May 2017 vol.2
Brought to you by Dairy's Professional Development Organization®
Opportunities to learn...

LEARN HOW TO FORECAST EXCESSIVE HEAT AND DROUGHT in the third installment of "Weather: More than a guess" World-Class Webinars series.  Long-range weather outlooks for July and August can make or break a farming operation because heat and drought have a such an impact on an operation's input costs, and grain markets are often most volatile during these months.
Presenter Eric Snodgrass, director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign will provide rain and temperature forecasts for the next 30 days and assess the progress of the growing season while pointing out stressors across the country that could impact grain prices. He'll also analyze how past weather events have moved the markets so far and provide long-range forecasts through the end of the 2017 growing season.
During his April and May webinars, Snodgrass reviewed late-spring and summer weather models and provided a tutorial on several weather models available on his web site. He also trained participants in how to forecast severe weather such as hail, lightening, severe winds and flood.
To register for the Wednesday, June 14 (noon to 1 p.m.) webinar click here or call PDPW at 800-947-7379. From there you can also get access to either of the first two webinars in this series - or any archived World-Class Webinars.
REGISTER NOW FOR WATER TOURS in the Marshfield and River Falls, Wis. areas. In conjunction with UW-Discovery Farms, PDPW is sponsoring these 1-day tours June 21 and 22 to showcase how current water regulations impact farms, towns, municipalities, reservations, businesses and families. Together, with other local elected officials, dairy producers, citizens, neighbors and community leaders, participants will tour Marshfield Wastewater Treatment Plant, Eron Agronomics and Mullins Cheese on June 21. June 22 attendees will tour the city of River Falls, Ellsworth Creamery and the Dry Run Watershed. Registration includes bus travel, snacks, refreshments and lunch. Click here to register and for more details including pick-up times and locations for the bus. 

ON-FARM TRAINING FOR NON-FARM INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS  is coming soon through the Agricultural Professional Partnerships (APPs) program. All those employed in agricultural positions with little to no dairy farm experience are encouraged to participate in this dynamic professional development program.
Over the course of three days, participants will take in over 20 hours of on-farm experience and gain  a comprehensive understanding of modern farm management practices. They'll leave with access to training resources and direct connections with host farm owners and a network of like-minded industry peers.  The training will be held July 25-27, 2017. Attendees will depart from and return to the Crowne Plaza Hotel - Madison, Wisc. Transportation will be provided to and from each host farm, educational resources, lunch, and refreshments will also be provided each day. To register and for more information, call PDPW at 800.947.7379 or click here This training is offered in cooperation with Dairy AdvanCE and has been approved for up to 22.5 continuing education (CE) credits.  Dairy AdvanCE is a continuing education accreditation provider for dairy producers and other dairy industry professionals.  

For your dairy...

UW SYSTEM TO HOST FIRST WISCONSIN IDEA DAIRY SUMMIT to bring industry leaders together with world-renowned UW researchers. The UW System Dairy Summit looks to foster dialogue and partnerships toward a more prosperous future and strengthen the Wisconsin dairy industry. The event also provides a forum to identify key priorities for Wisconsin's dairy industry moving forward. 

Experts will present the latest in research and dairy production techniques and participants will have the opportunity to discuss how the industry could look in the future. In addition to representatives from the dairy and agriculture industries, invited guests and panelists include Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection Secretary Ben Brancel, federal and state legislators, leaders from the Center for Dairy Research and researchers from UW-Extension, UW-Madison, UW-Platteville, and UW-River Falls.

The event will be held June 19 from 8:30 am-3:30 pm at the Alliant Energy Center, 1919 Alliant Energy Center Way, Madison, Wis. The Dairy Summit is open to the public. Please RSVP here 
by June 12, 2017.

PLAN AHEAD TO MAINTAIN FEED INTAKE DURING HEAT STRESS by implementing multiple strategies.  Research has shown that increases of just 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit in cow body temperature can result in dry matter intake reductions of almost 13 pounds.  Diets are often reformulated to reduce forages and increase concentrates but producers also need to ensure adequate effective fiber to stimulate the rumen and maintain adequate rumen pH.
A feeding strategy checklist from South Dakota State University provides a number of recommendations to manage rations and supplements as well as feed-mixing and delivery logistics, including:
  • Feed in the evening or early in the morning to avoid the highest metabolic heat production coinciding with highest air temperatures
  • Push up feed 8 -10 times a day and ensure there's feed available along the entire feed bunk; cows tend to concentrate and eat close to the area of the fans or water troughs.
  • Keep forage particle size between 1 and 2 inches to minimize sorting
  • Since heat-stressed cows lose lots of minerals, increase sodium, potassium and magnesium concentrations to a minimum of 1.5%, 0.45% and 0.35% of the diet DM, respectively
  More suggestions available in the full article , or in Spanish .

MANAGING HORN FLIES CAN REDUCE MASTITIS RATES IN HEIFERS according to research published at the University of Georgia.  It is well known that horn flies are an irritant to livestock and can impact growth rates as well as milk and meat production.  Flies often attack the teats of dairy heifers, causing intramammary infections and are also vectors in the initiation and spread of staphylococcal mastitis.  This can cause damage in the developing mammary tissues and decrease both milk yield and quality during the first lactation. Research showed benefits from the use of fly control measures such as tail tags with repellants, pour-on insecticides and the combination of insecticidal pour-on with ear tags. In fact, the combination of an insecticidal pour-on with ear tag showed an 83% reduction in new intramammary infection rate.  Read the full article and results here

MAKE SAFETY A PRIORITY DURING SUMMER FARM TOURS for the benefit of your visitors, employees and animals.  June Dairy Month - and warm weather in general - make for tremendous opportunities to share the positive story of dairy farming, but many visitors are unfamiliar with a farm environment, and the hazards that can be found there.  Take time to do a walkthrough of your farm, including the parking area, barns, milking parlor and walking-tour route to scout out potential safety concerns. Working in advance with employees, family members and volunteers to establish policies and prepare for potential emergencies is also important. Visit for a comprehensive set of checklists and resources to prepare your farm for safe and productive events.

THE IMPACT OF LAMENESS ON PRODUCTIVITY was studied over a six-day period on 41 farms with automated milking systems (AMS). The study, published in the Journal of Dairy Science, showed that lame cows produced over 3.5 pounds less milk per day in 30% fewer milkings per day. Additionally, lame cows were 2.2 times more likely to be fetched more than once during the six-day study and spent 38 more minutes each day lying down.   As the number of cows per AMS unit increased, the frequency of milkings and refusals per cow per day decreased while cow activity increased. According to the authors, this study supports the growing knowledge that lameness has negative effects on milk production, voluntary milking behavior, and lying behavior of cows in herds with AMS.  Read more here .

REDUCE YOUR ENERGY USAGE  by using milk pre-coolers; milk will cool faster and more efficiently, leading to increased quality and decreased cooling costs. Milk cooling accounts for the largest energy expenditure on a dairy farm and using a plate cooler that's sized to your farm's milk output allows milk to be cooled within five degrees of groundwater temperature.  In a pre-cooler, more plates equal more surface area available for heat transfer. Before installing a cooler ensure it is sized appropriately for your farm's needs. More information, including contact information for Focus on Energy Advisors, can be found by clicking here .  
Dairy currents...

MORE INFORMATION IS LEADING TO CONSUMER CONFUSION about decisions on what foods to eat or avoid, according to the 12th Annual Food and Health Survey conducted by the International Food Information Council (IFIC).  The survey found that 78% of respondents said they encounter conflicting information about food choices and 56% of those say the conflicting information makes them doubt the choices they make. For example, 96% of consumers said they seek health benefits in food choices but of those only 45% could identify a single food or nutrient associated with those benefits.  The survey results also illustrate a gap between trusted sources of information about food and where people get their information.  Read an article with full survey results.  
For your business mind...

CAN ONE WORD IMPROVE RESPONSES TO YOUR EMAILS? A research study showed that emails that ended with a variation of "thank you" received significantly more responses compared to other popular closing phrases like "sincerely," "cheers," "regards," and others.  Emails that ended with "thanks in advance" had a 65.7% response rate.  Across the board, email closings that had some version of "thanks" had a 36% relative increase in average response rate. Learn more here.

U.S. AG PRODUCER SENTIMENT MOVED HIGHER IN APRIL according to the latest results of the Purdue/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer which is based on a monthly survey of 400 U.S. agricultural producers.  The April 2017 rating of 130 was slightly higher than March's 124 reading and much improved as compared to a year earlier - up 23% from 106 in April 2016.  Parallel to the producer survey, a quarterly survey of 100 agricultural "thought leaders" is also conducted. Expectations regarding the farm economy's health among the thought-leader group increased by about 12% in April compared to the previous survey conducted in January, and sentiment in early 2017 is much more positive than last fall.  Read more here .

SET 'DIGITAL BOUNDARIES' TO REDUCE INTERRUPTIONS in meetings, personal conversations and focused work.  One recent study showed that refocusing your efforts after an interruption can take up to 23 minutes and that the average worker switches tasks every three minutes on average.  Creating a system to minimize digital distractions can help you stay on task, keep meetings running smoothly and increase productivity.  The following digital boundaries are a good starting point:
1. Screen your phone calls - unapologetically
2. Minimize or silence notifications on computer, phone and devices
3. Set reasonable expectations regarding communications and response times
4. Keep your phone out of your hands, face down, for all to see during meetings
Click here for more details on implementing each of these boundaries. 
Words to live by...

"Leadership is doing what is right when no one is watching." --- George Van Valkenburg

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. 

Along with our Mission Sponsors, our Corporate and Event Sponsors continue to invest and build a strong industry. 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 or call 800-947-7379.