July 2015
Brought to you by Dairy's Professional Development Organization®
Meet a fellow PDPW Member... Dave Daniels

Dave Daniels of Mighty Grand Dairy
TH REE HEADS OF DAIRIES ARE BETTER THAN ONE   When dairy farmers Myron Daniels, Gene Weis and Dave Daniels formed a partnership in 1997, Dave joked that they contemplated using their first initials to name their dairy "MGD" but thought Miller Brewing might not have liked that. So, the three settled on the name "Mighty Grand Dairy." 

With three partners, Dave stresses that each partner is able to get away from the farm from time to time. Plus the three can bounce ideas off each other.

Dave's grandfather established the farm in Union Grove, Wis., on which the cows reside. The other two operations house the dairy's heifers. The partnership milks 560 Holsteins and crops 1,150 acres of corn silage, corn, soybeans, alfalfa and winter wheat. The dairy employs 15 people, two of which are family: a son of one of the partners and a nephew.

The dairy, Dave says, has maximized its facilities to increase the use of technology and improve herd efficiencies. Right now they are looking into automatic calf feeders and using genomics to increase the herd's profitability. They are also looking to bring the next generation into the business.

To find solutions to their dairy's challenges, Dave says they often turn to PDPW, which he joined in the mid-1990s.

"I wanted to be part of the networking that goes on there," he states." One of the important aspects of PDPW is the education that they offer to all dairy employees and owners, including the older guys like myself! It benefits all types and sizes of dairy farms. You just pick and choose events that suit you."

Dave is big on attending not only one-day workshops and conferences sponsored by PDPW but also the organization's Business Conference.

"It's really unique in that it brings so many suppliers to one location, making it convenient to get good information," Dave states. "One of our partners went to the Business Conference this year and talked to vendors about a new calf barn we want to build. He got good information on different ways of feeding calves, and we could then determine which approach would work best for our operation.

"I like that they bring in motivational speakers. A Navy Seal talked about his experiences, and although farming isn't life or death, listening to him helped me see our business in a different light."


About our cows...


WINNERS OR LOSERS? MANAGEMENT CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE  Dr. Donna M. Amaral-Phillips, Extension Professor , Department of Animal and Food Sciences, University of Kentucky provides these management practices for decreasing the social, environmental and metabolic stresses that can make close-up cows "losers":


1) Provide adequate feedbunk space so close-up cows don't have to spend more time standing and eating less dry matter, or eating larger and fewer meals. 


2) Design facilities based on maximum number of cows and not average number of cows so each cow has a minimum of one well-bedded freestall or 100 sq. ft. of bed pack space. 


3) Minimize the number of pen moves or addition of cows to the group. If herd size allows, cows should remain in the same group throughout the close-up period and, if possible, even established as a group early in the far-off dry cow period. For herds where this is not possible, new cows should be added no more frequently than once weekly to the close-up dry cow group. When possible, multiple cows, rather than single cows, should be introduced into a group together. 


4) Minimize heat stress. Fans are a cows' friend. 


"Social, environmental and metabolic stresses can negatively impact not only feed intake but also immune function and overall productivity and health of dairy cows before and after calving," Amaral-Philips states. More information is available online: "Management Practices before Calving Help Prevent Fresh Dairy Cows from Becoming 'Loser's" at this website.


LONG LIVE THE COW - EVERY COW  A University of Minnesota research team analyzing approximately 5.9 million DHIA lactation records from 10 Midwest U.S. states from January 2006 to December 2010 found decreased hazard for mortality was associated with higher first test-day milk yield, higher milk protein and shorter dry period. For herd-level factors, increased hazard for mortality was associated with increased herd size, increased percentage of stillbirths, higher somatic cell score and increased herd calving interval.

Researchers also found that cows in herds with higher milk yield had lower mortality hazard. Risk factor analysis showed that increased hazard for mortality was associated with higher fat-to-protein ratio (>1.6 vs. 1 to 1.6), higher milk fat percent, lower milk protein percent, cows with male calves, cows carrying multiple calves, higher milk urea nitrogen, increasing parity, longer previous calving interval, higher first test-day somatic cell score, increased calving difficulty score and breed (Holstein vs. others). 


Results of the study indicated that first test-day records, especially those indicative of negative energy balance in cows, could be helpful to identify animals at high risk for mortality. Higher milk yield per cow did not have a negative association with mortality. In addition, the association between herd-level factors and mortality indicated that management quality could be an important factor in lowering on-farm mortality, thereby improving cow welfare. You can learn more about this research and its findings, reported in the Journal of Dairy Science, online  by clicking here .


WHEN IT COMES TO TREATING LAMENESS dairy producers have several treatment options. But which works best? One United Kingdom randomized, positively controlled clinical trial examined the recovery of newly lame cows with claw horn lesions. Following a therapeutic trim, enrolled cows were randomly allocated to one of four treatments: Trim only with no further treatment (TRM); Treatment 2-Trim plus a block on the sound claw (TB); Treatment 3-Trim plus a three-day course of the NSAID ketoprofen (TN); or Treatment 4-Trim plus a block and ketoprofen (TBN). Based on a sound locomotion score (score 0) 35 days after treatment, the number of cures was 11 of 45 (24.4%) for TRM, 14 of 39 (35.9%) for TB, 12 of 42 (28.6%) for TN, and 23 of 41 (56.1%) for TBN. Compared with TRM, animals that received TBN were significantly more likely to cure to a sound outcome.


According to the researchers, this work suggests that lameness cure is maximized with NSAID treatment in addition to the common practices of therapeutic trimming and elevation of the diseased claw using a block when cows are newly and predominantly mildly lame. Their abstract can be accessed online at the Journal of Dairy Science: Just click here.

ONE STUDY: GIVE 'EM FORAGE Research out of Spain shows a positive relationship between growth rate early in life and future energy-corrected milk yield. The study's heifer calves were fed a ground starter concentrate-19% crude protein, 19% neutral detergent fiber (NDF) - during the pre-weaning period, with oats hay-68% NDF-was supplemented only during the post-weaning period or during both pre- and post-weaning periods. All calves were offered the same amount of milk replacer through weaning at 52 days of age. 


Calves in the post-weaned group receiving oats hay during the pre- and post-weaning periods had greater average daily gain than their counterparts while no differences in reproductive performance or milk yield at first lactation were observed between treatments. The researchers' conclusion: "Offering forage to young calves early in life allows improvements in growth before weaning and could help in the transition to mixed diets, but the improvement in growth achieved early in life was not maintained at 10 months of age." You can access their abstract, published in the Journal of Dairy Science, online at this site.

FORGET EENY, MEENY, MINY AND MO  Be strategic and select genes for residual feed intake and be dollars ahead. This should be possible for Holstein herds once the University of Wisconsin-along with Michigan State, Iowa State, Virginia Tech, University of Florida and Wageningen University in the Netherlands-wraps up a five-year project that will deliver the first genetic rankings of North American Holstein cows and bulls for residual feed intake. Dr. Kent Weigel, chair of the Dairy Science Department at University of Wisconsin-Madison, says research indicates that genetic selection resulting in a modest decrease of 0.4 pounds per cow per day of dry-matter intake over the next decade could save Wisconsin dairy farmers $21 million per year in feed costs. His calculations are based on a cost of 12 cents per pound of dry-matter intake for a lactating-cow ration and the research showing that the genetic standard deviation of residual feed intake is 0.8 pounds per cow per day on a dry-matter intake basis. The good news is that the multi-university project is nearing its completion.
For your dairy business...

WHY NOT START THE CONVERSATIONS NOW and invite your local community leaders to one of our upcoming ACE (Agricultural Community Engagementâ„¢) On-the-Farm Twilight Meetings: Thursday, Aug. 13, Kinnamon Ridge Dairy, Reedsburg, Wis.; Tuesday, Aug. 18, Wayside Dairy, Greenleaf, Wis.; Wednesday, Aug. 19, Heeg Bros. Dairy, Colby, Wis.; and Thursday, Aug. 20, Bomaz Farms, Hammond, Wis. This is ideal place where community leaders and dairy producers can learn together and discuss important issues. 



Sponsored by Wisconsin Counties Association. Wisconsin Towns Association and PDPW, each ACE On-the-Farm Twilight Meeting will start at 6 p.m. with a 60-minute tour of the host dairy followed by 90 minutes for ice cream and open dialogue focused on issues important to communities. While walk-ins are welcome, you can register your attendance by calling the WTA at 715.526.3157 or emailing WTA at wtowns@frontiernet.net


DOUBLE DOWN ON TRAINING - PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PAYS. That's the advice of Drew Greenblatt, the CEO of a steel company. While there "are many ways to wield your meat cleaver to cut the fat in your organization, don't cut training."  His company's general rule is to invest 8 to 10 percent of employee salaries on training. His key reasons for investing in employees: 1) Trained employees will do things right the first time. 2) When you optimize your employees who work with your biggest investments (his case, steel; your case, cows), you get the most from them. 3) Your employees "appreciate you investing so much in their career" and will more engaged, increasing their tenure. 4) Since "foolishly saving money by training only one person," he advises having "a deep pool of talent well cross-trained." 5) Well-trained employees mean fewer negative surprises. (Note: PDPW is offering a one-day animal handling workshop at three different locations for Spanish-speaking employees: Aug. 4, Juneau, Wis.; Aug. 5, Greenleaf, Wis.; and Aug. 6, Mondovi, Wis. Give PDPW a call at 800.947.7379 to learn more.)

IF YOU WORK IN THE SUN , then you're a candidate for skin cancer. The good news is that you can take steps to help protect against skin cancer, the most common form of cancer in the United States. The National Farm Medicine Center says following three steps can lessen your risk of skin cancer. Step #1: Arrange your outside work so it can be performed before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. If field work must be done during the middle part of the day, use machinery with cabs or shade that protects the operator. Step #2: Wear sun protection clothing that covers your body and shades your face. This includes long-sleeved shirts and pants, hats with three-inch or greater brims and sunglasses with ultraviolet A and ultraviolet V protection. Step #3: Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 50 or higher, applying it 20 to 30 minutes before going outside and reapplying every two hours. 

For your business mind... 


THERE'S POWER IN THE WRITTEN WORD   and value in having an employee handbook. Human resource experts stress that an employee handbook should include all the policies that a policy manual would have, plus statements of information and philosophy about the farm, the people who own and operate the farm and general information that may be useful for an employee to know. University of Minnesota Extension personnel point out that "an employee in any business will feel better about their work-and understand the value of their work- if they know something about the business besides the fact that it issues their paycheck.  Other "must haves" in the handbook include legal statements that may be designated by state and federal law. While what goes into an employee handbook is largely a dairy's choice, Chuck Schwartau with UM Extension says "the more time you invest up front and the more detail you include, the fewer questions and problems you are likely to encounter later." For a more complete list of topics that could be included in an employee handbook, you can go to this link

BOOK REVIEW: HOW TO FLY A HORSE: THE SECRET HISTORY OF CREATION, INVENTION, AND DISCOVERY This easy-to-read book by Kevin Ashton, a technology pioneer at MIT and the leader of three successful start-ups, is a mix of psychology, sociology and anecdotes of personal struggles and triumphs made by creators throughout history-creators that range from scientists to puppet makers. Using true-to-life quirky stories, the author debunks the myth of genius and demystifies some very long-held beliefs about creativity and creation. Ashton, who calls creating the birth right of all of us, makes it clear that we don't need to wait for a lightning bolt of inspiration to hit us; we just need to dig in, work and be willing to fail many, many times before we produce something of worth. And this applies to any specialty. One reader summarized the book in this manner: "Really interesting book with a lot of great insights into human creativity and the history of how things we take for granted came to be. Among them Coca Cola, vanilla and stealth technology." 

FASTER VS. CHANGE YOUR APPROACH. Fred Mouawad, a contributing writer to Business Insider, maintains that, to continuously enhance your productivity, you have to raise the bar with each task you undertake. "Either you've got to be faster at what you're doing or change your approach," he writes. Mouawad contends, however, that in most cases, the best way to improve performance is to change your approach. "Constantly think about what you can improve, and try different methods to achieve that goal," he states. "Keep on doing what work and drop what doesn't. Never stop experimenting."

JULY 4, 2015 MARKED THE 239TH ANNIVERSARY of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Here are three facts you may not know about the document that birthed the nation. Fact #1: The Declaration of Independence was not signed on July 4. While the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration on that day, most delegates did not sign the document until Aug. 2, 1776. Fact #2: there is more than one copy of the Declaration of Independence. In fact, hundreds of copies were printed. Fact #3: When George Washington read one of the copies in New York City on July 9, 1776, the people listening were so inspired that they started a riot and tore down a statue of George III.


Opportunities to learn...

HANDLE 'EM RIGHT AND EVERYONE WINS the animals, the workers and the dairy all benefit. To that end, three one-day dairy animal handling and worker safety workshops will be conducted at three locations: Aug.  4, Juneau, Wis.; Aug. 5, Greenleaf, Wis.; and Aug. 6, Mondovi, Wis. Taught in Spanish, this unique full-day of dairy stockmanship will combine easy-to-understand science-based classroom instruction with lots of safe, efficient, proven hands-on training. Handling dairy cattle correctly, - whether it's calves, heifers or cows saves time, prevents worker injury, and is a catalyst for optimal animal well-being. Proper training for everyone protects your business.Training will cover bovine behavior: herding, sorting, "parking", alley movement, haltering and more.  Dr. Don Hoglund, a veterinarian and graduate of the College of Veterinary Medicine, Colorado State University, who is renown in the field of animal behavior, will lead the animal handling session. In addition, Juan Quezada, Director of Safety at MilkSource LLC will lead a 90-minute specialty session providing instruction on farm worker safety including discussions on safety in confined spaces, electrical awareness and how to be safe around animals and equipment.  To learn more and to register visit
www.pdpw.org  or call 1-800-947-7379.


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. The first webinar will address why past rules used in managing employees no longer work with the generations represented in today's workplace. 

Titled "Managing and Working with the Multi-Generational Workforce," this webinar will discuss the characteristics of each generation, the skillset needed to manage each generation, how to motivate workers in different ways and development commitment and discretionary effort. Bottomline: You will learn how to balance, motive and manage the clash among the generations: veterans, boomers, Generation Xers and nexters. The July 29 World Class Webinar will be presented live from noon to 1 p.m. CDT, with those registered able to watch a fully recorded version at their leisure. Registration is open now through Wednesday, July 22. 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 www.pdpw.org or call PDPW at 1.800-.947.7379.  
OUR PDPW SPONSORS  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!