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ED ITION U .S. V O LU M E 4 N O 2 APR IL 2012



Identifying behavioral changes impacts animal health M A N A G EM EN T

Developing an on-farm safety plan to protect employees H ERD REPO RT

The successes of Ahlem Farms Partnership in California CMUS02_cover 2

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4 13 19 27

Cow Talk CRV breeding information Trouw Nutrition news Vet practice: feed costs FARM REPORTS

10 Ahlem Farms Partnership 28 Dairy in Sweden BREEDING

24 Crossbred bull benefits MANAGEMENT

6 Animal behavior monitoring tools 16 Milkquality round table 20 OSHA standards C O W H E A LT H

14 Vaccination management

Sabino Ahlem-Herrera: “It is gratifying to see childens’ faces while touring the dairy.” 10

Amy Ryan An unmatched committment


s dairy producers, you share a dedication to your business, your cows, your industry. You truly understand the value of exceptional animal care and are committed to providing that care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Great attention to detail and a sound breeding philosophy have helped Ahlem Farms Partnership develop two breedleading Jersey herds in California. Their commitment to improving their genetics base, while expanding the Jersey breed into other markets is focused on taking good care of their cows and the industry. Turn to page 10 to learn more about their operation. Each year, the National Mastitis Council recognizes some of the top dairies across the United States with National Dairy Quality Awards. Some of the dairies who received these awards are featured in a round table on page 16. Their dedication to maximizing milk

quality and their keys to success are showcased. Knowing animal behavior and noticing deviation from normal can quickly identify sickness. Page 6 highlights different technologies including precision feeding, milk recording, pedometers and accelerators that are readily available to the industry. Their ability to identify changes in physiological behavior can dramatically impact overall cattle health and well-being. The risks that you and your employees face on a day-to-day basis are ever present. Ensuring employee safety shows dedication to your business and reflects your values. Page 20 discusses on-farm hazards and outlines ways to create a safe work environment. This issue highlights some outstanding operations and their dedication to their business. It discussing a variety of topics and shares strategies that I hope you will find useful in your operation.

Management Sensor technology

Round table Milk quality

Management Farm safety




There is a great potential for new animal behavior technologies.

Three large dairies share their procedures, practices and protocols.

A safe farm is a reflection of your values and those of the dairy business.


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05-04-2012 16:14:34



USDA expects 75-year-high corn acreage

Driven by favorable prices, U.S. farmers intend to plant 95.9 million acres of corn in 2012, up four percent from 2011, according to the Prospective

EXCEDE approved for metritis treatment Pfizer Animal Health announces that EXCEDE (ceftiofur crystalline free acid) Sterile Suspension is now approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of acute postpartum metritis in just two doses. EXCEDE continues to be backed by the Residue Free Guarantee™. Treatment of metritis with EXCEDE consists of two doses, administered 72 hours apart at the base of opposite ears. It is the advanced, sustained-release formulation of EXCEDE that provides extended disease therapy in each dose, eliminating the need for the daily treatments. This can help improve protocol compliance and reduce the chances of a treatment relapse. In multiple studies, this protocol has been demonstrated to be effective in treating acute metritis (0 to 10 days postpartum). Field research found that 74.3 percent of cows with acute metritis were cured after treatment with two doses of EXCEDE. This compares with only 55.3 percent of the untreated control group. Source:


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Plantings report recently released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). If realized, this will be the largest corn acreage in the United States since 1937, when producers planted 97.2 million acres of corn. Producers across many of the Corn Belt states are expected to set new record highs in 2012. The corn acreage increase, coupled with weather conditions in the Southern Plains resulted in a soybean acreage decrease. U.S. soybean growers intend to plant 73.9 million acres in 2012, down one percent from last year. Also affected by difficult weather conditions, U.S. cotton growers expect to plant fewer acres in 2012. The

expected cotton area this year is 13.2 million acres, down 11 percent from last year. Heavy precipitation in the Delta Region has already delayed fieldwork in some areas. A mild winter in some cotton-growing states also has producers bracing for potentially higher than normal insect and weed pressure this year. Prospective Plantings provides the first official, survey based estimates of U.S. farmers’ 2012 planting intentions. NASS’s acreage estimates are based on surveys conducted during the first two weeks of March from a sample of more than 84,500 farm operators across the United States. Prospective Plantings and all NASS reports are available online. Source:

February U.S. milk production leaps February 2012 milk production in the 23 major states totaled 15.16 billion lbs., up 8.3% from February 2011. When adjusted for the Leap Day in 2012, production per day was up 4.6%. January revised production, at 15.81 billion lbs., was up 3.9% from January 2011. Milk cow numbers in the 23 major states was estimated at 8.51 million head, 102,000 head more than February 2011 and 8,000 head more than January 2012. Production per cow in those states averaged 1,782 lbs., 117 lbs. more than February 2011. Compared to a year earlier, cow numbers in major dairy states posted

the largest gains in: California (+28,000 head); Washington (+12,000); New Mexico and Texas (+11,000); Colorado and Michigan (+10,000 each); Idaho and Arizona (+7,000 each); Utah (+5,000); and Florida, Indiana and Oregon (+4,000 each). Only Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Vermont had fewer cows than the year before. Nationally, February 2012 milk production was estimated at 16.28 billion lbs. (+8.0%); milk per cow: 1,760 lbs. (+125 lbs.); cow numbers: 9.250 million, (+9,000 from January 2012 and +87,000 from February 2011). To find the full report, visit:


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Somatic Cell Count in DHI Herds averaged 217,000 Each year, test-day data from all herds enrolled in Dairy Herd Improvement (DHI) somatic cell count (SCC) testing in the United States are examined to assess milk quality on a national basis. During 2011, the SCC in DHI herds averaged 217,000 cells/ml. This compares to 228,000 in 2010; 233,000 in 2009; 262,000 in 2008; 276,000 in 2007; and 288,000 in 2006. Thirty-nine states and Puerto Rico had lower average SCC than the previous year; eight states had higher averages. A few Mexican herds tested through the US system were included for the second time. Variation among states remains

Uruguay plans to ship more dairy products

NMPF assumes management of REAL seal for dairy products Effective March 15, 2012, the management of the REAL Seal program was transferred from the United Dairy Industry Association to National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF). This change was the result of an agreement between the two organizations that the transfer to NMPF was the best opportunity for both to place a renewed emphasis on highlighting the importance and value

large, ranging from 153,000 (Rhode Island) to 414,000 (Alabama). State average SCC was lower than the national average for mountain and western states, and often higher for southeastern states. Differences between adjacent states were substantial, which suggests that factors such as mastitis control practices and genetic selection are impacting state differences as well. As herd size increased, milk yield generally increased and SCC decreased. During 2011, the average test-day SCC in herds with fewer than 50 cows was 272,000 compared to 239,000 in herds with 100 - 149 cows; 207,000 in herds with 500 - 999 cows; and 182,000 in herds with over 3,000 cows. Source:

of the American-made dairy foods. While the program will not undergo any immediate changes President and CEO of NMPF Jerry Kozak said the process has begun to determine how to make the REAL Seal an even more effective marketing tool for dairy product manufacturers, dairy product processors, food processors and food service providers. Source:

The Uruguayan foreign minister, Luis Almagro, has predicted that dairy exports from Uruguay to the U.S. will double by 2020. At the assembly of the National Association of Milk Producers, it was stated that the dairy sector is one of the most dynamic sectors, seeing growth of 19 percent in 2011, which was reflected in exports. Analysts expect that demand will remain at current prices, with only slight downward swings in the coming years. Source:

CWT assists in cheese and butter exports Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted five requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America, Darigold, Foremost Farms and Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative to sell a total of 818 thousand pounds of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese and 1.102 million pounds of butter to customers in Asia and the Middle East. The product will

be delivered April through July 2012. In 2012, CWT has assisted member cooperatives in making export sales of Cheddar, Monterey Jack and Gouda cheese totaling 37.8 million pounds and butter totaling 33.3 million pounds to 19 countries on four continents. On a butterfat basis, the milk equivalent of these exports is 1.076 billion pounds. Source:


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m a i n

a rt i c l e

Consider animal behavior monitoring tools to enhan ce c

Melding art an d With estrous synchronization costs and concerns, along with catching illness before physical onset, animal behavior technologies hold vast potential to improve reproductive performance and animal care. text JoDee Sattler


rt and science – that’s what it takes to optimize cattle health and welfare on today’s dairy operations. For centuries, dairy producers have used the art of cow sense to evaluate and identify animals needing attention. While “science” will never replace this “art,” human perception of a cow’s condition is limited. “Often, by the time an animal exhibits clinical signs of stress or illness, it is too late to intervene,” explains Jeffrey M. Bewley, University of Kentucky assistant professor, animal and food sciences, Lexington, Ky. “Easily observed clinical symptoms, such as depression, cows off feed or hard, swollen quarters, are typically preceded by physiological responses evasive to the human eye.” By identifying changes in physiological behavior, such as lying bouts, standing time and number of steps taken per hour, a dairy manager can intervene sooner. Precision dairy farming uses information technologies to assess animals’ physical resource variability, aimed at improving management strategies to optimize economic, social and environmental farm performance. These technologies include pedometers, automatic temperature recording devices, milk conductivity indicators, automatic estrous detection monitors, daily body weight measurements, daily milk yield recording and milk component monitoring (e.g., fat, protein and somatic cell count).

Precision dairy farm examples • Precision (individual) feeding • Regular milk recording (yield and components) • Pedometers • Milk conductivity indicators • Automatic estrus detection • Body weight • Temperature • Accelerometers • Rumination monitors



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han ce cattle health, animal well-being and profitability

n d dairy science While milk volume and solids have been recorded for decades, don’t discount their value. According to W. Nelson Philpot, professor emeritus, Louisiana State University, it is typically the first factor that changes when a problem develops.

A boost for individual care Critics of large dairies often claim there’s lack of individual cow care. By using precision tools, critics may lose traction with the public. Group management may return to individual cow care through the use of these technologies. While tighter profit margins have prompted dairy producers to look at various resources to enhance cattle health and performance, many “outside forces” seek animal welfare and food production quality assurances. Bewley noted that today’s society has placed increased emphasis on consumer protection, continuous quality assurance, natural foods, pathogen-free food, zoonotic disease transmission, reduced medical treatments and increased concern for animal care.

Monitor behavior to ID sickness Christina Petersson-Wolfe, an assistant professor in dairy science at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va., says tracking animal activity and behavior is a valuable way of identifying animals that are at risk for disease. Numerous trends, such as reduced feed and water consumption, lower activity and increased body temperature, provide an early indication that disease is likely. A Florida field study monitored animal activity through the use of a pedometry system to examine whether activity is predictive of disease. Veterinarians recorded health events and treatments. On average, sick cows walked an average of eight to 14 steps per hour less than healthy cows. More specifically, ketotic

Visual signs of sickness behavior or reduced welfare

Animal behavior monitoring devices may help improve a dairy’s heat detection rate

• Feed consumption • Water consumption • Activity • Exploration • Social behavior • Grooming • Slow-wave sleep • Thermoregulation • Nociception (triggers a variety of autonomic responses and may also result in pain experience)


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cows showed a 20-pound-per-day decrease in milk production on the day of diagnosis, compared with their healthy counterparts. Activity was greater for cows with left displaced abomasum (LDA) than healthy cows on every day postpartum, except for day two. Interestingly, in the first five days of lactation, healthy cows produced less milk than cows that went on to experience an LDA. After day seven, LDA and ketotic cows showed significantly reduced milk yield. Overall, the activity of animals that later were diagnosed with an LDA was increased eight to nine days prior to diagnosis with a gradual decrease until the day of diagnosis. On the day prior to calving and day of calving, activity spiked in the LDA animals; the same activity spike occurred on calving day for the ketotic animals. Similarly, cows at risk for metritis were identified through behavior monitoring.

Cows were followed from two weeks before calving until three weeks after calving. Animal behavior tools quantified feeding, drinking and social behavior. Prepartum feeding time and dry matter intake (DMI) were the best identifiers of cows at risk for getting metritis.




Feeding, down; metritis, up Cows that experienced metritis spent less time feeding and consumed less feed (compared with cows that didn’t develop metritis), beginning two weeks before clinical signs were shown. For every 10-minute decline in feeding time, the odds of clinical disease increased 1.7 times and for every 2.2-pound drop in DMI, an animal was 3.0 times more likely to develop metritis. There was also a tendency for sick animals to have less social interaction at the feedbunk. Once again, milk


11 time milking time feeding time in alley, including drinking

10 time standing in stall 18 time lying

11 50


Figure 1: Cow time budget

production in cows with metritis decreased. In severe cases, through 21 days after calving, milk production fell 18.3 Âą 1.1 pounds per day (Huzzey et al., 2007). Feeding behavior is likely the

fatness or thinness

temperature heart rate


methane emissions

milk content


food intake chewing activity

animal position/location


hoof health mobility

lying/standing behavier

Figure 2: Areas to monitor a cow



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05-04-2012 15:59:35

Corbin Dairy catches ‘quiet’ cows Some cows are a little shy about expressing estrus; and, giving hormone shots is costly, time consuming and raises the eyebrows of animal welfare observers. To get around such drawbacks, David Corbin of Corbin Dairy, Campbellsville, Ky., took the plunge and invested in Pedometer Plus, which measures rest time and rest bouts, and helps detect heat. “I like to let cows out to observe for heats, but sometimes the weather just doesn’t cooperate,” says Corbin. “If left in the barn, cows just don’t show heats when moving around on concrete.” Corbin shares how Pedometer Plus identified three potential cows in heat on March 1, 2012. “I only saw one of those cows in heat, while the other two quietly rested in their stalls.” He had faith in the system, so he put all three cows in the breeding pen. “The three

cows quickly starting riding one another. There was no doubt that they were all in good standing heat. I would have missed those two ‘quiet’ cows if it hadn’t been for the activity monitoring system.” However, he notes that the system also identified another cow as potentially being in heat. Based on other records, that didn’t seem logical. Corbin used his cow sense skills and reviewed records, discovering that she previously had hoof health issues. A good hoof trim resolved a sore foot and she was now walking more. Corbin also likes to use the system to monitor his cows’ heat cycles – even before he’s ready to breed them. Cycle length varies so he likes to have a cycle history on each cow so he has a better understanding of the ideal time (peak estrus) to breed each animal.

most indicative sign of cows at risk for metritis. Dystocia is also a common ailment that tracking behavior and feed intake (Proudfoot et al., 2009) may better predict. Dystocia was defined as a calving ease score of 3 or greater (scale of 1 to 5). Cows that experienced dystocia altered eating and drinking habits prior to calving. Plus, cows exhibited more changes in position from standing to lying. Those making more than 30 standing bouts

24 hours prior to calving were at greater risk of dystocia, compared with those that didn’t develop this ailment. For comparison purposes, lactating cattle in freestall operations have 13 lying bouts daily, with each bout lasting about an hour (A. Gomez and N.B. Cook, 2010). Figure. 1 shows a “normal” cow time budget. Additionally, cows that had a difficult calving consumed 12 percent and 24 percent less dry matter in the 48- and 24-hour period before calving,

*Examples of animal behavior monitoring tools • Lying behavior • IceQube • AfiMilk Pedometer Plus • Legend Heat Detection • Rumination behavior • SCR HR Tag • Lely T4C collar • Activity monitoring • SelectDetect • Cow Scout • CowTrakker

• SCR Heatime • SCR ai24 • AfiMilk Pedometer and Pedometer Plus • Legend • IceTag • Herd Navigator • smardwatch • Lameness • StepMetrix * This is not an all-inclusive list.

David Corbin: ’New technologies will be a big advancement for the dairy industry

“I anticipate that these technologies will be a big advancement for the dairy industry. I used to spend a lot of time watching for heats at night. Now, I don’t worry about watching for heats. This tool gives me more freedom.”

respectively. Up to 11 hours before calving, these animals made fewer trips to the feedbunk. By monitoring animal activity prior to calving, the animals predisposed to dystocia may be identified and aided earlier in the calving process.

Improving animal well-being Physiological monitoring technologies for dairy cattle have great potential to augment the cow sense of skilled herd managers. “By monitoring activity and feeding behavior, we have the ability to identify and attend to sick cows earlier than traditional indicators allowed,” says Petersson-Wolfe. “This provides a feasible and effective way to improve dairy cattle health and well-being.” Before investing in a new technology, work with a consultant or Extension specialist to conduct a net present value investment analysis, Bewley suggests. A dairy manager’s level of risk aversion will determine whether or not to invest in a technology. “Remember, the information obtained from these technologies is only useful if it is interpreted and utilized effectively in decision making,” he adds. l


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Genetic investment and attention to detail opens doors at Ahlem Farms Partnership

Bill and Carolyn Ahlem and Sabino Ahlem-Herrera Ahlem Farms Partnership has been in the top 10 for production among Hilmar Jersey herds 750 cows or larger. Number of cows: 4,600 Rolling herd average: 21,326M 1,052F 792P 21,496M 984F 766P SCC: 110 & 90 on 2 dairies Herd facts: 220 EX cows in 2011; 98 cows in top 1.5% JPI


riven by their passion for Registered Jerseys and the dairy industry, Bill and Carolyn Ahlem and Sabino AhlemHerrera, DVM, have developed two breed-leading family owned operations of 4,600 Jerseys in Hilmar, Calif. Ahlem Farms Partnership and Ahlem Farms

Setting the standard Consistently ranking in the top 10 for production among U.S. Jersey herds, in the country’s top 70 herds for genetic merit and hosting the first million dollar sale in breed history are a few accolades of Ahlem Farms Partnership. text Amy Ryan

Jerseys are well-known genetic sources. Since 2008, Ahlem Farms Partnership has been in the top 10 for production among Jersey herds 750 cows or larger in the U.S. More specifically, in 2011, Ahlem Farms Partnership with 2,948 cows ranked fourth for protein (792

pounds), fifth for fat (1,052 pounds) and seventh for milk (21,326 pounds). Just as impressive is the 2011 ranking of the 900-cow Ahlem Farms Jerseys, which finished sixth for protein (766 pounds), fifth for milk (21,496 pounds) and eighth for fat (984 pounds).

Consistently providing high quality feed and care to their cows (photo courtesy Jersey Journal)



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In December 2011, Ahlem Farms Partnership and Ahlem Farms Jerseys ranked in the top genetic merit herds in the U.S. with average JPI of +57 and average JPI of +62, respectively. 98 cows were in the top 1.5 percent of JPI cows. Over 1,000 Excellent cows have been bred by Ahlem Farms Partnership since 1990 and following the most recent herd appraisal in October 2011, the larger dairy was home to 215 Excellent and 1,935 Very Good cows, while the smaller dairy had 4 Excellent and 683 Very Good cows. “Investment in high quality genetics through the years has helped our herds outperform themselves year after year,” says Herrera. “This investment coupled with good employees and creating a superior environment for our cattle are the keys to our accomplishments.”

Increasing herd longevity How did it begin for Ahlem Farms Partnership? After Bill graduated from Oregon State University in 1966, he farmed with his father, William Sr., on one of his family’s two 100-cow dairies. He later ran the second 100-cow dairy, and in 1972, he and his brother, Chuck, established a farm and dairy partnership. Another brother, Jim, joined them and formed Ahlem Enterprises. This partnership later split into three operations which still exist today. Ed Fisher was brought on board in 1979 to focus on herd genetics. Bill and Carolyn credit Mr. Fisher with evolving the herd’s genetics through selecting sires, herd mating and record keeping. He enrolled them in the AJCA Genetic Recovery Program, enabling today’s herd to be 100 percent registered. His breeding philosophy, which focused on increasing longevity by using high type sires while maintaining production, still applies today. It produced many industry standouts including the wellknown sire Ahlem Lemvig Abe-ET. Abe, who hailed from Ahlem Skyline Cora E-91%, was a former number one JPI sire with more than 6,700 daughters and has two sons that rank high on the current list of G-code young sires. Herrera obtained his degree from UCDavis and became a partner in 2002. He oversees daily herd operation and works

with their 30 employees to best utilize talents to optimize cow performance. With Herrera’s guidance, the herd’s milk production has increased more than 3,000 pounds in the last 10 years. “We believe it comes down to how you treat your cows, and pride ourselves in consistently providing high quality feed and care to our animals,” says Herrera. “We utilize weekly vet checks and foot trimming and manage bedding packs daily. Our nutritionist visits at least twice a month checking feed weights and quality to maximize intake.” Cows are milked in a New Zealand-style 60-cow carousel parlor and there is a zero tolerance policy for streptococcus, mycoplasma and staph Aureus. They use Dairy Comp 305, Parlor Watch 305 and Feed Watch Pro to monitor herd performance. They are on the AJCA REAP program and use JerseyMate. Ahlem Farms Partnership has been recognized with many awards. In 2009, Bill, Carolyn and Sabino along with Ed Fisher received the prestigious AJCA Master Breeder Award. They have been honored with the Central Counties DHIA Highest Energy Correct Milk Average Award three times and consistently receive Hilmar Cheeses’ Milk Quality Award.

Opening their operation Both dairies are in the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program, a voluntary partnership of producers, government and academia committed to consumer and environmental health and animal welfare. To further showcase that commitment, they host many tours, including local school groups. “We welcome tours, especially schools, as they offer the opportunity to connect with future consumers,” says Herrera. “It is gratifying to see childens’ faces and hear their comments while touring the dairy.” The Ahlems are strong believers in and promoters of Registered Jerseys. Along with furthering their herd genetically, they offer their genetic best to others. To assist with that goal, they flush two cows per week, are venturing into genomics, sell over 200 sires off the farm to breeders and have contracts with all the major A.I. companies. They

Exceptional cow care is key to optimizing performance (photo courtesy Jersey Journal)

are also working with the AJCA to host international tours to open the door for Jersey genetics in other markets. They sell animals through private and public sales and have hosted three production sales. The most recent sale, Ahlem Farms Partnership 2012 Jersey Spring Sale, featuring close to 350 animals, took place earlier this month. “We take great pride in offering genetics around the world, and are gratified by positive feedback,” says Herrera. “While we still closely monitor our genetic merit, we now do more custom flushing to meet the growing demand of our genetics worldwide.”

Commitment to industry The Ahlem Farms Partnership has set high industry standards. They are committed to taking care of the industry, expanding the Jersey breed internationally and pursuing genetic progression by taking exceptional care of their cows. According to AhlemHererra, the fore mentioned goals have helped them and will continue to help further and promote their business and the dairy industry. l


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Rod Heale, Territory Development Specialist for CRV Two of the three partners in Moserdale Dairy, Andrew and Doug

Developing in New York

Customer report – Moserdale Dairy Moserdale Dairy, Copenhagen, NY, is home to 600 head of Holstein cows. The farm was started by Moser’s great-grandfather, Andrew Moser, in 1923 with about 20 head. In May 2011, the farm started using CRV’s timed AI service to breed 80 One of the first heifers by CRV at Moserdale

to 90 percent of all cows on a synch program. By September, CRV was breeding all of Moserdale’s heifers. Tim Fargo, area sales manager, selects all of the bulls Moserdale breeds their animals to. Moser has a past relationship with Tim and trusts his judgment. “He knows our farm’s breeding program and genetic goals, and then picks the sires from there,” Moser said, “He’s a pro, I trust him.” Since the farm started utilizing CRV services they have seen excellent reproductive results and have greatly appreciated the personable consultants. Moser says that he is very impressed with the technicians as well. They know how to handle the cows and are always polite and easy to work with. Reproductively, the farm’s pregnancy rate has increase by 4 percent, to a 23 percent pregnancy rate (with a goal of greater than 25 percent). Furthermore, heifer conception rate has jumped from 43 percent to almost 50 percent and working to reach 60 or better. Besides bettering the farm’s reproductive efficiency, Moser is most pleased with the time that services have saved them. The cows were originally bred by Moser himself or the farm employees. “This relieved a lot of pressure from the staff to get the breeding done and we still have the confidence that it is getting done correctly,” said Moser.

Rod Heale, Wyoming, NY, has joined CRV as a territory development specialist. Coming to the organization with more than 20 years of experience in the A.I. industry, Rod has a strong working understanding of the dairy industry. He has helped farmers improve their business and stay on the cuttingedge through previous related roles – from service technician to area sales manager. “Rod will be key in materializing the vision of CRV,” stated Jim Bayne, area sales manager. “Rod’s ability to work out the details and motivated attitude are essentials to his new function and will ensure his success.” As a territory development specialist, Rod will be responsible for developing distributor networks, service support teams and reproductive management support for dairy producers to continue improving how they operate. Working with field, office and his extensive network, Rod will identify, and recruit the tools and people needed to better work with dairy and herd managers. “I’m excited to be on the front lines with developing a new organization,” Rod said. “Seeing the immediate impact of the team’s hard work as we continue to fill the needs of producers will be a rewarding endeavor to pursue.”


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Write a complete vaccination program for all animals

Elements of successful vaccination management With every dairy having a different environment, pathogen exposure and management style, protocols for every vaccination program are set up specifically for each dairy. The effectiveness of vaccines to immunize the herd is dependent on the total nutritional and health management program in place. text Richard L Ernsberger, DVM


ertain pathogens are typically included in most vaccination protocols: IBR (Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis), PI3 (Parainfluenza 3), BVDV (Bovine Virus Diarrhea Virus),

BRSV (Bovine Respiratory Syncytial Virus) and Lepto. Rotavirus, Corona virus, E-coli and Clostridium are usually included in a dry cow program to give the new born calf protection in

the colostrum through passive transfer of antibodies.

Write a vaccination program The health management team for each dairy, including all herd veterinarians and consulting veterinarians, should write a complete vaccination program for all animals, based on herd health history, current lab work, facilities and management. When young calves or heifers are moved off the dairy, all health management teams must work together in setting up vaccination programs and protocols for all comingled animals. Review health protocols every six months for compliance and changes. Make protocols specific and easy to

Tips for proper vaccine storage and handling • It is extremely important an accurate thermometer is in the refrigerator where the vaccine is stored. • When adding new stock to the refrigerator, be sure to rotate the oldest supplies to the front and newer product to the back. • Always check the date on the bottle before use. Discard outdated material, never use expired materials. • When new vaccines arrive, make sure they are cold and on ice packs. If they are not cold, contact the supplier immediately to replace the product. • When new product arrives, immediately place it in refrigerator. • Only enter the vaccine bottle with a new needle to draw the vaccine out. • Shake the bottle to keep the vaccine mixed before refilling the syringe. If you use a modified live vaccine, the contents of two bottles need to be mixed. Use a transfer needle, placing it in the bottle of liquid first, and then



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transfer the liquid to the powder. Use only a fresh, clean transfer needle or a new disposable needle and syringe. • Syringes used for vaccinating must be cleaned, use hot water, or dip in boiling water, or have the syringe autoclaved if it is not plastic. • If you are using more than one vaccine while vaccinating, be sure to mark the syringes so you do not mix the vaccine. Never add anything to a vaccine. Use according to the manufacturer label. • For most vaccines – 18 gauge 1-1 1⁄2 may be used for IM, 1⁄2-3/4 for SQ. For oil adjuvants that are thick – use a 16 gauge needle. Use new disposable needles for vaccinating. • The neck area is the site of choice for injection. Be sure to follow label slaughter withholding time on all vaccines. If using more than one vaccine, use multiple injection sites, not close to each other. Never inject

into scar tissue or dirty areas on the animal. • For animal and worker safety, use stress free handling and proper restraint to hold livestock. Stress in livestock decreases production and effects their immune system. • Mix only the amount of vaccine that can be utilized in one half hour. Store mixed vaccine at 35-45 degrees out of sun light.


05-04-2012 16:01:27

understand and include: • What vaccines to use • When to give vaccine; including booster intervals (the latest information indicates the booster needs to be twenty one days, or longer, following the initial vaccination) • How the vaccine is administered: IM (intramuscular), SQ (subcutaneous), IN (intranasal), and where on the animal you want the IM or SQ injection made • Make sure vaccine serial numbers are recorded

Immunosuppressed Take the time to read labels. Labels provide a list of precautions and instructions such as the storage temperature (2-7 Degree C or 35-45 Degree F); keeping material out of sunlight; not to use disinfectant on needle or syringe; use entire contents once opened and to not freeze. For the vaccination to work effectively, good nutrition and health management are critical. An animal in negative energy balance, receiving inadequate protein or lacking in essential minerals will not respond as well as an animal that is gaining weight and eating well. Animals that are recovering from an injury or disease, or have received a steroid injection are immunosuppressed, as are cows for the three to four weeks post calving. BVDV may be one of the most severe natural immunosuppressant (avoid vaccination at these times). If you are having vaccine failures, be sure to check for BVDV PI animals. A good vaccination program requires a complete management program. The immune system in the neonate (calf) is developed in utero during gestation. Gradually over the first weeks of life an interaction occurs between the innate and acquired immune response. Maintaining calf health (bulls and heifers) by feeding adequate quality colostrum, allows the neonate the opportunity to maximize the immune response. The better the immune response is in an animal, the greater our opportunity is for a healthy, more productive herd of cattle. l


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Monitor and maintain milking equipment to operate at optimal performance

Cashing in on milk quality basics 24/7 There’s no silver bullet when it comes to producing high quality milk, but an arsenal of basic preventive measures and standard operating procedures puts you among the nation’s elite in

What is the single most important change you’ve made in the last five years to help improve milk quality?

quality milk production. text JoDee Sattler


hat size dairies produce high quality milk? All sizes. However, larger dairies tend to produce higher quality milk than smaller dairies, as described by a Wisconsin study that was published in the Journal of Dairy Science’s August 2011 issue. To gain better insight on how large dairies produce high quality milk, three of the largest dairies among the National Dairy Quality Awards (NDQA) program finalists share their procedures, practices and protocols. The National Mastitis Council coordinates NDQA. What are the three most important practices you do to produce high quality milk?

Bill Deetz: 1) Follow the same milking preparation procedures for all milkings; enforce the procedures; and stick with

the procedures. 2) All stall beds are kept clean and dry. Employees maintain the stall beds three times a day. 3) Laterlactation cows have access to sandbedded stalls. About 30 percent of the milking cows rest on sand-bedded stalls and the other milking cows rest on dry, sawdust-covered mattresses. It’s more probable that later-lactation cows will have higher SCC so they get the sandbedded stalls. Tom McClellan: 1) I want to preface this by stating that cows that produce quality milk consume sound nutrition and live in a comfortable environment. Our cows rest on sand-bedded freestalls. 2) We monitor and maintain milking equipment to operate at optimal performance. 3) Our milkers follow specific protocols and milking procedures – every day.

Cows that produce quality milk consume a well-balanced diet



CMUS02_milkquality r table 16


Ionel Stancu: 1) Train employees on a regular basis. 2) Perform routine equipment maintenance. 3) Properly cleaning cows and equipment.

Deetz: We implemented using an iodine foamer as part of our milking preparation procedures. There is 0.5 percent iodine in the foam. The foamer provides better teat coverage than a teat dip cup. It also forces us to do a better job wiping off teats and making sure they are clean. McClellan: We implemented on-farm milk culturing, which provides pathogen results within 24 hours. Knowing the mastitis pathogen will determine whether or not we treat the cow with an antibiotic. Stancu: We switched from sawdust bedding to sand bedding. What is your standard operating procedure for milking cows?

Deetz: 1) Two employees milk cows in a double-10 parlor, with each employee responsible for five cows at a time. 2) Strip out foremilk. 3) Clean teats with

Apply pre-dip to dry and clean teats to boost quality milk production


05-04-2012 15:19:24

F O U R P I N E S F A R M LT D , S U G A R C R E E K ,


Bill and Tina Deetz NDQA nominator Luke Mast, IBA, wrote: “Bill is quick to give employees credit for the success of his farm. He hires quality people and gives them the opportunity to grow in their work.” Milk cows: RHA: Cell count:

return to their stalls. We have a double-8 milking parlor and cows are prepped in groups of four. 1) Milkers use microfiber towels to wipe off sand and dirt from cows’ teats and udder. 2) Apply pre-dip. 3) Milkers rub cows’ teat ends with their thumbs while forestripping milk. 4) Again, milkers dry wipe cows’ teats and udder with an individual microfiber towel. 5) Attach milking unit (between 90 and 120 seconds lapses between the start of stimulation and attaching the unit). 6) Post-dip (in summer an iodine-based dip is used; in winter a dip with skin conditioner is used; in really cold weather an anti-freeze dip is used). Stancu: 1) Dry and clean teats and udder without stripping. 2) Apply predip (0.5 percent hydrogen peroxide foam). 3) Wait 45 seconds and strip each teat four times. 4) Clean teats with a dry cloth towel. 5) Wait 45 seconds and attach milking machine. 6) Apply post-dip (1 percent iodine barrier dip).

Sugarcreek, Ohio

572 Holsteins 27,528 lbs milk, 923 lbs fat, 807 lbs protein 95,000



Tom McClellan NDQA nominator Randy Hardyman, Grande Cheese Co., wrote: “McClellan Farms produces high quality milk. In their 16 years with us, they have received a quality milk award every year.”

How do you monitor and evaluate the performance of the employees who milk your cows?

Delavan, Wisconsin

Deetz: We have employed Hispanic milkers for about eight years. After hiring Hispanics, milk quality increased greatly. Their performance and work ethic are amazing; they’re extremely dependable. The milking team carries out training within themselves and closely monitors SCC. McClellan: Quarterly, Dr. Andy Johnson, a milk quality specialist, visits our dairy. He observes milkers and analyzes milking equipment performance. Rather than making these visits something milkers worry about, we try to make it fun. We always serve a festive meal. In addition, the management staff regularly reviews data from milking parlor reports – looking at order of milking unit attachment, length of time between stimulation and unit attachment, milk production levels, milk produced per hour and cow throughput. We watch milkers when we visit the parlor. Most importantly, milkers watch one another. Everyone wants all milkers doing a good job so they can earn cash bonuses. Stancu: Each shift has a supervisor that makes sure all employees follow standard operating procedures.

Milk cows: 525 Holsteins RHA: 31,583 lbs milk, 1,144 lbs fat, 944 lbs protein Cell count: 99,000 VDS #2, V I C K S B U R G , M I C H I G A N

Ionel Stancu NDQA nominator Mark Dvorak, Dairy Farmers of America, wrote: “This dairy goes to extreme measures to ensure quality milk. They use two towels on each cow.”

Vicksburg, Michigan

Milk cows: 2170 Holsteins RHA: 26,418 lbs milk, 1004 lbs fat, 808 lbs protein Cell count: 93,000

iodine foamer. 4) Dry off teats and udder with cloth towel. 5) Attach milking machine. 6) Post-dip each teat with 1 percent iodine. McClellan: Cows are handled calmly – all the way from the time they leave their stalls until they Train employees on standard operating procedures

Do you provide milk quality incentives to your employees? If yes, please describe.

Deetz: No. McClellan: Yes. Milkers receive a percentage of the milk quality premiums we receive from our milk processor. Stancu: No.

Groom stalls at least daily to provide a clean and comfortable bed for cattle


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While cows are off to the milking parlor, remove soiled and wet bedding so cows can rest in a clean environment What tools do you use to monitor milk quality?

Deetz: Milkers strip out foremilk – looking for abnormal milk. Cattle producing abnormal milk are pulled out from the milking string and evaluated by the herdsman. A California Mastitis Test (CMT) is used on high SCC cows. Seldom, we culture cows. We watch bulk tank SCC samples closely. We only collect Dairy Herd Improvement (DHI) milk samples for SCC testing every three months. McClellan: We monitor subclinical mastitis through DHI SCC reports. If we notice a cow looking a little “off,” we run a CMT on her. We detect clinical mastitis when forestripping milk and then we check the milk with CMT. Stancu: 1) Cows are individually tested on first day in milk, which is done by an independent laboratory. 2) Milkers visually examine the hand-stripped foremilk. 3) Conduct a CMT. What is your milking equipment maintenance program and how do you ensure that equipment is working properly?

Deetz: Pulsators are rebuilt twice a year. Inflations are changed as recommended. Hoses are changed every six months. All equipment is checked while inflations are changed every other week. McClellan: Monthly, our milking equipment dealer graphs the milking system. He checks milking claws, flushes pulsators and checks the vacuum pump. Every two weeks, we change inflations. Each year, we rebuild



CMUS02_milkquality r table 18


Forestrip milk to remove the poorest quality milk and help detect clinical mastitis

milking meters, pulsators and claws. Milk and air hoses are changed as needed. Stancu: The VDS staff carries out our milking equipment maintenance program. We rebuild pulsators once a year. We replace all in-line gaskets every six months. We analyze the vacuum pump’s performance after 2,000 hours. We change hoses annually. We replace inflations as recommended by the manufacturer. We evaluate the cleanin-place wash system at least once a month. I inspect the milking parlor twice a day. Also, the shift supervisor is trained to detect milking equipment malfunctions. What steps do you take to keep cattle clean?

Deetz: We change sawdust twice a week and groom these stalls three times a day. Fresh sand is added every week and stalls are groomed three times a day. McClellan: We bed with sand and keep stalls well bedded. Three times a day, we scrape alleys and rake stalls. Once a day, we groom stalls. Cattle may groom themselves with back scratchers and brushes that are installed in the barns. Stancu: After each milking, we clean freestalls and barns. We add new sand bedding once a week or if needed. We remove udder hair by flaming udders. What steps do you take at dry off to ensure high quality milk in the next lactation?

Deetz: At dry off, all cows are given a dry cow treatment and Orbeseal. We bring in springing heifers 30 days prior

to freshening. We dry treat them and insert Orbeseal. Also, their feet are trimmed at this time. McClellan: Before drying off a cow, we completely strip her of milk, check her SCC on the DHI report and run a CMT on her milk. If the milk is normal (low SCC), we use Quartermaster and Orbeseal. If she has a high SCC and/or abnormal milk is detected through CMT, we treat her with Albadry and seal teats with T-Hexx. One week later, we restrip her of milk. At that time, we treat her with Quartermaster, insert Orbeseal and give oxytetracycline subcutaneously. Stancu: Our dry cow protocol is to milk out the cow completely, vaccinate against Escherichia coli and give an intramammary antibiotic and teat sealant. Also, we use a more aggressive dry cow protocol for cows with high SCC or other udder health issues.  What do you do with discarded (high SCC and/or treated) milk?

Deetz: A small amount is fed to our bull calves; the remaining discarded milk is dumped. In the near future, we plan to purchase a milk pasteurizer and feed pasteurized waste milk to our calves. McClellan: We use a quarter milker on some cows. This antibiotic-free milk is fed to our bull calves. A neighbor gets some of our “hospital milk” (may contain antibiotics) and feeds it to his bull calves. Any excess treated milk is dumped. Stancu: We pasteurize this milk and feed it to bull calves. l


05-04-2012 15:20:40


Trouw Nutrition focused on Quality Assurance Feed plays an important role in food quality and nutrition. In the dairy industry, many food safety incidents happen within the origins of the feeds that have been provided. That is why at Trouw Nutrition, we believe we have a special responsibility to provide consistently safe, wholesome and high quality products that are responsive to the needs of our customers. To fulfill this obligation, we have adopted and implemented a unique Quality Assurance Program. One important aspect is taking the necessary steps to confirm that ingredients and finished products comply with our customer’s standards. Our Nutrace® program is our safeguard to protect our products and services. The Nutrace feed-to-food quality strategy is specified in five standards: Certified Quality, Ingredient Assessment and Management, Monitoring, Risk Management and Tracking & Tracing. This proactive program minimizes risk

by using stringent ingredient assessments and management tools to add value to our customers and supply chain partners. A newly added component we would like to highlight is our NIR (Near-Infrared Spectroscopy) and Discriminant Analysis technique of process control for our ingredient assurance program. Our NIR analysis machine is a tool that uses light to determine the composition of a variety of different products. An NIR spectrum is like a fingerprint, unique for each raw material. It is a fast, nondestructive technique that is sustainable. It is does not produce any hazardous waste and provides our customers more confidence in our raw materials. By using this, it allows us to assist our customers by providing raw materials and finished products that are accurate and consistent. Nutrace and NIR are important building blocks in the uniqueness of Nutreco. These programs are more than just tools. They ensure quality and safety to our customers and all food consumers.

Wout Dekker retires from Nutreco

Wout Dekker

Nutreco announces that CEO Wout Dekker will be leaving Nutreco by the end of 2012. This will mark the end of a career at the company encompassing almost thirty years, of which twelve years were as CEO. The Supervisory Board of Nutreco appointed Knut Nesse (1967, Norwegian nationality) as the successor to Wout Dekker. Knut Nesse is currently Chief Operating Officer of the Aquaculture division and has been with the company since 1995. During his Nutreco career he has held various management positions and was appointed COO of the Aquaculture division and member of the Nutreco Executive Board in 2009. Nutreco CEO Wout Dekker: “At the age of 55, I have spent more than half of my life at Nutreco. I have done this with the greatest pleasure and it has been more than rewarding. It has been a privilege to work with so many great people in this exciting and dynamic agriculture and aquaculture industry.”

For more information on products and services of Trouw Nutrition International: Tel. 800.328.8942. COW MAN AG E ME N T

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05-04-2012 14:03:03

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Inspect, correct, train and enforce to have a safe work environment

Farm safety driven by values Safety is more than money. A safe farm is a reflection of your values and those of the dairy business. Your on-farm safety plan must be customized for your operation. text Amy Ryan


airy farming is a risky business for you and the people you hire. And as dairy farms have grown in size and scope, the risk to employees and the dairy have expanded, too. In fact, the number of fatalities in the U.S. attributed to dairy cattle and milk production increased from 37 cases in 2009 to 41 cases in 2010. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fatal work injuries involving farming, fishing, and forestry workers increased by nine percent in 2010 and fatalities involving agricultural workers, including farm workers and laborers,

rose from 127 in 2009 to 156 in 2010. The increased numbers have drawn attention to the industry and reinforced the need to create safer work environments. In addition, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have taken a more active approach with farm audits in some areas to assist with worker health and safety (see sidebar for LEP in Wisconsin). For this reason, it is important to be familiar with the LEP (Local Emphasis Program) in your state. Programs like Agricultural Safety

Consulting (ASC) from the National Farm Medicine Center in Marshfield, Wisc. are available to assist producers in developing, implementing and managing a safety program and being more prepared for an OSHA audit. Carol Magurany-Brotski, Occupational Safety Manager with ASC, has a 23-year career in occupational safety, including work as a former OSHA inspector. “A successful safety program has many elements and is directly impacted by the working environment, leadership, culture, committed resources and values of the business,” she says. “Safety is part of business sustainability and contributes to the bottom-line. When it is not a value, it can lead to many direct and indirect costs and losses, including those driven by public image and reputation.”

Most common on-farm hazards in WI LEP 1. Manure storage facilities and collection structures Fatal or serious drowning hazards exist where farm vehicles such as tractors, manure spreading trucks, manure pumps/agitators, and skid-steers are operated in near proximity to waste storage impoundments and structures without the benefit of control measures, such as 1) safety stops and/or gates at manure push-off ramps and load-out areas to prevent accidental entry of machinery; and 2) warning signs, fences, ladders, ropes, bars, rails and other devices to restrict the accidental passage of vehicles and personnel across



CMUS02_OSHA standards 20


outdoor earthen manure storages. Fatal or serious inhalation hazards of gases including hydrogen sulfide (H2S), carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and ammonia (NH3) exist where manure gases are generated through handling of liquid or semi-solid manure through activities such as pumping, mixing, agitating, spreading, or cleaning-out. Oxygen (O2) deficiency hazards are an additional related concern.

2. Dairy bull and cow behavior/ worker positioning Fatal or serious “crushed-by” hazards exist where employees interact with

dairy bulls and cows without appropriate training on dairy bull and cow behavior and/or work in areas where there is an increased likelihood of becoming caught between the animals and a fixed or moving structure such as a fence, corral, opening gate, crowd gate, etc.

3. Electrical systems Electrocution and electrical shock hazards exist where employees interact either: 1) making direct contact with improperly installed, improperly maintained, or damaged electrical systems on equipment such as disconnects,


05-04-2012 15:06:02

Change in audits Wisconsin is one state that has recently seen a change in OSHA Audits on dairy operations. In the last few months, OSHA began randomly choosing and inspecting dairy operations. To get an inspection, operations must have 11 or more employees not including immediate family members (parent, spouse, child, step-child of the farm employer). Temporary labor camp activity also is criteria meaning during the past 12 months you provided housing for seasonal or temporary employment of farm workers. The OSHA Local Emphasis Program (LEP) identifies 12 common hazardous activities found throughout dairy farm operations. According to Tom Drendel, Agricultural Safety Specialist with the National Farm Medicine Center,

producers need to understand the hazards on their operations and have a plan in place to protect employees. “Once on farm, OSHA Compliance Officers will use the LEP as a roadmap to hazards on an operation,” Drendel says. “More specifically, inspections will focus on all facilities and operations where farm employees are engaged in dairy farm operations such as the milking parlor, cattle barns, equipment and storage sheds, manure storage facilities and feed storage structures.”

Developing a safety plan Both Magurany-Brotski and Drendel agree that there are keys to creating a safe work environment and being prepared for OSHA audits. Most importantly, you need to show commitment to safety by identifying

and correcting hazards, developing a plan, training employees and enforcing that training. Having a budget to support that plan is also crucial. In addition to programs like ASC, you can work with insurance carriers, consultants, county extension agents and/or different universities that offer educational programs. The Pennsylvania State Agricultural Safety and Health Program is one of these sources. It works through extension to educate about reduced exposure to hazards, managing agricultural emergencies and safety training for youth through 4-H and FFA. Dennis Murphy, Extension Safety Specialist with Penn State, suggests a four-step process to creating a safe work environment. He says that knowing OSHA standards in a region and using

amputation hazards may exist where power takeoff shafts and other related components on farm field and farmstead equipment are not properly guarded.

switches, circuit-breakers, pumps, fans, augers, fences, etc.; or 2) making indirect contact with overhead or buried power lines with farm equipment such as tractors, skid steers implements, portable augers, grain probes, ladders, poles, rods, irrigation pipes, etc.

lift arm support devices when servicing or maintaining the skid-steer loader; and 3) intentional bypassing of safety features of the skid-steer loader such as back-up alarms, seat belts, and control interlock systems.

4. Skid-Steer loader operation

5. Tractor operation

7. Guarding of other power transmission and functional components

Fatal or serious fall, struck-by, caught in-between, and/or rollover hazards may exist where employees are improperly trained on operating, servicing, or maintaining tractors.

Fatal or serious entanglement or amputation hazards may exist where other power transmission components on farm field and farmstead equipment are not properly guarded.

Fatal or serious crushed-by, struck-by, caught in-between, rollover hazards may exist where employees are: 1) improperly trained on operating, servicing, or maintaining skid-steer loaders according to the manufacturer’s instructions; 2) failure to use approved

6. Guarding of PTOs Fatal






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m a n a g e m e n t

the standards as a guide for best practices is the basis for the process. First, employers must establish a safety policy and engage employees in the development and execution of that policy. Next they should evaluate hazards on the farm and fix items that present risks to employees. The third step is developing a plan to promote safety on the farm and control hazards and risks. On-farm emergency response is also built into this step as many times the first people on the scene of a farm accident are the employer or employees. Finally, Murphy says that training and continuing education involving on-farm safety and policies is the last step. “Documentation throughout the process is the most important thing,” says Murphy. “OSHA wants to see the safety plan for the whole operation, so I suggest having a 3-ring binder with a

8. Hazardous energy control while performing servicing and maintenance on equipment Fatal or serious crushed-by, struck-by, caught in-between, entanglement, or amputation hazards exist where employees perform maintenance and servicing on farm field, farmstead, or other equipment without a means of immediate and exclusive control of hazardous energy sources by the employee or the employees maintaining or servicing equipment.

9. Hazard communication/ materials Serious chemical ingestion, absorption,



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plan for each hazardous area on the farm and updating them periodically.”

Internal audits Magurany-Brotski adds that while creating a safe workplace should focus on OSHA standards, it must also address safety related conditions or practices that need attention and can cause workplace injury or damage to property. She emphasizes that employee training and understanding of the safety policy are critical. Bilingual training assists with creating this understanding. “Physical safety audits include buildings (inside and out) and equipment (farmstead and field) and should include observing employee safe practices and asking employees to share their understanding of safety policies and training,” she says. “Talking to employees will give the employer insight on how successfully the safety

splash, fire, or other hazards exist where hazardous chemicals such as teat dips, hoof care products, sanitization products, etc. are stored, dispensed, and used without appropriate training and information including the availability of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs).

10. Confined spaces Serious or fatal chemical asphyxiation, oxygen (O2) deficiency, inhalation, engulfment, or caught-in hazards exist where there is entry into grain storage bins, vertical silos, hoppers, manure storage vessels, milk vessels, below grade manure collection systems, etc.

training and policies have been communicated. It shows good leadership and integrity when management talks to employees directly about their safety knowledge.” This sort of internal audit will also assist during an OSHA audit as employees can answer questions related to job safety and the training.

Safety is priceless Creating a safe work environment for employees is a top priority. While a healthy work environment can help your bottom line through increased productivity and efficiency, its value also includes employee retention, positive image and overall sustainability. Identifying and correcting hazards, developing a safety policy, training employees and enforcing that policy are all keys to creating a safe work environment. l

11. Horizontal bunker silos Serious or fatal engulfment or struckby hazards may exist where employees perform ‘facing’ activities when removing silage from ground level. Serious or fatal fall hazards may exist where employees climb on top of the silage to place or remove protective plastic covering and anchoring systems.

12. Noise Serious hearing loss hazards may exist when working with or around running agricultural equipment.


05-04-2012 15:06:25

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05-04-2012 13:39:10


In recent years the popularity of cross breeding has increased

Using cross-bred bulls gives half the hybrid vigour

Cross-bred bull benefits With Montbeliarde, Holstein Friesian, Brown Swiss and MRI blood in his pedigree, Woeste Polder Reladon is immediately interesting. And interest in cross-bred bulls appears to be increasing in many other countries. text Annelies Debergh


n three months Woeste Polder Reladon achieved a place in the top 10 of the most sold bulls in The Netherlands. Such popularity generally doesn’t arouse any interest. But it’s different in this case, because with Reladon – as a son of the Montbeliarde bull Redon and Fitlist daughter Woeste Polder Anoeska 30 – it involves a true cross-bred bull. On a farm visit to producer Jack Houbraken, CRV product manager Jan Hiddink and CRV classifier Marc Cauwenberg happened to track down the cow family of Reladon. Jan admits that the demand for cross-bred bulls comes from the market and is the driver behind CRV’s work with cross breds.



CMUS02_crv breeding 24


“There are still three cross-bred bulls in quarantine at CRV.”

Breeding decisions Jan is not surprised that the use of a cross-bred bull such as Reladon has shot up in such a short period of time. “I think that a number of producers are searching for different blood lines,” he says, pointing to the hybrid vigour and the high protein inheritance of a bull such as Reladon. “That happens because crossbred bulls often appear to have good conception rates. That also plays a part.” In recent years the popularity of cross breeding has increased. Xsires’ Hans Kerkhof says: “We import bulls of different breeds into The Netherlands

that are suitable for crossing with Holstein cows. “We keep all crossing breeding plans open and which plan the producer uses depends on the herd and the unit.” At Xsires, cross-bred bulls don’t fit in. “Cross-bred bulls go against every theory of hybridisation. So you don’t achieve the maximum effect of hybrid vigour and return for the cross. There is also concern about the spread of the descendants of cross-bred bulls.” With the use of cross-bred bulls the hybrid vigour effect does apply, albeit to a lesser extent than with a totally different breed. Gerben de Jong, head of the Animal Evaluation Unit at CRV, confirms this.

Hybrid vigour “With a bull with 50% Holstein blood and 50% blood from another breed you get half the hybrid vigour effect. The advantage with some Holstein blood is that you have to allow less for characteristics such as productivity. The producer does gain the advantage in the area of fertility, life expectancy and other figures.”

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05-04-2012 16:01:00

Jack Houbraken: “Another Fleckvieh half brother of Reladon into AI” For 15 years Jack Houbraken has been crossing with other breeds. Fleckvieh, Brown Swiss, Montbeliarde and MRI are the breeds that, alongside the traditional Holstein, have a chance in his herd. “The pure Holstein was too milk focused,” explains Jack. “By crossing with other breeds you gain in fertility, strength, and feet and legs. Udder quality also increases. The shape of the udder can vary, but the quality is usually better.” To correct the faults of an individual cow, Jack chooses a matching breed, so for bulldam the VG88 Anoeska 30 (62%

Holstein, 25% Brown Swiss, 12% MRI) a Montbeliarde was chosen. “Anoeska 30 really could not be bettered.” So he points to her feet and leg score of 91 points. In her fourth lactation the Fitlist daughter achieved 11,444kg of milk with 4.77% of fat and 4.15% of protein and she produced 33 good embryos from two flushings. “The high protein is bred in this cow family. With Montbeliarde bull Redon I wanted to support the protein.” Redon son Reladon also has a place on this unit. “The first calves from him have now been born.” Meanwhile a son

of Van Anoeska 30 with Fleckvieh bull Imposium left for CRV’s breeding programme.

Jan also says that the use of cross-bred bulls fits in with the tendency towards bigger farms. “With the increasing number of milking cows, producers are looking for cows that are easy to manage.” Then the aspect of simplification in the breeding comes into play. “Producers are now often using eight or nine breeding bulls, but that is also changing. I am already seeing farms with 300 milking cows that are still using two bulls. We shall see that more in the future. In that case it can be two or three Holstein bulls, but also a Holstein and a cross-bred bull.” The phenomenon of crossing is not new. The dairy cattle sector is the only one in which crossing rarely occurs, says Jan. “In Denmark the top bull is a cross bred. But Kian and Sunny Boy are actually not pure bred.”

The New Zealand branch of CRV, CRV Ambreed, has experience with testing cross-bred bulls. Of the 120 bulls tested each year, 10 have both Holstein and Jersey blood. “By using a cross-bred bull you still get 50% of the hybrid vigour,” says Peter Berney, referring to the popularity of cross-bred bulls. Peter is marketing manager in CRV Ambreed. “These bulls are used particularly by producers who want to profit from hybrid vigour, but don’t have the time themselves to make the optimum crosses between breeds.” Cross-bred bulls owe their popularity to their good fertility results. “Because you are using bulls on cows that have a low relationship score with the bull, you often see the fertility results are high. The results are very good, particularly

with cows with a high inbreeding score. Because of the grass orientated farm management, a year between calvings is the aim and good fertility scores are very important here.” Peter is positive about the final breeding results. “In New Zealand 25%, on average, of the top 30 bulls are cross bred. “These top bulls often have 75% Holstein blood and 25% Jersey blood. Bulls with a higher percentage of Holstein blood do have better breeding results.” He says that the disadvantage of working with cross breeds is the great variation in offspring. “The spread is often large. There are very good daughters, but also offspring that clearly perform below expectations.” l

Woeste Polder Reladon, a true cross-bred bull

Fitlist daughter Anoeska 30, dam of Reladon


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grassland genetics FOR the pasture or the freestall

Grassland genetics focus on fertility and functionality Grassland genetics are proven in New Zealand, where fertility is key to seasonal milk production. Contact us at 1-800-400-CRV4all to find out how it could work in your herd.

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D R .




Dr. Rich Veeman from Veterinary Services of Oregon offers his favorite information sources on current market conditions and discusses the importance of income over feed costs in coping with the volatility of 2012.

Turn to the right sources to gather insightful information

Income over feed costs I

t appears that 2012 is another up and down year full of uncertainty for the dairy industry. As we look to the experts and people we know to help prepare for that volatility, income over feed costs (IOFC) may be the biggest number to watch for the rest of year. As the year progresses and neighbors, salesmen, and the farmer down the road begin their prognostications, look to those who have clear facts and sound advice. Here are some of my favorite information sources: • - Jim Dunn of Penn State University offers great, clear, concise information; • is a USDA Publication that focuses on just the facts; • is an excellent place to go for everything dairy and actually includes Jim Dunn’s latest monthly forecast; and finally, • is where Bob Cropp an agricultural economist with University of Wisconsin-Madison provides clear, well written information on current market conditions. When analyzing the facts and other available information, it looks as though feed price will not drop much until

September 2012, if it drops at all. Milk has already dropped in price by more than two dollars per hunderdweight and milk production has increased about four percent. The good news is that the price of beef is still high which may help reduce cow numbers, but if the Canadian dollar and other currencies drop in value we could lose vital exports. Feed costs per hundredweight are the highest they have been for six months and IFOC are down by $1.80 per hundredweight (see Jim Dunn’s most recent report). So what does this mean for us? Good question. I advise you to concentrate on the things you can control. Good management in all areas of your operation is a must, but forage quality, monitoring and measuring are as important as ever. For instance, producing as much of your own feed as possible should help reduce some of your feed costs and help improve your IOFC. Just as important is harvesting high quality feeds, and working with your nutritionist to ensure that cows are maximizing daily intake. Both of these measures should equate to more milk and healthier cows. Remember, the key word in Income over feed costs is ‘income’.


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Dutch family grabs an opportunity to start up a dairy on a limited budget

Starting up in Sweden With less than $200,000, Albert and Hetty Kuiper moved from the Netherlands to Sweden in 2006. Just six years later, their dairy business has doubled in size. While the cost of land and milk quotas are low, feed costs are very high. text Tijmen van Zessen


hen, in 2005, we crossed the bridge with our car near Malmö in Sweden, it dawned on us straight away, and we said to each other, ‘Gosh, what a beautiful country to live in!’” Albert Kuiper remembers from his first encounter with Sweden. The beautiful landscape and the feel of Swedish society attracted him and his wife, Hetty, back to Sweden one year later. “Sweden is also pretty much the only European country where you could get a business going with a limited budget. We had start-up capital of less than 200,000 dollars,” Albert says.

Milk and honey The dairy Kuipers bought is in the village of Bullaren, 80 miles north of Gothenburg. It was formerly a research facility owned by the Swedish Agricultural University. Albert says,

“There was space for 62 dairy cows, but, in 2009, we installed cow stalls in the deep litter shed. We are now milking 90 cows and want to increase that number to 125, including dry cows. Since last year, we have been milking using two milking robots.” Expanding the operation also meant scaling up the milk quota. Albert and Hetty bought quota for 40 cows $1,900. “Those are the administration costs,” Albert says. “In Sweden, dairy farmers milk only 85 percent of the milk quota, and you can deliver more than your quota. We have bought an extra quota as this is a condition to be eligible for funding to develop the business.” With a quota price of half a cent per kilo (2.2 lb), rent of 90 euro ($118) per hectare (2.5 acre), and an organic milk price of

approximately 43 cents per kilo (2.2 lb) during the most recent season, Sweden appears to be a land flowing with milk and honey. However, not everything is coming up roses, Albert says. “Our milk price is ten cents per kilo (2.2 lb) more because we run an organic farm. And this milk price is also necessary to offset the extra costs for the feed. We pay 73 cents per kilo (2.2 lb) of organic soya and need a total of 27 kilos (2.2 lb) of concentrate to produce one hundred kilos (2.2 lb) of milk.” The Kuipers’ concentrate furthermore includes ingredients as barley, wheat, oats, and beans. These types of feed are produced locally, and he buys in the rest of the needed feed, even though his farm, with less than half a cow per hectare (2.5 acre), is pretty large. “We cultivate grain silage on just thirty hectares (70 acres). Furthermore, we just grow grass and hay. From an environmental point of view, corn is not an attractive crop, because of weed control, and corn produces higher yields in other regions, so it is cheaper to buy our corn in. Furthermore, the nearest

In Sweden cows must be outside



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Hetty en Albert Kuiper The family Kuiper bought in 2006 a dairy unit in Sweden. Because of the temparture growing maize is not possible, but days with 22 hours of daylight helps with the high engery in grass silage.



Number of cows: 90 Total prdocutionm: 1.100.000 kg Land: 600 acres, including 160 acres of forest Production: 21.000 lbs, 4,0 F, 3,2 P

contractor lives 62 miles away,” Albert says. Small plots of land, considerable distances, and the hilly landscape create higher operating costs.

22 hours of daylight But why feed the animals so much concentrate if there is inexpensive land for rent? Why not use more roughage? “We have low production from of our land. We can manage a maximum of three cuts of grass a year. But I do not want to depend on the third harvest of

In 2009 the old barn is rebuild with cubicles

grass. We (our cows) currently milk fine on the first and second hay cuttings. From the point of view of quality, the first two cuttings of hay are very good thanks to long hours of daylight in Sweden. In June, it is light for 22 hours every day. That means that a lot of energy is stored in the grass. The first harvest takes place at the start of June with excellent quality. In this way, we achieve, with our organic farming approach, a production of 21,000 lb of milk per cow per year,” explains Albert. “Our greatest challenge is the protein content in the roughage, which contains just 130 grams (4.6 ounces) of raw protein per kilo of dry substance.”

“In recent years, little grassland has been renewed. This caused an increase in the incidence of weeds. Now we have been able to lease an extra thirty hectares (70 acres) of land, so there is room for improving raw feed quality. We work chiefly with Timothy-grass, meadowgrass, clover, and just ten percent English ryegrass,” he says.

Cross with red Holsteins Eighty five percent of the Kuipers’ cows are Holsteins, and 15 percent are Swedish red cattle, which they’ve crossed with red Holsteins. “The Swedish red cattle produce good quantities of milk, and have higher solids content, but udder quality and the milk type are substandard,” Albert says. Kuipers are currently inseminating chiefly with Steady, Fever, Lavanguard, Bachelor, Windbrook, and D-Expo. There is a heavy emphasis on legs, as cows, in an automatic milking system, have to be able to move particularly well. The hilly landscape and the stones in the ground also place great demands on legs during the grazing period mandatory in Sweden. The charisma (not sure is he means charisma) of Holsteins appeal to the Kuipers enormously. “A Holstein is more feminine and naturally suited to milking. Even on an organic farm, a cow has to be able to produce milk with ease—a high milk-yield type does not automatically mean slender. And, once in a while, I do want to lean over the feed fence and say, ‘Wow! , what a lovely cow!’” He says. l


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SHOWS AND EVENTS April 13-16: NY Spring Dairy Carousel, Syracuse, NY April 21: Midwest Spring National Show, Jefferson, WI April 21-25: American Society for Nutrition Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA April 29-May 1: The 2012 Annual Conference of the American Butter Institute (ABI) & the American Dairy Products Institute (ADPI), Chicago, IL May 17-18: Western Spring National Show Richmond UT May 22-24: Minnesota Dairy Health Conference, Bloomington, Minn. May 21-24: 4th International Symposium on Managing Animal Mortalities, Products, By Products, and Associated Health Risk: Connecting Research, Regulations, and Response, Dearborn, MI May 21-24: IDF Cheese Ripening & Technology Symposium, Madison, WI May 29-June 1: 23rd Discover Conference, Bovine Immunology: The Intersection of Innate and Acquired Immunity, Itasca, IL June 27-30: National Holstein Convention, Springfield, MO June 27-30: AJCA-NAJ Annual Meeting, North Conway, NH June 26: National Ayrshire Convention, Appleton, WI July 13: National Red & White Convention, Listowel, ON, CA July 17-19: Certified Milk Inspectors School, Ithaca, NY

Calm and easy walking to the milking parlour Picture: Harrie van Leeuwen

C O N TA C T S Cow Management is published six times per year by CRV Publishing

Editorial team Publisher Rochus Kingmans Chief editor Jaap van der Knaap Contributing writers Annelies Debergh, Richard Ernsberger, Danyel Hosto, Amy Ryan, JoDee Sattler, Rich Veeman, Tijmen van Zessen Editing, design and production CRV Publishing


C a l f r aisin g an d n u t r it io n m an ag em en t pl an

Chief editor’s address

June/July 2012 – What are the efforts of an advisory group? And who is part of it and what do you discuss? In our summer issue we try to find out. We also focus on calf raising and how you optimize your nutrition management plan.

P.O. Box 454, 6800 AL Arnhem The Netherlands Phone 0031 26 38 98 829 Fax 0031 26 38 98 839 E-mail

Subscriptions Cow Management is available free of charge to customers of CRV, 2324 American Lane, Madison, WI 53704. If you want to ask for a subscription or to cancel a subscription send an email to

Advertisements Andrea Haines Phone 301 514 2927 Willem Gemmink, Froukje Visser Fax 0031 26 38 98 824 E-mail

Illustrations/pictures Photographs by CRV Publishing Photography and Jersey Journal (10, 11)

Disclaimer CowManagement does not necessarily share the views expressed by contributors. No responsibility is accepted for the claims made by advertisers. No responsibility can be accepted by CRV Holding BV for the opinions expressed by contributors. Whilst every effort is made to obtain reliable and accurate information, liability cannot be accepted for errors. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system without the express prior written consent of the publisher. Printer Schumann Printers Inc.



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29. en 26. June 2012 IJsselhallen Zwolle

• Demonstration of progeny groups • Judging of dairy cattle • Trade exhibition

For information: All Holland Dairy Show +31 26 38 98 811 E-mail:

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BETTER COWS, BETTER LIFE With better cows comes a better lifestyle. This can be achieved through healthier animals that save you money and hassle; cows that produce more, garnering higher milk checks; or give a more nutritious product for your family and community to enjoy. It all comes back to quality of life. That’s why CRV is here. Whatever a better life is to you - CRV has the people, genetics, services, programs and unique solutions to help you achieve it. CRV, 2423 American Lane, Madison, WI 53704 P 608 441 3202, F 608 441 3203, TF 1 800 400 crv4all

better cows | better life

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CowManagement US april 2012  
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CowManagement US april 2012