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.