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



DRY COWS NEED ATTENTION TOO.  Research regarding the most common pathogens of the dry period indicates that 51% of all new environmental streptococci intramammary infections originated in the dry period, 56% of clinical cases due to Streptococcus uberis originated in the dry period and 33% of clinical mastitis cases due to Streptococcus dysgalactiae originated in the dry period. That's why veterinarian Jerry Olson, Cattle & Equine Technical Services, Zoetis, advises dairy producers to "choose a dry cow tube that protects your 'off-duty' milkers best by covering all the serious pathogen challenges." In addition to taking a proactive stand against clinical or subclinical mastitis, Olson says paying close attention to dry cow health can have other benefits, including lowering somatic cell counts for the start of a new lactation, reducing mastitis outbreaks during lactation and minimizing treatment costs and associated labor costs. "It's all about boosting production of more quality milk - the kind that puts premiums in your milk check," Olson summarizes.


THINK HIGHER when it comes to helping reduce heat stress in hutch calves. In addition to placing a shadecloth over hutches, making sure calves have plenty of fresh water and orienting hutches to the north to maximize shade, Washington State University Extension, College of Veterinary Medicine, personnel suggest placing a concrete block under the hutch to help calves cope with summer's heat. Their research found that, when the hutch  was elevated, carbon dioxide levels were lower and air movement was improved within the hutch. Hutch elevation also lowered afternoon respiratory rates: 58 vs. 44 breaths per minute. For every 1 degree increase in internal hutch temperature, respiratory rate increased by two breaths per minute. Lastly, their research showed that, at the hottest times of the day, internal hutch temperatures were higher than outside temperatures when the hutch was on the ground. Internal hutch temperatures were lower than outside when the hutch was elevated.


 A LINK BETWEEN LOW BODY CONDITION SCORE AND LAMENESS? One United Kingdom study involving 724 cows over an eight-year period investigated the hypothesis that low body condition score is associated with increased risk of lameness in dairy cows. During the time frame, lameness events numbered 17,114, with 8,799 categorized as mildly lame and 8,315 as severely lame. Researchers found that low BCS three weeks before a repeated lameness event was associated with a significantly increased risk of lameness. Cows with a BCS of less than 2 were at greatest risk of mild or severe lameness while an increased BCS above 2 was associated with a reduced risk of mild or severe lameness. A low BCS sixteen or eight weeks before a first mild or severe lifetime lameness event, respectively, also had a positive association with risk of lameness in cows second lactation or greater.  Researchers' conclusion: "This provides evidence to support targeting management toward maintaining BCS to minimize the risk of lameness."


IT'S ALL ABOUT LINERS. The University of Wisconsin's Department of Dairy Science recently posted a 21-minute video, "Evaluating Milking Performance: Liners," hosted by Dr. Doug Reinemann, UW Biological Systems Engineering and Director of the UW's Milking Research & Instruction Lab, and John Penry, a UW research assistant. The two experts cover a multitude of relevant areas and delve into the importance of gentleness and speed of milking. Graphics incorporated into the video help bring home certain points. To view this video, go online to http://dysci.wisc.edu/2015/05/21/evaluating-milking-performance-liners/.


SHREDLAGE® IS FINDING ITS PLACE. The results of a Cornell University Shredlage study showing no significant differences in dry matter intake, milk production, milk composition or feed efficiency may just help some producers say "yes" to shredlage. 

Sharing information at a Vita Plus Forage meeting, Dr. Larry Chase, Cornell University, Department of Animal Science, stated, "If the only thing Shredlage does is let us decrease the amount of dry hay or chopped straw in dairy rations, that alone would be worth significant dollars to a dairy producer. If we can also improve fiber and starch digestibility in the cow, then that would add to the value of Shredlage." Chase's take-home concepts for custom harvesters included 1) Shredlage appears to offer the potential to improve fiber and starch digestibility in corn silage; 2) A key concern is knowing how to monitor the harvester settings during harvest and who is responsible for doing it; 3) Eventhough milk production responses are mixed, it does seem to offer opportunities to lower ration cost; 4) Additional information is needed on the particle size guidelines; and 5) As with many new technologies, Shredlage will find its place in the next few years. You can read more about Chase's presentation plus that of Dr. Randy Shaver, University of Wisconsin-Madison, online at this website Dr. Shaver's PowerPoint presentation, "Shredlage: What We've Learned," is also available online by clicking here.

For your dairy business...


INNOVATOR, EARLY ADOPTER OR PERHAPS A LAGGARD? When two University of Kentucky researchers queried producers and asked them to select parameters monitored by technologies on their farm from a predetermined list, 68.8% of respondents indicated technology use on their dairies. That means 31.2% of producers were not using technologies. The most frequent technologies used on the dairy were related to daily milk yield, 52.3%; cow activity, 41.3%; and mastitis, 25.7%. Producers were also asked to score the same list of parameters on usefulness using a 5-point scale (1 = not useful and 5 = useful). Producers indicated (mean ± SE) mastitis (4.77 ± 0.47), standing estrus (4.75 ± 0.55), and daily milk yield (4.72 ± 0.62) to be most useful. Where do you stand when it comes to using technology on the farm? 


TRACE MINERALS: DON'T UNDERFEED. DON'T OVERFEED. When formulating diets, Drs. Bill Weiss and Matthew Faulkner, The Ohio State University, urge nutritionists and dairy producers to consider the costs of underfeeding vs. overfeeding trace minerals. Underfeeding trace minerals, they point out, can result in increased health problems, such as retained placenta and mastitis, poorer reproduction and reduced milk yields. On the other hand, overfeeding trace minerals can increase feed costs, increase the amount of trace minerals in manure (an environmental issue), cause excessive concentrations of minerals in animal products consumed by humans, interfere with absorption of other minerals and result in mild to severe toxicity. The two Ohio State professors contend that, because of the potential problems associated with both under- and over-supplementation of trace minerals, most diets should not deviate greatly from NRC requirements. Weiss and Faulker offer 10 points for nutritionists and dairy producers to consider when it comes to trace minerals. You can read these 10 points in full online at this website.

For your business mind... 


CELEBRATE JUNE IS DAIRY MONTH by reaching out to consumers and sharing your story and products that come from your dairy. Here are just a few ideas: 1) Talk to your local bank and ask if you and family members can serve ice cold milk-white and chocolate-or ice cream bars one day or a full week at the bank. 2) Deliver cheese baskets to local businesses, your Chamber of Commerce, mayor, elected officials, etc. Include a business card or hand-signed note from your dairy. 3) Invite your mayor or city council members to your dairy for a tour. Give a specific day and time and be ready for questions. 4) Talk to the local grocery store manager and check if you can provide it with recipes featuring dairy products. 5) Sponsor a "June is Dairy Month" coloring contest at a local preschool, giving the winner(s) a small prize. Heck, why not brainstorm with your dairy's employees and see what ideas they can come with. Think small. Think big. Your team just might come up with an idea that is a "winner" and becomes an annual event.

YOU CAN MAKE PEOPLE AROUND YOU FEEL GREAT about themselves using these five tips borrowed from The Daily Positive web site. 1) While in a conversation, put away your phone and/or stand away from your computer. 2) Use the person's name in your conversation. 3) Be authentically interested. Lean in, keep eye contact and listen way more than you talk. 4) Ask them to teach you something, tell about what they like best about their job, what areas they wish to grow in, etc. 5) Shine the spotlight on them in a positive light in front of their peers. 

NO MATTER WHERE YOUR COMPUTER IS LOCATED, it's bound to need a cleaning some time or another. But before you clean, consider these six tips offered by Computer Hope: 1) Never spray or squirt any liquid onto any computer component. If a spray is needed, spray the liquid onto a cloth. 2) You can use a vacuum to suck up dirt, dust, or hair around the computer. However,do not use a vacuum inside your computer as it generates static electricity that can damage your computer. If you need to use a vacuum inside your computer, use a portable battery powered vacuum or try compressed air. 3) When cleaning a component or the computer, turn it off before cleaning. 4) Be cautious when using any cleaning solvents; some people have allergic reactions to chemicals in cleaning solvents, and some solvents can even damage the case. Try always to use water or a highly diluted solvent. 5) When cleaning, be careful to not accidentally adjust any knobs or controls. Also, when cleaning the back of the computer, if anything is connected make sure not to disconnect the plugs. 6) When cleaning fans, especially smaller fans, hold the fan or place something in-between the fan blades to prevent it from spinning. Spraying compressed air into a fan or cleaning a fan with a vacuum may cause damage or generate back voltage.

BOOK REVIEW: THE ONE THING: THE SURPRISINGLY SIMPLE TRUTH BEHIND EXTRAORDINARY RESULTS Gary Keller, chairman of the board and cofounder of Keller Williams Realty Inc., partnered with Jay Papasan, former editor at HarperCollins Publishers in New York, to challenge six widely held beliefs: 1) Everything matters equally; 2) Multi-tasking is 

good; 3) Success requires a disciplined life; 4) Willpower is always on will-call; 5) A balanced life is required; and 6) Big is bad. Writing in an easy-to-read style and using red pencil-like underlines to highlight key ideas, the authors thoroughly discuss each point and explain why it's best to focus-and to focus on ONE thing. They contend that being successful requires less discipline than you think and maintain that being successful is about doing the right thing and not about doing everything right. Readers learn how to address analysis paralysis and the lack of focus in trying to wade through too many items on the agenda. One reader noted, "The authors make it clear how to set priorities to begin getting the right things done the right way. This book will benefit management at virtually every level in an organization."


JUNE KICKS OFF THE FAIR SEASON. Why not support the 4-H and FFA youth who exhibit dairy animals. You can talk to your fair board and offer to sponsor a class or champion or reserve champion class. Or perhaps give $5 or $10 to every person who takes a dairy animal into the show ring, and include a note from your dairy that acknowledges their hard work and time. Another idea is to attend the local fair's dairy show, cheering on those in the show ring. While dairying is more than showing cattle, many youth who now dairy or work in the dairy industry have been introduced to the industry through 4-H and FFA dairy projects. Let's encourage them by attending an event and showing our appreciation for their efforts. 

Meet a Calf Care Giver: Joyce Uglow


Joyce Uglow and her husband, Norm, run Horseshoe Hill Farm on 240 acres in Watertown, Wis. They accepted the reins from Norm's parents back in 1984, and today manage approximately 65 cows, mostly Brown Swiss. Joyce cares for anywhere from 7 to 15 heifer calves at a time.


Raising calves has been Joyce's passion for 35 years. She has attended PDPW calf-care events ever since the Professional Dairy Producers™ began offering them and is keen on the manner in which they are run. For her, the most important task on the farm is raising healthy calves.


"PDPW does an excellent job of offering varied topics on calf care and bringing in credible, smart speakers," she says. "These meetings aren't just lectures. They're hands-on presentations."


Joyce says the chance to learn by doing has been invaluable. During a calf care workshop conducted earlier this year where colostrum products were discussed, attendees got an objective assessment of what to look for when making purchasing decisions. Joyce tested digital devices such as refractometers. She calls holding the technology in the palm of her hand and seeing how it worked "eye-opening".


"You think the tool you're already using is good, and then you find out it's not what it could be," she explains.


Joyce says calf-care events that teach new techniques for calf-raising and give attendees a forum for discussing challenges are crucial, given how calf-raising practices have changed over time. She always picks up at least one good piece of information that helps her do a better job of raising her calves.


"My membership is money well spent," she summarizes. "If I can help just one calf by learning something new, my time was very well spent."


Opportunities to learn...


THE NEXT CALF RAISING WEBINAR is set for June 17.  World Class Webinar, "The Heifer: Is This Diet Working?" will be led by Pat Hoffman.  This heifer management webinar will help you uncover the hidden challenges of dairy heifer nutrition and understand how dietary NDF effects heifer dry matter and energy intake. Hoffman will also provide limit feeding strategies and discuss formulating heifer diets for dietary phosphorus as well as strategies to cut dietary energy to avoid over-conditioning. The webinar will be delivered live at noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, June 17. If this time and date isn't convenient, no worries. You can register for the session, then listen/watch it at your convenience. But you must sign up by Wednesday, June 10. To register, you can go online to www.pdpw.org or call PDPW at 800-947-7379 PDPW members can register for $100 while non-PDPW members can register for $125.

IF TELLING YOUR FARM'S STORY SEEMS A BIT OVERWHELMING, you have friends ready to help you become confident, you can get armed with tactics and tools in just one day. The event is PDPW's Visible Voice Training, "Building an Effective Community Outreach Plan," set for Tuesday, June 16, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. This one day of specialized training-designed and offered exclusively for farmers-will teach you the tactics that are part of effective community outreach and show you how to assemble the tactics into a doable plan that protects and enhances your farm's reputation. You will learn to identify what you farm does really well and how to share that in the community, key messages for your farm, the best tools and/or activities for engaging the public and MORE. You'll leave the day armed with a proactive outreach plan specific for your dairy. Registration is limited so register today: $129 per person for PDPW members and $179 per person for non-PDPW members. You can register online at www.pdpw.org or by calling PDPW at 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!