black and white cow grazing on meadow in mountains. Cattle on a mountain pasture. Summer sunny day. Cow in pasture. Mountain meadow. Green meadow in mountains and cow
UGA Forage Team Debuts Fencing Workshop

The UGA Forage Team is debuting a new workshop focusing on updated fencing options for producers. This field day will be held  February 28, 2018 at the Black Shank Farm and Pavilion on the UGA-Tifton campus. The program will begin at  9:30 a.m. and will conclude at approximately  4 p.m.
The Fencing Field Day is a hands-on learning opportunity to give producers of all experience levels an opportunity to discover new fencing tools that could benefit their production systems. Attendees will have the chance to "learn by doing" from members of the UGA Forage Team and industry professionals.
Topics covered in-depth include:
  • Post selection, spacing, and bracing
  • Fencing types and wire selection
  • Designing an electric fence system
  • Fastener types and matching with fence design
  • Selecting, hanging, and bracing for gates
  • Selecting and installing fence charger/energizers
  • Water trough selection and specifications
Cost to attend for producers is $10 and will include lunch. Register for this event by contacting Cathy Felton at  706-310-3464. Visit for more information and the tentative agenda!
44th Annual Southern Dairy  Conference
Nashville, TN -  March 5th-7th, 2018

Topics for 2018 will focus on: Labor Management, Milk Quality, 2018 Dairy Outlook, Federal Order Updates

Location: The Inn at Opryland,  2401 Music Valley Dr.,  Nashville, TN 37214
Reservations for the event will be made by individual attendees directly with Marriott reservations at  1-855-584-3466  or 615-889-0800 .   Reservation must be received on or before TODAY - Friday , February 9, 2018 .
To register for the 44th Annual Southern Dairy Conference -  click here
GAC Legislative Breakfast

On Wednesday, Feb. 7, the Georgia Agribusiness Council hosted their annual legislative breakfast with over 400 people in attendance, including state legislators, elected officials and members of the Ag community. The event featured Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman John Wilkinson, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom McCall, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Terry England, Speaker of the House David Ralston, and Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black.   Congratulations to GAC for a successful event!    
Lead Dawg - Everett Williams
From UGA CAES Alumni Association

For 39 years, Morgan County dairy farmer  Everett Williams (BSA - Dairy Science, '75) has helped to chart a path for all the state's dairy farmers. Williams was recognized for his dairy industry advocacy last year when he was selected as the 2017 Georgia Farmer of the Year. Read more about Lead Dawg Everett Williams in Southscapes here   
Hay and Baleage Short Courses

This year, the UGA Forage Team is debuting a new workshop for hay and baleage producers called the Hay and Baleage Short Course. This program will be offered at two locations. The first will be  February 22 at the Carroll County Extension Office in Carrollton, GA ( Feb. 22 Agenda).  The second will be a two-day workshop with a few additional hands-on learning opportunities on  March 8 and 9 held at the Burke County Extension Office in Waynesboro, GA ( Mar. 8-9 Agenda) . The second program is a joint effort of Burke and Jefferson Counties and will include more emphasis on equipment options and set-up. These workshops will focus on techniques for producing high yields of high quality hay and baleage, along with a more detailed look at specific topics. Click on the links above for a more complete agenda for each location. Visit the Hay and Baleage Short Courses webpage for more information.
Dairy trade sours NAFTA negotiations with Canada
From PBS NewsHour

Insightful PBS piece on dairy & NAFTA - about a 10 minute watch

As the U.S., Canada and Mexico renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, the dairy industry has become a major point of contention. The U.S. wants Canada to get rid of high taxes on dairy imports, but dairy farmers in Canada worry that cheaper foreign supplies could destroy their livelihoods. NewsHour Weekend's Christopher Booker reports from both sides of the border.

Budget deal includes dairy, livestock indemnity assistance
From Feedstuffs

Dairy safety net gets $1 billion boost, and partial payments allowed under livestock indemnity program.

The bipartisan budget deal reached by senators on Wednesday offers needed assistance to struggling dairy producers as well as to livestock producers affected by recent disasters.
Since 2014, dairy prices have dropped by more than a third, and without a reliable safety net, dairy farmers have struggled.

The bipartisan Senate budget agreement will provide more than $1 billion to support dairy farmers. Dairy provisions include removal of the livestock cap that currently limits producers' participation in the Livestock Gross Margin (LGM) Program and improvements to the Margin Protection Program (MPP).

Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.) has been working hard to try to include a fix for dairy producers as well as help lay the groundwork for future farm bill negotiations with a higher budget baseline.

"This is the support that dairy farmers in Michigan and across the country have been waiting for," Stabenow said. "Thanks to our bipartisan efforts in the Senate, dairy farmers will get much-needed relief as they recover from tough economic times. I look forward to building on this progress in the 2018 farm bill." Read more
Cost of Production Outpaces All-Milk Price, Again

On Thursday, USDA released the dairy cost of production report for 2017. Ranging each month from $21.72 to $23.06, the cost of producing one cwt of milk once again outpaced the all-milk price. The average all-milk price for the year was $22.27 per cwt.

Farmers are critical of USDA's cost of production figures, saying they are unrealistic. It is important to note that USDA's cost of production includes opportunity cost for rented land and unpaid labor, and capitol recovery of machinery and equipment. Those are the three most disputed costs listed in the report. Still, the report is likely a fair representation of hard costs in farm country. USDA says it is based on the 2010 Agricultural Resource Management Survey of milk producers and updated using current USDA milk production per cow and production input indexes.  Read more 
Illinois Dairy Specialist Says Component Quality is Key to Profits Under Milk Quotas 

A University of Illinois dairy specialist says many milk producers have to learn how to manage within processor quotas.
Mike Hutjens

Mike Hutjens tells Brownfield most Illinois milk processors and some in other states have already told their producers not to make too much milk, and that creates a new management challenge.  Instead of efficiently making the most milk, Hutjens is offering tips to make the most money from the milk they are allowed to produce.  "Three of them I would consider strongly, such as building milk components, breeding.  Now that's going to take a while, breeding for more components out in the program.  Milk fewer cows, and that's not a popular topic especially among the bankers."

He tells Brownfield producing too much milk gets expensive fast.  "At least in Illinois, there's only so many thousand pounds of milk you can market every day, and once you go over that limit after the end of the month, you're going to be deducted a penalty for producing that milk, and the penalty starts at two dollars and goes all the way up to ten dollars (per hundredweight).  Trust me, with fourteen dollar milk, you don't want to take too many two-dollar penalties because most farmers can't produce milk for twelve dollars a hundred."
Hutjens says drying up the cow too early is not a good solution.  And, he says producers hesitate to sell cows to lower their production because the market is not favorable for sellers.     Read more 
Milk Prices Are Getting Ugly; At Least Feed Prices are Low, Too
From Alex Tebbe, Graduate Research Associate, Ohio State University

For the current issue, the Class III component price for November closed at $16.88/cwt and then decreased to $15.44/cwt in December. The January Class III futures price is unchanged at $15.44/cwt, but it is projected to drop down to $14.25/cwt in February. The USDA has also dropped their predicted all milk price for 2018 to $15.80, down about $0.80/cwt since the last issue. In short, milk prices will not be very good for a little while.

Nutrient Prices
As in previous issues, these feed ingredients were appraised using the software program SESAME™ developed by Dr. St-Pierre at The Ohio State University to price the important nutrients in dairy rations, to estimate break-even prices of many commodities traded in Ohio, and to identify feedstuffs that currently are underpriced as of January 21, 2018. Price estimates of net energy lactation (NE L, $/Mcal), metabolizable protein (MP, $/lb; MP is the sum of the digestible microbial protein and digestible rumen-undegradable protein of a feed), non-effective NDF (ne-NDF, $/lb), and effective NDF (e-NDF, $/lb) are reported in Table 1.

Although milk prices are very low, nutrient prices also continue to be relatively low. For MP, its current value ($0.43/lb) is the same as November's issue ($0.43/lb). The cost of NE increased 1¢/Mcal to 7.7¢/Mcal, which is lower than the 5-year average of 11¢/Mcal. The price of e-NDF increased from 3¢/lb to 7¢/lb, whereas ne-NDF is nearly identical to September at -7¢/lb (i.e., feeds with a significant content of non-effective NDF are priced at a discount).  Read more
Chance of ESBL contamination via livestock farming is small
From Feedstuffs
Extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) is an enzyme produced by certain bacteria that makes these bacteria resistant to antibiotics. Researchers from various institutes collaborating in a large consortium discovered that ESBL enzymes occur frequently in livestock, the food chain, the environment and in people, according to an announcement from Wageningen University & Research (WUR) in the Netherlands.

However, ESBL types in livestock and meat were found to be genetically different from those in people, WUR said. This means that people acquire ESBL only to a limited extent via livestock and through eating meat. The transmission mainly occurs among people.  Read more
By Caitlin Rodgers, Georgia dairy farmer

Farmers must be cautious when adding new members to their staff

I have touched on and tiptoed around this subject a few times in my blogs, but it's time to get serious about some of the situations farms have to face at the moment. With that being said, I think it's best to stay alert and know as much as you can and be prepared to handle certain situations.

If you own or work on a dairy, you know finding and keeping labor can be a real struggle. Higher pay is demanded, and the milk prices are not even near the "comfort zone" right now. This is always a difficult situation in juggling great help without being able to offer the desired wages.

Some of the stories and videos I have seen coming from Florida are difficult to watch or even think about. Employees have been caught on camera being "violent" toward cows. This is a huge problem to deal with as dairy industry leaders.

We want consumers to understand how much care we give to these animals when all the while they are watching videos on Facebook and YouTube about cows being abused on dairy farms. Talking to some of the people in these communities, I learned that the employees that are doing these things are mainly new hires who probably set up these situations to film while the main managers or owners are no where to be found.
The organizations that are putting these videos out there are waging a war against some of the most caring people on the planet. We as dairy farmers have to be extremely cautious when hiring people. Also, we need to stay alert and know what is going on around our farms.   Read more
SCC Levels Might Affect Mastitis Cure Rates

"Infected quarters that actually cured as a result of antibiotic therapy had relatively low SCC at the time antibiotic therapy was initiated," says Steve Nickerson, a mastitis and milk quality specialist with UGA. "On the other hand, infected quarters having very high initial SCC were in fact treatment failures."   Read more
Cold Brew Coffee and Milk Make the Perfect Match
By: Donna Berry, Berry on Dairy Blog

The percentage of Americans drinking coffee on a daily basis increased to 62% this past year, up from 57% in 2016, according to the National Coffee Association. This increase may be attributed to the growth in premium, gourmet beans as well as the variety and convenience of grab-and-go, ready-to-drink (RTD) coffees. The latter has experienced an upsurge thanks to the cold-brew phenomenon, which for many, turns an otherwise bitter beverage into something smoother, more palatable.

Consumption of RTD coffee is highest among 13- to 18-year olds, as younger consumers, in general, feel less confident brewing their own coffee. This should come as no surprise. This is a generation that grew up playing in coffee shops while mom and dad sipped and socialized.

This is a curious and adventurous audience, and thus presents an excellent opportunity for dairy processors to offer next-generation cold-brew coffee beverages. What do I mean by next generation? Well check this out.   Read more
Gate Bill Arrives Under Gold Dome
From Georgia Agribusiness Council

The much-anticipated GATE legislation arrived Thursday afternoon as HB 886 . GAC member  Rep. Sam Watson  (Moultrie)  is the author of the bill that would make several changes to the GATE program. As introduced, it would do the following:

  • Provide a three-year card and carries a $150 fee.
  • Issue new plastic GATE cards each year along with GATE usage guidance information.
  • Move the minimum revenue threshold to qualify for a GATE card to $7,500.
  • Strengthen the GATE application process to improve qualifying documentation.
  • Improve the sharing of data by the Department of Revenue when GATE purchases are audited. 
  • Establish parameters for GATE card use to be revoked for abuse.

After reviewing the first draft last week, we offered suggestions to help soften retail management of GATE transactions and we appreciate Rep. Watson and the Dept of Agriculture for incorporating many of our suggestions. The bill will start to move through the House Ways & Means Committee next week.
By Chloe Moores, Statesville Record and Landmark

Milking cows at Rocky Creek Dairy is like a perfectly timed dance. Bovines with varying patterns of black and white sashay into a metal stall, instinctively turn, then back into the metal booth. A worker comes by with foamy blue soap to wash each udder, to which he then attaches black tubes. The tubes draw milk until they sense there is none lef
t, then they fall off.
Milking of the dairy's nearly 1,200 cows takes place 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

"We are considered large for Iredell County, we are considered large for North Carolina and we do have some efficiencies of scale that give us an advantage," said Dr. Ben Shelton, owner of Rocky Creek Dairy and Vet Service. "But from the U.S. market today, we are becoming a small herd."      Read more 
Plant-based milk vs. cow's milk: What's the difference?
By Samantha Cassetty, RD, NBS News
Though non-dairy milks have been around for a while, they've recently experienced soaring sales and enormous popularity - due, in part, to environmental concerns, dairy issues (from allergies to  lactose intolerance), and just general interest in dairy alternatives.
From the variety of base ingredients to the assortment of flavors, there have never been more knock-offs to choose from. But if the number of choices has left you udderly confused (see what I did there?), here's a quick guide to help you navigate the dairy and non-dairy aisle.

Most non-dairy milks are compared to cow's milk, which has a strong nutritional package. Cow's milk contains  8 g of protein - more than a hard boiled egg - along with 300 mg of bone-building calcium and 400 mg of potassium, a nutrient that's lacking in most Americans' diets.     Read more 
Mark Your Calendars:

Feb. 10: UGA Commercial Dairy Heifer Show, Athens, GA
Feb. 21-23: Georgia Jr. National Livestock Show, Perry
Mar. 5-7: Southern Dairy Conference, Nashville, TN
Mar.  30: GDYF Golf Tournament, Bishop, GA
April 5-7: 57th Annual GA Cattlemen's Assoc. Convention & Trade Show and 21st Annual Georgia Beef Expo Georgia National Fairgrounds in Perry, GA
Apri. 7: 2018 UGA Spring Dairy Show, Athens
GA Dairy Classifieds

FOR SALE: 13 Holstein heifers due Feb and March, 5 with dams over 1000lbs fat , 6 bred to sexed semen. Over 30 yrs AI  Ray Ward.  706-473-8789  Eatonton, Ga

WANTED:  L ooking for used pasteurizing and bottling equipment in working condition; Linda and Darrell Rankins, Jr.;  334-745-2357  (best times: mid-day and after  8 p.m. )

For sale 200 cow dairy in Eatonton, Georgia ; selling choice of 100 head.  SCC low 200,000's.  Cows mostly AI sired for last 30 years primarily Holstein, few Jerseys and cross breeds.  Cows in milk tank average 70 lbs. 3.9 fat test on low input feed.  Complete DHIA info. on all cows.  Nearly 100 head in first lactation or springing now.  Also offering 50 bred heifers to start calving late January thru Summer.   Call 423-506-2621

For Sale: 
Jersey cows, heifers and calves for sale.  Registered with AJCA, all ages! Contact Matt Holton at 770-718-8271, call or text.  Dawsonville, GA.

For information contact Jim Reid at 
or email at

FOR HIRE:  Custom Silage Harvesting.  Late model JD chopper. Will travel. Let me put your quality forage up! Nic Haynes, Muddy H Farms, 678-617-3379.

We have a continuous selection of fresh and springing heifers.
Call William at  (706) 768-2857 or visit our website at 

Bullcalves Wanted : Looking for Bullcalves to purchase - Barron Tench 864-844-2295 or     
GA Milk Producers|706.310.0020