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BOTTOM LINE Thursday, September 3, 2020 SECTION E

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

Forage options impact water quality Protect newly established alfalfa

AMBER RADATZ

Traditional Wisconsin forage systems usually include a combination of corn silage and alfalfa. The ratio of forage crops that are fed to dairy cows depends on multiple factors, including water quality. Since 2001 Discovery Farms® has monitored surRadatz face-water quality on 25 farms in Wisconsin and Minnesota. The water-quality parameters monitored include runoff volume as well as pounds per acre of sediment, nitrogen and phosphorus contained in that runoff.

Crop, tillage type impacts losses

UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN

May and June see increased soil losses when soil is left bare. Green cover during these greater-risk time periods can help mitigate soil loss. or soil-surface residue throughout the year helps mitigate losses. As one would expect, there’s more risk for soil loss during the establishment year of alfalfa and also in corn-silage years. Those losses correspond with the amount of soil disturbance or tillage as well as the amount of time the soil is bare, or bare and disturbed, in the spring and early summer.

A database comprised of 203 site years’ worth of data has been queried to determine water-quality risks and benefits of current forage systems. While runoff occurs no matter the crop type, the amount of both soil and nutrient Reduce disturbance, loss does vary by crop. Alfalfa and increase cover corn grain show lesser soil losses – usually less than 400 pounds per Most soil losses occur during acre annually. That can be related May and June; in years followto a lack of tillage after alfalfa is ing corn silage the soil is largely established because plant cover bare from September throughout

the spring and early summer. To reduce soil-loss risk in fields where corn silage will be part of the rotation, consider switching to no-till on that field and/ or planting a cover crop immediately after harvest. Discovery Farms data shows that average monthly soil loss following corn silage is three to five times more on tilled fields compared to fields not tilled. Wisconsin farmers are also seeing success planting the following year’s crop directly into the green cover crop. That type of soil protection during May and June when the risk for soil loss is the most helps keep valuable soil in the field.

Establishing alfalfa is critical to ensuring a reliable crop for upcoming years. Through Discovery Farms monitoring we’ve observed losses of almost 1,800 pounds per acre of sediment when spring rain interacts with freshly tilled and planted alfalfa fields. Several Discovery Farms participants have adopted methods for establishing alfalfa in the spring into a growing rye crop that was planted after corn-silage harvest the previous fall. Those methods reduce the amount of bare and disturbed soil in the spring without negatively impacting alfalfa performance or quality. Ask fellow farmers about their experiences. Visit fyi.extension.wisc.edu/forage for the University of Wisconsin-Division of Extension forage site for more information.

Impact soil, phosphorus levels When soil leaves the field the losses include more than productivity value and sediment; phosphorus also is lost. Most particulate phosphorus – that which is attached to soil particles – is lost during the growing season. Increasing cover on the soil

Dairy Innovation Hub creates transformation HEATHER WHITE

The Dairy Innovation Hub is an investment by the state of Wisconsin into our $45.6 billion dairy community, through the dedication of funds focused on research, instruction and outreach at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, U W- P l a t teville and U W- R i ve r Falls. The priority areas for the Innovation Hub span all aspects of White dairy in an integrated fashion – animal health and welfare, enriching human health and nutrition, stewardship of land and water resources, and growing farm businesses and communities. But why do we need research to continue excelling in dairy and what will the research do for a farm, cheese plant or business? Through history, research has been the root of innovation. In Wisconsin we have a long rich history that intertwines research at UW with the state’s needs, particularly in dairy. The Babcock milkfat test standardized payment for milk based on quality. The development of Warfarin – a discovery originally prompted after a farmer brought buckets of cow blood to campus in search of a reason why his cows were hemorrhaging – changed medicine forever. If we rein in the timescale to the past 25 years, the impact from research has led to total mixed rations, artisan cheeses, timed synchronization and insemination programs, and countless more developments. To stay competitive our community needs to remain on the cutting edge by continuing to search for transformational and innovative solutions. There’s no doubt that research takes time – and not every project will result in a transformational solution. There are also benefits to solving pressing challenges or time-sensitive questions. With the Innovation Hub we strive to achieve those short-term victories while reaching toward long-term vision. The result is funding mechanisms that help achieve multiple goals. During the Dairy Innovation Hub’s first year we invested in research capacity as well as funded projects 00 led by current faculty and 1

UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN

staff. Those projects have stimulated collaboration across departments, colleges and campuses – in addition to centers and entities across the state. Some of the researchers were already working on dairy-related questions. The Innovation Hub’s funding is helping them address pressing questions in a timely manner or to do initial work. Conversely some of the researchers were not doing dairy-related research previously but now are applying their skills and knowledge toward dairy-related questions. Both situations are wins for the valuable knowledge they yield, the increased capacity they represent and the research that wouldn’t be done without Innovation Hub funding. In addition to engaging those

already on our campuses we are recruiting faculty to fill critical gaps on the three UW campuses. Those faculty members will establish research programs in areas that are increasingly important to our state’s dairy community – from soil-nutrient management to understanding the role of dairy products in support of consumer health and more. While research is the cornerstone of innovation, doing research is not enough if we haven’t asked the right questions and if we can’t put that knowledge into the hands of the right users. Collaboration is central to the Innovation Hub’s efforts. Encouraging researchers across disciplines and geography to work together with external stakeholders and organizations has already guided faculty searches and funding decisions, and communicated the most-pressing challenges. The instructional and outreach components of the Innovation Hub prioritize dissemination of

new knowledge. We’re already sharing videos and presentations of the projects selected for funding in the first year. As those early-funded projects begin yielding results the public will see them in print publications, on social media, at conferences and at the Dairy Summit – to be held virtually Nov. 18. In our search for transformational solutions we will assuredly find ways to improve best practices, better understand pressing issues within the priority areas and continue to train the bright young minds who will be joining the Wisconsin dairy community. Visit cals.wisc.edu/ dairy-innovation-hub for more information. Heather White is the faculty director of the Dairy Innovation Hub and associate professor in the department of dairy science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Email heather.white@wisc. edu to reach her.

and reducing soil disturbance in forage rotations will lessen phosphorus losses. Discovery Farms data indicates that decreasing soil loss is the first step to decreasing phosphorus loss, and thus improving a farm’s water-quality impact. While focusing on those practices is not the final step in reducing phosphorus losses, it’s a tremendous first step. There are also positive reports on new alternative forage varieties that are working well for farmers across the landscape. Those varieties could provide more ground cover, manure-application windows and plant diversity while creating quality feed. Visit bit.ly/31f5j4s to listen to the Producer-Led Webinar on Alternative Forages. Wisconsin is the dairy state. A large contributor to that heritage stems from the incredible ability farmers have shown to produce vast quantities of quality forages. Producers should continue to consider ways to decrease the vulnerability of current systems regarding soil and nutrient loss. Visit www.uwdiscoveryfarms. org for more information. Amber Radatz is co-director of University of Wisconsin-Discovery Farms. Email amber.radatz@wisc. edu to reach her.

Collaboration is central to the Innovation Hub’s efforts.

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PDPW Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin creates dairy initiatives

PDPW: Who we are

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.

CHAD VINCENT

Upcoming Educational Events SEP 1-3

The Dairy Signal™ Online, 12 – 1 pm CT

Visit www.pdpw.org. Audio and video recordings are also free

SEP 8-10

The Dairy Signal™ Online, 12 – 1 pm CT

Visit www.pdpw.org. Audio and video recordings are also free

SEP 15-17

The Dairy Signal™ Online, 12 – 1 pm CT

Visit www.pdpw.org. Audio and video recordings are also free

SEP 22-24

The Dairy Signal™ Online, 12 – 1 pm CT

Visit www.pdpw.org. Audio and video recordings are also free

SEP 23, 24

Environmental Tour Weds, Sept. 23:

Cottonwood Dairy South Wayne, Wis.

Thur, Sept. 24: Miltrim Farms Athens, Wis.

More information coming; visit www.pdpw.org for details.

SEP 29-OCT 1

The Dairy Signal™ Online, 12 – 1 pm CT

Visit www.pdpw.org. Audio and video recordings are also free

PDPW mission: to share ideas, solutions, resources and experiences that help dairy producers succeed.

Our mission at Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin is to promote Wisconsin dairy in a way that expands consumer access and demand for foods featuring the nutritious milk from dairy farms. Every day we represent Wisconsin dairy farmers with two goals – to increase Wisconsin dairy-product sales and to bring more value to the excellent-quality milk produced on those farms. We take our mission to drive nationwide and international demand for that Vincent milk seriously – and have a strategy in place to accomplish it. We strive to build trust, awareness and affinity for Wisconsin dairy products, dairy farmers and dairy farming. How we accomplish that may change, especially in unpredictable times, but the strategy remains the same. Continuing to build sales and trust in Wisconsin dairy is at the core of everything we do. As part of this plan, the Proudly Wisconsin Cheese™ badge is more visible and available on more products than ever. Consumers can easily recognize our award-winning cheese and dairy when deciding what to buy — wherever they live and shop. Products that carry those badges embody everything our state is known for – quality, tradition, innovation, passion and award-winning dairy. Our efforts have taken on greater importance since the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the supply chain this spring. Before COVID-19 cheese sales were increasing about 12 percent to 15 percent from a year earlier. But they decreased by 50 percent to 80 percent in April as restaurants and schools closed or reduced service. The Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin consequently shifted gears to support dairy farmers and the industry through the resulting changes. And we continue working with industry partners for solutions to keep milk flowing from farms to processors to consumers. Our initiatives are aimed at building new alliances and increasing Wisconsin dairy demand. A new partnership with Grande Cheese Company highlights the use of Wisconsin cheese. Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin’s supportive industry efforts resonated with Grande leadership and opened the door to new ways of working together. Grande is a family-owned company that works with independent pizzerias. Our initiative to help sustain Wisconsin dairy-farm families and consumers amidst the pandemic aligned with Grande’s campaign to support local restaurants and pizzerias. As a result the Proudly Wisconsin Cheese badge may be featured on menus of more than 200 independent pizzerias that feature Grande

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

The Proudly Wisconsin Cheese™ badge on product packaging is designed to quickly and clearly convey that the product comes from Wisconsin – America’s Dairyland.

Vice President Katy Schultz Fox Lake, Wis. 920-210-9661 katylschultz@gmail.com

Cheese. Those restaurants print more than 25,000 menus each, which significantly boosts our exposure to dairy consumers in the regions those restaurants serve. In addition Grande’s “Eat Local Pizza” video promotions include the Proudly Wisconsin Cheese badge, further increasing our reach and influence. A matchmaking coalition is connecting Wisconsin food pantries and food banks with processors who have excess dairy products. With the help of those groups we moved significant tons of milk, milk equivalent and cheese in a short time. Those networks will have a long-lasting impact on dairy consumption as well as reduce hunger. A statewide initiative shares critical information and personal stories about Wisconsin dairy farmers with consumers and reporters. The plan broadcasts farmer stories on TV news programs in addition to placing the stories on digital platforms and websites. It also includes other materials to highlight dairy’s message and individual farm stories. When consumers hear about Wisconsin dairy farms and products from dairy farmers, the impact is significant. Checkoff dollars make that possible. As restaurants and food vendors reopen, reacclimatize to the current situation and reimagine what their businesses look like, we’ll continue to implement creative strategies that incorporate Wisconsin dairy products into their menus, marketing tools and other offerings. Video events and e-commerce opportunities are just some of the ways we’re working with food-industry partners to support Wisconsin dairy. We’re excited about those developments – and we have more work ahead as we continue building trust and partnerships that add value for Wisconsin dairy farmers. Visit wisconsindairy.org for more information.

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

Chad Vincent is the CEO of Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, the marketing and promotional arm for Wisconsin’s dairy farmers. Visit wisconsindairy.org for more information.

Kurt Petik Rabo AgriFinance Fond du Lac, Wis. kurt.petik@raboag.com

Twohig Rietbrock Schneider & Halbach

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PDPW Measure methane effects properly FRANK MITLOEHNER

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, packing 28 times the punch of carbon dioxide. But that sound bite doesn’t account for how each gas warms the atmosphere. Comparing potency may be valid but when we’re talking about a warming climate, we should also consider how a gas does so and not just how strong Mitloehner it is. To better understand the behemoth that is global warming and how each greenhouse gas influences it, a standardized system was created. Scientists established in 1990 the Global Warming Potential, more commonly known as GWP100, as a standardized matrix that governing bodies could use to combat climate change. Carbon dioxide has a score of 1, methane

is 28 and nitrous oxide is 265. In other words methane is 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide. While GWP100 has become a well-known and easily digestible convention used to drive global-warming policy and regulations, it has a major flaw when it comes to methane. The system measures methane’s carbon-dioxide equivalence but overlooks how methane behaves in – and warms – the atmosphere. That’s a big miss. Carbon dioxide, the most plentiful greenhouse gas, is a long-lived climate pollutant and a stock gas. Once emitted large portions will remain and stockpile in the atmosphere for thousands of years. Such a glut of excess is too vast to be absorbed by plants and other carbon sinks. Mostly it’s on a dead-end path to climate warming. Conversely methane is a shortlived climate pollutant, a flow gas

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-DAVIS‌

Global temperatures affect the responses of different emission trends in carbon dioxide and methane. Visit bit. ly/howmethanewarms for more information.‌ that stays in the atmosphere for only a decade. Furthermore when it comes from livestock – as opposed to fossil-fuel production and coal mining – methane is part of the biogenic carbon cycle. It isn’t adding new carbon to the current atmospheric stock. The biogenic carbon cycle starts when plants capture carbon diox-

ide from the atmosphere as part of photosynthesis. In large part those plants are harvested or directly consumed by livestock such as cattle. When cows belch, methane enters the atmosphere and warms at 28 times the rate of carbon dioxide – but only for 10 years. It then undergoes hydroxyl oxidation to become carbon diox-

ide and water vapor. The resulting carbon dioxide is recycled and returned to the atmosphere, ending methane’s warming. But there’s more to it. As a flow gas methane is being destroyed as it’s being added. Its warming impact isn’t determined Please see METHANE, Page E4

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PDPW TO YOUR HEALTH

Make changes to improve farm safety JOHN SHUTSKE

I worked with the National Farm Medicine Center to release farm-workplace fatality reports for 2017 and 2018. The project involved an in-depth study of news articles, obituaries, death certificates, age, gender, and associShutske ated causes and hazards. It’s challenging research work; I often can see myself or my family in the people whose lives are forever changed as a result of those tragedies. The necessary follow-up questions include, “What do we do with this information? How do we motivate farm operators to make changes and take action to

Fall harvest time can be one of the busiest and most dangerous seasons of the year for the agriculture industry. For that reason the third week of September is recognized as National Farm Safety and Health Week. improve safety?” There are many possible motivations. Financial — The National Safety Council estimates each workplace death costs $1.19 million. That includes lost lifetime-earning

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potential, medical costs, and other expenses – direct and indirect – to families and employers. That estimate suggests a cost in 2017 of $48.8 million dollars in Wisconsin alone. Those losses don’t include non-fatal farm injuries. Several studies in Wisconsin and nearby states indicate one in five farms experience a work-related injury every year. In a study that included Wisconsin and four other states, 4,000 farmers shared that almost 80 percent of those injuries required medical treatment. The National Safety Council estimates the per-injury cost for medically consulted events to be $41,000. That includes direct out-ofpocket expenses, contributions to health-insurance and workers-compensation costs, downtime and lost

productivity. In my work with farmers and workers who have experienced amputations, and/or head or spinal-cord injuries, costs can easily approach a million dollars across 10 or 20 years. The industry, individual producers and society ultimately bear that economic burden. A serious injury or preventable work-related illness to a key member of a farm team can sink an operation. Employee satisfaction, productivity, retention — Based on my research in the past couple of years with colleagues in dairy science, health and other fields, there’s a heightened awareness of workplace health and safety among farm workers on dairy farms. The COVID-19 pandemic has played a role; farm employees have been deemed essential and have seen firsthand how critical their roles are to our economy and food supply.

Finding and retaining good workers is a major concern for the dairy industry. National surveys of people on large dairies indicate a 38.8 percent yearly turnover rate among hired workers on dairy farms. The majority of operators cite that good workers can be “very difficult to find” compared to just a few years ago. Safe and healthy workplace conditions are an attraction to good workers. People employed in a caring workplace where safety is taken seriously are often more committed to their work, employer and industry. Because successfully recruiting good employees often occurs through word of mouth it’s vital employees have positive impressions and speak positively of their workplaces – and the concern and care they receive from their employers and managers. Without a doubt there’s an economic motivation

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to improve farm safety. It has a direct – and substantial – value. A healthy and safe workplace will pay dividends in relationships, productivity and retention of great workers. But there’s a more important motivator. In 2017, 41 deaths were attributed to the Wisconsin agricultural industry. Another 34 died in 2018. That’s in addition to 9,000 to 10,000 injuries, with three-quarters of them requiring a rushed visit to the emergency room or other medical care. Finances and employee satisfaction are important components of any successful business – but more important are the people those numbers represent. They are moms and dads. They are grandpas and grandmas. Some are kids. Many in our industry have traveled from other parts of the country and world looking for a great place to work, earn a living and support a family. They are people – our friends, family, neighbors and fellow community members. Everyone must do his or her part to help the industry reduce the number of work-related deaths and injuries. Remember the people, whether they’re members of the producer’s own family or someone else’s family. Start with simple concrete actions – reduce hazards, provide protective equipment and offer regular safety training and demonstrations. Everyone needs to do what he or she can to purposely make the farming industry safer and healthier for all. The rewards are worth it – for all of us. Visit www.marshfieldresearch.org/nfmc for more information.

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From E3

by how much is being emitted because it’s destroyed relatively quickly – but rather by how much more or less methane is being emitted through a period of time. If a herd emits the same amount of methane during 10 years, it’s contributing to warming only for the first 10 years. Afterward the amount being emitted is equal to what’s being destroyed through oxidation. At that point warming is neutral if methane emissions stay constant. If herd emissions are reduced – and dietary supplements and digesters are leading the industry in that direction – there’s a cooling effect that can offset other carbon emissions. Armed with that knowledge, scientists at the University of Oxford are proposing an alternative to GWP100 to measure shortlived greenhouse gases – a metric called GWP*. Instead of measuring one methane pulse emission against a carbon dioxide pulse emission of the same size, it takes into account how much more or less methane is being emitted through a period of time. That more accurately describes the differences in how shortlived climate pollutants and long-lived climate pollutants warm the atmosphere. It’s an important element of climate-change conversations and yet another reason the benefits of animal agriculture are not to be taken lightly. Visit clear. ucdavis.edu for more information. Frank Mitloehner is a professor in the Department of Animal Science at the University of California-Davis and an air-quality specialist with University of California-Extension. Email fmmitloehner@ucdavis.edu to reach him.

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PDPW PEOPLE PERSPECTIVE

Don’t procrastinate; do stuff now HANK WAGNER

Procrastination is a thief; it robs from our future. If seeds are planted late or not planted at all, there’s a late harvest or none at all. Lateplanted seeds typically produce a much-smaller harvest. Corn that isn’t planted until July won’t come close to yielding what early-planted corn will, Wagner yet it still costs the same to plant. Because of the timely planting of our garden our family has been eating fresh vegetables for a while now. Some people really had a head start on their garden by starting some seeds in a greenhouse. The principle is the same; the earlier one plants the sooner one can harvest. And isn’t that the primary reason we plant? There’s a familiar saying that speaks to the benefits of not procrastinating. “The early bird gets the worm.” We see it every year during Black Friday – shoppers arrive early to take advantage of limited sales that won’t be available for the procrastinators. We also know that businesses are often more successful if they are early adopters of technology, equipment or procedures. Yes there are risks associated with being the first to try something, but waiting to use proven technology until it’s been available a long time is a sure way to miss opportunities in business. Everything one thinks, says and does are seeds being planted. Consider all the things you’d like to do someday. Without attaching a date by which you want to accomplish each item on that list, it’s likely those “want-to-do” items will stay on the list without being done. We must take intentional steps against procrastination. The words we speak also shape our tomorrows. When I listen to people speak their words that reveals big clues to me about their future. Words such as “today,” “I am going to” and “I will” signal something is going to happen soon. On the other hand phrases such as “someday,” “I might,” “I could,” “I’ll try,” “I cannot” and “I’m not sure” suggest procrastination is lurking. Another example of the negative impact of procrastination can be demonstrated with the principle of investing money. For those putting money aside early in life, the benefits of compound interest can amass a large sum by the time they retire. But with each passing season that money is not invested, untold amounts of money disappear. Procrastination also influences our habits – and habits play a major role in determining our futures. By the examples we’ve examined it’s easy to see procrastination is not a habit that contributes to success. Success means something different to everyone; it’s okay to not be an early adopter or to not have a strong balance sheet. Life is not all about money and things. People are the most important and valuable thing on this planet. Let’s not put off opportunities to enjoy the presence of those who are precious to us. Don’t procrastinate spend-

Don’t procrastinate spending time with family, neighbors and friends. Making those valuable memories is a harvest worth having now. 00 1

ing time with family, neighbors and friends. Making those valuable memories is a harvest worth having now. Consider this. If you had $1 million set aside for you but you couldn’t spend it until you reached 100 years of age you might consider that money worthless. Even if you were still alive at 100 you’d likely not be able to

enjoy it in the same way you would while younger. One other thing – don’t put off growing yourself. The most precious seeds you have access to reside within you. They’ve been there since you were born. They’re waiting for nourishment and care to fully blossom. Put away procrastination. Now.

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.

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PDPW Dairy's Bottom Line -- September 2020  

PDPW Dairy's Bottom Line -- September 2020  

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