May 2015
Brought to you by Dairy's Professional Development Organization®


WANT TO AVOID A SUMMER SCC SPIKE? YOU CAN!  Remember the causes of teat contamination and actively taking steps to prevent it. Emily Wilmes, University of Minnesota Extension Educator, says first and foremost: "No slacking. Cutting corners now can lead to bad habits in the future," she states. "Take the time to thoroughly clean alleys and stalls, and do so often.  Keeping piled up manure at a minimum will help keep manure off of hoover, and away from teats." Other advice: 

  1. Give bedding the TLC it deserves, ensuring the cow's udder has a clean resting place. 
  2. Keep air moving in barns, as it can aid in drying out bedding and alleyways. 
  3. Keep your milking routine and equipment at their highest quality level, including teat dipping all quarters and using a different towel for each cow. Wilmes explains that "if cows are carrying even subclinical levels of infection, it can contaminate the milking line." And "poor milking practices can lead to the contamination of other cows." 
  4. Move cows slowly around the parlor or around the barn, as "moving cows slowly can prevent manure from getting kicked up onto the feet and legs." 

'MANAGING THE YOUNG TO BECOME NO. 1' is the name of the World Class Webinar led by Dr. Noah Litherland on Wednesday, May 20. He will share novel feeding and management methods to help you produce more healthy calves that can meet their genetic potential and better understand why some calves fail to meet expectations. His one-hour webinar will cover the importance of measuring birth body weight and weaning weight, calculating average daily gain, recording health treatments-data that can be extremely helpful in trouble shooting calf problems and finding ways to boost performance and lower costs. Register by Wednesday, May 13. Those registered will be able to listen to the webinar live on May 20th or a recording later at their convenience. The webinar starts at noon CDT and goes for one hour. One registration covers as many as who can gather around a computer. More information on World Class Webinars is available at, or call 800-947-7379.

  • While you're registering, why not go ahead and register for the June 17 World Class Webinar "The Heifer: Is This Diet Working?" led by Pat Hoffman, Professor, University of Wisconsin Marshfield Ag Research Station. 




Ryan Brueggemann started working on his neighbor's farm in New Berlin, Wis., when he was only 12 and hasn't stopped working in the dairy industry. Today, Ryan and his brother, Glen, own and run Brueggemann Farms LLC. They milk about 90 cows, mostly Holsteins with some cross breeds, and crop 500 acres of corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa.


With the current farm sitting on the edge of suburbia, encroaching development has Ryan and his brother planning for a new location in Rock County, a half hour south of Madison, Wis. Here the brothers plan to expand and milk up to 270 cows and turn to robotics for milking.


Change isn't easy, and there's often a lot to learn when doing something new for the first time. When Ryan needs to get educated about something on the farm, he says he often turns to Professional Dairy Producers.


"I joined PDPW to continue my education. Every year you need to keep up with what's going on, or you will fall behind," he says.


"If you don't keep educating yourself, keeping up with current technologies and new ideas, you're going to fall to the wayside. You have to invest a little bit every year into some sort of education to keep up with what's changing in agriculture," he says.


Ryan Brueggemann


For your dairy business... 


MANAGING FEED REFUSALS IS A BALANCING ACT.On one hand, you want to provide enough feed to your cows throughout the day to promote maximum feed intake and increase milk production, while on the other hand, you want to minimize waste. Alanna Kmicikewycz, Pennsylvania State University, points out that increasing the amount of dry matter refused by one percentage point often costs 5 to 6 cents per cow per day, which amounts to about $20 per cow per year. Noting that leaving the feed bunk empty is not the solution to cutting feed costs, Kmicikewycz advises dairy producers NOT to remix the refusal into the new TMR batch for the lactating cow group or deliver the new TMR over the refusals. "Refusals should never be fed to pre-fresh or fresh cows," she interjects. "Cows at this stage are vulnerable to metabolic diseases and feeding refusals that are variable in nutrient content or contain mycotoxins can impact the cow's immune system and further exacerbate health problems for both the cow and the calf." One do-able approach, she says, is to feed the refusals to older heifers, steers or other beef cattle. A more extreme alternative-" and may be the best in some situations," she says-is to consider refusals "true waste" and discard all refusals.



WITH SIGNIFICANT METABOLIC STRESS and altered immune function often synonymous with the transition from late gestation to early lactation, Kansas State University researchers assessed the effects of supplementing a yeast product derived from Saccharomyces cerevisiae on immunity and uterine inflammation in transition cows. Their study, which involved 40 multiparous Holstein cows, focused on the 21 days before expected parturition to 42 days postpartum. Divided into four groups, the cows were fed rations top-dressed with a product containing yeast culture plus enzymatically hydrolyzed yeast at the rate of 0, 30, 60 or 90 g/d throughout the experiment. Their findings suggest that "supplementation with YC-EHY enhanced measures of humoral and mucosal immunity and modulated uterine inflammatory signals and mammary gland health in transition dairy cows." You can check out the KSU research online in the May 2015 issue of Journal of Dairy Science.


GOOD THINGS HAPPEN WHEN DIGITAL DERMATITIS AND TECHNOLOGY MEET. Dairy producers now have help in managing highly prevalent, infectious digital dermatitis, thanks to a new app. Developed by Dörte Döpfer, PhD, DVM, Tom Bennett and Marlène Tremblay, DVM, University of Wisconsin - School of Veterinary Medicine, and licensed by Zinpro Corporation, the dairy industry's new DD Check App can help producers accurately identify and quickly record digital dermatitis lesions. After lesions are recorded, producers can generate a report that includes a list of animals requiring follow-up, as well as graphs to monitor lesion trends over time and signs for chronic cases. The app also includes access to a statistical DD Infection Model, which can be used to help predict potential DD outbreaks. You can get the new DD Check App tool for free on iPhone and iPad devices through the App Store, searching for "Zinpro." You can check out DD Check App online by clicking here.


LESSEN SALMONELOSIS IN PRE-WEANED DAIRY CALVES by feeding Saccharomyces cerevisiae fermentation products (SCFP). At least that's what Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine research indicates. The blinded study involved calves two to eight days of age that were fed SCFP or an SCFP-free Control for two weeks before and three weeks after experimental challenge with Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium. When both groups were compared, calves fed SCFP had fewer bouts of diarrhea and fever and their rumens were more developed. Salmonella intestinal colonization was reduced in SCFP-fed calves and Salmonella fecal shedding disappeared at an earlier stage in these calves. Possibly as a direct result of diminished intestinal colonization by Salmonella, Salmonella-infected dairy calves were significantly less likely to exhibit clinical signs-fever and diarrhea-associated with salmonellosis when fed SCFP. The results of this study are consistent with a previous study in which feeding SCFP led to an improvement of gastrointestinal health in pre-weaned dairy calves naturally exposed to Salmonella. You can read the Iowa State research team's protocol and findings in Veterinary Microbiology, Volume 172, Issues 1-2, August 6, 2014, issue.


WHILE CALVES MAY GROW FASTER BEFORE WEANING ON HIGHER RATES OF MILK OR MILK REPLACER, a newly published study supports previous research findings that size differences tend to disappear after weaning and milk production in first lactation. The more recent research-a large study from the University of Guelph in Ontario that appeared in the January issue of the Journal of Dairy Science involved 152 calves fed either four (4) liters or eight (8) liters of whole milk in two feedings each day. And, while the calves fed eight liters grew faster for the first four weeks of life, researchers found that average daily gains were not different pre-weaning in weeks 5 through 8. They did find, however, that calves fed the higher rate of milk ate less calf starter and drank less water. Post-weaning, all heifers were fed the same diets. The research shows that the calves fed the higher rate of milk maintained an advantage in body weight and withers height, while the calves on the lower milk feeding rates with greater ad lib grain intakes grew faster. When the calves were measured at four months of age, differences in withers height disappeared. At 12 months of age, heifers in the two groups had similar body weights. When all heifers were treated the same and were followed through their first lactation, both groups were equal when it came to age at calving (24.6 months), post-calving body weight (1,306 lbs.), total milk, milk fat and milk protein production were equal for both groups. Milk production for 305 days was 19,195 lbs. for the low milk fed group and 19,140 lbs. for the high milk fed group. The researchers concluded that there was no advantage to feeding higher levels of milk on overall growth and production.  


IF YOUR CORN WAS PLANTED IN MID-APRIL, Liz Bosak, outreach specialist, Department of Agronomy, University of Wisconsin, says you may observe some injury to plants. "Depending upon the herbicide, injury can occur after a pre-emergence application when corn is germinating in cool, wet soils," Bosak states. She warns, however, that "other environmental factors can mimic herbicide injury symptoms such as corn emerging in crusted or compacted soil" and that "injury will not always be apparent aboveground." The good news is that you can get an idea of injury of risk by examining the herbicide tables in "Pest Management in Wisconsin Field Crops" via the university by clicking here. Plus, Wisconsin Crop Weed Science has a redesigned online diagnostic tool to help you out. The revamped tool asks three basic questions: 

  1. When do injury symptoms appear? 
  2. Are both broadleaves and grasses affected or just one group? and 
  3. What are the symptoms, and where do they occur?

This tool can be accessed online at or you can go to WCWS's main pageclick on "Resources" and then click on "Tools."


DON'T LET TICKS TAKE A BITE OUR OF YOUR WORK OR FUN. With tiny deer tick nymphs lurking around from now through July and debilitating Lyme disease having been reported in Wisconsin, here are a few tick/Lyme disease prevention tips:

  • Use a repellent with DEET on your skin and treat clothing, socks, shoes and gear with permethrin; 
  • Wear light-colored clothing so ticks will be easier to spot; 
  • When in tick areas, tuck pants into socks, pull back hair and wear a baseball cap; 
  • Check daily for ticks, which can hide in skin folds and hair; 
  • Shower soon after being in wooded or grassy areas; and 
  • Routinely check pets for ticks.

A big shout out...

OUR PDPW SPONSORS support continuous improvement for the dairy industry. They believe in producer leadership, and they place a high value on lifelong learning for everyone involved in our industry. We deeply respect their commitment to PDPW. This partnership enables us to continue to build a strong industry filled with capable professionals. Here's a list of our sponsors. If you interact with these companies, please thank them for their support of Professional Dairy Producers.

For your business mind...   



Want to build your farm's positive reputation in the community? That only happens with intentional action. So don't miss the training "Building an Effective Community Outreach Plan," offered Tuesday, June 16 at PDPW headquarters in Juneau, Wis. Learn the tactics that are part of effective community outreach, and how to assemble them into a plan that protects and enhances your farm's reputation. In this one-day session, you will learn:

  • What does my farm do really well, and how can we make that known in the community?
  • What are the "key messages" for my farm?
  • Which tools or activities are best for engaging the public?
  • Who are my partners in telling my farm's story?
  • Which engagement activities have worked for other farms?
  • How do I measure success?

You'll leave this session armed with a proactive outreach plan for your dairy, including the key audiences, messages, activities, timing and expenses necessary to tell your farm's story. Due to limited space, pre-registration is required. Click here to register or learn more. Or call PDPW at 800-947-7379. This training is part of the PDPW Dairy's Visible Voice series.


MORE THAN ONCE, AND LAYERED. That's one way small businesses can thwart cyber criminals from targeting them, notes a Business News Daily article authored by Marc Malizia, chief technology officer for RKON Technologies. Malizia offers these tips to help businesses stay protected from hackers: 

  1. Perform ongoing penetration tests to secure the operating system of external-facing servers;
  2. Test for vulnerabilities that allow hackers to exploit application weaknesses;
  3. Install security software that monitors Web traffic and detects abnormal behavior as a way to get advanced warning of a potential attack; 
  4. Add a layer of security by installing adaptive authentication technologies; and 
  5. Layer in application firewalls in front of external-facing Web servers.


BOOK REVIEW: THE LEADERSHIP HANDBOOK: 26 CRITICAL LESSONS EVERY LEADER NEEDS. Just released in late January, this John Maxwell book is written in his typical conversation style and is a condensed version of many of his thoughts shared in his other books. As the title suggests, The Leadership Handbook is broken into 26 "lessons" or short chapters. You'll read chapters such as "When You Get Kicked in the Rear, You Know You're out in Front," "Your Biggest Mistake Is Not Asking What Mistake You're Making," "Be a Connector, Not Just a Climber" and "You Only Get Answers to the Questions You Ask." And, while you can breeze quickly through each chapter, Maxwell urges seasoned and emerging leaders to read one chapter each week for 26 weeks and immediately apply the practical advice into your daily life. He also encourages seasoned leaders to mentor someone else about the "lesson" after each chapter, with a "Mentoring Moment" accompanying each chapter.  One reader summarized the book with these words: "This book is a must have for anyone in leadership."


MANAGER: AUTHORITARIAN BOSS OR A FACILITATOR OF CHANGE?  Human resources expert E.E. Kane says effective managers "are not authoritarian bosses demanding things be done their way." Instead, effective managers are facilitators of change and lead their team members to "think and succeed." They are mentors, trainers who pour their time into others so the workers can reach their greatest potential. Kane explains that the best manager/facilitator "will provide the training and working environment necessary for his/her staff to excel." She says, while a weak manager will force his/her will upon employees, an effective manager listens to suggestions, provides an environment for people to grow, understands who people are and what they know and gives workers the right training, encouragement and direction that will help them to be their best. "Effectively managing people at work requires the ability to stimulate the core of people to be their best," Kane states.



LET'S NOT FORGET THE REAL REASON behind what today we call "Memorial Day." This special day in May is more than a reason for gathering family and friends together for a barbecue. Originally called "Decoration Day," Memorial Day grew out of the grief and tragedy wrought by the Civil War. Through the years, Memorial Day broadened its scope even further in order to honor all of America's fallen servicemen and servicewomen. In 1968, 100 years after John Logan issued his order for the first national Decoration Day, Congress finally declared Memorial Day a national holiday and moved the celebration from May 30 to the last Monday in May, allowing for a three-day weekend. One way to acknowledge those who gave their lives for us is to fly the U.S. flag at half-staff from sunrise until noon on Memorial Day. To acknowledge those who fought and lived to tell about it, why not show your respect by taking flowers, books or cookies to a nearby veterans hospital-or perhaps just sitting with a veteran and telling him/her "thank you."