August 2015
Brought to you by Dairy's Professional Development Organization®
Meet a fellow PDPW Member... Hilltop Dairy

Loren shares his experiences with a tour group
FAMILY WORKING TOGETHER   Fifteen years ago or so, Rich and June Greenfield of Markesan, Wis., were milking 60 cows and Rich's brother Cal and his wife Jodi, who lived nearby, were milking about 200 cows.  Rich's son Loren approached them about returning to dairying after seven years of teaching. Loren says, while his dad and uncle were doing fine on their own farms, having another partner appealed to them.  After the three agreed to a partnership, they took two key steps before developing a business plan for their new venture, Hilltop Dairy: 1) They joined the Professional Dairy Producers®; and 2) They toured other dairies, attended educational events and talked with other dairy producers.

Loren said he is grateful that members of the PDPW and others have willingly opened their farms to them and answered their questions as they sought ideas for building their business.  "Every idea and concept that we have adopted at Hilltop Dairy has been taken from other producers and industry people across the state and country," Loren states.

With an 1,100 head milking herd, Hilltop Dairy's entire herd is housed under one roof. The facility has designated areas for close-up cows, cows that have calved, "far-off" lactating cows and dry cows. The building is more than 1,400 feet long.  Someone monitors the calving area at all times. "We have a lot of eyes out here," Loren explains, noting that, with all the animals under one roof, someone is always doing something in the barn, passing through to another area and taking in various activities.  
The entire building is designed so animals progress from the fresh pen on to other groups until they reach the end of the barn. The milking cows are located closest to the milking parlor in the center of the barn.

Each family member has distinct responsibilities on the farm, and they gather together regularly to share what is happening, make plans and meet with the various farm consultants.

Thankful for individuals who willingly shared their successes and failures when they were in their start-up phase, Loren, his dad and uncle are willing share when others visit their farm.  They have hosted numerous tours and training events, always openly discussing what things work well as well as what they would do differently. They continue to participate in tours of other farms, always picking up new ideas.  "It's all about education and learning," Loren states. "I'm open to questions and to asking questions. The Q & A part of tours is a great way to share and get ideas. We're all in this together: feeding the world."

For your dairy...
THE FIRST MEAL FOR A NEWBORN CALF is more than necessary-it's crucial to the calf's survival and health. That's the findings of a team of researchers from China Agricultural University who assessed the effects of colostrum quality on IgG passive transfer, immune and antioxidant status and intestinal morphology and histology in neonatal calves. Using 24 male Holstein calves, the researchers assigned 24 to one of three treatment groups: those that received colostrum (GrC), transitional milk (GrT, which was obtained after the first milking two to three days after calving) and bulk tank milk (GrB) only at birth. 
The other four calves were not fed any milk and were assigned to the control group.   Calves that received colostrum gained more body weight than their counterparts; had higher sSerum total protein, IgG and superoxide dismutase concentrations Calves receiving colostrum also had better villus length and width, crypt depth, villus height/crypt depth value and mucosal thickness in the duodenum, jejunum and ileum. The researchers' conclusion: "Overall, colostrum is the best source for calves in IgG absorption, antioxidant activities and serum growth metabolites, and promoting intestinal development. The higher quality of colostrum calves ingested, the faster immune defense mechanism and the more healthy intestinal circumstances they established." You can read the abstract that appeared online on the Journal of Dairy Science web site on July 29, 2015, at  this website .

COLOSTRUM: 'BUG-FREE' OR AN EARLY SOURCE OF EXPOSURE TO DISEASE? "Despite its health and nutritional benefits for the calf, colostrum is a potential early source of exposure to microbial pathogens," states Dr. Sandra Godden, Department of Veterinary Population Medicine, University of Minnesota. "Microorganisms may be present in colostrum from multiple sources including secretion from the mammary gland, contamination during milking, storage or feeding, or by bacterial proliferation in stored colostrum." To harvest and feed clean colostrum, Dr. Godden urges dairy producers to adopt the following routine practices: 
1) Remove the calf from the dam within 30 to 60 minutes of calving and before nursing. 
2) Properly clean and disinfect the udder prior to harvesting first milking colostrum. 
3) If you know the dam has tested positive or is suspected of having a disease that can be transmitted through colostrum (e.g. Johne's disease or Mycoplasma spp.), then do not feed her colostrum to the calf. In such cases, feed previously stored colostrum from healthy cows or feed a colostrum replacement product. 
4) Do not pool raw colostrum. Use the "one cow to one calf" rule. 
5) Minimize colostrum contamination from dirty equipment by properly cleaning and sanitizing the milking bucket, storage buckets or bottles, feeding bottles and nipples and/or esophageal tube attachments. 
6) If storing colostrum, refrigerate or freeze it as quickly as possible to prevent bacterial proliferation. If refrigerating colostrum, feed it within two days of collection. 

WHETHER CALVES ARE PAIRED EARLY OR LATE can impact their weight gain and their intake of solid feed. With little known about the effect of the age at which social housing begins, Canadian researchers with the University of British Columbia conducted a study to assess the effects of early vs. late pairing on feeding behavior and weight gain before and after weaning. Their study group of Holstein bull calves were all fed the same and weaned at eight weeks of age. Calves were provided ad libitum access to calf starter and a total mixed ration. Taking body weight and measuring feed intake measured weekly from three to 10 weeks of age, the researchers discovered that, throughout the experimental period, the intake of calf starter was significantly higher for the early-paired calves than for individually reared and late-paired calves. While intake of TMR did not differ among treatments, the calves in the early paired treatment showed significantly higher average daily gain over the experimental period. The researchers note that "these results indicate that social housing soon after birth can increase weight gains and intake of solid feed." You can read their abstract online at the Journal of Dairy Science  by clicking here.

THE RISK PERIOD FOR HYPERKETONEMIA IS. . . According to data gathered by a team of three German researchers, the risk period for hyperketonemia lasts "at least until lactation Week 6-"which should be considered when planning hyperketonemia screening programs." They qualify this statement with "test characteristics of screening protocols depend on testing frequency." They pinpointed the six-week time frame after studying 252 cows from three farms twice weekly for hyperketonemia during the first 42 days in milk, using four different testing scenarios and two different "gold-standard definitions." Mean prevalence of hyperketonemia was 11.8%, ranging from 9.6% in lactation Weeks 0.5 and 2.0 to 14.6% in lactation Week 5.5. The median first positive hyperketonemia test result was in lactation Week 2.0 Median frequency of positive test results in cows affected by hyperketonemia was two positive test results. Median duration of the longest hyperketonemic period per cow affected was one examination interval. Considering a minimum of one positive hyperketonemia test result during the first 42 DIM as the gold standard, sensitivity of a single BHBA measurement during this period to diagnose hyperketonemia was 21%. A weekly testing protocol provided sensitivity and specificity of 91 and 83%, respectively. The researchers' abstract, which appeared in The Journal of Dairy Science, is available online by clicking on this link.
TEST FORAGES MORE THAN ONCE. Working with approximately 60 farms evaluating corn silage quality for fiber and starch digestibility in the fall and again in the spring, the Penn State University Extension Dairy Team found it "amazing how much change is occurring in fiber and starch content and digestibility." The Dairy Team continues, "If the forage is not tested routinely, it is not surprising why cows may start performing better in the spring or in some situations why they are not milking as well as they did in the fall." 

The team found that the extremes can be quite dramatic on individual farms. For example, the starch digestibility (7-hr, % starch) on one farm went from 75.4 percent in the fall to 56.4 percent in the spring. This silage was resampled and tested twice with the same result. Another farm went from 60.7 percent in the fall to 78 percent in the spring (7-hr, % starch). As a result of this work, the Dairy Team recommends regular forage testing, especially for corn silage, calling the added expense of testing for both fiber and starch digestibility "warranted."  They suggest developing a scheduled for analyzing forages throughout the year and following a three-step action plan for sampling forages: 

Step 1, Wait five days after opening a new structure to send forages for analyses; 
Step 2, Sample corn silage in the fall and spring. Include fiber and starch digestibility; and 
Step 3, Sample hay crop forages when feeding a new cutting of alfalfa or grass. 

The full article, authored Virginia Ishler, Extension Dairy Specialist, can be found online at this website.
BEDDING QUALITY CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE in milk quality. "The type, amount, percentage of dry matter and percentage of organic matter in the bedding can influence dairy cows' lying behavior and performance," states Ines Rivelli and Dr. Phil Cardoso, members of the University Illinois Dairy Focus Team. Their study of 20 Illinois dairies looked at organic bedding-wood shavings, sawdust, manure solids and straw-and inorganic bedding-sand and mattress. Sixteen of the farms had a sand bedding system, with approximately 32% of those farms having a combination of sand and different type of bedding such as straw or compost. Among the other four farms, two had straw bedding, one had sawdust and one had its cows on pasture. 

They suggest adding more bedding periodically to keep a clean and dry surface; keep compost temperatures generated by microorganisms between 120˚F and 130˚F to inactivate viruses and pathogens and allow for good composting; aerating the bedded area to a depth of 7.1 to 9.4 inches at least twice a day to provide a dry surface for the cows when they return from the parlor; and keeping moisture of the pack in a range of 40 to 65%. The researchers found that, as organic matter in bedding increased, the SCC also increased. Their conclusion: "Remember that bedding quality is associated with the ability of the animals to express natural behavior, and with milk production and quality. High SCC is associated with low milk production and higher risk for mastitis. It is important that dairy farmers know the quality of the bedding material used in their operations and that their management allows for OM less than 3% and DM greater than 95%." 

'WHY,' CONVENIENCE AND REFRESHER COURSES just might be the difference between a good milking team and a so-so milking team. Dr. Donna Amaral-Phillips, University of Kentucky, contends that helping workers under the "why" behind various procedures can encourage them to follow procedures. "If they don't see a reason for leave pre-dip on for at least 30 seconds and decide 20 seconds is 'close enough,' your milking procedures won't mean much to them," she states. She also contends that workers will less likely take shortcuts if supplies are conveniently located. For example, she suggests, if individual cow towels are to be used, make sure the container is easily accessible during milking so workers don't have to walk back and forth more than they need. Amaral-Phillips is a fan of sending workers, particularly seasoned workers, to refresher courses. While we all know the value of sending new and less experienced workers to workshops and conferences, the UK dairy specialists points out that refresher courses "reminds more experienced workers of the correct procedures and ensures they are on the same page as new workers." (Editor's Note: PDPW will have numerous "refresher" courses this fall. Choose the course/s that will help your dairy reach its goals.)
For your business mind...

BETTER FOCUS, LESS STRESS, MORE CREATIVITY, less anxiety, better memory and more gray matter. Research shows you can reap these benefits, and more, from one simple 15- to 20-minute act a day: meditating. A process of relaxing the mind that leads to a state of consciousness that brings clarity and serenity to one's life, meditating is simply removing yourself from the day's challenges to focus strongly on one point-either your breathing, a sensation in your body or a particular object outside of you-and continually bring your attention back to that focal point when it wanders. 

You can find lots of tips and tricks regarding "how" to meditate online. And remember: meditating is free. There's no health club fee. No paying a mental health therapist. As one meditation pro states, "Focused attention is very much like a muscle, one that needs to be strengthened through exercise." If meditating is a bit too far out of your comfort zone, then just write down three good things that happened to you today. You may not emerge better focused or have a better memory but the world will look a bit brighter. 

YOU CAN'T SEE IT BUT YOU CAN FEEL IT: BACK PAIN. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2008 Health Report states that 80% to 90% of Americans will experience back pain at some point during their lifetime, with farmers having an increased risk for low back pain in comparison to the general population. National Farm Medicine Center offers these tips to reduce risk of back injury: 1) maintain good posture; 2) use assistive devices such as carts, wheelbarrows, stools, ladders, etc. whenever possible to simplify tasks; 3) practice good-lifting technique; 4) change positions frequently, stretching before and during a task; 5) avoid unnecessary lifts; 6) stay in shape with regular exercise and a healthy diet; 7) maintain core body strength; 8) decrease vibrations by installing air cushions or upgrade set to damper vibrations; and 9) automate as many tasks as possible.

BOOK REVIEW: EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE. Is IQ or EQ (emotional intelligence) more important? New York Times science writer Daniel Goleman's vote is for "EQ," arguing that our emotions play a much greater role in thought, decision making and individual success than what was once commonly acknowledged. Defining "emotional intelligence"-a trait not measured by IQ tests-as a set of skills, including control of one's impulses, self-motivation, empathy and social competence in interpersonal relationships, the author explains why and how to develop emotional intelligence in his 1995 book Emotional Intelligence. 

Vivid examples are used to explain the five crucial skills of emotional intelligence, and Goleman shows how these skills help determine our success in relationships, work and even our physical well-being. Goleman underscores that emotional intelligence can be taught, with children learning from parents and mentors who model emotional intelligence. After reading Goleman's book, conference speaker David Penglase stated". . Emotional Intelligence provides a range of tools for those of us who don't intuitively and intellectually understand the impact of our intentions, actions and results on living a more happy, flourishing and prosperous life." This book is all about personal growth and expanding one's emotional intelligence for a happier and healthier life.

SINCE TAPPING INTO THE BRAINS OF SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE IS PRETTY DARN SMART, here's some advice from previous Small Business Person of the Year Winners: 

1) ""Surround yourself around the best people you can and give them an opportunity to do what they love to do best." -John Stonecipher, President and CEO of Guidance Aviation Inc.; 
2) "Try to find a mentor. My mentor was a great sounding board and really never told me what to do, but asked great questions that led me to the answer."-Judith Huck, Classique Floors Inc.; 
3) "Look at every interaction as a networking opportunity. . . Treat employees like family and make them know they are part of your team." -Regina Broudy, Clayton Kendall; and 
4) "Business owners should strive to surround themselves with trustworthy, reliable people who support their company's mission and values." Tom J. Loftus, LS Technologies.
In Memoriam...  
Dairy producer and past two-term PDPW Board of Director Walter Meinholz, DeForest, Wis., passed away peacefully at his home on Friday, July 19. Walter dairied in partnership with two brothers Louie and Art and two nephews Craig and Brian, owning Blue Star Dairy Farms, a farm consisting of three milking facilities located in DeForest, Arlington and Middleton, Wis. Presented a highly coveted "cow bell," a symbol of leadership, at the 2015 Professional Dairy Producers™ of Wisconsin Business Conference in Madison in mid March, Walter was deeply admired by his fellow board members, the PDPW staff and those fortunate to have crossed his path. Fellow board members stress that Meinholz modeled exceptional leadership during his tenure of the PDPW Board of Directors. In addition to being on the Board of Directors Executive Committee, he served on numerous industry and agricultural taskforces and committees, including the State NRCS Technical Committee and PDPW's Public Policy Committee. His family dairy has hosted Agricultural Community Engagement (ACE) Twilight Meetings, PDPW educational workshops and various dairy industry learning events. Walter-his great mind, easy smile, gentle way and dedication to the dairy industry-will be missed.

Opportunities to learn...


BECAUSE DAIRYING IS MORE THAN COWS, PDPW is offering a four-part World Class Webinar series titled "Manage Your People so They will Stay," with all four presented by Trevina Broussard, a trainer with the highly regarded Humetrics out of Texas. You can participate in all four webinars or pick and choose among them. 

Two of the webinars have already been conducted but not to fear... you can still call the PDPW office and sign up to receive the link to either or both of them.  PDPW will send you the link 

The next live webinar will be Wednesday September 23rd and the topic will be: "Magnetic Managers: Be the Manager No One Wants to Leave".and you can take advantage of these engaging and informative video recordings.  


PDPW members register for $100 per session or all four for $375. Non-PDPW members can register for $125 per session or for the entire series of four for $475. To learn more or to register, please go online to or call PDPW at 1.800.947.7379.  
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!