December 2015
Brought to you by Dairy's Professional Development Organization®
Erik & Russ Warmka

When Andy and Betty Warmka bought their Fox Lake, Wis., farm from Andy's parents in 1987, they began milking 34 cows in a stanchion barn and raising pigs. Today, the fourth generation-represented by son Russ, his wife Laura and their son Erik are at the helm of the family dairy.

In their most recent expansion, a herd of cows was purchased from a neighbor. But rather than continuing to purchase animals from outside, this dairy is thinking inward and is using sexed semen on their heifers so they can increase the size of their herd from within.

Their freestall barn is receiving an addition on the end where their transition cows are kept. With an area where close-up cows go in groups two weeks before calving with several maternity pens next to the stalls, the expansion is being designed to make the transition area more efficient.   Laura, who handles book work and calf care on the farm, says a new calf barn might be next on the list. In the meantime, Laura is talking with other producers about the various calf-care systems being used and borrowing calf care management ideas from PDPW's facilities tours.

Russ oversees the day to day management of the farm. He also does some milk marketing after learning more about it through PDPW educational sessions.   While he acknowledges learning a lot in class at educational events, he says, "When you go to these things, you can learn as much or more in the hallway than in the meeting room."   Describing himself as "shy", he said many farmers are accustomed to working alone and visiting only with people they know well.   "When you go to a conference, you need to force yourself to sit down at a table with people you don't know," he tells. "It might be easier to just hang out with your friends but you already know how they do things and you've shared ideas with them. I found when I came out of my shell and made the effort to get to know others I pick up more ideas.   "Some of these people that I forced myself to meet are now the ones whose phone numbers are programmed into my phone so I can call them when I have a question."

As the Warmka farm grew in size and started working with employees, Russ says they have found PDPW's sessions on employee management to be very helpful.   Besides the family labor, the Warmkas have hired help for milking the three shifts. They also run 450 acres of crop land and get help with tractor driving from some retired neighbors whose land they rent.

Laura Warmka
Erik, the dairy's farm manager who came aboard in 2014, took advantage of the opportunity to serve an internship arranged by PDPW on Mystic Valley farm and said he gained immensely from the experience. He also went on PDPW's educational tour of Texas dairies.   Erik said that, in addition to the presentations at PDPW's Business Conference, he finds tremendous value in comparing notes with other farmers and taking in the trade show. He points out that the industry professionals in the trade show help him evaluate new technologies.

Andy Warmka, the patriarch of the family, passed away Oct. 1. His warmth and enthusiasm for the dairy industry is sadly missed.

Opportunities to learn...

Dr. Pam Ruegg
TO TREAT WITH ANTIBIOTICS OR NOT?  Understanding when a cow will benefit from antibiotics to address mastitis and how to administer the therapy can result in more efficient, and more effective, mastitis treatments. During the Wednesday, Jan. 6, World Class Webinar, Pam Ruegg, DVM, University of Wisconsin mastitis guru, will discuss five key factors that should be considered before a cow with clinical mastitis is treated. The webinar will be presented live on Jan. 6, from noon to 1 p.m. , with a recorded version available to individuals who have pre-registered.  Click here   to get more information and to register online.

IT'S ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS AND COMMUNICATION. Dairy producers, processors, marketers and other dairy professionals not only can have strong relationships within their community but they need them to protect their business. To that end, a Dairy's Visible Voice module, "Building a Proactive Communications Plan for Your Farm," is being offered on Thursday, Dec. 17, in Appleton, Wis. During this 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. workshop, you'll define your business' communication goals, objective and identify key messages to build your public relations efforts. You'll also draft a proactive communications plan for crisis. Due to limited space, pre-registration is required. Click here for more information and to register.

LOOKING FOR THAT IDEAL END-OF-YEAR RECOGNITION OR REWARD? If you're looking for the perfect way to recognize a CEO, dairy owner or manager, industry director, processor, marketer or distributor, then give him or her the gift that keeps on giving: a seat at the 2016 Managers Academy for Dairy Professionals™, Jan. 19-21, in San Antonio, Texas. This unique upper-level training-comprised of two in-class days, three out-of-industry business tours and high-level networking-will  put them beside other industry professionals in the food system to bring advanced ideas and experiences. Manager Academy participants will gain a specialized edge to proactively position the security of your business' brand. This program is an accredited training program with the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine for up to 23.7 CEUs and with ARPAS for up to 4 CEUs.   Click here to view the flyer and register online .

DISCOVERY FARMS CONFERENCE: ONLY ONE WEEK AWAY Farmer-tested, environment-approved, practical farm management solutions that benefit both the farm and water quality will be shared at Discovery Farms conference, Dec. 15, in Wisconsin Dells. The conference will feature two farmer panels that will share their experiences with manure incorporation equipment and assessing nitrogen use efficiency. Experts from Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin will provide insight and information regarding regulations, technology and resources available to farmers. Attendees will be given ample time to engage one-on-one with experts and farmer panelists. Click here to view more information.

PROFESSIONAL DAIRY PRODUCERS APPRECIATE the hard work and dedication our High School agriculture teachers have in growing the next generation in our industry. This year, PDPW offered an exclusive drawing to High School Agriculture teachers at the World Dairy Expo. Steven Merkel of Fort Atkinson School District was the lucky winner of a $250 gift certificate to Nasco. Steve already knows how he is going to put the money to work in his classroom. He said, "The Gift certificate is being used for a variety of items I can use for my classes. This includes a model of a dairy cow, flower, and various smaller items. These new teaching tools will give our students a much clearer picture of what we are learning instead of the stuffed cow and plastic flowers I have been using." Thank you to all the ag instructors who stopped by our booth!
For your dairy...
FUNGICIDE: NONE, 1X, 2X OR 3X? Dairy producers who feed corn silage often wonder about the value and frequency of foliar fungicide application and its effect on corn silage quality and feed conversion. To that end, University of Illinois researchers investigated and have drawn a few conclusions. Conclusion #1: Cows receiving corn silage treated with foliar fungicide had better conversion of feed dry matter to milk than those receiving corn silage with no applications of foliar fungicide. Conclusion #2: No difference in milk yield was found among the four groups which included corn silage with no applications of foliar fungicide; corn silage from corn that received one application of a foliage fungicide; corn silage from corn that received two applications, each at a specific corn reproductive stage; and corn silage from corn that received three applications of a foliar fungicide, with the third at a the "milky kernel" stage. In addition to energy-corrected milk/DMI (1.60 vs. 1.43) noted for cows fed corn silage with fungicide compared with the non-treated group, the researchers identified a trend for increased feed conversion represented by fat-corrected milk/DMI (1.65 vs. 1.47), plus. Click here to read more.

10 MINUTES MIGHT JUST REDUCE MASTITIS IN YOUR HERD.  Despite considerable improvements in milk quality, UW-Extension Milk Quality Veterinarian Pam Ruegg says mastitis continues to be the most frequent and costly disease of dairy cows. Wanting dairy producers to have fewer incidences of this costly disease, Ruegg has developed a new video series titled "Using On Farm Culturing to Improve Mastitis Treatment" and has posted the seven-episode series online. 

Episode 1, "Treatment Decisions for Clinical Mastitis" (2 parts)
   Part 1, "Will Antibiotics Help the Cow?" 
    Part 2, "Using Culture to Make Selective Treatment
Episode 2, "How to Set Up Your On Farm Laboratory"
Episode 3, "Selecting Culture Media" 
Episode 4, "Mastitis Severity Scoring"
Episode 5, "How to Collect an Aseptic Milk Sample"
Episode 6, "How to Set up Culture Plates" 
Episode 7, "How to Red Culture Plates" 

While the episodes vary in length, each episode is 10 minutes or less. If you want more in-depth information about clinical mastitis treatments, register now for the Jan. 6 World Class Webinar led by Dr. Ruegg: Click this link to learn more about the January 6th PDPW World Class Webinar.   Click here  to view all seven of the  videos online.

ONE NEEDLE, ONE COW.  Mark Thomas, DVM and vice president of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, urges dairy producers to push the pencil and calculate the true cost of using a needle more than once. "Many owners and managers of large dairy herds believe changing needles for each cow is labor intensive and costly, without obvious health and economic benefits," Thomas states in a Dairy Herd Management e-newsletter article. "I would challenge you to reconsider this." Noting that using new needles for each injection in routine vaccinations and synchronization programs would cost a 1,000-cow herd less than $5,000 a year, Thomas says the economic losses caused by clinical lymphosarcoma-assuming a 20% prevalence rate of bovine leucosis virus in a herd and that about 5% of infected cows will develop clinical lymphosarcoma-could reach three to four times the cost of changing needles. An additional advantage of one needle, one cow is that a clean needle will reduce transmission of blood-borne bacterial diseases such as Anaplasmosis.  To read more click here.

TAKE THE SNIFF TEST  just two feet from the ground where a calf is resting if you want to detect potential problems that could have a considerable impact on success of your calf operation. That's the advice of Dr. Bob James, extension dairy scientist, Virginia Tech. James says, "Poor air quality is a sign of poor drainage, soaked bedding or poor ventilation and is a major contributor to respiratory disease. Respiratory disease is especially troubling due to its lasting impact on survival and later performance." Noting that health records collected in Kansas and Spain found that calves treated more than once had significantly reduced herd life as lactating cows. "This is likely due to the impact of a respiratory infection upon the amount of functional lung tissue," James tells. 

3 WAYS TO INCREASE A CALF'S CALORIC INTAKE FROM MILK. When feeding calves during cold stress, Noah Litherland, assistant professor and dairy cattle extension specialist, University of Minnesota, says one goal should be to provide adequate amounts of energy from fat and lactose. He explains that, while calves can "burn" protein for energy, the priority use of protein should be for muscle and bone growth, not as a source of energy. Litherland says there are three main ways to increase caloric intake from milk: 

1) Add a third feeding, noting that "feeding during the coldest time of the day will likely provide the biggest benefit." Feeding three vs. two daily meals will increase the amount of solids by one-third-for example, 1.5 lb. per day to 2.25 lb. per day. 

2) Increase the feeding volume by one-third in two feedings. This will deliver the same amount of nutrients as adding a third meal. 

3) Add supplemental fat. He says adding one-fourth pound of a 60% supplemental fat in a University of Minnesota trial increased calf growth rate during the first three weeks of life. "Supplemental fat does tend to suppress starter grain intake, so only use fat for the first 14 days of life and slowly wean calves off of supplemental fat," he advises.   To read more click here.

NOW MAY BE THE TIME.  Winter brings unique challenges related to spreading manure.  Discovery Farms staffers point out that weather conditions such as the presence of concrete frost, the development of an ice crust on the soil surface and the amount and condition of the snow cover can greatly increase the risk of loss of nitrogen and phosphorus.  During a typical winter, December is the month when fields may be frozen but not impacted by significant snow cover. Thus, now may be the right time for early winter application of manure. But be aware, there are parameters to follow before making that application. Click here for more information.

For your business mind...
10 QUALITIES OF A LEADER Career coach Kathleen Brady says, while most people equate leadership with a specific position or job title, "you need more than a title on the door to have followers." Brady maintains that true leadership is "the ability to influence people to achieve a better result for an organization or group. To that end, she says effective leaders have 10 traits: 
1) Know their own strengths and limitation
2) Create and effectively communicate a positive, realistic vision
3) Motivate and inspire followers to reach their potential
4) Look beyond their own self-interest and encourage others to do the same 
5) Anticipate and manage conflicts fairly and objectively
6) Exhibit self-confidence
7) Respect and maintain personal and organizational values
8) Are fair, reasonable, and compassionate
9) Instill trust
10) Behave consistently
"When you focus not only on the 'what' of what it takes to be a successful leader but also on the 'how,' you will see  your sphere of influence grow and your career soar," Brady summarizes.

YOU CAN SAVE $$ WITH THESE 'QUICK FIXES: Turn things off, turn things down and clean and maintain are three "quick fixes" that can help dairy farms benefit greatly from low or no-cost energy expenditure reductions, according to Madison Gas and Election. MGE's web site points out that turning things off-such as lights and fans-is "the simplest of ideas" and that "every 1,000 kWh you save by turning things off equals $100 off your utility bill (assuming an average electricity cost of $0.10/kWh).  To read more click here.

BOOK REVIEW: THE LOUDEST DUCK.  If you missed PDPW's Multi-Cultural Workshop this month-or even if you attended the workshop and want to grow even more as a manager and co-worker, then "The Loudest Duck" by Laura Liswood is for you. Liswood stresses that many companies fail in their attempts to embrace diversity due to what she calls "unconscious beliefs." "Individuals spend a lifetime developing theories about themselves and others and then bring these notions into the workplace," Liswood states. "This affects how they treat those they view as different, creating an unfair work environment." In "The Loudest Duck," Liswood uses a business fable, practical stories and cultural anecdotes that provide an alternative view of a multicultural workplace. One reader summarized Liswood's book this way: "The book is short, easy to read, thought provoking and full of good examples. It provides good instructions and pointers for anyone who works in a diverse workplace. "

WORDS TO LIVE BY:  "Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value."
-Albert Einstein
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 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!