← Return to Home Page


Updated May 30, 2014

To have your news included here, please send potential news links, press releases, or articles to Bill Baker at bbaker@dairybusiness.com

Conquering the heat in Florida

Shoreview, Minn. [May 30, 2014] – Dealing with heat stress is a constant struggle for Florida dairyman Sutton Rucks of Milking R in Okeechobee. This 1,350-cow dairy is located in one of the United States’ hottest regions where average highs range in the upper 80s to low 90s from May through October. “We battle heat 10 months out of the year here,” says Rucks. “When farming in this part of the country, you must do everything you can to prevent hot weather from stealing your milk production and prolonging time to conception.”

At the advice of his nutritionist, Dr. Bruno do Amaral, Rucks started feeding Rally® Dairy Feed to fresh cows in early August 2013, when temperatures were hottest. Milking R also utilizes sprinklers/soakers on their feed lines and in the holding pens as well as in the milking parlor exit lane. In addition, they run 125 fans in each 600-cow free stall barn.

“We started seeing nice gains on fresh-cow milk production just three weeks after adding Rally to the ration,” notes Rucks. “Second-lactation cows were up 6 pounds of milk; and we had a 9-pound increase on cows in their third or higher lactation. The most amazing thing is that we saw the greatest production growth during our harshest month – September. Septembers are horrendously hot in south Florida.”

Rucks is earning a 3.3:1 return over his Rally® Dairy Feed investment on second-lactation cows and 5:1 return on third-lactation animals. Rally® Dairy Feed is fed to all mature fresh cows at Milking R for approximately 60 days as an aid for increasing peak milk production. “An extra pound of peak milk converts to several hundred pounds of additional milk per lactation,” adds Rucks, ultimately enhancing profitability potential.

Feeding 1.1 lbs. of Rally® Dairy Feed per head per day, the plan is to use the product seasonally during the most intense summer heat. However, in their first year of implementing Rally® Dairy Feed, Rucks says they’ve continued feeding it into December as temperatures linger in the 80s.

Getting cows to reach their production potential sooner after calving is a primary goal of Milking R. “We’re striving for higher milk weights on a cow’s first test,” Rucks points out. “If we keep the front curve higher to get more milk throughout her lactation, then even her low curve will be higher than before. Since we’re acquiring more milk from our fresh cows right off the bat, this translates to improved feed efficiency as well.”

For more information, contact Dr. Bruno Amaral at (904) 671-3380, email: bamaral@landolakes.com or go to: www.dairyfeedtechnology.com.

For additional information on dairy nutrition and management, sign-up to receive the monthly HERDSMART® E-Newsletter; a free online tool to improve operational efficiency by visiting: www.bit.ly/ManagementTips.

Results not typical due to variables present in all farm operations. Because of factors outside of Purina Animal Nutrition LLC’s control, individual results to be obtained, including but not limited to: financial performance, animal condition, health or performance cannot be predicted or guaranteed by Purina Animal Nutrition LLC.

Purina Animal Nutrition LLC (www.purinamills.com) is a national organization serving producers, animal owners and their families through more than 4,700 local cooperatives, independent dealers and other large retailers across the United States. Driven by an uncompromising commitment to animal excellence, Purina Animal Nutrition is an industry innovator, offering America's leading brands of complete feeds, supplements, premixes, ingredients and specialty technologies for the livestock and lifestyle animal markets. Headquartered in Shoreview, Minn., Purina Animal Nutrition LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Land O’Lakes, Inc.


UF’s Donovan honored for distinguished teaching

Arthur Donovan, D.V.M., a professor of large animal clinical sciences at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, is UF’s recipient of the Zoetis (formerly Pfizer) Animal Health Distinguished Teaching Award.

The award recognizes outstanding teachers who contribute significantly to the advancement of the veterinary medical education through ability, dedication, character and leadership. Winners of the award are then evaluated annually to select a national award winner.

Donovan, whose specialty is food animal medicine, specifically dairy cattle, was selected by the college’s awards and scholarship committee. He will now be UF’s nominee for the national-level award.

Donovan’s research interests include dairy herd health management and epidemiology. He joined the UF veterinary medical college as a resident in 1980 and became a faculty member in 1982.


Southeast DFA settlement: Checks mailed Dec. 19

“Southeast Milk” checks from the Dairy Farmers of America Inc. (DFA) lawsuit settlement were mailed on Dec. 19, according to Julia Walker, AgriVoice Enterprises, who has been following the lawsuit since July 2007.

As outlined by DairyBusiness Update in late November 2013, plaintiff attorneys Baker-Hostetler and Brewer & Terry filed a motion, Nov. 26, authorizing the payments, which had initially been agreed to in January 2013. Judge Ronnie Greer approved the motion, paving the way for payments to be sent.

According to court documents, a net settlement fund (after court-approved, standard expenses) of about $85.64 million was to be distributed on a “pro rata” basis to 6,086 eligible claimants. Walker estimates payments will average $14,000, but could range from less than $200 to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the pounds of class-eligible milk determined per an individual claim.

Walker urged check recipients to compare the amount of their individual check to their estimated pounds of eligible milk. Recipients with questions, or those who do not receive a check and believe they are eligible, should contact the claims administrator, Rust Consulting, at 800-874-2297, or e-mail  info@southeastdairyclass.com. She also urged check recipients to contact their tax professionals.

Additional information can be found at http://www.southeastdairyclass.com/   

 Read more …


Southern Dairy Conference registration deadlines approaching

"Dairy Collaboration" is the theme of the 40th Annual Southern Dairy Conference to be held Jan. 13-15 at the Embassy Suites, Atlanta Airport.  In honor of the 40th Anniversary, a special pre-conference tour of Williams Dairy (Madison, GA), will be held on Monday, Jan. 13.  Owners Everett Williams and family have recently opened a new carousel parlor to milk their 1660 cows and are welcoming tour participants.

Tuesday, Jan. 14, the conference begins with the usual excellent presentations on Dairy Market Outlook (nationally and internationally) and milk marketing by SUDIA (Southeast United Dairy Industry Association).  In addition, there will be a Farm Bill discussion, Patrick Clark, the new Southeast Milk Market Administrator will add his perspective, and there will be presentations about the SNAP (food stamp) program, dairy grazing in the Southeast, organic milk production in the Southeast and the future of dairy foods research.

A presentation on "Building Foundation Coalitions" will lead into the Wednesday, Jan. 15 program which includes "Dairy Collaboration" perspectives from dairy producers, academia, state dairy development programs and media.  The grand finale will be the milk cooperative perspective panel featuring Paul Bikowitz, CEO, Southeast Milk, Inc.; Jim Baird, President, Lone Star Milk Producers, Inc.; Randy McGinnis, COO SE and Central Area, Dairy Farmers of America; Jay Bryant, CEO, Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative; and Tom Pittman, General Manager, Premier Milk, Inc.

For the full agenda and how to register for the conference, please see the attached brochure or go to the conference website at www.southerndairyconference.com<http://www.southerndairyconference.com>.  Early registration discount holds until Jan. 5.  To insure a room at the conference rate of $95, please register directly with Embassy Suites by Jan. 2.

For more information contact:  Joe Horner, email: hornerj@missouri.edu<mailto:hornerj@missouri.edu>; phone: 573-882-9339.


Virginia Tech sweeps awards at World Dairy Expo competition

Virginia Tech swept the awards in several categories at last month’s Dairy World Expo in Madison, Wis.

The Virginia Tech Dairy Judging Team placed first in the Overall Team category in the Intercollegiate Dairy Cattle Judging Contest, first in three of seven breeds and also won top honors in the oral reasons competition where contestants are judged on their ability to answer questions about bovine management in a public forum.

The wins last month are a continuation of marked success that Virginia Tech has had at the competition in past years and is the fourth national contest the team has won in eight years, with past victories in 2006, 2008, and 2009.

“Dairy cattle judging is an activity that teaches students to make logical decisions and defend those decisions verbally,” said Katharine Knowlton, a professor of dairy science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Knowlton coaches the team along with Michael Barnes, professor emeritus of dairy science.

“As is true of any judging team in life sciences — whether it’s soil, crops, or horses — the benefit isn’t so much the ability to identify the best cow, but instead the ability to assess a situation, collect information, prioritize, make a rational decision, and justify that decision," she said. "These are skills employers value greatly, and judging team alumni are highly sought after for employment and graduate school.”

The students on this year’s team are:

*   Lizzie Davis of Union Bridge, Md., a sophomore majoring in dairy science;

*   Mackenzie Moore of Cobleskill, N.Y., a senior majoring in sociology;

*   Mandi Ramsburg of Walkersville, Md., a senior majoring in dairy science; and

*   Lyndsey Royek of Corry, Pa., a senior majoring in agriculture and applied economics.

The team also produced three All-American individuals. Mandi Ramsburg, Davis, and Moore placed first, second, and fifth individually

In addition to team wins, individuals fared well also. Cara Woloohojian of West Greenwich, R.I., a freshman majoring in dairy science, and her Guernsey cow, Wee Acres Spider Clara Bell, snagged the Grand Champion award, beating out almost 300 other cows. It’s a win that is uncommon for a junior exhibitor, according to Knowlton.

Other teams that competed included the Maryland 4-H Team who won the national 4-H Dairy Judging contest. Ramsburg and Davis who are currently members of the collegiate team are alumnae of the Maryland 4-H dairy judging program.

The team is supported by the university and private donors including the Dairy Club, the Department of Dairy Science, the Dick and Jackie Chichester Endowment, the Virginia State Dairymen's Association, dairy producers who allow training at their farms, as well as myriad individuals, alumni, and companies.

"I am very proud of the Virginia Tech Dairy Judging Team — and I have been for years," said Dick Chichester, an 1956 alumni who graduated with a degree in dairy science and was on the judging team when he was a student. He had lunch with the team when they were at the competition and said they were an exceptional group of students.

"I also commend Katherine Knowlton and Michael Barnes because without good coaches, you don't have good judging teams," he said.


LSU University, AgCenter dairy programs to consolidate

The LSU AgCenter’s and the University’s separate dairy programs will consolidate, causing some operations at the campus dairy farm on Gourrier Avenue to downsize and move to the AgCenter’s Southeast Research Station in Franklinton, La.

Phil Elzer, AgCenter associate vice chancellor and program leader for animal sciences, said there is a need to expand dairy teaching and research, but the University’s Baton Rouge campus dairy is landlocked. Most dairy research will be transferred to the Southeast station, which will require moving the 90 milk cows currently at the campus dairy to the station this spring, he said.

The herd at Southeast, which produces the milk used in ice cream and other products at the LSU Dairy Store, will grow to about 300 cows, Elzer predicts. The campus dairy will maintain a small herd of cows and stay open for teaching.


New dairy complex plan approved at Virginia Tech 

The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors approved a resolution accepting design plans to replace the existing dairy complex on Southgate Drive with new, state-of-the-art facilities at nearby Kentland Farm, a move that ensures the long-term success of the university’s award-winning dairy science program.

The plan calls for a replacement of existing buildings on a 35-acre site that can accommodate a fully functioning lactating herd of 230 and takes advantage of Kentland Farm’s proximity to feed production and grazing lands, among other things.

“This new, modern dairy complex will strategically fill our mission goals of education, research, and Extension,” said Alan Grant, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “This is a great opportunity, not only for the students who will get a hands-on education about dairy science and the scientists conducting research at the new complex, but also for the dairy industry which relies on the applied knowledge that the university provides.”

The new dairy complex being built at Virginia Tech’s Kentland Farm ensures the long-term success of the university’s award-winning dairy science program.


The relocation of the dairy will make way for the planned development of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, the expansion of the Virginia Tech Montgomery Executive Airport, and the construction of a new interchange at Southgate Drive and Route 460. The new $14 million dairy complex is being paid for through non-general funds. Construction will begin this fall and is expected to be completed by 2015.

The General Assembly has also approved planning money for the next phase of construction that will include a dairy-focused teaching facility located near Plantation Road, a reproduction facility near campus, and an intensive research barn focused on metabolism at Kentland Farm. For this project titled Kentland Facilities Improvements, the university has received pre-planning money to engage in initial planning and design. University Design and Construction and the Building Steering Committee in September started the process of selecting an architecture and engineering firm to undertake the re-planning design. The pre-planning will progress into late spring 2014, and at that time the university will submit a proposal the General Assembly for detailed design and construction.

The design approved by the Board of Visitors calls for an efficient use of space and buildings that are either traditional-style pole barns or pre-engineered steel structures. Cows will be milked in an 11,900-square-foot barn with a double-12 parallel milking parlor. Feeding will occur in a 46,400-square-foot housing barn. Other buildings include a calf barn, a special needs barn, and maintenance facilities. A state of the art nutrient management system will include a hydraulic flushing system, sand bedding and recovery, and a weeping wall for solids collection.

“These modern facilities will allow us to continue to be a leader in the dairy industry,” said Mike Akers, head of the Department of Dairy Science. “Our students and researchers who rely on having the most current and up-to-date facilities will flourish because of our new complex.”

During the relocation process, Virginia Tech officials have stressed the value of a strong agricultural program at the university.

“Dairy science has a long, rich history at Virginia Tech that will continue to be a part of the university in the years to come,” said Senior Vice President and Provost Mark McNamee. “As the university continues to grow and expand its research opportunities, the work that goes on at the dairy science facilities will be part of that growth.”

The plan the board of visitors approved gives a schematic view of the new dairy complex. More details about the move will be finalized as the process progresses.

The engineers for the plan are Thompson and Litton; the construction manager is English Construction.

For more information on the relocation process, visit the college’s information page.




Dairy REAP recipients named

USDA recently announced funding for 631 projects to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce their energy consumption and costs, use renewable energy technologies in their operations, and conduct feasibility studies for renewable energy projects. Grant and loan funding is made available through USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which is authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill.

Four REAP grant recipients are using funds to construct or install anaerobic digesters at their sites:

  • Dovetail Energy, LLC (Ohio)
  • Green Lane Energy, Inc. (Oregon)
  • Statz Brothers (Wisconsin)
  • Butler Farms (North Carolina)

Under the terms of REAP, up to 25% of an eligible energy production or conservation project can be funded through a grant, and additional support can be provided in the form of a loan. These federal funds leverage other private funding sources for businesses. 

View the current list of recipients for REAP grants and loans, or visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/RD_Grants.html for more information about the REAP program.

2013 Kentucky Milk Quality Conference is Aug. 28-29

The 2013 Kentucky Milk Quality Conference will be held Aug. 28-29 at Lake Barkley State Resort in Cadiz, Ky.

The meeting will begin at 1 p.m. on Aug. 28 and adjourn at noon on Aug. 29.

Cost is $100 per person. For questions regarding this conference, contact Dr. Jeffrey Bewley at 859-257-7543 or by email at jbewley@uky.edu; Lewis Ramsey at 502-564-3340 or by email at Lewis.Ramsey@ky.gov.


UF/IFAS conducting genomic testing survey

Florida dairy producers are encouraged to participate in a dairy genomics survey. The University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences effort is part of a large USDA-funded project titled "Improving Fertility of Dairy Cattle Using Translational Genomics."

The multi-state dairy research and Extension group (Washington State University, University of Idaho and University of Florida) is investigating new fertility traits for which genomic technology might be used. Dairy producers are invited to share your thoughts by completing a short on-line survey at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/6G8L8WS. The survey will take approximately 3 minutes to complete.

All responses will be anonymous. Survey leaders are Joe Dalton (University of Idaho) and Dale Moore (Washington State University).  For more information, contact Albert De Vries, devries@ufl.edu or phone 352-392-5594 ext. 227.


Van Sickle updates milk, feed outlooks

With corn prices dropping, should you book ahead now or wait and hope it gets better?  Dr. John Van Sickle, from the University of Florida Food and Resource Economics Department, provides a 40-minute audio market analysis at the following website: http://ufifas.adobeconnect.com/p1yktb9vt9q/.  

Van Sickle will also present information at a Dairy Risk Management meeting, Sept. 17, 7 p.m., at Suwannee Valley Feeds, Trenton, Fla.

For more information, contact Mary Sowerby, meso@ufl.edu or phone 386-362-2771.



Boyd joins World Wide Sires

Tyler Boyd has joined World Wide Sires as marketing specialist, assisting with market research, promotions and customer service.

Boyd grew up on the family dairy farm, Boyd-Lee Jerseys in Parrottsvile, Tenn., where he was actively involved in the herd’s breeding and marketing program. He has served on several committees with the American Jersey Cattle Association and was a member of the inaugural class of the Jersey Youth Academy. He was the 2009 winner of the National Jersey Youth Achievement contest, the highest award available for youth who own Jersey cattle.

Boyd is active with the American Dairy Science Association’s Student Affiliate Division (ADSA-SAD) and currently serves as the third vice president of the national board. Recently, he placed first in the National Undergraduate Paper Contest of the ADSA-SAD in the Dairy Production Division.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Vanderbilt University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Dairy Science from Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, and is a past participant in the Dairy Challenge and dairy cattle judging teams.

World Wide Sires, Ltd. is a leading exporter of U.S. livestock semen, representing Accelerated Genetics and Select Sires in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Oceania.


AEM announces agricultural engineering student awards

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) honored the latest winners of its agricultural engineering student achievement awards during special ceremonies at the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers’ (ASABE) recent annual meeting.

The 2013 AEM student award winners are:

  • Large Student Engineering Branches (Group A): Iowa State University, Kansas State University
  • Smaller Student Engineering Branches (Group B): University of Tennessee

The luncheon also kicked off the new student-focused ASABE Agricultural Seatbelt Usage and ROPS Logo Design Contest. The logo will be part of a national ROPS promotion strategy for North America. The contest offers cash prizes; deadline to enter is March 15, 2014. Visit the ASABE website (www.asabe.org) for details.

For more information on the AEM student awards, contact AEM’s Brian Voss (bvoss@aem.org).


UF adds two dairy scientists

The University of Florida recently welcomed two new staff members to its Department of Animal Sciences.

• Dr. Tim Hackmann joined the department as an assistant professor of Gastrointestinal Microbiology. Hackman was born in St. Louis, MO and educated at University of Missouri (BS, Biological Sciences; MS, Animal Sciences) and Ohio State University (PhD, Nutrition).

Hackmann’s research with rumen microbes is seeking to improve predictions of diet formulation software for dairy cattle and enable dairy producers to safely feed less protein safely. Rumen microbes flowing from the rumen supply most protein digested by cattle. Diet formulation software predicts the size of that microbial protein supply, but it often does so inaccurately. Because predictions can be inaccurate, protein often has been overfed for safety. 

To improve software predictions and reduce protein overfeeding, Hackmann identifies factors that influence the supply of microbial protein. He has found that rumen microbes waste a lot of energy by producing excessive amounts of heat, potentially reducing their supply to cattle. This waste is not represented in software predictions. He has also found that microbes can store large amounts of energy, which is less wasteful but could still reduce supply of microbial protein. His long-term goal is to release improved diet formulation software to dairy producers and allied industry in Florida and around the globe. Contact him at thackmann@ufl.edu 

Dr. Corwin Nelson joined the department as an assistant professor of Physiology. His research and teaching interests are to promote animal health and production through understanding how environmental and genetic factors influence immune function of production animals. 

Dr. Nelson grew up on a small beef and dairy farm in Minnesota and has maintained an interest in beef and dairy production. One of the main issues faced by dairy producers is mastitis in dairy cattle. Nelson’s research primarily aims to understand how factors such as nutrition, genetics or environment affect the immune response of the udder to bacterial pathogens. The end goal of his research is to develop practical measures for dairy producers to use in their efforts to minimize losses to mastitis and produce high-quality milk. 

Dr. Nelson’s graduate research at Iowa State University and the USDA National Animal Disease Center revealed a role for vitamin D in the immune response of the udder. His research at the University of Florida aims to identify the genes that are affected by the vitamin D hormone, and how vitamin D metabolism is regulated in immune cells. Dr. Nelson’s work is expected to result in improved vitamin D feeding recommendations for dairy cattle through a better understanding of how vitamin D is involved in the immune system. Contact him at cdnelson@ufl.edu 



Saving Southeastern dairies through improved herd health, milk quality

A $3 million, six-state effort will study ways to stem the downturn in Southeast U.S. dairy farms and milk production. Funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the study will be led by the University of Tennessee (UT) Institute of Agriculture, with regional participation to include the University of Florida, University of Georgia, University of Kentucky, Mississippi State University and Virginia Tech.   

Steve Oliver, assistant dean of UT AgResearch and a professor of animal science, is heading up the project. The study will focus on improving herd health and milk quality and quantity by lowering the incidence of mastitis in Southeastern herds.

“The Southeastern dairy industry is in serious trouble,” Oliver said. “Although the nation is experiencing a surge in milk and dairy demand, the Southeast has experienced a greater than 37% decline in total milk production. Milk quality is also consistently the poorest of all the regions of the U.S.,” he said. The reason is the high levels of mastitis, an inflammation of the cows’ udders, experienced throughout the region. 

“Improved milk quality and greater production quantities are all about consistent employment of good management practices for the health and well-being of the cow,” said Oliver. Members of the research consortium plan to reach out to challenged and underperforming dairies with a four-pronged approach to enhance regional milk production as well as improve the quality of the milk produced. The effort will include:

  1. Identifying economic, social and psychological factors affecting regional farmers’ limited adoption of practices known to control mastitis. The researchers plan to develop strategies to counter the rationale for non-adoption.
  2. Conducting applied research and on-farm demonstrations focusing on strategies for controlling mastitis and enhancing milk quality. This will involve working directly with producers to assess on-farm practices. Stakeholders will also include veterinary practitioners, university students, extension personnel and other industry representatives serving the dairy community.
  3. Training dairy producers and milkers to utilize current and newly developed tools to make on-farm decisions that improve milk quality and therefore production. Methods are expected to include printed publications, face-to-face meetings and electronic teaching tools (including DAIReXNET webinars) in both English and Spanish. 
  4. Developing continuing education programs for those serving the dairy industry now and providing undergraduate and graduate student education for long-term solutions for the region. For example, directed internships will provide real-world experiences for students and result in a more knowledgeable work force to promote the sustainability of the region’s dairy industry.

The effort should buoy hope for the battered Southeastern dairy industry by motivating producers to change management practices and improve animal health and well-being. “Implementation of cost effective, science-based mastitis prevention and control strategies can help producers improve quality milk, increase production and therefore improve industry profitability and sustainability,” said Oliver.

A scientist in each participating state will head up that state’s research and outreach efforts, and the entire effort is expected to to be funded for five years. Success will be measured by increased production and higher milk quality from participating states.




Three UF students attend the first Dairy Challenge Academy 

Three students represented the University of Florida at the Dairy Challenge Academy, held April 4-6 in conjunction with the North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge, at Fort Wayne, Ind. The UF animal science majors, Jackie Mariano, Lan Nguyen and Illeana Brody, were accompanied by  UF Dairy Science Club advisor, Mary Sowerby.

The Dairy Challenge Academy is a new educational format in addition to the traditional Dairy Challenge contest that is offered to relatively inexperienced dairy science students. 

“When I first got to Dairy Challenge Academy, I was really nervous,” said pre-vet major Brody. “Everyone when describing themselves seemed to have had so much prior knowledge and experience in the dairy industry I felt lost. But the team I was in made sure I knew what was vital for determining things such as cow comfort, calf health, and facilities. Ever since leaving Dairy Challenge I feel I have learned a great deal and hope one day I can apply this to my future studies.” 

“I thought the Dairy Challenge Academy provided a lot of good hands on experiences,” Mariano wrote. “It was valuable to actually go out to dairies and see the cows. I also enjoyed meeting students from all over the country and hearing about their experiences with the dairy industry. I learned a lot from the industry leaders that were present. I would recommend that others interested in the dairy industry participate in similar events.” 


2013 Florida Dairy Production Conference reviewed 

By Mary Sowerby 

The 49th Annual Florida Dairy Production Conference was held April 10, at the Alto Straughn Extension Professional Development Center in Gainesville, Fla. Seven speakers enlightened the approximately 100 members of the Florida dairy community and a delegation of 40 dairy producers from Canada. 

Conference presentations included:

• Dr. Jan Shearer, retired UF Extension dairy veterinarian currently at Iowa State University, discussed “Welfare Implications for the Florida Dairy Industry.”  Shearer concluded his presentation with a plea for understanding the differing views of society and agriculture with respect to the human-animal relationship. 

“While most people are appreciative of an abundant food supply, they want assurance that animals are being treated properly,” he said. “But, more importantly, those of us involved in agriculture need to embrace our sacred heritage as the providers of food and fiber for mankind; and in the process incorporate the dignity and respect for animals they deserve.” 

• Dr. Curt Lacy, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Georgia, provided a feed price outlook. He reviewed a U.S. Drought Monitor report, and projected corn prices should average about $2.00/bushel less in the coming year; soybean and soybean meal prices should soften some after September-October; and hay prices should decline with improved moisture and more moderate input prices resulting in higher production. 

He  suggested using seasonal price patterns to manage price risk, especially when it comes to purchasing inputs such as feed and/or using Livestock Gross Margin-Dairy insurance and/or the Pasture, Range and Forage insurance, both subsidized by USDA. 

• Ray West, Director of Southeast DHIA, discussed trends from Southeast DHIA. In addition, he recognized 22 DHIA herds in Florida with over a 20,000-lb. rolling herd average (RHA). 

The top five herds were: 

1. White Oak Dairy, Mayo 27,406 RHA 

2. Brandy Branch Dairy, Baldwin 24,944 RHA 

3. Jeffco Dairy, Madison 24,581 RHA 

4. North Florida Holsteins, Bell 24,471 RHA 

5. Suwannee Dairy, Inc., McAlpin 23,353 RHA 

• Dr. Peter Hansen spoke about “Genetic Control of Heat Stress in Dairy Cattle.” Dr. Hansen summarized his talk by saying “The likelihood that progress can be made in improving genetic resistance to heat stress in Holsteins and other dairy breeds has been improved by discovery of specific genes and gene markers present within and outside the Holstein breed that are related to thermotolerance. What is needed now is a better understanding of how selection for resistance to heat stress will affect overall economic performance of dairies in hot regions like Florida.” 

• Dr. Chad Dechow, the Department of Animal Science at Penn State University, discussed “Genetic Selection Opportunities to Improve Feed Efficiency. He pointed out that large gains in feed efficiency have been realized because of genetic selection for higher yield over the past five decades. He suggested dairy producers should work towards moderation in cow size to reduce feed requirements further, and that Jerseys have some feed efficiency advantages in cheese production markets because of their smaller body size and higher milk solids concentration. 

Dr. Dechow noted Income over Feed Cost (IOFC) is currently considered in the Lifetime Net Merit Index, which which will help drive further increases in feed efficiency in the national dairy herd. He also suggested additional genomic selection tools in the future will accelerate genetic gain by facilitating direct selection for feed utilization. 

• Don Bennink from North Florida Holsteins, Bell, Fla., made a case for redirecting some genetic trends, such as changing the selection for tall, very topline angular cattle now popular in the show ring, to more production efficient, smaller and rounder cattle. He also explained the way North Florida Holsteins is currently using genomic (chromosomal) testing to identify the best heifers in their herd, then using in-vitro (laboratory) fertilization of their top heifer embryos to speed up genetic selection. 

• Dale and Leon McClellan presented a “Virtual Tour” of their M & B Dairy in Lecanto, Fla. They highlighted their facilities, cow comfort via duel-chambered waterbed mattresses covered with composted screened-manure solids, feeding, breeding, and neighbor relations efforts. Dale was named the Swisher Sweets Sunbelt Ag Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year in 2012. For a brief video virtual tour of M & B Dairy, visit www.mbproducts.com/farmtour/index.html 


1500+ visitors attend UF ‘Family Day at the Dairy Farm ’

The University of Florida Dairy Unit’s second annual Family Day at the Dairy Farm drew more than 1,500 visitors, March 16. Visitors – mostly families with smaller children – saw cows being milked, could pet a calf, learned about forages, cow comfort and veterinary health care, sat in big tractors and enjoyed free milk and cheese. They also learned about the contributions the University of Florida makes towards sustainable and economically viable dairy production in Florida and elsewhere. 

“I think it’s really good just in general for the public to understand how their food supply works and where it comes from. So, I think it’s a really great event for that purpose,” said Jason Beutke who attended Family Day at the Dairy Farm. 

Family Day at the Dairy Farm is organized by the Department of Animal Sciences, UF/IFAS Communication Services, and Florida Dairy Farmers, Inc. Donations from sponsors make the event financially feasible. The organizers are already planning for the next Family Day to be held in the spring of 2014. 

For more information, contact Albert De Vries, devries@ufl.edu or visit http://familydayatthedairyfarm.info


Current and past issues of the University of Florida Dairy Update can be found at http://dairy.ifas.ufl.edu

2013 Mycotoxin Management Summit is April 4-5

2012 may easily have been deemed the ‘year of the mycotoxin’ in North America. The widespread drought and extreme weather conditions created all of the right conditions for a storm of toxins in last year’s harvest and left many industry experts questioning how to best mitigate the problem.

Alltech’s first annual North America Mycotoxin Management Summit plans to address many of last year’s issues and share the latest in mycotoxin research and development. “Making Sense of the Maze... New Strategies for Old Problems” will be held at the Hyatt Regency in Lexington, Ky., Apr. 4-5. The Summit aims to provide an open forum for discussion on mycotoxin research and analysis as well as an opportunity to present the newest applications in mycotoxin management.

For further information on the Alltech Mycotoxin Management Summit 2013, visit: www.alltech.com.


Alltech International Symposium announces dairy topics

Milk quotas, carbon footprints, feed and fertility, employee training and consumer branding will be featured at GLIMPSE 2020: the 29th Annual Alltech International Symposium. The event will be held May 19-22, in Lexington, Ky.

Dairy-focused breakout session include:

• You Are What You Eat: Better Health Through Better Nutrition and the Role of DHA

• Reimagining Nutrition: Proteins, Fats, Fibers and Amino Acids

• Is At-Home Milk Delivery the Wave of the Future?

• Problem-Solvers: A Day in the Life of the Dairy Workers Program

• The ACE Principal: Friendly to the Animal, the Consumer and the Environment: Total Replacement Technology

• Improving the Cow: Two Lactations per Cow.

• Big Herds, Big Problems: China is a Nutritionist’s Dream.

• A Glimpse of the Milk Market Globally: How the removal of milk quotas will open up opportunities for the efficient and the forward thinking while possibly becoming the death knell of many more farmers.

• Risk, Remediation and Solution: Mycotoxin Management

Dairy industry members will also get the opportunity to fully explore the topic of carbon footprint through an entire track dedicated to the issue:

• Carbon: Here Comes the Bill

• Global Warming: Is it Real?

• The 4 Point Plan: Know Your Carbon Footprint and Lower Your Taxes.

• Embrace the Carbon Footprint: How the Irish have embraced the carbon footprint to improve their green image.

• Agriculture, Will it be Less Toxic?

Registration is open now and available for an early discount price of $599 until April 15; after April 15 the cost will be $850. Space is limited. Two paid registrations from a single company or organization will receive a third registration free of charge. Delegates who are members of ARPAS and AAVSB can also earn CEUs. 

For more information, or to request an invitation, contact a local Alltech representative, visit www.alltech.com/symposium or email symposium@alltech.com.


Florida dairyman named National Dairy BQA winner
Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) comes naturally to Woody Larson of Family Tree Enterprises, LLLP, the 2013 national Dairy Beef Quality Assurance award winner from Okeechobee, Fla. On their dairy and beef operation, they continually train their people on their veterinarian-recommended herd health protocols and procedures which emphasize hygiene and cow comfort. "BQA is about food safety and making sure we have quality products of milk and beef," says Woody.

Training employees is key for Family Tree, and their veterinarian and Woody have been the main educators. Occasionally, they invite outside experts for onsite sessions. Woody also encourages herdsmen to attend specialized workshops, such the beef checkoff-funded Florida Beef Council-sponsored Dairy BQA training for Spanish-speaking employees.

Woody has always been interested in animal behavior. He's been a fan of Temple Grandin for years and has applied many of her concepts on the dairy. Improving cattle handling is never ending: train, train, train. He won't tolerate rough treatment or injury to his animals. Innovations to the business include installing used rubber belting on the fences and chutes to help prevent bruising and injury, and positioning chutes and gates to avoid tight turns.

"We believe in giving back to our industry and making it better for those who follow," says Woody. "BQA helps us do that on our farms."

Watch Woody talk about BQA. Visit BQA.org/team. For more information about your beef checkoff, visit MyBeefCheckoff.com.

49th Florida Dairy Production Conference, April 10
The 49th Florida Dairy Production Conference is scheduled for Wed., April 10 from 9:45am-5pm at the Alto Straughn IFAS Extension Professional Development Center (2142 Shealy Drive) in Gainesville, Florida.

Conference Agenda
9:00    Registration, Presiding – Klibs Galvaõ, University of Florida
9:45    Welcome and IFAS update – Geoffrey Dahl, University of Florida
10:00  Welfare implications for the Florida dairy industry – Jan Shearer, Iowa State University
10:45  Feed price outlook and risk management for dairy producers – Curt Lacy, University of Georgia
11:30  Trends in the SE DHIA dairy industry and SE DHIA awards – Ray West, Southeast DHIA
12:00  Luncheon, Presiding – David Bray, University of Florida
1:00    Genetic control of heat stress in dairy cattle - Peter Hansen, University of Florida
1:40    Genetic selection opportunities to improve feed efficiency – Chad Dechow, Pennsylvania State University
2:30    Refreshment Break
3.00    Our approach to speeding up development of the cow of the future – Don Bennink, North Florida Holsteins
3:45    Virtual tour: M&B Products Inc. – Dale McClellan, M&B Products Inc.
4:15    Speaker panel: Hot topics in the Florida dairy industry – Mary Sowerby, University of Florida
4:55    Wrap-up
5:00    Reception

The registration fee for the Dairy Production Conference includes the program, one copy of the proceedings, refreshment breaks, and the luncheon. Registration fees: Early registration ending on March 31: $60 per person. In April or at the door: $90 per person. To register, please visit http://dairy.ifas.ufl.edu (using EventBrite credit card registration) or contact Sabrina Robinson by phone (352) 392-1958, ext. 250 or email sbro@ufl.edu. Registration fees will be collected by check, cash or credit card at the registration table of the conference.

For more details on the conference, click here.  

11th Annual Mid-Atlantic Nutrition Conference set

The 11th Annual Mid-Atlantic Nutrition Conference will be held March 27-28, at the Crowne Plaza- Baltimore, in Timonium, Md.  

Dairy topics include probiotics and prebiotics, mycotoxins; exogenous fibrolytic enzymes in ruminant rations; exogenous amylases for dairy cows; feed efficiency; and the “Cow of the Future” project. The program also includes a technical symposium hosted by NOVUS International, focusing on dairy nutrition.

 This conference represents the formal collaboration between institutions and industries in Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Delaware and New Jersey.

Registration materials, venue information, the updated program, past proceedings, and the 2013 abstracts will be available on our website at www.manc.umd.edu

Accommodation arrangements need to be made before Feb. 28 to ensure the lowest rates. The Crowne Plaza has provided a block of rooms at an attractive price ($105.00/night, single or double occupancy, excluding tax).  Contact the hotel at 410-252-7373 and ask for Mid-Atlantic Nutrition Conference reservations.


Southeast Quality Milk Initiative launched

The University of Florida is part of a consortium that recently received $3 million in funding from USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to help improve milk quality in the Southeast. The five-year project, led by Dr. Steve Oliver, University of Tennessee, started Feb. 1. 

The project, titled “Southeast Quality Milk Initiative (SQMI): Implementing Science-Based Recommendations to Control Mastitis & Improve Milk Quality in the Southeast” is a collaborative venture involving research scientists and Extension specialists from six Southeastern states. They include: 

• Steve Oliver, Raul Almeida, Gina Pighetti, Peter Krawczel and Mark Fly, University of Tennessee

• Christina Petersson-Wolfe, Virginia Tech

• Jeffrey Bewley, Lori Garkovich, Donna Amaral-Phillips and Michelle Arnold, University of Kentucky

• Steve Nickerson, University of Georgia

• Stephanie Hill-Ward, Mississippi State University

• Albert De Vries, University of Florida. 

“Our approach for improving the sustainability of the Southeast dairy industry is development of a collaborative outreach, educational and applied research program on mastitis control, assembled by milk quality professionals from six land-grant universities in the Southeast,” Oliver explained. “We will identify economic and social factors affecting limited adoption of practices known to control mastitis, and develop strategies to counter the rationale for non-adoption.”

“Information from applied research and on-farm demonstrations will be packaged for educational and outreach delivery to stakeholders including dairy producers, veterinarians, university students and Extension personnel, using innovative methods of delivery including DAIReXNET and Spanish translations,” he continued. “We will train producers and employees to utilize current and newly developed tools to make on-farm decisions that improve milk quality and increase production. Implementation of cost effective mastitis prevention and control strategies for the Southeast region will result in higher milk quality, increased milk production, and improved profitability.” 

For further information, contact Steve Oliver, soliver@utk.edu or Albert De Vries, devries@ufl.edu


UF/IFAS Family Day at the Dairy Farm returns March 16 

Last year’s University of Florida dairy farm open house was so successful that organizers were “moo-tivated” to repeat the event in 2013. Free and open to the public, Family Day at the Dairy Farm will be held March 16, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., near Hague, 20 minutes northwest of Gainesville just off U.S. Highway 441. For directions, see http://tinyurl.com/d3a5626

Visitors can watch cows being milked, pet a calf, walk through free-stall barns, make butter, see farming equipment and learn how University of Florida (UF) research helps keep dairy cows happy, healthy and productive. There will be free samples of dairy products, a giant cow statue, and a hayride to transport visitors to and from the parking area. 

Local actor Houston Wells will reprise his role as President Abraham Lincoln, greeting visitors and posing for photos. It will be one of his final appearances commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act, a bill Lincoln signed in 1862 to establish the land-grant university system. 

About 850 people attended last year’s open house, according to Albert De Vries, associate professor with UF’s animal sciences department. 

Covering 850 acres and housing about 500 Holstein cows, the farm is used for research in every phase of dairy production. Faculty and students involved in animal sciences and veterinary medicine conduct studies designed to improve nutrition, cow comfort, health care, and other factors impacting commercial dairy production. 

This event is organized by the Department of Animal Sciences, UF/IFAS Information and Communication Services, and Florida Dairy Farmers, Inc. For sponsorship opportunities, or more information, contact Jerry wasdin, jwas@ufl.edu, (352) 392-1120, or Albert De Vries, devries@ufl.edu, or (352) 392-5594 ext. 227. 


Dairy risk management program planned in North Carolina

A Dairy Risk Management meeting will be held Feb. 26, 10 a.m.-2:45 p.m., at the North Carolina Cooperative Extension office in Iredell County. Topics and speakers include:

•  Livestock Gross Margin-Dairy (LGM-Dairy) margin insurance program, by David Anderson, Texas A&M University.

• Dairy policy and Farm Bill progress, by Scott Brown, University of Missouri.

• Grain and dairy outlook, by Mike Roberts Extension Associate-Dairy

Contact the Iredell County Extension at 704-873-0507 or http://iredell.ces.ncsu.edu/  for more information or to register. Early registration is encouraged.


North Carolina Ag Forum scheduled

The economic and policy outlook for North Carolina agriculture will be on the agenda at the eighth annual Ag Development Forum Thursday, Jan. 31, at the State Fairgrounds, Raleigh, N.C.

The forum also will feature Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler's annual State of Agriculture address. North Carolina agribusinesses will share stories of how they succeeded in bringing local foods to market.

For more information, visit www.ncagr.gov/paffairs/release/2013/1-13agforum.htm.


Virginia creates farm water quality strategy

Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) will be implementing a new strategy to proactively address potential water quality concerns  arising on small livestock and poultry farms in a concentrated area. These may include dairies, feedlots, poultry operations and other types of farms. 

The strategy, which originally was piloted on six farms in the Shenandoah Valley, emphasizes voluntary implementation of best management practices, or BMPs, to address risks or impacts to water quality that may originate from a confined livestock or poultry farm. BMPs are methods or techniques found to be the most effective and practical means in achieving an objective, in this case, clean water. 

DEQ estimates there are approximately 800 such farms in Virginia to be assessed in the next three years. These farms are lots or facilities where animals are confined and fed for 45 days or more in any 12-month period, and crops or vegetation are not sustained in the normal growing season. 

DEQ is contacting farm owners and operators to discuss the strategy and to schedule onsite assessments. If an onsite assessment identifies water quality risks or impacts, agency staff will work cooperatively with the farm owner or operator to establish a plan and schedule to address the water quality concern.

For more information, visit http://www.deq.virginia.gov/ConnectWithDEQ/NewsReleases.aspx


Florida, Southeast dairy meetings, events scheduled

If you are interested in the dairy outlook, farm bill, effectively using margin insurance, value-added dairy products, a climate forecast and expected agricultural effects, and compost-bedded pack barns, plan to attend the Southern Dairy Conference, Jan. 22-23, at the Hilton Garden Inn, Atlanta Airport North, Ga.   

To receive the hotel group conference rate of $99/night, reservations must be made by Dec, 28. Discounted early conference registration fees are available until Jan. 6.

For the full agenda and registration information, visit www.southerndairyconference.com.  


Other upcoming events include:

• The Florida Junior All-Breeds Conference is Jan. 4-5, at the Straughn Extension Center, Gainesville, Fla. Contact Chris Holcomb at christophersholc@ufl.edu for more information.

• A January Dairy Outlook webinar will be offered Jan. 15.  Dr. John Van Sickle will give the latest up-date on current and future feed and dairy prices.  Contact Mary Sowerby at meso@ufl.edu for more information.

• The Florida Ruminant Nutrition Symposium is Feb. 5-6, at the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center, Gainesville, Fla. Download the program at  http://dairy.ifas.ufl.edu.  Contact Jose Santos at jepsantos@ufl.edu for more information.

• A Climate Adaptation Exchange Fair will be held Feb. 8, at UGA Tifton Conference Center, Georgia. It will cover drought management, reducing risks and costs, barriers and solutions to adopting new strategies, crop insurance issues, and the latest climate outlook, plus demonstrations of many new technologies.  Contact Mary Sowerby at meso@ufl.edu for more information.

• A University of Florida Dairy Unit Open House will be held March 16, at the UF Dairy Unit, Hague, Fla. The "Family Day at the Dairy Farm" invites the general public to visit the UF Dairy Unit and see how milk is produced locally. Contact Albert De Vries, devries@ufl.edu, for more information.

• The 49th Florida Dairy Production Conference is April 10, at the Straughn Extension Center, Gainesville, Fla. Contact Albert De Vries, devries@ufl.edu, for more information.


Southern Dairy Conference scheduled, Jan. 22-23

The 2013 Southern Dairy Conference will be held Jan. 22-23, 2013 at the Hilton Garden Inn Atlanta Airport North. Pre-registration (prior to Jan. 7) is $200/person ($175 for students). Additional registration information can be found at www.areg.caes.uga.edu/#SouthernDairy.

Reservation for lodging must be made directly with the hotel at a reduced rate of $99 for single or double occupancy per night.  When making reservations, identify yourself as a participant in the Southern Dairy Conference to receive the conference rate.  Room reservations must be made by Dec. 28, 2012. Reservations made after the cutoff date are not guaranteed to receive the conference rate and a room may not be available. Call (404) 477-6600 or toll free at 1-877-STAY-HGI to make reservations.


Virginia dairy programs planned

The Virginia Tech Dairy Extension Program scheduled several area dairy conferences 

• Jan. 22: Culpeper – Brandy Station Fire Hall. Local contact:  Carl Stafford

• Jan. 23: Rocky Mount – Shively Electric Community Room. Local contact: Cynthia Martel

• Jan. 24: Amelia/Blackstone – Mattoax Presyterian Church near Amelia. Local contacts: Cynthia Gregg and Laura Siegle

• Feb.5: SW Virginia – Marion Farm Bureau. Local contacts: Andy Overbay and Kevin Spurlin

• Feb. 6: Weyers Cave Community Center.  Local contact: John Welsh

The Virginia State Feed Association Nutritional Management "Cow College" will be held Feb. 20-23. For more information, visit www.vtdairy.dasc.vt.edu.


Florida Ruminant Nutrition Symposium is Feb 5-6

The 2013 Florida Ruminant Nutrition Symposium will be held Feb. 5-6, at the Hilton University of Florida, in Gainesville, Fla. 

The pre-conference symposium, Feb. 5, is sponsored by Balchem Animal Nutrition, beginning at 9 a.m. Presentations include:

• “Considerations for improving feed efficiency in dairy cattle” — Dr. Lou Armentano, University of Wisconsin 

• “Understanding the impact of sub-clinical ketosis” — Dr. Garrett Oetzel, University of Wisconsin 

• “Choline-A required nutrient for dairy cattle” — Dr. Ric Grummer, Balchem and University of Wisconsin 

The symposium kicks off with a buffet lunch at 11:45 a.m. Tuesday afternoon presentations include:

• “Establishing the amino acid requirement of young calves”  – Dr. Richard Zinn, University of California-Davis

• “Preparing the calf for feedlot: The role of nutrition and management in the preweaning period on future health and performance”  – Dr. Robbi Pritchard, South Dakota State University

• “Enhancing calf immunity through nutrition” – Dr. Michael Ballou, Texas Tech University

• “Enhancing immunity and disease resistance of dairy cows through nutrition” – Dr. Matt Waldron, University of Missouri

• “The role of specific fatty acids on dairy cattle performance and reproduction” – Dr. Jose Santos, University of Florida

The day's activities conclude with a reception.

Wednesday’s presentations include:

• “Nutritional and management strategies to mitigate animal air emissions” – Dr. Alex Hristov, Pennsylvania State University

• “Alternatives to corn for dairy rations” – Dr. Randy Shaver, University of Wisconsin

• “The importance of feed efficiency in the cow herd” – Dr. Cliff Lamb, University of Florida

• “Feeding dairy cows in today’s economy” – Dr. Bill Weiss, The Ohio State University

• “Economic analysis of dairies: factors related to feed efficiency” – Dr. Luis Rodriguez, Zinpro Co

Registration fee before Jan. 14 is $140; after Jan. 14 and on-site registration fee is $160.

The registration fee includes continental breakfasts, Tuesday’s buffet hot and cold luncheon, refreshment breaks, Tuesday night’s reception, and one copy of the symposium proceedings containing the written presentations of the speakers. 

For registration Information, contact Sabrina Robinson, Symposium Coordinator, phone  352-392-1958 Ext. 250 or email sbro@ufl.edu

For more information, visit http://dairy.ifas.ufl.edu/rns/


Florida, Georgia dairy graziers sought for survey

Florida and Georgia dairy producers utilizing grazing are being sought for a survey of their management practices. The survey will collect information on milk production, reproduction, grasses, forages and paddock management, with a goal of gaining a better understanding of how Southeast dairy producers utilize and manage their grass paddocks, including seasonality. 

The survey is conducted by a farm visit and should take no more than 1 hour to complete. Graduate student Fei Du and others call to make appointments for visits. During the visit, we will write down your answers. Every dairy producer receives $100 for a completed survey.

Financial data is not collected, and all answers to questions in this survey will be kept confidential. Individual farm information will not be identified in any publication. When all practices surveys are completed, summarized results will be published. 

This practices survey is part of the project “Improving the Welfare of Southeastern Dairy Families through the Adoption of Sustainable Production Systems”, funded by a grant from Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education. The practices survey results will also help to improve dairy Extension programs and recommendations.

Collaborators in the grant are the University of Florida, the University of Georgia and Fort Valley State University. More information about this project, including the survey form, can be found at http://sedairiesproject.blogspot.com/.

If you have not received an invitation letter yet, but are interested in participating, contact Albert De Vries, devries@ufl.edu or (352) 392 5594 ext. 227.


Southeast dairy ‘benchmarking’ participants sought

Dairy producers interested in benchmarking their costs of production and financial performances continue to be invited to participate in the financial survey of the Southeast Sustainable Dairy Farms project. 

The first 60 producers in Georgia and Florida that sign up will receive $100/year for the three years of the project. In addition to the compensation for their time and effort, dairy families will receive individual farm and risk-management assistance with their operation.

To schedule an appointment for financial data collection, or for more information about this project, dairy producers in Florida should contact Dr. Mary Sowerby at (386) 362-2771, meso@ufl.edu. Kory Sgrignoli, a student in the Food and Resource Economics program at UF, is assisting with data collection and analysis. 

Dairy producers in Georgia should contact Dr. Curt Lacy at (229) 386-3512, clacy@uga.edu. Albert De Vries, devries@ufl.edu, and Mohammed Ibrahim, ibrahimm@fvsu.edu, also lead the project. 

For more information about this project, see the Spring 2012 issue of Dairy Update at http://dairy.ifas.ufl.edu/dairyupdate.


University of Florida dairy meeting updates

• The UF-IFAS Dairy Update Meeting, scheduled for Nov. 27, in the Okeechobee Extension Office, is cancelled due to the SMI board meeting on the same day.  The meeting will be rescheduled in January 2013. Contact Courtney Davis, cbdavis@ufl.edu<mailto:cbdavis@ufl.edu> for more information.


• A UF-IFAS Dairy Update Meeting will be held Nov. 28, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., at the Hatch Park Community Center (403 SE Craven Street, Branford, Fla.).  The program will include: Charles Staples giving a "Dairy Nutrition Update";  Albert DeVries speaking on "Pregnancy Diagnosis Economics for Dairy Cattle"; Jose Santos evaluating the "Importance of Transition Cow Management for Postpartum Health and Reproduction"; and Klibs Galvao discussing the "Economics of Different Reproductive Programs for Dairy Cows." Merck is sponsoring the lunch, but call or email Mary Sowerby (386-362-2771 or meso@ufl.edu by  Nov. 26 to reserve your plate or answer any questions.


• The South Georgia/North Florida Dairy Update will be held Dec. 4, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., at the Brooks County, GA, Ag Center (400 E Courtland Ave., Quitman, Ga.). Dr. Curt Lacy will be discussing "Practical Ways to Reduce Feed Costs" before a sponsored lunch. Please contact either Johnny Whiddon (229-263-4103 or jwhiddon@uga.edu<mailto:jwhiddon@uga.edu>) or Mary Sowerby (386-362-2771 or meso@ufl.edu<mailto:meso@ufl.edu>) by Nov. 30, to reserve your lunch.


• An “Intro to Dairy Risk Management” class (via Adobe Connect) has already met twice, both meetings were recorded and new class members are welcome.  The next class is Dec. 6, 7-8:30 p.m. The class is using FACTSim, a futures market trading simulation using real time futures market data and "simulated" money you will not lose your shirt or farm using.  Dr. John Van Sickle from the UF Food and Resource Economics Department is teaching the class and making FACTSim available for free (it is usually $40) for class members. Contact Mary Sowerby (386-362-2771 or meso@ufl.edu<mailto:meso@ufl.edu>) if you are interested in joining the class.


• A December Dairy Outlook Meeting (via Adobe Connect) will be held Dec. 17, 7-8 p.m. Dr. John Van Sickle will report on changes to USDA estimates and outlooks for feed and milk prices.


‘Dedicated to Dairy’ launches, highlighting Southeast dairy families
A new campaign launched Nov. 12, focusing on the hard-working dairy farm families and the nutritious products they produce. Named “Dedicated to Dairy,” the Southeast United Dairy Industry Association Inc. campaign includes multi-media efforts featuring regional dairy families and their stories.

Who better to tell the story regarding the dairy industry, its impact on local communities and the vital role this industry plays in providing consumers with a quality product than the dairymen themselves? Consumers will have the opportunity to become a virtual part of the farm, learning about all aspects of the dairy industry in a fun, interactive way.

The website, dedicatedtodairy.com, features stories about life on the farm and show where and how dairy foods are produced with focus on economic impact, environment practices and animal husbandry. Interactive features, social media links and blogs will also be included. QR codes will also be developed so visitors can have easy access to specific sites and information.

“We are excited to introduce the campaign ‘Dedicated to Dairy,’ said Terry Rowlett, a second-generation Kentucky dairy farmer. “This multi-faceted promotion will give the dairyman a face and voice to the consumer, plus the website will provide several ways for the consumer to educate themselves about this vital industry. Dairymen will be provided with a consistent and reliable source for promotional facts and information in order for them to better communicate their livelihood with the consumer. It will bring dairymen closer to the consumer and give the consumer an accurate picture of the dairy industry.”

Compost bedded-pack dairy barn workshops offered in Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky

The Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) will host a workshop on compost bedded pack dairy barns on Dec. 5. The program will be held 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in OARDC's Fisher Auditorium, 1680 Madison Ave., Wooster, Ohio. An optional tour of the compost bedded pack system will be offered at 3 p.m.

On Dec. 12, the workshop will be offered in the University of Tennessee's Plant Biotechnology Building in Knoxville, Tenn.; and on Dec. 13, at the Christian County office of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service in Hopkinsville, Ky.

A compost bedded pack dairy barn is an alternative dairy system with solid manure handling options, said Lingying Zhao, an associate professor of food, agricultural and biological engineering at Ohio State University and one of the event's organizers and speakers. Possible benefits of the system include positive impacts on milk production and cow health, and the ability to handle manure as a dry material, with less environmental risk and lower costs to handle it, she said.

The workshops will feature recent research findings related to building design and management, milk production and quality, cow behavior and health, compost and bedding quality, indoor air quality, ventilation, economics, and NRCS standards and cost-share programs.

Also on the program will be a panel discussion by dairy farmers who have used compost bedded pack systems and will share their experiences. The farmers on the Dec. 5 panel will be Richard Indoe of Richman Farms, Lodi, Ohio; Alan Kozak, Clover Patch Dairy, Millersburg, Ohio; and Nathan Goodell, Goodell Family Farms, Mantua, Ohio.

Registration for the workshop costs $25 by Nov. 26 and $30 after that date and includes lunch.

For more information, download the workshop flier at http://go.osu.edu/QR2, call 614-292-6625 or email douridas.9@osu.edu


Kentuckiana Crop Production Seminar planned

Crop producers have the chance to hear agricultural updates from Purdue Extension and University of Kentucky Extension experts at the 29th annual Kentuckiana Crop Production Seminar.

The AgriBusiness Association of Kentucky and the Agribusiness Council of Indiana will host the two-day workshop, Dec. 4-5, at the French Lick Springs Resort, 8670 state Route 56, French Lick, Ind.

Attendees will learn about dealing with crop, soil and water issues, and new regulations in agriculture.

Purdue Extension presentations on Dec. 4 are:

• "Soybean production in Brazil" by Shaun Casteel, soybean specialist.

• "Updates on corn disease management" by Kiersten Wise, plant pathologist.

• "Nuts, bolts and other practical issues about on-farm research" by Bob Nielsen, corn specialist.

• "Gypsum - Is it worth it or not?" by Jim Camberato, soil fertility specialist.

• "Water quality: What you need to know" by Jane Frankenberger, water resources specialist.

• "Farming in a technical world" by Brad Joern, nutrient management specialist.

Purdue Extension presentations on Dec. 5 are:

• "An update on weed resistance issues" by Bill Johnson and Travis Legleiter, weed scientists.

• "What's in the tank: Part 1. Considering pH and water hardness" by Fred Whitford, pesticide specialist.

• "What's in the tank: Part 2. Measuring out the right amount" by Whitford.

• "Fertilizer rules and regulations" by Matt Pearson, fertilizer specialist.

The seminar is divided into four workshops, two per day. Costs are $70 for one workshop; $100 for two workshops and a meal; $150 for three workshops and a meal; or $200 for all workshops and meals.

Event organizers have applied for Certified Crop Adviser and pesticide applicator credits.

The registration form and more information about the seminar, including the full agenda and hotel information, are available at www.kyagbusiness.org.


Tennessee Invests in farm innovation, diversification projects

Tennessee Department of Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson announced Producer Diversification cost share awards totaling nearly $1 million. The funds will help 168 Tennessee farmers invest in new or expanding areas of agriculture.


The Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program was established in 2005 and supported by the General Assembly to increase farm income by helping farmers invest in better farming practices and by encouraging diversification and innovation. In its eighth year, the Producer Diversification cost share opportunity is helping farmers expand or improve their operations through production of varied agricultural products. It also includes cost share funding aimed at cattle improvement, hay and feed storage and animal health improvement.


Through the Producer Diversification cost share opportunity, Tennessee farmers can
apply for reimbursement of 35%-50%, up to $15,000 in some instances, for eligible cost share activities. The funds are dedicated to help farmers who want to install farm infrastructure, purchase specialty equipment and market their diversified farm products. 


Farmers interested in submitting a proposal for funding will have a chance to apply again next year. For more information on TAEP, visit www.TN.gov/agriculture/enhancement/. For more information about specific projects in your area, contact Jon Frady at 615-837-5344 or Producer.Diversification@TN.gov.


Florida Dairy Farmer Dale McClellan named Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year for 2012

Dale McClellan, FLDairy farmer and milk and fruit juice processor Dale McClellan of Thonotosassa, Fla., has been selected as the 2012 overall winner of the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year award.

McClellan was named as the overall winner during the Willie B. Withers Luncheon held on the opening day of the 2012 Sunbelt Ag Expo farm show. McClellan was chosen as Farmer of the Year over nine other state winners who were finalists for the award.

The Farmer of the Year award recognizes excellence in agricultural production and farm management, along with leadership in farm and community organizations. The award also honors family contributions in producing safe and abundant supplies of food, fiber and shelter products for U.S. consumers.

J. Thomas Ryan, president of Swisher International, Inc., of Jacksonville, Fla., praised McClellan for his farming accomplishments. “Dale and his family represent the best of American agriculture,” said Ryan. “He is an innovative farmer, an environmental steward and a person who gives back to others through his leadership in farm and community organizations. He and his wife Mary have raised three fine sons who all hold key management positions in the family’s farm and milk and fruit juice processing businesses.”

Swisher International has been the award’s major sponsor since it was first established. “It is an honor for our company and our Swisher Sweets cigar brand to recognize this outstanding farm family and the families of the other nine state winners for their many accomplishments,” Ryan added.

At his dairy farm near Lecanto, Fla., McClellan milks about 700 cows three times each day. These cows produce a rolling herd average of some 23,000 pounds of milk per cow per year. His farm includes 1,272 acres with 952 acres of rented land and 320 acres of owned land. Cow comfort is a priority at his dairy. He grows much of his own feed including bermudagrass, oats and corn silage. He recycles dairy waste by separating solids for application on non-irrigated land and by applying the liquid to his cropland through his irrigation systems.