PDPW Dairy's Bottom Line -- July 19, 2018

Page 1

Volume 20: Issue 5 July 2018

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

PDPW president advocates nextgeneration financial literacy Page 2 Cow-centric focus is a win-win

Page 4 Tackle foliar diseases in corn

Page 5 On-farm meetings to be held in four locations

Page 6 Cost savings available through incentives

Shelly O’Leary

Several years ago Jay Heeg was invited to a Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin barnstorming event by board membe r B r i a n Fo r re s t . Designed to gather dairy-producer thoughts to further develop PDPW programs, the barnstorming session was an event at which Forrest said he knew his friend Heeg could contribute great ideas. Heeg graduated from the Un ive rs i ty o f Wi sco n sin-River Falls with a major in broad-area agriculture and a minor in animal science. He then worked for three years in sales for Babson Brothers, also spearheading the internship program. But Heeg returned to the family farm when an opportunity opened to join his brothers, Mark and Gary Heeg. Now called Heeg Brothers Dairy LLC, the dairy near Colby, Wisconsin, milks 1,100 cows, crops 2,800 acres and raises all its heifers. Jay Heeg is the farm’s dairy and human resources manager. Mark Heeg is the general manager while Gary Heeg is the heifer manager. Heeg Brothers Dairy has a high level of success in its calf-care program, with a calf-mortality rate of less


PDPW President Jay Heeg is dairy and human resources manager at Heeg Brothers Dairy near Colby, Wisconsin, home to 1,100 cows, almost 1,000 heifers and 21 employees.

than 1 percent. “Animal care is a top priority for us,” Jay Heeg said. The family is a strong supporter of ongoing education for the dairy industry. The farm has hosted several PDPW trainings, including a dairy-obstetrics and newborn-calf-care workshop taught exclusively in Spanish. The family has also hosted for PDPW an Agricultural Community Engagement On-theFarm Twilight Meeting and the Youth Leadership Derby. As PDPW president, Heeg said he’s looking forward to serving dairy producers with programs that highlight

strategies to enhance efficiency and sustainability. “Farm size doesn’t matter,” he said. “Across the board, producers are looking for practical knowledge and resources they can use.” His first PDPW experience at the barnstorming event is long in the rearview mirror. Heeg has since attended numerous industry and PDPW programs that have shaped him as a dairy producer and managing member of the family business. Among the most valuable programs to the Heeg Brothers team, he See HEEG, Page 2

Professional Dairy Producers I 1-800-947-7379 I www.pdpw.org ™

July 2018 • PDPW • Dairy’s Bottom Line

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 Brian Forrest Stratford, Wis. 715-650-0267 bforrest70@gmail.com Directors Mitch Breunig Sauk City, Wis. 608-963-6819 mysticvalley336@gmail.com Andy Buttles Lancaster, Wis. 608-723-4712 stonefront@tds.net Janet Clark Rosendale, Wis. 608-341-6709 vafarmsllc@hotmail.com Marty Hallock Mondovi, Wis. 715-495-2812 marbec@nelson-tel.net Steven Orth Cleveland, Wis. 920-905-2575 orthlanddairy@gmail.com

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

Mark Binversie Investors Community Bank Manitowoc, Wis. mbinversie@investors communitybank.com Dr. Randy Shaver UW- Madison Dairy Science Madison, Wis. rdshaver@wisc.edu Andrew Skwor MSA Professional Services Baraboo, Wis. askwor@msa-ps.com


Cow-centric approach leads to wins Jennifer Van Os

The Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin Business Conference took place my first week on the job as the University of Wisconsin-Extension’s new specialist in dairy-animal welfare. The event was a great introduction to a proactive contingent of Wisconsin’s dairy industry. As I sat down for the conference kick-off I immediately Jennifer recognized the Van Os woman next to me. One year earlier I’d seen presentations by Daphne Holterman and her husb a n d , L l oyd H o l te r m a n .

Heeg Continued from page 1

said, are the national programs — PDPW Managers Academy for Dairy Professionals and the PDPW Business Conference. “The ‘Dairy’s Visible Voice’ series is also incredible,” Heeg said. Dairy’s Visible Voice ® is a leadership program that teaches communication skills to dairy producers in five unique sessions. Participants learn important tips for working with news media, crisis management, active listening, proactive communication within one’s community, and effective social-media use to engage consumers in one’s circle of influence. “The topics covered are unfamiliar or uncomfortable for many producers,” Heeg said. “But if you ever need this information, it’s critical to have. The trainings are excellent.” As he and his team members continue attending educational programs they said they’re


The Rosy-Lane Holsteins team keeps cow welfare at the center of their work. From left are Jordan Matthews, Tim Strobel, and Lloyd and Daphne Holterman, all partners in the dairy.

finding value in PDPW’s Dairy AdvanCE. “Dairy AdvanCE helps me keep track of programs I’ve gone to, and my employees too,” Heeg said. Launched in 2017 to track and report continuing-education credits, Dairy AdvanCE was developed in answer to an industry-wide need for a centralized mechanism for recording continuing-education credits across all accepted education providers. Another program that kicked off in 2017 that Heeg said he’s excited to keep developing is PDPW’s “Financial Literacy for Dairy.” The multi-level program has received high praise from its inaugural class of students, including Tom Brenner, a dairy producer from Durand, Wisconsin. “I invested my time into this training because of the high risks — financially speaking — dairy farming can pose,” Brenner said. “If I’m going to stick around long-term I need to find a way to grow my business acumen. This training is already working for my business. The

course has made me dig in and inspect my operation in ways I haven’t before.” Heeg said he sees the Financial Literacy for Dairy program to be a crown jewel in the PDPW program arsenal. “The farm financials are the foundation of each member operation,” he said. “The financial-literacy program can open their eyes to all the different facets of their businesses.” As Heeg looks ahead to his term as president he said he recognizes the challenges the dairy industry is facing. He’s confident that continuing to focus on learning and training others is always a step in the right direction. “We grow leaders one person at a time,” he said. “I’m very passionate about the next generation. It’s important to get youth involved so they see what we’re doing in the dairy industry — from the nutritious food we produce to the care we give our animals, and to the way we’re directing our efforts on environmental initiatives and sustainability. Dairy producers have a story to tell.”

July 2018 • PDPW • Dairy’s Bottom Line They are two of four partners at Rosy-Lane Holsteins near Watertown, Wisconsin, where they milk about 900 head. Daphne Holterman had talked about Rosy-Lane’s “cow-centric attitude.” As she put it, “invest in your cows first and they will pay you back if you take care of them.” At the same time she recognizes the importance of doing the right thing for the animals. That helps build a bank of public support for farming to help sustain their dairy into the future. I visited Rosy-Lane Holsteins to see the operation in action and learn more about the Holtermans and another partner, Jordan Matthews. Some of the things they do for animal welfare have been widely adopted in the industry, such as keeping deep-sand-bedded stalls clean and fluffy, maintaining a regular foot-bath and hoof-trimming schedule, and


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installing rubber floors. Rosy-Lane is big on clear simple procedures to promote consistency. “We’ve made it easy to do the right thing,” Daphne Holterman said. They regularly update their bilingual standard operating procedures and work checklists. They also track a lot of data. Logging that information scores big wins for both production efficiency and animal welfare. Their Afimilk system indicates milking speed, which they use to group pens of cows. Lloyd Holterman said that reduces the time cows are required to stand in the parlor and holding area, giving them more time to lie down in the pen. Another standard at RosyLane is around-the-clock milking. They average 3.2 milkings per day. They also use welfare-friendly feeding strategies such as bottle-feeding calves through weaning age. Lloyd

Holterman said he sees benefits for consistency. “I like the bottle feeding,” he said. “It’s the exact same amount every feeding.” Feeding gives calves an appropriate outlet for their instinctive suckling behavior. The producers keep feed in front of their heifers and cows 24 hours per day, seven days per week. A willingness to experiment w i t h n ew a p p roa c h e s i s important. It’s a constant work-in-progress. Professor Nina von Keyserlingk from the University of British Columbia’s animal-welfare department spoke about the benefits of pair-housing for calf development and welfare. After the Rosy-Lane team heard that discussion at a conference they started using that approach. The team also created solutions for cow cooling. A plumber installed showerheads in the double-12 parallel parlor. The spray hits cows

between their shoulders and hips, and gives more consistent soaking than in the holding pen. Research has shown that cows would rather avoid spray to their heads. To collect more data on that I plan to work this summer with Rekia Salter, a UW-Madison dairy-science master’s student, to learn more about that method of cooling. As of mid-June the Rosy-Lane cows were averaging 93 pounds of milk per day with 4.2 percent fat, 3.2 percent protein and a somatic cell count of 103,000. There are a number of ways to dairy successfully. It’s possible to optimize animal welfare, consistency and efficiency in an operation. Jennifer Van Os is an assistant professor and specialist in animal welfare in the Department of Dairy Science at the University of WisconsinMadison. Email jvanos@wisc.edu to reach her.


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July 2018 • PDPW • Dairy’s Bottom Line

Applying fungicide can pay dividends Jon Erickson

Corn-silage quality and yield is determined throughout the growing season and impacts what producers feed in the year ahead. In the summer months foliar diseases appear that can compromise plant health and yield. Producers then face the challenge of determining if diseases warrant the time and cost of foliar fungicide treatment. Studies have shown applying a foliar fungicide Jon Erickson helps preserve quality of corn silage and protects plant yield from foliar diseases such as gray-leaf spot, northern corn-leaf blight, eyespot and anthracnose stalk rot. A 2015 trial examined the impact of foliar fungicide application on corn-silage yield and quality of brown midrib corn-silage hybrids. The trial tracked disease pressures and field observations at nine dairy farms throughout Wisconsin, a state highly susceptible to foliar diseases.Through the trial northern corn-leaf

blight and eyespot — fungal diseases — and other foliar pathogens were prevalent in Wisconsin. Overall results show a clear advantage of foliar fungicide applications, compared with control groups, in preserving plant health and protection against fungal pathogens. The largest yield advantage was in the VT to R2 stages — the tasseling to blister-stage treatment group — which produced 1.72 tons more per acre than the control group. Group 1 (control) 2 3 4

Plant stage not applicable V5 to V8 VT to R2 V5 to V8 and VT to R2

Application treatment not applicable fluxapyroxad + pyraclostrobin metconazole + pyraclostrobin fluxapyroxad + pyraclostrobin

Rate of application not applicable 4 fl. oz./acre 10 fl. oz./acre 4 fl. oz./acre

metconazole + pyraclostrobin 10 fl. oz./acre

Corn growth stages are represented by vegetative (V) and reproductive (R) stages. The (V) stages are designated numerically as V1, V2, V3 and V(n) where (n) represents the number of leaves with visible collars. The first and last (V) stages are designated as VE (emergence) and VT (tasseling). The six reproductive stages are simply designated numerically. R2 represents the blister stage, in which kernels are white and resemble a blister in shape. See extension.entm.purdue.edu for more resources.


Corn treated with foliar fungicides appears vibrant and healthy.


Corn that is untreated with a foliar fungicide may appear brown and crusty at the edges of the leaves.

Trial results also show the higher yield experienced with applications between tasseling and blister stage can result in every dollar spent on a fungicide application returning close to $80 more than the cost of fungicide.Producers should consult with their agronomist to decide if a fungicide application is right for their crop. They should be prepared for the conversation with field history of foliar pathogens. In

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July 2018 • PDPW • Dairy’s Bottom Line addition it’s important to be familiar with past and predicted weather patterns; increased rain and humidity create the perfect environment for foliar diseases to thrive. Before tasseling begins producers should evaluate corn-silage fields for foliar diseases. If at least 50 percent of plants show signs of foliar diseases using a fungicide should be considered to protect from further loss of quality and yield. An agronomist can factor in environmental conditions and plant development to produce the most out of the fungicide investment. Group

Yield data (tons/acre at 65% moisture)

Value of additional tonnage

Cost of products

Return over cost of fungicide

Total return on investment


Yield advantage over control group (tons/ acre) ‐

Control (untreated) V5 to V8






VT to R2






V5 to V8 and VT to R2






$2.10 per dollar spent $7.70 per dollar spent $0.30 per dollar spent

Silage values figured at $55 per ton. No application cost is figured in the analysis. Jon Erickson is a commercial agronomist with Mycogen Seeds, a mission sponsor of the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin. Email JOErickson@dow.com to reach him.

Four dairies to host meetings Later this summer four dairies will host Agricultural Community Engagement On-TheFarm Twilight Meetings. Developed as a way to gather nearby elected officials, educators, leaders, community members and dairy farmers, the meetings showcase how agricultural and nonfarm community members can thrive by combining resources and working together. The meetings are open to the public and free. They aren’t just an opportunity to tour i m p re ss ive d a i r i e s ; they’re also designed to take advantage of frank communications about issues important to c o m m u n i t i e s a n d

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There are four hosting dairies in Wisconsin. • Aug. 27 — Kellercrest Holsteins, 1141 County Highway JG South, Mt. Horeb • A ug. 28 — Miltrim Farms, 1715 W. Townline Road, Athens • A ug. 29 — Brey’s Cycle Farm LLC, 2139 County Road O, Sturgeon Bay • Aug. 30 — Double S Dairy, N3447 Marshview Road, Markesan The events are co-presented by Wisconsin Counties Association, Wisconsin Towns Association and Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin. Visit www.pdpw. org or call 800-947-7379 for more information.

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July 2018 • PDPW • Dairy’s Bottom Line

Dairy transitions to energy efficiency Focus on Energy

Peterson’s Dairy LLC is a dairy operation located near Lena, Wisconsin. Arnie and Judy Peterson founded the family-owned business in 1973 with 55 cows. In 1991 they built their first freestall barn, with 600 milking cows. Twentythree years later after numerous maintenance upgrades, it was time for a bigger change. Peterson’s Dairy wanted to take the next step by incorporating a new parlor and freestall barn and increasing their herd size again. Committed to creating a sustainable environmentally friendly facility focused on cow comfort, the Peterson farm team understands the importance of lessening their environmental footprint. Throughout the planning process they incorporated energy-efficient technologies so the new facility would not only


John Peterson stands in Peterson’s Dairy LLC, a dairy operation located near Lena, Wisconsin. Arnie and Judy Peterson founded the family-owned business in 1973 with 55 cows.

ensure they’d be good neighbors in their small rural community but also provide viable business options for future generations. After contacting their energy adviser, work began with Trade Ally contractors to review suggested equipment upgrades, gather proposals, ensure equipment qualified to maximize energy savings, and determine estimated incentive amounts.

The construction project was complete in the summer of 2017. Eleven-hundred cows later the new facility includes a parlor, holding area, utility room, freestall barn, offices and viewing areas for tour groups. An existing barn met qualifications to receive incentives for installed light-emitting diode — LED — lights. In total Peterson’s Dairy received $28,202 in Focus on Energy incentives and were able to realize $52,444 in annual energy-cost savings on their farm’s utility bill. The dairy earned the 2018 Excellence in Energy Efficiency Award — an honor recognizing 2017 Focus on Energy projects and individual contributions toward outstanding energyefficiency dedication and performance. Peterson’s Dairy supports practices that make economic sense and help the

environment. The family is socially responsible to the community and world by reducing energy use while producing a nutritious product. For assistance with energyefficiency-improvement needs, contact a Focus on Energy adviser. Focus on Energy advisers have the tools and skills to help g u i d e p o te n t i a l e n e rg ysavings projects. They also provide an unbiased third-party source of information to improve energy efficiency on the farm. Visit focusonenergy.com/agribusiness or call 888-947-7828 for more information. Focus on Energy is a PDPW Mission Sponsor and Wisconsin utilities’ statewide energy-efficiency and renewable-resource program funded by the state’s investor-owned energy utilities and participating municipal and electric cooperative utilities.

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Peterson’s Dairy 2017 renovation project breakdown There were various types equipment installed during the 2017 renovation of Peterson’s Dairy. • LED lighting was installed throughout the facility including exterior lighting, high bays, downlights and t ro f fe rs c o n t ro l l e d by sensors. • Circulation and ventilation fans were installed, which are controlled by variable frequency drives. • Variable frequency drives were installed on milk pumps.

• Variable frequency drives were installed on vacuum pumps. • P l a te c o o l e r s we r e installed. • E nergy-free livestock waterers were installed. Annual energy savings — 476,764 kilowatt hours and 41 kilowatts Annual energy-cost savings — $52,444 Project cost — $215,837 Focus on Energy incentive — $28,202 Payback — four years

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