, coming from five states: Wisconsin, New York, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Michigan. IDFA points out the payment withholdings occur in the most stressful periods to dairy farmers, depriving them of much-needed income.

Through extensive use of maps, the study attempts to declare winners and losers in the supply management debate and, perhaps not surprisingly, the losers would be producers in many states where anti-supply management sentiment is the strongest, adding fuel to the fire. Some dairy producer groups in those areas have already latched on to the study’s results.

I trust Informa’s math. However, the equation is not complete, and such a narrow interpretation – from my perspective – is disingenuous.

The 2011 Dairy Forum concluded with a discussion between IDFA’s Connie Tipton and NMPF’s Jerry Kozak. Tipton used the study’s results to suggest dairy farmers did not fully understand all the implications of a supply management program on their overall incomes.

Kozak countered the DMSP is but one piece of a bigger plan. He noted supply management deductions would not be implemented alone, but instead would work in concert with a Dairy Producer Margin Protection Program, which would provide income insurance payments in times of low margins. Those payments offset overall income declines focussed on by IDFA, likely narrowing any gap between perceived winners and losers.

Make no mistake, I still believe a national supply management policy is also divisive, creating winners and losers. It generally preserves the status quo, protecting current milk production bases, while limiting growth potential in new areas or by new farmers. It could, for example, limit the dairy transition back to the Upper Midwest, closer to feed supply sources, which could improve producer margins, given evolving U.S. energy policies and increased global feedstuff competition.

It also hurts a state such as Kentucky, which currently offers dairy farmers financial incentives to not only improve milk quality, but also to increase milk production, as a means to build a job-creating industry in a seasonally shorted milk supply region of the United States.

I also know of many smaller dairy farmers who would like to bring a son/daughter into their operation, but supply management would likely allow only a small percentage growth each year, not enough for a second family to earn a living from the family business. I’ve been told those farmers should view supply management as economic “insurance” for the new generation, preventing larger producers from getting even larger. I’ll buy that argument a bit, but insurance generally only protects current value. Nationally applied policy has little flexibility to serve the needs of an industry’s evolving individual businesses.

I get it that failing to “preserve and protect” in the economic climate of 2009 and 2010 destroys producer income and equity, also creating severe harm to potential growth. But while many argue supply management will only be triggered in the toughest economic periods, and will be flexible enough to adjust to market conditions, any national policy invariably creates bureaucratic lags – both on front-end and back-end triggers – to adequately read market signals and allow necessary flexibility to address them. It also fails to account for regional differences.

And, what happens when supply management is implemented while processors and farmers in one region of the country are short of milk, while all other areas are flush? Litigation, probably, with all the accompanying court rulings, extensions and appeals.

I do agree with IDFA’s Tipton in this regard:  In a perfect world, supply management would be localized, driven by cooperatives, processors and their producer suppliers, and dependent on their production and marketing ability, capacity and potential. Milk supply controls can be set by mutual agreement and contract. That rewards investment and innovation – especially in a growing global market.

Undoubtedly, the issue is even more complicated than what I have painted here. However, using select numbers to create acrimony by identifying “winners and losers” on one narrow piece of policy does no one any good, especially with consensus of the entire industry needed to create policies to help the U.S. industry thrive in the era ahead.


• To offer your own opinion or response, e-mail Dave Natzke, national editorial director, DairyBusiness Communications, e-mail:

Wisconsin Dairy Digest: Jan. 31, 2011

PDPW holds 2011 Managers Academy

The Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW) hosted 75 dairy producers and industry leaders from 18 states, Jan. 18-20, in Albuquerque, N.M., for the 2011 Managers Academy.

75 dairy producers and industry leaders from 18 states participated in PDPW’s Managers Academy.

“This mix of dairy producers and industry leaders was perfect and contributed to the success of the event,” stated Shelly Mayer, executive director of the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin. “This event is just another example of how dairy producers and other leaders within our industry are on a continual quest of knowledge and seek out events that meet their needs.”

Focused on the theme “Managing Momentum,” business coaches Dr. Buck Joseph and Chris Hinrichs used classroom sessions to encourage attendees to view leadership from a four-pronged capacity – outward, inward, downward and upward – urging them to manage momentum while adapting for change and uncertainty.

Manager Academy participants toured and networked with New Mexico business executives from Southwest Cheese Factory, Haw Farms, Poblanos Organic Farms and El Pinto Restaurant/Foods.

Business executive training was led by Dr. Lowell Catlett of New Mexico State University. Dr. Catlett’s presentations, group-think sessions and case studies delivered the tools to help participants understand how successful companies grow and prosper, how to create a culture of ideas and implementation; and how to make a company sustainable. He also shared insight regarding “the next big thing” so individuals have the skills and knowledge to look around the corner and develop a matrix of scenarios and their potential impacts.

HSA law allows health care savings for Wisconsin farmers

The Wisconsin Legislature’s recent passage of a tax deduction for Health Savings Accounts (HSA) is a matter of fairness for farmers and other self-employed individuals, according to the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation.

“Farmers and other self-employed individuals in Wisconsin will now be able to deduct this cost for health care, just as other employers have been able to do,” said Paul Zimmerman, executive director of public affairs for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau. “This brings fairness for those who purchase their own health insurance coverage rather than accessing it through employers.”

“The benefits of this new law are two-fold,” Zimmerman said. “Consumers win with lower costs associated with health insurance. Additionally, these reduced costs free up dollars to be invested and spent elsewhere within the economy.”

HSAs allow people with high-deductible health insurance plans to save a limited amount of money for future health expenses. Their taxable income is reduced by the amount they put into the HSA.

A 2010 survey of Wisconsin dairy farmers by the National Agricultural Statistics Service notes the largest proportion of insured farmers (46%) purchased individual policies directly from private insurance companies; while 11.5 percent of dairy farm families reported no coverage at all.

Zimmerman said Wisconsinites with HSAs should now see their health care costs lowered by 6.5%, the amount they will be able to deduct from their state income tax liability.

Wisconsin had been one of only four states still taxing contributions to HSAs since the federal government made them exempt from federal taxation in 2003.

The HSA bill was signed into law by Governor Scott Walker, retroactively taking effect as of Jan. 1, 2011.

Family Dairies USA to hold 39th annual member meeting

The Family Dairies USA 39th Annual Member Meeting will be held Feb. 12, at the Kalahari Resort & Convention Center, Wisconsin Dells, Wis.

More than 200 dairy farm delegates will elect board members and act on policy resolutions.

Returning this year are “Early Bird” sessions, Feb. 11-12.  Sessions include:

• “Don’t Lose Your Future: Keep Your Calves Alive and Healthy,” by Tom Earleywine, Land O’Lakes Animal Milk Products

•  “Planning Your Future: Farm Succession & Transition,” by Michelle Birschbach of Steimle Birschbach LLC

• “Building a Future with Lessons from the Past,” by Gary Sipiorski of Vita Plus Corporation

• “Timeless Art of Cheese Making: Breaking New Ground,” by Steve Buholzer of Klondike Cheese Company

The annual meeting business session begins at 9 a.m. on Feb. 12.

DBA Expansion Symposium: ‘Surviving the Storm’

The 6th annual Dairy Business Association’s (DBA) Expansion Symposium will be held Feb. 24-25, at Lambeau Field,  Green Bay, Wis. This year’s symposium will provide attendees information they need to keep their dairies progressive and profitable following two years of low milk prices and increasing costs.

The event kicks off Feb. 24 with topics ranging from cash flowing through rough times and being a good neighbor, to increasing exports and U.S. federal policy impacts to Wisconsin farmers.  At 12:00 pm

U.S. Rep Reid Ribble (R-Wis.), recent appointment to House Ag Committee, will hold a town hall meeting at noon. The first day ends with a cheese reception, dinner, networking opportunities and trade show exhibits.

Feb. 25 topics include estate planning, animal well being and the responsibilities involved in selling cull cows to market. A drawing for $1,000 cash concludes the day.

For additional agenda and registration information, visit or call 920-866-9991.  Cost is $175 for DBA corporate members; $200 for non-members; and a special producer rate of $99 per person.

PDPW plans ‘World Class’ seminars

The Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin kick off a series of three ‘World Class” webinars, Feb. 28. All sessions feature Dr. Donald Jonovic, Family Business Management Services. Sessions include:

• Feb. 28: Compensation: Why Pay Is a Critical Business Strategy
A critical mistake made by many family farm operations is confusing compensation for performance with return for an owner’s investment. Learn how this fundamental confusion is often the cause of the stress, tension and dysfunctions in farm partnerships. Dr. Donald Jonovic, Family Business Management Services, discusses why it is critically important to differentiate pay from return, both in theory and in practice. He describes practical pay strategies that both motivate and reward desired performance. He addresses the significance of return on investment and its importance as a strategic tool for assuring farm survival, growth, continuity and successful transition of ownership in families where not all heirs intend to be farmers.

• March 21: Developing the Next Generation of Leaders – Family or “Non”

As family farm businesses grow, they also evolve and mature in ways that greatly change the kind of leadership that they need. Each generation of leaders needs to be very smart, tough-minded, flexible, creative, courageous and determined.  Jonovic shares how successful family operations have developed successful leaders from within the owning family, and addresses some of the unique strategies necessary for recruiting and retaining key people from outside the family.

• April 18: When Siblings Don’t Want To Work for Their Siblings
It is challenging enough managing a business when there is a single “boss,” who has the final say on important decisions and authority. Unfortunately, it is common for siblings farming together to inherit a deck stacked against success with no clear leader, equity and power distributed over a number of people, and a new ownership group with a history of each doing their own thing. Jonovic draws on his many years of experience helping sibling and cousin partnerships work through this leadership “gap” to develop decision and responsibility structures that draw the best from each partner while designing a management process and operating plan that can fill that important role of “The Boss.”

For more information, visit or phone 800-947-7379

UW Farm & Industry Short Course Preview Days set

The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Farm and Industry Short Course invites prospective students and their parents to campus on Feb. 16 or 17, to preview what the program has to offer. High school juniors  and seniors are encouraged to attend.

The UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences offers the one- or two-year short course program to high school graduates interested in farming or one of Wisconsin’s many other agricultural industries. The program runs from November to April and has an average enrollment of 135 students.

Over 50 courses are offered annually in the areas of soils, crops, dairy, meat animals, general livestock, landscaping, agricultural engineering and agricultural economics.  Students may earn a one-year or two-year certificate requiring 20 or 40 credits, respectively, or they may pursue a specialty certificate in one of seven areas: Crop and Soil Management, Dairy Farm Management, Farm Mechanics, Farm Service and Supply, Landscape Industry, Meat Animals, or Pasture-Based Dairy and Livestock.

The preview days will give visitors a chance to tour the campus and  attend classes in advanced reproduction, plant diseases, managing a  pasture-based dairy business, beef cattle management and production and  oil and crop nutrient resource management.

There is no cost for the Preview Days, but pre-registration by Feb. 9 is recommended. To register or for more information, phone 608-263-3918; or e-mail Kimberley Brudny,

Wisconsin Ag Status: 2010 dairy a little better

Things couldn’t have gone better for Wisconsin corn and soybean producers in 2010. For milk producers, they went a lot better than they did a year ago, according to University of Wisconsin-Madison agricultural economists in their 2011 Status of Wisconsin Agriculture report.

“For Wisconsin corn and soybean producers, 2010 was a fabulous year in nearly every respect—early planting, timely and abundant rains, warm temperatures and early harvest with little or no drying required. Best of all, they had plenty to sell at good prices,” the report says.

The state’s dairy farmers received some much-needed relief from the devastating milk prices of 2009—the state’s average all-milk price increased by about $3 to $16.18 and farmers sold 3 percent more milk—but the added income wasn’t nearly enough to rebuild the nearly 9 percent loss in net worth that they suffered in 2009.

For more, visit

WMMB nominees sought

Wisconsin’s state ag department is seeking nominees to fill nine of 25 district director positions on the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB). All director nominees must be active dairy producers who sell milk into commercial channels and live in the district where they are nominated.

Election announcement postcards were mailed to all licensed producers in affected districts. If you didn’t get a postcard or would just like to learn more, contact Noel Favia at (608) 224-5140 or In addition, information about the election and director responsibilities can be found at:

Ehlenfeldt reappointed to state veterinarian post

Dr. Robert Ehlenfeldt was reappointed Wisconsin state veterinarian and administrator of the Division of Animal Health in the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

As state veterinarian, Ehlenfeldt will serve as Wisconsin’s chief of regulatory veterinary medicine, overseeing surveillance, prevention and response to diseases in the state’s multi-billion animal agriculture sector. As administrator of the Division of Animal Health, his oversight also includes the local humane officer training program, rabies epidemiology, and the new dog sellers’ licensing program. The Division works closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Veterinary Services and Wildlife Services and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, as well as other state and federal agencies, private practice veterinarians, and local law enforcement.

Midwest Dairy Digest: Jan. 31, 2011

Missouri offers dairy business planning grants

The Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority (MASBDA) is accepting applications for the 2011 Dairy Business Planning Grant Program. Deadline to apply is March 25.

This funding will enable Missouri’s dairy producers to work with qualified dairy business planning professionals to develop a business plan to facilitate startup, improve profitability, increase production and encourage modernization and expansion of dairy farms in Missouri. Funding for the grant is being provided by the Missouri Soybean Association and the Missouri Dairy Growth Council.

Grants are capped at $5,000 and/or may not 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. Applications will be scored competitively.

Applications are online at For more information, contact MASBDA via phone: 573-751-2129; or e-mail

Tri-State Dairy Nutrition Conference scheduled at Fort Wayne

The 2011Tri-State Dairy Nutrition Conference will be held April 19-20, at the Grand Wayne Center, Fort Wayne, Ind.

For more information, contact:

• Michelle Milligan, phone: 614-292-7374 or e-mail:

• Herb Bucholtz, phone: 517-230-0120 or e-mail:

• visit

Iowa State University’s Spring Ag Career Day Set for Feb. 2

The spring version of Iowa State University’s Ag Career Day will be held Feb. 2, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., in the Memorial Union on the Iowa State University campus. The job fair is open to Iowa State students, alumni and the general public.

Mike Gaul, director of career services for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, expects 80 to 85 companies and organizations to recruit at the annual event.

USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and Purdue University released a report ( last year projecting 5% more college graduates in agriculture and related academic fields will be needed between 2010 and 2015 compared to the jobs available from 2005 to 2010.

A list of employers that have scheduled to recruit at Ag Career Day is on the career services web site:

Michigan labor seminars to turn out top-notch agricultural employers

Like all successful employers, Michigan farmers depend on good help, and good help typically hinges on work conditions and environments that are satisfying and up to par.

To help ensure that Michigan farmers continue to meet both these criteria for their employees – socially responsible labor management practices and regulatory compliance – more than 20 entities are teaming up to hold a series of agricultural labor management seminars beginning next month and continuing through July.

“Farmers need the best, most up-to-date information available if they are to continue their operations in the face of stepped-up enforcement of agricultural labor rules and a complicated maze of requirements,” said Craig Anderson, manager of the Michigan Farm Bureau agricultural labor and safety services program.

“The rules are complex and confusing, and these seminars will help farmers comply with new and existing agricultural labor rules before an inspection catches them off guard,” said Anderson.

While not directly the result of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission’s 2010 report on the conditions of migrant and seasonal farm workers in the state, Anderson said the labor seminars, in part, help to achieve a recommendation from that report which calls for ensuring that “workers, growers and crew leaders are regularly informed about the legal rights of farm workers.”

The agricultural labor management seminars will address a variety of issues including employment of youth, migrant labor housing, employer and employee rights and responsibilities, recruitment options, food safety and security procedures, federal and state agency enforcement and inspection activities and updates, self-audits, and much more. Complete agendas are online at

Each seminar will incorporate local commodities produced and/or local issues. The first round of seminars includes three meetings tailored to the blueberry industry and six meeting tailored to a variety of specialty crop production. A second round of seminars for the livestock and dairy industry, expected to be held March through July, will be announced later.

Registration costs $75 for the first individual from a farm or agricultural business and $50 for each additional attendee from the same farm or agribusiness. Attendees will receive lunch, snacks and a USB drive with publications and handouts. To register, individuals should contact the local organizer affiliated with their preferred meeting location.

The day-long seminars will be held as follows from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. unless otherwise indicated.

For a schedule and general information on the agricultural labor management seminar series, call (517) 323-7000, ext. 2022 or visit

Iowa: Be aware of winter manure application rules

The recent snow storm brought challenges to livestock farmers throughout the state. Between moving snow, keeping waterers thawed and getting chores done, there always seems to be something that needs your attention.

However, the abundance of snow brings up another important topic—winter application of manure. What are the rules? How do they affect your farm?

Last September, Iowa legislation regulating application of manure on frozen and snow-covered ground went into effect.

It prohibits the application of liquid manure from confinement feeding operations with more than 500 animal units on snow-covered ground from Dec. 21 to April 1. Application is not allowed on frozen ground from Feb. 1 to April 1, except in an emergency.

When there is one or more inch of snow and/or one-half or more inch of ice, it is considered to be “snow-covered.” On the other hand, “frozen ground” is defined as soil that is impenetrable for a depth of more than 2 inches.

Farms that are regulated under these rules may be able to apply manure in the case of an emergency. However, you must report the incident to DNR prior to application and follow all applicable NPDES permit requirements. For more information on emergency application see the IMMAG website or call your DNR Field office.

Facilities built after July 1, 2009 with manure storage capacity of 180 days or less do not qualify for emergency application under the existing insufficient storage exemption.

This law does not apply to:

  • • Manure from open feedlots (liquid or solid)
  • • Dry manure from confinements (frozen manure is not dry manure)
  • • Liquid manure from small animal feeding operations (confinements with 500 units or less)
  • • Liquid manure that can be appropriately injected or incorporated within 24 hours of application

Additional questions can be directed to Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers at 1-800-932-2436 or

MDA appoints new dairy princess consultant

Seena Glessing, Waverly, Minn., has been named “princess consultant” for Midwest Dairy Association, with responsibilities in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.  Glessing replaces Char Hovland, who retired, Jan. 1.

Glessing will manage the state dairy princess competitions and events, provide training and oversight for the three state princesses and help princesses develop skills to help consumers understand more about the value of dairy foods and the way they are produced.

Minnesota nutrient management conference is Feb. 15

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) will host a Nutrient Efficiency and Management Conference, Feb. 15,  8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Rochester Event Center, Rochester, Minn.

The conference will bring together agricultural supply and service consultants, growers, university extension specialists, crop advisers, researchers, and local, state and federal government officials.   Continuing education credits will also be available for Certified Crop Advisers.

Scott Murel,l of the International Plant Nutrient Institute will kick off the meeting with a discussion of the basics of nutrient interactions and how they affect the efficient use of nutrients.  He will also provide a big-picture view of nutrient use efficiency and stewardship trends in the Midwest.

Dennis Frame, of Wisconsin Discovery Farms, will follow with a discussion of water quality runoff research from a variety of crop and livestock farms in Wisconsin.

Tim Radatz, with the Minnesota Agricultural Water Resources Coalition, will provide updates on the newly formed Minnesota Discovery Farms Program.

The morning session will wrap up with a panel discussion of innovative and progressive management ideas from local farmers and crop consultants.

In the afternoon, participants will have their choice of listening to a variety of other speakers covering topics such as key manure management practices, precision conservation, optimizing phosphorus recommendations, soil test phosphorus trends in Minnesota, effectiveness of nitrogen additives, and vertical tillage.  A variety of other topics and information will be made available throughout the day.

There are no fees to attend and lunch will be provided.  Participants are encouraged to pre-register online at or by calling 651-201-6141.  For more information about the event, contact MDA’s Kevin Kuehner at 507-765-4530.

MMPA offers farm business webinar

Minnesota Milk Producers Association will host farm succession and estate planning webinar, Feb. 3, 12:30–1:30 p.m.

Attorney Brian Schoenborn will present “Forming Your Farm’s Legal Entity: Why is it important and what are my options?” This webinar will help producers consider the alternatives and decide what entity would be best for their and your agribusiness. He’ll address such question as:

  • • Legal: I don’t want to fill out paperwork every year or adhere to state/federal regulations — what is the easiest entity to maintain?
  • • Liability: I sold thousands of gallons of contaminated milk by accident — how can I be sure my personal assets are protected from a lawsuit?
  • • Financial: I want to add a state-of-the-art milking system but don’t have the money — how can I get access to more capital?
  • • Transition: I want to pass the farm on to my son/daughter/grandchildren — how can my business entity impact this?
  • • Taxes: How can I spend less money on taxes and more money investing in my farm?

The webinar is only available to producer and associate members of Minnesota Milk Producers Association. Advance registration is required. For more information, contact MMPA by e-mail at or toll-free at 1-877-577-0741.

UMDIA offers scholarships

The Upper Midwest Dairy Industry Association (UMDIA) is now accepting applications for the Gene Watnaas and Pioneer Dairymen’s Club Scholarships. In an effort to recognize individuals pursuing post- secondary education in a field that will enhance the quality and safety of dairy and food products, UMDIA will be awarding up to three $1,000 scholarships in 2011 to qualified applicants. Applications are due Feb. 7.

Scholarship application forms are available online at and  should be submitted electronically to: Elaine Santi, Secretary/Treasurer, Upper Midwest Dairy Industry Association, e-mail:,

Minnesota Extension offers labor management programs

One of the greatest challenges facing farmers is the management of a labor force. Effective management of hired labor can have a profound effect on the overall profitability of a farming operation.

University of Minnesota Extension will offer labor management programs at three sites, covering hiring process, legal issues, compensation and communication.

The programs are titled, “Employment Skills for Today: Planning for Success.” Farm owners and managers who oversee family and non-family labor should consider attending.  There is no cost for these programs, but pre-registration is required. The programs will be held at the following times and locations:

• Feb. 4, Minnesota West Community & Technical College, Pipestone, Minn.

• Feb. 11, Midtown Square, St. Cloud, Minn.

• Feb. 25, Heintz Center, Rochester, Minn.

Employment Skills for Today: Planning for Success will address the following labor management topics:  hiring process, legal issues, compensation and communication.

All three programs will begin at 10 a.m. and adjourn by 3 p.m. A complementary noon lunch will be provided at each location. To pre-register, e-mail Mary Jo Fox at or call (507) 337-2800.

Midwest Dairy Digest: Jan. 30, 2011

Central federal order marketings more concentrated

Seventy-five dairy farms, or about 3.6% of all farms marketing milk on the Central federal milk marketing order, accounted for 50% of the milk marketed on that order during October 2010, according to the order’s administration office. The 75 farms marketing half the order’s milk produced between 2.510 million lbs. and 5.851 million lbs. of milk during the month.

Thirty-six of the largest dairy farms accounted for 25% of Central federal milk marketing order marketings

during October 2010. Each of those farms marketed more than 5.922 million lbs. during the month.

A total of 3,126 farms marketed milk on the order during October 2010. There were 1,598 farms marketing less than 100,000 lbs. of milk each on the order in October 2010. These producers accounted for over 51% of the farms, but less than 7% of the milk marketed.

Midwest Manure Summit highlights new technologies to best utilize and dispose of manure

The University of Wisconson-Extension will host the Midwest Manure Summit, Feb. 15-16, at Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wis. Topics and speakers include:

• Air Quality, What’s coming in 2011, and What should you do? John Ferguson, P. Eng, Conestoga-Rovers & Associates

• Utilizing Biofilters for Air Emissions and Odor Reduction from Animal Production and Waste Storage Structures. Dr. Joe Taraba – University of Kentucky

• European Perspectives on Technical and Economical Approaches to Phosphorus Recycling. Dr. Marie-Line Daumer, Cemagref, France

• USDA Developed Technologies for Recovering Manure Phosphorus. Dr. Ariel Szogi, USDA-ARS South Carolina

• Managing Manure to Minimize Environmental Impact. Dr. Joe Harrison, Washington State University

• Making Digesters Work: The Economics of Bedding and Cofeeding. Dr. Dana Kirk, Manager, ADRE Center, Michigan State University

• Ecological Impacts on Future Farming. Dr. Ann Wilkie, University of Florida

• Profitability of Digesters-If I Knew Then, What I Know Now. Bob Nagel, D.V.M., Holsum Dairy, Chilton WI

A dozen other breakout sessions will also be held throughout the conference. These breakout session topics include small scale digesters, treatment options for dairy wash water, alternative bedding challenges, and odor study results.

The registration deadline is Feb. 8 and the registration fee is $195 per person which includes meals and breaks, proceedings, and a tour of Lambeau Field.

More details and registration information about the Midwest Manure Summit can be found at the conference website, You can also contact one of the conference chairs: Paul Dyk, 920-929-3171,, Mark Hagedorn, 920-391-4610,, or Abby Huibregtse, 920-834-6849,

I-29 Dairy Conference to feature Grandin

Livestock handling specialist Dr. Temple Grandin will be the keynote speaker at the sixth annual I-29 Dairy Conference, Feb. 9-10, Sioux Falls, S.D.

Grandin will speak at 7 p.m. on Feb. 9.   Her presentation on “The Way to Reduce Stress on Animals” will be open to both conference attendees and the general public.

The I-29 Dairy Conference is coordinated by dairy Extension specialists from North Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota. For more information, visit

Wisconsin Ag Status: 2010 dairy a little better

Things couldn’t have gone better for Wisconsin corn and soybean producers in 2010. For milk producers, they went a lot better than they did a year ago, according to University of Wisconsin-Madison agricultural economists in their 2011 Status of Wisconsin Agriculture report.

“For Wisconsin corn and soybean producers, 2010 was a fabulous year in nearly every respect—early planting, timely and abundant rains, warm temperatures and early harvest with little or no drying required. Best of all, they had plenty to sell at good prices,” the report says.

The state’s dairy farmers received some much-needed relief from the devastating milk prices of 2009—the state’s average all-milk price increased by about $3 to $16.18 and farmers sold 3 percent more milk—but the added income wasn’t nearly enough to rebuild the nearly 9 percent loss in net worth that they suffered in 2009.

Wisconsin’s net farm income nearly doubled in 2010, but that’s not saying much because 2009 was the worst year in a decade. The report’s authors estimate the state’s 2010 net farm income was about $1.5 billion, up $700 million from 2009 but $500 less than what it was in 2008 and $1.1 billion below the record set in 2007.

Wisconsin has seen much steeper peaks and deeper valleys in farm earnings than most states, they add. Net farm income jumped 144 percent for the state and 22 percent for the nation in 2007. It fell 58 percent in 2009 here while dropping 28 percent at the national level, and climbed 80 percent and 31 percent, respectively, in 2010.

“The wider fluctuations in Wisconsin’s net farm earnings reflect the dominance of milk in our commodity mix and the increased volatility of milk prices in recent years,” the report’s authors explain. Dairy products account for about half of the state’s farm revenue.

The state’s dairy farmers will face tough sledding for the first half of 2011, the report notes. Milk prices will be down in the wake of a late-2010 production surge, while feed prices will be up significantly. But things will improve in the second half, so the average price for 2011 will be about the same as it was in 2010.

While corn and soybean farmers can’t hope to see a repeat of 2010’s perfect growing season, they should fare well from a price standpoint in 2011. USDA forecasts record prices for both corn and soybeans, the report says.

Some other points in the report:

• The hot, wet weather that benefited field crop producers caused disease problems in cranberries, potatoes, snap beans, green beans and sweet corn. Untimely frosts cut the apple crop by 20 percent and the cherry crop by 46 percent.

• Production costs were about the same as they were in 2009. Feed costs were down, but feeder cattle and hogs, dairy heifers and poults cost more. Fertilizer and pesticide prices were down, but these were offset by a 22 percent jump in fuel costs.

• There should be plenty of money available to lend to farmers in 2011 at very favorable rates. Interest rates on farm operating loans have been dropping steadily. As of 2009 they were at about 6 percent, roughly half of what they were 20 years ago.

• A recent upward trend in Wisconsin cow numbers and total milk production continued in 2010 and is expected to do so in 2011. The state’s dairy herd averaged about 1.262 million cows in 2010, up about 50,000 cows from 2009. Per cow production increased 2.7 percent, and total production exceeded 26 billion pounds, up 3.2 percent. In the mid-2000s, the state reversed a troubling decline in milk production and cow numbers that began in 1989.

• Signs of strength in the restaurant trade bode well for the state’s milk producers and processors. The Restaurant Performance Index was over 100—indicating that the industry is expanding—during several months in 2010. The RPI dropped below 100 in 2007 and stayed there through 2008 and 2009. Eating establishments account for a large share of domestic purchases of cheese and other manufactured dairy goods, the main end products for most Wisconsin milk.

This year marks the silver anniversary for the Status of Wisconsin Agriculture report. The first issue was published in 1986, when the farm sector was beset with a wave of financial problems related to an enormous devaluation in farmland values. Electronic copies of the 2011 report are available online at For a print copy, call (608) 262-9488.

Northeast Dairy Digest: February-March 2011

Pennsylvania Dairy Summit offers producer discount

The 2011 Pennsylvania Dairy Summit offers a 50% registration discount for Pennsylvania dairy producers and their employees. The event is being held Feb. 2-3, at the Lancaster Host Resort in Lancaster, Pa.

Presentations include:

• Dairy and Sustainability

• The Farm Bill, Dairy Policy and You

• Money Makers for Your Dairy Business

Breakout sessions include:

• Reaping the Most from Your Reproduction Strategy

• Cow Comfort and Animal Patterns

• A Producer’s Perspective on Managing Your Risks

• Direct Marketing

A special Wednesday evening session will discuss animal activism.

Thursday’s closing luncheon speaker will provide a message of inspiration and hope, “Changing Your View of Success.” Jenné Fromm is a nationally recognized writer, speaker and motivator whose personal story and insight triggers sensible ideas for meaningful change.

In addition to the formal education program, dairy producers will have the opportunity to learn from more than 60 industry suppliers in the exhibit area.

The event is hosted by the Center for Dairy Excellence ( and the Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania ( Supporting partners are the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and the Penn State Dairy Alliance, an initiative of Cooperative Extension.

Information on the producer discount and all the details of the Summit program are available at A special hotline for Dairy Summit questions has been set up at

For additional details or specific questions, e-mail: or phone: 877-326-5993.

Vermont adds ACAP agronomists to aid dairy producers

Vermont’s Agronomy and Conservation Assistance Program (ACAP) recently hired three agronomy outreach professionals to consult with Vermont animal agriculture operations on agronomic and conservation practices to help reduce agricultural runoff into Lake Champlain and its tributaries.

Rico Balzano, Brian Trudell and Jennifer Alexander will work one-on-one with farmers in the Lake Champlain Basin through this program, a collaboration of University of Vermont (UVM) Extension, the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources and the Southern Vermont Nutrient Management Program of the Poultney Mettowee Natural Resource Conservation District. Balzano and Trudell will be employed by UVM Extension, Alexander by the conservation district.

The new agronomists will advise farmers on crop production, production facility best management practices and livestock dietary and whole-farm nutrient balances. They will work with them to identify high-priority conservation projects by completing a whole farm inventory of their current farm operation and help them obtain financial and technical resources to carry out those projects.

ACAP is funded through the Lake Champlain Basin Program and the Agency of Natural Resources. For more information, contact Jeff Carter, UVM Extension agronomy specialist for field crops and nutrient management, at (802) 388-4969, ext. 332, or

2011 Herd Health and Nutrition Conference set

The 2011 Herd Health and Nutrition Conference will be held March 1-2, at the Holiday Inn, Liverpool, N.Y.; and March 3, at the Fireside Inn, West Lebanon, New Hampshire

Presented by PRO-DAIRY and Northeast Ag and Feed Alliance, the conference provides an opportunity for dairy producers, veterinarians, feed industry representatives and agriservice personnel to increase their knowledge of current herd health and nutrition management techniques while interacting with other professionals. The format will be a combination of PRO-DAIRY’s Fall Dairy Conference and Northeast Ag and Feed Alliance’s Ruminant Nutrition Conference.

For more information contact: Heather Howland, Conference Coordinator, phone: (607) 255-4478; or e-mail: Visit:

Dairy Alliance to host Pennsylvania calf health workshops

Dairy producers and their employees have the opportunity to improve their calf raising skills at the upcoming Calf Health and Management Workshops, presented by Penn State Dairy Alliance. Each workshop will focus on calf care for animals from birth through 6 months of age. Colostrum management, calf health, vaccines for calves and younger heifers, calf and weaned calf housing, and calf and weaned calf nutrition are among the topics to be explored. Animal well-being issues will also be discussed.

Instructors will include Penn State’s Jud Heinrichs, professor of dairy and animal science; Dr. Ernest Hovingh, DVM; Dr. David Wolfgang, VMD; John Tyson, Extension engineer; and Dan McFarland, Extension engineer.

Each one-day workshop will be offered from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on these dates at the following sites:

• Feb. 17, Mercer County Extension Office, Mercer, PA.

• Feb. 22, Westmoreland County Extension Office, Greensburg, PA.

• Feb. 24, The Lighthouse Restaurant, Chambersburg, PA.

• March 1, Shady Maple Smorgasbord, East Earl, PA.

• March 3, Edgewood Restaurant, Troy, PA.

Advance registration is required. Cost for Pennsylvania dairy producers and their employees is $10/person; $20 for consultants and non-Pennsylvania dairy producers and dairy employees. To register online with your credit card: To register by phone or for more information, call toll-free: 888-373-7232.  This workshop qualifies for 2 SmartStart credits through AgChoice Farm Credit.

New England Dairy Conferences set

New England Dairy Conferences are scheduled at four locations in March. The program is sponsored by Cooperative Extension the Dairy Practices Committee in New England. This year’s program will feature Dr. Robert Graves, Pennsylvania State University, an ag engineer specializing in manure handling. Each location will also have its own local program and trade show.

Dates and locations include:

• March 14: UCONN, Storrs, Connecticut – Bishop Center for Continuing Education

• March 15: Waterville, Maine – The Elks Club

• March 16: Whitefield, New Hampshire – Mountain View Grand Resort

• March 17: West Lebanon, New Hampshire – Fireside Inn & Suites

For more information, contact Extension specialist Michal Lunak, phone: 603-787-6944.

NEDPA/PRO-DAIRY manure handling webinar is Feb. 9

The Northeast Dairy Producers Association and Cornell’s PRO-DAIRY program will host a manure handling webinar, Feb. 9, beginning at 1 p.m.

Topics will include:

• Tips for evaluating your manure handling and transfer systems to

reduce risk of spills

• Preparing for and handling spills if/when they do occur

• A DEC Perspective: Handling spills

Presenters include Scott Potter, Dairy Support Services Co.; Karl Czymmek, PRO-DAIRY; and Scott Cook and Matt Kazmierski, NYDEC

To register contact Caroline Potter, e-mail: or phone: 315-683-9268.

Vermont Dairy Producers Conference planned

The 13th Annual Vermont Dairy Producers Conference will be held Feb. 24, 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., at the Sheraton Hotel Conference Center, Burlington, Vt.

The morning session includes a discussion panel on dairy pricing and policy. The afternoon session will focus on animal welfare issues and how dairies can take proactive measures on the farm.

For conference agenda and registration information, visit

For further information, e-mail:

Pike Dairy to host Agri-Palooza

A New York dairy farm is opening its doors to the public, June 12, as part of the first-ever Agri-Palooza, an educational tour of the Van Slyke family dairy farm on Lamont Road in Pike, Wyoming County, N.Y.

The farm’s many environmental, animal welfare and technology initiatives will all be on display during the tour. The Van Slykes’ 1, 200-cow dairy became the 11th farm in the state to complete certification for the New York State Cattle Health Assurance Program, a series of stringent criteria for animal welfare

The farm installed a manure separation system, cutting manure volume and producing an organic, stable product they sell as Bessie’s Compost. Agri-Palooza also will also include a farmers’ market, concessions, free dairy foods sampling, pedal tractor races, an ice cream eating contest and music.

73rd Annual Cornell Nutrition Conference planned in October

The annual Cornell Nutrition Conference will be held Oct. 18-20, at the Doubletree Hotel Syracuse, East Syracuse, N.Y. The program is designed to provide industry leading research and information to feed industry professionals and nutritional consultants.

Online registration and payment will be available after Aug. 10. For more information contact: Heather Howland, Conference Coordinator, phone: 607-255-4478; e-mail: or visit:

Southeast Dairy Digest: February-March 2011

North Carolina Dairymen’s Conference is Feb. 17-18

The 60th annual North Carolina Dairymen’s Conference will be held Feb. 17-18, at the Hickory Metro Convention Center, Hickory, N.C. The event draws dairy producers from North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, South Carolina and southern Virginia. This year’s event is combined with the North Carolina Cattleman’s Conference, creating a larger trade show.
Conference speakers will include: Scott Whisnant, North Carolina State University, addressing beef and dairy reproduction; Monty Kerley, University of Missouri, discussing carbon credits for beef and dairy producers; Mike Hutjens, University of Illinois dairy nutritionist, discussing dairy nutrition; Scott Brown, University of Missouri, who will  provide a dairy policy and economic outlook; and Jake Martin, dairy engineer, discussing dairy design and engineering.
Other events include a dairy industry dinner and the annual meeting  of the North Carolina Dairy Producers Association meeting.
For an agenda and registration information, contact Matthew Lange, Dairy Development Coordinator, North Carolina Dairy Advantage Program, phone: 919-740-1762; or e-mail:

Kentucky dairy meetings planned

The Kentucky Dairy Development Council (KDDC) and Alltech will host a series of “Winter CoverAll Dairy Series” meetings in January and February.
Meeting topics include how mastitis-causing bacteria affect the udder, with an udder dissection by Megan Taylor, Alltech; treatment protocol and prevention, with a local veterinarian; and dairy cow reproduction,  presented by Dr. George Heersche, University of Kentucky Extension dairy specialist.
All sessions are 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Lunch will be provided. Dates and locations of February meetings include:
Feb.  8 – Metcalfe County – Extension Office – Sam Finney, 859-516-1966
Feb.  9 – Warren County – Chaney’s Dairy Barn – Dave Roberts, 859-516-1409
Feb. 10 – Christian/Todd County – Christian Co. Fairview Produce Auction – Dave Roberts, 859-516-1409
Feb. 11 – Marion County – Extension Office – Denise Jones, 859-516-1619
Feb. 22 – Fleming County – Extension Office – Willy Campbell, 859-516-2458
Feb. 23 – Taylor County – Extension Office – Denise Jones, 859-516-1619
Feb. 24 – Shelby County – Extension Office – Sam Finney, 859-516-1966
For further information, contact your local KDDC dairy consultant; Extension office; or Denise Jones, phone: 859-516-1619.

Alfalfa Conference set at Lexington

The 31st Kentucky Alfalfa Conference will be held Feb. 24, at the Fayette County Extension Office
Lexington, Ky. For an agenda and registration information, visit

Kentucky Dairy Partners to meet

The Kentucky Dairy Partners annual meeting will be held March 1-2, at the Cave City Convention Center, Cave City, Ky.
A reception and Exhibit Hall open the event’s activities, March 1, 6-8 p.m.
The March program begins with registration at 8:30 a.m. Workshop topics and speakers include:
9:30 a.m. – Nature vs. Nurture: Cow comfort and its effects on animal health, by Fabian Bernal, Alltech
10:00 a.m. – A new approach to dairy’s image, by CHeryl Hayn and Terry Rowlett
10:40 a.m. – Lowering SCC is not a guessing game, by Jeff Reneau, University of Minnesota
11:10 a.m. – What’s new in University of Kentucky Dairy Extension, Research and Teaching, by Bill Silvia, UK
11:40 a.m. – Kentucky Dairy Development Council annual business meeting
1:30 a.m. – McDonald’s: A dairy destination, by Diane Leanard, DMI
2 p.m. – Lowering SCC makes cents for you, by Jeff Reneau, University of Minnesota
2:30 p.m. – Raising the standard on milk quality, by Beth Jones, Brad Bertram and Jeremy Kinslow
3:30 p.m. – Adjourn
Registration is $25/person at the door. No registration fee for Kentucky dairy producers, with a limit of two per dairy permit.
For more information, visit

Kentucky Cheesemaking School planned

A Kentucky Cheesemaking School will be offered March 14-17, at Bleugrass Chevre, Lexington, Ky. Supporting organizations: University of Kentucky, Bleugrass Chevre, Kentucky State University and the Kentucky Dairy Development Council
The Kentucky Cheesemaking School is divided into two educational sessions. Session I will begin with a full day of cheese technology seminars and is followed by Session II providing three days of hands-on cheesesmaking. Both these sessions will provide the student with the current information necessary for making a commercially value-added cheese product from dairy sheep, goat or cow milk.
Contact Terry K. Hutchens, Animal and Food Sciences, University of Kentucky, phone: 859-257-2465, e-mail:; or Susan Miller, Bleugrass Chevre, phone: 859-421-9683, e-mail:, or visit

47th Florida Dairy Production Conference scheduled

The 47th Florida Dairy Production Conference will be held March 30, at the Best Western Gateway Grant, Gainesville, Fla. Topics will include dairy production and dairy economics. The complete program will be announced shortly. For more information, contact Albert De Vries,, or (352) 392-5594 ext. 227.

Feed more calcium to reduce movement of phosphorus from dairy cow feces

by Charlie Staples, Daniel Herrera, Willie Harris, Vimila Nair, and M. Josan
Recommended concentrations of dietary phosphorus (P) for lactating dairy cows have been reduced in recent years in order to reduce the excretion of P in manure. This reduction in manure P has resulted in less P spread on dairy farm land thus reducing the amount of P moving with water to adjacent land and streams. The target concentration of dietary P for lactating Holstein cows is now between 0.32% to 0.38% of dietary dry matter depending on milk yield. Researchers in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania reported that feeding a diet below this lower concentration (0.32%) resulted in less milk production. Diets fed to milking cows can still be in excess of target P values if several feeds are included in the diet that contain a high P concentration such as brewers grains (0.59%), whole cottonseeds (0.60%), hominy (0.65%), distillers grains (0.83%), corn gluten feed (1.00%), wheat midds (1.02%), cottonseed meal (1.15%), wheat bran (1.18%), and rice bran (1.78%). The inclusion of these feeds in the ration may be attractive because of their lower market price from time to time.
Movement of P from manure depends upon its solubility. We conducted a study to try to reduce the solubility of P in feces by feeding more calcium (Ca). The theory was that the extra Ca in the diet would bind with the P to form a less soluble complex (hydroxylapatite or whitlockite) resulting in feces containing P in a less soluble form, yet the same concentration of total P. Lactating Holstein cows were fed diets of 0.38% P that also contained either 0.64% or 0.95% Ca (dry matter basis). The source of Ca was either calcium carbonate or calcium chloride. Milk production averaged 76 lb during the 63-day study. Feces were collected from the cows and dried. Fecal samples were washed with water ten consecutive times to simulate long-term effects of a wet environment on P movement. Phosphorus was measured in the water extract after each washing. The extent of P extracted was reduced from an average of 48% to 38% when the dietary concentration of Ca was increased from 0.64 to 0.95%. When applying this to the cows in this study, soluble P is decreased from 16 to 11 grams per cow per day. When projected over a year’s time for a 500-cow dairy, an extra 2010 pounds of P would remain on farm land rather than leaving through leaching. Calcium in the carbonate and chloride form were both effective but the calcium carbonate is the preferred form due to better fat-corrected milk production and market price for calcium carbonate. X-ray diffraction analysis of the fecal samples verified that more of the fecal P was in the unavailable form form when cows were fed more Ca. Production and composition of milk as well as feed intake were not affected by feeding more Ca. Digestibility of nutrients including P was not changed. Solubility of P in dairy cow feces can be reduced preemptively by increased dietary supply of Ca when cows are fed the recommended dietary concentration of P.
Charlie Staples is in the UF/IFAS Department of Animal Sciences. Herrera, Harris, Nair, and Josan are in the UF/IFAS Department of Soil and Water Science. For more information, contact Charlie Staples at, or call (352) 392-1958.

400,000 or Bust

By David R. Bray
It seems our European Union friends have found a new trade barrier to burden us with. They want all milk in the country they import dairy products from to have a cell count below 400,000. This is not a big challenge for much of the United States since they have been receiving cell count bonuses for a long time because their milk goes into cheese production and the cheese makers have found that high cell count milk produces less cheese.
Here in Florida where we are a fluid market and we actually import 20% of our milk, mostly in the summer, most processors have not paid or are not going to pay a bonus for low cell counts. My guess is, these regulations are not going to be a big money maker for the dairymen in the South.
What has to change to meet these regulations?
For most of us not much. We have invested heavily in new barns, fans and sprinklers, sand bedding and have done a remarkable job of teat dipping and dry low therapy. I don’t know if there is a herd left in the state of Florida that has any Strep Ag and most herds are Staph Aureus free. We are stuck with environmental organisms but the barns and bedding management improvements we have more a clinical mastitis problem than a SCC problem. The better the job of stall maintenance, the less mastitis or SCC problems we have.
Dry period
The dry period still is an important part of the prevention of problems. Every spring calving lots should have old dirt removed and replaced with new soil graded to prevent wet spots. Careless weed is still a big cause of teat end damage on cows, heifers and calves. The thorns cut teat ends on any aged animal and will draw flies and cause mastitis and blind quarters.
Know what you have
1. It’s a good idea to do routine bulk tank cultures to determine what pathogens you have. Most of us here are free of contagious pathogens. If you have high levels of contagious pathogens your post milking teat dipping is not being carried out and/or your dry treatment scheme in not being carried out, or you are using the wrong product. You may need to get your veterinarian more involved in this area.
2. Monthly DHIA cell counts allow you to follow a cow’s progress or lack thereof, and to find high SCC cows to do something with. If you have many high SCC cows that have never been treated, find out and do something about it. Treat these high cell count cows, check milking procedures because your milkers are not doing a good job of checking cows.
Milking procedures
1. Milk clean dry udders and teats.
2. Remove units when the cow is milked out, with the vacuum off.
3. Pre and post dip with a approved teat dip, NO teat sprayers for post dipping!
4. Maintain and check milking equipment on a regular basis.
Clinical mastitis
There are many schemes to treat clinical mastitis:
1. You can culture, use bi-plates to check for gram negative or positive bacteria and do selective treatments. This takes some skills to do. It is expensive and if your help has more tattoos than teeth – skip this one.
2. Treat every new case of clinical mastitis per label direction on the commercial tube you use.
3. Extended treatment schemes have worked in some cases. Be sure to follow recommended milk withholding for these procedures and again use your veterinarian for advice in this area.
4. You can’t beat a dead horse. Once you have treated a quarter for five (5) episodes of clinical mastitis in one lactation, cull the cow because she is losing money.
5. Constantly review your milking procedures to insure what you are expecting is what you are getting.
For most dairymen the new regulations will not be a big problem. For the smaller older dairies it maybe more of a challenge since they do not have the options new dairies do, even though you are producing milk that meet all legal PMO standards.
Alternative to roller coaster exports
If all dairymen in the US and all their employees and suppliers would buy butter instead of margarine we would not have to put-up with this variable export market. We are not producing too much milk in the US, we are just not consuming enough. Shame on anybody associated with the dairy industry that does not buy and consume our own products. This would also use less soy products, so maybe our cows can have cheaper feed.
For more information, contact Dave Bray, e-mail: or phone: 352-392-5594 ext. 226.