DAIReXNET, a national, Extension-driven Web resource, is designed to meet the educational and decision-making needs of dairy producers, allied industry partners, extension educators, and consumers. Through collaboration among dairy professionals, relevant, cutting-edge information and learning opportunities are provided that are science-based and peer-reviewed in a format accessible 24/7. Informational resources include:
California houses more than 1.8 million dairy cattle and produces approximately 20% of the nation’s milk supply. The industry includes the gamut of operations from pasture based to complete confinement. The UCCE activities are conducted by County Dairy Advisors (six), one program representative, and campus specialists (fewer than three). These individuals conduct basic and applied research and develop and disseminate information to dairy clientele.
Basic educational programs developed and disseminated in 2010 include statewide dairy herdsman short course (three day school), water quality outreach activities, air quality outreach activities, North Valley Dairy Day, individual county dairy meetings, animal welfare curriculum, and silage management information. Numerous feed and feeding management research projects were conducted as well as research into nutrient flow into, through, and off of dairy operations. Additionally, results from a manure management survey were finalized.
The UCCE team works collaboratively through the Dairy Production Workgroup and the Dairy Quality Assurance Workgroup to identify areas for research and curriculum development, establish key benchmarks for data collection and curriculum development, and deliver information. The latter workgroup includes a soil scientist, geohydrologist, numerous agronomists, and stakeholder input from California Air Resources Board, most of the nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards, and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. Through collaborative efforts, templates, videos, and other useful tools are developed (with industry input) to provide useful information to dairy operators and their consultants. Information is available at www.cdqa.org.
The team publishes a quarterly newsletter, highlighting current research and providing sustainable dairy production information to producer clientele. Newsletter articles especially pertinent to Hispanic farm workers are translated and compiled into a special Spanish edition at the end of the year.
Prepared by C.N. Lee, University of Hawaii-Manoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, Honolulu.
The state continues to face drought. In some places, the low rainfall has plagued many districts for more than five years. The two remaining dairies in the Big Island were fortunate to escape some of this as the irrigation system for one is fully restored following the earthquake. The other is located in a region with higher rainfall. Milk output continues to improve for the state. Producers are doing a better job in managing the pastures and growing local feed to combat the increasing freight costs. Research conducted jointly with members of the W-1173 group centered on pre-partum heat stress on calf immunity, which was reported at the 2011 ADSA/ASAS meetings. Extension efforts continue to focus on stress management, local feeds, and waste/nutrient management. The state manual for Livestock Nutrient Management was completed and can be found on the State Department of Health website. (http://hawaii.gov/health/environmental/water/wastewater/forms.html).
The small boutique dairy on Oahu continues to make gains in sales of locally produced butter, yogurt, and soft cheeses. It is also gaining national attention as it is featured in such national magazines as Food and Wine, Sunset, etc. Land for livestock production continues to be a challenge even though there seems to be interest in starting a dairy on Oahu, the state's most populous island. Milk (approximately 65-70% of fluid needs) continues to be shipped in from the West Coast. Outreach is done through one-on-one meetings, phone calls, and e-mails. Youth education is centered on 4-H clubs. Consumers are educated on local products through participation in food shows, farm fairs, and other health-related activities. The issues of supporting locally grown foods, sustainability, and self-sufficiency seem to be gaining traction.
Prepared by Mike Hutjens, University of Illinois, Urbana
The Illinois dairy extension team has undergone significant changes with the retirement of Dave Fischer, area dairy educator (Sept. 2010); the departure of Dick Wallace to Pfizer (Sept. 2010); and the retirement of Mike Hutjens (Dec. 2010). The three dairy positions have not been filled, and no statewide dairy staff member is providing leadership. The following programs were delivered prior to staff changes or have been funded by industry groups.
Prepared by Mike Schutz, Tamilee Nennich, Jon Townsend, and Nicole Olynk
The Kentuckiana Dairy Exchange organized jointly by Purdue University and the University of Kentucky was held in Indiana in August 2011. The 170 individuals participating in the tour had the opportunity to exchange dairy management ideas and learn from the six diverse operations they visited, ranging from dairy heifer rearing to cross-ventilated dairy barns to dairy cattle merchandising. Effort continues toward understanding the ability of dairy replacement heifers to utilize distillers grains in growing rations. Studies demonstrated that dairy heifers are able to achieve similar weight gain, skeletal growth, and feed efficiency when fed diets containing distillers grain and diets containing distillers grains with differing levels of fat. Distillers grains were also found to successfully contribute to supplemental feeds for heifers reared on pasture. The decision to feed distillers grain should ultimately be based on its price as compared to other feed sources while considering nutrient excretion. National discussion over proposals to the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments to reduce somatic cell counts (SCC) in milk provided an opportunity to continue education of dairy farmers and industry professionals about the value of reducing SCC in milk that indicate mastitis. Information in support of regulatory reductions in SCC was provided at numerous venues at the state and regional level, including the 2011 Tri-State Dairy Nutrition Council. The 20th annual Tri-State Dairy Nutrition Conference hosted by Ohio State, Purdue, and Michigan State universities was again very successful with an attendance of 464, with about 74% from the feed industry. The Purdue Dairy Digest (http://www.ansc.purdue.edu/DD/), a continuing podcast series designed to be a resource for industry information, continues to grow in listenership and is a featured dairy item in the iTunes store. A new podcast is available each week for free download. Each podcast runs about two minutes and includes both information directed to dairy farmers and some general information for the public. Approximately 70 podcasts have been completed to date. Podcasts include information on general dairy topics, management issues, animal welfare, updates on upcoming conferences and meetings, and more. The podcasts are intended to be used and shared by producers and others in agriculture.
Youth development also continues to be a major focus of the Indiana Dairy Extension Team. In addition to dairy cattle and foods judging, the following events have been developed to stimulate interest from dairy youth in communicating a positive image about dairy production and products:
Milk Promotion Services of Indiana has been a key industry partner in youth activities. The Purdue Dairy Team has also initiated a series of quarterly meetings for early career dairy producers to encourage an interchange of ideas and interaction with fellow dairy producers.
Prepared by Leo Timms
Donna Amaral-Phillips, Jeffrey Bewley, George Heersche, Jr, Alan J. McAllister, and Larissa Tucker
The Kentucky dairy industry has undergone several financial and weather-related challenges as well as marketing-driven changes required to improve milk quality. To help Kentucky farmers survive these challenges and changes, the group:
Milk quality programming has included a series of milk quality workshops, on-farm visits in conjunction with the Kentucky Dairy Development Council, a survey of management practices employed by low somatic cell count farms, and the development of online materials to support mastitis prevention (YouTube video) and decisions (economic dashboard). Compost bedded pack programming has included a field survey of 50 compost bedded pack barns in Kentucky and consultation with dairy producers constructing and managing compost bedded pack barns. Intensive training sessions also were held to continue to educate county extension educators to equip them to answer questions and design science-based educational programs for their local clientele. Undergraduate students were trained to apply concepts in the classroom to real farms, and these suggested changes benefited host farms. Youth educational events are very important component of our programs. In addition to Dairy Judging and Dairy Jeopardy, several educational programs (i.e., Dare to Dairy, Cows, Blood and Guts Teen Conference Science track, and Western Kentucky Dairy Farm Family Day) have taught youth the science behind dairy production practices.
Prepared by David Marcinkowski
Extension programs in Maine over the past year have been concentrated in several areas. In the nutrition area, specialists continue to conduct educational programs on forage production that have focused on transitioning farmers to no-till corn silage production to reduce fuel and fertilizer costs, cropping, and feeding options for organic dairy farms. Staff continue to work with feed industry consultants to troubleshoot feeding problems with individual herds.
In the area of farm business management, workshops have been conducted with dairy producers on issues related to generational transfers including developing a will, medical directive, and durable power of attorney. Case studies are used to illustrate the benefits of estate planning and the tools involved. Dairy Extension staff have helped to complete a cost of production study for conventional dairy producers in the state. The results help to determine the milk price incentives paid by the Maine Milk Commission to all dairy producers in the state.
In the area of milk quality, Maine has many small-scale dairy operations that sell a variety of dairy products including farmstead cheeses and raw milk. A series of workshops were held with raw milk dealers to update them on current rules, food safety, and sanitation. A series of workshops were also held with small-scale cheese producers regarding milking procedures, cleaning techniques, and proper dairy sanitation. Staff has also worked with a number of producers to reduce bacteria and somatic cell counts in the milk they produce.
In the animal health area, Extension personnel continue to operate the University of Maine Animal Health Laboratory which conducts bacteriology, histology, and other diagnostic techniques on dairy samples and animals submitted to the lab. When causative agents are identified, farm-specific recommendations are developed. This work is in concert with practicing veterinarians, dairy field staff, and state milk inspectors. A PCR test for Prototheca mastitis was used to screen 60 Maine dairy farms. This untreatable and thought-to-be-rare organism was shown to be present on nine of the farms (15%). Extension staff also work closely with the Maine Cattle Health Assurance Program. They help conduct continuing education for food animal veterinarians and dairy producers, disease surveillance, and granting programs to improve animal health on dairy farms.
In the area of youth development, staff continue to work with volunteers to conduct local, statewide, and regional dairy youth activities including dairy judging, quiz bowl, fitting and showmanship, tours, and other activities.
In November 2010, an Extension Dairy Advisory Team was formed of progressive dairy producers and agri-professionals. This group meets face to face with the Extension Dairy Team twice annually and via conference call monthly. Members share their knowledge and expertise with the group and provide feedback and input for Extension.
Educational programs included:
Michigan State University extension educators and faculty have been reorganized into four Institutes, including the Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute in which most dairy professionals reside. Dairy Extension cuts have reduced the number of field educators and campus faculty in Michigan, but the commitment to serve this growing industry has not diminished.
The University of Minnesota Dairy Extension Team held 11 field days in the summer of 2011 focusing on cow comfort. About 500 dairy producers attended these events in spite of the extreme heat. Many producers indicated that they learned information to apply back at their operations to help them improve cow comfort. The I-29 Dairy Conference held in February focused on animal well-being and had Temple Grandin as one of the keynote speakers. The 4-State Dairy Nutrition and Management conference held in June was well attended (about 470, mostly dairy industry professionals), and feedback about the program was very positive. The Dairy Connection column in the bimonthly Dairy Star publication continues to be popular with dairy producers independent of size of operation. The publication is mailed to over 15,000 dairy producers and industry advisors in the region. The team’s website (www.extension.umn.edu/dairy) had over 470,000 visitors. A series of organic dairy seminars were presented throughout the year. Seminars on labor management were well received by producers. The team partnered with Minnesota Milk Producers Association on three events: Midwest Expo with about 800 in attendance (mostly producers); two Dairy Management workshops (200 attendees); and a Dairy Farm Tour. Evaluations were positive and indicated that attendees took home practical ideas for their operations or clients. Members of the team coordinated 4-H dairy workshops during the State Fair in August and other youth events throughout the year. Other activities included webinars and in-person presentations at various venues on a variety of topics, local farm tours and field days, weekly radio interviews, TV program on cow comfort, social media updates (Facebook, Twitter), and applied on-farm research projects.
Dairy Extension and research programs have focused primarily on emerging technologies of pasture-based dairy systems.
Prepared by Larry Chase
The dairy extension program in New York is a combination of programs from both Cornell and our Pro-Dairy group. A major focus of our efforts in the last year has been in providing targeted meetings and short courses for various segments of our Extension clientele. We have found this approach to be a good way of interacting with the industry to convey information. The following are some of the key programs held over the last year:
Most of the dairy extension meetings with dairy producers are at the local level in the various counties. These cover a wide range of topics targeted to the needs of the specific area or groups of producers. In August, we had severe flooding in the eastern part of the state, and much of our corn crop was damaged. We put together a group of six to eight fact sheets to assist producers and their agriservice representatives explore options for handling flood-damaged crops, evaluating herd forage needs and inventories, and feeding options in limited forage situations.
North Carolina hosted the 2011 North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge competition for 127 students from 30 colleges and universities across the United States and Canada. Six North Carolina dairy farms served as pre-event tour sites or host contest farms, which were evaluated by eight teams of students and a panel of industry judges. In 2011, the North Carolina Dairy Conference was held in conjunction with the North Carolina Cattlemen’s Conference for the first time in many years. This resulted in a larger trade show, some shared educational topics, and increased synergy between dairy and beef industries. A two-day dairy agent training session covered topics of dairy-beef quality assurance; PCDART, Dairy Metrics, and Tracker training at DRMS; and certification by the Dairy FARM program conducted by Dr. Mark Alley (NCSU-CVM). North Carolina leads the region in the number of farmstead and artisan cheese makers, and they are supported by a three-day cheese-making short course held by the North Carolina State University Department of Food, Bioprocessing, and Nutrition Sciences, which will be held February 8-10, 2012, in Raleigh. For the second year, NCDA and CS marketing specialist, Steve Lathrop, in conjunction with North Carolina Dairy Advantage assembled North Carolina dairy artisan booths for the Mountain and North Carolina State Fairs that educated and offered cheese samples from North Carolina dairies to thousands of visitors. Pasture walks were conducted in September in North Carolina and West Virginia for both conventional and organic dairy graziers in collaboration with Organic Valley. Strategies are being developed to achieve one or more organic milk pools in eastern North Carolina with pools totaling approximately 500 cows each on one or multiple farms. At WDE, North Carolina Dairy Advantage sponsored a virtual tour of Myers Farms Inc., a promotional booth, and a tour for four North Carolina dairy families. A new dairy in eastern North Carolina started shipping milk in October, and other dairy prospects are being recruited through efforts by Dairy Advantage. North Carolina Dairy Advantage is developing budgets for conventional, pasture-based and organic dairies, surveying dairies to develop future educational programs, and expanding its Dairy Profit Team program. North Carolina hosted the 2011 Southeast U.S. Dairy Youth Retreat, a yearly event that rotates among five states (North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, and Florida). This year about 100 youth and 30 adult volunteers participated. North Carolina dairy youth participate in a wide variety of contests and educational programs sponsored by the North Carolina Dairy Youth Foundation. Of special note, Dr. Brinton Hopkins received the Hoard’s Dairyman Youth Development Award at the 2011 ADSA meeting in New Orleans.
Prepared by Maurice Eastridge
Although milk prices have been much better in the most recent 12 months compared to the prior 12 months, profitability of dairy farms has remained low due to the high costs of production and payment on debts that occurred during the 2009 crisis with low milk prices. Given the high costs of production, much effort has been extended to assist dairy farmers in controlling these costs, including articles in the bimonthly Buckeye Dairy News (http://dairy.osu.edu), working with farmers to collect data for the Ohio Farm Benchmarking Project, and several county and area programs. Two additional Dairy Industry Briefs (DIBS) were released: “Can I Reduce Costs by Limit Feeding Heifers?” and “Agricultural Careers – Opportunities DO Exist” (DIBS are posted online at http://dairy.osu.edu). The 20th annual Tri-State Dairy Nutrition Conference (http://tristatedairy.osu.edu) hosted by Ohio State, Purdue, and Michigan State universities was again very successful with an attendance of 464 (5.5% increase above 2010), with about 75% of those in attendance being from the feed industry. Nutrition roundtable meetings were held in two areas of Ohio with feed industry personnel in the fall to discuss feed harvest and quality issues and current topics in feeding dairy cattle. The Ohio Dairy Health Management Certificate Program, an intensive three-year program for practicing veterinarians, continued with 16 veterinarians representing 11 veterinary practices located in five different states. These veterinarians serve an estimated 186,150 dairy cattle in 469 herds. Animal welfare has continued to be a focal issue for the state. The second Animal Welfare Symposium attracted 350 people, with the featured speaker being Dr. Temple Grandin. The Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board (http://ohiolivestockcarestandardsboard.gov/), administered through the Ohio Department of Agriculture, released standards for euthanasia of livestock and poultry; general care standards for camelids, cattle, equine, goats, poultry, sheep, and swine; handling of disabled and distressed livestock; and civil penalties associated with violations of the animal care standards. Four training programs on handling farm animals (referred to as Animal Agriculture 101) were organized in different areas of Ohio for county-based animal control officers in conjunction with the Ohio Farm Bureau. Those primarily in attendance were animal control officers, local humane society employees, and sheriff deputies. Youth development continues to be a major focus in our state. In addition to dairy judging, dairy quiz bowl, and knowledge-based dairy skillathons (http://4hansci.osu.edu/dairy/), a Dairy Palooza program was held which focused on teaching youth how to prepare dairy cattle for showing. The program was held at Grammer’s Jersey dairy farm with 200 in attendance.
Prepared by Virginia Ishler and Robert Goodling, Co-Chairs of the Extension Dairy Team
The main focus areas for extension programming have been risk management, nutrient management, animal well-being, and team management/team training. All our programs and resources can be found at http://www.das.psu.edu/dairy-alliance/. The impact report for Fall 2010-Spring 2011 is online at http://www.das.psu.edu/dairy-alliance/pdf/extensionimpactreport.pdf. Pages 2-3 of this report have attendee numbers, programs listed by group, and information on overall impact in change in knowledge, behavior, and attitude.
The emphasis for the risk management team is working with several hundred producers on calculating and monitoring income over feed costs and developing a cash flow plan to determine a farm’s breakeven income over feed cost and their milk margin/cwt. Several popular press articles were written that received national attention. A quarterly Dairy Profitability newsletter is sent out to producers to share information on topics related to risk management. Dairy discussion groups were implemented to present information in a very informal setting for producers and consultants. The main topic areas revolved around risk management and nutrient management. These monthly discussions were held over lunch. The goal was to have producers implement various aspects related to the topics discussed and then discuss any issues that arose related to implementation.
The nutrient management group has focused on feed management. There are currently 18 NRCS qualified nutritionists to write feed management plans in Pennsylvania. There are 51 farms currently under NRCS contract for feed management. A monthly electronic newsletter goes out to all nutritionists who have attended the feed management certification training. A certification workshop and plan writing workshops are offered in the fall and spring. Beef feed management has been added to the educational and certification component of activities. A separate beef feed management certification has been added to the Pennsylvania State University Dairy Nutrition workshop in November. Currently, five nutritionists are certified to write feed management plans.
The animal welfare group focused on calf and heifer issues and milk quality. Best milking practices workshops were well attended and additional dates have been added this year. The team also emphasized the Reproductive Drilldown Tool developed by extension specialists. Several workshops were conducted utilizing this tool to find the bottlenecks to reproductive efficiency. The tool is now web-based. Technology Tuesdays is a monthly webinar series that addresses housing, ventilation, and other aspects related to animal well-being.
Dairy advisory (profit) teams are nationally and internationally recognized programs. Training has been completed in Vermont, New York, North Carolina, and the Azores, Portugal. The monthly Friday Facilitator’s Forum has participants from five states. All training is done through webinars. The monthly team training is designed for producers and other new team members. The Friday Facilitator’s Forum is designed for team facilitators and other non-farm team members.
The Penn State Dairy Cattle Nutrition Conference attracted 550 attendees, and the Women in Dairy 2010 conference attracted 125 participants. Other forms of communication include Dairy Digest, Twitter, Dairy Profitability blog, and Facebook.
Three priority areas were identified as follows milk quality, farm safety, and dairy cattle nutrition. One of the main focuses was training employees in hygienic milk harvesting. In 2010, there were documented impacts on lowering SCC both for individual farms and the state. The decrease of 50,000 SCC for the state had an overall estimated impact of 100 pounds of milk per cow yearly. International programs were conducted in Central and South America through assignments within the Farmer-to-Farmer Program sponsored by Florida International University, Winrock, U.S. Grains, and USAID. The agencies documented positive economic impacts of the assignments.
Increased availability of new ethanol industry co-products resulted in applied research needs. South Dakota State University Dairy Extension joined efforts with the ARS, and the outcome was the project “Surveys and Outreach Programs for Livestock Producers” currently under way. This project currently assesses the status of mycotoxins in dairy farms that use corn by-products as feeds.
Labor management was the third area prioritized. Joint programming with regional universities helped optimize resources, reduce costs, and complement areas of expertise. The joint program “Dairy Farm Safety Training” had 40 participating dairies from Minnesota, Iowa, and South Dakota with 556 employees and 63 producers. As a result of this project, a partnership was developed with High Plains Intermountain Center for Agricultural Health and Safety (HICAHS). Workshops on occupational safety were conducted in 2010 for dairy owners and supervisory personnel.
Prepared by Julie Smith, University of Vermont (UVM) Extension Dairy Specialist
Programming for dairy audiences is distributed across many projects in Vermont including ag tourism, ag business, water quality (also known as nutrient management), migrant education, and 4-H. Here are a few activities conducted annually:
Extension faculty and program staff regularly enter project narratives or impact statements into our reporting system, the Logic Model Planning and Reporting System. These can be viewed at http://lmprs.net/index.cfm?fuseaction=reports.narrativeForm; (search for “dairy”; select impact statements; select 2011).
Prepared by Robert James
Much effort has been expended in the development of web-based educational delivery methods which appeal to dairy producers and conform to university guidelines. The Pipeline is a monthly newsletter available from the dairy extension website (www.vtdairy.dasc.vt.edu). It, along with regional and national dairy publications, is delivered by e-mail “push” to dairy producers.. Virginia completed a multi-year project funded by NRCS and Virginia sources which involved over 200 dairy herds to determine the impact of incentive programs to reduce overfeeding P. Dairy cattle enrolled in the project were fed 2.89 pounds fewer P annually resulting in a reduction of P2O5 excretion of 179,143 pounds per year. A subset of these cooperator farms were involved in a study to determine the impact of use of feed management software on whole farm nutrient balance. Results from this five-year study were very variable but demonstrated that herds which made effective use of this management tool were able to improve both feeding accuracy and whole farm nutrient balance for P. In most years, greater gains were observed in whole farm N balance and feeding accuracy. A conference organized with the Virginia State Feed Association and Virginia Tech Dairy Extension featuring unique programming related to feed manufacturing, state and federal policies, consumer issues, and timely dairy nutrition topics has seen increased attendance among nutritionists and dairy producers in the Mid-Atlantic States. Proceedings are available from the VTDairy website. A mastitis laboratory developed by Christina Petersson-Wolfe processes over 3,000 samples annually to provide timely information identifying mastitis pathogens and antibiotic sensitivity to dairy producers. Two new extension guidelines relating to milk quality have been published and are available from VTDairy. This year Virginia hosted the National Holstein Convention in Richmond. A significant effort was expended to coordinate the various youth-oriented contests. In addition, extension coordinates successful representation by Virginia youth in regional and national quiz bowl and dairy judging contests. Field research projects have also been conducted to determine economic benefits of BMR corn silage varieties and to develop management protocols for automated calf milk feeding systems.
Prepared by Dr. Paul Fricke
Repro Money is a team-based, farmer-directed program aimed at improving the dairy farm’s profitability by improving the reproductive performance of the herd.
This project is based on a team approach. It is designed to increase or enhance reproductive performance based on what the individual farmer wants to do. Together with his or her on-farm team — which usually includes the farm veterinarian, nutritionist, and head herdsman but can also include AI company consultants, the farm banker, and other key employees —the producer works to develop goals and an action plan that can achieve results.
A team leader, typically a county agent or member of the UW-Extension team, is assigned to keep everyone on task and develop accurate records from each meeting.
During the first meeting, team members calculate the economic benefit of improving the herd's reproductive performance and go through farm records information and look up key indicators of reproductive performance. Once reproduction parameters have been determined, the team will identify all the management factors that impact the reproduction program (facilities, breeding protocol, estrous detection, nutrition, semen handling, etc.) to determine which areas need improvement. Then the team will define goals, design an action plan, and assign specific tasks for individual members to carry out so progress can be tracked over time. Identifying the actual situation and weak points is critical for setting realistic goals and optimizing for future results. The Repro Money material provided will guide the team through the entire reproduction analysis process.
Subsequent meetings are used to evaluate goal progress and make any adjustments that may be needed.
In addition to team meetings, the Repro Money program has other beneficial services and products: