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Closing the Books on a Year of Growth, Opportunities & Challenges The first nine months of our fiscal year (10/15 – 6/16) started strong, keeping pace with budgeted sales expectations, as well as the record sales levels from our previous fiscal year. Our new Michigan-based lab was operational, and we were beginning to explore the idea of a new lab and office complex in Wisconsin. However as the year progressed, we felt the effects of a soft milk price, along with depressed beef and meat markets and as a result, profitability slowed to break even. Our purposeful decision to minimize price increases as long as possible to you, along with the addition of new employees in key areas, while continuing to make investments for future growth contributed to leveling out NorthStar’s operational profit to $963,000 for the year. This past year had many bright points for NorthStar, but semen unit sales again achieving record levels tops the list. For the third consecutive year we surpassed 1 million units of semen sold, exceeding 1.1 million units this past year. Our strong and growing semen sales comes from a two-fold effort… our resilient genetic and reproduction service staff, along with the top-notch, industry leading, sire offerings through Select Sires. Never has one A.I. organization dominated the top 100 TPI® Proven Holstein List as Select Sires has over the past four sire summary runs. Even more impressive is the December 2016 Sire Summary results, which you can read about from Select Sires Sire Analyst Charlie Will on page 3. NorthStar’s DHI Services, along with supplemental health and diagnostic testing, also continued to grow. With more than 456,000 cows enrolled in a NorthStar DHI testing program, we tested more cows and analyzed more milk samples (exceeding 4.3 million) than ever before. Through this growth, our market penetration in Wisconsin, a market new to us since 1999, continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Each year NorthStar DHI Services recognizes a herd that has shown the greatest dollar value increase over the past five year period. This year we are pleased to congratulate Heiman’s Holsteins for earning the Progressive Dairy Producer Award. See their story on pages 4-5.

Another highlight of our fiscal year was re-energizing AntelBio’s R&D program. The hiring of two top-notch Scientists to further develop the milk platform and find novel information from a sample of milk is exciting and was further reinforced by the soft dairy economy. At all times, but even more during the lean times, it is important to capitalize on the ease and economics associated with analyzing milk for additional data for management decisions. These highlights only scratch the surface of what was accomplished in 2016. If you are interested in learning more, attend one of the upcoming member-meetings or look for more details in the March issue of The Point newsletter, which will include our Annual Report. Keeping true to our mission of “Enhancing producer profitability through integrated services,” I continue to be humbled by the many positive comments from customers, owners and industry members that our employees are what sets NorthStar apart from other Ag organizations. The term ‘It’s the People,’ proves to us time and time again that providing quality, timetested products and services that we believe in, delivered by well-trained, knowledgeable and caring employees allows us to grow even in the toughest of times. I am proud to work side-byside with the more than 250 NorthStar employees to help your farm meet and exceed your goals. We appreciate the opportunity to work with your farm and thank you for choosing NorthStar Cooperative. From our team to yours we wish you a successful, safe and prosperous 2017! Mark Adam, General Manager

8 Ways to Maximize Components Julie Ainsworth, Coordinator Reproductive Solutions, PAS @

As you know, the fat and protein content of the milk you ship can significantly affect your pay price. While the average fat and protein percent for Holstein herds on NorthStar DHI test is 3.75 and 3.06 respectively; the range from top to bottom is fairly significant and points to opportunities. Here are eight ideas of ways to maximize components.


Put up quality forages. Mold impacts rumen fermentation and if forages are moldy, you will not be able to maximize rumen performance, and therefore components. Currently, you are feeding what you put up. If you are unsure of the quality or have suspicions, test your feed. Depending on the test results, consider a feed additive that can help with the effects of mycotoxin exposure, like Select DTX™.


Ensure the ration contains adequate levels of fiber. In addition to having adequate levels of physically effective fiber in the ration, properly mix and deliver the TMR. Over or under mixing will change what the cow actually eats and how the ration ferments in the rumen, which will alter rumen pH. Inadequate fiber speeds up rates of passage, inhibiting rumen bugs from doing their work and can result in low butterfat. If intakes are high relative to production, chances are you don’t have enough fiber.


Feed frequently. It encourages frequent meals and helps to avoid slug feeding which alters the rumen environment and causes low butterfat.


Feed fat properly. Feed no more than 7 percent total fat on a dry matter basis. Only 3 percent should be from oilseed, distiller’s grains and liquid fats. Avoid excessive unsaturated fats and feed up to 2 percent bypass fat.

Fat & Protein Percent of more than 1,000 Holstein herds on test with NorthStar DHI Services.


Fat % Protein %

Do not overstock. Overstocking causes some cows to slug feed because they have little time at the feed bunk. Additionally, subordinate cows will lay down instead of fighting for feed bunk space. This problem is exasperated when first lactation heifers are mixed with older cows. When space is adequate all cows will eat at the same time. Recommended bunk space is 24 inches in lactating groups, and 30 inches per cow in transition groups. Transition groups should be 85 percent of headlock capacity.


Balance for lysine and methionine. Be sure to evaluate the economics on this first, as it may not be favorable when milk prices are low. Be sure that adequate levels of metabolizable protein reach the small intestine. If you are getting a low protein percentage, this is an area of opportunity.


Average 3.75 3.06

High 5.4 3.6

don’t forget it's total pounds of fat and protein that contribute to profitability. Your NorthStar Specialist can help you with your sire selection if this is an area you would like to put more emphasis on. Likely you are monitoring components by what shows up on your milk check. Through NorthStar DHI you have access to reports that can help you further monitor and manage your herd’s components. Even if your herd’s “average” protein and fat percent are at satisfactory levels, DHI reports can help you look more closely at cows by group/lactation, as well as help you monitor fat-protein inversions by group, allowing you to check for opportunities if the inversion rate is above 15 percent. There are lots of tools to help you manage fat and protein content to maximize your milk check. Contact me to learn more.

Monitor ration sugar and starch levels. It is also important to know the fermentability of the starch and sugar feed ingredients. Starch and sugar that is very fermentable will cause rumen acidosis.


Genetics can be a long-term help. You can breed for higher The above section of the 803 Herd Summary Report can point to components but problem areas monitoring components.


Low 2.7 1.7

Enhancing producer profitability through integrated services.

Another Dominant Proof Day for Select Sires! Charlie Will, Manager, Holstein Sire Programs, Select Sires

Wow! Just when we thought proof day could not get any better, it did. Christmas came early with Select having the most dominant proof day in history. 7H012165 MONTROSS skyrocketed to the No. 1 GTPI® proven sire spot at +2771, while stablemate 7H011351 SUPERSIRE came in as the No. 2 proven sire at +2644. Select has eight of the Top 10 Active Proven Sires, and 46 of the Top 100.

No. 10 on the TPI list, respectively. 250H01009 BREWMASTER holds onto his No. 1 GLPI ranking in Canada, followed closely by No. 3 MOGUL, No. 4 250H01043 AIKMAN and, new graduate from the GenerVations program, 250H01066 BIG KAHUNA at No. 5.

MCCUTCHEN's greatest son to date, KINGBOY, living up to his genomic predictions.

Select graduated 16 exceptional Holstein sires that strengthen every area of our lineup. Seven of the new graduates made the Top 25 on Holstein Association USA's official Top 100 list.

ELITE Graduating Class Highlights • Eight sires over +2511 GTPI®

Select Sires graduated the two highest new proven sires for TPI; 7H011314 MOGUL son, 7H012105 REFLECTOR, and 7H012198 KINGBOY debuting at No. 8 and

MOGUL proves to be a great sire of proven sons, with eight sons making the cut. 250H01002 EPIC also had a successful day with four sons added to the lineups and 7H010920 GOLD CHIP landed his first two hightype proven sons, just as you might expect. Let's not overlook 7H011477


7HO12139 PETY

+2556 GTPI®

End-Road Reflector Bibi-ET (GP-81) End Road Farm, Falmouth, MI


+2555 GTPI®

Ladys-Manor Kgirl Oh-ET

+2518 GTPI®

Siemers Pety Roz-Anna-ET (VG-85) Siemers Holstein Farms, Inc., Newton, WI


+2246 GTPI®

OConnors Big K Boom (VG-85-VG-MS)

This run added our largest class ever of high TPI, Net Merit (NM$), Calving Ease and Type sires. Select Sires truly has the best of the best, for whatever your genetic goals are.

• Five sires over +$701 NM • Three sires over +1,664 Milk • Six sires over +103 CFP • Nine sires over +2.12 Type • Eight over +2.14 UDC • Six sires over +2.02 FLC • Nine sires over +2.0 SCR


+2426 GTPI®

Benthem Brothers Dairy, McBain, MI


+2429 GTPI®

Ron Brinks & Kenda Brinks Rivera, McBain, MI


Heiman’s Holsteins Progressive Dairy Producer of the Year

For the family owned and operated Heiman’s Holsteins in Marshfield, Wisconsin, maintaining healthy and happy cows is top priority. However, the busy owners know that this goal can only be achieved through teamwork. “Honestly, my top goals are making sure our animals are healthy and producing to the best of their ability,” stated Josh Heiman. “In order to achieve this goal, we depend on our employees, nutritionists, veterinarians and our entire NorthStar team.” Solidifying the old saying “there’s strength in numbers,” Heiman’s Holsteins’ team strategy is proving its success as the dairy accepts NorthStar’s 2016 Progressive Dairy Producer of the Year Award. Established in 1975, the award recognizes one herd that has shown the greatest five-year increase in dollar value. Over the past five years, the Heiman’s herd has increased milk production by over 6,000 pounds, and dollar value by $976. Last February, the Heimans moved their 175-cow Holstein herd to a larger family-owned location, which includes a new DeLaval rotary parlor with a robotic post dipper. With the new technology and a dozen employees on the farm, the Heimans understand the importance of a strong team. “Our NorthStar team has really helped improve our efficiency and profitability through their consistent and dependable work,” said Josh. “Other companies we’ve worked with would often send a different rep every time they came to our farm. With NorthStar, I know who I’m going to see and when I’m going to see them. Our Reproduction Specialist Tyler (Freund) is here 350 days a year, which means he knows our herd, knows how to improve our animals and most


important, treats our dairy like it’s his own.” When it comes to keeping accurate records, the Heimans depend on NorthStar’s DHI testing. “We started DHI testing when I was just a kid,” recalled Josh. “Then about ten years ago Rodger Petri, Kelvin Heiman, Andy Heiman, Josh Heiman we switched from owner sampler to records. “I started using PCDART official DHI test. With the accurate, in the late 80’s,” recalled Rodger. “I unbiased records that DHI testing just couldn’t believe the convenience provides, we’re able to make better PCDART provided with storing and management decisions.” organizing records.” Pinpointing high SCC cows is one Though PCDART provides way the Heimans use their DHI data. immeasurable benefits to the “Our DHI records are sent to us as dairy’s management protocols, it is early as two days after our test date,” PocketDairy that propels it ahead of explained Rodger Petri, Heiman’s alternative programs on the market. Holsteins’ Herd Manager. “When “I would be lost without PocketDairy,” cows are recorded at a high SCC, I admitted Rodger. “By far the biggest immediately send a milk sample to be benefit of PCDART, PocketDairy has cultured for mastitis organisms. Then made my everyday tasks much more I look back at the cow’s health and efficient.” production history in PCDART and along with culture results, I’m able to decide if she needs treatment or if it’s time for her to leave the farm.”

“Our DHI records keep everyone in the loop,” added Josh. “Once a month we have our whole team [nutritionists, vets, AI specialist, NorthStar sales representative and herd management staff] gather for a meeting. We cover everything from feeding to breeding – all of which is based off of our DHI reports. The meetings give us varying perspectives on our records and really help us dive deeper into our DHI reports.” With the abundance of information DHI testing provides, Heimans rely on PCDART to file and sort their testing

Enhancing producer profitability through integrated services.

“Before PocketDairy, I would print off a stack of reports, bring them to the farm and then have to keep track of them all day,” recalled Rodger. “If I didn’t lose my reports by the end of the day, they were ruined from the elements of working on a dairy farm.”

Extending beyond the farm, Rodger is able to rest easy knowing he has access to the herd’s information anytime and anywhere. “When I was traveling out of state I got a call from someone on the farm,” said Rodger. “There was a sick cow and a decision had to be made. I simply looked up the cow’s history on PocketDairy and was able to make a decision without physically being on the farm. PocketDairy has helped by keeping me

out of the dark. It’s simple, easy and fast.” Genetics and reproduction are other areas where Heimans rely on their NorthStar team. “With Tyler, we really don’t worry about our reproduction program,” admitted Rodger. “Tyler works with us to determine where we want our herd to be and how to get us there.” “The progression Heiman’s Holsteins has made with their genetics over the past few years is very exciting,” stated Tyler. “Working with Rodger, Josh and Andy Heiman, I’m able to pin down the dairy’s reproductive goals. Heimans are in the cheese market which is a big factor in our genetic choices, however we aren’t letting up on type and production!” “We’ve seen the benefit of using good sires and continue to see the benefits as our RHA has increased by 4,300 pounds just in the last year!,” said Rodger. “That’s one reason we’ve never strayed from Select Sires genetics.” Now using gender SELECTed™ semen on heifers, and first and second lactation cows, Heimans are noticing and adjusting to the quick benefits that follow. “Sexed semen has been a God-sent for the dairy’s replacement animals and expansion goals,” explained Rodger. “The only problem we’ve run into with sexed semen is now we have to find room for all of our heifers,” laughed Josh. With Select Sires’ extensive catalog of sires to choose from, Heimans know that choosing traits to improve

their herd is When I found out we could test for important if pregnancy, Johne's and leukosis on one milk they want to be profitable. “We sample at a reduced cost I was sold. The fact know there’s that the samples are collected by our DHI more that goes Specialist is the cherry on the top. into selecting “For our heifers, we send weekly sires than simply choosing impressive blood samples direct to the NorthStar or popular bulls,” admitted Rodger. Wisconsin Laboratory,” said Rodger. “That’s why we have Perry.” “We receive our blood pregnancy NorthStar SMS Evaluator Perry results in the same amount of time as Phend evaluates the dairy’s herd and the milk samples.” helps determine what traits need to be added to improve overall animal quality. “I started using SMS in the late 90’s with Dale Sabo,” said Rodger. “The benefits of SMS are simple. We have eliminated inbreeding within our herd. We use the information Perry gives us from the evaluation, and then work with Tyler and Wayne [Westrich, NorthStar Sales Representative] to make sure we’re buying the right semen for our animals.”

Additionally, NorthStar offers a variety of diagnostic health testing that can all be analyzed on just one sample. “I’m all about speed and convenience,” said Rodger. “When I found out that we could have pregnancy, Johne’s and leukosis testing run on one sample at a reduced cost, I was sold. The fact that the samples can be collected and submitted by our DHI Specialist is the cherry on top.”

With all that goes into sire selection and breeding, the importance of fast and accurate pregnancy testing goes without saying. “We’ve used NorthStar’s milk pregnancy testing for years now,” stated Rodger. “Not only do we receive results within two days of sample collection, but the convenience of submitting samples during our DHI test day makes testing a no-brainer. I just give David [Kohn, NorthStar DHI Specialist] a list of cows we need to pregnancy test, and he takes care of everything. It’s just one less thing to worry about.”

Receiving diagnostic results is easy with NorthStar’s online reporting system. Logging into the system gives producers access to all current and past NorthStar diagnostic reports, which can then be entered into PCDART.

Putting their trust in NorthStar’s pregnancy testing options has paid off for Heiman’s Holsteins. “There have been multiple times the milk pregnancy test has caught open cows that were on the list for dry off,” said Rodger. “The test has proved its worth in open cows alone.” Heimans make sure their heifers receive the same accuracy and speed when it comes to pregnancy testing.

“Receiving results via Web Reports has worked really nice” claimed Rodger. “I receive results as soon as our samples have been analyzed, print them off and attach them to Tyler’s clipboard so he knows what needs to be accomplished when he comes to breed.” While the Heimans have made remarkable strides in the past five years, the future promises many new challenges and opportunities. Currently, Heiman’s Holsteins is preparing to host the 2018 Wisconsin Farm Technology Days. “We’re fortunate to be hosting Farm Technology Days with my in-laws and neighbors, the Steinweis Family,” said Josh. “We have a lot of work to accomplish before then, but we’re confident that we’ll be successful with our team by our side.”


Member Stockowner News Annual Meeting Notice

The NorthStar Cooperative annual stockowner meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. (EST) on Thursday, March 8, 2017 at the Holiday Inn, 7007 N. High Street, Worthington, Ohio. Business will be conducted between 7:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. only by common stockowners of record as of December 31, 2016. The meeting's purpose is to discuss, defer or act upon any and all matters pertaining to the business and affairs of NorthStar Cooperative, Inc., which are properly brought before the stockowners in the course of the meeting.

Powerful Genetic Selection to Improve H erd H ealth WellnessPRO sires are identified using the Wellness Trait Index™ (WT$™) focusing on wellness traits and estimates expected difference in lifetime profitability related to them.


Lameness 27%

Ketosis 1% RP 6% DA 6%


Metritis 19%

Wellness Trait Index™ (WT$™) Relative Value (%) Developed by Zoetis, the WT$™ index focuses exclusively on the wellness traits and estimates expected differences in lifetime profitability related to them. Select Sires’ best WT$ sires are identified with the

District Meetings

February 8 Farm Museum, Coopersville, MI 12:00 p.m. - Lunch Speaker: Dr. Mark Fox, Thumb Veterinary Services presents, Cow Signals - bringing the six freedoms of pasture under your roof. February 9 Camp Michindoh, Hillsdale, MI 7:00 p.m. - Dinner Speaker: Dr. Ron Erskine, MSU, presents, Theraphy protocols, training and SCC. What they have in common. February 14 Country Aire Bar & Banquet, Stratford, WI 12:00 p.m. - Lunch Speaker: Kevin Jorgensen, Select Sires' Holstein Sire Analyst presents, The value of Select Sires genetics program for your herd. February 14 Stout's Ale House, Menomonie, WI 7:00 p.m. - Dinner Speaker: Kevin Jorgensen, Select Sires' Holstein Sire Analyst presents, The value of Select Sires genetics program for your herd.


Mastitis 41%

WellnessPRO™ designation.



End-Road Multiply Mercy-ET (GP-80) End Road Farm, Falmouth, MI



WT$™ NM$ Milk 7HO11741 7HO11617 7HO11169 7HO11647 7HO11833 7HO11777 7HO11915 7HO12198 7HO11283 7HO11519 7HO11567

Mocha $242 $572 +730 Diamond $228 $575 +1,457 Petrone $183 $655 +639 Police $180 $598 +2,151 Rennie $174 $757 +1,361 Snowmobil $155 $438 +1,458 Multiply $142 $716 +229 Kingboy $139 $603 +1,499 Mayfield $131 $392 +1,298 Racket $126 $723 +938 Midland $126 $526 +1,103

Order Today: 800.631.3510 Dunn-Brook Wsp Lisa Mae-ET VG-86, 2nd lactation Seldom Seen Genetics, Menomonie, WI

Enhancing producer profitability through integrated services.

12/16 USDA-CDCB HAUSA Genomic Evaluation Rel. Mocha 96, Diamond 98, Petrone 99, Police 92, Rennie 95, Snowmobil 97, Multiply 92, Kingboy 92, Mayfield 99, Racket 94, Midland 95, Pageone 77, 78, Kenosha 76,77. TPI® is a registered trademark of Holstein Association USA. WT$ and DWP trademarks are property of Zoetis Inc., its affiliates and/or licensors. 2016 Zoetis Inc. All rights reserved. FeedPRO® is a registered trademark of Select Sires. Superior Settler and gender SELECTed™ are trademarks of Select Sires, Inc. 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.

Teat Health Starts with EfferCept SG As with any business, a dairy’s success stems from the quality products it provides. According to Shiocton, Wisconsin dairy producer Neil Christianson, quality milk comes from healthy cows and excellent teat condition is a large part of their health. “Ten years ago we switched from an iodine-based teat dip to EfferCept®,” recalled Christianson, owner of Christop Farms, a 160-cow Holstein herd. “Right away I noticed a difference in our cows’ teat health, which was something we had been struggling with. When EfferCept SG® was released in 2013, we switched again. We were already adding SoftGuard aquablue additive to our EfferCept dip mixture, so the switch was a no-brainer.” EfferCept SG powers through dirt and manure, quickly killing 99.999 percent of E. coli, Staph. Aureus and other mastitis causing organisms, yet is gentle on skin with added SoftGuard (SG) conditioner. “The killing power we get with EfferCept SG is great,” claimed Christianson. “After switching from an iodine-based dip, our SCC decreased by over 100,000! The SG conditioner has also helped reduce our

SCC by cutting down on dry, cracked teats which leaves room for bacteria to grow. Though we’ve never experienced a serious mastitis problem on our dairy, I noticed that the few cases of mastitis I had to treat have become fewer and fewer.” EfferCept SG’s fastdissolving tablet form makes it easy to store and allows for precise measuring. “EfferCept SG is extremely easy to use,” explained Christianson. “I just mix two tablets into one gallon of water and I have my pre-dip ready to go. With the iodine dip we had to haul and find space to store large, heavy drums.” Recently, Christianson discovered EfferCept SG has even more advantages to offer over alternative teat dips on the market. “Within the last few years, NPE residue has become an issue in the dairy industry,” said Christianson. “Our milk plant checks regularly for these residues, and I was relieved when they found

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Neil and Blair Christianson none in our milk. We learned that EfferCept SG doesn’t contain the NPEs that researchers have found to have negative effects on the environment.” Unlike iodine-based teat dips, EfferCept SG does not contain nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) which were traditionally used to disinfect. As possible environmental side effects of NPEs have become known, milk plants are refusing milk containing NPE residue and are encouraging producers to use non-NPE teat dip such as EfferCept SG. “The lack of NPEs just reinforces why we use EfferCept SG,” added Christianson. “It’s a quality product.” With the many protocols that go into producing quality milk, it’s important to be selective when choosing a product to use. “I would recommend EfferCept SG to any producer who is interested in improving their herd’s teat health, lowering their SCC and ultimately saving money in comparison to iodine-based teat dips,” said Christianson. For more information about EfferCept SG or to receive a free sample, talk to your NorthStar Specialist. ~Kailey Watson


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MASTITIS DETECTION P.O. Box 23157, Lansing, MI 48909-3157 1.800.631.3510

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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 - January 2017  

NorthStar Cooperative Newsletter