September 2017 vol.1
Brought to you by Dairy's Professional Development Organization®
Opportunities to learn...
MINIMIZING THE EFFECT OF WEATHER ON CALVES  will be the focus of a World Class Webinar on Wednesday, September 27.  Dr. Geof Smith of North Carolina State University will discuss approaches and options to combat the stressful weather change from summer to fall for calves.  It will provide both practical and creative solutions for housing, labor, nutrition, and calf management.  View the event flyer or contact PDPW at 800-947-7379.  Click here to register.  Participants who have registered can watch the session live or will receive a fully recorded version to watch at their leisure.
EFFECTIVE CALF RAISING IS THE FOUNDATION  of a successful dairy. The 2017 Calf Care Connection┬« Workshops will give dairy farmers and calf care managers new information, tools and a renewed enthusiasm to manage and care for the calves that represent the future of their herds. Dr. Theresa Ollivett, DVM, UW-Madison, Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus dairy youngstock technical specialist and Dr. Fiona Maunsell, Clinical Assistant Professor in Food Animal Reproduction and Medicine Service at the University of Florida will team up to present the latest in calf care and management.  Three sessions will be held: October 10 in Chilton, Wis., October 11 in Eau Claire, Wis., and October 12 in Fennimore, Wis.  Click here for more details and registration information.  
SAVE THE DATE: FINANCIAL LITERACY COURSES LED BY DR. DAVID KOHL are on tap beginning October 23-24.  The inaugural class of PDPW Financial Literacy for Dairy will be held in Madison, Wis., and provide dairy farmers and allied industry the knowledge base and financial acumen needed to successfully and confidently make daily, annual and long-term strategic decisions for their dairy business. The session will be limited to 30 attendees and include four two-day sessions in October, December, January, and April.  Learn more here or contact PDPW at 800-947-7379.  Register online here.

PROTECT YOUR DAIRY'S BRAND WITH LEADERSHIP: DAIRY'S VISIBLE VOICE . Position your business for success and amplify the value you bring to your community by completing "Dairy's Visible Voice" 5-part training series this winter.  Two series, running simultaneously, will be held at Pagels Ponderosa Dairy, Kewaunee (Kewaunee County), Wis., and the second series held at Boon Farms, Greenwood (Clark County), Wis.  The one-day trainings will focus on Media, Crisis Management, Effective Leadership, Proactive Communications and Social Media Strategy.  The series begins Nov. 1 for the Kewaunee County Series and Nov. 2 for the Clark County Series, both running from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Registration is reserved exclusively for dairy farmers. Review the series details and register today. 
SAVE THE DATE AND YOUR SEAT: VIRGINIA, Nov. 6-9, 2017. Dairy farmers will take in a scenic and information-rich experience in Virginia's Blue-Ridge Mountains. Led by Dr. David Kohl, dairy economist and financial expert, 50 dairy farmers will tour 8 dairies including Dr. Kohl's homestead creamery.  The program will open Mon., November 6 with a Welcome Reception; tours to follow Tuesday through Thursday, November 7-9, 2017. To secure your registration or for additional details, visit us online.

THE 2017-18 PDPW EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMING AND EVENT CALENDAR is now available!  Check out the full list of leading-edge programming and networking opportunities and mark key event dates on your calendar now. Click here  to download a pdf version of the calendar.
Check out Dairy AdvanCE - It's NEW and for YOU!  Find, track and report your Continuing Education (CEs).  Get more details at
For your dairy...
COWS UNDER DOUBLE-OVSYNCH PROTOCOL AND TIMED AI HAD INCREASED PREGNANCY RATES compared to cows under artificial insemination after synchronization of estrus at a similar day-in-milk range, according to research published in the Journal of Dairy Science.  The research included 294 cows in a Double Ovsynch program and 284 cows in a synchronized estrus program. Cows in the Double-Ovsynch protocol with timed artificial insemination resulted in 64% and 58% more pregnant cows at 33 and 63 days after insemination, respectively, than submission of cows for first AI after detection of estrus at a similar day in milk range. Read more here .

WHAT IMPACT DOES MATERNAL EXERCISE HAVE ON CALF HEALTH AND BEHAVIOR? Researchers monitored the dry matter intake, weight gain, behavior, and cortisol concentration during disbudding and weaning of 60 calves from cows that were assigned to three groups: those in confinement, those that had exercise (walked 5 times per week for a target 1.5 hours), or those on pasture (turned out 5 times per week for 1.5 hours per day). In the study published in the September 2017 Journal of Dairy Science, no major difference was seen in weight gain or response in cortisol concentration after treatment. However, calves from pasture cows laid down for less time compared with those from confinement and exercised cows and, at weaning, they laid down less frequently than those from exercised cows. Researchers noted that more investigation of the significance of lying time and restlessness around stressful events is needed.  Read more here.

TAKING SHORTCUTS IN THE MILKING PARLOR CAN INCREASE MILKING TIME.  Because physical touch is the primary stimulation for a cow to let down her milk, this process should not be shortchanged. It takes about 10 seconds of touch-time to adequately stimulate the cow, including dry-wiping the teats, massaging in disinfectant, fore-stripping and drying teats. If the milk flow has started in the teat and gland cisterns and then stops or slows considerably because milk letdown has not been activated, this can lead to rough teat ends and cow discomfort. 
Researchers at Michigan State University documented an average incidence of these 'biphasic' milking events at 34 percent across 8 dairy farms.  A key cause was reversing the order of steps in the milking protocol to save time. Two key goals are suggested for farms: lag times from stimulation to milking-unit attachment should be from 60-90 seconds with most of the stimulation in the first pass; and total teat stimulation times should be at least ten seconds per cow to optimize milk-letdown and ensure proper lag times.  Read the full article here.
Dairy currents...

SAVE WITH BLOCK HEATERS AND RAISE FUNDS FOR FFA. Cold Wisconsin winters don't have to mean choosing between high energy costs and slow-to-start tractors. Engine-block heaters cut energy costs and make an impact on a dairy's bottom line. Using a timer so the block heater turns on at a pre-selected time conveniently saves time and money. Timers are easy to program, easy to use and most feature a battery back-up. Typically, a block heater warms an engine in just one to two hours.
Timers can cost $20 to $60 depending on size. Running a 1000-watt engine heater for ten hours daily from November to March equals $105 in energy costs. Installing a timer on the same 1000-watt heater and programming it to run only two hours before each use costs $21 per year in electric costs, saving more than $80 per year.
Wisconsin Utilities partner Focus on Energy is supporting a Wisconsin FFA fundraiser this fall. From September 1 through October 27, 2017 Wisconsin FFA members can sell engine-block heater timers for $20 each and FFA chapters keep 100% of the funds raised. Learn more at

CELEBRATING "FAMILY MEALS" MONTH IN SEPTEMBER is an effort led by food retailers with support from across the food chain. A number of research reports point to the numerous benefits of families eating together, including helping kids perform better in school, fending off risky behaviors and encouraging better nutrition.  In fact, c hildren and adolescents who have family meals 3 or more times per week are more likely to have a normal weight and eat healthier than those who had fewer than 3 family meals. Learn about the other benefits and additional efforts to encourage more family meals and consumption of healthier foods here .  
ADDING ROLLOVER PROTECTION IS A GOOD SAFETY INVESTMENT  to prevent death from tractor rollovers. John Shutske of UW-Madison noted that a properly designed and installed rollover protection structure (ROPS) used in combination with a seat belt is nearly 100% effective in preventing death or injury in a rollover situation. Unfortunately, about half of tractors do not have rollover protection - and tractor rollovers rank as the #1 cause of farm deaths.  A national rebate program offers a 70% rebate on ROPS and seat belts that can be applied toward a ROPS kit (roll bar and seat belt ) in addition to shipping and professional installation, to incentivize producers to invest in the safety system. Learn more in  this article . Application materials for the rebate program are here .
For your business mind...
IS YOUR TO-DO LIST DOING ITS JOB?   Whether it is written in a planner, typed in a computer program, or available on an app, a to-do list is an important time-management tool for many people.  At its heart, a to-do list allows you to capture tasks and prioritize them to be most productive. Signs that your to-do list is working for you are:
  • Gets tasks off your mind. Documents what you need to do, so you can stop thinking about it.
  • Keeps you from multi-tasking. Allows you to concentrate on one task at a time
  • Schedules tasks for the future
  • Motivates you to complete tasks
  • Lets you track delegated tasks
Read more in this full article .

WELL- WRITTEN JOB DESCRIPTIONS ARE THE FOUNDATION of a strong human resources management practices - and the first step in making the right hiring decisions for a dairy farm.  A good job description can help recruit the best people for the position by providing clarity about what's required for the job and what day-to-day tasks are expected to be completed. A good job description shows potential new hires and current where they fit within the dairy.  Five key elements of a good job description include Job Title, Job Summary, Qualifications, Duties or Tasks and Work Relationships.  Read more details about each of these elements in an article from Penn State Extension here .

RECOGNIZE SIGNS OF HIGH STRESS AND DEPRESSION to make the farm workplace safer and healthier, especially in times of difficult economic conditions or weather challenges.  It's no secret that farming is stressful - the occupation ranks as one of the top 10 most stressful occupations in the U.S. Statistics show that about 20% of farmers may suffer from depression.  Watch for warning signs of depression including a change in routine, more colds or chronic physical conditions, apathy for farm or livestock, and experiencing more injuries due to fatigue or lack of concentration.  Read an article from Michigan State Extension with more warning signs and recommendations for help. 
Words to live by...
"You must never, even for a second, let yourself think that you can fail." --- Henry Ford

Meet a fellow PDPW member...
John Pagel

Pagel's Ponderosa Dairy of Kewaunee, Wis. began in 1946 with 65 cows and today is home to 5,300 milking cows. John Pagel and all four of his children are involved. Jamie is office manager; John J. is herd manager; Bryan is the anaerobic digester manager and Dustin works on the cropping crew. John J.'s wife Chase handles employee safety training. Jamie's husband Steve oversees the maintenance team. In all, the farm employs 140 people. Greg Bethard, Chief Financial Officer, runs the numbers and keeps track of the business financials with an eye on the true cost of production.
The Pagels maintain a crossbred herd housed in a tunnel-ventilated free-stall barn and milked in a 72-stall rotary parlor.  The farm's double-20 parallel parlor is used for hospital and fresh cows.   The farm's methane digester produces enough electricity for the city of Kewaunee, which has a population of 3,000 people.  From the digester, the dairy also presses and dries enough bio-solids to bed their entire milking herd and young livestock.
Ponderosa Dairy is a member of Peninsula Pride Farms, a group committed to protecting and nurturing soil, water and air. In line with this commitment, the dairy measures soil depth for on-farm studies to better manage nutrients on shallow soil types.
As part of their effort to tell agriculture's story in their community and beyond, Pagel's Ponderosa hosts on-farm training sessions and numerous tours, hosting 10,000 to 12,000 visitors a year. The rotary parlor includes a viewing and meeting room, which is stocked with information about the dairy industry and the farm. Their small cheese plant has viewing windows so consumers can see how cheese is made. 
Ongoing learning is an important part of their success philosophy and they routinely send herdsmen and employees to PDPW training programs.
"PDPW provides up-to-date information that we don't find other places.  They always seem to be on the cutting edge of what's going on in the industry," said John. 
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. 
OUR SPONSORS : Mission, Corporate and Event continue to invest and build a strong industry. 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 or call 800-947-7379.