VOL 15 ISSUE 1 | s p r i n g 2013
A P E R I O D I C N E W S L E T T E R PR O D U C E D B Y GR A N D V A L L E Y F O R T I F I E R S L T D .
Jim Ross, Chairman Dear friends, The month of March has rolled around and each day we are reminded that the days are getting longer and it will soon be spring and planting time again. Although we are somewhat encouraged with the additional good snow cover, our water tables are still considerably below comfortable levels. This causes us to look for more moisture to replenish the parched fields of last summer and fall. On January 29th, 30th, 31st, Grand Valley Fortifiers was pleased to host our biennial Dairy Symposium at Port Perry, Drayton and Woodstock. Over 300 producers enjoyed the presentations of Dr. Mike Hutjens. “Extension Dairy Specialist of the University of Illinois”. His two main topics were “Making cows more efficient through feeding and management in times of high feed costs” and “feed additives, which ones should I use and why? Dr. Hutjens demonstrated his expertise in Dairy cow management and kept everyone’s attention with his excellent content and animated style. The week after this event Grand Valley Fortifiers was honoured to be part of the first ever Canadian Dairy Expo in Stratford ON. What a fantastic event this was as it drew over 11,000 attendees in its inaugural year. You can find out more about each of these events in the recap articles contained in this issue of the Dairy Grist. Happy farming. Sincerely, Jim Ross
RECAP by: Jeff Keunen, Grand Valley Fortifiers Ruminant & Robot Nutritionist
nce again, we were delighted to host our biennial dairy producer symposium over three days in late January. Over 300 producers turned out in force to listen to one of the most well regarded speakers in North America, Dr. Mike Hutjens. Dr. Hutjens not only informed and entertained the crowd but also challenged them with some key performance numbers that he expects to see on successful dairy operations. The following are some of the highlights that Dr. Hutjens spoke on. Feed Efficiency in 2013 Dr. Hutjens highlighted Three Golden Rules that he encourages producers to maintain or strive for. Golden Rule #1—Never give up milk. While 1 kg of dry matter will cost $0.30 to a dairy producer, good cows will produce 2 kg of milk/kg DM. At $0.75/litre of milk, dairy producers are looking at a profit of $1.20 per cow per day. Rule #2— Make economic-based long term correct decisions. The main points here that Dr. Hutjens spoke about were maintaining a solid mineral
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program, where you might not see milk drop or breeding suffer in the very short term, but will have a large negative impact in the longer term. Also, ensure your calves are on an accelerated feeding program. With many studies proving that calves fed on a high plane of nutrition give an average of 500 kg more milk in the first lactation, accelerated
Ian Ross, President | Jim Ross, Chairman Clarke Walker, VP & COO Mark Bowman/Jeff Keunen, Ruminant Nutritionist David Ross/Dan Goertz, Publishers
feeding programs are a no brainer. Keeping SCC under 200,000 is also a must. Cows with lower SCC will give more milk and will have a stronger immune system to fight other health challenges. Rule #3—Dry Matter Intake is key. Dry matter drives rumen function both on the energy (VFAs) and protein (microbial protein) side. Forage quality is extremely important as it sets the bar on DMI. Ensuring that your lab does forage NDF digestibility (NDFD) testing is key as higher NDFD will allow for more forage intake. A one unit change in NDFD equals 0.12 kg of DMI or 0.21 kg of fat corrected milk. Dr. Hutjens also highlighted some feeding metrics for 2013. Measuring feed efficiency, which evaluates feed conversion to milk yield and feed costs per 100 kg of milk, which reflects milk yield, shrink, and feed costs are two key drivers for dairy operations. Increasing feed efficiency is a great way to increase profit in the dairy operation. Moving a herd average from 1.4 to 1.5 (kg milk/kg DM) will realize a savings of $0.40/cow. Some of the factors that affect feed efficiency are forage quality, feed digestibility, days in milk, somatic cell count, rumen acidosis and feed additives. With feed prices being high over the last few years and showing few signs of slowing down, and with feed being the largest cost of production, maximizing the amount of milk a cow gives per kilogram of dry matter consumed becomes a major profit center for a dairy farm. Dr. Hutjens gave the crowd some feed efficiency benchmarks for their cows and various lactation groups and challenged producers to calculate their number. Evaluating Feed Additives In the afternoon, Dr. Hutjens spoke on evaluating the economics of feed additives. He described a feed additive as a feed ingredient that functions in a non-nutrient role. Dr. Hutjens uses four R’s (Response, Returns, Research, Results), in selecting which feed additives to use. Is the response that the additive will give something that is beneficial to your operation, (i.e. improved rumen function, increased milk yield, improved health? What return does the additive claim to provide to the producer? Dr. Hutjens likes to see at least a 2:1 return on his investment, but agrees with Grand Valley that in our quota based system, a 4:1 return should be expected. In this scenario, a feed additive that costs $0.06/cow/day needs to yield only 0.32 L of milk to meet the target return ratio. What research does the feed additive have backing it up? Is it controlled, unbiased, statistically significant? Make sure that the additives you are choosing have solid unbiased research backing them up. Are the results from the feed additive measurable? Be it milk yield or components which are quick and easy to measure or herd health summaries and pregnancy rates which may be more long term, the feed additive should provide some measurable results for the farmer. Dr. Hutjens presented data from various feed additives and gave his opinion on their relative merits within a dairy ration. Through his years of experience and consulting, Dr. Hutjens has come up with his list of recommended additives, and has worked his list to contain the following six as must haves: rumen buffers (sodium bicarbonate), monensin, yeast (active live or cultures), silage inoculants, organic trace minerals (zinc, copper, selenium, etc.) and biotin. Other feed additives that rank highly on Mike’s scale are rumen-protected choline and additives that alleviate the effects of mycotoxins. Both of these should be used on an as needed basis when problems are present within your herd. Grand Valley Fortifiers is very grateful for the excellent turnout we had at our dairy symposiums and remains committed to bringing further education opportunities to our producers. If you would like more information about Dr. Hutjens presentations, please contact your Grand Valley Dairy Specialist or nutritionist at 877-625-4400. n
Grand Valley Fortifiers Dairy Premixes & Additives by: Mark Bowman, Grand Valley Fortifiers Ruminant Nutritionist
r. Mike Hutjens has for many years recommended certain additives as high priority to include in dairy rations. His recommended priority additives all have extensive, statistically valid research behind them proving that they do provide significant benefits for producers most of the time. We agree with Dr. Hutjens and have long recommended these same additives to our customers in our dairy premixes. EcoLac® Dairy Premixes – are the foundation for all of our dairy premix options. Formulated for optimal levels of the highest quality inorganic minerals and vitamins, EcoLac® Dairy Premixes help cows achieve normal milk production, reproduction and health status. For rumen impact, we recommend most producers to add Monensin (Rumensin®) and sodium bicarbonate on a custom basis to optimal levels for your herd. Sodium bicarbonate will increase feed intake, milk production and butterfat test, especially in higher corn silage or concentrate diets. Monensin will increase milk production and feed efficiency while minimizing loss of body condition in lactation. Organic mineral sources (amino acid chelates) of zinc, copper, manganese and cobalt are proven to enhance hoof health, reproduction, immunity & udder health plus result in additional milk yield as a bonus. We highly recommend their inclusion in our dairy premixes and the majority of our customers do so by choosing to feed one of our EcoLac® Plus (with Hoof Pak or Repro Pak), Bionic® or Millennium® dairy premix options. Selenium yeast is another critical organic mineral source required to achieve optimum selenium status in dairy cows for enhanced reproduction, immunity & udder health that we highly recommend. This is found in our Millennium®, Bionic® and EcoLac® Plus (with Repro Pak) dairy premixes that many of our customers choose to feed. RS-2 Yeast (Rumen Specific Live Yeast) and yeast culture for rumen impact are among the most highly researched and proven additives available with consistently high return on investment. Yeast is proven to increase milk yield, butterfat yield, feed intake in fresh cows and feed efficiency in mid-late lactation cows. RS-2 Yeast is highly recommended and is included in the dairy premixes of our many customers who choose to feed either our Bionic® or Millennium® options. Biotin is highly recommended, especially for free stall herds, for harder hooves and increased milk production. This very economical B-vitamin provides an excellent rate of return on investment and is included in our Millennium® and EcoLac® Plus (with Hoof Pak) dairy premix options. Silage Inoculants – are offered through our Farmers Farmacy division and are highly recommended to be added on all haylage, corn silage and HM corn crops at time of ensiling. Silage inoculants enhance front end fermentation and/or prevent heating at feed out, reducing dry matter losses and increasing energy and protein available for milk production. Available products are: 1. Biomax5 WS for corn silage. 2. Biomax SI for alfalfa and grass haylage and corn silage. 3. Buchneri 500 for HM corn and corn silage. 4. Sil-All for grass and barley silages.
Dairy Grist In the US market, without quota and low milk prices, Dr. Hutjens looks for a minimum 2:1 research proven return on all recommended additives. In our quota system with higher milk prices we insist on much higher returns—minimum of 4:1—on all additives that we incorporate in our products or recommend. Our EcoLac® Plus, Bionic® and Millennium® Dairy Premix options all provide research proven returns in the range of 4:1 to 20:1 on your investment in these products. Talk with your Grand Valley Fortifiers Dairy Specialist or one of our nutritionists at Nutrition Direct to review your particular needs and goals and be sure that you are feeding the right premix with the right additives for your herd. n
by: John Werry Grand Valley Fortifiers Dairy Specialist
“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure” – Bill Cosby
ord travels fast in small farming communities, so when the Northern Ontario dairy farming community of Earlton/Temiscaming was ignited with the buzz that local dairymen Lee and Kim Laframboise of R & D Farms had teamed up with neighbouring Rivadale Farms to import a specialized corn planting unit from Ireland, there was certainly an element of skepticism in the air. The planting unit would leave a layer of biodegradable plastic over the seed bed, increasing the heat and humidity of the soil, theoretically adding approximately 300 Corn Heat Units to the variety, and blasting the crop towards a head start on the growing season. The opportunity for success was terrific in an area that would see a good grain corn crop one out of five years, and good corn silage quality one out of three; but the risk of failure was just as real. “Our goal is to always be more self-sufficient,” explains Lee Laframboise. “We would normally buy all of our grain corn from southern Ontario, but now I am confident that we can grow corn year after year, and get a good crop as long as we get moisture; there’s no more worry about it making it or not making it.” The Samco System was established in Ireland in 1997 by Samuel Shine, sole inventor and patent holder. It is a 3-in-1 corn planter
designed to produce quality corn in less than favourable climates. The 6 row machine sows corn seed, sprays a pre-emergent herbicide, then lays a thin layer of biodegradable plastic over the soil. The 2012 results were fascinating: Corn emergence as early as seven days, Pollination nearly two weeks earlier than conventional corn crops, upwards of a two foot difference in plant heights, 180 bushels/acre grain corn, 25+T/acre of corn silage… all of this in a drought year, in an area that would normally only dabble with some corn silage to meet dry cow ration needs. Now these producers have not only produced their own grain crop to feed their dairy herd, but they also have great quality corn silage that can be worked into the lactating rations as well. The gains in efficiency and self-sufficiency have been rewarding. The quest for corn in Northern Ontario is no longer met with skepticism. Lee and Kim have sold their 6 row unit into Northern Quebec, and they have purchased a new 8 row planter for 2013. Progressive dairymen Jason Robert of Robertdale Farms and his brother Danny of Cubbys Hill Top Farm have also purchased their own 8 row planter for 2013. On a beautiful sunny day, it is quite pristine to take in the Northern countryside surrounded by hundreds of acres of corn under plastic; the sun glare shining off of rows and rows of GPS guided perfection. Congratulations to these progressive dairymen for their fearless pursuit of success. n
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Q: We are still running into high Somatic Cell Counts
(SCC) rates on average. What are some of the nutritional additives that we should make sure we are feeding in order to improve our SCC?
A: Managing SCC involves several areas on the farm including identifying and culling problem cows, proper dry cow treatment, improving milking time procedures, and ensuring the milking equipment is working correctly. The nutritional aspect of controlling somatic cell counts should not be ignored. Depressed DMI in late gestation and early lactation, hypocalcemia and ketosis are contributing factors to poor immune cell function resulting in elevated SCC. Increasing cow comfort and reducing social/environmental stress will only improve immune response. Ensuring a balanced ration for the milking herd and the dry cows is key to to improving cow health and reducing mammary infections. Chelated organic trace minerals should be in your rations for lactating and dry cows if you are struggling with elevated SCC. Their bioavailability allows the cow to absorb the trace minerals quickly through the intestine, into the blood stream and onto tissues and organs to be utilized for critical functions in the animal. Organic selenium yeast should be considered as well for its bioavailability and as a contributor to immune function. Vitamin E is important for udder health and may need to be increased for cases where SCC are high. Kelp is another additive that can help in lowering SCC as it contains many essential minerals. Lastly, I have a producer that has been feeding ASSURE in the last three months and he has noticed the SCC of the herd has gone down and stayed down. ASSURE has lessened the effects of the toxin stress resulting in better immunity and lower SCC’s. For more Somatic Cell Count improvement tips, please contact your local Grand Valley Fortifiers Dairy Specialist. n
COMMODITY OUTLOOK by: Steve McGuffin
he stocks of US soybeans and corn are very low and interior basis levels are firming. A large South American crop is now being harvested but as feared, inadequate infrastructure is an issue and possible labour disruptions are hanging over the market so a large number of ships are anchored at South American ports awaiting their cargo, thereby forcing some buyers to switch back to the US. Poor US crush margins are being reported so there will be upward pressure in US and also Canadian SBM basis levels. The challenge will be getting newly harvested Brazilian soybeans to North America to satisfy the market until our new crop supplies come available so we suggest producers look for any pull backs in the first half of March to secure some more coverage to get you through to our 2013 harvest. USDA Outlook Forum projected 2013 corn acres off almost 1% at an average yield of 163.6 bushels per acre and soybean acres up about 0.5% with an average yield of 44.5 bpa. Feedstuff’s magazine reports that some improvements in soil moisture levels have been reported for the eastern Corn Belt. The west and Midwest are still in a water deficit situation. Presently major concerns are being expressed as 59% of winter wheat, 69% of cattle production areas and 59% of hay acreage are still under drought conditions. We hope and pray as winter slides by and the warmer weather begins to appear that we’ll see the drought condition begin to recede with some timely rains. If you are interested in receiving DSC’s commodity price indication updates, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-877-743-4412. n
Canadian Dairy XPO
Thought for the Day This month we celebrate Easter, a very significant and meaningful recognition of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the scriptures declare that “whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16. What a sure fact in an unsure world! We wish you and your loved ones a very Happy Easter as we celebrate the gift of our Saviour. God Bless, Jim Ross and all the GVF family
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February 6th–7th marked the inaugural Canadian Dairy XPO in Stratford, ON and Grand Valley Fortifiers was honored to be included as a founding partner in this exciting new dairy showcase. Dairy producers came out by the thousands and in total over 11,000 attendees came through the show over the course of two days. What a phenomenal success for year one of this show and we take our hats off to Jordon Underhill, Talo Tamminga and the entire CDX team for organizing such a great event! We also want to thank you for redeeming the entry discount coupons we sent out in the Dairy Grist as over 300 GVF branded coupons were redeemed at the gate. Next year the CDX returns February 5th and 6th and Grand Valley Fortifiers is looking forward to being part once again. For more information on CDX, please visit www.dairyxpo.ca.
Dairy Symposium • Premixes & Additives • Northern Innovation • High Somatic Cell Counts •