April 2017 vol.1
Brought to you by Dairy's Professional Development Organization®
Opportunities to learn...

YOUTH LEADERSHIP DERBY PROVIDES A DEEP DIVE INTO ALL THINGS DAIRY. This is a must-attend event for high school students who want to tour dairy farms, participate in hands-on sessions, learn communications skills and meet new people as passionate as they are about dairy. The overnight lock-in style event runs April 22-23 at Colby High School in Colby, Wis. Students must be 15 to 18 years old to participate. Learn more   here or contact PDPW at 800-947-7379 with questions. 

DAIRY DIALOGUE DAY IS MORE THAN A TOUR  and it happens April 20. Engage in conversations with other innovative and insightful dairy farmers on a chartered bus tour facilitated by Dr. Randy Shaver of UW-Madison. Tour participants will visit two dairy farms in northeastern Wisconsin and focus on the daily, short- and long-term management strategies on each farm, with emphasis on reaching herd reproduction goals, optimizing calf growth and herd genetics as well as improving overall production. Dairy Dialogue Day is limited to the first 50 registrations with priority given to dairy farmers. Because of limited seating, pre registration is required, go online at pdpw.org or call 800-947-7379. For more details, click here.

NEW WORLD CLASS WEBINAR SERIES FOCUSES ON WEATHER and its impact on your cows, crops and bottom line. Three sessions will be presented by Eric Snodgrass, director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. The April 26 session will focus on using the latest weather analysis tools to maximize your dairy's efficiency and ability to plan. Learn how to forecast short-term weather events in addition to temperature and precipitation trends over the next 30, 60 and 90 days. Sessions on May 17 and June 14 will focus on correlating severe weather with U.S. grain markets, and a weather outlook for summer and fall. Register today for one session or all three. For more information go to click here or call PDPW at 800-947-7379.
For your dairy...

MULTIPLE FACTORS IMPACT FIRST-LACTATION PRODUCTION according to recent research by the University of Minnesota. Researchers evaluated the relationship between early-life growth and first-lactation production of Holstein calves with results showing that if a farm increased calf average daily gain from 1.5 to 2.0 pounds a day, first-lactation milk production in 305 days would increase by 648 pounds. The variation in milk production and average daily gain was high, and this suggests additional factors impact first-lactation performance including excellent colostrum and disease management, hygiene, milk replacer quality and consumption, calf starter quality and consumption, water quality and access, and post-weaning nutrition. Read the study details   here .
CALIBRATING MANURE SPREADERS IS IMPORTANT  to ensure your farm is getting the accurate amount of valuable nutrient credits for solid or semi-sold manure applications. Knowing the application rate and nutrient content of the manure is necessary to accurately calculate the amount of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium that can be credited toward crop needs as recommended by a soil test. For more information and videos featuring calibration procedures from University of Wisconsin-Extension click here .

FEEDING STRATEGIES IN ROBOTIC MILKING SYSTEMS can be a challenge as producers estimate the amount and composition of feed eaten by cows while being milked compared to total mixed rations eaten at the bunk. An article in the Journal of Dairy Science reviewed feeding strategies in automatic milking systems compared to traditional parlors and various economic returns. The authors found that feeding cows in the parlor provided the opportunity to milk cows more frequently and feed them a ration more closely matched to their individual nutrient needs. However, cows eating highly palatable feed ingredients in the parlor may experience disrupted rumen activity and/or eating patterns at the bunk. As a result, feeding strategies in an AMS system need to account for the amount of feed offered to each cow as well as the composition of the feed and the different nutrient needs of each cow . To read the abstract in the Journal of Dairy Science and the complete list of references click here .
Dairy currents...

CONSUMERS ARE LOOKING FOR THE STORIES BEHIND THE MEAT THEY BUY, according to the 12th annual Power of Meat study released earlier this year. Survey respondents are interested in how animals were raised, what they were fed and how they were treated, fueling increases in demand for organic, grass-fed, antibiotic-free, hormone-free and other special attributes. The study, released at the Annual Meat Conference, also revealed that when deciding where to shop for food, meat ranks as the third-most important department in the decision. Read more here; see the top ten findings here.

UNDERSTANDING HOW DATA WILL BE USED is a hot topic among farmers making decisions about precision ag products and providers. A new tool was launched this year to help farmers decide. The Ag Data Transparency Evaluator features a web site where farmers can check how a provider answered 10 questions to determine compliance with principles of ag data ownership, consent and privacy. Products are reviewed by a third-party administrator, then awarded use of the Ag Data Transparent seal if approved. Learn more here or on the website .

DAIRY CATTE WELFARE SYMPOSIUM SCHEDULED FOR JUNE 1-3.  Hosted by the Dairy Cattle Welfare Council, this symposium will bring together industry leaders to discuss best recommended practices of animal care and their implementation as well as dairy cattle welfare with a focus on public relations, community outreach, and interaction with animal rights advocacy groups. The roster of speakers includes several dairymen and dairy managers who will discuss routine welfare challenges observed in dairy operations. For more information about the symposium, which will take place at the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, Wis, go to http://dcwcouncil.org
For your business mind...

HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT AGE REQUIREMENTS FOR PESTICIDE USE?  As 2017 planting season quickly approaches, now's the time to brush up on pesticide-use laws. According to the DATCP, there are changes to two separate EPA rules: the Worker Protection Standard and Certification of Pesticide Applicators.
  • The Worker Protection Standard (WPS) applies to farm employees. Effective January 1, 2017, employees must be at least 18 years old to handle pesticides that carry the "agricultural use requirement" statement on the label, whether they are restricted-use or non-restricted-use products. For questions, contact Jane Larson: jane.larson@wi.gov, 608-224-4545.
  • The Certification of Pesticide Applicators states that farmers, their family members, and their employees must be certified and licensed as private pesticide applicators if they use restricted use pesticides. Under the new regulation, they will have to be at least 18 to be certified to use these pesticides.  Note: this law is not yet in effect. The EPA has finalized it but is working with the states to align state and federal regulations. For information contact Mike Murray at michael.murray@wi.gov or by calling 608-224-4551.
  • Family Exemptions The EPA defines family members as parents, children, step-children, foster children, spouses, in-laws, grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and first cousins - even if they are paid. Neither of these two rules applies to family members who handle or apply non-restricted-use pesticides. However, even family members who handle or apply restricted-use pesticides must be certified and licensed.
For more information, visit datcp.wi.gov and search for 'worker protection' or 'private applicator'.
CLOSED LOOP CONCEPT RESEARCH UNDERWAY  to meet sustainability goals. A Texas A&M researcher is focused on the concept of a dairy farm that would produce bioenergy using dairy manure, then treat wastewater and capture greenhouse gases via manure-derived biochar. Biochar is a carbon material similar to charcoal created from animal manure and agricultural waste, such as corn stubble or rice straw which would be used to filter solid waste and effluent. The biochar could be used as a slow-release fertilizer or converted via pyrolysis (decomposition of organic material by heat) into energy to power the farm. The researcher will produce a lab-scale version of the closed-loop dairy to determine the necessary scale for application and experimentation at the neighboring Southwest Regional Dairy Center in Stephenville, Texas. The goal is to have a system, including the pyrolysis reactor, operating at the dairy within three to four years. Read more details in an article from Feedstuffs  here .

POLICY AND LEGISLATIVE CHANGES CAN IMPACT U.S. AG EXPORTS and allow other countries to catch up to the United States' status as leading ag exporter. Several countries, including Brazil and Ukraine are increasing export opportunities as they bring additional land into production. Proposed legislation in Mexico's parliament would block U.S. corn in favor of Argentinian and Brazilian products. Economists also say that in some ways U.S. agriculture has benefited from the rise of its competitors, whose prosperity creates new markets. Increased trade has brought gains across the board, with American farm sales rising 134 percent over the past 15 years as sales to China mushroomed and other trade relationships, including those with Canada and Mexico, have prospered. Read the  article from Bloomberg News.
Words to live by...

 "In the end, all business operations can be reduced to 
three words: people, product and profits"    --- Lee Iacocca
Meet a fellow PDPW Members ... Ron & Zoey Brooks

Ron & Zoey Brooks
The Brooks family of Waupaca, Wis., has farmed on the same land since 1855, but by no means have things remained the same. Building on the philosophy to "leave a legacy, not a liability," the family has undertaken a number of improvements that will allow them to sustainably expand from 250 cows to 750 over the next two to three years.
Zoey Brooks became the sixth generation involved in Brooks Farm when she returned to the farm to join her dad, Ron, in June 2015 after serving a year as Alice in Dairyland. Her first role was to oversee the building of a new calf barn featuring an automated feeding system.
The Brooks are also completing the construction of new facilities for the milking herd that include a new D16 Germania milking parlor. Cows will be housed in a new free stall barn that includes manure alley scrapers with a heated channel to the pit and automatic feed pushers. The barn also includes a programmable, automatic sorting gate. Instead of relying on employees to manually catch animals, partitions will allow for the sorting of cows for events like pregnancy checks and other care.
The construction includes a ten-million-gallon manure pit that will hold a year's worth of manure. Until now the farm did not have any manure-holding capacity and manure was hauled twice a day year-round.
Throughout the expansion they've followed all regulations of establishing a CAFO, which is part of the farm's sustainability and conservation philosophy.
They have employed numerous conservation practices on their 1,700 acres of cropland over the years, including water-retention basins and drains, clean-water diversions, a feed-storage leachate system, a wetlands filter, and written emergency plans for manure, chemical or fuel management practices. They also monitor milk urea nitrogen daily to better manage feed protein and minimize manure nitrogen.
The Brooks have relied on consultants and industry professionals, as well as educational opportunities provided by PDPW during the process of business succession and dairy expansion.
Zoey plans to continue to take part in the educational sessions offered by PDPW and also plans to send employees to the sessions as the farm grows. "I've picked up so many ideas from PDPW," she says. "I learn as much from others attending the conferences as I do from the speakers. You learn the issues you face on your farm and the questions you have are shared by many other producers out there."

A BIG Thank You...    
TO OUR PDPW SPONSORS who  support continuous improvement for the dairy industr y. T hey believe in producer leadership and place a high value on lifelong  education for those involved in the dairy industry. We deeply respect their commitment to PDPW and the members we have the honor to serve. 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! 

If you or a company you know is interested in participating as a sponsor, please contact one of our team members at abonomie@pdpw.org or call 800-947-7379.