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ED ITION U .S. V O LU M E 3 N O 6 DE CE MBE R 2011



Activity monitoring systems help identify heats, lameness and health concerns M A N A G EM EN T

Innovative program helps dairy science students become “barn smart” H ERD REPO RT

New Zealand dairymen adapt their management to create grazing dairies CMUS06_Cover 2

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4 11 21 27 30

Cow Talk Vet practice: fresh cows CRV breeding information Trouw Nutrition news Shows and events FARM REPORT

12 Kiwi style in Georgia REPRODUCTION

22 Series: heifers FERTILITY

6 Activity monitoring D A I R Y S TA F F

18 Developing employees 24 Dairy Challenge SIRE REPORT

28 One million for Paramount

Richard Watson: ‘‘When we have grass the economics are pretty compelling” 12

Jaap van der Knaap Sharing ideas to help profitability


have been lucky enough to visit New Zealand once. For me it was amazing to see the big herds of cows, grazing in the fields; smaller, lighter cows with excellent feet and legs and with an enormous will to graze. I noticed the great knowledge dairy farmers in New Zealand had about grass. They knew daily grass growth, how to estimate the amount of grass on the field, and their knowledge of grass quality was impressive. Excellent pasture management is the key for New Zealand producers to make milk at a low cost. New Zealand farmers produce for world market prices so they must produce milk at low cost. They know how to survive with bad prices and when milk prices rebound, the low cost structure produces a greater margin of profit. For this issue, we found producers in Georgia who started dairy farming based on a grazing system. On page 12 you will find a farm report from Seven Oaks Dairy. Dairy producer Richard

Watson says there is a lot to learn about working with the Kiwi style of grazing in the U.S. and, yes, average milk production is not sky high. But remember, this is milk production on a grass-based system with very low cost. It will not fit in every part of the U.S., but it is interesting to read about what they have learned the last two years. We can learn some lessons as well about activity monitoring on page 6. It is a big investment to buy a pedometer for every cow in your heard. But the investment can help you find cows in heat and save you money by replacing synchronization programs. Activity monitoring also can help you identify sick cows by pinpointing low activity earlier. Keep your eyes open about what is going on around you in the field. The goal of CowManagement is sharing ideas which might help your dairy find more profit. We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Reproduction Pedometers

Education Dairy Challenge

Breeding Sire report Paramount




Activity monitoring systems help identify heats, lameness and health concerns.

Innovative program helps dairy science students become “barn smart”.


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‘Millionaire’ Paramount continues his productive ways.


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New research on mastitis treatment Research shows that the greatest proportion of antimicrobial treatments in dairy herds is due to clinical mastitis. University of Wisconsin milk quality specialists recently reported the results of a study involving antimicrobial usage on large dairy herds in Wisconsin. The results, reported at the 3rd International Symposium on Mastitis and Milk Quality, in St. Louis, Mo., show that all farms involved in the study treated cows for clinical mastitis using antimicrobial drugs. There was variation in the

Forum on farming tackles tough topics with an eye toward the future

NMPF releases antibiotic residue manual

The First Annual Farming Our Future will be held on February 25, 2012 in Craryville, New York. It will engage the agricultural community in thinking about its growing food, farms and community in the context of a rapidly changing local, regional and global food system. Farming Our Future will include topics

The National Milk Producers Federation announced that it is releasing an updated version of the Milk and Dairy Beef Drug Residue Prevention Manual for 2012. The residue prevention manual can be found at The manual is a concise review of appropriate antibiotic use in dairy animals and also can be used as an educational tool for farm managers as they develop their on-farm best management practices to avoid milk and meat residues. Additions to the 2012 version include a section on meat drug residue testing, an expanded list of products and risk factors for residues, as well as an updated drug and test kit list. The 2012 manual includes a certificate of participation that can be signed by a producer and their veterinarian to demonstrate their commitment to proper use of antibiotics on the dairy. Source: National Milk Producers Federation

that farmers are talking about now, in a way that is interactive, informative and meaningful, and will bring together local and regional farmers, educators, farmers’ market managers, agriculture students, providers of goods and services, and consumers who care about the future of agriculture. Source:

DCHA introduces Gold Standards III The Dairy Calf and Heifer Association (DCHA) released its third set of “Gold Standards” for dairy calf and heifer development in the United States in September. The new standards address animal welfare for dairy calves and heifers from birth to freshening across the United States. This is the third consecutive year that DCHA has developed and published a set of standards. The first and second sets dealt with production standards for pre-weaned and post-weaned heifers, respectively. “Animal welfare is a critical issue of importance to the U.S. dairy industry,” says Vance Kells, Satanta, Kan., DCHA board member and chairman of the


proportion of treatments among farms. However, most farms ranged from 10 to 40 treatments per 100 lactating cows during a one-year period. The most common intramammary treatment used was ceftiofur (60 percent), followed by cephapirin. Successful clinical mastitis treatments are influenced by a variety of factors including cow factors, pathogens, and treatment protocols. Source: University of Wisconsin Milk Quality


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Gold Standards III committee. “As the industry trade association representing replacement animals, we felt it was important for DCHA to publish a set of welfare standards specific to calves and heifers.” The Gold Standards III address veterinary involvement, colostrum management, housing, nutrition, handling, transportation, vaccination, drug therapy, parasite control, elective medical procedures and euthanasia. Kells points out that while there is overlap between the new standards and the previous Gold Standards I and II production standards, the new set is written specifically from the standpoint of animal welfare. Source: Dairy Calf and Heifer Association

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6K SNP Genomic Test now available from Holstein Association USA

CWT assists with more cheese exports

Holstein Association USA is now offering the 6K SNP Genomic Test as another option for Holstein breeders. The 6K (also known as LD, or Low Density) test gives you a sizeable increase in reliability over Parent Averages for a fraction of the cost of the 50K SNP test. Designed as a replacement for the former 3K SNP Test, the 6K test measures almost 7,000 SNPs, has better readability, and boosts reliability by 5 percent over the 3K test. The 6K test is offered at the same price as the previous 3K test, at $43.

CWT has accepted 12 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America, Darigold and United Dairymen of Arizona to sell 3,336 metric tons (7.355 million pounds) of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese to customers in Asia, the Middle East and Central America. The product will be delivered through April 2012. In 2011, CWT assisted members in export sales of Cheddar, Monterey Jack and Gouda cheese totaling 40,071 metric tons (88.3 million pounds) to 25 countries on four continents. The CWT Export Assistance program will continue into 2012 and 2013, having achieved participation equal to 70.1 percent of milk marketing. In total, 33 cooperatives and 177 independent producers will be investing two cents per hundredweight that will fund the program’s export efforts over the next two years. Source: Cooperatives Working Together

This test provides the most benefit (greatest increase in reliabilities) if both the sire and dam have 50K genomic test results, but also provides a large increase over Parent Average even if the dam has not been tested. If an animal’s sire and dam are both tested with the 50K SNP test, the resulting calf, when tested with the 6K test, would be expected to have a reliability approaching what you would expect from a 50K test. For more information:

New projection – global food demand doubling Global food demand could double by 2050, according to a new projection reported this week in the Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The analysis also shows that the world faces major environmental challenges unless agricultural practices change. Scientists David Tilman and Jason Hill of the University of Minnesota (UMN) and colleagues found that producing the amount of food needed could significantly increase levels of carbon dioxide and nitrogen in the environment, and may cause the extinction of numerous species. These problems can be avoided, the researchers say, if the high-yielding technologies of wealthier nations are adapted to work in poorer nations, and if all countries use nitrogen fertilizers more efficiently.

In their paper, the scientists explore various ways of meeting the demand for food, and their environmental effects. The options, they found, are to increase productivity on existing agricultural land, clear more land, or a combination of both. They also consider various scenarios in which the amount of nitrogen use, land cleared, and resulting greenhouse gas emissions differ. The potential benefits are great, the researchers believe. In 2005, crop yields for the wealthiest nations were more than 300 percent higher than yields for the poorest nations. If poorer nations continue current practices, they will clear a land area larger than the United States (two and a half billion acres) by 2050. But if richer nations help poorer nations to improve yields, that number could be reduced to half a billion acres. Source: National Science Foundation


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Activity monitoring systems help identi fy h

Manageme n For nearly 25 years, activity monitoring systems have been used as a management tool worldwide to assist with daily decision-making.

The popularity of activity monitoring systems has grown substantially in the last five years

text Amy Ryan


lthough adoption of activity monitoring systems in the United States lags behind other dairy countries, popularity has grown substantially in the last five years, according to Dr. Armon Hetzel, a Veterinarian with Animart, Inc. in Wisconsin, one company now offering an activity monitoring system for heat detection . “Dairy cattle are very routine individuals, and any variation in activity signifies changes or concerns,” says Hetzel. “Activity monitoring systems and pedometers help producers become familiar with cows’ normal routines, show variation in activity that can help identify deviation from their routine and pinpoint the potential causes of those deviations.” Dr. Ray Nebel, V.P. of Technical Service Programs with Select Sires Inc. in Ohio, is involved with researching and developing the system available from Select Sires. He attributes most of the increasing popularity of activity monitoring to its ability to assist with heat detection. In fact, according to a USDA-APHIS Information Sheet from February of 2009 “assessing methods of heat detection,” 93 percent of herds used visual observation; 34.7 percent used tail chalk/paint; 14.4 percent used Heatmount patches; 7.1 percent used pedometers or electronic devices; 40.3 percent used natural service; and 7.3 percent used some other method. Nebel states that the percentage of herds now using electronic heat detection has risen to about 10 percent. “The first activity monitoring systems and pedometers were developed by milking equipment companies,” Nebel says. “These companies developed their systems to be incorporated into a larger overall herd management program, while some of today’s systems are meant to be stand alone systems for heat detection.

Som alon

Spike and

Systems in the U.S. There are currently seven different heat detection activity monitoring systems available in the U.S. marketplace, and the features vary based on system (see chart 1). These systems include: AI24™, Heatime® & Lely Qwes-H and Lely Qwes-HR; ALPRO™; AfiAct™; HeatSeeker II; Legend; Rescounter II+; and Select Detect™. Four of the systems (ALPRO, AfiAct, HeatSeeker and Rescounter II+) are part of a total herd management system, while the remaining three are stand alone heat detection systems. In



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enti fy heats, lameness and health concerns

e nt by motion addition, ALPRO, Heatime and Select Detect measure motion in all directions (up and down, side to side and steps), along with velocity and intensity of movements, while the other systems utilize pedometers to measure steps. Motion-based systems measure activity in different ways. Some systems use battery powered pedometers or neck collars that transmit activity data continuously to a receiver. Other activity monitoring systems store data for periodic download when a cow comes within range of a receiver or reader. Battery life indicators and warranties assure the best possible performance with these systems. Producers can analyze activity reports on an individual cow basis, a group basis or a whole-herd basis. Activity monitoring also can assist producers with decisions regarding reproduction, nutrition, health issues, milk production and culling. Heztel adds that motion monitoring won’t catch all problems, but is useful for making more timely decisions.

oring n the years

Knowing when to breed

Some neck collars measure motion in all directions along with velocity and intensity of that motion Spikes in activity help indentify changes to a daily routine and pinpoint their cause

Activity monitoring systems are becoming more appealing to dairy producers (see sidebar on Producer perspectives) as an alternative to observational heat detection and synchronization programs. Motion monitoring systems work 24 hours a day so cow information is collected at night when labor isn’t available for visual observation. The activity data is available for viewing anytime. Nebel agrees that the biggest benefit of heat detection activity monitoring systems is its ability to spot cows in heat no matter what time of the day. “Nearly 65 percent of heats are expressed at night,” he says. “Cows in heat are approximately 2.75 more times active than normal, and activity monitoring systems offer 24/7 monitoring to identify those high activity cows.” “Most commonly, producers are utilizing activity monitoring for heat detection as spikes in activity are easy to identify and correlate to heat,” states Hetzel. “These systems are a management tool for dairymen to make better decisions to breed or not to breed their cows.” Normally a cow takes 200-300 steps per hour. If the number of steps per hour increases to a range of 500-800, you then have an indication that a cow is in heat. Another advantage of activity monitoring systems is the ability to identify low activity cows that may have health issues such as ketosis, clinical mastitis or lameness. Some programs even measure lying time, lying/eating ratios or lying bouts (how often cows lie on one side or the other) and can also track anestrous or cystic cows.

Research shows additional benefits A study conducted on a 400-cow Israeli herd with pedometers appeared in the 2006 Canadian Veterinary Journal. The research evaluated the efficiency of pedometers in early detection of


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m a i n

a rt i c l e



read range

software list


monitor placement leg/neck

Select Detect AI24 Heatime Lely ALPRO Legend AFI Rescounter HeatSeeker II

Select Sires Semex; MicroDairy Logic; Lely DeLaval Animart Afikim WestfaliaSurge BouMatic

300 ft 8 ft 450 ft 450 ft 1,800 ft 4 ft walk through walk through

active list to manage active list star system list to manage list to manage list and alerts list and alerts

3D 3D 2D 2D 2D 2D 2D

neck neck neck leg leg leg/neck neck

Table 1: Features of the heat detection systems currently available in the United States

lameness by measuring the correlation of pedometric activity with clinical cases of lameness. While pedometric activity did not detect all cases of developing lameness, the study showed that a pedometer is a valuable tool for early discovery and treatment of developing lameness in about half the number of cases in a herd. Another study done in the late 1990s in Florida by Penn State researchers, showed that activity monitoring with pedometers lead to earlier detection (7 or 8 days) of ketosis, left displaced abomasums and digestive disorders. More recent research from California Polytechnic State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison have shown substantial increases in pregnancy rates and that activity monitoring

systems are accurately predicting the timing of breeding. Nebel says that there are more studies to come focusing on the role of activity monitoring in identifying low activity cows.

Costs and considerations The costs of activity monitoring systems vary considerably depending on the system, operation needs, barn size, cables and software. For instance, for basic heat detection only 40 to 50 percent of the herd needs to wear motion devices at a time. Nebel says that producers should compare the cost of activity monitoring against the results of their current reproductive program to understand how the investment may affect profitability.

The readers or antennas for some systems are located in the parlor



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Hetzel believes the biggest considerations are associated with improved estrus detection, labor savings, and earlier detection of sick or lame cows. Nebel recommends that producers talk with other dairymen about experiences with different systems and keep in mind a learning curve that requires good product support from the company.

Endless possibilities Both Hetzel and Nebel believe activity monitoring will play a larger role on U.S. dairy herds in the future. “I have heard very positive feedback on the systems in place in the U.S. and they are meeting customer expectations,” says Hetzel. “They aren’t meant to solve problems, but assist greatly in management and reduce injections, drug cost and labor. While Ovsych will still be needed with some cows that don’t show activity spikes, the favorable return on investment and increased fertility rate can have a huge impact on the industry.” Nebel says activity monitoring systems can lead to pleasing results both in individual herds and for the dairy business overall. “In five years, there could be up to 30 percent of herds in the U.S. with these systems, and they could help even the best herds improve pregnancy rate (PR) by two percent,” he says. “Ultimately, activity monitoring programs could help improve the national PR average from 16 percent to 20 percent.” Most importantly, Nebel encourages producers to be patient and realize there is a learning curve when starting a new program; establish protocols for program use before implementation; and customize the system to their operation. l

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Activity monitoring – another set of eyes 24 hours a day/7 days a week

Producer perspectives Activity monitoring is becoming more popular here in the U.S. for various reasons. Two producers share their experiences with and results from cow activity monitoring systems. text Amy Ryan


onnie Loehr is the herd manager for Summit Dairy, a 740-cow dairy in Plymouth, Wisconsin and Scott Seward is the owner of Sewards Folly Registered Holsteins, a 400-cow dairy in Pine River, Wisconsin. Both dairies have installed activity monitoring systems. What system do you use? Loehr: ”We have been on the Select Detect heat monitoring system since June 30, 2010 in an effort to reduce our synchronization drug costs. We purchased 350 neck collars and each cow receives a collar at 20 days in milk. We remove them after the second pregnancy check, but if we are running low on collars, we remove collars earlier. Our reader is located in the return alley and reaches all groups except the fresh pen.” Seward: “We installed the AfiMilk pedometer system in October of 2009 when we built our new parlor. We currently have one pedometer for every

cow and this pedometer is read by an antenna at each station in the milking parlor. Pedometers are only removed during the dry period.” Why did you choose an activity monitoring system? Loehr: “We used the system just for heat detection at first, but now it has helped us identify increased activity in other areas as well. For instance, we really were seeing activity increase when cows were moved to new pens, so we now leave them with the original group they enter after calving to decrease the stress of pen moves. In addition, lame cows exhibit a different spike (in motion) and are now easier to identify and treat.” Seward: “Our system is used as part of a full herd management program. Since we had a system to record milk weights in our previous parlor, I wanted to continue monitoring daily milk weights when we moved to our new parlor. It also

Using activity monitoring systems helps with reducing drug costs

Connie Loehr: “Also lame cows exhibit a different spike in motion”

monitors milk conductivity. The system’s ability to help with heat detection was another draw and we use it to record all of our breeding information.” What are the biggest advantages of using activity monitoring systems? Loehr: “The biggest advantage we have seen with this system when compared with using a synchronization program is 24-hour heat detection. It also identifies anestrous and cystic cows, so we can develop solutions for them.” Seward: “This system is really another set of eyes for us. Even though I walk the cows each day, this system helps identify spikes in activity that may be missed when we aren’t with the cows. It shows average activity and spikes, which signify a difference in activity for a cow.” What are the results or return on investment thus far? Loehr: “We see more hard count pregnancies every week and that, coupled with the reduced drug costs help pay for the system. I definitely wouldn’t go back to synchronized breeding because we don’t miss the injections and we like having 24-hour monitoring.” Seward: “Our pregnancy rate has increased by five percent on average. Our treatment costs are reduced as the system’s milk monitoring feature helps us more quickly identify and treat cows with mastitis. l


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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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D R .




Dr. Chris Booth with Dairy Doctors Veterinary Services in Wisconsin discusses the keys to monitoring and optimizing fresh cow health.

Develop a specific plan to monitor and evaluate fresh cow health

Fresh cow program audit H

ow are your fresh cows performing? You probably have a general idea, but have you taken time to evaluate your fresh cow program recently? While many dairy operations differ in their approaches to handling fresh cows, there are three key areas to monitor during your fresh cow examination program audit: the Plan, the People and the Performance. The first critical step in monitoring fresh cows is developing a plan to be followed by everyone. This plan needs to create a process that effectively identifies cows to be monitored, examines these cows and administers therapies according to treatment protocols. Next, it needs a records system to track disease incidence and therapies. Finally, this plan needs to contain management tools like procedures for handling of cows, pen

movements, bunk space requirements, stocking density expectations and goals for reducing headlock time. The second step in a fresh cow program audit is to review the performance of the people evaluating fresh cows. Unfortunately, this part of many fresh cow programs is overlooked and leads to unsatisfactory results. This people evaluation requires working cowside with personnel to determine the understanding and competency of all individuals in effectively applying your fresh cow plan. Focus on identifying areas that require improvement and determining ways to provide further training. This is also a time to determine if the staff has all of the proper equipment, facilities and tools necessary to effectively and efficiently carry out the fresh cow plan. The third step in a fresh cow audit is to

review performance. Identify key indicators or monitoring points that will allow you to proactively identify fresh cow program issues and make timely corrections when needed. Examples include pounds of milk at first test, incidence of various fresh cow diseases, or percentage of culls in the first 60 days in milk. Make it a routine to record these data points so that trends can be identified month to month and year to year. Proficiency in fresh cow examination programs takes practice and requires regular input and review from herd managers and your veterinarian. Improved fresh cow health and performance positively impacts a dairy’s bottom line. Thus, evaluating your fresh cow program periodically is key to optimizing their health and your profits.


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Seven Oaks Dairy Richard Watson is adapting a New Zealand style grazing dairy to the U.S. Number of cows: Number of acres: Production: Cell count:




850 550 acres in grazing 50-60 lbs/head/day around 300,000

New Zealand dairymen adapt their management to create grazing dairies in Georgia

Kiwi style dairies


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Although stored feed and irrigation are necessities at certain times of the year, New Zealand dairymen combine their management and forage growing know-how to create grazing dairies in Georgia. text Becky Mills


f you are looking for a quick, no fail way to make big bucks, starting a New Zealand type grazing dairy in Georgia probably isn’t it. However, if you’re flexible, grazing can become a lower cost, profitable alternative to a conventional confinement dairy. “This is not a New Zealand system. It is a Georgia system,” emphasizes Waynesboro dairyman, Richard Watson. “The biggest mistake you can make is taking a cookie-cutter approach and trying to make a New Zealand system work here.” After working with forages in the deep South, the New Zealand native felt a New Zealand-type dairy, fueled by an intensive rotational grazing system rather than stored feed, would fit well in the Southeast. With an investor’s backing, Watson bought two separate farms in Georgia and began milking at both from ’08 to ’09. The learning experiences came hard and fast.

manager for the second operation. He says, “The dairy industry has been so successful in New Zealand that the land that is suitable for dairies is already in dairies. So, entrepreneurs cast their eyes elsewhere.” Like Watson, Niezen learned quickly. “In New Zealand, ryegrass is a true perennial. Some of the pastures haven’t been renewed in 50 years. Here, it didn’t survive August. It needs cool nights.” Now, on both dairies, their grazing rotations include Tifton 85 bermudagrass, a high quality warm season perennial, warm season annuals, and rye and/or ryegrass in the cool season.

Waynesboro, Georgia, dairy producer Richard Watson is adapting a New Zealand style grazing dairy to the U.S.

At both operations, the forages get a boost from center pivot irrigation systems. However, both producers say either home grown or purchased feed is a necessity. Watson uses corn silage, a corn and soy pellet, cottonseed and citrus pulp. Niezen supplements with corn silage, baleage and concentrate feed.

Holstein-jersey cross cows Watson tried to find as many HolsteinJersey cross cows as he could. However,

Michael McFarland, manager of Seven Oaks Dairy, takes his turn in the milking parlor

Ryegrass needs cool nights Watson started with an annual forage system, millet in the summer and annual ryegrass in the winter. While both are high quality prolific forage producers, the combination left large gaps in both spring and fall. “We weren’t set up to grow our own supplemental feed and we had to purchase a lot of it. Cow condition went down. It was a mess – low milk production and high feed costs,” he says. Another New Zealand operation, Greenstone Grazing Group, L.P., started milking in its first Georgia dairy in 2006. When Greenstone started a second farm, they hired John Niezen, who was managing a dairy in New Zealand, as Pholo left: Cows are brought in from a paddock for milking at Seven Oaks Dairy


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he was in a hurry to get as many cows milking as possible. As a result, he ended up with a number of U.S.-bred Holsteins. He found they were not a good match for a grazing dairy. “New Zealand breeds smaller animals that operate on forages. They have higher levels of fertility and lower cull rates. The U.S. cows are bred for corn-based dairies, high milk output and they are not bred to walk.” While he had to rely on purchased replacements, Watson now has his breeding program to the point where he can supply most of the 1,500 cows he

needs for both his dairies. His choice is still a Holstein-Jersey cross. While New Zealand cows may not have the production capacity of U.S. cows, Niezen leans toward New Zealand genetics in his Holstein-Jersey cross program.

Calving in early winter

Michael McFarland, manager of Seven Oaks Dairy

Intensive rotational grazing is the constant

Dairy producer John Niezen uses a rising plate meter to measure the amount of available forage in the dairy’s grazing paddocks

Even though Richard Watson and John Niezen modified New Zealand type systems to fit their Georgia operations, the basics of intensive rotational grazing stayed the same. Pie-shaped grazing systems made up of five to 15 acre paddocks mean cows can be rotated easily. The goal is to keep young, vegetative top quality forage in front of the cows. Rest periods are also built into the rotation to give the paddocks time to recover and re-grow between grazing. Niezen says, “In New Zealand, dairymen have fine tuned their ability to hit the pastures at the maximum of quality and quantity. We use those tools and


tricks here. The Louisville dairy manager monitors his pastures weekly. If the grass is growing too fast he pulls paddocks out of the rotation and makes baleage. If they are growing too slowly he feeds supplement. Niezen also uses a device imported from New Zealand called a rising plate meter to gauge the amount of available forage in a paddock. “It is a very important tool,” says Dennis Hancock, University of Georgia extension forage specialist. “It allows you to have a forage inventory. If you have 30 paddocks, that is the same as having 30 feed bins. But these feed bins are growing and need to be monitored periodically.” At Watson’s Waynesboro dairy, he relies on his experience, as well as that of his staff, to know when to move cows. “We know if there is a ton and a half of dry matter in the paddock it is enough for 500 cows for one break.” Niezen adds, “If you get your pasture management right, everything else falls in place.”

Both Watson and Niezen find seasonal breeding helps match cow needs with forage production. While both have a fall and spring calving herd, Watson is pushing his cows to calve in the early winter. Then, cows are dry in the fall when forage production is at its lowest. Niezen is currently calving the majority of his 650 cow herd in January and February. However, he is also leaning toward more of a fall calving season. Georgia’s hot and humid summers remain a challenge for the cows and the forages but the dairymen find that irrigation systems can help both forages and cows. In addition to the nozzles that water the forages, the systems are also fitted with a pipe that delivers a cooling mist to the cows.

Swing over milking parlor The dairymen also adjust milking times during the summer to milk in the cooler Cows wait to enter the milk parlor at Seven Oaks Dairy

For more information: plans for a falling plate meter, also used to measure available forage, can be found at: www. For more information on a rising plate meter, see: Jen Quip, or Farmworks, www.farmworkssystems.


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part of the day. Watson and Niezen did discover there are aspects of New Zealand grazing dairies that do work in Georgia. Niezen says their total cash investment includes a milking parlor, a small equipment shed and two open shelters for baby calves. The equipment shed houses a 160 H.P. tractor and implements. Their swing 48 open sided milking parlor is common in New Zealand. Niezen says two people can milk 300 to 400 cows an hour. As for the open sides, he comments, “For the most part it works really well but one day last winter we did have milk freeze in the pipeline.”

Production and economics Niezen and two employees are the total workforce. “The cows do most of the work.” “Our cull rate is far lower on a grazing dairy,” says Niezen. “It is 10 to 15 percent here.” At his dairies, Watson says, “When we have grass the economics are pretty compelling. In the summer we can probably feed a cow for $1.00 a day. That is with six lbs. of pelleted feed in the parlor.” Still, even during October when they

Hay storage at Seven Oaks Dairy

were in a forage lull, manager Michael McFarland says, “Our feed costs are probably $3.20 to $4.00 a day now but we can stand that for two months.” Watson says they still make money even when the cows are toward the end of lactation and are only making 20 to 23 lbs. of milk per head per day. He says his cows should average 55 to 60 lbs. of milk this year and the economics have him eyeing expansion. Niezen says, “We are working on two cows per irrigated acre and 10,000 to 12,000 lbs. of milk per cow per year.” He

says over a one year period he feeds slightly over one ton of grain per cow and slightly less than one ton of corn silage, which costs $120 per ton of dry matter. He also says each cow probably eats one large round bale of purchased hay. He says, “There are going to be a lot more of these dairies.” He says there are more New Zealanders scouting potential locations for new dairies now and also says, “Americans are going to adapt them.” l


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In the Po-valley of Italy many producers build typical barns for extra ventilation during the hot summer.

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m a n a g e m e n t

It’s important for employees to understand the nature of the dairy business

Building employees within your business As your dairy farm grows, the number of people needed to manage and maintain the operation grows, too. Developing employees as your dairy expands can help you hold and improve profits. Consider it your own “farm team”. text Francisco San Emeterio; Ph.D; MBA Dairy Business International, LLC


s dairy operations become larger entities, they require interaction from more people within the same team. Larger dairy entities are usually classified as dairies with over 200 cows in which the owners of the dairy can not handle all of the daily responsibilities on their own. As we see the increasing number of dairy operations with more than 200 cows, more and more people are involved in all of the activities that are required to ship as many pounds of milk as possible. This (regardless of the denominator of measure in this ratio) is critical to the cash flow of the operation. As employees get familiar and comfortable with the dairy operation, they become more engaged in their work. It’s only natural that some employees will reach a point where their ambitions and goals allow them take steps into managerial roles at the operation. When you see such opportunities, be there with the proper training, information and resources so these employees can continue to grow. Your business will benefit by rewarding the employee that are properly motivated and allowing them to enjoy more responsibilities. Many owners often ask “how do I know if an employee has potential ambitions?” Motivated employees will start to ask



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how they’re doing. Such employees ask how they are doing because of a need to do new things and show you they are committed to your operation. A motivated worker will likely demonstrate such commitment on a daily basis so you can tell they want to grow with your operation. You now have a strong indication you have an employee willing to learn new activities, take on more responsibilities and grow as a potential middle manager at your dairy.

Milk price market It’s important for employees to understand the nature of the dairy business and to grasp that cash flow is dependent on the sale of fluid milk and specially milk price in the market, “The greatest contributor to income”, but other income sources also contribute

to overall income. Make sure employees understand that milk prices have large fluctuations. In many cases employees at dairies come from developing economies in which change in some commodities only goes one way (up of course) but they can see that in free market economies (like the US economy) commodities can go either direction, up or down. A great way to relate to your employees is to provide real life market examples. Since many employees own a car; fuel prices become a good example for people to understand a free market economy. Part of a free market economy is the fluctuation in gas prices throughout the year. In this gas price example, your employees can see and feel for themselves the effects of prices going up and down as they fill their vehicles with gas. If you already have developed an employee that has now stepped up into greater responsibilities, it is very important to provide constant feedback. Your new manager needs two or three measurements that impact your operations profit presented to them in a constant basis. Keep parameters simple and understandable. These measurements should relate to

Table 1: Suggested list of economically important dairy measurements




• Bulk tank SCC • Cows in the tank • Cows off the tank • Loads with high bacteria count (depending on your milk quality premium) • New mastitis cases per week • Recurrent mastitis cases per week • Milk flow • Seconds in low flow • Milk in the first two minutes • Number of reattachments

• Days in the close up pen • Lame cows in the close up pen • Dry matter intake • Number of times the feed bunk is without feed

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Be there with proper training, information and resources to help your employees continue to grow

daily activities that they perform at the dairy. A lot of times we measure performance with complicated ratios that are difficult to understand because the definitions of these ratios are not the same for everyone. In all of these cases, (some options are listed in the table below), the ratios can be presented as a simple statistics (that in the future will make the numerator or a denominator) for any ratio you may want to compute. In most cases simple counts are enough to understand


performance over time. The following table presents some examples of parameters for different areas of the operation.

Pride in their work When you are going through this, pick two or three items from the table that may fit your operation or the department for the employee moving into a managerial role. Introducing two or three statistics will help employees understand performance. As time goes

by, you can introduce more parameters to measure. Avoid introducing new numbers to quickly and the numbers need to be readily available. These are just a few items to think about when promoting employees. By helping your employees grow into new responsibilities, you can help grow your business. Encouraging all employees to take pride in their work and contribute to the success of your business can be accomplished by helping them develop goals for their work. l


Fresh cows



•N  umber of fresh cows • Dead on arrivals • Twins • C ows with high risk birth • C ows that received support (regardless of the degree) during the calving process

• Cows with upset stomachs • Milk fevers • Displaced abomasums • Ketosis • Dry matter intake • Lame cows in the fresh pen • Cows without a full udder

• New calves • Bottles with good colostrum quality • Uncovered umbilical cords • Dead at less than 7 days of age • Dead at more than 7 days of age • Diarrhea • Pneumonias • Calves off feed

• Breeding • New pregnant animals after vet check • Abortions • Services per cow


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Willis Plank joins CRV Willis Plank, Hillsdale, MI, has joined CRV as genetic consultant for the Michigan, Indiana and Ohio area. A native of Michigan, Willis grew up on a sheep and cattle farm

that has treasured raising livestock for the past 50 years. A graduate of Michigan State University with a degree in Agricultural Business, Willis has held several roles within the livestock industry, most recently as a livestock feed account manager. “Willis has demonstrated his ability to identify customer needs and to figure out the best solutions to help them,” mentioned Pat Goheen, Michigan area sales manager. “His analytical approach to problem solving will be a benefit to producers in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio in the role of genetic consultant.” In his spare time, Willis spends time with his family, as well as raising and showing rabbits. And, Willis serves as an official judge with the American Rabbit Breeders Association.

Looking for an internship? Are you a college student looking for a summer internship to grow your skills and do some career exploration? If you think a growing and dynamic A.I. company would be a good fit for you, send your current resume to CRV is a global cattle improvement organization that exists to improve quality of life. CRV’s USA headquarters in Madison, WI was established in 2009. Because we genuinely care, we pay attention to your farm, industry, and the general society.

Diverse pedigrees for December proofs CRV is celebrating the addition of new bulls with diverse genetic backgrounds to continue developing the wide portfolio available to fulfill our customer needs. A familiar sire stack with low estimated future inbreeding (EFI) is found with daughter-proven bull, Aurora Ormsby (Shottle x Oman). At Coby 72, daughter of Ormsby

a low 4.3 EFI, Ormsby shows strong numbers and very balanced type and production proof similar to his sire, Shottle. However, compared to Shottle, Ormsby shows positive improvement in Daughter Pregnancy Rate (DPR). Two new polled bulls join the genomic InSire ranks, De Vrendt Paulus rc (Mitey-P x Lawn Boy) and Delta Foxtrot rc (Mitey-P

x O Man). Both bulls add to ease of management and produce healthy animals. Please take note that Paulus RC is homozygous for the polled trait, meaning all of his offspring will be born without horns. CRV brings out another exciting Man-OMan son, Lowlands Highlight, out of a Goldwyn dam. Hightlight is an outstanding calving ease bull with high components, producing big frames and welded on udders. To add some diversity to the InSire bull bloodlines, Delta Edison (Peinzer Boy x Paramount) makes his debut. Expect Edison to improve locomotion and feet and legs. US bred InSires now available include Kellercrest Bronco Loren (Bronco x Shottle) with low EFI and outstanding milk and protein production. Honeycrest Gloss Racey (Russell x Bolton) is a feet and leg expert with sky high component percentages. A solid type proof and improved udders comes with InSire, Brandt-View Cornelius (Super x Colby). Rounding out the group is WindsorManor ZP Redford (Robust x Planet), with over 2,000 pounds of milk and a strong udder composite.


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Intensely manage to achieve reproductive goals

Optimizing heifer reproduction The goal of a replacement heifer program is for heifers to reach Series about reproduction Getting animals pregnant is critical to maintaining herd longevity and profitability. This second article in the reproduction series highlights heifer rearing goals and the keys to optimizing reproduction.

the proper age and weight to successfully enter a reproductive

Part 1: Transition cows Part 2: Heifers Part 3: Lactating cows

warrant more attention to achieve the best possible results.

ntensive heifer management reduces costs by making the most efficient use of time and resources. Careful attention to nutrition pays dividends by producing heifers ready to breed sooner, at weights and body conditions optimal for successful insemination. Dr. Joseph Dalton, Extension Dairy Specialist with the University of Idaho, says that while many producers focus on nutrition in their lactating cows, heifers are often neglected. “For heifers to enter the milking herd quickly, producers must subject them to A.I. at a younger age,” he says. “To achieve this, developing heifers must be well managed and in a sound nutrition program.” The best way to have heifers calve between 22 to 24 months is to pinpoint age at first conception. “Heifers are an investment over time that doesn’t pay dividends until first calving,” says Dalton. “If producers can reduce the amount of dollars invested with a younger age at conception and calving, they enter the herd faster and generate returns sooner.” Holstein heifers should have an average daily gain of approximately 1.8-1.9 pounds. At 1.8-1.9 lb per day, heifers will reach 800 pounds and be ready for breeding between 13 to 14 months of


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and further the goals of the lactating herd. Heifer rearing may

text Amy Ryan



program. Well developed heifers should effectively conceive


age. Heifers conceiving at 14 months and 800 pounds should calve at 22-23 months and weigh approximately 1,250 pounds at calving. A body condition score around 3.5 following calving is another good benchmark for a heifer program. Generally, heifers should stand 54 inches or taller after first calving, but Dalton says height depends heavily on genetics coupled with the nutritional program. Finally, developing a uniform heifer group limits additional challenges. Research has shown that heifers calving beyond 25 months of age often become overconditioned resulting in calving problems and reduced milk production during first lactation.

Ready for breeding Dalton cites several factors that affect a heifer’s ability to achieve optimum weight and height for breeding. The first factor, their overall health and vigor, develops from day one with colostrum and continues as the heifers grow. Next is nutrition. “Producers really need to focus on nutrition that promotes growth, calving at an optimum age and entering the milking herd,” Dalton says. “If producers desire heifers to

calve before 24 months of age, they must emphasize the nutritional requirements to (produce) gains 1.8 to 1.9 pounds or more per day.” Dalton stresses the importance of producers involving either their lactating cow nutritionist or a heifer nutrition consultant to develop a ration that optimizes growth and achieves an ideal age at conception and age at calving. The third factor is health management. Animals that exhibit chronic health issues never measure up to their peers nor optimize performance at any stage of life. Culling is the best option for sick or underperforming heifers.

The role of A.I. While many dairy operations breed their cows A.I., Dalton says A.I. is under utilized in heifers, even though it has proven advantageous for various reasons. “First and foremost, heifers are the most genetically advanced individuals in dairy herds, so using natural service or a beef bull for breeding this group, is like losing a generation of genetics,” Dalton states. “Also, there is no data (genetic) when utilizing natural service; an increased risk of venereal disease; and the safety factor.”

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An A.I. pen is the best way to get a group of heifers pregnant at the same time, Dalton says. An efficient way to uniformly breed a group of heifers at one time is to inject prostaglandin the first day the heifers enter the A.I. pen. The majority of heifers (close to 65 percent) will show heat and can be inseminated right away.

Heifers not showing heat within eleven to fourteen days can receive a second prostaglandin injection and be inseminated once in heat. Good heat detection is important. Another popular synchronization method is the five day Controlled Internal Drug Release (CIDR) program. A CIDR is inserted for 5 days, and a

A reproductive program should develop heifers that achieve the desired age at conception

prostaglandin injection is administered when the CIDR is removed. Then 72 hours later, heifers are bred and receive GnRH.

Evaluating heifer A.I. Monitoring heifer A.I. results is important. “Heifers should be reviewed like lactating cows to ensure that pregnancies are generated in a steady supply throughout the year,” he says. “Eligibility to enter the A.I. pen is similar to the voluntary waiting period for lactating cows and then 21-day pregnancy rates can be used thereafter to monitor heifer A.I. results.” Since 21-day pregnancy rates represent the number of heifers pregnant out of the number of eligible heifers, evaluate the program over short and long term periods to determine success and find areas to improve. If the evaluation reveals concerns, there are several areas to consider. Considerations include the nutrition program, including feedstuffs, ability to deliver feed, growth rate, and age upon entry into the A.I. pen. To address growth and development and age at entry to the A.I. pen, Dalton suggests producers weigh heifers in order to know weights at certain ages, and easily identify shortfalls in growth. If all checks out well, then additional evaluation of the inseminator or other conditions are warranted.

Keys to success A heifer reproductive program should develop heifers that achieve the desired age at conception. It starts with intensively managing heifers with a nutritional program that optimizes the point they are eligible for A.I., monitoring pregnancies through regular pregnancy checking and evaluating the program results with the 21-day pregnancy rate. “Establishing realistic goals for the type of heifer desired and when she needs to be bred are the first steps in a successful A.I. program,” Dalton says. “Intensively managing heifers through nutrition, utilizing A.I. and synchronization and then monitoring results really are the keys to efficiently filling your herd with profitable individuals.” l


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Innovative program helps dairy science students become “barn smart”

Dairy Challenge raises the bar In 2001, some dairy industry visionaries brainstormed and collaborated about a contest that could help college students develop practical, hands-on experiences to meet the challenge of developing students’ on-farm evaluation skills. text JoDee Sattler


he U.S. dairy industry craved young people who were armed with keen cow sense, strong financial aptitude and tactful communication skills. But a broad base of dairy leadership recognized that some university dairy science graduates lacked the critical business consulting skills needed

to help dairy producers move their businesses forward. Concurrently, the lack of business training among recent graduates appeared more acute as many U.S. dairy producers were evolving from a “way of life” mentality to a businesssavvy management mindset and were

Kristin Barlass Paul learned how to troubleshoot farm records

demanding greater skills from their consultants. To help develop well-trained students, the North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge (NADIC) was created by the industry leaders, which, included representation from producers, nutritionists, academia, A.I. and more. The “Dairy Challenge” provides studentparticipants with a wealth of dairy farm data. They review information before setting foot on an operating dairy farm. While at the dairy, they conduct a “farm scene investigation” – evaluating a variety of factors that may hinder the dairy from reaching optimal performance. Evaluations range from milking procedures to stocking density Dairy Challenge students evaluate all animal groups – from baby calves to mature lactating and dry cows



CMUS06_DairyChallenges 24


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to cash flow to total mixed ration palatability. Following the on-farm evaluation, team members develop a comprehensive list of strengths, weaknesses and recommendations for nutrition, reproduction, milking procedures, animal health, housing and financial management to help resolve bottlenecks in that dairy business. Participants present recommendations to a panel of judges and respond to the judges’ questions. Judges evaluate the presentations on the analysis and recommendations. Some alumni reflected on their Dairy Challenge experiences and shared how the contest empowers today’s students to become tomorrow’s dairy business leaders. Provide a little background about yourself. Brett Denny: “I grew up in Chittenden and Pittsford, Vt. I had no farm background and began my career in computer science. I grew tired of solely doing computer work and was looking for something different, so I applied to Vermont Technical College for dairy farm management. I earned an associate’s degree and then spent two years at the University of Vermont for my bachelor’s degree in community development and applied economics.” Amanda Rasmussen-Durow: “I grew up on a farm near Fergus Falls, Minn., where we raised corn, soybeans, wheat and sunflowers. I graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in animal science and minors in agronomy and applied economics.” John Goeser: “I grew up throughout the Midwest; my dad worked as a dairy Dairy Challenge helped Amanda Rasmussen-Durow with communication

With feed quality playing such a key role in cattle health, students scrutinize rations

nutritionist. I did not grow up on our family’s dairy farm. However, during high school I worked for Goeser Dairy on a daily basis. I earned my bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW).” Melissa Leatherman: “I grew up in Monroe, Wash. My uncle ran our family’s farm and I fed calves and did other chores. I attended Washington State University and majored in animal science; I graduated in 2002.” Kristin Barlass Paul: “I grew up in Janesville, Wis., on a 100-cow Registered Jersey farm. While in college, we expanded the herd to 400 cows. I graduated from UW-Madison in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in dairy science.” What are you doing today? Denny: “Today, I’m Vermont Dairy Herd Improvement Association’s general manager. We provide herd management records to dairy producers.” Durow: “I work with crop and dairy producers in northwest Wisconsin, serving as an associate financial services

officer for AgStar Financial Services. In this position, I help farmers manage their businesses. On farm visits, I work with the client to counsel on their financial position, complete loan and lease applications, and recommend different risk management options, including crop, hail, livestock margin and life insurance.” Goeser: “I’m a dairy nutritionist and provide technical support and dairy consulting at Vita Plus Corp., Madison Wis. My core responsibilities are twofold – enable our Vita Plus team (including dealers) with nutrition/management/ agronomic tools to better advise dairies in making profitable decisions; and directly, or in a supporting role, advise dairy producers.” Leatherman: “I work for Genex Cooperative as a national account manager in the Northwest. In this role, I oversee see sales and provide consulting services to large dairies.” Paul: “I’m director of field services for American Jersey Cattle Association. I work with a team of 12 field staff members to provide services and support to Registered Jersey breeders


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m a n a g e m e n t

across the United States. Also, I provide assistance with registrations and identification records, cattle sales and milk marketing.” What skills did you gain by participating in Dairy Challenge? Denny: “There were lots of practical applications I took away from Dairy Challenge, many of which solidified everything I was already learning in our program. I learned a lot – from hands-on farm evaluation skills to teamwork to critical-thinking skills to presentation skills and public speaking.” Durow: “Asking good questions – as farmers’ answers depend on how well you ask questions. Time management – to prioritize tasks needed to be done on the farm, proper evaluation of information gathered from the farm visit and computer data, and preparing a professional presentation. Specialization – the most successful dairy business managers have a team of advisers helping them manage their businesses.” Goeser: “I learned how to better present a business proposal, accept critical feedback and ‘think on my feet’.” Leatherman: I learned a great deal about digesting records and information. I also learned how to access each part of the dairy. Preparing and presenting ideas and suggestions to producers was also a valuable lesson. Paul: I gained troubleshooting, teamwork and records analysis skills. How did Dairy Challenge prepare you for the working world? Denny: “Dairy Challenge provides the John Goeser likes the networking potential of Dairy Challenge

Students use many senses – mostly sight, touch and smell – as they evaluate farm inputs

ability to work with others to solve problems and justify decisions. Also, it helps build evaluation, critical thinking, presentation and public speaking skills.” Durow: “The program gave me an opportunity to work with farmers on improving their operations – exactly what I do today.” Goeser: “NAIDC helped me understand how to better work with a diverse team, prioritize management suggestions and opportunities, present the proposal in a delicate fashion as to not offend the owner, and manage my time under an intense work environment.” Leatherman: “It taught me how to listen to producers’ concerns, digest information, access facilities and operations, and present my ideas in a professional manner.” Paul: “It gave me a chance to troubleshoot farm records with a team of peers, which was a really valuable experience.” Why should college students participate in Dairy Challenge? Denny: “Dairy Challenge gives students the chance to visit some very wellmanaged farms and provides a forum to gain critical skills that they will use daily when they enter the work force.” Durow: “Dairy Challenge provides a



CMUS06_DairyChallenges 26


greater understanding of the complexities of managing a dairy operation. Through the contest, participants work with others as a team of advisers to find ways for a dairy producer to improve the business, increase profitability and progress the business to meet the producer’s goals. The most rewarding aspect of Dairy Challenge was candidly discussing our presentation with the farmer after the contest and he described how some of our ideas would be applied to his operation.” Goeser: “NAIDC gives students an experience that’s similar to giving a dairy business proposal in a competitive environment. The networking potential is outstanding and employers look to this event as a chance to view potential hires in action.” Leatherman: “Dairy Challenge prepares students for the real world – no matter what they end up doing. Students must work in a team, digest information, prepare presentations and provide solid, valuable suggestions.” Paul: “It’s a great learning opportunity that will help prepare dairy science students for real-world situations.” l To learn more about NAIDC, visit

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Trouw Nutrition adds two new members to its technical support team Ernsberger takes over as Product & Technical Manager

Shipp begins as new Swine Product & Technical Manager

Dr. Richard Ernsberger is the new Dairy Product & Technical Manager for Trouw Nutrition USA. Before coming to Trouw Nutrition, “Dr. Rich” grew up on an Indiana farm. He attended Purdue University where he received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree. After graduation, Dr. Ernsberger moved to Wisconsin where he practiced as a food animal veterinarian. His practice work included dairy and beef, herd health including preventive medicine, reproduction, and individual cow treatment. In 2008, Dr. Ernsberger left private practice to work as a technical service veterinarian, concentrating on calf investigation, and developing on farm treatment and vaccination protocols, and standard operating procedures. Dr. Ernsberger is currently a member of National Mastitis Council, American Association of Bovine Practitioners, Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners, Professional Dairy Producers Association, Dairy Business Association and Dairy Calf and Heifer Association. Rich and his wife, Linda, currently reside in Wisconsin.

Dr. Tommy Shipp is the new Swine Product & Technical Manager for Trouw Nutrition USA. “Dr. Tommy” is an Alabama native and has a BS in Agricultural Education from Auburn University. After receiving his undergraduate degree, Dr. Shipp taught high school vocational agriculture before attending graduate school and pursuing an MS in swine nutrition from Mississippi State University. Before returning to graduate school, he was a swine farm manager for Hanor in North Carolina. He finished his PhD. in swine nutrition from Mississippi State University in 1997. Dr. Shipp was employed with DuCoa/Trouw Nutrition from 1997 to 2003 and served as Director of Swine Technical Services. He then worked at ADM Animal Health and Nutrition as Director of Swine Marketing and Technical Services from 2003-2006. In 2006, he joined Cape Fear Consulting, LLC as a Nutritionist. While working at Cape Fear, Dr. Shipp’s responsibilities included nutrition and production consulting for large swine operations located in the U.S., Mexico, Poland and Romania. Dr. Shipp and his wife, Tracy, currently reside in North Carolina.

Trouw Nutrition’s Customer Service Survey 2011 Trouw Nutrition would like to take the time to thank our customers for filling out our Agri Business Survey 2011. Your feedback is important to us and helps us take specific steps to improve our business. In the survey, we asked in what areas you would like to see Trouw Nutrition improve.

From the responses, we found that providing highly qualified technical support is very important to you. We have taken your feedback and are improving our skills, experience, and relationships. Trouw is your resource for innovative solutions!

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

CMUS06_TrouwCompanyNews 27


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rep o rt

High-spirited Jocko son also the bull “most sold abroad” two years in a row

‘Millionaire’ Paramount continues productive ways Ten year old Delta Paramount recently produced his millionth straw of semen. Thanks to a combination of large quantities of milk, strong udders and sound feet and legs, the popularity of this Jocko Besne son continues to be very high, in both the Netherlands and abroad. text Inge van Drie


elta Paramount is now a ‘millionaire’. At the CRV Cow-Expo in Den Bosch, The Netherlands, CRV celebrated the production of the millionth straw of semen from its Delta Paramount bull. “That feels very special for us. Just compare it to dairy farmer with a 100,000 kg cow,” says Wouter Steenhuis, bull production manager for CRV in Giekerk. The production of the millionth dose is even more unusual because so much sexed semen is sold from Paramount. Sexed semen requires production of more semen cells than for conventional semen.

spirited bull, a bull that you’ve always got to keep an eye on,” Steenhuis says. The breeding value of Paramount – he sires almost (+)1500 kg milk – is meanwhile based on a good 19,000 daughters on almost 6,200 farms in the Netherlands and Flanders. (Flanders: parts of Belgium) He scores 109 for udder, feet and legs. His longevity is above average at 454 days. Now that Paramount daughters have calved in numbers, plenty of dairy farmers continue to use Paramount. In the past quarter, Paramount held fifth place in the list of most-used bulls of

High-spirited bull

Art-Acres Ned Boy Tex B (s. Ned Boy)

In spite of his age, according to Steenhuis, Paramount still shows no sign of deterioration. “You would want to have a barn full of bulls like this. Paramount is not an extremely large bull, but he is just well put together. There is still nothing wrong with his libido. He delivers twice a week without fail whether he has to deliver morning, noon or night. That is very unusual at his t age. In that sense he is perhaps like his father Jocko. He (Jocko) was retired off at the age of seventeen.” Although the staffhave been looking after Paramount for six years, they still have to be careful. “Paramount is a high-



CMUS06_CRVFeature 28


Art-Acres Cleitus Tex B (s. Cleitus) Etazon Vienna (s. Mascot) Delta Priscilla (s. Jabot) Delta Heart (s. Fatal) Delta Paramount (s. Jocko)

CRV in the Netherlands and Flanders. For sexed semen he even scores a top three position. “Since his debut, Paramount has always been in the top ten bulls for volume sales in use,” says Gert-Jan van de Bosch, marketing coordinator of CRV. “For a while, he has been the bull most in demand. In any case, Paramount is the bull from which we have sold the most SiryX straws.” Van de Bosch doesn’t have to think for long about the reasons for his popularity. “Paramount is an old bull with modern figures. Just like Kian, Paramount has also delivered the goods. With 99 percent reliability he continues to score highly for NVI and longevity. He produces cows with rock-hard feet and legs, perfect udders and a lot of milk.”

Rock star in Brazil Paramount is also used a great deal outside the Netherlands and Flanders. “Two years in a row, he has undisputedly been the bull most sold abroad. Last year we sold a good 100,000 straws from Paramount,” says marketing assistant Eric Elbers. “We have exported his semen to fifty countries. Brazil and Germany are the biggest customers, followed by the United States and Japan.” Paramount is especially popular in Brazil, declares Elbers, “After the Netherlands, the most Paramount daughters are milked in Brazil.” According to William Tabchoury, dairy manager of CRV Lagoa, “Paramount is a rock star in Brazil. To begin with, semen from Paramount is hardly available in Brazil. That scarcity caused hype; everyone wanted to use it.” Pieter van Goor, head of the breeding program at CRV, looked after Paramount as Delta coordinator. “He was a fairly late Jocko son, but the best that there’s been. So you do just see that a bull that

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the capacity to produce a lot of milk. The contribution of Jocko in that respect has clearly been great,” says Van Goor. At the CRV Cow-Expo in Den Bosch, CRV presented two daughter groups of Paramount. Dairy farmers Bastiaan Vernooy and Arjan van Erp put the groups together. According to Vernooy, his Paramount daughters, “Are sound cows. They stay trim in spite of their high productivity. What is striking is that they are very uniform. In the frame you occasionally come across a rather lighter or heavier cow, but the Paramount daughters have, to a cow, good udders and good feet and legs. They are cows that in spite of their enormous productivity don’t attract attention in the barn.” In Den Bosch, CRV showed a group of Paramount first-calf heifers and a group of second and third calf daughters. “As maiden heifers, Paramounts are sometimes still a little stiff,” Vernooy remarks. “As they get older, they become rounded off, softer. The udders and feet and legs remain good, even into later life.” Vernooy also milks a number of Paramount daughters. “They are perhaps not at all fancy, but in productivity they stand out. Whichever dairy farmer you speak to, you will never hear that they are lacking in productivity,” he says.

Indexes for sons in 2012

Paramount as pictured as a young bull (above) and as an older sire

you use later as a sire of sons can still provide good sons”, he comments. Van Goor recognizes Paramount’s characteristics from his dam’s as well as his sire’s side. Paramount’s mother, Delta Heart (sire Fatal), is descended from Delta Priscilla (sire Jabot) and Etazon Vienna (sire Mascot) from Art-

Acres Cleitus Tex B. From the same family also come such bulls as Delta Sparta, Art-Acres Patron Spock and ArtAcres Win 395. “This family provided sturdy cows with solid frames and udders. You see that coming back clearly with Paramount. It was not such a milkrich family, while Paramount passes on

How his daughters perform is already known, but what about Paramount’s sons? CRV has bred 35 Paramount sons and meanwhile uses Paramount daughters as breeding cows. In June of 2008, CRV used Paramount sons in matings for the first time. The most recent matings by Paramount sons were completed in 2010. Breeding values for Paramount’s first sons are expected to become available in 2012. “Whether Paramount is successful as a sire of sons, remains to be seen,” says Van Goor. “It is certain in any case that he is an extremely valuable bull in our breeding program. You don’t have many bulls like him. If as a dairy farmer you go for certainty, Paramount is a good choice. You know precisely what you are getting.” l


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Breath vapor hangs in the air – a sure sign that winter is here Picture: Harrie van Leeuwen

2012 Jan 15-18: Jan 22-24: Feb 9-11: Feb 14-16: Feb 25: March 7-8: March 13-14: March 20-21: March 26-29: April 3: April 4: April 6: April 13-16:



Cow Management is published six times per

IDFA Dairy Forum 2012, LaQuinta, CA National Mastitis Council 51st Annual Meeting, St. Pete Beach, FL Great Lakes Regional Dairy Conference, Mt. Pleasant, MI World Ag Expo, Tulare, CA Farming Our Future Forum, Craryville, NY Northeast Dairy Producers Conference, Syracuse, NY Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin Annual Business Conference, Madison, WI Dairy Calf and Heifer Association Conference, Visalia, CA NIAA Annual Conference, Denver, CO Dairy Heat Stress Road Show, Stephenville, TX Dairy Heat Stress Road Show, Clovis, NM Dairy Heat Stress Road Show, Tulare, CA NY Spring Dairy Carousel, Syracuse, NY

C a l f h o u sin g an d rep ro d u ct io n ser ies

year by CRV Publishing

Editorial team Publisher Rochus Kingmans Chief editor Jaap van der Knaap Contributing writers Danyel Hosto, Becky Mills, Amy Ryan, Francisco San Emeterio, JoDee Sattler Editing, design and production Sevie Kenyon and CRV Publishing

February 2012 – In our first issue of 2012 we focus on calf housing, namely, the benefits of housing young calves in groups. We will also have the last feature in our series about reproduction.

Chief editor’s address 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, Select Sires Inc. (page 6) and Jenny Thomas (page 9).

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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CRV’s Jersey breeding program TOLLENAARS DALE MAVERICK 836

sunset canyon houston

Maverick 836 Dale x Militia x Impuls Dam scored VG-85% at 1-11 and produced over 21,000 lbs. Milk in first lactation

Houston Navarra x Matinee x Paramount Outcross pedigree with 5.5 EFI

More information and our full Jersey lineup can be found at

Houston’s Dam - Boyd-Lee Matinee Holly-ET VG-86% 1-11 2X 305 19,120M 4.7 904F 3.4 655P Very milky maternal line CRV, 2423 American Lane, Madison, WI 53704 P 608 441 3202, F 608 441 3203, TF 1 800 400 crv4all

417-11 CM USA Jersey.indd 1

better cows | better life

03-11-2011 09:24:40

CowManagement US dec 2011  

CowManagement US dec 2011