November 2020 Vol. 2
Brought to you by Dairy's Professional Development Organization®
We’re going to make a big splash – the 2021 PDPW Business Conference is moving to a new location! Make plans to attend dairy’s premiere educational event March 17-18, 2021 at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells, Wis. Count on an event to remember with world-class presenters, a trade show with dairy’s most valuable suppliers and a few other exciting additions. More details will be coming soon. Meantime, save the date!
For your dairy
AS NUMBERS OF DAIRY-BEEF-CROSSBRED CALVES increase, it’s important for dairy producers to consider beef bull traits to ensure the production of calves that are valuable in the marketplace. A study published in the Journal of Dairy Science analyzed conception rates of more than 268,000 breedings between beef bulls and Holstein dairy cows and found little difference between conception rates of Holstein bulls and Holstein cows. The number of matings of beef bulls to dairy cows has more than doubled from 2015 to 2019. Read the full study or an article from Penn State Extension reviewing the results. 
FACTORS THAT IMPACT MILK YIELD DURING FIRST LACTATION were the focus of a research study published in the Journal of Dairy Science. Data from more than 3.8 million heifers, born between 2000 and 2015, were analyzed, and results showed that age at first calving was the most important factor in determining milk production during first lactation, followed by calving month, birth month and parity of the dam. The highest first-lactation production was in heifers calving in October to December and the lowest in heifers calving in June and July. Learn more in the full study.
SUCCESS IN ROBOTIC MILKING SYSTEMS starts with the management approach and mindset at a farm and not just the technology, according to an article from the University of Minnesota Extension. Observations from several robotic dairies identified common characteristics of farms that consistently achieve high production per cow and robot.
Successful farms:
  1. Enjoy working with cows
  2. Have excellent transition cow programs
  3. Produce high quality, consistent forage
  4. Have excellent feeding and bunk management
  5. Use more than one robot feed
  6. Use barns designed for cow comfort and labor efficiency
  7. Minimize pen disruptions
  8. Take steps to allow for a robot’s success
  9. Optimize feed tables and milking permission settings

Read more detail on each characteristic in the full article
For your business mind
MINIMIZE YOUR FARM’S RISK by identifying and mitigating potential safety hazards. While insurance can cover the financial costs of a significant loss, recovering from such an event can be very difficult. In fact, research shows nearly 40% of small businesses permanently close within two years of a significant loss. During a recent PDPW Dairy Signal™ episode, insurance agent Michael Immel and Chris Schlechta with Rural Mutual Insurance Company reviewed the most common on-farm hazards. They prompted listeners to consider questions such as:
  • Are portable fire extinguishers provided in adequate quantity and type?
  • Are diesel and gasoline fuel tanks over 110-gallon capacity located at least 40 feet from the nearest building?
  • Are all manure pits and lagoons fenced to prevent unauthorized or accidental access?
  • Do all electrical panels provide at least 36 feet of clearance? Is this area free of stored objects?
  • Are all containers labeled with the chemical name and hazard information?

Read the blog post for the full list and watch the Dairy Signal episode for more information. 
VOICE CALLS CAN HAVE MORE IMPACT, VALUE than texting or emailing, according to the results of a recent study. Especially during an extended time of limited in-person interactions, the impact of a voice conversation is stronger than an email conversation, underscoring the importance of conveying healthy emotions through voice communication methods. Read more here
The Dairy Signal
DON’T MISS THE DAIRY SIGNAL. Join leading experts across dairy and agricultural industries, government and regulatory associations and universities for insights on current issues. The free educational sessions are held every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, with recorded versions of The Dairy Signal™ available for free at Click here to find archived recordings of sessions:

Upcoming episodes:
December 1
Understand options for calculating cost of production and how each approach can help make management decisions and manage risk.
  • Gary Sipiorski, Independent Business and Financial Consultant
  • Dr. Kevin Bernhardt, Professor of Agribusiness at UW-Platteville School of Agriculture and Farm Management Specialist with UW-Extension and Center for Dairy Profitability

December 2
Hear about agriculture and the dairy outlook from the lender point of view, including lessons learned from 2020 and tips for planning ahead for 2021, including prepaying, refinancing, and other options. 
  • Tim McTigue, Senior Vice President of Ag Banking, Investors Community Bank
  • Doug Lambert, Assistant Vice-president, Farmers & Merchants Union Bank
  • Jim Moriarty, Director of Dairy Teams, Compeer Financial
December 3
Get the latest news and analysis of agricultural markets, current trends and what to expect for the rest of this year and into 2021. 
  • Dan Basse, Economist and President of AgResource Company.

Presenters and topics covered recently include:
Hear how cancer is affecting our rural communities and learn about options for screenings and ways to reduce your cancer risk. Episode presenter:
  • Dr. Madhuri Rao, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Division of Thoracic and Foregut Surgery, University of Minnesota

Understand how the animal traceability and ID system works, including examples from poultry and pork industries when the system played a vital role in animal and human health. Episode presenters:
  • Dan Goehring, Johnsonville livestock procurement coordinator for Johnsonville Sausage
  • Dr. Gretchen May, DVM, veterinary program manager, Wisconsin DATCP
  • Dr. Darlene Konkle, DVM, Wisconsin state veterinarian, Wisconsin DATCP

Find out the latest update on COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin and what families can do to be healthy and safe, especially with upcoming colder weather and holiday seasons. Episode presenters:
  • Kathrine Barnes, MS, MPH, project manager, Marshfield Clinic Research Institute
  • Dr. James Gern, professor of pediatrics and medicine, vice chair for research, department of pediatrics, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Hear about the weather patterns for upcoming months and get an inside look at the winter-weather outlook. Episode presenter:
  • Eric Snodgrass, principal atmospheric scientist for Nutrien Ag Solutions

Gather insights from a dairy producer panel about the management practices, technologies and tools needed to maintain a high-production herd. Episode presenters:
  • Scott Seward, Seward-Folly Dairy, Pine River, Wis.
  • Tom Kestell, Ever-Green-View LLC, Waldo, Wis.
Dairy currents
STAY UP-TO-DATE ON DAIRY NEWS AND PROMOTION EFFORTS with the “Power of Promotion” email newsletter from Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin. Learn about how the organization is using check-off dollars to drive cheese sales and reach consumers through social media and virtual events in Wisconsin and beyond. If you aren’t receiving the monthly newsletter already, click here to read the most recent issue and subscribe today.
BEING A THOUGHTFUL DONOR IS MORE IMPORTANT this holiday season than ever before, according to Sherrie Tussler, executive director of Hunger Task Force. During a recent PDPW Dairy Signal™ episode, she shared information about food insecurity in Wisconsin during the coronavirus pandemic. Because food is such an important part of the holiday season, she encouraged the following tips as you consider donations to food pantries during the next several weeks and beyond:
  • Contact your local food pantry to find out the greatest needs, including whether financial donations or physical products are most needed at that facility.
  • Give with integrity. When donating clothing or other items, donate with the same consideration you’d give to a friend or a family member in a time of need.
  • Be thoughtful. When donating food, consider shelf life, nutrition, condition, practicality and likelihood that the item will be appreciated.

Watch the full episode to learn more, and click here to find the nearest food pantry in Wisconsin.
DISCOVERY FARMS VIRTUAL CONFERENCE SERIES will be held Wednesdays in December and January with a theme of “Keeping up with your conservation goals through change and challenge.” Sessions will be held from 12 pm to 1 pm each week with topics ranging from climate change, groundwater protection rules, manure management, soil health, tile drainage and more. Sessions will be held in partnership with Discover Farms programs in Wisconsin and Minnesota. For more details and session schedules, visit the website
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more.”
~Melody Beattie
PDPW educational calendar
Financial Literacy for Dairy - Level 1
Juneau, WI

Financial Literacy for Dairy - Level 2
Juneau, WI

January 20 & 21
Hispanic Training
-exclusively in Spanish
March 16-17
Wisconsin Dells, WI

March 17-18
Business Conference
Wisconsin Dells, WI
Thank you sponsors