10th Western Dairy Management Conference
March 9-11, 2011
WESTERN DAIRY MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE is celebrating its 20th year with its 10th gathering of dairy producers and representatives from related business and industries. The Conference will be held at John Ascuaga’s Nuggett, Reno. Conference details are included in the official WDMC program, sponsored and printed in the February 2011 editions of Western DairyBusiness and Eastern DairyBusiness magazines www.dairybusiness.com.
~ TOPICS & SPEAKERS ~
Where will dairies be located in the future?
Normand St. Pierre, The Ohio State University
In a nutshell: The last 30 years have resulted in significant changes in the distribution of herds and cows among the 50 states. Some states such as Idaho have moved from being a relatively small supplier of milk to being one of the five largest dairy producing states. The new landscape of environmental regulation, access to resources and other contemporary issues has and will force the relocation of many dairies in the next decade. Using a large survey of dairy producers and dairy stakeholders, we identified and classified the relocation factors into 3 major groups: (1) the must have (i.e., the critical factors), (2) the should have (i.e., the important factors), and (3) the nice to have (the bonus factors). We found significant regional differences in the rankings of these factors. Data will be presented regarding areas of potential dairy development outside the United States.
St. Pierre career highlights: Professor of animal sciences at The Ohio State University. He grew up in Québec, Canada, where he received his B.S. degree in animal science and M.S. degree in animal nutrition from Université Laval in Québec City. He received his Ph.D. degree in dairy science at OSU where he graduated in 1985. He spent a year in New Zealand as a post-doctoral fellow, working on various issues of farm production economics and systems modeling. After working for 10 years in the private sector, he joined the department of animal sciences at Ohio State in 1997, where he is conducting research and extension programs in the areas of dairy farm management, information processing, decision support systems and nutritional economics and optimization. St. Pierre has received numerous awards for his research and Extension work.
Making more efficient use of your data
Steven Stewart, Valley Ag Software
In a nutshell: Today’s dairy operations have a plethora of data sources. These data can be very helpful when organized properly. Unfortunately, quantity does not always result in quality. This presentation will focus on the use of data to assist daily implementation as well as longer term monitoring of outcomes. Management areas examined will include feeding, parlor, reproductive and hospital barn management.
Stewart career highlights: Steven Stewart is a native of Illinois and received his DVM in 1980 from the University of Illinois. He had a dairy practice in Illinois and Wisconsin for 13 years. He worked for the university for 12 years before joining Valley Ag Software three years ago.
Global perspectives – What’s happening worldwide?
Tim Hunt, Rabobank
In a nutshell: Booming commodity prices and a surge in exports have seen the US dairy industry’s exposure to the international market undergo a step change in recent years. Rabobank explores the changing face of this international marketplace, its likely medium term path, and the implications for the US dairy industry.
Hunt career highlights: Tim Hunt is an executive director with Rabobank’s Global Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory unit, and leader of the unit’s global dairy sector team. Tim’s responsibilities at Rabobank include analyzing developments in the regional and global dairy markets, developing the bank’s medium term dairy forecasts and advising the bank on its engagement with the dairy industry. He is a professional economist with 16 years experience, and the lead author of Rabobank’s annual and quarterly global dairy market reports.
Managing stress and building healthy family relations
Robert Fetsch, Colorado State University
In a nutshell: Farm owners were among the top 12 occupations with a significant incidence of stress-related illnesses. People with primary employment in agriculture and mining have the highest risk for disabling injuries and fatalities. Farm families are at risk for family, marital, and parenting challenges. In this workshop participants can learn how to spot signs of high stress. They can identify healthy ways to manage stress. They can identify the differences between at-risk and resilient families. If all of us lose our family farm this year, 3-5 years later approximately 1/3 of us will be better off, about 1/3 will be about the same, and about 1/3 will be worse off. In which group will your family be? Learn about the three steps you can take with your family to be among those who are better off in 3-5 years.
Fetsch career highlights: Robert J. “Bob” Fetsch was raised on a small dairy farm in North Texas. He has served for 31 years as a professor and Extension specialist at Colorado State University Extension and University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension. He provides information people can trust via workshops, fact sheets, popular press articles, and professional journal articles. He is the director of the Colorado AgrAbility Project, which is for farm/ranch families with disabilities. His newest program is Managing Tough Times: How Can Your Family Be More Resilient? It is for farm/ranch couples, Extension agents, and other professionals.
Managing transition cow issues
Todd Duffield, University of Guelph
In a nutshell: A successful transition from the late dry period through early lactation has profound impacts on the success of both the lactation and conception. Most problems that herds experience during transition manifest as metabolic disease issues. High incidence rates of retained placenta, metritis, ketosis and displaced abomasums can be obvious reasons for poor herd performance. However, often metabolic problems are still the root of suboptimal performance but go unnoticed on many dairies. Monitoring transition cow health through routine ketone testing or with precalving serum tests can be a valuable tool for tracking herd metabolic status and helping to uncover reasons for transition cow problems. Metabolic problems of most herds usually have multiple component causes. These causes may include many factors such as pen density or feed access issues, stressful grouping strategies, frequent group changes, feed issues or body condition problems. Effective monitoring programs can not only help identify problems but can be used to track the success of management changes.
Duffield career highlights: Todd graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) in 1990 (DVM) and worked for four years in a large dairy practice in eastern Ontario, Canada. He returned to OVC in 1994 and completed a Doctor of Veterinary Science (DVSc) degree in 1997. He is currently a professor in the Department of Population Medicine, OVC, University of Guelph. Todd’s time is split approximately 50% for teaching and 50% for research. He teaches in all years of the undergraduate veterinary program and works 1 to 2 days per week in the OVC ruminant field service veterinary practice. He is actively involved in dairy research, graduate supervision and teaching. He has authored or co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed articles on several aspects of dairy health management including transition cow metabolic disease, use of monensin in dairy cattle, Johne’s disease, Neospora abortion, and more recently strategies for minimizing pain in cattle. He has spoken on many of these areas of dairy health management in several countries including Italy, Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Australia, and Japan. Todd was on sabbatic leave with Ian Lean at Strategic Bovine Services in Camden, Australia in 2007 working on learning meta-analysis methods.
How lameness hurts in many ways
Rodrigo Bicalho, Cornell University
In a nutshell: In this presentation Bicalho will present the results of several research articles illustrating the incidence of lameness and its negative economic impact as well as a new perspective on its cause. Often, the relationship between lameness and thin cows appears obvious, so the question is, is she thin because she is lame, or is she lame because she is thin? Our team looked at a small layer of tissue, mostly composed of fat, called the digital cushion. Located under the heel between the hoof and the supporting bones and ligaments, the role of the digital cushion in dampening the compression of the hoof tissues is well documented. The relationship between digital cushion thickness (DCT) and lameness, and the relationship with body condition score (BCS), stage of lactation and milk production had previously received little attention. Our study examined these relationships, and challenged the traditional, albeit overwhelmingly unsubstantiated, wisdom regarding the role of sub-clinical laminitis as a major risk factor for hoof lesions. Bicalho will discuss the results of their research.
Bicalho career highlights: Rodrigo received a DVM degree from the Federal University of Goias, Brazil in 2002 and a PhD. degree in comparative biomedical sciences from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York in 2008. He also completed a residency in the Ambulatory Clinic at Cornell. He haa been an assistant professor of Dairy Production Medicine at Cornell since Jan. 14, 2009. Lameness is one of the greatest challenges facing the dairy industry because of the obvious suffering that is imposed in affected animals and the economic consequences of its occurrence. His previous and current lameness research interests are to understand the pathophysiology of claw horn disruption lesions, to evaluate preventive strategies, to investigate the microbial etiology of digital dermatitis, and to develop and test suitable vaccines against digital dermatitis.
Managing air quality on the dairy
Wendy Powers, Michigan State University
In a nutshell: Air quality continues to be a prominent issue for the dairy industry, from both an odor perspective and from the standpoint of specific gases (VOCs, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, methane and other greenhouse gases). This workshop will focus on the effectiveness of various feeding strategies to reduce specific air emissions and tradeoffs encountered. Tools available to help make decisions about where and how best to achieve air emission reductions at the farm level will be shared and reviewed.
Powers career highlights: Dr. Powers is a professor and director of environmental stewardship for animal agriculture in the departments of Animal Science, Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering at Michigan State University. She joined the faculty there in 2006. Her primary research focus is on diet modifications to alter odor and gaseous emissions and manure nutrient excretion working in a multispecies capacity. Extension efforts are currently focused on implementation of management practices to reduce environmental impact and addressing the concerns of rural citizens by improving understanding and communication. Powers coordinates environmental activities related to animal agriculture for the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. In mid-2010, Powers became director of the Institute for Agriculture and Agribusiness within MSU Extension, overseeing Extension programs for the state.
Feed center design
Joe Harner, Kansas State University
In a nutshell: A primary economic consideration in milk production is feed cost. Meeting the dietary requirements of a dairy herd is often 50 % of the total production cost. Feed costs are generally addressed by changing diets and utilizing lower cost feed ingredients. Many dairies overlook the real cost of shrink occurring in the feed center. Shrink is the difference between feed ingredients actually delivered to a dairy and the amount of feed including consumption and weigh backs. Moisture, spoilage and losses due to animals or wind increases shrink and feed cost. This presentation focuses on exploring opportunities in the feed center design that will reduce shrink resulting in lower feed costs.
Harner career highlights: Harner’s Extension programs at Kansas State Research and Extension focus on livestock and grain systems. His program focuses on developing livestock production systems that address worker, animal and environmental issues. He has worked with dairies in North America to develop ways to store and handle sand laden manure and in addressing environmental issues. He has worked with dairies on successfully flushing sand-laden manure and using gravity settling basins to separate the sand from the waste stream. Harner has assisted dairies in stepwise planning of dairy expansion along with assisting other dairies exploring new facilities ranging in size from 18 to 90,000 cows. He has participated in the heat stress abatement studies as a member of the K-State Dairy team. He has been instrumental in developing low profile cross ventilated freestall buildings and single row housing systems for smaller groups of dairy cows. Joe has also worked with the K-State Dairy team to develop guidelines for the special needs and feed areas of a dairy. In addition to his dairy efforts, he also has responsibilities in the beef and grain storage and drying programs at K-State. Currently he is serving as the department head of the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department at K-State. Joe is a professional engineer in Kansas.
The new Temperature Humidity Index (THI)
Robert Collier, University of Arizona
In a nutshell: In his presentation he will discuss the Temperature Humidity Index (THI) threshold for heat stress in high producing dairy cows (>70 lbs of milk per day) and also examine the use of geothermal cooling (groundwater) of freestall beds as a new approach to reduce heat stress in cattle. This cooling method has the potential to reduce water and energy consumption on dairies during hot summer months.
Collier career highlights: Dr. Collier received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in zoology from Eastern Illinois University with a term of service in the Army Medical Corps sandwiched in between. He earned his PhD. in dairy science from the University of Illinois in 1976 and joined the Dairy Science Department at the University of Florida as an assistant professor where he developed a teaching and research program on the environmental physiology of the dairy cow in the subtropics. Collier joined the Monsanto Company in 1985 as a Science Fellow. He was promoted to dairy research director and fellow in 1987 and from 1989 until 1999 was dairy research director and senior fellow. In 1999, Collier joined the faculty of University of Arizona as professor of environmental physiology. He headed the Animal Science Department from 2001 to 2005. He is presently professor of environmental physiology and director of the Agricultural Research Complex in the animal sciences department.
Accelerated growth of heifers – health and economics
Mike Van Amburgh, Cornell University
In a nutshell: Calf feeding and management programs have historically focused on survival and reduced incidence of disease through the weaning phase and then moderate growth to puberty in order to maximize first lactation milk yield. A growing body of data suggests this approach to calf and heifer rearing created missed opportunities to enhance the capacity of the animals to yield more milk over their lifetime. This presentation will discuss the effect of nutrient intake prior to weaning from liquid feeds on lifetime productivity and the estimated economic outcome of this management approach. From our analyses, growth rate from birth to weaning accounts for as much as 22% of the variation in first lactation milk yield. In addition, there is a lifetime milk yield response related to intake over maintenance from liquid feeds up to 49 days of life and the milk yield response increases with increasing energy intake. The bottom line is that we can increase lifetime milk yield of calves through better nutrition and management prior to weaning and this might also enhance herd life.
Van Amburgh career highlights: Van Amburgh is an associate professor in the Department of Animal Science at Cornell University where he has a dual appointment in teaching and research. He teaches multiple courses and works extensively with the Dairy Fellows Program, advises approximately 50 students and is the advisor for the Cornell Dairy Science Club. The focus of Mike’s research program for the last 15 years has been to further the understanding of nutrient requirements of dairy calves and heifers and aspects of endocrine control of developmental functions such as mammary development and puberty. He currently leads the development of the Cornell Net Carbohydrate and Protein System.
Are you efficiently replacing your herd?
Greg Bethard, Dairy Records Management System
In a nutshell: The top three costs of producing milk on most dairies in the US are feed costs, replacement costs, and labor costs. Replacement costs is a number that captures the cost of maintaining herd size and structure. Death loss, value of cattle sold, cost of raising (feed, labor, vaccines, etc) or purchasing replacements, and hundredweights of milk shipped all factor into the equation. There are many models that can result in low replacement costs, with a goal of less than $1.50/cwt. The best models result from efficient and intelligent culling and replacement of cows in a herd, and are not necessarily related to cull rate. Cow health is a primary determinant of replacement costs, regardless of cull rate. Dairies that do not have a dairy accountant typically do not know what their replacement costs are.
Bethard career highlights: Dr.. Bethard received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from Virginia Tech in dairy nutrition and management. Following graduate school, he worked on the faculty at New Mexico State University and then as a technical services specialist for Monsanto Dairy Business. Since 2000, Bethard has operated G&R Dairy Consulting, Inc. in Wytheville, Va. with his wife Rachel. Their firm has served clients throughout the US, Europe, and Mexico, focusing on nutrition, facilities, management, business planning, and financial and records-analysis services. In 2009, He joined Dairy Records Management Systems in Raleigh, NC, focusing on improving records analysis software. Greg has published articles in the Journal of Dairy Science and written articles for various dairy industry magazines.
Making sense of genomics in dairy cattle
Dr. Kent Weigel, University of Wisconsin
In a nutshell: Weigel will give conference attendees an inside look at the “genomics revolution” in dairy cattle, including design, development, and validation of the 3K, 50K, and high-density genotyping chips that are now commercially available. He will also discuss the pros and cons of using young, genome-tested bulls in your herd’s breeding program. In addition, he will review various applications of the 3K genotyping chip on commercial farms, including selecting among replacement heifers, discovering parentage, managing inbreeding, and identifying mating sires for individual cows and heifers. Lastly, he will describe strategies for using genomics technology in an optimal, cost-effective manner on your farm.
Weigel career highlights: Weigel is professor and chair of the Department of Dairy Science at University of Wisconsin – Madison. He also serves as Extension dairy genetics specialist for the State of Wisconsin and is a key technical consultant for the National Association of Animal Breeders and its members. His research focuses on genetic improvement of the productivity, health, and fertility of dairy cattle using tools such as genomic selection, crossbreeding, advanced reproductive technologies, and electronic data capture systems.
How to maximize intake in pre-fresh cows
Tom Overton, Cornell University
In a nutshell: Getting the right dry matter intake in dry and pre-fresh cows is a key component of success in fresh cow health and subsequent production and reproductive performance. Intake regulation in dry and pre-fresh cows is a complex combination of physiological, nutritional, and environmental factors that must be managed on dairies. This presentation will focus on how to optimize these areas within the dairy so that we maximize our postcalving success and overall farm profitability.
Overton career highlights: Overton is Associate Professor in the Department of Animal Science at Cornell University and is recognized nationally and internationally for his research and outreach efforts relating to metabolism and nutritional physiology of the transition cow and his work on milk component production in cows. He serves as Director of the PRO-DAIRY program at Cornell and works with statewide and regional teams within New York to enhance the dairy industry in New York State. He teaches or co-teaches the introductory course in dairy cattle nutrition for undergraduates, the dairy herd health course for undergraduates, an upper level seminar course for dairy oriented undergraduate students, a course in dairy nutrition for veterinary students, and works with students in the Dairy Fellows program.
Tom is a native of northern New York who grew up primarily in Massachusetts. He has a B.S. degree from Cornell University and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Illinois. He returned to Cornell as an Assistant Professor in 1998 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2004. He has authored or coauthored more than 40 peer-reviewed scientific publications and numerous technical articles for conference proceedings, extension publications, and popular press articles. He was awarded the Cargill Animal Nutrition Young Scientist Award by the American Dairy Science Association in 2006 and the ADSA Foundation Scholar Award in 2007.
The chemistry of dry and high moisture corn
Pat Hoffman, University of Wisconsin
In a nutshell: Absent from historical ruminant research literature, are defining chemical characteristics of dry or high moisture corns which explain altered starch digestion of these feed grains when fed to ruminants. In short, feeding dry or high moisture corn to lactating dairy cows is known to alter the site and or extent of starch digestion but relationships between corn chemistry and animal performance are poorly defined. The presentation will focus on the chemistry of dry and high moisture corn in an attempt to provide inference regarding what physical and chemical properties in corn influence starch digestibility in ruminants. Recent research has provided a greater understanding of dry and high moisture corn chemistries and this research has correspondingly yielded a better understanding of why different sites and extents of starch digestibility occur in ruminants.
Hoffman career highlights: Hoffman is a professor in the Department of Ag and Ag Business and is a dairy specialist for the Dairy Science Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Hoffman received his B.S. degree from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and his M.S. degree in Dairy Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Current responsibilities include, conducting applied dairy research and development of dairy outreach educational programs for the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research focuses on growth and development of dairy replacement heifers and development of advanced feed and forage testing procedures. He was president of Midwest Branch of the American Dairy Science Association and recognized for innovative applied dairy research.
Making the most of feed intake in the dairy cow
Mike Allen, Michigan State University
In a nutshell: Feed intake is affected by the interaction of diet characteristics, physiological state of animals, and environmental stressors. The signals controlling feed intake likely change throughout lactation. Control of feed intake is likely dominated by hepatic oxidation of NEFA (non-esterified fatty acids) during transition and propionate in late lactation, while ruminal distension likely controls feed intake of peak lactation cows. Thus, optimizing feed intake requires different diets through lactation (i.e. grouping cows). Controlling mobilization of body fat stores during transition and limiting diet fermentability are keys to maximize feed intake during transition. Peak milk yield is maximized by feeding low-fill diets that are highly fermentable. The filling effect of diets is affected most by concentration, digestibility, and fragility of forage NDF. Diets should be formulated to limit diet fermentability to provide consistent supply of fuels as milk production declines post-peak and plasma insulin concentration and insulin sensitivity of tissues increase.
Allen career highlights: Allen is university distinguished professor of Dairy Nutrition at Michigan State University. Prior to joining the faculty in 1987, he was a Research Dairy Scientist at the US Dairy Forage Research Center in Madison, WI. He completed his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. at Cornell University. He is author or co-author of over 500 research and extension publications and he has presented over 250 invited talks at conferences. His research interests include the effects of diet characteristics on energy intake and partitioning and improving forage utilization.
Physiology, behavior, and nutrition in transition cows
Barry Bradford, Kansas State University
In a nutshell: In the past, efforts to improve the transition to lactation have focused largely on preventing infections and maximizing energy intake in transition cows, and these have generally been treated as independent issues. However, new models are emerging to explain the development of numerous transition disorders. A combination of insults, including social stress, negative energy balance, heat stress, endotoxin exposure, and oxidative stress may promote inflammation, suppress feed intake, and impair both metabolic and immune function during the transition period. These models suggest that transition cow management must be viewed in a holistic way, with the cow’s environment, nutrition, and immune function interacting in many complex ways. Fortunately, a number of practical approaches can be used to improve the overall health of transition cows, which can decrease the cull rate in early lactation and improve both productivity and reproductive success.
Bradford career highlights: Bradford completed dual bachelor’s degrees at Iowa State University and a doctorate in animal nutrition at Michigan State University. In 2006, he began his current position as an assistant professor at Kansas State University. Bradford oversees an active research program focused on alternative feedstuffs, transition cow health, and physiological regulation of carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. In addition, he teaches more than 150 undergraduate students a year in nutrition and physiology.
PRODUCER & INDUSTRY PANEL DISCUSSIONS
Dairy Management Inc.
McDonald’s and Domino’s partnerships with Dairy Checkoff result in innovative new dairy products and increased consumption by 1 billion pounds. Moderator: Stan Erwine, DMI.
Brandon Solano – VP, brand innovation, Domino’s Pizza – Solano is responsible for overseeing culinary, research and development and all new product marketing along with Hispanic marketing. His team is responsible for the creation of Domino’s new Oven Baked Sandwiches, American Legends line of specialty pizzas, Bread Bowl Pastas, Chocolate Lava Crunch Cakes and Domino’s New and Inspired core Pizza.
Alex Conti – Senior director, menu management, McDonald’s Corporation – Conti has had a long career within the quick service restaurant business starting with 9 with Dunkin’ Donuts and 19 years for the McDonald’s Corporation. He oversees the McDonald’s Beverage Destination and Dessert Initiatives including identifying business opportunities, concept development work, beverage and dessert innovation and successful market testing of future products for McDonald’s product pipeline. Most recently, his group has been accountable for the launch of McCafe’ Coffees and Chocolate Drinks and now the most recent addition of McCafe’ Frappes and Smoothies.
James (Jim) Montel, executive VP, strategic initiatives, DMI. Jim’s current role is to develop and activate category volume building strategies with key partners. A graduate of Purdue University with a B.S. in industrial management, Jim also has a M.S. in business administration from Indiana University.
Employee relations can help
Owners/GM’s role in mentoring the upper-level management working in all areas of dairy farm operations with highly trained managers. Developing training programs on dairies by training the trainers in all areas of dairy and business operations with labor management. Moderator: Bill Wailes, Colorado State University.
Noa Roman-Muniz is a native of Puerto Rico who earned her DVM at University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2001. She has been at Colorado State University since graduation and from 2004 to 2008, she was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Clinical Sciences. She has been with the department of animal sciences since 2008 as the new Extension dairy specialist. Her areas of interest are animal health and well-being, dairy worker training, labor management, human safety and health on livestock operations.
Mary Kraft is the chief financial officer and human resources director for the 5,000 head milking facilities of Badger Creek Farm and Quail Ridge Dairy, Fort Morgan, Colo. Mary and her husband, Chris, designed and general contracted Quail Ridge Dairy (opened 2007 – 4,000 head, double-50 parallel parlor with freestalls, automated alley scraper systems and milk meters). The ramp-up for the new dairy began with extensive training at Badger Creek Farm (the home dairy, then milking 1,500 head with a double-22 parallel) to set up new managers before Quail Ridge opened. The dairies employ 70 full time employees with only two key employees not developed at the dairies. Mary develops leadership training systems ranging from intensive English classes to artificial insemination and leadership training. Mary earned her bachelor degree in Technical Communications from Colorado State University, and her Master’s of Business Administration from New York Institute of Technology.
Managing variability in feed ingredients and feed delivery
Controlling shrink and improving the accuracy and precision of feeding programs are major contributors to improved nutritional and financial efficiency on the dairy. Managers from three dairies representing the Deep South, the High Plains and the Northwest U.S. will discuss unique aspects of their feeding programs. Special features include design of feed storage and mixing facilities, establishment and use of feed mixing protocols and the use of computer software programs to monitor feed inventories, accuracy and precision of feed mixing and delivery. Moderator: Robert James, Virginia Tech.
Kyle Averhoff operates Royal Farms Dairy, a western style, open lot dairy in Garden City, Kan. They milk 6,300 head and raise 7,000 replacement heifers. On average, the dairy markets over 13 million pounds of milk per month and employ 60 people. The dairy strategically focuses on the basics of taking great care of cows and people. Kyle has served as the general manager of Royal Farms Dairy since 2003. He and wife Michelle live on the farm with their three children – Breck, Lexi, and Cooper. Kyle is directly responsible for the overall financial and operation management of the business. He works with his five partners and key managers to develop, implement, and execute upon key areas of direction and focus for the dairy.
Mike Pedreiro is executive vice president and chief operating officer for Dairy Production Systems. He was born and raised on his family’s 1,200-cow dairy in Chowchilla, Calif. He graduated from Modesto Junior College and Cornell University with a B.S. degree in animal science in 2001. During his senior year at Cornell, he interned with Aurora Dairy in Florida, which is known today as Dairy Production Systems (DPS) – Bell and Branford Farm. Upon his graduation in 2002, he joined the management team at Aurora’s Colorado operation. In 2005, Pedreiro was promoted to executive vice president and chief operations officer of DPS. During his tenure as COO, Michael has expanded the company’s employee handbook; created an original budget program that can be accessed remotely for real time data at all operations; began formal biannual performance reviews for management teams; implemented a synchronized breeding program; and saw improved milk production per cow, and milk quality over the past five years. DPS owns and operates five large-scale dairy farms solely owned by David Sumrall. He has dairies in Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Texas. The combined operations at capacity comprise a total herd of 15,000 mature cows. DPS also consults for other operations in a variety of areas related to operational management, specializing in standard operating procedures, especially as they relate to herd health, quality milk, and maximizing parlor throughput.
Dick Bengen, and wife Ruby, own and operate Ruby Ridge Dairy in Pasco, Wash. In 2005, they consolidated two western Washington dairies and moved into one freestall operation in the eastern part of the state. The dairy operates 2,200 pivot irrigated acres, has 2,200 Holstein cows and 2,000 heifers.
How did you survive? What things are you doing differently?
This panel discussion will focus on how the three dairies involved were affected by conditions during the past couple of years, how they changed their management styles, what differences there were in relationships with suppliers and lenders, tough choices they had to make to cut costs, which changes paid and which did not, how they kept morale up on their dairies both among employees and family members, and much more. The families represented on the panel are Doug and Trish Scheider, Freeport, Ill.; John and Maria Nye, Delta, Utah; and Chris and Mary Kraft, Fort Morgan, Colo. Moderator: Steve Larson, Hoards Dairyman.
John and Maria Nye are owners/operators/managers of Mountain View Dairy and Horizon Dairy in Delta, Utah. With degrees from SUNY Cobleskill and the University of Connecticut, John and Maria began their dairy career in Washington Depot, Conn. in 1982. But with a growing herd and family they relocated to Utah in 1995. Over the last 15 years the herd has grown to 3,200 head with young stock custom raised at nearby facilities. Horizon Dairy, purchased in 2007, adjoins their original Mountain View Dairy and houses half of the milking herd. Their oldest son, Gregory, returned to the family business in 2008, bringing a degree in ag engineering and technology, as well as experience in milking equipment design and installation. With certifications in welding and fabrication, son Peter has been part of the operation since early 2009. Their daughter Katharine is currently serving as the Utah FFA state secretary and will attend Cal Poly at San Luis Obispo next fall. John and Maria have shared their time and passion for the dairy industry in a number of capacities. Since moving to Utah, John has served on the board of the Magic Valley Quality Milk Producers, chairman of the Soil Conservation District, and is currently vice chair of the Intermountain Farmers Association. Maria has served on the DFA Mountain Area Council as a director since 2005, a member of the Utah Holstein Association board, a trustee of Delta and Fillmore Community Hospitals, a member of Jr. Livestock Show board, and elder in Delta Community Church.
Chris Kraft is the chief executive officer for Badger Creek Farm and Quail Ridge Dairy. Chris and wife, Mary, started Badger Creek Farm in 1988 with 250 head, and now milk over 5,000 Holsteins at two locations – 4,000 at Quail Ridge and 1,000 at Badger Creek. Often called the “Flow Dairy,” Quail Ridge was designed and constructed by the Krafts with the flow of everything in mind. The 4,000-cow dairy in northeast Colo., opened in 2007. Traffic patterns for moving cows, milk trucks, feed trucks, air, commodities and people make the five- 800-cow freestalls and double-50 parallel parlor highly efficient. Other special features include a biometric time clock, automated truck scale, alley scrapers with separators, compost bedding operations, 15’ wide footbaths cleaned by squeegee, a surgical/maternity unit at the home dairy, and a teaching center. Chris earned his B.S. degree from Colorado State University in animal science, and is currently a director on the Mountain Area Council of DFA.
Doug and Trish Scheider own and operate Scheidairy Farms in Freeport, Ill. Doug earned his B.A. degree from Illinois State University. He taught speech communication and coached the debate team at Dubuque Senior High School, but returned to the family dairy in Stephenson County in 1979. The farm has changed drastically since Doug and Trish, began with 70 cows and 200 acres. Today, Scheider serves as president of Scheidairy Farms, Inc., a modern, family owned dairy that includes 1,100 acres and 1,250 head of livestock. The dairy produces more than 2 million gallons of milk each year from its 675 cows that are milked 3x daily. He also serves as president of Illinois Milk Producers.
Cross ventilated barns; operating costs, performance and emissions
In recent years there has been an increased interest in cross ventilated freestall facilities. The panel will discuss the pros and cons of cross ventilation. Some of the issues include facility cost, facility design, operating cost, winter management and management strategies. Moderator: John Smith, Kansas State University.
Brian Roorda moved to northwest Iowa in 2000 from the state of Washington. In Iowa, he has been part of designing, building, and starting three large dairies. Now, along with four other family members, he operates Roorda Dairy. This three year old, cross-ventilated dairy milks 3,500 cows.
Bill Powel-Smith graduated from Cornell University in 1983 and worked independently for the next 20 years providing large herd dairy management services throughout the United States – including nutrition, facility design, and labor management. In 2003, he began hiring his own people and managing dairies in Wisconsin for dairy owners. At one point he had six managers on their own sites caring for about 8,000 cows. In 2008, Bill joined Milksource on the dairy management side and is now the director of livestock for Milksource. Milksource today milks about 17,000 cows on three sites in Wisconsin. He works with the teams on each site to evaluate and refine their systems and help them meet their performance expectations. He also has oversight of the replacement program and leads the hiring, stocking, and startup of new dairies.
Harry DeWit, owner of High Plains Dairy, Friona, Texas, immigrated to the United States from Holland in 1987. He has worked and lived in Canada and California, but now calls the High Plains of Texas home. He and wife, Margret, started their dairy business on rented facilities and eventually worked their way up to milking 2,000 cows on three different rented facilities. In 2002, he built a new dairy in the Texas Panhandle where they milked 2,500 cows. In 2007, they converted those freestall facilities to cross-ventilated barns. They now milk 4,500 cows 2 times a day. They raise approximately 5,000 heifers. The High Plains Dairy team also grow all of the silage used at the dairy. In addition to growing corn and sorghum, they also grow alfalfa and wheat on about 5,000 acres. High Plains Dairy has 50 employees.
~ Sponsored Events ~
Novus International will host a big reception and launch C.O.W.S. (Comfort • Oxidative Balance • Well-Being • Sustainability) March 8th – 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Rose Ballroom, John Ascuaga’s Nugget. C.O.W.S evaluates individual dairy farms relative to benchmarks on cow comfort measures, facility design and management. Also, the project provides feedback to the individual dairy with ratings on all variables. The aim is to optimize dairy cow well-being, comfort and productive efficiency by providing a systematic approach to improve management focus and practice.
Bruce Vincent to speak at Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health Reception
Wednesday, March 9, 5:30 – 8 p.m. – Ponderosa Room
Bruce Vincent, a Montana logger and agricultural advocate, will be one of the keynote speakers at the Western Dairy Management Conference on Wednesday, March 9. In his presentation, “Vision, There Is Hope,” Vincent will share his unique perspective on the challenges facing agriculture and the dairy industry. Vincent will speak at 6 p.m. during a reception sponsored by Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health. In a presentation that brings audiences laughter, tears, and a cultural call to action, Bruce advises that the future of agriculture is going to be defined and defended by someone’s visionary leadership. What is at stake, he says, is nothing short of the social license to operate agriculture businesses in North America.
DeLaval will sponsor a dairy industry reception during WDMC on Wednesday, March 9, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The reception will be held in the Poolside Terrace on the 5th floor of John Ascuaga’s Nugget. As usual, hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be served. During the reception, producers will have an opportunity to see the latest Smart Farming, Herd Navigator and DeLaval’s new AMR (Automatic Milking Rotary) technology launched at the EuroTier showgrounds in Hannover, Germany late in 2010.
Dr. Greg Bethard
Tuesday, March 8, 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. – Bonanza C
You have tons of DHI data. But, can you quickly summarize it, generate graphs, identify trends, and find the answers you need to manage more effectively? With the PCDART Tracker tools you can! Dr. Greg Bethard will demonstrate the Activity, Heifer, Conception and Maternity Trackers in PCDART. Start with a question, and he’ll show you how to zero in on just the data, animals, and time frame you need to answer it quickly and accurately.
What has become a regular event at the biennial Western Dairy Management Conference, Stan Brown and the BECO Dairy Automation Inc. team will once again be hosting a hospitality social in the Alpine Room between 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, March 9 and 10. Please stop in, have some refreshments and see the new “Efficiency Tools” products on display.
2011 Western Dairy Management Conference Schedule
Wednesday, March 9
8:00 AM Welcome
8:10 AM Global perspectives – What’s happening worldwide? Tim Hunt, Rabobank
8:50 AM Financial perspectives – What’s happening in the US? Speaker to be announced
9:30 AM Where will dairies be located in the future? Normand St. Pierre, The Ohio State University
10:10 AM Break
10:30 AM How did you survive? What things are you doing differently? Moderated by Steve Larson, Hoard’s Dairyman
11:30 AM Managing stress and building healthy family relations. Robert Fetsch, Colorado State University
12:10 PM Lunch
1:40 PM Managing transition cow issues. Todd Duffield, University of Guelph
2:20 PM Are you efficiently replacing your herd? Greg Bethard, Dairy Records Management Systems
3:00 PM Break
3:30 PM Integrating farm data across enterprises. Steven Stewart, Valley Ag Software
4:10 PM How lameness hurts in many ways. Rodrigo Bicalho, Cornell Universityn
4:50 PM Adjourn
Thursday, March 10
8:00 AM Managing air quality on the dairy. Wendy Powers, Michigan State University
8:40 AM Feed center design. Joe Harner, Kansas State University
9:20 AM Cross ventilated barns; operating costs, performance, and emissions. Moderated by John F. Smith, Kansas State University
10:20 AM Break
10:50 AM The new Temperature Humidity Index (THI). Robert Collier, University of Arizona
11:30 AM Making sense of genomics in dairy cattle. Kent Weigel, University of Wisconsin
12:10 PM Lunch
1:30 PM Accelerated growth of heifers – health and economics. Mike Van Amburgh, Cornell University
2:10 PM Employee relations can help. Moderated by Bill Wailes, Colorado State University
3:10 PM Break
3:45 PM Dairy Management, Inc., McDonald’s and Domino’s partnerships result in innovative new dairy products and increased consumption. Moderated by Stan Erwine, Dairy Management, Inc.
5:30 PM Adjourn
Friday, March 11
8:00 AM How to maximize intake in pre-fresh cows. Tom Overton, Cornell University
8:40 AM The chemistry of dry and high moisture corn. Pat Hoffman, University of Wisconsin
9:20 AM Making the most of feed intake in the dairy cow. Mike Allen, Michigan State University
10:00 AM Physiology, behavior, & nutrition in transition cows. Barry Bradford, Kansas State University
10:40 AM Managing variability in feed ingredients & feed delivery. Moderated by Robert James, Virginia Tech
• Kyle Averhoff, Royal Dairy, Garden City, Kan.
• Dick Bengen, Ruby Ridge Dairy, Pasco, Wash.
• Mike Pedreiro, Dairy Production Systems, Hot Springs, Fla.
11:40 AM Adjourn
Wednesday, March 9
8:00 AM Welcome
8:10 AM Are you efficiently replacing your herd? Greg Bethard, Dairy Records Management Systems
8:50 AM Integrating farm data across enterprises. Steven Stewart, Valley Ag Software
9:30 AM How lameness hurts in many ways. Rodrigo Bicalho, Cornell University
10:10 AM Break
10:30 AM Employee relations can help. Moderated by Bill Wailes, Colorado State University
11:30 AM How lameness hurts in many ways. Rodrigo Bicalho, Cornell University
12:10 PM Lunch
1:40 PM Managing air quality on the dairy. Wendy Powers, Michigan State University
2:20 PM Feed center design. Joe Harner, Kansas State University
3:00 PM Break
3:30 PM Accelerated growth of heifers – health and economics. Mike Van Amburgh, Cornell University
4:10 PM Making sense of genomics in dairy cattle. Kent Weigel, University of Wisconsin
4:50 PM Adjourn
Thursday, March 10
8:00 AM Global perspectives – What’s happening worldwide? Tim Hunt, Rabobank
8:40 AM Financial perspectives – What’s happening in the US? Speaker to be announced
9:20 AM Where will dairies be located in the future? Normand St. Pierre, The Ohio State University
10:20 AM Break
10:50 AM Managing transition cow issues. Todd Duffield, University of Guelph
11:30 AM Cross ventilated barns; operating costs, performance, and emissions. Moderated by John F. Smith, Kansas State University
12:10 PM Lunch
1:30 PM How did you survive? What things are you doing differently? Moderated by Steve Larson, Hoard’s Dairyman
2:10 PM The new Temperature Humidity Index (THI). Robert Collier, University of Arizona
3:10 PM Break
Go to our website: http://www.wdmc.org and complete your registration online. You can also order extra proceedings and conference shirts. You can also register by mail or fax. Print out the online form, complete and return 1 per person, along with payment. The conference fee is $400 per person. Student registration is $200. Registration fee includes 1 copy of the conference proceedings, 2 lunches, and 3 breakfasts. Additional proceedings are available for $25 each. Mail-in registration deadline is Mar. 1. Online registration deadline is Mar. 6, but walkin signups are accepted.
For information, call: 785-532-2370 or Fax 785-532-2333