PDPW Dairy's Bottom Line -- June 2020

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

Thursday, June 11, 2020 SECTION E

Tri-Fecta — taking care of people, cows and land

Contented calves lying in clean straw is par for the course at Tri-Fecta. PDPW PHOTOS

“We were raising calves in groups before it was cool. We saw that when they’re grouped together they follow each other’s behavior, including starting to drink water and eat grain. And they enjoy being together; calves are social animals.”


If there’s a definition for “typical family farm” the team members at Tri-Fecta Farms would say they don’t fit that description. And that’s okay. As recent nominees for the Outstanding Young Farmer award, the dairy’s management style is clearly working for them. Three siblings farm in partnership – Kari Gribble, Nick Schultz and Katy Schultz. They credit their parents, Keven and Cheryl Schultz, for encouraging them to pursue college and work off the farm before committing to fulltime work on the dairy. Gribble and her brother entered a partnership while Katy Schultz was still in high school. They started with a loan of 20 cows from their parents – a loan that was eventually paid back. “Our parents understood that when you have some skin in the game you make better choices,” Gribble said. “And it’s true. You’re more motivated to succeed.” A few years later, after buying and selling steers to earn money, Katy Schultz was ready to invest in the home farm. It was then she became the third partner. The delegating of roles sorted out rather seamlessly, based on natural inclinations. Gribble lives more than an hour from the farm. She works fulltime as assistant vice-president of enrollment management for Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin. She oversees all financial and legal components of the farm. Also she serves as the communications hub for conversations with insurance agents and financial lenders, and leads strategic goal development. Nick Schultz handles all field, crop and shop functions as well as grain marketing. He also coordinates logistics associated with the

Katy Schultz

ABOVE: From left, siblings Kari Gribble, Nick Schultz and Katy Schultz are partners at Tri-Fecta Farms. They each entered business after graduating from college and working off the farm for a few years. They were then ready to invest money to buy in to the partnership. RIGHT: From left, siblings Katy Schultz, Kari Gribble and Nick Schultz say they’re committed to taking care of their animals, their land, their family and their community. farm’s custom-operating entity. Katy Schultz takes responsibility for “everything with a heartbeat,” managing the health,

growth, care – and contentment – of animals and employees. She’s also the point person for determining each day’s to-do list; she

of their employees. “We’re focused on our people and what’s best for them,” said Schultz, who prioritizes conversation with them so they feel more like family than hired labor. “We also have a daily goal for all work to be finished by 5 p.m. so we can all be home for dinner with our families.” Keeping animals as comfortable as possible is just as important, she said. Calves are raised in groups as soon as all newborn calf-care protocols are met. They stay with their pen mates until they are confirmed pregnant. “We were raising calves in groups before it was cool,” she said. “We saw that when they’re grouped together they follow each other’s behavior, including starting to drink water and eat grain. And they enjoy being together; calves are social animals.” They saw a health benefit for the calves, plus there was significant time and energy savings for their employees. “We do things here that not everyone does,” she said. “Our first delegates appropriate team mem- concern is the wellbeing of our bers to specific tasks. animals and employees.” One of the guiding principles at Tri-Fecta is taking good care Please see TRI-FECTA, Page E2


Change sleep habits to change life perspective JOHN SHUTSKE

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“Good Night Moon …” Those words, and the book by Margaret Wise Brown, were read aloud in our house almost every night from the time my two kids were babies until they were 5 years old. It was Shutske such a ritual that by the time they were asleep I was ready to hit the hay myself. We work so hard to instill good sleep habits with our children or grandkids, yet as we grow older, poor sleep habits – and even intentionally minimizing sleep hours – becomes the norm. It’s even a badge of honor for some. Sleep can be an issue for all of us and sleep problems can grow worse as we age. Dairy producers and others in agriculture are not immune from sleep issues. Studies done in countries worldwide in the past few decades point to the fact that farmers often sleep too little, have frequent sleep disturbances or experience other poor-quality-sleep issues. Receiving less than the ideal amount – and quality – of sleep is detrimental to health. There are several areas where problems typically arise. Health – There can be elevated risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes and increased susceptibility to infection. Focus – There can be fatigue, distraction and forgetfulness during the workday. Decreased focus increases the risk of injury or even death from farm mishaps. Sleep deprivation alters our perception of risk and increases the likelihood we’ll make choices we’d

otherwise view as unsafe. Decision-making – This can be affected, especially in circumstances requiring creative, complex considerations of alternatives and future “what-if” scenarios. We’ve all heard others say, “Let me sleep on it,” when they’re faced with a big decision. Sleep-deprived people are often unable to think innovatively.

With things changing so quickly in the dairy industry, sleep will enhance our ability to think through potential pathways for future success. Lack of sleep impedes our ability to make decisions. Communication – Poor sleep can make it difficult to regulate emotions that support helpful, productive communications with oth-

ers. We’ve all experienced being crabby and even unrealistic in our thinking because we’re tired. When fatigued our brains are less effective in the complex tasks of listening to others for meaning, formulating our thoughts, and engaging with others in a helpful or caring way.


Dairy producers and others in agriculture are not immune Please see SLEEP, Page E3 from sleep issues.

‘Results pay in performance and quality...’ Target transitions

Small farm or large, it doesn’t matter: Targeting transitions helps get through tough times and invest in better times ahead. Every cost must return a benefit, every choice, results. Take the costs invested in each 2-year-old springing heifer. Her first opportunity to return the investment is her transition to a trouble-free, productive first lactation. A good fresh start on her first 100-days performance are top priority. With the Udder ComfortTM fresh routine, cattle reach their potential, and dairy producers meet their goals. “We tried other brands, but Udder Comfort is the best. It’s all we ever use now. It works, putting it on fresh udders after each milking for a few days helps us be proactive, managing udder health,” says Janny Wilbourn, doing herd health at Kleine Dairy, Cedar Lake, Indiana, where 110 cows make 87 lbs of 110,000 SCC milk.

“We tried other products, but it is Udder Comfort that did the job for us.

Customers confirm One Gallon of Udder Comfort completes the pre- and/or post-fresh routine for 40 to 50 cows/heifers to receive all 14 applications.

“Our SCC is lower than it’s ever been,” says Mark Spadgenske, Menahga, Minnesota. At Spadgenske Dairy, Mark and his brother Mike and their families milk 300 cows, producing 78 lbs of high quality milk. “Within just the first 2 months, we saw our counts come down, and by 6 months, SCC was down by over 100,000 and staying consistently well below 200,000,” Mark reports. “The results with Udder Comfort pay in performance and quality since we started this routine 3 years ago. We spray every fresh udder 2x/day for at least 4 days after calving,” he explains.

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BOTTOM LINE Thursday, June 11, 2020 E2

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

Twohig Rietbrock Schneider & Halbach “Attorneys for Agriculture” (920) 849 - 4999 Legal, business and planning solutions for Wisconsin’s farms and agribusinesses.


PDPW: Who we are

From E1

Another key to the farm’s success is diversification. For the past several years the family has been custom-growing and selling crops for neighbors. Nick Schultz coordinates schedules and conversations; his team offers neighbors an “a-la carte” approach. Each customer chooses the variety to be planted and which fertilizer to be applied along with other details. The producer also has the option to harvest or to rely on the Schultz crew to handle it. Custom-cropping gives the Tri-Fecta team an opportunity to collaborate with community members and fellow farmers. Being a good neighbor is vital; their farm property is surrounded by non-farm neighborhoods. It’s directly north of Fox Lake, one of Wisconsin’s best-10 fishing lakes. When farming the land at Tri-Fecta, the family’s emphasis on efficiency has brought the caretaking of land and water to a whole new level, the siblings said. They commonly use global-positioning-system-powered programs to their advantage, whether to apply site-specific nutrients or precisely indicate the location of rocks that need to be removed. Using those technologies ensures less wasted time, unnecessary soil amendments and fewer passes on the land. “Efficiency is king,” Nick Schultz said. “We’re the caretakers of the cows and land. It’s our responsibility to take care of them as best we can.” The family has long embraced learning from others. On a dairy tour Nick and Katy Schultz attended several years ago, they were introduced to PDPW. After learning valuable information from the tour as well as from several dairy producers in attendance, participating in PDPW programs has become a routine part of their success strategy. “There are plenty of ag publications that do a good job educating us about all sorts of topics,” Gribble said. “What I like about PDPW is that it gives me a chance to select for a specific program at a specific time. This helps me in my busy schedule.” Katy Schultz said, “You’ve got to surround yourself with people who are smarter than you and never be afraid to ask questions.” Gribble said, “We can’t be good at everything, but we’re good at asking for help – and looking for partners to collaborate with.” Visit www.facebook.com/TriFectaFarmsFamilyMarket for more information.

Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW) is Dairy's Professional Development Organization®. With a vision to lead the success of the dairy industry through education, our mission is to share 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

Shelly O’Leary is the communications and outreach specialist with the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin.

Kurt Petik Rabo AgriFinance Fond du Lac, Wis. kurt.petik@raboag.com Andrew Skwor MSA Professional Services Baraboo, Wis. askwor@msa-ps.com

www.pdpw.org mail@pdpw.org 800-947-7379

PDPW Upcoming Educational Events As dairy’s professional development organization, PDPW is committed to leading the success of the dairy industry through education. The following programs have been developed guided by our mission to share ideas, solutions, resources and experiences that help dairy producers succeed. See pdpw.org/programs for full program details and to register. Date(s)

PDPW Program


June 9-11

The Dairy Signal™

Online, 12 – 1 pm CDT

June 16-18

The Dairy Signal™

Online, 12 – 1 pm CDT

June 23-25 June 30 - July 1-2

A free resource featuring experts in the industry; available and shareable to all from www.pdpw.org. A free resource featuring experts in the industry; available and shareable to all from www.pdpw.org.

The Dairy Signal™

A free resource featuring experts in the industry; available and shareable to all from www.pdpw.org.

The Dairy Signal™

A free resource featuring experts in the industry; available and shareable to all from www.pdpw.org.

Call 800.947.7379 or visit pdpw.org for more programs and details, and to register.

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Are we missing something? Let us know topics or stories you would like us to include. Email agriview@ madison.com with ideas!

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Thursday, June 11, 2020 | E3



Pause, reflect, choose the positive HANK WAGNER

It seems there is not a person alive who hasn’t been negatively impacted in some way by the worldwide challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. National economies around our planet have been thrown into chaos. Some large international corporations have lost millions or Wagner even billions of dollars. Some businesses have permanently closed their doors because of financial difficulties, reduced employee turnout or any number of other challenges presented by the coronavirus. Neither have our local communities been spared. Businesses, schools, hospitals and recreation centers have needed to close altogether or drastically change how they operate. Many have needed to modify their personal lives after losing jobs and are now living without a steady income. Families have changed how they communicate to maintain contact with

Sleep From E1

Falling or staying asleep – Such sleep-associated difficulties can be both a symptom of too much stress and a cause of stress. In the same way chronic lack of sleep can either be a symptom of depression or it can increase the risk of depression. Cycles of sleeplessness and stress can be difficult to break. A few science-based tips can help a dairy producer ensure adequate quantity and quality of sleep. Strive for seven to eight hours each night. That’s difficult for many – especially dairy farmers. Though each person has individual

each other. Students have needed to study and complete homework assignments using non-traditional methods. And for many the impacts of the virus have meant the postponement or cancelation of weddings, graduations and other celebrations. For those of us in agriculture the pandemic may seem like yet another blow in a five-year battle to bring profitability back to our dairy businesses. We’re familiar with the fickle nature of markets and weather. But it’s fair to say no one expected this type of foe to present itself. It’s somewhat easy to adopt a negative mindset, being surrounded as we are by gloomy opinions, dashed expectations and depressing circumstances. It’s well known that negative news sells better than positive news. So it’s not surprising when news outlets focus on bad news and accompany it with commentary from talking heads who don’t offer a positive perspective or solutions to move forward. Fortunately we can choose to take a stand against negativity.

needs, we all need different types of sleep during the night to stay healthy. Deep sleep and rapid-eye-movement sleep helps us with decision-making and learning. Though sleeping enough can be more difficult as people age, it’s still important. If a person believes he or she needs less, that’s okay. But most studies point to concerns when sleep decreases to less than six hours nightly. Take a nap. As long as it’s kept between 20 minutes and an hour, and isn’t timed too late in the day, a nap is generally considered by health experts to be good for a person. Be mindful that napping after 4 p.m. or 5 p.m. can make regular nightly sleep more difficult.

Each of us is in charge of how we respond to our circumstances; our response affects how we act and think. We can also choose to regularly reflect on things that are positive, things we’re grateful for and things that make us smile. There is scientific evidence proving gratitude has many positive effects on our health and wellbeing. Our immune system is positively impacted when we choose positive responses. That is always beneficial but it’s critical during challenging times. We can’t singlehandedly end the COVID-19 pandemic but we do have the power to immediately alter our own attitude and perspective. We’ve probably all heard the Chuck Swindoll quote, “Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it.” We have a similar saying at our house – “There is always, always, always, something to be thankful for.” I have yet to encounter a situation for which there is nothing to be positive about. We need to program ourselves to start and finish

Develop a routine. Go to sleep and wake at about the same times each day. Also find ways to relax before bed. Sleep scientists suggest reading something that brings peace, taking a warm bath, listening to quiet music or spending time in quiet reflection on the good things in life. Avoid stimulation in the couple of hours before bedtime. That may include avoiding stressful conversations, reading content that will further create worry and anxiety, or web-surfing. In particular, viewing devices lit with certain types of light can signal the brain to stay awake. Be comfortable. Cooler temperatures are usually preferred; 60 to 70 de-

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We can choose to regularly reflect on things that are positive, things we’re grateful for and things that make us smile. every day by pausing to reflect on what we’re thankful for. And while we’re at it let’s also consider encouraging others to generate positive thoughts. It’s a contagious activity definitely worth spreading. Hopefully what we’re living through now is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We’ll likely never forget it, but we will make it through. Intentionally choosing positive thoughts will help us through challenging times and will make the good times even

grees accompanied by light air movement is recommended. Eliminate all light if possible, including bright lights from alarm clocks, smartphones and outside security systems. Consider putting devices in another room so there’s no temptation to check text messages or email at 2 a.m. Avoid all caffeine at least four to five hours before bedtime, depending on a person’s sensitivity. Remember there’s caffeine in many sodas, teas and even chocolate. Avoid alcohol. Some people believe they sleep better after having a couple of glasses of wine or

better. And I believe the best is yet to come. 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.

beer. While they may fall quickly asleep, they’ll typically awaken later to use the bathroom. Alcohol also interrupts the most crucial types of sleep needed to feel refreshed upon waking. Discuss sleep patterns with a doctor. Sleep is an important aspect of physical and mental health. Regardless of how a person feels about his or her sleep, it’s a good topic to chat about honestly with a primary health-care provider. In some cases feeling tired all the time is connected to treatable sleep issues such as sleep apnea and depression, both of which can have serious health conse-

quences. Farmers who are able to resolve sleeping problems often feel like a miracle has happened. In the case of one person with whom I worked, a sleep study confirmed sleep apnea. In the case of another, a producer realized how much late-afternoon sodas were impacting nightly sleep. In both cases those producers were able to take on different perspectives and see the world in a fresh way. John Shutske is a professor and University of Wisconsin-Division of Extension specialist. Email john.shutske@ wisc.edu to contact him.

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E4 | Thursday, June 11, 2020



PDPW Watersheds important piece of puzzle ERICA OLSON

It’s the small pieces coming together that make a big picture. When living in a rural setting and operating a farm, it can be easy to focus on one’s own piece of the puzzle while forgetting the whole picture. Olson The recent stay-at-home restrictions brought to the forefront just how interconnected every piece of the puzzle truly is. The impacts reached far beyond local communities and into regions far beyond. In the same way America’s watersheds are an agricultural puzzle. They too are interconnected. Each one is important in and of itself, but its relationship with the whole cannot be overstated. Each location on a map is a part of several watersheds, large and small. Wisconsin represents many sub-basins that comprise the Mississippi River Basin. Agricultural sources in total contribute more than 70 percent of the nitrogen and phosphorus delivered to the


The importance of properly timed nutrient applications is reflected.‌

Gulf of Mexico. The recent Wisconsin Nutrient Reduction Implementation Progress report recommended that non-point sources, including those in agriculture, should adopt strategies to

reduce the contribution of phosphorus and nitrogen to the Mississippi River Basin to meet Wisconsin’s goal of a reduction of 45 percent in nutrient delivery. The University of Wis-

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consin-Discovery Farms has spent almost 20 years performing edge-of-field water-quality monitoring. Our data points to some key practices that reduce soil and nutrient losses. Conservation practices such as reduced tillage and well-maintained grassed waterways, landscape and timing-specific management have big water-quality benefits. Increased soil protection and carefully timed manure or fertilizer applications will reduce the risk of soil, phosphorus and nitrogen loss. The chart demonstrates the importance of properly timed nutrient applications. The two events not depicted on the trend line are a result of a fertilizer application of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus on an alfalfa field after first cutting. Those events happened during two consecutive years just before runoff events – specifically rainfall. Those two events resulted in extreme dissolved-potassium losses due to inadequate time for


Edge-of-field monitoring stations collect water-quality data that helps farmers make sound management decisions.

While working in the fields this year remember that each puzzle piece is a part of something much larger. Any small effort made toward an individual conservation goal will keep soil and nutrients in the fields to grow crops for each business. the fertilizer to bond with the soil – and as a result was washed away with water. When runoff risk is great, assess the need for making a fertilizer application. One good decision could protect water quality while also preserving nutrients and saving money. By working together, efforts to achieve water-quality goals can have a ripple effect all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Discovery Farms has support systems available on many scales to help producers implement

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conservation practices. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection’s Producer-Led Watershed Grant Program encourages farmers to work toward water-quality goals. Grant funding supports conservation and outreach efforts, including current online webinars. Visit bit. ly/2Wvqv3G for more information regarding the webinars. Multi-state work also facilitates farmer-to-farmer connections. Discovery Farms is part of a multistate collaboration to improve water quality in the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico through farmer-led initiatives. “Many of our Kentucky farmers are implementing conservation practices that also help them achieve production goals,” said Amanda Gumbert, University of Kentucky-Extension. “By using practices like rotational grazing in livestock systems or cover crops in grain-crop systems our farmers are keeping valuable soil in place and out of our waterways. That’s a win for the farmer and a win for our downstream neighbors all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.” Beth Baker with the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, & Aquaculture at Mississippi State University said, “Our farmers in Mississippi certainly recognize the downstream connection of their farming practices to the adjacent water bodies that flow into the Gulf of Mexico. All of us, farmers and non-farmers, value the conservation innovations of farmers in the Upper Mississippi River Basin to help protect our shared water resources.” While working in the fields this year remember that each puzzle piece is a part of something much larger. Any small effort made toward an individual conservation goal will keep soil and nutrients in the fields to grow crops for each business. And it will also keep clean the water being sent downstream. Watershed efforts are a key ingredient in supporting water quality locally and to all downstream neighbors. Erica Olson is the farmer network and communications coordinator with the University of Wisconsin-Discovery Farms. Email erica.olson@ wisc.edu to reach her.

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