March 2015
Brought to you by Dairy's Professional Development Organization?


NOW IS PRIME TIME FOR REGISTRATION. Register in advance for the 2015 PDPW Business Conference, March 18-19 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wis., and your name tag will be waiting for you at the door. Those two days will be the best investment of the year for you and your dairy: It's a "one-stop shop" for the latest dairy thinking and expertise. With five keynote speakers and 17 specialty sessions, you'll have access to expertise that will propel you to success, no matter how you define it, or what size or type of dairy farm you run. Registration and the complete conference schedule are available by clicking here or by calling 800-947-7379.


JUST ANNOUNCED! DAIRY FACILITIES TOUR, WHERE YOU CAN SEE FOR YOURSELFand hear from dairy owners. The tours are April 14, 15 and 16 and will feature the calf, heifer and transition cow facilities of some of Wisconsin's finest and most practical innovative dairy farms. It's your opportunity to see new ideas, network with fellow producers and find out what's working, what dairy farmers would improve and how these dairy facilities are enabling their calves, heifers and cows to reach their potential. 

  • Tuesday's northwest Wisconsin tour will have four stops: calf barn at Five Star Dairy, calf barn and auto feeders at Rusk Rose Holsteins, calf barn and transition cow barn at Four Mile Creek Dairy and calf hutches and barn at Busse Barron Acres. 
  • Wednesday's northeast Wisconsin tour will visit 3-D Dairy, heifer facilities and calf barn with auto feeders; J & J Pickart, calf facilities and transition cow barn; and Wayside Dairy, transition cow barn. 
  • Thursday's southwest Wisconsin tour will stop at Hilltop Dairy, heifer facilities and transition cow barn; Clover Hill Dairy, heifer facility; and Beck Dairy, transition cow barn. 

Dr. Nigel Cook from The Dairyland Initiative will be on the tour bus Wednesday and Thursday, sharing his expertise on dairy facilities. Each day's tour will start at and return to the same location. Details can be found by visiting


For your dairy business... 


WHICH REAPS BETTER MILKING RESULTS: MANUAL OR MECHANICAL STIMULATION? A crossover design study looked at the effect of manual stimulation-forestripping and drying-and high-vibration pulsation on oxytocin profiles, milk yield, milk flow rates, incidence of delayed milk ejection causing bimodal milk flow curves and residual milk in Holstein cow (n= 30) milked three times daily. Forestripping involved the manual removal of two streams of milk from each teat and drying of the teats. High-vibration pulsation involved increasing the pulsation cycles from 60 to 300 pulses per minute and reducing the vacuum in the pulsation chamber to 20 kPa. Five treatments were involved in the study: 

  1. immediate attachment of the milking machine under normal pulsation; 
  2. dip plus forestrip and drying with 30-second lag time; 
  3. dip plus forestrip and drying with 90-second lag time; 
  4. high-vibration pulsation for 30 seconds; and 
  5. high-vibration pulsation for 90 seconds. 

While researchers detected no difference in oxytocin concentration beyond two minutes after milking unit attachments, differences did occur. Check out the results of the study.



BAD ENOUGH ON ITS OWN. WORSE WHEN COMBINED. Anovulation and endometritis. Researchers at the University of Florida recently explored these individual conditions that often go hand-in-hand. While both conditions negatively impact reproductive performance, researchers found that combined effects of these costly issues have a negative effect. The results were published in the September Issue of the Journal of Dairy Science. Analyzing data from 1,569 cows in three different regions of the United States, the researchers found that both anovulation and endometritis had a negative effect on time to pregnancy, and the negative effect was compounded if both conditions were present. In fact, anovular cows with endometritis had

median days open of  200 while healthy cows in the study had median days open of 121.   Pregnancy rates were  impacted, with cows that were anovular and diagnosed with endometritis having a significantly lower pregnancy rate than healthy cows.  You can read the abstract online
by clicking here.


MILKFAT: DROP BELOW 0.3% OF HERD AVERAGE and your herd could have a problem situation. "Monitoring the milk components of a herd can help assess the health and nutritional status of lactating cows. Monitoring fat tests can be accomplished by checking the DHIA test day reports and especially the four monthly tests taken by the milk handler. Two or three consecutive low milkfat tests from the milk handler or from DHIA should be considered a problem," states V. A. Ishler and R. S. Adams with Pennsylvania State University Extension. While Isler and Adams note that nutrition plays a large role in affecting milk composition, they underscore that additional factors can come into play: milking equipment problems, improper handling of milk or milk samples, stage of lactation, season, genetics and mastitis. In their "Troubleshooting Problems with Milkfat Depression," they discuss 11 nutritional and management and management practices as well as seven "other factors." Plus they offer 12 suggestions for control, including "sometimes it helps to go back to basics of dairy cattle nutrition and simplify the rations." You can read the complete article online by clicking here 



NA-DA. ZIP. ZILCH. Despite BRD being a leading natural cause of death in dairy calves, there is no standardized field diagnostic method that can be used for early identification of BRD cases. Calves with BRD not only present a wide range of clinical signs ranging from severe respiratory distress to asymptomatic, with no clinical signs always present in affected animals. To that end, a team of University of California-Davis animal scientists and veterinarians, UC Cooperative Extension specialists and farm advisors and veterinarians from California Department of Food & Agriculture developed a diagnostic tool for BRD that they call "accurate, rapid, cheap, reliable and simple." The tool, an on-farm scoring system, involves six clinical signs, with each clinical sign categorized as normal or abnormal, regardless of severity (hence its simplicity). The clinical signs include nasal discharge (4 points), ocular discharge (2 points), cough (2 points), fever (2 points), breathing difficulty and rate (2 points), and ear droop or head tilt (5 points). For a calf with BRD signs, the sum of points for any of the six signs observed was used to determine BRD case status. Calves were considered to have BRD if the sum of the scores was greater than or equal to 5. The scoring system developed by the UC Davis team correctly identified 72.2% of calves with BRD and 89.9% of healthy calves in a follow-up validation study. You can dig into this research article and check out the team's scoring system online by clicking here.


SMALL CALVES. BIGGER PROBLEMS? It appears so according to the findings of European researchers who investigated factors associated with birth size of Holstein calves. Using data of 1,594 births, the researchers found that poor prenatal growth resulting in small size at birth increases predisposition to metabolic diseases during later life. In addition to the recognized factors such as calf sex, season of calving, gestation length, parity, length of the dry period and shape of the dam, the researchers discovered that age at calving in heifers and level of milk production during gestation in cows are significant factors that affect calf size at birth. Dairy producers: These findings just might be another reason to make sure first-lactation heifers calve on time-not too early and not too late-and that mature cows have uneventful pregnancies. The information may also provide a basis for developing management interventions to improve long-term health and productivity of offspring. Access the abstract here.


influences calving behavior. When 36 first-calvers and 85 multiparous cows were moved either to a group pen with deep straw bedding or into freestall housing four weeks prior to their expected calving date, researchers found these results: 
  • Once calves' feet were visible, cows previously housed in straw pens expelled their calves faster compared to cows previously housed in freestalls. 
  • Compared to first-calvers, multiparous cows stood sooner and licked their calf soon after birth. 

Researchers note that the results also "suggest that a longer period of housing on deep-bedded straw compared with freestalls with mattresses before calving may facilitate the calving process." Access the abstract online to read more.



TAKE COW SKILLS FROM EXCELLENT TO EXCEPTIONAL by attending an upcoming Transition Cow Conference sponsored by PDPW.  Each of three one-day workshop is ideal for dairy owners and herdspersons responsible for the transition cows, dairy veterinarians and professional dairy nutritionists. Four experts will provide you with the latest research, insight and techniques for furthering transition-cow management abilities: 

  • Dr. Gary Oetzel, DVM, University of Wisconsin-Madison;  
  • Karl Burgi, visiting lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine  and professional hoof trimmer; 
  • Dr. Phil Cardoso, Assistant Professor of Animal Sciences at the University of Illinois; and 
  • Dr. Amelia Woolums, DVM, Professor of Large Animal Internal Medicine at the University of Georgia, College of Veterinary Medicine. 

You have your choice of three workshop dates and locations: Tuesday, April 7, Appleton, Wis.; Wednesday, April 8, Fennimore, Wis.; and Thursday, April 9, Eau Claire, Wis. Each workshop kicks off at 9:30 a.m. with registration and will conclude at 4 p.m. Attendees will attend a general session with Dr. Oetzel then divide into three smaller groups and rotate through three one-hour sessions. Click here to register or to learn moreNOTE: As with many PDPW programs, CEU credits are available: up to 5.4 for UW-SVM and up to 4 for ARPAS!


DOES READING THE RESEARCH FROM DAIRY EXPERTS BORE YOU? Dig in at a hands-on lab to experience the science behind dairying. At the 2015 PDPW Business Conference, March 18-19, you can attend one of these hands-on labs:  
  • In "All Hoofs on Deck," Gerard Cramer, DVM, will focus on how to treat lame cows - everything from the basics of treating foot lesions to techniques for therapeutic trimming and blocking. Participants will use real equipment to practice skills taught in the session.
  • Dr. Keith Poulsen, DVM, and Dr. Peter Vanderloo, DVM, will co-lead a "The Anatomy of the Dairy Cow Udder" hands-on lab on Wednesday afternoon to help you understand the "how" of milk production and the "why" behind every day practices with dairy cows. 
  • Dr. Paul Fricke, University of Wisconsin-Madison, will lead a hands-on "Is She Pregnant?" lab on Thursday morning using the new IDEXX Visual Read Pregnancy Test. He'll provide training and answers to "How does an ELISA test work?", "What are pregnancy-associated glycoproteins (PAGs)" and "How can I best use PAG testing for reproductive management?"


This month's spotlight shines on the five candidates who have stepped up with willingness to lead by serving on PDPW's board of directors. You can still cast your votes at PDPW's 2015 Business Conference, March 18- 19, in Madison, Wis.


Five candidates are vying for the three positions open on the PDPW Board of Directors: Sherry Arnold, Barron, Wis.; Jay Heeg, Colby, Wis.; Gary Janssen, Wauconda, Ill.; Dan Scheider, Freeport, Ill.; and Linda White, Reedsburg, Wis. White is an incumbent who has served one three-year term and qualifies for a second three-year term. Learn more about each of these worthy candidates, and listen to why they want to be on the board, in their own words.


PDPW bylaws allow one vote per dairy farm membership. Since the Board of Directors has three available positions, each PDPW dairy farm member can vote for up to three individuals. All votes must be cast by 1:00 p.m., Thursday, March 19. Ballots were mailed in early February. If you failed to receive a ballot and are a PDPW member, please contact PDPW at 800-947-7379 or via email at

For your business mind...


EMPLOYEES ARE THE HEART OF ANY BUSINESS. Psychologist Tom Muha points out that recent polls show that "only 29% of employees in a typical company are actively engaged in their job." Engaging employees, notes human resource experts, boils down to employees having a positive personal relationship with their supervisors. Here are a few staff appreciation and employee recognition ideas that can be executed with very little cost. 

  1. Ask peers to nominate and vote for employees of the month/quarter. Team members will appreciate the recognition that they often notice and appreciate the day-to-day actions of their peers. If you do award Employee of the Month awards, be specific: write out and publicly explain exactly why a certain employee was selected. 
  2. Plan a surprise achievement celebration for an employee or a team of employees. Even if you just put on some great tunes and provide the fixin's for ice cream sundaes, the employees you recognize will be delighted that their work was noticed and appreciated.
  3. Call an employee to your office to thank them. Since most employees assume that something is wrong when they are called to a supervisor's office, they will be especially pleased to receive your honest gratitude for a job well done. 
  4. Post and follow a large Celebration Calendar in your office. Celebrate employees' birthdays and employment anniversaries. 
  5. Pay for your employees' professional development. This says "I believe in you and value you as an employee," and your employees will appreciate your interest and guidance on achieving their goals.   

Tom Rath, called one of the most influential authors of the last decade, partnered with his grandfather, the late Donald O. Clifton who is known as "the Father of Strengths Psychology and the Grandfather of Positive Psychology," to write this little treasure that is rooted in 50 years of research and chocked full of wisdom, inspiration and practical advice. The two men are firm believers in positive reinforcement leading to success and happiness-and believe everyone has an invisible bucket and an invisible dipper. Based on that belief, they explain that every time we're negative toward others, we remove water from their buckets while each positive interaction adds water to others' buckets and to ours. "It's better to have full buckets," they note. This gem of a book share practical, day-to-day ways to fill others' buckets and little ways of checking yourself and your progress on filling buckets. One reader's assessment of the book: "The book definitely made me think more about the little interactions every day and how I need to choose to fill others' buckets with every phone call, email, social interaction, etc. that I have."


BUSINESS TIP:  "Unless in a crisis or new on the job, if a leader is always needed for all decisions, he or she hasn't done the job well. Leaders must develop more leaders, not just followers. Are you developing leaders in your business?" Source:


FAST TIME. That's what Daylight Saving Time was called when it was first introduced in 1918 when President Woodrow Wilson signed it into law to support the war effort during World War 1. The initiative was sparked by an industrialist, Robert Garland, who had experienced the idea in the United Kingdom. Although seasonal time change was repealed just seven months later, cities such as New York, Boston and Pittsburgh continued to use it until President Franklin D. Roosevelt instituted year-round DST in the United States in 1942. Today DST is in use in more than 70 countries worldwide, with the beginning and end dates varying from one country to another. 




PDPW wants to hear your ideas and find new ways to help fellow dairy farmers' success. To that end, all PDPW dairy farm members are invited to join PDPW for a brainstorming session, which includes a free lunch. Choose the date and location that work best for you: 
  • Tuesday, April 7, The Orchard, Baldwin, Wis.; 
  • Wednesday, April 8, Buzz's Bar and Grill, Mondovi, Wis.; 
  • Thursday, April 9, DeGreef Ends Here, Greenleaf, Wis.; 
  • Friday, April 10, Blue Spoon Caf´┐Ż, Prairie du Sac, Wis.; 
  • Tuesday, April 14, Crave Brothers Farmstead, Waterloo, Wis.; 
  • Wednesday, April 15, Golden Corral, Plover, Wis.; and 
  • Friday, April 17, River Mill, LaValle, Wis. 

All meetings will start at 11:30 a.m. and go until 3 p.m. So there's sufficient seating and lunch, please pre-register by calling PDPW at 800-947-7379 or clicking here.


The Top 5 Reasons to experience the Hall of Ideas & Equipment Show during PDPW's 2015 Business Conference, March 18-19, in Madison, Wis.:  

  1. Discover and see/hear about solutions and opportunities firsthand: new products, equipment, technology and services. 
  2. Question, converse and discover pertinent information from exhibitors to help your business move forward with decisions. 
  3. Discover a new supplier and acquire new ideas. 
  4. Wise use of your time, bottom-line improving suppliers/providers are in one location at one time. 
  5. Amazing easy access to, and face-to-face interaction with, industry experts.


HEY! THERE ARE THREE MORE STAGES AND 21 PRESENTERS IN THE HALL OF IDEAS! In addition to the keynotes and specialty sessions, expand your horizons with even more hot topics in the Hall of Ideas. Topics cover everything from "Zoonotics: Cause and Concern" to "3D Cameras and Other Precision Technologies" to "Dairy Farming in Ireland." Three different Learning Lounges run three times each Business Conference day. They will be easy to find in the Hall of Ideas.


A big shout out to our PDPW sponsors who support continuous improvement for the dairy industry. They believe in producer leadership, and they place a high value on lifelong learning for everyone involved in our industry. We deeply respect their commitment to us. This partnership enables us to continue to build a strong industry filled with capable professionals. Here's a list of our sponsors. If you interact with these companies, please thank them for their support of Professional Dairy Producers.


during the PDPW-sponsored Youth Leadership Derby, April 18-19 at Waupun High School, Waupun, Wis. This unique event will have youth exploring more than 15 dynamic careers in the agriculture industry, learning and having fun with peers and taking the next step to grow leadership, communication, technical and life skills. Your 24 hours will be filled with hands-on lab dissections, interactive learning sessions and "I never knew that" experiences. You'll also see and be inspired by Kansas farmer and YouTube sensation Greg Peterson and world-class runner, author and entrepreneur Eddie Slowikowski. Youth Leadership Derby begins Saturday, April 18, at 10:30 a.m. and concludes Sunday April 19, at 12:45 p.m. The cost: just $79/youth. Click here to learn more or to register. This could indeed be a life-changing 24 hours for youth.


A NEW CHAMPION WILL EMERGE  at the Professional Dairy Producers Foundation Pie-Eating Contest conducted in conjunction with PDPW's 2015 Business Conference. Online voting for finalists began on Tuesday, Feb. 24, and will continue through Wednesday, March 18, at the Business Conference. Six individuals are vying for the privilege of eating pie hands-free in front of a captive audience: 
  • Keith Engel, GEA Farm Technologies; 
  • Mark Diederichs, Lake Breeze Dairy Group and past PDPW Board President; 
  • Dennis Frame, Timber Ridge Consulting and Professor Emeritus, UW Extension; 
  • Steve Kelm, UW-River Falls and PDPW Board Advisor; 
  • Jeff Montsma, Agropur Inc.; and 
  • Matt Repinski, Winfield Solutions and PDPW Board Advisor.
All proceeds benefit the Professional Dairy Producers Foundation, which supports educational activities that help the dairy community develop its people and maintain the public trust in what we do. Cast your vote today online, then return daily to see which of the guys is ahead and if you need to add a bit more to ensure your favorite person makes the finals.