March 2023 Vol. 2
Brought to you by Dairy's Professional Development Organization®
2023/2024 PDPW BOARD MEMBERS: Three new members were elected onto the PDPW Board of Directors and presented during the 2023 PDPW Business Conference. Beginning new three-year terms are Wisconsin dairy producers Patty Dolph, Lake Mills; JJ Pagel, Kewaunee; and Laura Raatz, Oconto Falls. They join the current board members Janet Clark, John Haag, Corey Hodorff, Ken Feltz, Paul Lippert and Brady Weiland and together they’ll help direct PDPW programming and resources as they engage with and serve fellow farmers.
Meet new board member Patty Dolph:
Patty Dolph of Lake Mills, Wis., farms with her husband Chet and her in-laws, Pat and Don Dolph. At Dolph Dairy LLC the team currently milks 500 dairy cows and crops 1,000 acres of land. The dairy has earned several milk quality awards. With a focus on cow comfort and animal health, Patty serves as the manager of the milking operations and oversees the dairy herd, young stock and employees. She earned an Animal Science Degree from UW-Madison.
For your dairy
CONSIDERING SELECTIVE DRY COW THERAPY? The decision to transition to selective dry cow therapy (SDCT) is complicated for even the most forward-thinking dairy farmers. Dr. Daryl Nydam, PhD., professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University, shared research results and management recommendations on both selective dry cow therapy and using pathogen based treatment decisions for clinical mastitis in his “Dollars and cents in udder health,” presentation at the 2023 Business Conference.
Dr. Nydam’s guidelines for herds considering SDCT suggest herds should have:
  • Protocols developed with approval of supervising veterinarian
  • Bulk tank SCC under 250,000
  • Limited “contagious pathogens” in the herd; no strep ag, minimal staph aureus
  • Thorough herd records
  • Sound dry-off hygiene practices
  • Ability to implement new management procedures
  • Mastitis-pathogen surveillance practices in place
HIGH-FERTILITY CYCLE OFFERS NEW PARADIGM for reproductive performance in dairy herds. A mini-review article in the Journal of Dairy Science Communications highlights the relationship between reproductive performance and incidence of key health events. Cows that establish timely pregnancies after voluntary waiting periods have less body condition score (BCS) gain during lactation and less BCS loss after calving. They also experience fewer health issues and reduced early pregnancy losses. Read the full article for a review of relevant studies and data behind the development of the high fertility cycle concept. 
METABOLIC STRESS LOWER IN COWS DRIED OFF WITH REDUCED MILKING FREQUENCY, according to research published in the Journal of Dairy Science. Researchers compared the effects of various dry-off strategies on blood metabolites, hormones, and minerals around dry-off. Dry-off treatments included reducing feeding level from a normal to reduced-energy diet, reducing milking frequency from twice to once a day, and administering a dopamine agonist after last milking. Though cows that were dried off with no changes in diet or milking frequency produced more milk, they also had much higher cortisol levels. Cows in both the reduced feeding and once-a-day milking groups produced about 30% less, and metabolic stress was lowest in the group milked less frequently. Read an article reviewing the results or the full study to learn more.
For your business mind
PREPARING YOUR BUSINESS AND TEAM FOR CHANGE is always important, particularly as new technologies in agriculture are developing more quickly than ever. An article from UW-Extension provides guidance on building a strong financial, employee and infrastructure base on your farm to allow for adopting higher levels of ag tech in the future:
  • Start by becoming the “employer of choice” today
  • Don’t discredit team members who may be hesitant about technology at first
  • Learn how to use and optimize the value in the technology you currently have access to
  • In using technology for data-driven work, keep your data organized
  • Always insist on financial analysis to assess technology
  • Demand superior service
Find more suggestions and learn more about each in the full article.
PLANNING AHEAD FOR TOUGH CONVERSATIONS with employees can make an unpleasant situation more productive. An article from Kellogg Insight shares three tips for sharing feedback with team members about their performance:
  1. Clarify the purpose and ultimate goal of the conversation, not just the specific behavior
  2. Prepare to receive conflicting datapoints
  3. Commit to listening well

Read the full article to learn more about each tip.
UNDERSTANDING THE COSTS OF REPLACEMENT HEIFERS is key for dairy producers, especially with low prices on the heifer market in recent years. Relying on the sale of a two-year-old heifer to generate cash is no longer sustainable. If a producer is not planning a herd expansion, taking a more aggressive approach to selling heifers earlier can boost the bottom line. Penn State Extension outlines data that producers need to know before taking action:
  • How many heifers you need to replace annually (herd replacement rate)
  • How many heifers the herd produces annually
  • The farm’s costs of raising a heifer
  • Current heifer market price
  • Which heifer to sell and which heifer to keep
Learn more here.
The Dairy Signal
THE DAIRY SIGNAL EPISODES KEEP COMING. Particularly when seasons and daily routines change, it’s nice to have 24-7 access to valuable information from a variety of leading experts. The three-times-weekly program continues to offer resources and strategies relevant to dairy, agriculture, consumer and market topics for today’s dairy producers. Tune in at noon CT every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, or check out recorded episodes here.
Recently covered presenters and topics include:
Elevate soil health and bottom line by grazing dairy heifers. Tune in for a discussion of best practices that will deliver benefits for your animals and land.
  • Jason Cavadini, Grazing Specialist and Certified Professional Agronomist, UW-Madison Extension
Considering robotic calf feeders? Join this panel discussion of dairy producers who will share their experiences, including pros, cons and what they’d do differently knowing what they now know.
  • Amy Penterman, Manager, Dutch Dairy LLC
  • Jordan Ebert, Ebert Enterprise
Learn about the latest happenings in dairy policy at the national level and what industry leaders will be watching for the rest of 2023.
  • Jim Mulhern, President & CEO, National Milk Producers Federation
Silage season is one of the busiest – and most dangerous times – for dairy teams. Attendees at the 2023 PDPW Business Conference had an opportunities to discover several unique and impactful approaches for saving lives. Now you can share them with your whole team on your own schedule.
  • Connie Kuber, Co-Owner, Connor Agriscience
Discuss the latest research on antibiotic use for mastitis control in dairy cows and take a closer look at opportunities for antibiotic-free alternatives to control mastitis during the dry period. The recent PDPW Business Conference was the first opportunity for these UW researchers to share their findings; this episode will make it available to a broader audience.
  • Dr. Hilario Mantovani, PhD, Assistant Professor, Animal & Dairy Sciences, UW-Madison
  • Ana Julia Moreira, Research Intern, Animal & Dairy Sciences, UW-Madison
How has the first quarter of 2023 compared to expectations and what’s ahead for the rest of the year? Tune in for a discussion on the market, weather and economic factors that will drive the dairy industry and impact your farm’s bottom line.
  • Ben Buckner, Grain Analyst, AgResource Company
Dairy currents
CONSUMER INTEREST IN SPECIALTY CHEESES CONTINUES TO GROW post-pandemic, even as demand for other products slows with inflation pressures. A Winsight Grocery Business article highlights that specialty cheeses have given consumers an opportunity to splurge at home, while they manage budgets on other items and dining-out spending. They are also trying cheeses flavored with chiles, fruit, herbs or honey, driven by the popularity of both charcuterie boards and the uptick in smaller, specialty cheese plants and their new offerings. Read the full article to learn more.
BIOTECHNOLOGY IS KEY TO FUTURE FOOD SUPPLY according to a new report released by the Biden administration. The report lays out research and development priorities for government, research institutions, investors and private companies to reach goals that use biotechnology to improve ag productivity and sustainability, create more nutritious and safer food, and protect animals and plants from pests and disease. Learn more in a news article and the report
NEARLY THREE-QUARTERS OF CONSUMERS EAT ICE CREAM AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK, with the average American eating 20 pounds of the sweet treat a year. A Dairy Foods article highlights flavor trends and growth potential for the market, including the expectation that the global ice cream market will grow by 37% from 2021 to 2027. Click here to learn more about the flavors, colors and trends that will be driving ice cream production over the next year.
“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”
- William Butler Yeats
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