October 2017 vol.1
Brought to you by Dairy's Professional Development Organization®
Opportunities to learn...
IT'S NOT TOO LATE! REGISTER FOR HOOF HEALTH WEBINARS. The next World Class Webinar will be held Wed., Oct. 18, led by Karl Burgi, co-founder of Dairyland Hoof Care Institute and visiting lecturer at University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine. Burgi will provide an in-depth review of the causes and prevention of lameness in dairy cattle. This session will focus on how to implement an action plan to reduce lameness, improve cow welfare and boost the bottom line. The second session of the "Hooves Are Made for Walking" series will be held Nov. 22 featuring Dr. Nigel Cook and his presentation of "Simplifying Hoof Health from Day One."  Click here for details or call PDPW at 800-947-7379 to register for one or both webinars.

VISIT HIGH-PERFORMING DAIRIES AND LEARN FROM YOUR PEERS during the Oct. 26 Dairy Dialogue Day™ tour. Facilitated by Dr. Paul Fricke, UW-Madison, attendees will engage in conversations with fellow dairy farmers while visiting two farms: Heller Farms, Inc., in Alma Center, Wis., and Selz-Pralle Dairy in Humbird, Wis. The tour bus will depart from Black River Falls, Wis., at 9:30 a.m. and return by 3:30 p.m. Learn more here  or contact PDPW at 800-947-7379.

DAIRY'S VISIBLE VOICE SESSIONS BEGIN NOV. 1 AND 2. 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 locations are open for attendance during the series, one to be held at Pagels Ponderosa Dairy, Kewaunee, Wis. (Kewaunee County) and the second to be held at Boon Farms, Greenwood, Wis. (Clark County) 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  here and register today. 

IMPROVE COW HEALTH BY ATTENDING MILK QUALITY WORKSHOP scheduled for Nov. 1 in Onalaska, Wis., and Nov. 2 in Fond du Lac, Wis. Workshop presenters Dr. Pamela Ruegg of UW-Madison, and Dr. Katie Mrdutt with Food Armor Foundation, and veterinarian Dr. David Rhoda will share strategies to manage mastitis and spot trends within dairy herds to boost quality and production. Farmers will return home with practical tips to improve cow health and milk quality. To learn more about the program and to register , click here  or contact PDPW at 800-947-7379.  
SEE CUTTING-EDGE DAIRIES WITH RICH HISTORIES ON THE PDPW VIRGINIA DAIRY TOUR. Participants will tour 8 dairies including Dr. David Kohl's Homestead Creamery in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. The program is limited to the first 50 dairy farmers and will kick off Mon., November 6 with an evening welcome reception. Tours will follow Tuesday morning and conclude Thursday, November 9, 2017. To secure your registration or for additional details, see the program information online .

DEADLINE FOR PDPW MENTOR PROGRAM APPLICATIONS IS NOV. 10. For students with an interest in dairy production or a future career in the dairy industry, the PDPW Mentor Program is the perfect way to get hands-on experiences with leading dairy farmers, grow your network and share ideas. For more information about the program and process, visit our website or contact us by email.

FEED & NUTRITION CONFERENCE SET FOR NOV. 14 AND 15.   Join Dr. John Geiser, Rock River Laboratory; Dr. David Combs, UW-Madison; and Dr. Paul Kononoff, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, as they share tips with fellow dairy owners, feed managers and industry professionals focused on improving feed management and feed quality. Learn how to manage molds and mycotoxins, unlock the potential of newer forage varieties, maximize the byproduct value and more.  Register here  or contact PDPW at 800-947-7379.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR FOR 2018 MANAGERS ACADEMY.  This executive-level training will be held in Orlando, Fla. January 16-18, 2018. Attendees will learn from Walt Disney World Resort's former Executive Vice President Lee Cockerell and Dr. David Kohl, professor emeritus in the agricultural and applied economics department at Virginia Tech. Cockerell and Kohl will share secrets of hiring right and training employees to have the right attitude.The event will include a tour of a Disney park so attendees can discover how the Disney culture, protocols and systems directly relate to dairying.   

Participants will also hear from Jim Sleper, CEO of Southeast Milk, Inc. as he shares how they partner with large fluid processors such as Publix Super Markets, Dean Foods and Borden's. In addition, attendees will tour the Iron Bridge Regional Water Reclamation Facility in the Orlando Easterly Wetlands and learn how the facility 'polishes' highly treated water before discharging it into the St. Johns River system.  To register and for more details, call 800-947-7379 or click here .

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 - This award-winning program continues to grow! Find, track and report your continuing education credits with Dairy AdvanCE. Get more details at DairyAdvance.org .
For your dairy...
DO FEED-EFFICIENCY TRAITS ALSO IMPACT FERTILITY? This question was analyzed by researchers in a paper published in the October 2017 issue of the Journal of Dairy Science. The study's objective was to evaluate the potential of selecting dairy cows for feed utilization on associated blood plasma metabolite and hormone traits. Researchers recorded dry matter intake on 970 Holsteins from 11 farms in Pennsylvania and calculated residual feed intake (RFI). Blood samples were taken from 393 cows and evaluated for blood plasma concentrations of glucose, nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA), creatinine, urea, growth hormone (GH) and other parameters. A few of the findings included that characteristics associated with enhanced feed efficiency (higher GH and lower glucose and 3,5,3-triiodothyronine (T3) concentrations) were unfavorably associated with fertility as indicated by elevated days open. Elevated NEFA and β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) concentrations were also associated with extended days open. The authors note that considering metabolic profiles when evaluating feed efficiency might be a method of maintaining high levels of health and reproductive fitness when selecting for feed efficiency. Read more here .

CLEAN BEDDING, COLOSTRUM AND AMOUNT OF MILK REPLACER HAVE AN IMPACT on the health, weight gain and feed intake of dairy calves, according to research published in the Journal of Dairy Science. Researchers randomly assigned 96 newborn Holstein bull calves to receive various levels of colostrum and milk replacer as well as assigning them to be housed in either pens with clean straw bedding or previously used straw bedding. Calves fed 450 g of Immunoglobulin G (IgG) in the first 24 hours of life from a lacteal-based colostrum replacer had greater serum total protein and IgG concentrations at 2 to 3 days of age than calves fed only 150 g of IgG. In addition, calves fed a higher amount of milk replacer had greater average daily gain, higher average fecal scores, more days with abnormal fecal scores, and more medical days than calves fed a moderate amount of milk replacer. In addition, calves housed in previously used bedding tended to grow more slowly and have lower gain-to-feed ratio than calves housed with clean bedding. Read more findings from the study, including the specific amounts of milk replacer fed  here.

UTERINE INFECTIONS CAN BE TRIGGERED BY RANGE OF CAUSES  according to an article published by Penn State Extension. A comprehensive herd health program and routine postpartum examinations are critical to controlling infections that can have a significant negative impact on cow health and reproductive management. Monitoring body condition in late lactation and maintaining adequate levels of calcium, selenium and vitamins A and E are important for both dry and lactating cows. Keeping maternity areas well ventilated, bedded and dry will help limit infectious agents that can infect a cow's reproductive tract during and after calving. Other factors influencing infection rates can include calving assistance, postpartum infusions, inaccurate heat detection and specific organisms. Read the full article here .
Dairy currents...

ALTERNATIVE MILK DRINKS ARE DEFICIENT IN IODINE .  A new study from the University of Surrey in England has reported that milk-alternative drinks such as soy, almond, coconut, oat, rice and others are significantly lower in iodine content than cow's milk. Researchers analyzed 44 beverage samples and found that conventional milk contained 438 mcg/kg of iodine compared to the median concentration in the unfortified alternative drinks at 7.3 mcg/kg. Iodine is essential for fetal brain development; a recent study showed a link between inadequate iodine in pregnancy and reduced language and fine-motor skills in three-year olds. Read more here .

FOLLOW BEST PRACTICES WHEN INDIVIDUALLY TREATING YOUNG CALVES by properly restraining the animal for the safety and health of both the calf and person working with it. Calves should be gently laid down, then legs secured with a quick-release knot in the halter rope. After treatment, the rope and halter should be removed. Step-by-step instructions from the UW-Madison Extension's team in multiple languages and photos are available here , and more detailed fact sheets on multiple topics are available on the Heifer Blueprint  resource page. 

ONLY 4 PERCENT OF AMERICANS ARE GROCERY SHOPPING ONLINE on a weekly basis, with 9 percent shopping online for pickup or delivery at least once a month, according to Gallup Poll research.  While online shopping has a long way to go to catch up to in-person grocery shopping, recent changes such as Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods may increase the quality of meat and produce availability for online ordering or in-store pickup. The same poll showed that U.S. households spend a median of $130 per week on groceries, stable compared to $125 per week in 2012. Read more here .
For your business mind...
EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE IS AN ESSENTIAL SKILL to be competitive in the workplace and build an effective team. Managing emotions, effectively collaborating with a variety of people, listening well and offering constructive feedback are key elements of emotional intelligence. An article in Fast Company outlines four ways to build emotional intelligence:

1. Improve your listening skills
2. Manage stress more effectively
3. Give good feedback
4. Evaluate your empathy
Learn more here .

TRANSITION PERIOD IS CRITICAL FOR EMPLOYEES.   Dairy farmers spend a lot of time focused on improving transition periods for cows in their herd, but don't necessarily ensure each new employees experiences a smooth transition to your team. One important step is a scheduling - and committing - to a review for new employees. Whether it's scheduled for 60 days, 90 or 120, the critical piece is setting the expectation and following up with a discussion of how things are going for both the employee and employer.  Items to include on the agenda for an employee review should include:
  • Areas where the new hire needs additional training
  • Cultural fit
  • Gaps in knowledge
  • Workload evaluation
  • Skills fit
  • The employee's observations
  • Things that need changing
  • Things that are working well
Click here to learn more and find more ideas to make sure new hires have a smooth transition to their role.
Words to live by...
"Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. 
Don't wish it were easier; wish you were better."   - -- Jim Rohn

Producer Profile... Josh Meissner, Norm-E-Lane

Josh Meissner, Norm-E-Lane Dairy
Thirty-six people at Norm-E-Lane Dairy milk 2,500 cows, crop 5,200 acres and care for 2,200 young stock at two locations near Chili, Wis. Josh Meissner, a third-generation dairy farmer and his father Jerry Meissner own and operate the dairy farm.
In 2016, Josh hired a dairy manager to take over much of the work he had been doing, giving himself more time to vision cast and plan the dairy's future. With restructuring of ownership recently completed, Josh now looks to fine tune the dairy's strategic business objectives. The plan to improve milk production involves advancing production efficiencies, improving forage quality and cow comfort and investing in facilities.
The fuel that keeps the fires burning at the dairy is people. Treating people well is fundamental to this dairy which means keeping lines of communication open among all team members and giving employees input into the business.  Because the dairy is located six miles from the cropping operation, it's important for employees to come together as much as possible and talk about the business as a whole, said Josh.
"This goes a long way in having everyone understand and see the big picture," says Josh. "We have to make sure we don't get too silo-like on one side or the other. We're one business, not two separate ones."
The future may bring another expansion at a different location. Before he moves in that direction, Josh wants the dairy to reach business and production targets across all areas of the operation. He's also considering formally collaborating with neighbors on the crop side of the business including non-dairy businesses - to elevate current arrangements to the next level.
Adopting new technologies and finding ways to use that data - yield, soil and planting information - is one of Josh's goals. Data enables him to more quickly make better decisions about which seeds to plant, when to plant, on what soil type to plant, and more.
"We're striving for more real-time data on the dairy," he said. "We want to know things like how our field decisions in spring influence our herd performance in fall."
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 Sponsors  continue to invest in 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 abonomie@pdpw.org or call 800-947-7379.