May 2017 vol.1
Brought to you by Dairy's Professional Development Organization®
Opportunities to learn...
Eric Snodgrass

UNDERSTANDING WEATHER TRENDS AND IMPLICATIONS  is critical for farmers making decisions on their dairy operations.  If you missed the April webinar on this topic, contact PDPW for the recording. Eric Snodgrass, director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, provided an overview of spring and summer weather models including July temperatures and the impact on corn markets as well as August rains and temperatures for soybean markets.  This  second session of the webinar series on May 17 will provide an update on U.S. crop progress and early yield estimates, updates on the summer forecast and training on how to forecast severe weather such as hail, lightening, flooding and high winds. Register today for sessions on May 17 and June 14. Click here for more information go to  or call PDPW at 800-947-7379.

REGISTER NOW FOR WATER TOURS  in the Marshfield and River Falls, Wis. areas. In conjunction with UW-Discovery Farms, PDPW is sponsoring these 1-day tours June 21 and 22 to showcase how current water regulations impact farms, towns, municipalities, reservations, businesses and families. Together, with other local elected officials, dairy producers, citizens, neighbors and community leaders, participants will tour Marshfield Wastewater Treatment Plant, Eron Agronomics and Mullins Cheese on June 21. June 22 attendees will tour the city of River Falls, Ellsworth Creamery and the Dry Run Watershed. Registration includes bus travel, snacks, refreshments and lunch. Click here to register and for more details including pick-up times and locations for the bus.

LOOKING FOR A WAY TO TRACK ALL YOUR TRAINING? Dairy AdvanCE is your solution. You've spent the time, energy and money to commit to lifelong learning through a variety of programs and Dairy AdvanCE puts your accomplishments at your fingertips by housing all that information. Log coursework, print reports and be prepared for conversations with lenders and consultants.   While PDPW developed Dairy AdvanCE with farmers in mind, anyone in the dairy industry can subscribe including allied industry professionals such as veterinarians, nutritionists, technicians, field and sales representatives, as well as food-system, legal and public service professionals.  To learn more or subscribe to Dairy AdvanCE visit the DACE website, call 800-947-7379 or send an email to
For your dairy...

TREATING MASTITIS SELECTIVELY based on 24-hour culture results - rather than 'blanket treating' all cases of clinical mastitis as they are observed - has the potential to significantly reduce antimicrobial use, according to results of a study published in the Journal of Dairy Science. Of 489 cases of clinical mastitis observed at a 3,500-cow commercial farm in New York, 246 were assigned to treatment based on 24-hour culture results while 243 received a blanket antimicrobial treatment immediately upon observation. While the results showed no significant differences between the two approaches in days to clinical cure, 30-day survival or post-event milk production, the study revealed that cows receiving selective treatment experienced an average of 3 fewer days in hospital than blanket-therapy cows. It also showed a 68.5% of moderate and mild clinical cases would not have been treated if all cows on this trial were enrolled in a pathogen-based protocol.   Read more here .

USING RUMINATION SENSORS TO MONITOR HEAT STRESS can help dairy producers understand the impact of heat stress on milk production and provide information for decisions on heat abatement methods.  Temperature Humidity Index combines air temperature and relative humidity to represent conditions a cow feels.  A study on a Pennsylvania dairy used rumination sensors and weather station data to monitor the effect of THI on rumination and milk production. Regression analysis of rumination versus THI showed that for every one point increase in maximum daily THI, dairy cows spent just over 6 minutes less time ruminating each day. This one-point increase in maximum daily THI resulted in a 0.6-pound decrease in milk production per cow per day. See the study results and learn more here.

FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN SWITCHING TO AUTOMATED CALF FEEDING were outlined in an article from Ohio State University. Automated milk feeding (AMF) systems allow for increased social interaction among calves, consistency of milk delivery, and consumption of additional milk in smaller meals.  To be effective however, AMF systems must be designed and monitored carefully for calf health and cleanliness.  Those managing AMF systems need to be well trained to closely observe animals for early signs of illness and carefully monitor milk intake and speed of drinking. Maintaining and sanitizing the milk-dispensing system is also critical to ensure delivery of appropriate quantities of milk and keeping bacterial counts low.  Read the full article for details on housing design, health monitoring and other considerations.

Dairy currents...

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH DAIRY FARMERS across the nation and through the national dairy checkoff program, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy launches the multi-year marketing campaign, "Undeniably Dairy."  The campaign is a national effort to reintroduce consumers to our brand - Dairy. 

The multimedia campaign will include integration in both on-air and digital marketing.  With the official launch today, May 15, you will see "Undeniably Dairy" features on the Cooking Channel, Food Network, a takeover of Food Network's Snapchat, Discover Channel and beyond. 

Click below to see the opening commercial, which includes a quick shot of PDPW Farm Member Carrie Mess, dairy farmer from Lake Mills, Wis., watch the video and learn more at

CONSUMERS ARE LOOKING FOR THE STORIES BEHIND THE MEAT THEY BUY, according to the 12th annual Power of Meat study released earlier this year. Survey respondents are interested in how animals were raised, what they were fed and how they were treated, fueling increases in demand for organic, grass-fed, antibiotic-free, hormone-free and other special attributes. The study, released at the Annual Meat Conference, also revealed that when deciding where to shop for food, meat ranks as the third-most important department in the decision. Read more here; see the top ten findings here.

"PROTEIN INTERVENTION" FUELS BEHAVIOR CHANGE IN PILOT PROJECT.  A pilot program in one Iowa school district substituted carbohydrate snacks given to students visiting the school nurse office with high protein options such as hard boiled eggs, string cheese or yogurt.  At the end of the school year, it was found that the number of behavior referrals were significantly lower on days that students received the high protein snacks and plans are underway to expand the pilot program.  Learn more here.  

CONSUMERS WEIGH IN ON FARMERS' CARE OF ENVIRONMENT. Recent research from the Center for Food Integrity asked U.S. consumers "Do U.S. farmers take good care of the environment?"  While 42 percent strongly agreed, 51 percent were ambivalent.  The research also shows that consumers have less trust in larger farms, with 51 percent of consumers saying they strongly believe that large farms are likely to put their own interests ahead of consumers compared to 36 percent believing the same about small farms.  Center for Food Integrity shares more research information and tips for engaging with consumers in this blog post.

FINDING NEW USES FOR FOOD WASTE is becoming big business.  A number of start-up companies are making products from food waste and leading food manufacturers are starting to take notice, according to an industry census from ReFED, a nonprofit coalition focused on reducing food waste.  The coalition lists 64 companies selling "upcycled" food products like jelly made from "ugly" fruit or snack bars made from "spent grain" sourced from brewers.  Read more at the ReFED website, or this Washington Post article. 
For your business mind...

EFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT STARTS WITH MEASUREMENT, especially on today's dairy farms.  A number of tools are available to track relevant health events from the time a calf is born until she leaves the herd.  The key is to develop a system to enter information on a daily basis for all animal groups in the herd.  Penn State University Extension recommends following these steps:
  1. Develop standard operating procedures for freshenings, vaccinations, breedings and treatments
  2. On a daily/weekly basis (depending on herd size) generate the appropriate reports to check that all animals have received their vaccinations, treatments or other age-related events
  3. On a monthly basis, review the number of incidences of health events by age, pen and/or stage of lactation with the farm's advisory team
  4. Based on the findings, implement necessary adjustments in protocol to correct problems.
  Click here  for full article. 

RECOGNITION CAN HELP MOTIVATE EMPLOYEES , especially average-performing employees.  According to a Sales Executive Council report, a 5% performance gain from this group yields 70% more revenue on average than the same gain with high performers because average performing employees have a dependable willingness to work combined with adequate room for improvement.  Here are some tips to using recognition to boost performance:
1. Set challenging yet achievable goals.
2. Enable employees to revel in success.
3. Provide transparency.
4. Be objective in your assessments.
5. Balance other forms of recognition.
Learn more in this article .
Words to live by...

"The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it,
 but that it is too low and we reach it." --- Michelangelo 
Meet fellow PDPW Members... Majestic Crossing Dairy

Dean Strauss
Brothers Dean and Darin Strauss are proud to be sixth-generation dairy farmers.  While tradition is very important, they also recognized the need to continue modernizing and adopting new practices for their family dairy farm. 
For years, they had worked with three other area dairy farm families, forming a partnership to invest in equipment together. In 2011 the Strauss, Herzog, Wedepohl and Radloff  families merged to form Majestic Crossing Dairy, milking 2000 cows in Sheboygan County, Wis. on two separate sites across 3,400 acres. All four families have ownership in the new entity. Dean and Darin, and Bob Radloff are directly involved in the daily management of the farms.
"The partnership of Majestic Crossing has allowed us to support all four families, expand our sustainability efforts, and invest back in our community," said Dean.
After graduating from UW-Platteville, Dean worked in dairy nutrition for about five years, then returned to the family farm.  He and Darin had a number of ideas to incorporate into their operation and their dad, Ed, who still helps on the farm, encouraged them to try new ideas, including moving away from an all-Holstein herd to a three-way crossbred herd comprised of Holstein, Montbeliarde and Viking Red cattle.
Reproduction, body condition, milk, feet and legs and udder health are all key factors in breed selection, milk components are also important, especially since their milk goes into cheese.
Dean, having served on PDPW's board of directors previously and currently serving as a director on the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board as well as the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection board, has long understood the value of continuing education and networking. 
"The experience (of serving on the PDPW board) really opened my eyes to the idea that there are more ways to do things," he said.
Dean's experience in ongoing education is clearly manifested in changes to the dairy. In 2015 Majestic Crossing Dairy added a new manure management system, working with Digested Organics to construct the first-of-its-kind fully Integrated Manure Management System, (IMMS™). The system harvests energy through biogas generation, concentrates nutrients for more targeted crop use, reclaims clean water for farm use, is permitted to discharge to a nearby stream and can process 20,000 gallons of manure a day.
Currently the dairy is installing 13 robots to milk the cows on the home farm; when complete, each robot will be able to handle 60 cows.
"PDPW brings the whole thing around full circle," Strauss observes. "We get so busy with day to day things on the farm we need to get away and work on the business side of it."
A BIG Thank You...    

SINCE 1996 THE PDPW MENTORSHIP PROGRAM has been helping college and tech school students gain relevant, hands-on learning opportunities - side by side with the dairy farmers serving as mentors in the program.  This on-farm experience allows students to walk through a variety of job functions in 'real time.' Past participants describe the Mentorship Program as invaluable, and the farmers hosting them agree that it's win-win for both sides. In the past 8 years alone, nearly 400 students have been paired with a producer, and since 2003, PDPW has hired an intern to coordinate the Mentorship Program.  The Mentorship Program is primarily funded by PDPW with assistance from Professional Dairy Producers Foundation (PDPF). In addition, the Alliant Energy Foundation helps fund this program, making it available to significantly more students and farmers and making a greater impact on rural America. For more information on the Mentorship Program, call PDPW at 800-947-7379 or send an email to

TO OUR PDPW SPONSORS who  support continuous improvement for the dairy industr y. T hey believe in producer leadership and place a high value on lifelong  education for those involved in the dairy industry. We deeply respect their commitment to PDPW and the members we have the honor to serve. It is by this partnership that we c ontinu e to build a strong industry filled with capable professionals. Click  HERE  to see a list of our sponsors. If you interact with any of these companies, please thank them for supporting PDPW! 
If you or a company you know is interested in participating as a sponsor, please contact one of our team members at or call 800-947-7379.