October 2016 vol.1
Brought to you by Dairy's Professional Development Organization®
Opportunity to learn...

GEEK OUT ON CALVES AT A PDPW CALF CARE CONNECTION WORKSHOP. Dairies wanting to strengthen their calf care program and advance best management practices are invited to attend a PDPW Calf Care Connection Workshop.  These interactive one-day repeating workshops will take your calf program to the next level when tackling challenges including abomasum bloat, nutrition, scour management and fluid treatments.  Attend at one of the three location sites: Tuesday, October 18 in Appleton, Wis., Wednesday, October 19 in Madison, Wis., and Thursday, October 20 in Warrens, Wis.  The training will begin at 9:30 a.m. and conclude by 4 p.m.  Calf Care Connection is an accredited program offering CE credits from the UW-School of Veterinary Medicine (up to 6.9 CE credits) and with the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists (up to 5.0 CE credits).  To learn more or to register, visit us online or call a team member at 800-947-7379.  

TAKE YOUR PLACE AT THE TABLE by participating in the 2016 Food & Policy Summit that will bring together dairy farmers, processors, regulators, and allied industry professionals.  This collaborative two-day event is your opportunity to learn about the transparency demanded by today's consumer and how the entire food system can work together to build trust from your farm to the consumer's table.  Join us October 25-26 in Madison for a full agenda of presentations, panel discussions, breakout sessions and speakers from industry, government, dairy associations and even activist groups. The PDPW Food & Policy Summit is an accredited program offering 12.5 CE credits from the UW-School of Veterinary Medicine. Click here for more information and to register, or call 800-947-7379.  One- or two-day registrations are available.
For your dairy...

will benefit calf health and mortality and producers' bottom lines. Researchers studied effects of Saccharomyces cerevisiae fermentation products (SCFP) incorporated into both the milk replacer and the starter grain of pre-weaned dairy calves. In a blinded study, Calves 2 to 8 days old were fed SCFP for two weeks before and three weeks after experimental challenge with Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium. When compared to the control group, calves fed SCFP had fewer bouts of diarrhea and fever. Rumens from these calves were more developed, as measured by the length of papillae, which is consistent with the enhanced weight gain observed in this treatment group. For details, see the  full study   that appeared in the August 2014 issue of Veterinary Microbiology.

ANIMAL BEHAVIORS CHANGE AT EARLY STAGES OF INFECTION including showing decreased appetite, decreased activity and withdrawal from normal social behaviors. Although originally thought to be a negative side-effect of illness, these 'sickness behaviors' actually help the immune system defend against the illness. Recognizing when a dairy cow is becoming ill is extremely important to ensure her welfare and optimum productivity, but it can be a challenge to detect illness at early stages. Cows with both clinical and sub-clinical metritis spent less time eating and ate less than healthy animals as early as almost three weeks before they were diagnosed with the illness. Cows with mastitis also have shown a reduction in food consumption beginning five days before clinical signs are detected and will spend more time standing than healthy cows. Knowing which behaviors change at early signs of illness can help identify animals that need to be monitored or treated, especially with new technologies that can monitor standing time, activity, rumination time and other behavior trackers. Read  more   in the Animal Behavior News article from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

FARMERS CAN INCREASE CROP PRODUCTIVITY AND PROFITABILITY AND IMPROVE THE ENVIRONMENT by managing soil health. Results are often realized immediately and last well into the future. Using these four basic principles is the key to improving the health of your soil: 
1) Keep the soil covered as much as possible 
2) Disturb the soil as little as possible 
3) Keep plants growing throughout the year to feed the soil, and 
4) Diversify as much as possible using crop rotation and cover crops.
A checklist of farming practices is available to help optimize inputs, protect against drought and increase production. Not all practices are applicable to all crops, and some operations will benefit from just one soil health practice while others may require additional practices to capture the most benefit.
Dairy currents...

DASH DIET SHOWS PROMISE IN TREATING GOUT according to recent research at John Hopkins University. The DASH diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and low in fats and saturated fats Designed decades ago to reduce high blood pressure, it also appears to significantly lower uric acid, the causative agent of gout. The effect was so strong in some participants that it was nearly comparable to that achieved with drugs specifically prescribed to treat gout. There are about 8.3 million people in the United States with gout, costing the health care system an estimated $7.7 billion.  Read the details here

FARMERS AND VETERINARIANS HAVE DANGEROUS JOBS according to a list compiled by CareerCast.com. CareerCast analyzed safety data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and other organizations to compile the list. The full list of 10 most dangerous jobs in America include construction laborer, correctional officer, emergency medical technician, farmer, firefighter, nursing assistant, police officer, taxi driver, tractor-trailer and heavy truck driver, and veterinarian. Read more here.

PROVIDING INFORMATION IN A DIGITAL WAY may be the future of how the food industry shares transparent information with consumers, said Deb Arcoleo, director of product transparency for The Hershey Co. in a webinar titled "Transparency Revolution: What Food Companies Expect from Today's Supply Chain to Earn Trust." Hershey  is focusing on sustainability issues in the four ingredients of cocoa, almonds, fluid dairy milk and sugar that make up 80% of the company's product portfolio, with the priority of sustainability issues varying by commodity. For cocoa, it's making certain farms do not use illegal child labor. For dairy, Hershey wants suppliers to provide all milk from cows not treated with rBST. Hershey's web site features an ingredient glossary that includes a definition for every ingredient the company uses and an explanation of why the ingredient is used in a product. Hershey is also involved in the SmartLabel technology initiative to place a quick-response (Q.R.) code on a food package to provide information about nutrition, ingredients and allergens. Read the full article.
For your business mind...

HOW IS FARM MILK PRICE DETERMINED? Compared to other commodities, the price farmers receive for raw (unprocessed, unpasteurized) milk is based on a complicated system of classes, geographical differentials and supply-and-demand factors.  Under most of the government dairy programs, the minimum farm milk price is established based on the value of the products made from it. Those products are categorized into four groups, or classes, of milk. Calculating the minimum prices for these different classes begins with valuing cheese, dry whey, nonfat dry milk, and butter using weekly average wholesale market price trends monitored by the USDA, then adding differentials for classes and a location differential for each county in the U.S.  The actual minimum price received by the farmer is a blend of these prices weighted by the percentage of the milk used in each class. In addition to this minimum price derived from the federal dairy program, supply and demand conditions often result in farmers receiving premiums. Check out a fact sheet or visit the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service website for more information.

THE WORLD IS AWASH IN GRAIN, according to Dan Basse, president of AG Resource in Chicago, in a webinar presentation he gave to PDPW audience on September 21. The combination of good growing seasons around the world and rising stocks in all primary crops have led to current low commodity pricing for corn, soybean, wheat and other staple crops. However, Basse stated that global forces show it is "too late to become overly bearish of grain" and advised dairy producers and livestock producers to continue watching markets for opportunities to lock in future feed pricing. Learn how these statements closely compared to Basse's statements just this past July in his AgriNews article.

MANAGING DAIRY PRODUCTION COSTS AND RATIOS is critical to business success, especially during financially challenging times for dairy producers. Maintaining detailed farm records allows producers to calculate important measurements (such as milk/feed ratio, breakeven levels, fixed costs, variable costs, income over feed cost, and 'income equals feed cost'), and use those measurements to make important management decisions.   Definitions and formulas for each of these formulas are available here

"It always seems impossible until it's done." -- Nelson Mandela
Meet a fellow PDPW member...
Bach Farms, LLC
Experimenting with new ideas and diversifying their growing business are priorities for the Bach family of Dorchester, Wisconsin. Steve and Linda Bach operate Bach Farms, LLC, along with their son Chad and his wife Cathy, son Nick, and their future son-in-law Jim Nyhus. 

In 1983, Steve and Linda took over management of the farm where Steve grew up. They began with 80 cows and quickly expanded to 320 cows milking in four facilities within five years. In 1996, they moved all the milking operations under one roof with a new milking parlor and freestall barn. They built a second freestall barn in 1998 to accommodate the growing herd then doubled the size of the parlor in 2012 and expanded the first freestall barn. They are currently milking 1,700 cows with plans to grow the herd to 2,500.

They raise crops on 7,500 acres of owned and rented land. Grain that isn't needed for feed at the dairy is marketed, often to local livestock farmers. They add value by running corn through a roller mill. The Bachs also run a custom silage chopping and harvesting business.

As their operation has grown, they have focused on continuous improvement in quality and animal care. In 2015, the dairy received the Excellent Quality Milk Award from Foremost Farms for maintaining a somatic cell count average of less than 200,000 for the year.

A new calf barn built in 2013 features pens that hold 100 calves each, along with a number of designs to ensure calf comfort and prevent drafts. These improvements, along with new calf-feeding protocols, have resulted in calves weighing 15 pounds more at the seven-week mark and a death loss of less than two-tenths of a percent. They added three more calf barns in 2014.

The Bachs installed an anaerobic digester in 2009 and incorporated a recycling system that allows them to use recycled solids for bedding in the freestall barns. A separate business entity, Bach Digester, LLC, was expanded to include a second digester in 2013, and now powers two 300 KW generators that produce enough electricity to power 450 homes in the surrounding area. The heat produced by digester engines is used by the farm to heat the parlor, house, office, shops, barn and grain dryers as well as to heat wash water.
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.