September 2015
Brought to you by Dairy's Professional Development Organization®
Meet a fellow PDPW Member... Dr. Jerry Gaska

Dr. Jerry Gaska, DVM
Dr. Jerry Gaska joined the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin when he was a practicing veterinarian. Today, he benefits as a dairy producer, he is the dairy manager at Nehls Brothers Farms. This 2,000-cow dairy owned by brothers Greg and Royce Nehls, Juneau, Wis., was Dr. Gaska's largest farm client, and one he had served for 22 years, when the brothers approached him to take over the management of the dairy portion of the farm in 2011.

When Dr. Gaska eagerly accepted the position, Greg and Royce Nehls were excited as this would give them more time for the cropping portion of the farm and over-all farm management duties.

Today, in addition to his dairy management duties, Dr. Gaska works closely with the School of Veterinary Medicine in Madison and conducts research for some private companies. The Nehls Brothers Farms also serves as a learning site for fourth-year veterinary students from the UW-School of Veterinary Medicine.

The dairy is involved with PDPW's Mentor Program, sponsors youth to PDPW's Youth Leadership Derby and sends employees to many of the specialty workshops offered by PDPW. Dr. Gaska says the farm has benefited from training sessions on reproduction, calf care, herdsmanship and interacting with multi-cultural employees.

"With the width and breadth of learning opportunities they present, PDPW has something for everyone," Dr. Gaska states. "They provide excellent world-class trainers and offer everything from hands-on training to personal development. I absolutely advise dairy producers, big or small, to be a part of it and continue their learning. There are workshops for beginning workers, experienced workers and everyone."

With new technology appearing every year in the dairy industry, Dr. Gaska maintains that continuing education is important for everyone involved in the dairy industry-from managers to feeders, calf-care specialists and milkers.   "I think it's important that employees are trained," Dr. Gaska explains. "Technology and training relates back to cow comfort and cow health. Our Veterinary School involvement helps us review our protocols and procedures and stay on the cutting edge of everything. We don't hide anything from those who come out to our farm. If they see something we can do different, that's great. It increases our accountability when we know someone is watching."
For your dairy...
WHICH IS BETTER: WEANING AT SIX WEEKS OR AT EIGHT WEEKS? Research conducted by the University of Guelph suggests that calves fed an elevated plane of nutrition pre-weaning have higher starter intakes and average daily gain during the weaning period when weaning is extended from six to eight weeks of age. 

The study involved 20 female Holstein calves randomly assigned at birth to be weaned at six or eight weeks. Milk replacer (mixed at 150 g/L) was offered at 1.2 kg/calf per day in two meals until a one-week step-down, when meals were reduced by 50% one week before weaning. Daily starter, chopped oat straw, water intake and weekly body weights were measured until calves were 70 days old. 

The calves weaned at eight weeks had higher average daily gain for the week pre-weaning (0.79 +/- 0.09 vs. 0.34 +/- 0.10 kg/d) and post weaning (1.05 +/- 0.09 vs. 0.35 +/- 0.11 kg/d) and were heavier at Day 70 (99.9 +/- 1.81 vs. 91.0 +/- 2.26 kg). Calves weaned at eight weeks also had higher starter intake for one week pre-weaning (1.36 +/- 0.13 vs. 0.40 +/- 0.08 kg/d) and post-weaning (2.51 +/- 0.20 vs. 1.16 +/- 0.15 kg/d). 

During the week before weaning, calves weaned at six weeks tended to exhibit 75 percent more non-nutritive oral behavior and spent 55 percent less time ruminating and 36 percent less time lying compared with calves weaned at eight weeks. You can read the abstract, which appears in the September 2015 issue of the Journal of Dairy Science, online at this site.
YES, SOLVENT-EXTRACTED SOYBEAN MEAL CAN BE SUBSTITUTED WITH EXTRUDED SOYBEAN MEAL IN THE RATION  and dairy cows will not suffer any negative consequences. In fact,Pennsylvania State University researchers found that the ESBM substitution can even have a positive effect on feed intake and milk yield. The study involved nine multiparous Holstein cows.

The control diet contained 13% SSBM (53.5% crude protein with 74.1% ruminal degradability and 1.8% fat), which was replaced with equivalent amount, dry matter basis, of LTM (46.8%, 59.8%, and 10.0%) or HTM (46.9%, 41.1%, and 10.9%, respectively) ESBM in the 2 experimental diets (LTM and HTM, respectively). The two ESBM diets increased dry matter intake and milk yield compared with SSBM. While feed efficiency and milk composition were not affected by treatment, milk protein yield tended to be increased by ESBM compared with SSBM. 

Although treatments had no effect on rumen fermentation, the proportion of Fibrobacter spp. in whole ruminal contents was increased by HTM compared with SSBM and LTM. The researchers' conclusion: "Overall, data from this crossover experiment suggest that substituting SSBM with ESBM in the diet has a positive effect on feed intake and milk yield in dairy cows." 

The abstract, which appears in the September 2015 issue of the Journal of Dairy Science - and includes information related to nutrient digestibility, milk fatty acid and plasma amino acid profiles and rumen fermentation in lactating dairy cows - is available online: here.

NIR APPEARS TO BE MORE THAN JUST FAST.   Near-infrared technology has been used in commercial laboratories to analyze feed and other agricultural products for years. Only recently has NIR technology been applied to an on-farm setting.  On-farm systems work similarly to NIR used in a lab setting: A feed sample is put in front of a scanner, the scanner analyzes the feed sample and the result is returned to the farmer or nutritionist who then can make management decisions regarding the feed. While on-farm NIR allows a farmer to see its results instantly-therefore allowing management decisions to be made on the spot, an Italian study compared dairy farms using on-farm NIR systems (dg precision FEEDING System) with farms not using the system shows additional advantages. 

In this study, feed costs were $0.09 per cow per day less and milk production was 5.6 pounds more per cow per day (65.9 vs. 71.5 pounds/cow per day) on farms using the NIR system than on farms not using the system. For a 200-cow dairy this would result in approximately $73,584 of increased revenue from milk sales (assuming $18/cwt milk) and a $6,570 savings in feed cost per year. Increased production was attributed to a more consistent ration being delivered to the herd. Lower feed cost was attributed to being able to feed more precisely to the needs of the herd and thus decreasing feed waste. The study also reported an improvement in the general health of the herd, based on changes in blood parameters and a reduction in mastitis.  To learn more about the Italian study, go online to  this site.

PROVIDING "THE PERFECT DINING EXPERIENCE FOR COWS"  can reap big benefits for a dairy, notes Rick Grant, president of W.H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute.  Grant offers these six tips to creating this ideal dining experience for cows: 

1) Have feed available to cows, as this can make a four to eight pound difference in milk production. "Feed has to be in the bunk when she wants it and in the amount she wants," Grant said. "We have to make sure the feed is there." 

2) Ensure feed is uniformly distributed along the bunk. After all, when there is not a consistent amount of feed along the bunk, cows kick in their grazing behaviors which can cause 51 percent more switches in feeding locations and cause 3.5 times more competitive interactions. 

3) Never allow the bunk to sit empty for more than three hours as cows get hungry after three hours. Grant says a bunk that is empty overnight - from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. - will reduce a cow's DMI by 3.5 pounds per day. 

4) Feed cows twice a day. When comparing feeding twice a day vs. feeding once a day, Grant saw cows had more feed availability during the day, cows weren't sorting their feed as much and cows were consuming 3.1 pounds more dry matter per day, which increased milk yield by 4.4 pounds per day. Grant adds that feeding twice a day also benefits the rumen of the cow. 

5) Strive for a 3 percent feed refusal. He notes that, if a ration is mixed for a 2 percent feed refusal, the probability that high-producing cows are getting shortchanged is larger. 

6) Push up the feed every half hour during the first two hours after feeding when "it's the most competitive time at the bunk." This helps optimize feed intake and feeding behavior and improve the feed efficiency while not impacting resting time. 

7) Let cows rest. Grant says, for every 3.5 minutes of rest a cow has lost, they will sacrifice one minute of eating. "Lying time is a priority over eating," Grant said. "Cows will lie down instead of eating if they are forced to choose." 

8) Avoid overstocking to lessen aggression and displacements among cows as well as sorting of feed. A study shows, with 12 to 18 inches of bunk space, some cows chose to eat the lower quality feed alone. Even with 24 inches of bunk space per cow, 40 percent of less aggressive cows chose to eat alone. Because barns typically aren't designed for bunk space of more than 24 inches per cow, Grant suggests bunk stocking densities be less than 100 percent and 80 percent for transition cows.

Paying attention to details can help reduce feed shrink.  
With feed shrink typically 6 percent to more than 15 percent-and negatively impacting a dairy's bottom line, Randy Pepin, extension educator with the University of Minnesota, urges dairy farmers to examine areas were potential feed shrink occurs and make necessary changes to keep feed shrink as low as possible. When it comes to the feed center and TMRs, Pepin advises farmers to repair leaky roofs and bins and check for improper drainage, keep rodents and birds under control and avoid depositing feed around the farmyard by spillage or sticking to implement tires.  You can read his complete list of ways to reduce feed shrink-from harvesting and storing tips to in front of the cow-online at this site. 
For your business mind...

WHY THIS WORKER DID, SAID, DIDN'T DO OR DIDN'T SAY WHAT? If you are sometimes baffled why a worker acts a certain why or doesn't do things "your way," it could boil down to a person's culture-and culture is more than the color of a person's skin. It's the sum of total of the learned behavior of a group of people who are generally considered to be the tradition of that people and are transmitted from generation to generation. 

Profiles in Diversity Journal points out that cultural differences influence the way we interact with other people. Our culture influences our behavior and style and use of language as well as how we conduct work, negotiate, create relationships and solve challenges, problems and conflicts. Culture is also driven by our values and beliefs that may be unconscious but nonetheless learned in a national culture. 

"You may not be aware of your own values and beliefs until you are confronted with someone who has beliefs that are different than you, e.g. working with a colleague from another country," states Sunniva Heggertveit-Aoudia. "Different values lead to different behavior, behavior you may not understand. It is important that we try to learn and appreciate these differences in order to work effectively with people from other cultures." Heggertveit-Aoudia's complete article, which is online at this website, might just provide valuable insight to help management understand every worker.
BOOK REVIEW: THE GIFTS OF IMPERFECTION.  If you want to open the doors to an amazing life, then this 160-page book by Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, could be the door opener. Called "a gem of a book," The Gifts of Imperfection offers readers insight regarding how to put perfectionism aside, embrace vulnerability and cultivate the courage, compassion and connection to wake up each morning thinking "No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough." In Brown's own words: "Perfect and bulletproof are seductive, but they don't exist in the human experience. We must walk into the arena, whatever it may be-a new relationship, an important meeting, our creative process, or a difficult family conversation-with courage and a willingness to engage. Rather than sitting on the sidelines and hurling judgment and advice, we must dare to show up and let ourselves be seen. This is vulnerability. This is daring." Brown's book offers 10 guideposts for wholehearted living-which is accessible to anyone who is willing to no longer sitting on the sidelines.
NEWS FLASH: THE BRAIN IS HARDWIRED TO DO ONE THING AT A TIME. Business coach Devora Zack maintains that multi-tasking isn't really multi-tasking. It's actually what neuroscientists call "task switching." The real kicker is that studies show that attempting to multi-task lowers IQ, shrinks the brain's gray matter and lowers productivity by 40 percent. "Single-tasking means developing a heightened focus and accomplishing more by living fully in the present," Zack states. "You can do one thing well or two things poorly." She offers these techniques to increase a single-tasking mindset: 

1) Sync your thoughts and actions.
2) Create systems to build "fences" around potential distractions.
3) Enjoy lunch, as a Harvard study shows that those who attempt to work through lunch accomplish less work overall.
4) Cluster-task, grouping tasks into two or three designated segments throughout the day rather than letting it overrun other obligations.
5) Time-shift, giving yourself time each day to unwind (University of London found that even 15 minutes a day of relaxing increases overall productivity by 24 percent).
IS IT FALL OR IS IT AUTUMN? While Americans typically use the word "fall," the British use the word "autumn," with both terms dating around the 16th Century. Before these terms, the time frame was called "harvest." Additional facts:  1) The word "harvest" comes from the Old Norse word "haust," which means "to gather or pluck." As people moved to the cities, "harvest" fell out of use and city dwellers began to use "fall of the leaf," which was shortened to "fall."  2) Etymologists are unsure of the origin of the word "autumn," though they believe it comes from the ancient Etruscan "rootautu," which implies a change of season. In this scenario, the Romans then appropriated the term and formed the Latin word "autumnus."    3) People who live on the equator or central area of the planet never experience autumn.
Opportunities to learn...

AN AMAZING TEAM OF CALF-RAISING EXPERTS will address leading issues and deliver new research to those responsible for calf care at three one-day PDPW Calf Care Connection® workshops.  Topics include: The First 24 Hours - the most critical stage in a calf's life, Treatments and Testing - covers proper protocols for everything from sampling of hair, blood, and nasal swabs to pain management and dehorning; Head to Tail Diagnostics & Assessments - working with live calves, you will be trained on filling out a comprehensive health scoring chart which gives you a good assessment of the overall health of the calf; and Squeky Clean - sanitation testing and information to keep your calf environment as "bug free" as possible.

This team of calf care management gurus is comprised of: Dr. Sam Leadley, Calf/Heifer Management Specialist for the Attica Veterinary Associates in Attica New York; Dr. Vicky Lauer and Dr. Karla Meinholz, both members of the ANIMART Professional Services Veterinarian Team; Dr. Katie Mrdutt, Outreach Specialist for the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association and Dr. Richard Wallace, Cattle Technical Service veterinarian for Zoetis. 

Workshop dates and Locations:
* Tuesday, Oct. 13, Eau Claire, Wis.
* Wednesday, Oct. 14, Chilton, Wis.
* Thursday, Oct. 15, Madison, Wis.

This workshop will combine high-level classroom training with hands-on labs designed to challenge the newest member on the team as well as the most seasoned calf care provider. The UW-School of Veterinary Medicine and ARPAS continuing education credits are available. To learn more about this opportunity or to register, visit the PDPW website by clicking here .

BECOME A MAGNETIC MANAGER The one employees respect and the reason they stay on the job. The September World Class Webinar, "Magnetic Manager: Be the Manager No One Wants to Leave," conducted on Wednesday, Sept. 23, will be devoted to helping managers grow and achieve their potential. Led by Trevina Broussard with Humetrics, this one-hour webinar will focus on four key areas critical to an amazing manager: 

1) The Platinum Rule - managing people the way they prefer to be managed
2) Accountability - holding yourself and your team accountable for accomplishing specific goals and tasks
3) Recognition - incorporating recognition and validation into the workplace
4) Positive mental attitude - using the "four C's" to keep a winning mental attitude

This Sept. 23 webinar will be delivered live from noon to 1 p.m. CDT, with pre-registration required. If you have a date or time conflict, no worries. You can watch a fully recorded version at your leisure as long as you have pre-registered. Cost for the one-hour webinar is $100 for PDPW members and $125 for non-PDPW members, and this cost covers one computer, so include as many of your team members as you'd like. For more information or to register, please go online to or call PDPW at 800-947-7379.

LISTEN TO UNDERSTAND RATHER THAN listen to reply. That's the advice of Steven Covey, author of "7 Habits of Highly Effective People," and skilled leaders and influencers agree. The good news is that everyone can learn how to listen to understand which, in turn, will boost connections with colleagues, family members and other leaders-especially controversial and challenging individuals.  PDPW's Dairy's Visible Voice® - Leadership through Active Listening workshop on Thursday, Nov. 5, in Oshkosh, Wis., will be a combination of classroom instruction, presentations and hands-on activities devoted to help participants learn:
  • Effective communication principles
  • Asking vs. telling
  • The power of a conversation opener
  • How to uncover real motivations
  • Skills to more effectively handle questions
  • The value of practice
After this one-day of training, dairy farmers will discover that listening to understand can open the door to telling their story and answering challenging questions in a way that resonate with each audience. Due to lim ited space, pre-registration is required. Those interested can sign up online at

HIGHLY PRODUCTIVE COWS AND REPRODUCTIVE EFFICIENCY CAN GO HAND IN HAND   i f you know the "how" behind this challenge.  T hree highly regarded dai ry reproduction experts will share the latest research findings about this challenge from a variety of angles and explain the "how" during two one-day Dairy Reproduction Workshops: Tuesday, Oct. 27, in Oshkosh, Wis., and Wednesday, Oct. 28, in Fennimore, Wis . Both workshops will start at 9:30 a.m. and conclude by 4 p.m. 

Dr. Paul Fricke, University of Wisconsin, will kick off each one-day workshop with "30:30: Achieving a 30% Pregnancy Rate in a 30,000 lb. Dairy Herd." Dr. Fricke will provide an update on the latest research trials as well as discuss practical, on-farm reproductive management strategies that can be implemented immediately to boost future reproductive performance.   Dr. Katy Proudfoot, of the Ohio State University, will examine what cows told University of British Columbia Animal Welfare Program researchers about maternity pen design-from stall dimensions to bedding type and quality to calving in seclusion- and offer a wealth of transition cow management tips and tricks that can benefit a dairy. Dr. Robert Van Saun, from Pennsylvania State University, will tackle "Reducing Stillborn Losses: Remember to Feed Your Vitamins and Minerals!" In addition to highlighting recent survey findings related to stillborn dairy and beef calves and possible causes, Dr. Van Saun will zero in on maternal and fetal vitamin and mineral dynamics and will provide approaches to proper supplementation of these essential nutrients that can help minimize stillborn losses. 

This PDPW training is open to all dairy producers, with Continuing Education Unit credits available from specific professional organizations. To register for this workshop or to learn more about it or PDPW, please go online to or call PDPW at 800-947-7379.
A BIG Thank You...    

TO OUR PDPW SPONSORS who  support continuous improvement for the dairy industr y. T hey believe in producer leadership, and they place a high value on lifelong  education for those involved in the dairy industry. We deeply respect their commitment to us. 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!