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Positioning for Growth in the New Year The entire dairy industry faced challenges in 2016, but we are glad to report that because of you, we are closing the books on a strong 2015/2016. During the past year we stayed committed to our investment in growth, and are building on those plans in our new fiscal year. Regardless of the industry climate, our plans all center around our mission to “enhance producer profitability through integrated services.” It was just over 12 months ago that the NorthStar Michigan Laboratory opened its doors for operation. The combination of health, mastitis and pregnancy testing through AntelBio with the analysis of DHI samples under one roof has definitely proven to be beneficial in many ways.

NorthStar board members and employees grabbed shovels to break ground for the new 11,000+ square foot NorthStar facility in Kaukauna, Wisconsin. Scheduled for completion in spring 2017, the facility will be home to our new laboratory for DHI sample analysis, as well as health and reproduction traits.

While NorthStar has long been an industry leader for turn-around time, the efficiencies in the new laboratory enabled us to decrease turnaround (time from on-farm sampling until results returned to producers) to under two days. Organizationally we are really excited to see this improvement and I was grateful when an Indiana dairy producer recently texted me and shared: “Impressive!! DHI Specialist left the farm at 7:00 a.m. - Hot Sheet arrived at 2:45 p.m.” We recognize this turnaround isn’t possible for every herd, every day; however it’s exciting to know the synergies of the new lab, combined with the dedication and determination of our DHI Specialists and Lab teams have notably improved our service. As we monitored the improvements with the Michigan Laboratory, it became apparent we needed to make major changes in our Wisconsin facility. When NorthStar began providing DHI Services in Wisconsin in June 2000, our Appleton Laboratory processed 19,000 samples a month. Over the past 16 years we have experienced tremendous growth; and today the Wisconsin Laboratory analyzes over 190,000 samples a month, which includes analysis for health and reproduction traits as well.

With the Wisconsin Laboratory busting at the seams and continued growth on the horizon, it was clear a new facility was in order. This past spring and summer a team of NorthStar employees and board members worked together to secure a tract of land (2.7 acres) in Kaukauna (Exit 150 off I-41) for a new state-of-the-art facility. In September we broke ground for the 11,500 square foot building, which will be home to our DHI sample analysis, as well as health, reproduction and mastitis analysis. The facility also includes an expanded warehouse for product inventory, a liquid nitrogen silo, as well as offices and a conference room. Work is just beginning on this project and we hope to move in late spring. Along with these two major investments, we expanded our field service staff and added two new research scientists to our team. Check out “NorthStar Ups the Antel," on page seven to learn more. We are excited about our investments this past year which position us for continued growth. We are prepared for the challenges and opportunities that we will face, and hope you will continue the journey with us! Mark Adam, General Manager

Mastitis Organism Identified - Now What? Julie Ainsworth, Coordinator Reproductive Solutions, PAS @

Receiving the results of your mastitis PCR test and initiating treatment isn’t enough. For an effective management plan you should understand what the cause is, as well as how to prevent future cases. Traditional dogma classifies mastitis into two categories: contagious and environmental. No organism fits one of these groups perfectly but understanding the difference is useful for this discussion. Contagious Mastitis There are three main organisms that we define as contagious including: staphylococcus aureus, streptococcus agalactiae and Mycoplasma spp, most notable, M.bovis. These organisms are primarily subclinical and cause chronic high cell counts. In addition, they often decrease milk yield and contribute to culling. One major area of transmission for contagious mastitis organisms can be the milking parlor. Staphylococcus Aureus. Traits attributed to staph aureus include a moderate increase in somatic cell and bacteria counts, and cyclic shedding. The mastitis can be clinical and severe. Replacement heifers can be a significant source. The intramammary infection can occur as early as six months of age, but most likely occurs in late gestation. Staph aureus colonizes on the skin and is spread by flies. Streptococcus Agalactiae causes high somatic cell and bacteria counts and it is rarely clinical. In well developed countries the prevalence is generally low. This organism is controlled with dry cow therapy.

11 are known to cause bovine mastitis. Mycoplasma lacks a cell wall. The organism is within the cow and is transmitted nose to nose, and when the animal comes into contact with contaminated milk. Treatment for Mycoplasma is seldom fruitful, so excellent hospital pen management and milking hygiene is required. Prevention Strategies: • Ensure milking equipment is functioning properly • Use milking gloves • Enforce consistent milking time hygiene, especially the post-dip routine • Milk infected cows last • Use dry cow therapy • Cull high/chronic SCC cows • Avoid the purchase of older cattle • Perform pre-purchase screening (biosecurity) Environmental Mastitis There are also three major environmental pathogens: Streptococcus uberis, Escherichia coli and Klebsiella spp. They are commonly lumped into in a group called “coliforms” because they are common inhabitants of the colon

Research shows that the mammary infection rate is 5.5 fold greater in the dry period than lactation. • 50 percent of clinical strep mastitis that occurs in the first 60 days in milk occurred in the dry period.

• 66 percent of clinical coliform mastitis that occurs in the first 60 days in milk originated in the dry period.

• 80 percent of coliform infections are clinical at calving.

• 50 percent of strep infections are clinical at calving.

Healthy transition cows with good dry matter intakes are needed for the immune system to fight the disease. The best possible way to fight strep uberis is through dry cow therapy. The J-5 vaccines can reduce the severity of E. Coli. Additionally, anti-oxidants, including Vitamin E, A and betacarotene will reduce damage during inflammation. Selenium, Zinc and Copper are also important.

Mastitis PCR Test Options Complete 16 PCR detects majority of contagious and environmental organisms.

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Mycoplasma spp. There are more than 100 species identified, but only


in warm-blooded animals and are spread via fecal contamination. With environmental mastitis, the rate of mammary infection is proportional to the teat end exposure.

Enhancing producer profitability through integrated services.

Prevention Strategies: • Keep housing clean. It reduces teat end exposure to organisms. This practice applies to pastures as well. The fecal load in pastures determines exposure. The lanes back to the barn are important to manage also.

• Avoid crowded, dirty maternity packs, as they can be a major source for contamination.

• Manage main isolation locations carefully including bedding, soil, feces and GI tract.

• Organic bedding is a great food source to the bacteria. It increases the rate of exposure to organisms, particularly if the particles are fine. - Straw increases exposure to Streps. - Sawdust increases the likely hood of Klebsiella. - Recycled manure increases E. Coli, Klebsiella and Streps.




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- Recycled sand also needs to be managed carefully and should contain less than 5 percent organic matter and 5 percent moisture to minimize contamination.

Ultimately, decisions on how to manage mastitis in your herd will depend on the contagiousness, persistence and inflammatory nature of the infecting organisms. The first step is to know which organism(s) you are dealing with, and with the help of your veterinarian implement a treatment plan. But that is not enough. Let the results of your Mastitis PCR test empower you to prevent and reduce new infections.

Protect Your Investment by keeping calves warm, dry and healthy!

Woolover® calf covers have a unique wool blend to keep calves dry and toasty, and they cover the calf's chest to keep vital organs warm. Available in three sizes. Order from your NorthStar Specialist or call 800.631.3510.


Is it Time to Consider an Alternative?

Doug Moyer, Team Leader & Select Reproductive Solutions™ Specialist @

Toxin issues on dairy farms are nothing new. In fact most dairies, with the counsel of their nutritionist, already feed a binder or similar product to help with the effects of mycotoxin exposure. It may not make me the best salesman, but I’ll tell you that if what you are feeding is working – keep doing it. BUT, if you are double and triple dosing a product, or if you aren’t getting the results you should be, it’s time to consider other alternatives.

particularly abortions, than what they knew was normal. Before the herd began feeding DTX, we tested the feed and found out the mycotoxin levels were much higher than expected. Armed with that information, the herd removed the direct-fed microbial they were using and gave DTX a try. After feeding DTX for three months we analyzed the records. We compared the rate of health issues for the three months prior (April – June) to adding DTX to the ration, to the three months (July – September) in which DTX was fed. The graph below shows the results. DTX helped to correct the feedstuff issues, resulting in a reduction in many health ailments, and it did it during the summer heat when cows were under additional stress. Along with improved cow health, the dairy also experienced a five pound per cow milk increase while feeding DTX.

and understand if the benefits of adding a product to the herd’s ration outweighs the cost. At this dairy, the additional cost of DTX was more than paid for with the improved health and production. This analysis is just a recent example of how feeding DTX can improve a herd’s performance. Like any binder, clay or direct-fed microbial, DTX is not a silver bullet. It is, however, an established product to consider. You’ve seen the articles, the mycotoxin levels, particularly deoxynivalenol (a.k.a. DON, vomitoxin), in the Midwest are high this year. The problem is not going away, so we encourage you to test your feed; and perform an analysis of your current product’s performance to see how it’s working. If you believe there is an opportunity for improvement and want to try a different product, or if you aren’t currently using a product and need help, please give us a call.

Select DTX™ is an alternative I would encourage you to consider. NorthStar and the Select Sires member cooperatives have been the exclusive You know health incidences come supplier of this unique direct-fed at a high cost; not only in treatment, microbial product for 20 years. Unlike but in lost production. At any time, other products, DTX is based on but particularly during a softer milk proprietary L-form Lactobacillus. This, market, it’s important to do the math along with specialized ingredients, enhances an animal’s immune Reduction in Health Incidences system to Graph represents the reduction in health incidences comparing two time periods. overcome the April - June, 2016 (no DTX in ration) and July - September, 2016 (DTX in ration). negative effects The frequency of all health incidences improved with Select DTX in the ration. of everyday challenges, and Abortion Retained Placenta Metritis Cystic Ovary Ketosis D.A. feed challenges caused by -0.5% -0.9% molds and their -1.1% -1.8% metabolites. I recently analyzed the records of a 400-cow dairy that had been having a higher frequency of health issues,


Milk Fever




Enhancing producer profitability through integrated services.

Better Data. Better Decisions.

Your solution to accurate heat detection and finding sick cows.

We’re able to find sick cows sooner which gives us the opportunity to make management decisions that would not be possible had we found those cows three days later. With these improvements the system has already paid for itself. Mario Vanderhulst, Sturgis, Michigan


Select for a Healthy Herd with Dairy Wellness Profit Index

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Elite DWP$ Sires DWP$ 7HO11621 Mayflower $1,066 7HO11833 Rennie $1,060 7HO11351 Supersire $1,009 7HO11519 Racket $953 7HO11647 Police $943 7HO11546 Emulate $907 7HO11169 Petrone $886 7HO11567 Midland $879 7HO11741 Mocha $874 7HO11123 Wright $859 7HO11617 Diamond $852 7HO11708 Rookie $843

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™Dairy Wellness Profit Index and DWP$ are trademarks of Zoetis Inc., its affiliates and/or its licensors. ™FeedPRO and WellnessPRO™ are trademarks of Select Sires. TPI™ is a trademark of Holstein Association. 8/16 CDCB/HA Genomic Evaluation Rel.%: 7HO11621 97, 91; 7HO11833 95, 93; 7HO11519 94, 91.

MemberStockownerNews Member Meetings Planned

Don’t miss the winter stockowner and customer meetings. Watch for complete details in the future, but until then, save the date and plan to attend the meeting near you. February 8 - Farm Museum, Coopersville, MI February 9 - Camp Michindoh, Hillsdale, MI February 14 - Country Aire Bar & Banquet, Stratford, WI February 14 - Stout's Ale House, Menomonie, WI February 23 - Essenhaus, Middlebury, IN


Stockowner Voting Eligibility

Stockowner meetings are fast approaching and all member-stockowners are encouraged to attend to cast a vote for the election of directors and resolutions and advisory committee members. To be eligible to vote at the 2017 stockowner meetings you must sign-up as a common stockowner by December 31, 2016. For more information on how to become a NorthStar stockowner, talk to your area NorthStar Specialist.

Enhancing producer profitability through integrated services.

Research and Development: NorthStar Ups the AntelBio Todd Byrem, Ph.D, Director AntelBio @

With sustained encouragement from NorthStar’s Board of Directors and Management, as well as the addition of two new scientists, AntelBio is equipped to participate in some of the dairy industry’s most exciting areas of research including animal heath, reproduction and genetics.

AntelBio is equipped to participate in advancement in nearly 25 years. some of the dairy industry's most exciting By understanding areas of research including animal health, the molecular reproduction and genetics. mechanisms of the bovine leukosis virus, Dr. Droscha is aiming for a novel assay that finds yields so that NorthStar can bring this the most infectious animals earlier technology to its members at more and with greater accuracy. Armed reasonable prices. with a more effective assay, dairy and As always, there are ongoing efforts beef producers could realistically to continue identifying and developing implement test and cull programs to health traits for future genetic and eliminate BLV from their herds. genomic evaluations. With over 15

After settling into their new environments over the summer, Drs. Casey Droscha and Will Raphael are now rocketing toward their primary responsibilities. Dr. Raphael, whose previous experiences include Looking toward the future of years of diagnostic testing experience, veterinary practice, as well as teaching, reproduction, AntelBio has been AntelBio has accumulated a large and research at MSU’s data set, and when paired College of Veterinary with pedigree information Medicine, is serving as and genomics, the data can both technical advisor and be mined for correlations molecular diagnostician for which can be used for future NorthStar Laboratories. In predictions. the future, Dr. Raphael will Collaborative efforts apply his laboratory and with the University of field skills to address some Wisconsin, the Council of of our current challenges Dairy Cattle Breeding and in mastitis, transition USDA’s Animal Genomics cow metabolism and Improvement Laboratory reproduction. Dr. Raphael’s are working to determine skill set and relationships if we can better select for with veterinarians and resistance to Johne’s and BLV producers will be important or if pregnancy-associated for the design and glycoprotein (PAG) levels management of research Dr. Casey Droscha and Dr. Will Raphael joined the can be used as a more trials, especially those AntelBio research team earlier this year. readily available measure of conducted in the field. fertility. Dr. Droscha, a molecular To fulfill our mission of “Enhancing biologist from the Van Andel Research collaborating with Michigan State University’s Laboratory of Mammalian Producer Profitability Through Institute and a scientific pedigree Integrated Services,” NorthStar Reproductive Biology and Genomics that includes a Nobel laureate, Cooperative has a vision to “expand and GGS Genetics on in-vitro has been scouring the genomes current and new services through fertilization (IVF). Advances in of various pathogens to improve support of technology, research and genomics and embryo culture are our existing assays and to discover giving dairy producers new approaches development.” The stakes may be high, novel approaches to diagnostics. but the success of our customers and to rapidly change and improve Of particular importance is bovine member-owners is worth it. the genetics of their dairy herds, leukosis (BLV), an infectious disease particularly their females. AntelBio’s approaching 40 percent prevalence research on IVF is searching for in U.S. dairy cows and an area of efficiencies and improved pregnancy study that hasn’t seen a practical


Pre-pay and Earn 3% Earn 3 percent on your money when you make a pre-payment toward your 2017 purchases at NorthStar Cooperative. To take advantage of this offer, make a pre-payment to NorthStar between December 1 - 28, 2016. Pre-payments can be made by cash or check. Call 800.631.3510 to make a prepayment.

gender SELECTed™ semen processed by Sexing Technologies for Select Sires shall be used only for the single insemination of one female bovine during natural ovulation with the intent to produce single offspring unless specifically approved on an individual customer basis by Sexing Technologies in writing. This semen is produced using the proprietary technology of XY LLC and Inguran LLC, as partially represented by U.S. Patents: 6372422, 7094527, 7208265, 7371517, 6357307, 7723116, 7758811and 7799569. Patents pending in US and foreign markets. XY® is a trademark of XY LLC. All gender SELECTed semen is processed using SexedULTRA™ technology. ™SexedULTRA is a trademark of Inguran LLC. NorthStar Cooperative, its agents or employees cannot and do not guarantee the conception rate, gender, quality or productivity to be obtained in connection with the use of its products, recommended techniques or services. WE MAKE NO WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND WHATSOEVER, EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, WHICH EXTEND BEYOND THE DESCRIPTION OF ITS PRODUCTS OR SERVICES AND HEREBY DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. In the unlikely event that any of our products or services shall be proven to be defective, damages resulting from their use shall exclude consequential damages and be limited to their purchase price.

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The Point - November 2016