February 2015
Brought to you by Dairy's Professional Development Organization


3 PDPW BOARD POSITIONS, FIVE CANDIDATES. Five individuals have been identified by PDPW's nominating committee as candidates for the three positions open on the PDPW Board of Directors. Now is the time to choose your leaders:

  • Sherry Arnold, Barron, Wis.; 
  • Jay Heeg, Colby, Wis.; 
  • Gary Janssen, Wauconda, Ill.; 
  • Dan Scheider, Freeport, Ill.; and 
  • Linda White, Reedsburg, Wis. 

Linda White is an incumbent who has served one three-year term and qualifies for a second three-year term. PDPW bylaws allow one vote per dairy farm membership. Since the Board of Directors has two available positions, each PDPW dairy farm member can vote for up to three individuals. Ballots can be cast in one of two manners: 

  1. At PDPW's Business Conference, March 18-19, in Madison, with all votes cast by 1:00 p.m. Thursday, March 19; or
  2. Mail your marked ballot to PDPW, with all mail-in ballots postmarked by Monday, March 2. 

Ballots were mailed to you in early February. If you did not receive a ballot and are a PDPW member, please contact PDPW at 800-947-7379 or via email at mail@pdpw.org.

IT'S WHAT YOU KNOW AND WHO YOU KNOW! Don't miss our flagship event of the year, PDPW's 2015 Business Conference, March 18-19, Madison, Wis.This year's conference includes
  • 17 Specialty Sessions 
  • 18 Learning Lounge presentations in the Hall of Ideas and Equipment Show
  • 5 keynote speakers

These are not your typical hear-and-leave presentations! You have the opportunity to interact with speakers after the presentations. Then, of course, there's the networking that is yours for the taking throughout the two days. Details about the Specialty Sessions, Keynotes, Learning Lounges and Hall of Ideas and Equipment Show are available online by CLICKING HERE. You can also register online so your name tag is waiting for you upon arrival at the Alliant Energy Center, Madison, Wis.


GET YOUR CEU CREDITS AT PDPW'S BUSINESS CONFERENCE. Yes, the Specialty Sessions, Keynotes and Learning Lounges at the 2015 Business Conference are so educational that three institutions/organizations have given their approval for Continuing Education Unit credits for certain sessions. 

  • The University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine (UWSVM) has pre-approved all 40 presentations for CEUs. 
  • The American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists (ARPAS) has pre-approved 31 of the 40 presentations for CEUs, and 
  • The Certified Crop Advisor has pre-approved 19 of the presentations for CEUs. 

While participants should know that limitations and restrictions apply to the number of CEU credits that can be obtained, you can find out the number of CEU credits pre-approved for each session by taking a look at the Business Conference brochure.



PLAN BEFORE YOU GO: Before attending the 2015 Business Conference, you can look through the Virtual Trade Show and view the offerings of our exhibitors. This "secret shopping" helps save time while at the conference. And the Virtual Trade Show is available after the conference, in case you miss a connection. Just go to www.pdpw.org and click on "Virtual Trade Show." 

For your dairy business... 


ROBOTS STILL NEED MAN to observe their functioning and the cleanliness and health of the cows. That's the findings of study involving nine Pennsylvania dairy farms using robotic milking systems. Data from the study is still being analyzed to help better understand what management factors contribute to good teat cleanliness and milk quality. Matthew Haan, dairy educator with Pennsylvania State, says Lely brushes and Delaval cleaning cups were able to achieve similar technical success and similar levels of teat cleanliness in the current study. When problems with technical success were brought to the farmers' attention, Haan reports that they were able to remedy the situation. He says, bottom line, "These results demonstrate that robotic milking systems do not eliminate the need for labor and management. Dairy farmers with robots still need to be in the barn on a regular basis to observe the functioning of the robots and cleanliness and health of the cows." You can read Haan's report in full online. 



DIP NEWBORN CALVES' NAVELS WITH CONFIDENCE. Iowa State University graduate student Amanda Robinson and fellow researchers compared the effect of four umbilical dips on the healing rate and incidence of infection of umbilical cords in 60 newborn calves and found several products can be effective as navel dips for newborn calves. Calves were alternately assigned to four treatment groups: 7% iodine, 1000 ppm chlorine created using a novel chlorine disinfectant technology, chlorohexidine, and ZuraLac. The Iowa State research found no treatment differences (p > 0.05) for healing rate of umbilical cords and no treatment effects (p > 0.05) on incidence of umbilical infections. The researchers' conclusions: The data suggest that these dips are equally effective for preventing infections and permitting healing of the umbilical cord when used within 30 minutes of birth.


COWS + PEOPLE + SUN + AIR = WHAT? The answer is vibrant and green communities. Discover more answers at one of the upcoming Agricultural Community Engagement (ACE) meetings: Tuesday, Feb. 24, Wisconsin Dells, Wis.; or Wednesday, Feb. 25, Green Bay, Wis. Community leaders, elected officials, conservation officials, dairy and livestock producers and all interested Wisconsinites are invited to participate in this day of learning and sharing hosted by the Wisconsin Towns Association, Wisconsin Counties Association and PDPW. In both locations, the meetings run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Speakers and sessions include:

  • Jeff Endres, a Wisconsin dairy farmer who is active in the Yahara Pride watershed project. The project is an ongoing partnership between dairy farmers, neighbors and researchers who aim to discover the best ways to manage agricultural practices, utilize the state's natural resources, and account for soil nutrients that once were lost.
  • Tucker Burch, research hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, leads the risk assessment portion of Wisconsin's nutrient irrigation study. He walks fields, studies air and water quality, and will lead a discussion about what is best for the environment in our rural communities.
  • Brenda Murphy, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. Murphy will depict the impact Wisconsin's dairy industry has on rural communities and on the state as a whole.
  • Sgt. Mike Klingenberg, Wisconsin State Patrol, and Rob Richard, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, will share the current status of the legislation governing agricultural equipment on roads and how these new regulations affect town and county road systems.
  • Secretary Ben Brancel, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Secretary Brancel's presentation will balance challenges and opportunities at the state level with the challenges and opportunities for rural communities.

To register for an ACE meeting, please contact the Wisconsin Towns Association at 715-526-3157. You can find a flyer on the PDPW website. Share the flyer with your neighbors and community leaders!

Dennis Frame on the Yahara Pride Farms Project
A sneak peak at the Yahara Pride Farms Project on deck at the February ACE meetings.
ONE MISUSE OF THE GRINDER and more outer wall of a dairy cow's hoof can be removed than wanted. While it's OK to round off the toe end of the claw, no cow wants you to remove the side wall further back toward the heel.  The result could be more white line disease. It's also a no-no to trim the toes too short, to trim the sole too thin and to excessively trim the heel of the inner claw of the rear foot. And, while cows should be trimmed at least twice per lactation-usually around dry-off and around 70 to 150 days in milk, there are a lot of trimming in's and out's to know and remember. 
  • NOTE: Gerard Cramer, DVM, associate professor at the University of Minnesota, will help you save money and keep cows healthy with a hands-on lab, "All Hooves on Deck," during his Specialty Session on Wednesday, March 18, at PDPW's 2015 Business Conference in Madison, Wis. CEU credits are available to qualifying individuals: 1.5 UW-SVM and 1 ARPAS. 

BULL! DO NOT TRUST. No matter the age of a bull or how docile of a temperament a dairy bull may have, it's a good policy to never trust him. While a wise dairy producer or worker learns how to read signs of aggression from bulls and reports the signs to both the manager and everyone in the barn, many dairy bulls do not show signs of aggression prior to attacking. If you must go near a dairy bull, never turn your back on him, always have an emergency escape route in your head and always work with a partner. 


AUTOMATED FEEDING SYSTEMS AND ATTENTION TO MANAGEMENT go hand in hand. A University of Minnesota study of autofeeding systems on 38 Midwestern farms every 60 days over 18 months involving more than 10,000 individual calves, shows that management has huge a impact on the performance of calves with an autofeeding system. Researchers collected blood samples from calves one to five days of age to evaluate passive transfer of immunity. Milk samples were collected from the automatic feeder in the milk mixing container and in the milk line leading to the nipple. Table 1 presents the percentage of calves that received abnormal health scores in each category, with the results grouped by the 10 farms with the healthiest calves and the 10 farms with the least healthy calves. Categories evaluated included attitude, ears, nose, eyes and cleanliness (an indicator of scours).


Top 10 Farms

Bottom 10 Farms










































Approximately one-third of the calves tested had serum protein levels below 5.2 g/dL, and nine of the 38 farms had a farm average of less than 5.2 g/dL. Bacteria counts were highest in the tube, and increased standard plate count in the feeder tube was associated with an increase the number of calves with abnormal scores for cleanliness. Researchers noted that "potential factors that contribute to the success of automated feeding" includes colostrum management, cleaning of the feeding system, grouping strategies, evaluation of calf performance and housing design and maintenance. Their advice: "Like any other management system, the autofeeder will work best when all the components of the system are given proper attention."



HIGHLY EXPLOSIVE. EPIDEMIC IN NATURE. That's winter dysentery which typically occurs from November through March. Dr. Robert Callan, professor at Colorado State University in the Department of Clinical Sciences, points out that animals are often normal the day before and then suddenly break with severe watery diarrhea. Up to 30% to 50% of the herd can be affected within just a few days and up to 100% within a week. Winter dysentery is caused by an enteric Coronavirus, the same strains of bovine coronavirus that cause diarrhea in calves. It has also been shown that adult cattle with low serum antibody levels to coronavirus are more susceptible to developing disease than those with high antibody levels. Callan says treatment for winter dysentery should focus on providing basic support for the affected cattle. Most cattle will continue to eat and drink and rarely show significant dehydration. "If an animal becomes dehydrated, it may be effectively treated with oral fluids," he states, adding that "no evidence that the use of oral medications shorten the clinical course of the disease or the progression through the herd." The good news is that an outbreak rarely occurs in successive years in herds. 


THE BEST HORMONAL THERAPIES for those tesing for improving the reproductive, productive and economic efficiency of dairy cattle are gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH)  and estrogen. That's the findings of two Egyptian researchers investigating the effects of different hormonal therapies on the productive, reproductive and economic efficiency of early postpartum dairy cows. Using 174 Holstein cows randomly divided into seven groups, the researchers found that cows treated with GnRH had significantly greater total milk yield than comparable untreated cows-and produced higher total and net returns. GnRH-treated cows also saw a boost in their reproductive parameters. The research project also showed that estrogen treatment had a positive impact on the productivity and profitability of cows receiving this treatment vs. control cows. You can read more about this research and its findings online.  



YOU CAN BECOME BQA CERTIFIED FOR FREE. Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc. has partnered with the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program to offer dairy producers access to three online best dairy operations practices programs that can help them become BQA certified. Dairy producers can tackle one, two or all three online programs: 

  1. Dairy Animal Care and Quality Assurance - Animal Health, which has 19 modules; 
  2. Dairy Animal Care and Quality Assurance - Comprehensive, which has 35 modules; and 
  3. Dairy Animal Care and Quality Assurance - Non-Ambulatory Cattle Management Training, which has three modules. 

The $25 charged for each program will be underwritten by Boehringer Ingelheim from now through April 15, 2015, when participants use the access code BIVIBQA. Click here to get started. 

Member Spotlight: Feltz Family Farms


Jared Feltz, Ken Feltz, and key employee Kelly Sankey

Feltz Family Farms, Stevens Point, Wis., has been passed down from generation to generation. Two generations currently manage the dairy: Ken and Jackie Feltz who have run the farm since 1995 and their son Jared who joined them after graduating from university with a major in ag business and a minor in Spanish. 


In the earlier years the farm was extremely diversified and included green beans, sweet corn and peas.  When Ken and Jackie took over, the focus shifted to dairy, with a high priority placed on cow comfort to ensure quality milk and top production. Today, the farm has 500 cows. The herd's average milk production has increased over the years, too, and is now at 34,000 pounds.


Ken has been a member of Professional Dairy Producers (PDPW) since the organization started. 


"I like this organization because people are so positive," he states.  "Plus, PDPW has something for everyone."


Ken adds that he appreciates the opportunities PDPW gives him to network and learn from his peers. Plus he says he likes to see what's going on outside his own farm and community and in other areas of the dairy industry.


He recalls the PDPW tour of Idaho dairies, calling the experience "a real eye-opener."


"If you just stay on the farm and work every day it would be like living in China surrounded by a Great Wall.  You need to know what's going on outside that wall," he states.


Noting that his parents and grandparents were successful farmers, he says all that was required to achieve success was work. But he says that isn't the case today.


"Now farming is more like a chess game," he tells. "The moves you make today impact what happens in the future.


Ken underscores the importance of on-going education.  This dairy producer puts action to his philosophy: His dairy's team management system is designed so two people can take time off for PDPW conferences and educational events while others handle the necessary tasks on the farm.

OUR PDPW SPONSORS support continuous improvement for the dairy industry.They believe in producer leadership, and they place a high value on lifelong education for those involved in the dairy industry. We deeply respect their commitment to us. It is by this partnership that we continue to build a strong industry filled with capable professionals. Click here to see a list of our sponsors. If you interact with any of these companies, please thank them for supporting PDPW!


For your business mind...


ASK ABRAHAM LINCOLN ABOUT PERSEVERANCE. "Honest Abe" was faced with defeat throughout his life. He lost eight elections, failed twice in business, suffered a nervous breakdown and his fianc´┐Ż died. But, in 1860, he was elected the 16th President of the United States. So what does this have to do with you? Well, perseverance is one of the 7 P's leaders use to achieve goals. The other 6 P's leaders like yourself use include purpose-the reason you journey, passion-the fire that lights your way, people-those with whom you form meaningful relationships, planning and preparing-being ready for an opportunity, patience-for everything there is a time and season, and positive thinking-always believing in yourself and having confidence in your abilities. Why not practice these 7 P's and how your life improves and your business thrives.



CHANGE YOUR RESPONSE. While we often cannot change an event, Angie Segal of Action Coach says we can change our response to an event and, in doing so, can change the outcome as it relates to us. "You have options. You can panic, stick your head in the sand, claim doom and gloom and tell everyone how tough your business is," Segal states. "Or, you can remain calm, evaluate your options, look for the opportunity that is now presented and decide what you need to do to be successful and go out there and do." No matter what the event, you have choices as to how you respond to it. Segal notes that the outcome you get from any event will be directly related to the response you choose.


 BOOK REVIEW: WINNING. It doesn't matter if you admire or don't admire Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric. The man knows how to win. During his 40-year career at General Electric, he became known for his be-the-best style of management which became the gold standard in business and focused relentlessly on people, teamwork and profits. Together with Suzy Welch, Jack has authored a management techniques book that offers deep insights, original thinking and solutions to nuts-and-bolts problems that will change the way you think about work and your business. Packed with personal anecdotes, the first part of the book looks inside the company, from leadership to picking winners to making change happen. His addresses topics such as candor, differentiation among employees and inclusion of all voices in decision-making. He covers the importance of hiring and firing, and other topics such as crisis management, competition, strategy, and budgeting. He presents his 20/70/10 rule, too. He has an opinion on just about every aspect of running a successful business and shares those ideas with readers. On reader commented, "Welch's optimistic, no excuses, get-it-done mindset is riveting."



ARE YOUR HANDS TAKING A BEATING FROM WINTER? Retaliate with some tender-loving care. 

  1. Since hot water dries skin out, take a shower using warm water and keep your showers under 10 minutes.  
  2. Gently apply skin cream or lotion after you dry off from your shower-or after your wash your hands. If you have extremely dry skin, dermatologist Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi recommends using creams and lotions with ingredients such as cermides, urea, lactic acid and dimethicone twice a day.
  3. Avoid alcohol-based hand sanitizer when possible as it's very drying.
  4. Wear soft natural fabrics such as cotton under your heavier clothing. Cotton helps your skin breathe and will not irritate parched skin.
  5. Since boosting the heat indoors can make the air dry, use a portable humidifier to add much-needed moisture in the air and increase your comfort.