Dairy Herd Management

Suicide Is Not The Only Answer

2 weeks ago
Suicide Is Not The Only Answer As the farm economy continues to struggle, farmers continue to consider suicide as a means to solve their financial woes. In this story from the New York Times, When the Death of a Family Farm Leads to Suicide, the author follows the story of a dairy farmer who was considering suicide in order to collect his life insurance payment and avoid his family losing the farm. [Read the full story here.] Thanks to suicide prevention help from NYFarmNet, a leading farm support group, the farmer did not commit suicide. Instead he filed bankruptcy and shifted his business model to produce organic milk instead of conventional milk. Depression and unbearable sadness can be all consuming, but suicide is not the answer. There are resources available to help you walk through this valley. Suicide Prevention Hotline: The nonprofit suicide prevention hotline is available in all states by calling 1-800-273-8255. https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. The Lifeline is committed to improving crisis services and advancing suicide prevention by empowering individuals. Anna-Lisa Laca Fri, 06/08/2018 - 17:58 Category Farm Business (General) Dairy (General) Comments Your name About text formats Restricted HTML Allowed HTML tags:
    1. Lines and paragraphs break automatically. Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically. Math question 4 + 1 = Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4. News Article Image Caption Depression and unbearable sadness can be all consuming, but suicide is not the answer. There are resources available to help you walk through this valley. Image Credit Farm Journal
    Anna-Lisa Laca

    Handy Apps for Dairy Managers

    2 weeks ago
    Handy Apps for Dairy Managers Whether you view it as a curse or a blessing, carrying a cell phone is the next thing to a societal necessity these days. Fortunately, there are a number of “apps” for smartphones and tablets that can make day-to-day dairy farm management easier and more efficient. Check out these app categories that may enhance your life: Dairy Management – PCDART Pocket Dairy, CowManager, University of Wisconsin Locomotion Scorer, University of Minnesota Hay Price Calculator, Penn State University Dairy Cents, University of Wisconsin Calf Health Scorer, Penn State University Crop Cents Veterinary Pharmaceutical Information -- Compendium of Veterinary Products; Food Animal Residue Avoidance Database (FARAD) VetGRAM; Zoetis My VFD Weather – The Weather Channel, Weather Bug, Weather Underground, University of Missouri Thermal Aid Dairy Markets – Daily Dairy Report, Merck Dairy Market Central Maps – Arc GIS, Google Earth Crop Production -- Agrian Mobile, ScoutPro Corn, University of Missouri Weed ID, Ag PhD, SoilWeb Sprayer/Tank Mix Assistance – Simplot Spray Guide, TeeJet Spray Select, Syngenta TankCalc, DuPont TankMix, Spray Lite, Clemson University Calibrate My Sprayer Business Management – Iowa State University Pesticide & Field Records, Ag Web, Quickbooks, Farm Logs, Mile IQ (for tracking mileage), Evernote (note-taking). Fred Hall, Northwest Iowa Extension Dairy Field Specialist for Iowa State University, said business management apps like Mile IQ provide excellent documentation if you ever are audited. Other tips he offers about apps are: Be sure to only download apps from known sources. Be aware that some apps – especially those that utilize live data like mapping apps – are known for using a lot of data on your phone. To preserve your battery life, make sure apps are not running in the background. Shut them down several times a day. Recognize that while most apps are free, if you use it frequently, a paid app may be worth the investment. Wyatt Bechtel Fri, 06/08/2018 - 17:46 Category Dairy Calves Replacements Software/Apps Comments Your name About text formats Restricted HTML Allowed HTML tags:
      1. Lines and paragraphs break automatically. Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically. Math question 2 + 18 = Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4. Software/Apps News Article Image Caption Your smartphone can help make you a smarter, more efficient day-to-day manager on the farm. Image Credit Farm Journal Media
      Wyatt Bechtel

      Second Robotic Rotary Parlor in U.S. Built in North Dakota

      2 weeks ago
      Second Robotic Rotary Parlor in U.S. Built in North Dakota Unlike traditional robotic dairies and rotary parlors, Qual Dairy in Libson, N.D., took a different approach to dairy farming and capitalized on new technology. Installing a robotic rotary parlor, the operation is now the fourth parlor of its kind to be installed in North America and only the 15thin the world. Construction on the multi-million-dollar facility was completed in April, each stall in the 60-stall rotary can be customized to each animal. The sensor-driven technology milks approximately 220 cows per hour using information gathered from the cow’s neck tag along with a 3-dimensional digital camera serving as the “eye’s” for the robot. Currently, Qual Dairy is milk 1,100 cows.  During milking, workers monitor two dashboards to make sure everything is running smoothly. If a problem occurs, the system will alert the employee letting them know exactly which animal needs attention. These statistics can also be analyzed on the farmer’s smartphone. No stranger to taking advantage of the innovative technology offered today, the Qual family houses their animals in a state-of-the-art freestall barn equipped with robotic feed pushers and a neck tag system to monitor heats, movement and feed consumption. "It's kind of a legacy move on our part," said Rodney Qual. "We've done several budgets and I think it should work." A similar 40-cow robotic rotary parlor was recently built in Peshtigo, Wis. Hoffman’s Happy Holsteins, a 550-cow dairy has been milking with this system for only seven months but hopes to pay for it by reducing labor. Hoffman also saw the benefits of technology and was the first dairy farmer in the U.S. to begin using this form of robotics.   For more on this, visit https://www.milkbusiness.com/rotaryrobot Taylor Leach Fri, 06/08/2018 - 15:32 Category Dairy New Products Dairy (General) North Dakota Comments Your name About text formats Restricted HTML Allowed HTML tags:
        1. Lines and paragraphs break automatically. Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically. Math question 1 + 8 = Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4. Robotics Livestock Equipment Technology Dairy Cattle North Dakota News Article Image Caption Second robotic rotary parlor installed in the U.S. Image Credit Leedstone
        Taylor Leach

        6 Tips for Distributing Forage Inoculants

        2 weeks ago
        6 Tips for Distributing Forage Inoculants Uniform distribution of inoculants is a critical factor in their effectiveness. The bacteria in inoculants grow where they land on the forage, so it’s important to apply the product evenly across the crop. Following these six tips can help ensure an even inoculant distribution. Make sure the applicator is clean and sanitized, in working condition and ready to go. Calibrate your application rates, both for liquid and dry-applied inoculants. Check application rates several times a day. Consider the product format. Dry granular product may be easier to use, but it is less effective than liquid application as crop dry matter (DM) increases. For liquid-applied inoculants, choose products with technology to keep the bacteria evenly dispersed throughout the application. Keep heat, moisture and oxygen away from all inoculants. Both granular and liquid products are sensitive to heat, moisture and oxygen. Limit exposure to these elements to keep inoculant products working as expected. Using an applicator with an insulated tank can also help ensure microbial viability of forage inoculants. Prior to mixing, always read and follow the label directions. It is important to treat the living organisms within the inoculant carefully. This helps guarantee the expected results from your inoculant investment. For additional handling tips, watch this video that busts myths about silage inoculant handling at https://youtu.be/ynIYl_idGt4. More information about silage production can be found at www.qualitysilage.com or Ask the Silage Dr. on Twitter or Facebook.   Sponsored by Lallemand Animal Nutrition Zach Zingula Fri, 06/08/2018 - 13:02 Category Silage Comments Your name About text formats Restricted HTML Allowed HTML tags:
          1. Lines and paragraphs break automatically. Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically. Math question 2 + 11 = Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4. Silage News Article Image Caption Image Credit Sponsored Content
          Zach Zingula

          Silage Safety Is Even More Critical When School’s Out

          2 weeks ago
          Silage Safety Is Even More Critical When School’s Out Throughout the country schools are getting ready to close for summer. You know what that means: watermelon, popsicles, pools and for farm kids, longer days spent on the dairy. Do your kids know basic rules to stay safe around your silage bunkers and piles? Do your employees kids know them? An avalanche, fall from height, unsafe sampling, silo gas – all are possible. Understanding why and how to be safe is important. Fortunately, there’s a fun tool for kids to learn about silage safety and best of all it’s free to you. Check out the new Silage Safety Coloring Books from Sealpro® Silage Barrier Films and Connor Agriscience, now in both English and Spanish versions.  “Connor Agriscience has over 10 years of leadership in silage education and has helped people make and manage their feed to save money. We know that efficient silage is safe silage. But even the best-made feeds must be respected to avoid potential disaster,” says Connie Kuber, vice president of Connor Agriscience. “Our new coloring book is a fast, easy, and engaging way to teach everyone – not just children – how to work and live more safely around silage.” Ordering these color books for the kids who will be spending time on your farm is easy and free. Simply visit www.connoragriscience.com and use the contact form to order. Anna-Lisa Laca Fri, 06/08/2018 - 12:33 Category Silage Comments Your name About text formats Restricted HTML Allowed HTML tags:
            1. Lines and paragraphs break automatically. Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically. Math question 12 + 6 = Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4. News Article Image Caption “Our new coloring book is a fast, easy, and engaging way to teach everyone – not just children – how to work and live more safely around silage.” Image Credit Amanda Freund
            Anna-Lisa Laca

            Cattle Broker Gambled Away Investors’ Money

            2 weeks ago
            Cattle Broker Gambled Away Investors’ Money An Indiana cattle broker pled guilty to one charge of wire fraud in federal court after enacting a plan prosecutors say resembled a Ponzi scheme. Brian D. Jones faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison operated a business buying and selling bull calves from dairy farms in Wisconsin and selling them to cattle ranches in Texas and Missouri, according to court documents. Jones, 38, of Vevay, IN, has agreed to pay back the 473,000 he took from his victims, who he began soliciting in 2015, promising sizeable returns on the investments, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. However, rather than investing the funds, prosecutors say Jones used the money for his personal benefit such as gambling at local casinos. The indictment also alleges that Jones used the investment funds to pay “returns” back to earlier investors as if the funds had actually generated income through investment in his business. By the end of 2015, the indictment says, Jones had squandered funds from the cattle purchasers and was in debt with his suppliers and purchasers. Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, said Jones had fabricated bank documents to show that he had sizable business deposits that would soon be “released’ by the bank. “He also allegedly sent checks to investors including some in the Southern District of Ohio for investment returns, only to have the checks bounce due to insufficient funds in his account,” Glassman said. Greg Henderson Fri, 06/08/2018 - 11:26 Category Beef (General) Dairy (General) Veterinary (General) Comments Your name About text formats Restricted HTML Allowed HTML tags:
              1. Lines and paragraphs break automatically. Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically. Math question 14 + 0 = Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4. Cattle News Article Image Caption An Indiana cattle broker faces 20 years in prison after pleading guilt to defrauding investors. Image Credit Anna-Lisa Laca
              Greg Henderson

              Watch An Illinois Farmer Take Over Culver’s Social Media For The Day

              2 weeks 1 day ago
              Watch An Illinois Farmer Take Over Culver’s Social Media For The Day To help consumers better understand where their food comes from, Culver’s #FarmingFridays social media series is back. On five Fridays throughout the year, Culver’s invites agricultural influencers to share their stories on Culver’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat accounts. The series is part of Culver’s Thank You Farmers Project. This week’s influencer is Katie Pratt, a fourth-generation Illinois family farmer and blogger who participates in agricultural literacy programs to teach kids about farming. “Our guests love learning more about the agricultural industry and where their food comes from,” said Jessie Kreke, senior marketing manager at Culver’s. “Culver’s is proud to provide an avenue for those in the agricultural industry to share their stories through #FarmingFridays.”   Culver’s Thank You Farmers Project works to ensure that we continue to have enough food to feed our country’s growing population by supporting agricultural education programs that teach smart farming. To date, the Thank You Farmers Project has raised nearly $2 million in support of the National FFA Organization and Foundation, local FFA chapters and a variety of local agricultural organizations. To learn more about the program and how to get involved, visit www.culvers.com/thankyoufarmersproject. Anna-Lisa Laca Fri, 06/08/2018 - 10:49 Category Dairy (General) Beef (General) Comments Your name About text formats Restricted HTML Allowed HTML tags:
                1. Lines and paragraphs break automatically. Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically. Math question 20 + 0 = Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4. News Article Image Caption On five Fridays throughout the year, Culver’s invites agricultural influencers to share their stories on Culver’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat accounts. The series is part of Culver’s Thank You Farmers Project. Image Credit Culver's
                Anna-Lisa Laca

                Mexican Tariffs Could Devastate U.S. Dairy Export Sales

                2 weeks 1 day ago
                Mexican Tariffs Could Devastate U.S. Dairy Export Sales This week Mexico announced tariffs on U.S. cheeses which could have a devastating impact on U.S. dairy exports. Mexico accounts for 28% of all U.S. cheese exports, making it the No. 1 export market for U.S. cheese, according to the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC). The Mexican initiated the tariffs in retaliation for the tariffs President Trump placed on steel and aluminum imported from Canada, the EU and Mexico. “Tariffs on cheese will potentially eliminate the competitive advantage we have in our No. 1 market,” said USDEC president and CEO Tom Vilsack. “That is a legitimate concern.” Mexico’s tariffs include the following cheese products: Fresh Cheese: 15% tariff until 7/5; 25% tariff thereafter. Cheese of other types, shredded or in powder: 10% tariff until 7/5; 20% tariff thereafter. Grana or Parmegiano-reggiano, Gouda, Havarti, Fontina, etc.: 10% tariff until 7/5; 20% tariff thereafter. Other: 15% tariff until 7/5; 25% tariff thereafter. “This is a significant setback for our farmers, processors and our exporters,” said Jaime Castaneda, senior vice president for trade policy of the USDEC. The full impact of the tariffs on milk prices is still unknown. However, Greg Ibach, USDA undersecretary for marketing and regulation says the entire Trump Administration is monitoring the situation closely and will not hesitate from taking action to protect farmers from feeling the brunt of trade negotiations. “We continue to work with the different commodity organizations to understand how they are being impacted and what the ramifications of some of the negotiations are having on their industries,” Ibach said in an interview with AgDay’s Betsy Jibben at the World Pork Expo. “We continue to look for those opportunities down the road to see how they’ve been impacted by these negotiations and if there’s a role for USDA to play in working together with them. Both the secretary and the president want to work to mitigate the impact that these negotiations have on agriculture.” How significant are U.S. cheese exports to Mexico? Check out these facts from USDEC: Mexico is the  No. 1  U.S. cheese export market. In 2017, the United States held a 75% share of Mexico’s cheese import market. U.S. cheese shipments to Mexico were valued at $391 million last year. Last year's U.S. cheese exports to Mexico increased 8% in value over 2016. Mexico accounts for 28% of total U.S. cheese exports. U.S. suppliers shipped 96,413 tons of cheese to Mexico in 2017. Over the last decade, both the volume and value of U.S. cheese exports to Mexico have nearly tripled.   Open configuration options Anna-Lisa Laca Fri, 06/08/2018 - 10:45 Category Dairy (General) Comments Your name About text formats Restricted HTML Allowed HTML tags:
                  1. Lines and paragraphs break automatically. Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically. Math question 3 + 12 = Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4. News Article Image Caption “Tariffs on cheese will potentially eliminate the competitive advantage we have in our No. 1 market,” said USDEC president and CEO Tom Vilsack. “That is a legitimate concern.” Image Credit freeimages.com
                  Anna-Lisa Laca

                  Art and Science of Hoof Blocks

                  2 weeks 1 day ago
                  Art and Science of Hoof Blocks A properly sized and positioned hoof block can do wonders in helping cows recover from hoof lesions and trauma. On the other hand, improperly sized and positioned blocks can create more problems than they solve and prolong lameness and cow suffering. At first glance, it might appear that hoof blocks on the healthy claw make the cow uncomfortable and even off-balance. But years of hoof block use show that when properly used, they can bring healing and comfort to a lame animal. “Blocks improve healing by removing the pressure from the affected foot,” says Gerard Cramer, a veterinarian and hoof care specialist at the University of Minnesota. “This reduced pressure allows the wound to heal by reducing tension that pulls cells apart, thereby enabling horn cells to grow and close the sole defect.” Proper sizing is critical, because a hoof block that is too short can cause potential harm by not providing full support to the entire healthy claw. “An appropriately sized block extends beyond the weight-bearing surface of the heel. In most situations, this means the appropriate block length is between 5 ¼ and 6” (13-16 cm),” Cramer says. The block should extend past the weight-bearing surface of the heel because this will reduce pressure on the soft heel horn when the heel strikes the floor while the cow is walking. Extension of the block will also reduce the risk of the block itself causing or inducing hemorrhages and ulcers, he says. Blocks are too long if they extend past the non-weight bearing part of the heel to the level of the dewclaws. “Correct position of the block involves ensuring the block is applied at a 90°angle to the bones of the leg,” Cramer says. Doing so ensures that weight bearing is correctly positioned on the claw with the hoof block and is not transferred to the outside wall of the diseased hoof. Cramer notes that there is a tendency for blocks to wear down over time towards the inside of the healthy claw. To counteract this, apply the blocks at an angle less than 90°(sloped up towards the inside of the hoof). Done this way, blocks that do shift will still not shift weight on the diseased claw. To allow sufficient time to pass for healing to occur, blocks need to stay in place for four to six weeks. A block left on longer can cause damage to the unaffected claw due to excessive weight bearing, says Cramer. So farmers must schedule a follow-evaluation in four to six weeks after a block is applied to check on the healing process and ensure the block size and position are still correct. “Cows that are not healing properly can be retreated at the time of evaluation. Cows that have healed can have their blocks removed. In both scenarios, the re-evaluation develops a process that reduces the chance of developing chronic lesions,” says Cramer. Taylor Leach Fri, 06/08/2018 - 09:00 Category Dairy (General) Herd Health Comments Your name About text formats Restricted HTML Allowed HTML tags:
                    1. Lines and paragraphs break automatically. Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically. Math question 8 + 3 = Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4. Dairy (General) Herd Health Animal health Management News Article Image Caption A correctly sized hoof block extends beyond the weight bearing surface of the heel. Image Credit University of Minnesota
                    Taylor Leach

                    Mastitis: From the 1980s to Now, The Battle Continues

                    2 weeks 1 day ago
                    Mastitis: From the 1980s to Now, The Battle Continues The Miner Institute Farm Report has been around for 36 years now, so I decided to look back at the first ever one that was published. The Farm Report dates from January 1982 and talks about a wide range of things from rotating corn hybrids to sulfur for alfalfa. One article that caught my eye was titled, “Mastitis – The, Battle Goes On” The article was written by Dr. Harry Randy, the past Director of Research and President of Miner Institute from the 1980s until his untimely death in 1991. Dr. Randy was very involved with day-to-day management of the herd, and in the article he discussed the ongoing issue the herd faced with the presence of mastitis. In Dr. Randy’s article he described that the staph species, Staph aureus, and strep species were the cause of the majority of mastitis cases in the herd. Just about everything had been tried to lower the frequency of mastitis including pre- and post-dipping cows (which had been done for some time by then) and installing automatic takeoffs to try and eliminate the human error. Decisions were made to cull cows that were identified as “chronic”; selected based on average production, history of clinical mastitis, DHI somatic cell count, and bacteria culture. With these changes, the farm still didn’t see much change in the number of mastitis cases. The next plan of action was to have the milkers go through eight hours of training on milking systems and mastitis. By the end of that year it was their goal to install a low line and new washing system. The costs of training and equipment were deemed worthy of the investment. The somatic cell count dropped from 250,000 to 150,000 and they were only treating 2-3 cows a month for mastitis, compared to the 28 cows that were reported at the end of August the previous year. How far has the dairy industry come since the 1980’s in mastitis control? Since 1980 the number of recorded mastitis cases in herds decreased from 37% to 20%, a large drop. Research initially focused on identifying and characterizing the causes of most mastitis, and from there developed antibiotics to help treatment and control. Further down the road antibiotic therapy, post dipping of cows, clean equipment, automatic takeoffs, vacuum fluctuations, and monitoring teat health were all strategies for controlling the spread of bacteria. Control of environmental factors such as having a dry clipped udder, cleanliness of stalls, bedding sources, and ensuring that cows eat after milking to allow time for closure of the streak canal, are all areas where recommendations have been developed over the years. Selecting genetic traits such as udder height and teat conformation have also helped cut down on the incidence of mastitis. Culling cows that are considered to be chronic is still a common practice on many farms. Vaccinations for mastitis were at one point starting to develop with researchers primarily targeting Staphylococcus aureus. The vaccination, however, didn’t prove to be effective. How have things changed at Miner Institute since Dr. Randy wrote that article in 1982? First of all, the herd size has nearly quadrupled. Our dairy staff has done a great job in keeping our somatic cell count relatively low, averaging 115,000 in 2017 with several months under 100,000. Generally our herd treats 8-10 cases of mastitis per month which is a similar rate to the Miner Institute herd in 1982. We still battle with most of the same organisms, however Klebsiella seems to be our new challenge. As Dr. Randy indicated in 1982, milker training seems to have been the best investment to keep somatic cell counts low and reduce mastitis cases. While writing this article for the Farm Report I couldn’t help but think how far we have come with detection, treatment, and lowering the incidence of mastitis. So what does the future hold for mastitis in dairy herds across the world? Is there a future without mastitis? Maybe someone will write a follow-up article 36 years from now….stay tuned in 2054! Wyatt Bechtel Fri, 06/08/2018 - 08:51 Category Milk Quality Herd Health Mastitis Dairy Cattle Comments Your name About text formats Restricted HTML Allowed HTML tags:
                      1. Lines and paragraphs break automatically. Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically. Math question 16 + 1 = Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4. Mastitis Milk Quality Herd Health News Article Image Caption How far has the dairy industry come since the 1980’s in mastitis control? Since 1980 the number of recorded mastitis cases in herds decreased from 37% to 20%, a large drop. Image Credit Wyatt Bechtel
                      Wyatt Bechtel

                      Three Things We’ve Learned From Low Milk Prices

                      2 weeks 3 days ago
                      Three Things We’ve Learned From Low Milk Prices Through any adversity comes learning. Without learning through adversity, we would never adapt and continue on with our lives and business. The past few months have been a PhD-level course in managing through adversity. Low milk prices, rising labor costs, increased interest rates and even weather disasters have affected our ability to maintain a profitable dairy operation. So what have we learned? What are we going to do to be better positioned to weather the next economic downturn? You don’t have to be big to be profitable (but it really helps). Larger dairies have the luxury of spreading costs over a wide range of assets. They are also flexible enough to shift resources to maximize cash flow opportunities, even in low milk price periods. But small dairies can be profitable, too. If one of the following occurs: The farm is paid off There is significant offfarm income They have a tie to consumers, either through selling a product, offering tours, or some other outreach that helps drive income. You have superior genetics and are able to market those genetics off the farm. If your dairy is under 200 cows and doesn’t have any of these things, you are probably about to be out of business. If you’re still alive, you should strongly consider accomplishing one of the tasks above to be able to weather the next downturn. For an explanation of this evolution, read this story featuring Curt Covington, executive vice president of Farmer Mac. Dairies that survive keep cash flowing. Too many times the knee jerk reaction when prices fall is to reduce expenses at all cost. When that happens willy-nilly, production usually falls and cash flow turns from a river to a trickle.  Never cut an expense that cuts production more than the cost of the expense. That seems pretty logical, but desperate times should not call for that desperate of a measure. Because when prices are low, cash flow is king. Cash is what pays bills, and paying bills leads to survival. Mike Hutjens, Illinois dairy extension specialist, shares five things not to do from a nutrition standpoint. There are alternatives to dairy farming. While one farmer suicide story is too many, this spring was overload. Too many producers saw only one way out of the financial mess, more than I can remember in my 25-plus years in the dairy industry. Remember that even in your darkest hour, dairy farming still is just a business. It’s not your life. I know dozens of ex-farmers who had to sell the cows or face financial ruin only to realize that, yes, there is life after cows. Dairy farming might be a way of life for some, but there are other ways of life out there. You need to stop and count your blessings. If you or someone you know needs help to prevent a suicide from happening, see these resources. What have you learned from low milk prices? Send me a note at mopperman@farmjournal.com.       Mike Opperman Tue, 06/05/2018 - 16:03 Category AUDIO/VIDEO Milk Prices Comments Your name About text formats Restricted HTML Allowed HTML tags:
                        1. Lines and paragraphs break automatically. Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically. Math question 1 + 1 = Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4. Blog Article Image Caption Opperman Image Credit Farm Journal
                        Mike Opperman

                        America's Dairyland Seeks Help

                        2 weeks 3 days ago
                        America's Dairyland Seeks Help MADISON, Wis. (AP) — America's Dairyland is hurting and a new task force plans to spend the next year figuring out how to save the industry that's integral to Wisconsin's economy and identity. Gov. Scott Walker on Tuesday announced creation of the task force tasked with coming up with recommendations to save the Wisconsin dairy industry, which pumps $43.3 billion into the state's economy every year, accounts for nearly 80,000 jobs and produces roughly 14 percent of the nation's milk — second only to California. But the dairy industry has been struggling with collapsed milk and other commodity prices the past three years because of an abundance of milk on the market. Wisconsin lost 500 dairy farms in 2017 while the total number of milk-cow herds is down about 20 percent from five years ago. The dairy industry has been shifting toward larger, corporate farms over the last 15 years, creating conflicts with local residents and environmental activists because the farms produce massive amounts of waste. Announcement of the task force came on the same day that the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled in favor of a massive dairy farm in central Wisconsin that was looking to expand but had been blocked over zoning concerns. Walker, a Republican who faces re-election in November, said the state agriculture department will join forces with the University of Wisconsin System to create the dairy industry task force. It is designed to bring industry experts together to create solutions to help farmers, processors and related industries. "We need to work together to develop a strategy to maintain our state's legacy as the Dairy State," Walker said in a statement. Members of the task force will be appointed by Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Secretary Sheila Harsdorf and University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross. A similar task force focused on the dairy industry was convened in 1985. It made 75 recommendations for the industry, which were then implemented to retain the state's recognition as a dairy leader, Walker's office said in announcing the latest effort. The new task force will be chaired by Mark Stephenson, director of Dairy Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Stephenson said he hopes the group will begin meeting later this summer and gather information across the state for a year before issuing its recommendations. "People don't think we're coming with all the ideas and prescription for what this task force is going to end up with," Stephenson said. "We need to listen to people and capture their ideas both about what the problems are and the potential solutions." Better understanding the current situation, which Stephenson described as a "relatively seismic shift in the environment of milk production," will help those in the dairy industry navigate it and better prepare for the future, even if all the problems can't be easily solved. "This is not a simple or quickly treated kind of question," he said, while noting the importance of the dairy industry both to the state's economy and its identity. Known as "America's Dairyland," a slogan that's been on license plates since 1939, Wisconsin has been home to the World Dairy Expo for 50 years. The annual event held in Madison every fall is considered the largest dairy cattle show in North America and also the biggest dairy-focused trade show in the world. Wisconsin also honors its dairy heritage in many ways. It The dairy cow is the state's official domestic animal, the official beverage is milk and its state quarter design features both a cow and a round of cheese. "When I stop and think about the state, what is unique about this state, it probably is dairy," Stephenson said. "There's no other state that has as much dairy and dairy resources as Wisconsin does. I don't think that's a mistake."   Copyright 2018, Associated Press Wes Mills Tue, 06/05/2018 - 15:39 Category Dairy (General) Comments Your name About text formats Restricted HTML Allowed HTML tags:
                          1. Lines and paragraphs break automatically. Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically. Math question 6 + 0 = Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4. News Article Image Caption America's Dairyland is hurting and a new task force plans to spend the next year figuring out how to save the industry that's integral to Wisconsin's economy and identity. Image Credit Farm Journal
                          Wes Mills

                          Calculating Forage Demand and Forage Availability

                          2 weeks 3 days ago
                          Calculating Forage Demand and Forage Availability A common conversation I have with producers usually goes something like this, “I’m renting out 50 acres to my neighbor who wants to run 30 cows on it, does that sound about right to you?” This is a perfectly legitimate question, however, more details are needed on both the cattle and the pasture to fully answer this question.  Determining appropriate stocking rates can seem daunting to some producers because, like me, they probably have less than fond feelings towards mathematical calculations. However, determining appropriate stocking rates does not have to be complicated. The key is remembering two main elements required for stocking calculations, Forage Demand and Forage Availability.  When calculating stocking rates, keep the big picture or main elements in mind, those being FORAGE DEMAND and FORAGE AVAILABILITY. This is intuitive, even in a simplistic stocking question like the example given above, the producer recognizes that there has to be some sense of demand (30 cows) and availability (50 acres). All subsequent information required to calculate appropriate stocking will fall under the categories of FORAGE DEMAND or FORAGE AVAILABILITY. Though many aspects of stocking can be calculated (following link is tutorial for stocking calculations) https://beef.unl.edu/aum-rangemanagement, many producers just want a basic idea if they will have enough feed for the number of cattle they are grazing. The purpose of this article is to provide an example on how to do a quick and basic comparison of forage demand and forage availability.  Calculating forage demand captures three important elements animal size, length of time grazing, and number of animals. Animal size is taken into account using an Animal Unit Equivalent (AUE). The AUE is an estimate of the amount of forage an average cow will eat. The baseline for the AUE system is a 1000 pound (lb) animal, in other words, a 1000 lb animal equals 1.0 AUE which will eat on average 680 lb of forage (Dry Matter) or 780 lb of forage (Air Dry). Each hundred pounds over or under the 1000 lb baseline is either an addition or subtraction of 0.1 (e.g. 1100 lb cow equals 1.1 AUE). To combine AUE with amount of time grazing and number of animals grazing one simply needs to multiply. For example, if 30 cows weighing 1200 lb were grazing for 6 months the forage demand equation to calculate Animal Unit Months (AUM) demand would look as follows: 1.2 AUE*30 head*6 months = 216 AUM’s. This is our demand. Forage availability calculations requires a little more research. The productivity of a given piece of land is dependent on site characteristics which vary with location. Certain generalized guidelines exist to help producers estimate their AUM/acre depending on the location of their property. These guidelines can be found on the stocking calculations video in the above web link. These are generalized estimates and may not be representative of your property. To gain more accurate data for your property’s forage availability there has to be some estimation of forage production as a starting point. If your pasture was previously hayed use production records to calculate the average forage production (lb/acre) of previous years. Clipping forage inside the dimensions of a small frame or hoop is the most common method for determining forage production if no previous production records exist. The following link shows different frame/hoop dimensions and their conversions to lb/acre https://go.unl.edu/ewz3 (pg. 5). Try to clip at least 10 to 20 frames/hoops in areas that are typical of the pasture. After clipping, forage should be dried (for calculating on dry matter basis) and weighed in grams (remember to take into account weight of sample bags!) average your sample weights and use the conversion factor in the above link to calculate lb/acre. Pounds/acre of forage is multiplied by 25%, this takes into account 50% utilization as a proper grazing practice to leave enough residual for plant vigor, and 25% of remaining forage which is not ingested due to trampling or insect damage (e.g. 100,000 lb of forage will more realistically be 25,000 lb of forage available for grazing due to this calculation (100,000 lb*0.25 = 25,000 lb)). After available forage is determined, calculate how much a cow will eat per month to find the AUM’s for forage availability. A common standard is a 1000 lb animal will eat 780 lb of air dry forage per month. With forage production and amount of forage consumed per month per head we can now calculate the AUM’s for availability. Simply divide the available forage by the pounds of forage consumed by a single animal/month (e.g. 25,000 lb available forage/780 lb forage consumed by one animal in a month = 32.1 AUM’s). This is our availability. Figure 1 (https://go.unl.edu/v8sz )is a diagram to show the progression of calculations comparing forage demand AUM’s to forage availability AUM’s. For the sake of this diagram, we will use the example of 30 cows weighing 1200 lb grazing for 6 months on 300 acres of upland pasture which produces 2000 lb of forage per acre.  Wyatt Bechtel Tue, 06/05/2018 - 14:44 Category Beef nutrition Pasture/Forage Dairy Nutrition Comments Your name About text formats Restricted HTML Allowed HTML tags:
                            1. Lines and paragraphs break automatically. Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically. Math question 6 + 2 = Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4. Pasture/Forage Beef nutrition Dairy Nutrition News Article Image Caption Determining appropriate stocking rates does not have to be complicated. Image Credit Jace Stott, University of Nebraska Extension
                            Wyatt Bechtel

                            Would You Pay $300 To ‘Cuddle’ Cows?

                            2 weeks 3 days ago
                            Would You Pay $300 To ‘Cuddle’ Cows? Those of us who grew up on farms know spending time with cows and many other farm animals contributes to overall wellness. Well, people in New York City have realized that and are now paying $300 to spend 90 minutes cuddling, brushing and playing with cows. According to a story from Metro US, cow cuddling is “just what it sounds like.” Basically, people are paying to pet cows, brush them and love on them. “Sessions tend to be monitored and facilitated by a licensed counselor and an equine specialist,” they wrote. One facility that offers this experience is Mountain Horse Farm which calls itself a “wellness retreat” and specializes in therapy using horses. “Cows have a body temperature that is slightly higher than humans and their heart rate is lower than ours,” their website states. “Cuddling up with a cow, feeling that lower heart rate and higher body temperature, is very relaxing.” Well, that explains all those afternoon naps propped up against your cow in the show barn. Still, there are probably are better ways to spend $300. Anna-Lisa Laca Tue, 06/05/2018 - 14:22 Category Beef (General) Dairy (General) Comments Your name About text formats Restricted HTML Allowed HTML tags:
                              1. Lines and paragraphs break automatically. Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically. Math question 5 + 2 = Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4. News Article Image Caption For $300 you and a friend can spend 90 minutes loving on a cow. Image Credit Farm Journal
                              Anna-Lisa Laca

                              Louisiana Family Charged With Stealing $1 Million in Cattle

                              2 weeks 3 days ago
                              Louisiana Family Charged With Stealing $1 Million in Cattle Three arrests on six counts of theft have been made after the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Brand Commission discovered $1 million worth of cattle sales missing from Louisiana sale barns. Husband and wife Ricky and Wanda Thompson, along with their 39-year-old son, Justin Thompson, are facing jail time after allegedly stealing from four of the eight different livestock markets across Louisiana. They are charged with six counts of property theft of $25,000 or more. The thefts occurred between August and October 2017. “The bottom line is the cattle producers were protected and received their money from the sale barn; however, the Thompsons never compensated the sale barn, so these businesses suffered significant financial losses,” said Mike Strain, Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner. The Thompsons could face more charges as additional warrants have been issued in East Baton Rouge and St. Landry parishes where the other livestock markets are located Taylor Leach Tue, 06/05/2018 - 13:29 Category Dairy (General) Louisiana Comments Your name About text formats Restricted HTML Allowed HTML tags:
                                1. Lines and paragraphs break automatically. Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically. Math question 5 + 2 = Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4. Beef (General) Louisiana News Article Image Caption beef cow 1 Image Credit Farm Journal
                                Taylor Leach

                                Customer Support: Dairy’s Changing Landscape

                                2 weeks 3 days ago
                                Customer Support: Dairy’s Changing Landscape The landscape in the dairy industry is changing due to low prices and closing dairies.  U.S. Farm Report commentator John Phipps received a note that a New York milk production company was giving phone numbers for suicide hotlines in their milk producers’ milk checks. On Customer Support, Phipps discusses how farming, fishing and forestry has the highest suicide rate compared to other industries.Watch Customer Support every weekend on U.S. Farm Report. Ashley Tue, 06/05/2018 - 13:26 Category Dairy (General) Comments Your name About text formats Restricted HTML Allowed HTML tags:
                                  1. Lines and paragraphs break automatically. Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically. Math question 9 + 5 = Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4. Videos Article Image Caption U.S. Farm Report commentator John Phipps. Image Credit Farm Journal
                                  Ashley Davenport

                                  Digital Dermatitis Isn’t Just a Dairy Herd Problem

                                  2 weeks 4 days ago
                                  Digital Dermatitis Isn’t Just a Dairy Herd Problem Digital dermatitis (DD), also known as hairy heel warts, was discovered in 1974 in Italy. The disease first popped up in US dairy herds in the 1980’s, and spread rapidly during the 1990’s as herds expanded. The co-mingling of multiple dairy herds into one barn or facility made a perfect scenario for DD to infect millions of cattle. Digital dermatitis is an incurable disease. Once cattle are infected with DD, they have it for life. Digital dermatitis cannot be cured, only managed. Treponemes, a spiral-shaped bacteria, cause DD. Treponemes that cause DD enter the body of an animal through a break in the skin on the foot. Treponemes hate oxygen and thrive in pen environments with poor hygiene, wet floor surfaces, and overcrowding. When cattle are subjected to standing in mud or manure for prolonged amounts of time, softening of the skin occurs and allows treponemes to penetrate the skin. Digital dermatitis lesions mainly occur on the back feet. Lesions can spread between the toes and sometimes appear on the front of the foot. Lesions are recognized by two different appearances. One type of lesion, hyperkeratotic, appears as a raised callous. Proliferative lesions appear to have long fibrous hairs. Active DD lesions may appear initially as a raw, red, oval ulcer on the back of the heel just above or at the coronary band. There are six stages of DD. Named after one of the researchers who discovered DD, (Mortellaro), “M” stages are categorized as M0 (no lesion, healthy foot), M1 beginning of a lesion, M2 active, M3 healing, M4 nonactive healed lesion, and M4.1 nonactive healed lesion with an active M2 on top of a healed lesion. Beef herds are not immune to DD. While DD is present in beef cow/calf herds, feedlot cattle are especially susceptible. The key to controlling DD is to prevent outbreaks and spread of the disease. Once you find it, you are too late, your herd is infected. Cattle who are co-mingled with other groups of cattle, transition cattle, and animals under stress are at highest risk of contracting the disease. Untreated DD can cause lameness resulting in decreased rate of gain in feedlot animals, and reduced fertility and milk production in replacement cows. In addition, losses incurred through treatment costs, increased labor, and potential animal mortality are economically detrimental to the overall enterprise. Digital dermatitis causing treponemes are spread through manure and mud. Keeping pens clean and dry as possible is a good start to prevent the spread of disease. Prompt treatment of active M2 lesions will reduce the spread of DD to other cattle and reduce the chance of the infected animal’s development of lameness. Treatment requires the lifting of the foot, cleaning of the lesion, and applying topical oxytetracyclin. Dr. Dörte Döpfer from the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine recommends
                                    1. Lines and paragraphs break automatically. Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically. Math question 7 + 10 = Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4. Herd Health Cattle Dairy News Article Image Caption Acute active digital dermatitis lesions can cause pain and lameness in cattle, which leads to declines in animal welfare and food production. Image Credit Arturo Gomez Rivas, University of Wisconsin
                                    Wyatt Bechtel

                                    Trudeau Taking Heat from Canadian Dairy Farmers

                                    2 weeks 4 days ago
                                    Trudeau Taking Heat from Canadian Dairy Farmers (Bloomberg) -- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is under fire from farmers at home for saying he’s flexible on increasing access to the country’s dairy industry, a change sought by Donald Trump in Nafta talks. Trudeau said Sunday in a U.S. television interview the U.S. was seeking two main things in Nafta negotiations, which are essentially on the back-burner after the U.S. hit Canada and Mexico with steel and aluminum tariffs last week. “They want a better deal on their auto sector from Mexico, and I think they want more access on certain agriculture products like dairy to Canada,” Trudeau said on NBC’s Meet the Press with Chuck Todd. Todd asked if Trudeau was willing to give them that. “We’re moving towards, you know, flexibility in those areas that I thought was very, very promising.” Pierre Lampron, president of the Dairy Farmers of Canada, said in a letter to Trudeau Monday the prime minister’s comments were “quite worrisome,” and “deeply troubling for our dairy farmers,” given repeated pledges of support by Trudeau and his lawmakers for the sector. Canada had dug in on the dairy issue in the face of U.S. demands, calling it a non-starter. The country has, however, given foreign producers a slice of its market in past trade talks; doing so again in North American Free Trade Agreement talks would follow the trend but be politically controversial because it would once again shrink domestic producers’ cut of the pie. Trump has regularly criticized Canada’s system, including last week. “They must open their markets and take down their trade barriers!” he wrote on Twitter. ‘Possible Concession’ Lampron cited the NBC interview and said Trudeau “specifically referenced access to our domestic dairy market as a possible concession to conclude the Nafta re-negotiations,” asking for a meeting with Trudeau. Lampron criticized previous trade deals that opened the Canadian market. “The additional impact of the access granted under trade agreements has undoubtedly weakened our dairy system in Canada,” Lampron wrote. Canada’s system of quotas and tariffs for dairy, poultry and eggs, known as supply management, is something of a sacred cow -- all major political parties support it, and, given the value of existing quotas, farm groups erupt when changes are discussed. Trump called for the full dismantling of that system over 10 years. It was one of the most controversial Nafta proposals. Quebec has taken note of Trudeau’s comments, and its position on the renegotiation of Nafta remains unchanged, Christine Harvey, a spokeswoman for Quebec Agriculture Minister Laurent Lessard, said Monday. “We will continue to defend supply management,” she said, declining to elaborate. Trump and U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, who hails from dairy-producing Wisconsin, are up in arms about Canada’s system. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross once called Canada’s U.S. envoy, during a Trump visit to Wisconsin, saying he’s “never heard him so upset.” Ryan has said Nafta’s biggest problem “comes from the north.”   Copyright 2018, Bloomberg Wes Mills Tue, 06/05/2018 - 11:06 Category Dairy (General) Comments Your name About text formats Restricted HTML Allowed HTML tags:
                                      1. Lines and paragraphs break automatically. Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically. Math question 9 + 2 = Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4. News Article Image Caption Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is taking heat from dairy farmers in his own country as he signals a willingness to negotiate their dairy program with the U.S. Image Credit MGN
                                      Wes Mills

                                      Processing Plant Set to Open in Midst of Industry Closings

                                      2 weeks 4 days ago
                                      Processing Plant Set to Open in Midst of Industry Closings With the announcement of three more dairy processors ceasing operations nationally, producers have growing concerns over whether their milk will continue to have a market. The development of a new dairy processing plant has eased these concerns for some producers in Vermont. Culture Made Vermont announced in May their plans to convert what was previously a manufacturing building into a processing plant for making dairy and nondairy beverages. The company hopes to specialize in cultured dairy and dairy drinks. Originally occupied by a defense contractor, L3 KEO, the building, located in Brattleboro, Vermont, will now undergo renovations in preparation for its transition into a processing plant. With a budget of approximately $32.5 million and extensive reconstruction, Culture Made Vermont has yet to announce when the plant will begin operations. However, approximately 42 employees are expected to be hired before the grand opening. Located across the country in Tillamook, Oregon, Tillamook Creamery also revealed they would be re-opening their visitor facility after more than a year of construction. The creamery will allow visitors to take a glimpse at their cheese production and gain a better understanding of cows, dairy technology and life on the farm. The creamery will feature an expanded ice cream counter, coffee and yogurt bar, theater space allowing visitors to view how products are made and an enhanced retail shop. With hopes of drawing in more consumers to learn about the process of making dairy products, the farmer-owned co-op will open this facility June 20, 2018. Taylor Leach Tue, 06/05/2018 - 11:00 Category CoOps Processors Vermont Oregon Comments Your name About text formats Restricted HTML Allowed HTML tags:
                                        1. Lines and paragraphs break automatically. Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically. Math question 1 + 0 = Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4. Processors CoOps Vermont Oregon News Article Image Caption Culture Made Vermont announces new processing plant. Image Credit Wyatt Bechtel
                                        Taylor Leach

                                        Net 2018 Dairy MPP Payments Could Exceed $6,000 for 100-Cow Herd

                                        2 weeks 4 days ago
                                        Net 2018 Dairy MPP Payments Could Exceed $6,000 for 100-Cow Herd Estimates by Marin Bozic, a University of Minnesota dairy economist, show that net Dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP) payments could easily exceed $6,000 for 100-cow herd signing up for $8 coverage. USDA announced it is extending MPP sign-up until this Friday, June 8, and will begin cutting checks this week for February through April payments for those farmers have already enrolled. Premiums for Tier 1 coverage is 14.2¢/cwt. But based on margins already announced for January through April, and projections based on futures markets for the rest of the year, indemnity payments in the first half of 2018 will be substantial. They will exceed $1/cwt in February, March and April, and could surpass $2/cwt in May and June. Payments are unlikely in the second half of year because of rising milk prices. Bozic says net payments from January through April are guaranteed based on the following covered production histories and $8 coverage: Production History                         Guaranteed net payment 5,000,000 lb                                     $7,323 4,000,000 lb                                     $5,838 3,000,000 lb                                     $4,354 2,000,000 lb                                     $2,869 1,000,000 lb                                     $1,385   Projected payments for all of 2018 based on $8 coverage: Production History                         Projected net payment 5,000,000 lb                                     $16,126 4,000,000 lb                                     $12,883 3,000,000 lb                                     $9,695 2,000,000 lb                                     $6,395 1,000,000 lb                                     $3,150                  Jim Dickrell Tue, 06/05/2018 - 09:58 Category Margin Protection Program Dairy (General) Comments Your name About text formats Restricted HTML Allowed HTML tags:
                                          1. Lines and paragraphs break automatically. Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically. Math question 2 + 0 = Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4. Dairy Margin Protection Program News Article Image Caption USDA will begin issuing MPP payments this week for farmers who have enrolled in the program. Image Credit Farm Journal, Inc.
                                          Jim Dickrell
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