PDPW Dairy's Bottom Line -- April 2019

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Sharing ideas, solutions, resources and experiences that help dairy producers succeed.

Rear heifers with rotational grazing


airy heifers are often raised in confinement and fed forages that have been harvested and stored. But rotational grazing is an option that can support growth between 1.8 and 2 pounds of gain per day. In addition it can reduce expenses and labor when managed properly. Operations that rotationally graze heifers typically see decreases in cost and labor for feeding, cleanMATT ing, bedding and AKINS housing. In an optimal rotational-grazing system animals are moved to a new paddock once forage is half-grazed. That allows faster regrowth of grass compared to grazing close to the ground. Depending on forage availability and intake, animals typically should be moved every one to three days. Heifers can be grazed as young as 4 to 6 months of age, though younger heifers require better-quality forage and an increased level of pasture management. Some find it preferable to graze pregnant heifers. The nutrient needs of pre-fresh heifers align with forage available by grazing. There’s no need for heat detection or confining heifers for breeding. Regardless of heifer age, pasture management and heifer-stocking rates are critical to increased forage productivity and quality – which drives heifer growth. A recent research project

well as the relationship with genomic-predicted body size. Sixteen heifers that were 5 to 6 months old were studied to Orchardgrass Meadow Fescue determine heifer growth and DM available/acre 1,300 lbs DM/acre 1,210 lbs DM/acre forage availability. Grazed on Forage Quality a 21-acre pasture, the heifers NDF 56.4% 53.4% were rotated twice weekly. The pastures were a mixture of NDF digestibility 61.8% 65.4% meadow fescue, festulolium, Crude protein 12.8% 15.4% perennial ryegrass, red clover Heifer growth and white clover. 2016 – 2018: lbs/day 1.63 lbs/day 1.72 lbs/day Initial results show forage 2017 alone* 1.49 lbs/day 1.78 lbs/day availability was excellent.  2,240 pounds of dry matter allotted four heifers per pasture. per acre in 2017  3,070 pounds of dry matter Heifers were 5 to 6 months old per acre in 2018 when put on pasture in midMay to late May each year. They As a result heifers had excelwere rotated to a new paddock lent rates of gain both years with every three to four days for 35 a 2.06-pounds-per-day average. days. Nitrogen was applied afComparatively growth of ter the first rotation and again heifers in confinement was 1.94 in mid-August to help with fall pounds per day in 2017 and 1.42 growth. in 2018, with a limit-feeding Forage available for grazing strategy used to control growth. was similar between the two Remaining forage-quality data grass species, with a slight adand genomic-data comparisons vantage for orchardgrass. But are still being analyzed. quality was better for meadow Changing a management sysfescue. Heifer growth across tem to include grazing can seem the three-year study was simdifficult. Fortunately a number ilar between orchardgrass and of resources are available to meadow fescue, though there assist, including universiwas some variation. Results in- ty-Extension personnel, county dicated meadow fescue was able land-conservation staff, U.S. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS to maintain better forage quality Department of Agriculture’s throughout the grazing season. Natural Resources Conservation Grazing heifers is a viable option for rearing heifers. In addition to Service staff and – of course— sufficiently supporting heifer growth, grazing reduces time in confinement Orchardgrass had a large flush of spring growth with more other producers currently grazon concrete as well as reduces labor and feeding expenses. intense grazing. It also needed ing their herds. more clipping after heading quent heifer growth. The projat the University of Wisconsin-Marshfield Agricultural Re- ect was conducted from 2016 to to maintain vegetative excelMatt Akins is a dairy-heifer speciallent-quality growth. 2018 with six pastures – three search Station compared grazist with the University of WisconA recently concluded study with orchardgrass and three ing orchardgrass and meadow sin-Department of Dairy Science observed heifer growth on-pas- and UW-Extension. Email msakins@ with meadow fescue. Pastures fescue. It determined forage ture and in-confinement, as production, quality and subse- measured 2.5 acres and were wisc.edu for more information.

Comparison of orchardgrass and meadow fescue on forage production and quality, and subsequent heifer growth

Intranasal vaccines prompt quick response



accinations are an important tool in any herd-health program, starting with calves. Intranasal vaccines play a slightly different role than injectable vaccines. It’s important for producers to be familiar with the differences as well as the options available. Vaccines are designed to initiate a response by the body’s immune system to protect against a specific disease. For a calf once the benefits GEOF of colostrum SMITH diminish, the calf’s immune system must produce its own antibodies. When an injectable vaccine is given a wholebody response is triggered. Lymphocytes and memory cells respond by producing antibodies to a specific disease, giving the calf protection against that pathogen. Even if the calf isn’t exposed to a pathogen until several months later, the memory cells will prompt the immune system to produce the right antibodies. Intranasal vaccines enter the body via the mucosal surface – nose, trachea and lungs. Rather than initiating a whole-body response, an intranasal vaccine prompts a local response in the calf’s upper airway and lungs. It also leads to protection against pneumonia. Because most respiratory diseases are spread by nose-to-nose contact, that method of vaccination mimics the typical route of exposure. Most intranasal vaccines contain modified-live cells. That means the virus in the vaccine remains alive and capable of replicating, but the cells have been altered to prevent onset of disease. Intranasal vaccines were initially introduced

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Please see SMITH, Page D2

For more information about the farm dividend program and how you may qualify, contact your local Rural Mutual agent or visit us on the web at www.ruralins.com/farm-dividend.

“We were able to get SCC down by over 100,000.” — Mark Spadgenske

“We were able to get SCC down by over 100,000 and are still going strong with Udder Comfort™ in our fresh cow routine. The results pay in quality and performance,” says Mark Spadgenske. He and his brother Mike and their families operate Spadgenske Dairy, milking 300 cows near Menahga, Minn.

Mark and Kristine Spadgenske with Adam, Kate and Seth at the 2019 Central Plains Dairy Expo. Not pictured is oldest son Ryan as well as Mark’s brother Mike and son John.

Quality Udders Make Quality Milk

Keep the milk in the system 1.888.773.7153 1.613.652.9086 uddercomfort.com Call to locate a distributor near you. For external application to the udder only, after milking, as an essential component of udder management. Always wash and dry teats thoroughly before milking.

“Our SCC used to be over 300,000. Then we brought home Udder Comfort samples from the 2017 Central Plains Dairy Expo in Sioux Falls and started spraying every fresh udder 2x/day for 3 to 4 days after calving. Within just 2 months, we saw counts come down, and by 6 months, they were down by over 100,000. “Two years later, we continue using Udder Comfort on all fresh udders. Our counts remain well below 200,000 for premiums we never saw before. We had tried other products, but this one did the job. We love it.”

SPADGENSKE DAIRY, MENAHGA, MINNESOTA Mark and Mike Spadgenske and families 300 cows, 75 lbs 3.9F 3.2P SCC consistently below 200,000

BOTTOM LINE Sharing ideas, solutions, resources and experiences that help dairy producers succeed.

PDPW Board of Directors President Jay Heeg Colby, Wis. 715-507-0030 jcheeg@yahoo.com

Vice President Katy Schultz Fox Lake, Wis. 920-210-9661 katylschultz@gmail.com Secretary Dan Scheider Freeport, Ill. 815-812-4012 dnscheider@gmail.com Treasurer Janet Clark Rosendale, Wis. 608-341-6709 vafarmsllc@hotmail.com Directors Andy Buttles Lancaster, Wis. 608-723-4712 stonefront@tds.net Ken Feltz Stevens Point, Wis. 715-570-6390 feltzfarms@hotmail.com John Haag Dane, Wis. 608-576-0812 jahaag5@gmail.com Corey Hodorff Eden, Wis. 920-602-6449 corey@secondlookholsteins.com Steven Orth Cleveland, Wis. 920-905-2575 orthlanddairy@gmail.com

PDPW Advisers Jim Barmore GPS Dairy Consulting Verona, Wis. jmbarmore@gpsdairy.com

Paul Fricke UW-Madison Dairy Science Madison, Wis. pmfricke@wisc.edu Kurt Petik Rabo AgriFinance Fond du Lac, Wis. kurt.petik@raboag.com Andrew Skwor MSA Professional Services Baraboo, Wis. askwor@msa-ps.com


Understand ‘Dairy Revenue Protection’ A vailable since October 2018, the “Dairy Revenue Protection” program provides coverage against declines in quarterly revenue from milk sales. Many producers use Dairy Revenue Protection as a helpful risk-management MICHELLE tool. Understanding the program’s SELL key aspects will help dairy producers make coverage decisions that best align with operational goals. The value of the milk protected can be based either on class pricing or component pricing.  If class pricing is selected the coverage may be based on 100 percent Class III, 100 percent Class IV or a weighted average of the two.  If component pricing is selected the coverage is based on the producer’s chosen butterfat and protein levels. In the event of a loss the average actual component levels for the quarter must be at least 90 percent of levels elected by the producer. The amount of milk pro-

crements. The coverage level dictates the subsidy level for the coverage, which subsequently helps determine the premium. Coverage level is also a factor in $226,005 calculating revenue guarantee. $15.067 Coverage is based on quarterly increments for as many Actual Revenue Calculation Covered lbs. Actual Price Actual as five quarters out. The proof milk per cwt. Milk Revenue ducer must choose which quar1,500,000 $14.2600 $213,900 ter(s) to cover. Yield adjustment factor 1.01 The protection factor Adj. Actual Revenue $216,039 ranges from 1 to 1.5 in 0.05 inIndemnity Calculation crements. In the event of a loss, Revenue Guarantee $226,005 if a protection factor of greater Actual Revenue $216,039 than 1.0 is selected, it increases Loss $9,966 the amount of the loss by that Protection Factor 1.5 Total Indemnity $14,949 factor. The protection factor premium $2,153 only comes into play if there’s net indemnity $12,796 a loss and doesn’t increase the Indemnity/cwt $0.8531 revenue guarantee. The equation shows a loss example The yield-adjustment for a producer who endorsed factor is a unique aspect milk for first-quarter 2019. If of the Dairy Revenue Protecthe projections hold true, the tion program. That’s based on producer would be paid $0.85 per state-level milk production per hundredweight of milk endorsed. cow for the quarter. The actual tected must be decided for each number will be divided by the expected number to determine quarter. In the event of a loss that factor, which will increase the farm must produce at least or decrease actual milk revenue. 85 percent of the total amount  If actual milk production of milk protected for that quarfor the quarter is less than the ter. Coverage levels range from expected number, that will decrease actual revenue and in70 percent to 95 percent and crease any indemnities. are available in 5-percent inExpected Revenue Calculation Covered lbs. Expected Price of milk per cwt. 1,500,000 $15.86 coverage level Expected Revenue Guarantee Guarantee per cwt

Expected Milk Revenue $237,900 95%

 If actual milk production for the quarter is more than expected, that will increase actual revenue and in turn decrease any indemnities. Dairy Revenue Protection is available for sale daily Monday through Friday with certain exceptions. Sales start at 4 p.m. and end at 9 a.m. the following business day. Livestock Gross Margin dairy coverage and Dairy Revenue Protection coverage may not be used within the same quarter. But participation is allowed in both Dairy Revenue Protection and new Dairy Margin Coverage from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency. Even when a producer understands the basics, deciding whether or not to use a program can still feel overwhelming. As with any management tool, it’s advisable to consult with a financial expert who can offer guidance on implementing the Dairy Revenue Protection program.

Michelle Sell is an insurance officer at Compeer Financial, a Vision Sponsor of the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin.

Learn practices of Set stages for positive outcomes top-dairy managers PEOPLE PERSPECTIVE


am an eternal optimist who tries to see the good in everything. I’m also a realist who understands not everything is positive. Sometimes as leaders we need to take off those rose-colored glasses. We seek to listen, understand and be aware of the obstacles before us. Then we need to do the right things to set the stage for a positive outcome. People in leadership

roles know it can be difficult being at the helm of the HANK ship. FacWAGNER ing challenges is part of the job description but we sometimes discover there are those who don’t want us to succeed. Our job as leaders is not to make everybody


with an injectable product before breeding age. Consider using intranaFrom D1 sal vaccines during several situations. to target infectious bovine  Use them when rhinotracheitis or bovine pneumonia occurs in preherpesvirus-1, a primary weaned calves, particularly viral cause of pneumonia in CONTRIBUTED when calves are housed in calves. Many vaccines are Vaccines play a critical poorly ventilated barns or currently available, aimed role in the health of calves. group housing, or are fed by not only at infectious boIntranasal vaccines can be automatic feeders. If pneuvine rhinotracheitis but effective in providing fairly monia routinely occurs in bovine respiratory synimmediate protection against calves less than 2 months cytial virus, Mannheimia, old, consider administering Pasteurella, bovine corona- diseases, particularly in recently shipped calves. an intranasal vaccine in the virus and others. first week after calving, with Intranasal vaccines a booster at about 5 weeks of The main disadvantage prompt a more immediate age. The booster could be a immune response compared of intranasal vaccines is second intranasal or a modthe duration of immunity; to injectable vaccines – ified-live injectable vaccine. it’s typically much shorter. calves are protected within  Use them when calves a couple of days versus two Protection from intranasal to six weeks. Intranasal vac- vaccines generally lasts four develop pneumonia right cines also are more effective to six weeks in contrast to a after weaning. An intranasal vaccine given before calves in stressed calves. That’s an year or more of protection leave hutches will provide with most injectable vacimportant consideration faster immunity than an cines. For calves that will when factoring in events injectable vaccine. It’s imstay in the herd for longer such as shipping, weather, portant to protect calves periods of time, intranasal dehorning, castration, vaccines should be followed against pneumonia before weaning and illness.

It’s all about the cow

happy. Happiness is an attitude, an individual’s choice. It’s not something we can make people do. It’s also not the job of a leader to remove all challenges so everyone can be happy. Each person needs to decide for themselves, regardless of the circumstances, if they will choose to pursue happiness and gratitude. So if our role as a

Please see WAGNER, Page D4

they move to group pens.  Use them when calves are purchased with unknown vaccination history or have recently been shipped. That’s especially important if calves will be co-mingled with other animals right off the truck. A dose on arrival with a booster about four weeks later can be quite effective. Although an intranasal vaccine doesn’t require a syringe and needle for injection, adequate restraint is a must. It’s also important to change the plastic nose cannula between dosing every calf to prevent virus transmission in the herd. As always cow and calf-care managers should consult with veterinarians to choose the best products and protocols for their operations. Dr. Geof Smith, veterinarian, is professor of ruminant medicine in the College of Veterinary Medicine at North Carolina State University. Email geoffrey_smith@ncsu. edu to reach him.


There’s an old adage, “It takes money to make money.” That may hold true when it comes to building a profitable dairy operation – but only if investments are made in the right things. Karszes Jason Karszes, senior associate with the PRO-DAIRY program at Cornell University-Extension, said the statement is proved by research. During the recent Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin’s Business Conference, he presented strategies uncovered by studying seven years of data from 128 dairy farms in New York. The findings create a clear picture of strategies that separated the best 20 percent from the rest. “In our sample we took farms that varied in management style – including whether they raised their own forage or purchased it, and whether or not they sent their young stock off-site,” Karszes said. “We found the topfifth of farms were consistently reinvesting cash back into their operations for growth.” Some examples of reinvesting cash into the farm included paying employees better, adding infrastructure, and buying

more land and cows. The same dairies offset those costs by cutting expenses in other areas, such as buying used equipment and holding back on more costly purchases. The most productive farms needed more than 2 acres per cow to sustain their increased production while the other 80 percent averaged fewer than 2 acres per cow. The research also found that managers of the better operations put an emphasis on feeding excellent-quality forages and providing their employees with good working environments. “Not all the top herds showed growth from year to year,” Karszes said. “And I’ll be honest; the most productive herds were larger in size, averaging more than 1,000 cows.” The managers of the best herds in the study were consistently able to do more with fewer labor hours by increasing efficiencies. The data revealed they routinely cut unnecessary expenses even in seemingly insignificant areas, such as turning off idling tractors that aren’t being used or not buying more supplies than necessary. “Those little things add up, both in terms of capturing higher profit and costing you money,” he said. “Paying attention to these efficiencies is the key to getting positive growth.”

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Every time you attach a BouMatic milking unit, you’re drawing on the highest level of experience, knowledge and dedication to dairy excellence the industry has to offer. For BouMatic, it really is all about the cow. Every system, every program, every product we develop is designer for you cow’s comfort, health and performance.

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Consumers have a variety of products from which to choose in the dairy case. Clarity in labeling will help buyers understand which products contain no dairy despite appearances.

Dairy labeling faces identity crisis Dairy farmers are increasingly doing more to connect with consumers. They’ve opened their farm doors, welcoming curious neighbors and community members to answer their q u e s t i o n s. Many producers have e m b ra ce d social media to foster t ra n s p a rency and JULIE quality conSWENEY ve rs a t i o n s with people who live far beyond their borders. It’s evident consumers want to know the stories behind the food they purchase. Despite the efforts of dairy producers, marketing campaigns and food labels commonly distort the truth. Many consumers have inaccurate information and don’t know where to find the facts about their food. A 2018 survey was commissioned by Dairy Management Inc. and conducted by IPSOS, a global market-research and consulting firm. It found consumers expect products labeled as “milk” – whether or not they are dairy milk – to be comparable to milk in nutritional content. That belief is stronger among plant-based milk-alternative buyers. Almond milk, soy milk and coconut milk are perceived as having the same or more vitamins, protein and other key nutrients as milk. Many in the dairy industry are passionate about ensuring clarity in labeling – and not just farmers. Countless dairy organizations and cooperatives including FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative have worked diligently to tell the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that dairy-labeling enforcement is a priority. But coming to an agreement on word choices as well as standardizing labels and approving laws to turn that vision into reality is a monumental task. The FDA has historically been silent on enforcing existing standards to prevent the words “milk,” “cheese” and “yogurt” from appearing on labels of non-dairy products. Former FDA

2019 WISCONSIN DAIRY BREAKFASTS ‌MAY 18 JEFFERSON COUNTY DAIRY BREAKFAST The breakfast will be held from 6 to 11 a.m. May 18 at Jefferson County Fair Park, 503 N. Jackson Ave., Jefferson, Wisconsin. Cost is $6 for adults in advance and $7 at door, $3 for ages 4-12 and free for ages 3 and younger. Visit www.jeffersoncountydairybreakfast.com for more information.

MAY 25

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GREEN COUNTY BREAKFAST ON THE FARM The breakfast will be held from 6 to 10 a.m. May 25 at Minder Farm, N2428 Allen Road, Browntown, Wisconsin. Cost is $6 for adults, $4 for ages 5 through 10, free for ages 5 and younger. Visit www.greencounty.org for more information. ADAMS COUNTY DAIRY BREAKFAST The breakfast will be held from 7 to 11 a.m. May 25 at Adams-Friendship High School, 1109 E. North St., Adams, Wisconsin. Cost is $5 for adults, $3 for ages kindergarten to fifth grade and free for anyone younger.

Commissioner Scott Gottlieb had been a proponent for the “clear-labeling” position. The department recently concluded a several-months-long public-comment period gathering input on the issue. Now that the dairy industry has been heard from and the FDA has the information needed to enforce accurate definitions, the ball is in its court. But Gottlieb is no longer the commissioner, placing an extra burden on the dairy community to ensure that clear-labeling efforts move forward. Marketing tactics are designed to appeal to consumer desires. The goal is for a customer to take a product from the shelf and place it in his or her cart. Regrettably it seems misleading information is commonly used to influence buying decisions. Dairy producers understand their products are nutritious and wholesome. Many of them have been sharing their farm-to-table stories for some time. Despite that the need to play an ongoing role in conveying that message to consumers will continue to be vital. Julie Sweney is director of communications and marketing with FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative. Email jsweney@ farmfirstcoop.com to reach her.

Even in the toughest dairy economy...


undreds of millions of doses of Select DTX™ are fed to cows from coast to coast. Why? DTX has proven it works time and again in the toughest testing environments of all… real cows on real dairies across the United States and Canada. Since 1997, producers have been using DTX as a solution to combat the negative effects of mycotoxins. Mycotoxins in the feed are not always easy to see, but their impact is. Loose manure, low or erratic feed consumption, reduced milk production, elevated somatic cell count, and poor reproductive performance including weak heats, cystic cows and even abortions are all signs that mycotoxins can be impacting your herd. A unique direct-fed microbial, DTX is more effective than other DFMs because of the presence of L-form bacteria designed specifically for feed challenges caused by molds and their metabolites. DTX is not a binder, but is more effective as it works from the biological approach treating the cow, not the feed. A broad spectrum solution, DTX works to neutralize the damaging effects of many different types of toxins, while helping to improve immune function and gut health.

"There are always mycotoxins. We try to minimize them by doing the best job possible putting up forages, but they are a fact of life. As a member of the NorthStar board I had seen how DTX sales continued to grow in spite of poor milk price and it made me curious. At that time we were using a clay binder and were frustrated with the results. Our SCC and abortion rates were rising, and our repro wasn't as good as it could be, so we gave DTX a try. Since staring on DTX, the overall heath of the cows is better. They have a healthier immune system which leads to lots of benefits. In particular SCC dropped significantly, allowing us to switch processing plants and take advantage of greater milk quality incentives. Along with that, our repro has improved and production is up. In this dairy economy we are all trimming out extra expenses, but DTX is not one of them." Lee Jensen Five Star Dairy LLC, Elk Mound, 1,100 cows

"Working with our nutritionist and Tom (Adams, NorthStar A.I. specialist) we made the decision to add DTX in our ration after discovering toxins in our corn silage. Since adding the product, we have seen a reduction in retained placentas and more milk per cow. DTX helps cows come through calving cleaner and healthier and gives us healthier cows – and heathier cows make more milk and more money! Without it we would be leaving money on the table." Sally Nielsen, herdsman Fergs White Clover Dairy, Manawa, 600 cows

"Dave (Biese, NorthStar A.I. specialist) sees our cows every day and can monitor them all the way through breeding, calving and milking. If he sees a problem and a solution for us, we trust his recommendation. More than two years ago we started using DTX as we were having a problem with Hemorrhagic Bowel Syndrome (HBS). After testing our feed through NorthStar, we found raised levels of vomitoxin so we started the herd on DTX. Since then we've seen an improvement in the overall health of the herd, which led to increased production. We are also having fewer HBS, lower SCC and better reproduction.” Dan Madden Madden Dairy Farms LLC, New London, 400 cows

DTX is designed specifically for feed challenges caused by mold and their metabolites. Ask your area representative for more information about DTX and how to submit a feed sample for FREE mycotoxin testing.



™Select DTX is a trademark of Select Sires Inc. and manufactured by ™Agrarian Solutions, Middlebury, Indiana. All claims, representations and warranties, expressed or implied, are made only by the manufacturer.

D4 | Thursday, April 18, 2019



PDPW DAIRY’S BOTTOM LINE Seek financial Water-quality research informs decisions ‌ counsel now T PROFESSIONAL DAIRY PRODUCERS OF WISCONSIN

‌Many dairy-farm owners who seek the help of a bankruptcy attorney wait too long to weigh their options. Attorney Paul Swanson told attendees at the recent Profe s s i o n a l Dairy Producers of Wisconsin Business Conference that sometimes Swanson a financial situation can be remedied merely with the right advice – provided guidance is sought early enough. “If you’re facing financial hardship, don’t be too proud to ask for help,” Swanson said. “Being behind on your payments is not as uncommon as it once was. We urge you to talk with your lender first and try to manage efficiencies on your farm. If you then decide debt restructuring is necessary, see a professional to get sound counsel.” A partner at Steinhilber Swanson LLP, Swanson is an expert in financial reorganizations, restructuring, bankruptcy and other

debt-adjustment strategies. In his session he said a number of Wisconsin farms are choosing to file for Chapter 12 bankruptcy protection. That option allows farmers to work with their creditors to pay off debt under longer terms. But there are some eligibility rules to qualify, such as having less than $4.1 million in total debt and receiving at least 50 percent of gross revenues from the farm. The Wisconsin Farm Center is a valuable resource. A division of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, the center offers free consultations for producers who need legal advice on their liability options. “But it’s not just about the money,” Swanson said. “The Farm Center also helps with the emotional stress that comes with financial difficulty.” Those who decide to liquidate and exit the industry can find new paths. “Many find there is life after farming,” Swanson said. “It’s okay to try other endeavors in life if the challenges of managing a farm are not sustainable.”

he relationship between agriculture and water quality is complex, and can be influenced by many factors. Monitoring water quality is one way to provide data. It can assist ERICA OLSON farmers and landowners in making sound management decisions to preserve the environment and farm landscape. On-farm water-quality research is the foundation on which the programs at the University of Wisconsin-Discovery Farms were built. The UW-Discovery Farms staff in Minnesota and Wisconsin have more than 16 years of water-quality research. They combine data from water-quality monitoring into one dataset that includes more than 200 site-years of data. That information is used to solve

four times. Visit www. manureadvisorysystem. wi.gov to see forecasts for runoff risk, precipitation, soil temperature and soil saturation for specific plots on a map. Landowners and farmers should consult with advisers before applying nutrients to correctly identify low-risk CONTRIBUTED‌ fields and plan accordingly for times of greater risk. Edge-of-field monitoring stations collect water-quality data 3. Consider phosphothat helps farmers make sound management decisions. rus placement. Controlling erosion alleviates should match landscape water-quality challenges. particulate phosphorus loss conditions such as soil There are many ques– phosphorus that moves type, slope percentage tions and concerns about with the soil. But dissolved and slope length. While the quality of water; unphosphorus loss – phosreducing tillage is a good derstanding the impact first step to decreasing soil phorus that moves with landscape practices have water – is not affected by on water is essential. While loss, the practice alone is erosion control. Delivering not enough to sufficiently there’s no silver-bullet nutrients below the surface solution to mitigate nutrient eliminate erosion. The most successful conserva- without disturbing the and sediment losses from fields, losses can be reduced tion practices also include soil too much can reduce dissolved phosphorus loss, when the right management establishing or maintainespecially in winter runoff. ing waterways upland. practices are employed. 2. Carefully time Consider three strategies Erica Olson is the farmer manure applications. to employ based on Disnetwork and communications covery Farms water-qual- Discovery Farms data coordinator with the Univershows that late-winter ity data. sity of Wisconsin-Discovery manure applications can 1. Reduce phosphoFarms. Email erica.olson@ increase phosphorus loss rus loss by controlling wisc.edu to reach her. in snowmelt by two to soil loss. Tillage practices


the responsibility of every leader is to do what’s right. That doesn’t mean we From D2 need to take a poll or colleader is not to make peo- lect advice from everyone we serve, in order to deterple happy, we need to determine what it is. I believe mine the right choice. But

sometimes doing what’s right requires bravery, courage and thick skin. The right choice isn’t always the most popular. There may be times we’re not sure what is right. If



Ken Hein Dairy Producer Vince Tichy Encirca Certified Services Agent

Chad Erickson Pioneer Sales Professional

Dairy producers are in the zone when they have the products, resources and support to get results — right at their fingertips. To see firsthand accounts of how The Silage Zone® resource is helping producers achieve their goals year after year, visit pioneer.com/silagestories.

we’re in a leadership role it’s our responsibility to surround ourselves with people who can counsel us wisely. Leaders must be steadfast in making decisions from a place of integrity and character. Leaders don’t allow Facebook trends, fake news or current culture to sway them from doing the right things. Our world today needs more leaders who are willing to serve. Unfortunately the verbal abuse leaders receive – often publicly – discourages competent people from stepping up to serve. Consider what we can do to support leaders who truly have our best interests in mind. To start we need to understand authority works when leaders lead and others follow. That principle applies to the president of the United States as well as leaders in everyday roles – such as mom, dad, teacher, police officer and manager to name a few. While it’s human nature to believe being a mom or dad or manager is easy, that opinion often changes when we become one. Second we should judge others less quickly and less often. We should seek to understand more completely. Rarely will the opinions of others give us all the facts necessary to fully grasp why our leaders make certain choices. If you’re a person who wants to serve others and do what’s right, please do. And thank you; we need you – not just in our schools, workplaces, government offices and communities, but also in our homes. And if you are not currently among the extremely important group of people we consider servant leaders, the next-best thing you can do is value and appreciate those who are. The sacrifices they make to enhance the lives of others are priceless and are a much-needed service. Hank Wagner is a dairy producer and a John Maxwell Team teacher, mentor, speaker and coach. To learn more about nurturing thankfulness, consider reading Hank’s book “Teachable Moments: Lessons from Africa.” It’s available online at amazon.com and at most book stores. Contact hwagner@ frontiernet.net for more information.

CONTRIBUTED‌ Pioneer ® brand products are provided subject to the terms and conditions of purchase which are part of the labeling and purchase documents. TM ® SM Trademarks and service marks of Dow AgroSciences, DuPont or Pioneer, and their affiliated companies or their respective owners. © 2018 PHII. PION8GENL070_FP12

People in leadership roles know it can be difficult being at the helm of the ship. Facing challenges is part of the job description.

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THURSDAY, APRIL 18, 2019 |


Learn forest’s best treasures


eyond a handful of basic trees in my neck of the woods – like maple, ash and red oak – I need to hone my tree-identification skills. That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to have Daniel Hoff and Becky Brathal join me for a walk in my new woodlot property. Hoff is a Forest Wildlife Specialist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service; he’s also with the Ruffed Grouse Society and American Woodcock Society. His position represents a novel partnership with the USDA and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. His expertise is forest-habitat development on private lands in Wisconsin. Brathal is a Farm Bill Biologist with Pheasants Forever Inc. The Farm Bill Biologist program is designed to educate farmers and landowners about the benefits of conservation programs, as well as assist those landowners after programs have been implemented. Hoff and Brathal brought a wealth of information to me during our woods walk. More importantly they brought an enthusiasm for the natural world and a desire to share what they know. I was hoping to make a discovery or two about some of the lesser-known species that might exist in my woodlot. It wasn’t long after we started that Hoff pointed out a young Bitternut Hickory, also known as a sulfur-bud hickory because of the yellow-orange powdery coating on the emerging buds. Beyond the young hickory tree was an oak tree that was showing signs of its age. It had a wide trunk that I could barely put my arms half-way around. Hoff said that because the main trunk is relatively short it’s not a candidate for saw logs and better left as a wildlife tree. He explained how some of the branches



Becky Brathal helps emphasize the muscle in an musclewood or blue beech-ironwood tree as Daniell Hoff helps record species in the woodland.

Dan Hoff explains to Greg Galbraith how an old oak will naturally lose branches due to aging, creating nesting habitat for certain species. that are naturally dying will eventually fall off. The remaining scar will likely deteriorate and create a cavity that can serve as a nesting site. We came upon a nicesized patch of raspberries that Hoff thought might be part of the details of the Managed Forest Land Plan the property has been enrolled in for the past 20 years. A swath of berries like that makes excellent cover for turkey and deer nesting because the harsh stems are undesirable for predators to pursue into. To look up at the canopy of maples and ash on a March day when the branches are bare is one thing to a casual observer and another to a scientist. Brathal and Hoff emphasized the importance of looking up to note the differences between species. Indeed the ash canopy is a more substantial one. The branches are thicker all the way to their ends whereas the maple canopy feathers out into much finer variegated branch ends. Because of the spread of emerald ash borer in Wisconsin, Hoff recommends wash-

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ing one’s boots when going from an infected area to one that isn’t. Also 4-wheeler tires are a problem and should be cleaned between woodlot visits. One of the species I wanted to learn more about was ironwood. I remember when we would cook sap 20 years ago there was dead ironwood standing in the woods that made excellent sap-firing wood. It was a dense wood, not much bigger in diameter than a cedar fence post. Turns out there are two types of ironwood in my woodlot. One is referred to as musclewood. It has a smooth bark and a sinewy appearance. “It’s like one of those muscular guys flexing and moving his muscles all around,” Brathal said with a laugh. It’s actually American hornbeam or blue-beech. The second type of ironwood is the one I made firewood with – Eastern Hophornbeam, a rougher barked version that grows straight and narrow. It rarely exceeds 5 inches in diameter in this area. Brathal said when one walks in the woods it inevitably becomes apparent

what the landowner’s priorities are. I’m more interested in developing trails and turning this property into a learning environment. I mentioned how I’d like to have the small placards that identify trees and other plants along the trails. She said that’s not unheard of among some landowners. She suggested I might want to look into the Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association, which is a non-profit educational association for Wisconsin’s private woodland owners. We finished the afternoon discussing different programs available to woodland owners by the Natural Resources Conservation Service. With a 3-acre cleared field at the southwest corner of my property, a pollinator program might be one to consider. That involves planting an approved seed mix in the field and some transitional shrubs where the field transitions to the woods. It was a fine day to walk my new woodlot and gain knowledge about species growing in it. I don’t know who enjoyed it more – me or my little corgi-dachshund-cross, Sheila. When it was time for Hoff and Brathal to depart I collected the day’s sap and restoked the fire. I couldn’t help but make a quick visit to that sinewy musclewood they pointed out to me, down past the foursome of ash trees where the woods transitions to cedars and a few hemlocks.

Greg Galbraith’s life has unfolded like a country song. He and his wife, Wendy, came from the city to buy themselves a farm. They did right by it, keeping it in grass from one end to the other and grazing colorful cattle on it for 30 years. They raised three kids, turning them into responsible adults anyone could be proud of. After transitioning to organic production they

sold the farm to a local dairy couple. They left the land better than they found it. Greg Galbraith kept a favorite tractor and other loves of rural life, including 20 acres of his grandfather’s original farm with a sugar bush and cabin. From there he will continue to write about the evolving rural landscape. Visit www. poeticfarmer.com for more information.

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D6 | Thursday, April 18, 2019



Nominate a Youth Mentor Nominate an agricultural youth mentor to be highlighted in a future issue of Agri-View! Go to tinyurl.com/y3acxzac. We appreciate youth mentors!

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SIMPLE PAILS SATISFY SWEET TOOTH Satisfied with 9 gallons of finished syrup from 30 trees, Greg Galbraith decided to pull taps on a beautiful day in eastern Marathon County of Wisconsin. The stubborn drift and snow blower are a reminder of winter, which keeps sneaking back into the area.

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