Dairy Extension NIFA Reports, 2011


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:

  • answers to frequently asked questions (423 FAQs);
  • access to information by top experts in their fields of expertise (219 questions answered);
  • access to cutting-edge content currently in 13 subject areas (384 pieces of content available);
  • 13 learning modules;
  • six webinars presented live then archived on such topics as
    •  ways to improve public perception of dairies
    • mastitis control
    • managing transition dairy cows
    • three webinars on environmental issues related to nitrogen, phosphorus, and air quality;
  • searchable state and regional newsletters;
  • consumer links about the dairy industry and its products;
  • news and lists of upcoming extension programs.


University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE), 2011

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.


Dairy Extension Program in Hawaii, 2010-2011

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.


Dairy Extension Programs in Illinois, 2010-2011

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.

  1. The youth program area continues to be supported by the state 4-H office by hiring Dave Fischer back on a part-time basis.  Illinois 4-H had a dairy judging team at the national contest (fifth highest team), national dairy quiz bowl contest in Louisville, and a dairy team at the regional Louisville dairy judging contest.  An Illinois Dairy Challenge team competed at the midwest regional and at the national contest in North Carolina.   Staff participated at the state Holstein youth convention and national Guernsey contests.
  2.  Illinois staff were part of the planning committee and participated in the Four State Dairy Conference, which includes Iowa, Illinois, Minnessota, and Wisconsin, at Dubuque, Iowa.  Over 400 industry personnel, veterinarians, and educators attended. In addition, there were 30 commercial booths leading to a successful program with significant cost recovery of over $40,000.
  3.  Illinois Milk Producers Association conducted three regional dairy summits across Illinois which was coordinated and planned by former Illinois extension staff.  Over 330 individuals attended with over 50 commercial booths and a solid cost recovery of over $10,000.
  4.  Webinars have been delivered and hosted by Illinois staff in cooperation with Hoard’s Dairyman Magazine.  Over 400 people have registered for the monthly webinars using staff from across the United States.  Additional webinars with former Illinois staff have been sponsored by QualiTech and Chris Hansen Labs.
  5.  Online Internet dairy classes on feeding, reproduction, mastitis and milk quality, and management enrolled over 100 adult students. Dairy managers, veterinarians, and agribusiness personnel attended paying $300 to $800 for each class.  Cost recovery is over $35,000 annually.


Dairy Extension Programs in Indiana, 2010-2011

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:

  • the annual Indiana Dairy Youth Conference
  • Workshop for Youth
  • knowledge-based dairy skillathons, and
  • Young Dairy Producer contest
  • Dairy Youth Ambassadors program  

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.

Dairy Extension Programs in Iowa 2010/2011

Prepared by Leo Timms    

  • Produce a dairy newsletter (10-12 pages) distributed to all dairy producers and agribusiness three times/year,
  • Distribute a monthly electronic dairy newsletter to more than 500 recipients.
  • Maintain a dairy extension website (http://www.extension.iastate.edu/dairyteam/).
  • Sponsored seven regional Dairy Days encompassing a variety of dairy management topics.
  • Conducted 13 Milk Quality Hands-On barn meetings  jointly with milk processors and veterinarians (in response to concerns of SCC limit changes, but the focus was all herds regardless of SCC). Comprised of five modules jointly taught by dairy extension, agribusiness, and the farm owner.
  • Developed all educational materials and conducted a pilot two-day workshop with Iowa State University  Beginning Farmer Center on Dairy Farm Succession and Transition Strategies. Very successful and adopted across the state through three other regional workshops,
  • Completed an on-farm pasteurization study and published results as well as fact sheets on BMP for on-farm pasteurization of milk and colostrum. This was one of the major Dairy Day topics.
  • Conducted four on-farm joint dairy and beef nutrient management and small-medium CAFOs in conjunction with Iowa State University  and Iowa Manure Management Action Group.
  •  Developed nutrient management educational materials and fact sheets that were disseminated in all our meetings, newsletters, and website.
  • Dairy goat programming: Conducted three dairy goat management programs with accompanying educational materials;  made invited presentations at four multi-state or national conferences; presented in four regional/out-of-state webinars, and helped develop milk quality programs and monitoring for two large goat milk processors. Dairy goat farms (approximately 250) account for 12% of dairy herds in Iowa.
  • Conducted five days of open house workshops (10 farms) showcasing free-stall barns and low-cost parlors.
  • Developed all materials, including video, of fabricating Trans Iowa low-cost dairy parlors.
  • Conducted five dairy tours and on-farm workshops showcasing automatic milking systems and their associated farmsteads and systems.
  • Continued to refine and implement the “Dairy Trans” financial and feed analysis computer  program.
  • Developed new dairy budgets across three different dairy systems and three production levels.
  • Developed euthanasia manual for dairy and other species. House and service the excellent euthanasia website (http://vetmed.iastate.edu/vdpam/extension/dairy/programs/humane-euthanasia).
  • Involved  in 22 pasture walks and educational presentations in northeastern Iowa (jointly with Wisconsin).
  • Conducted “Heat Stress and Abatement” webinar in conjunction with industry. House excellent materials and links on our website.
  • Conducted on-farm corn silage trials across 10 companies and 18 hybrids.
  • Conducted on-farm dry cow therapy trial in conjunction with Minnesota and California.
  • Conducted 25 studies evaluating new teat dip formulations and compounds and their effect on teat health and integrity.
  • Help coordinate/facilitate seven dairy peer groups, including two young producer groups and one dairy women peer group (very successful).
  • Take a lead role in conducting Tri-State Ag and Dairy Expo: Dairy education and judging event for 550 high school students (Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin).
  • Take a lead role in coordinating Tri-State Ag Lenders Seminar and Conference (Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin).
  • Host four State Dairy Nutrition and Management Conferences (Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin).. Had 480 attendees with 70% feed industry/agribusiness, 15% veterinarians, and 15% dairy owners.
  • Continued coordination/involvement in I-29 multi-state dairy consortium (Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota)
  1. Central Plains Dairy Expo.
  2. I-29 Dairy Conference.
  3. Five dairy safety workshops in conjunction with the High PlainsIntermountain Center for Agriculture Health and Safety (HICAHS). Secured grants for all funding.
  4. Currently developing framework and curriculum for Dairy Leadership course as well as securing funding.
  • Youth development activities
  1. State Fair Youth Dairy Show and State Dairy Judging Contest.
  2. State Dairy Quiz Bowl and Management Test.
  3. 4-H Dairy Roundup : Three-day hands-on dairy workshops at Iowa State University during summer.
  4. Some county/area dairy club workshops.
  5. Coordinate “Dairy Challenge” teams at local, regional, and national level.
  • Health profession/consumer education on dairy practices and impact on animal, environmental, and product quality and safety (in conjunction with Midwest Dairy Association).
  1. Member of scientific advisory council for MDA (developed 10 fact sheets on dairy practices/food safety / etc.).
  2. Presentations and discussions at three State Dietetic Association annual meetings (Iowa, South Dakota, Minnesota); 260 participants with excellent ratings.
  3. Dairy Nutrition and On-Farm Dairy Practices webinar for midwest registered dietitians ( 300 online participants and 420 dietitians who viewed and completed module the following week).
  4. Home Economics/Civics/FCCLA state annual meeting (Iowa) (130 participants).
  5. Iowa School Nutrition annual meeting (100 participants) and ISN hands-on farm workshops and tours (360 participants).
  6. Iowa Food Council (statewide policies on food programs and nutrition) Forum on Sustainable Food Production and Systems (150 participants).
  7. June Dairy Month On-Farm Educational Programs (three). These three  days encompassed 4,000 people with on-farm tours, discussion of dairy practice and products, and agricultural discovery areas (jointly with other commodity groups).
  8. Iowa Dairy Story, a dairy curriculum (dairy farm, dairy products, etc.) developed for fifth-grade students by Dairy Extension in conjunction with the Northeast Iowa  Dairy Foundation (one-day curriculum). More than 30 schools participate;  achieved our 10,000th student in 2010.
  9. Dairy Retail Academies: Presented jointly between MDA and a dairy retailer, this one-day dairy workshop  encompasses on-farm and in-dairy processing plant tours as well as six other educational programs. Attendees are store managers, dairy grocer case managers, and in-store dietitians. Received NAMA national award for agricultural education and awareness. Have conducted seven academies in Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, and Nebraska.
  10. Joint meeting with Minnesota Beef Council: 65 attendees; topics ranged from pediatric to geriatric nutrition.
  • Advisory to Iowa Association for Food Protection: field and lab personnel, sanitarians, regulators.
  • Executive committee of the Iowa Dairy Coalition, the advisory group for Iowa’s dairy industry.
  • Completed individual farm visits/consultations. In response to dairy financial crisis of 2008-2009, many calls and visits resulted after our successful “Dairy Economics” programs. Results from two independent and separate surveys and producer groups.
  1. Post-consultation survey of 55 producers (67% response): $1,182,191 of increased economic impact.
  2. DHIA data analysis of 40 herds: $1,143,157 of increased economic impact.


Dairy Extension Programs, Kentucky 2010-2011

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:

  • published a monthly, peer-reviewed  newsletter (http://www2.ca.uky.edu/afsdairy/extension);
  • conducted regional dairy programs and workshops in the areas of dairy nutrition, milking management, farm business management, reproduction, genetics, DHI records, and skills to help clients evaluate their individual operations;
  • actively participated in the delivery of resources through eXtension;
  • co-sponsored with our professional industries a  statewide meeting; and
  • provided one-on-one educational consultations to dairy producers, extension educators, and allied industry personnel. 

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.

Dairy Extension Programs in Maine, 2009/2010

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.

Dairy Extension Programs, Michigan State University, 2010-2011

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:

  •  MSU Extension News for Agriculture: A website (www.news.msue.msu.edu) was launched with frequent articles posted from nearly 100 Extension contributors in a variety of categories including animal agriculture, plant-based agriculture, bioeconomy, business, home and garden, and organic agriculture. It is available both in a traditional format and a mobile format accessible from smart phones, tablets, or other mobile devices. Articles are commonly picked up by other media outlets.
  •  Ag Marketing meetings: Held in five locations, these workshops helped producers and agri-business professionals understand current market conditions and make informed marketing and farm management decisions. These workshops were built on marketing clubs that meet regularly at three locations.
  • Calf Care Schools:Held at five locations covering practical topics from calving through weaning. Local veterinarians were recruited and involved in teaching. The workshops attracted many farm employees along with supervisors.
  • Connect with Your Community workshops:Hosted by Michigan State University Extension in partnership with United Dairy Industry of Michigan and Dairy Management Inc., these workshops helped producers develop plans for good community relations.
  • Breakfast on the Farm:Ten free events were held for the public to tour a farm and learn about quality food production and environmental stewardship. Total attendance at these events in 2011 was around 14,000. Evaluations show tremendous value. Sponsors have provided the resources.
  • Great Lakes Regional Dairy Conference:This three-day conference that attracts 200 to 300 people is a joint effort of industry professionals with Extension and breed associations. This was theninth annual conference.
  • Young, Savvy & into Dairy:These are peer groups of young people in dairy ages 18 to 35 who meet monthly at two locations. For the second year, they have hosted a hospitality event at the Great Lakes Conference to tell others about their groups. There is a Facebook page by the same name.
  • Dairy Nutrition Roundtables:The Michigan State University Extension dairy nutrition group held five Dairy Nutrition Roundtable meetings across the state. These meetings are designed as an open forum for dairy nutritionists working in Michigan to discuss current issues, problems, or the latest research. Afterwards, a summary of these meetings was written to broaden their impact.

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.

Dairy Extension Programs in Minnesota, 2011

 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 Programs, University of Missouri, 2011

Dairy Extension and research programs have focused primarily on emerging technologies of pasture-based dairy systems.


  • MissouriDairy Grazing Conference – 261 participants from 21 states and two foreign countries.
  • Missouri Dairyman’s Resource Guide – dissemination of educational and research information http://agebb.missouri.edu/dairy/grazing/.
  • Monthly Dairy Business Update – http://agebb.missouri.edu/modbu/index.htm.
  • Four Dairy Business Planning grants for major expansions.
  • Four Dairy Profit Seminars statewide.
  • Three traditional dairy days statewide.
  • Three monthly dairy grazing discussion groups statewide.


  • Developed an online pasture-based dairy production course through the University of Missouri called“Animal Science 4001: Pasture-based Dairy Production.”  The course offers two credits with an optional one-credit laboratory on pasture-based dairy operations.


  • Reproductive trial with approximately 1,800 dairy animals on pasture-based systems in six herds. The trial compared the University of Missouri Southwest Center Pasture-Based Dairy protocol (http://agebb.missouri.edu/dairy/grazing/protocols/index.htm) to the Modified Show Me Sync protocol.
  • Comparison of dry cow therapy with or without Orbeseal® at the University of Missouri Southwest Center Pasture-Based Dairy.

New York Dairy Extension Programs, 2010-2011

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:

  1. Operations Manager Conference – targeted managers of dairy farms, featured breakout sessions in human resource management, crops, and animal welfare – 200 participants.
  2. Cornell Nutrition Conference – targeted feed industry personnel – 400 participants.
  3. Winter Dairy Management Schools – focus on reproduction; four sites in New York – 200 participants.
  4. Dairy FAST meetings – targeted feed industry personnel ;focus was on forage feeding, three sites – 50 participants.
  5. Feed Dealer seminars – targeted  local feed industry representatives; seven sites – 200 participants.
  6. Dairy Nutrition Short Course – Co-sponsored with the Miner Institute. Four-day short course targeted to feed industry personnel – 60 participants.
  7. Dairy Discussion groups – These involve dairy producers and their advisors. There are about 45 groups who meet. Some of these are groups in the same neighborhood; others are specialized such as the Robotic Milker discussion group.

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.

Dairy Extension Report, North Carolina State University, 2011

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.

Dairy Extension Programs in Ohio, 2010/2011

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.

Dairy Extension Programs, Pennsylvania State University, 2010-2011

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.

Dairy Extension Programs, South Dakota State University, 2010-2011

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.

Dairy Extension Programs in Vermont, 2010-2011

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: 

  • The New England Green Pastures Dairy Farm of the Year recognition program in Vermont is coordinated by UVM Extension. The winner attends a program at the Eastern States Exposition, the Vermont Dairy Industry Association/Vermont Feed Dealers conference reception, and the Vermont Farm Show. Usually a farm open house is held, but this was not possible for the 2010 winners.
  • The Vermont Dairy Producers Conference is coordinated by a producer-led committee with administrative and facilitation support from UVM Extension faculty. The February 2011 one-day conference attracted 230 attendees, about a third of whom were dairy farmers.
  • The 4-H State Dairy Show (70 youth), State Dairy Quiz Bowl (40), Dairy Challenge (40), and Dairy Judging (45) are annual activities coordinated by the state 4-H Livestock educator and the volunteer state 4-H dairy committee.

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).

Dairy Extension Programs in Virginia, 2010-2011

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.

University of Wisconsin Repro Money Program

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:

  • Review of records from Dairy Comp or any other software (if requested).
  • Farm record summary evaluation and benchmarking.
  • Dairy management economic analysis tool (Repro $).
  • Review of rations by University of Wisconsin faculty.
  • Support for development of an action plan by University of Wisconsin faculty.
  • A DVD in English and Spanish on artificial insemination techniques for dairy cattle.