March 2018 vol.2
Brought to you by Dairy's Professional Development Organization®
Opportunities to learn...

DON'T MISS 2018 YOUTH LEADERSHIP DERBY! Know a young person interested in the dairy industry? The 2018 PDPW Youth Leadership Derby is a must-attend event for 15-18 year-olds that will be held April 7-9 at Oregon High school. The program is designed to give farm and non-farm students a deep-dive exploration in leadership, science and communications, and includes hands-on labs at UW-Madison and a tour of Sassy Cow Farm and Creamery. To learn more and to register, click here or call 800-947-7379.

PUT SOCIAL MEDIA TO WORK FOR YOUR DAIRY with skills learned at the PDPW Social Media Strategy workshop scheduled for Thurs., April 5, at Pagel's Ponderosa Dairy in Kewaunee County, and Friday, April 6, at Boon Farms in Clark County. You'll leave the session with the tools, resources and solutions that you'll need to effectively identify your audiences, draft high-performing social media posts and monitor and track your online conversations.  Click  here  for details, or call 800-947-7379 to register.

SEE HIGH-PERFORMING ROBOTIC DAIRIES IN ACTION on the 2018 PDPW Dairy Robotics Tours set for Thursday, April 19. We will tour the f irst fully robotic rotary parlor in the U.S. at Hoffman's Happy Holsteins and a six row free stall setup with four Lely robots at Drees Dairy Farm LLC.  

Kent and Kerwin Hoffman are first in the U.S. with a fully robotic rotary parlor. They started using the 40 stall ProQ GEA parlor on November 1, 2017 for milking their 520-Holsteins. Bill and Dennis Drees moved from a 60-stall tie stall barn three years ago into a six row free stall with four Lely robots. Learn why the herd owners switched to robotics, how they planned for the process, what worked smoothly and what they have learned along the way. During a panel discussion with their lenders, the two farms will share what they did to research and prepare for their move to robotics and answer your questions over lunch provided by PDPW.

The dairies are located near Peshtigo, WI. PDPW will pick up attendees in Wausau, Bonduel, Appleton and Green Bay. If you wish to attend the tour, you must ride the bus and pre-register to ensure you have a  seat. For more information, click  here or contact PDPW at 800-947-7379.

GET ON THE FINANCIAL LITERACY WAITING LIST Managing a dairy business means knowing as much about the financial books as the cows.  Open to farmers and industry, reserve your seat for the upcoming 2018-19 PDPW Financial Literacy for Dairy series by joining this waiting list.  This series is presented through multiple sessions from fall 2018 through spring of 2019.  This is your chance to learn, study and practice throughout the series.  The objective is to learn at new concepts and to apply what you're learning in your business. Click here to get your name on the list!

CHECK OUT DAIRY ADVANCE. Find, track and report your continuing education credits with Dairy AdvanCE. Get more details at .
For your dairy...

WHAT ARE THEY ACTUALLY EATING? Dairy producers may spend a great deal of time and energy designing the perfect ration for their cows, but many factors can influence what is actually consumed.  A Hands On Hub session at the 2018 PDPW Business Conference provided a wealth of practical tips and insights that dairy producers can use to improve the quality and consistency of their feeding programs. Dr. Tom Oelberg, Ruminant Field Technical Specialist, and Bob Myers, Regional Sales Manager, both from Diamond V, led the interactive sessions that included equipment demonstrations, ration samples, photos and videos. Dr. Oelberg reviewed 11 mixing basics that will help reduce variation in TMRs. A few best practice tips to ensure farmers are meeting the goal of every cow to getting the perfect ration in every bite include:
  • Check augers for wear on kicker plate and knife
  • Do not overfill mixer
  • Ensure that mixer is level
  • Better processing of hay/straw improves consistency in TMR and bulk tank milk production
  • Add small amount ingredients when load is at or less than 2,500 pounds
NEW WAYS TO PREDICT METHANE EMISSIONS in cattle are being developed and tested by researchers in the Netherlands. Researchers tested two techniques: milk fatty acids and milk infrared spectra. Evaluating milk fatty acids is more accurate and can include evaluation of forage type, level and quality, however infrared spectra are relatively easy and inexpensive to practice. Additional research is needed, but milk infrared spectra could be used as an indicator for methane emissions to help manage greenhouse gases in dairy farming. Read the full Feedstuffs article here .

RUMEN DEVELOPMENT IS KEY FOR SUCCESSFUL TRANSITION of calves during weaning, according to an article from Penn State University Extension. A calf will struggle after weaning if its rumen isn't properly developed, regardless of how much milk she is fed or her weaning age. It typically takes 2 to 3 weeks for bacterial population to grow to a number that can efficiently digest grain. In early weaning systems, calves need to begin eating some starter grain by 2 weeks of age to allow rumen development for weaning to begin at 5 to 6 weeks. Learn more and see examples of feeding strategies at the full article here .
Dairy currents...

GENE EDITING COULD DELIVER BENEFITS IN LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION, however existing FDA and other regulations will add to the cost and time required to bring developments to producers. Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam, Cooperative Extension Specialist in Animal Genomics and Biotechnology at the University of California-Davis, provided an overview of genetics success stories and opportunities at the 2018 PDPW Business Conference. She shared results of her team's work to develop polled varieties of Holstein cattle, eliminating the need for disbudding practices. You can l earn more about regulation of gene editing and other technology tools in a MIT Review article here.

BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY COULD BE A BREAKTHROUGH in food safety and tracking all the steps that food products take from farm to consumers' plates. What is blockchain? Simply put, it is a new system of technology that allows food data to be digitized and held by more than one person or organization. Instead of sharing data with one centralized source, blockchain could share information with many parties, making it easier to provide detailed information to grocery stores, restaurants and consumers about where and how a food product was raised or processed. Learn more in this  FACTS article .

WISCONSIN CHEESES MAKE HISTORY AT SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST EVENT . More than 100 varieties of cheese from brands across Wisconsin were featured in a 70-foot long, 2,000 pound cheese board for attendees of the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) event in Austin, Texas, earlier this month. The ten-day festival includes a variety of speakers, film screenings, exhibitions, concerts and more. The world's longest cheese board was developed and staffed by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. Read more here .
For your business mind...

Dr. Mike Hutjens
FIVE ITEMS FOR EVERY DAIRY'S 2018 "MUST DO" LIST to maximize efficiency when margins are tight, were shared by Dr. Mike Hutjens, dairy extension specialist at the University of Illinois. Dr. Hutjens shared his list of must do's for feeding dairy cows for optimum production:
  1. Remember that dry matter intake is king. The last pound of dry matter consumed can support two pounds more milk.
  2. Use forage strategies and tools to ensure consistent silage quality, especially understanding weather conditions when silage was made.
  3. Transition tools and approaches
  4. Feed additives can deliver benefits when added to the ration.
  5. Carefully manage feed costs and budget.
In addition, there are several "do not's" to keep in mind. For example, removing minerals from the ration, breeding to give cows longer calving intervals and avoiding body condition scores are sacrifices that may be costly in the long-run.

DR. MICHAEL BOELHJE SHARED PRINCIPLES for remaining solid in challenging times at the 2018 PDPW Business Conference. Dr. Boehlje, Professor with the Center for Commercial Agriculture at Purdue University, said that the first step is to conduct a reality check regarding the financial vulnerability your enterprise may be facing. Farmers also need to create value for the customer by enhancing their product. He also encouraged producers to focus on a strategy for success by becoming 'First in Class' at what they do and stressed the importance of controlling asset turnover. Other tips to running a profitable dairy include using debt carefully, enhancing your financial skills by working with your lender or accountant, and boosting margins by using best management practices. 

BEING AN EFFECTIVE MENTOR STARTS WITH ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS , according to an article in FAST COMPANY magazine. Rather than lecturing or providing answers you think someone wants to hear, an effective mentor asks insightful questions to help guide the conversations and provide new learning opportunities. Good questions include:
  • What does success look like to you?
  • What is the outcome you want?
  • What do you want to be different in three to five years?
  • What are the obstacles you're facing?
  • What can you control?
  • What are the options you've come up with?
  • Tell me more.
  • What are you reading?
To learn more about each question and ways to be more effective, read the full article here .
Words to live by...
Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.
--- Brian Tracy
Book Review...

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW Author Daniel Kahneman is a renowned psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics who takes readers on a tour of the mind and the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive and emotional, while System 2 is slower, more deliberate and more logical. He shares where we can and can not trust our intuition and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking in both business and personal lives. Read more here .
A BIG Thank You...    
IT'S A NEW YEAR, WITH A NEW LINE-UP OF AGRIBUSINESS LEADERS supporting your professional development organization! As we walk into our 26th year as a producer-led group, we extend a heart-felt "Thank You!" to those that stand alongside our nation's dairy farmers.  T heir support allows PDPW to execute best-in-class producer training and has enabled us to become the go-to resource for unified outreach initiatives. If you or a company you know is interested in participating as a sponsor, please contact us at or call 800-947-7379.
See the full list of generous sponsors here.