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American ®

In This Issue Vol. 44 No. 2 • February 2018


6 Publisher Statement 8 Industry News

Trending news from around the dairy world.


Industry Features

Calf Nutrition Key to Replacement Heifer Success

20 26

By Michael Cox

As replacement heifer calves are a limited resource of future high genetic-merit cows in the milking string, producers should strive to provide good quality nutrition to get calves off to the best possible start in life.


12 26 32 4

February 2018

Tax Reform Implications for Agriculture By Michael Cox

Too much fanfare, the House and Senate approved ‘Tax Cut and Jobs Act’ was signed into effect by President Trump on December 22nd 2017. The new tax reform was aimed at reducing overall taxation and simplifying the tax code.

Product Spotlight A look into the newest calf huts in the dairy industry.

Sponsored Features


Improving the Milk Pumping Process


Phileo Lesaffre Animal Care


Sometimes Simple is Simply Better


Passive Immunity Protects Calves from Sickness

The dairy industry makes up approximately 50 percent of McFinn Technologies’ revenue; so McFinn Technologies is continually working to innovate and develop products that make a dairy farmer’s production processes more streamlined, efficient and simpler.

Phileo-Lesaffre is a global expert in the field of yeast and yeast extract with a global presence in more than 70 countries with 16 production sites across the five continents.

Whether it is new construction or updating a dairy’s milking facilities, PBI Parlor Systems has become known in the dairy industry as a leader in the manufacturing of milking stalls and equipment for dairies around the world.

Healthy, strong offspring increase the quality of the adult herd and are a huge key in the financial success of the operation. However, there is always the concern of battling sick calves and even worse the loss of calves due to bacteria, viruses or other pathogens.

Publisher Statement

Here We Go Again As we welcome in the New Year there is always a lot of excitement amongst industries and individuals alike. Specifically, for our industry the New Year means the World Ag Expo is right around the corner. I don’t know about you, but I look forward to making that trip every year. One of the main reasons I look forward to attending these kinds of shows is to check out all the new gadgets and equipment that will make the process easier and more efficient. Each year manufacturers use these shows to launch their new products. Some of the new products being launched are; Reveal Analysis by Cargill Animal Nutrition, Thymox Footbath by Environmental Technologies and many more. It is like Christmas in February dairy producers. What better way to see the latest equipment and technology all in one spot. Trade shows also provide a great environment to form new business relationships by providing the networking opportunities for fellow producers. The schedule is loaded with different seminars, meetings, and presentations for any area of interest you may have. Some of these events include; The 21st Century Dairy, Quality Calf Programs Start with

American ®

Products and Services

for American Dairymen

Vol. 44 No. 2 • February 2018

President/CEO Gale McKinney VP/CFO Audra McKinney Group Publisher/COO Patrick McKinney Publisher Dustin Hector Associate Publisher Lissa Baker Office Manager Dawn Busse Creative Director Brandon Peterson Advertising Account Executives Kathy Davidson Mary Gatliff Lori Seibert Irene Smith Joyce Kenney Ed Junker Kendra Sassman Kristen Adams Circulation Coordinator Shawna Nelson Subscription Sales Falon Geis

Quality Milk Replacer and Faster and More Efficient Ways to Rear High Performance Calves. The show draws exhibitors and attendees from all over the United States and who better to learn from than your peers? These types of shows create a unique, fun environment for agriculture and dairy industry members to come together to network, see what is new in their

Livestock Media Group 4685 Merle Hay Rd • Suite 200 Des Moines, IA 50322 877-424-4594

industry, and have a little fun. It also gives you a break from the daily grind that is usually needed this time of year. And for us in the upper Midwest, it


can give us a break from winter and head on South for a little sun. As a proud sponsor to the largest outdoor show in the country I hope to see you there. If you plan on attending please make sure you stop by our booth, 6620, and say “hey!” We would love to talk to you about what is going on and get some feedback from you. After all, American Dairymen is here to serve and help you. Until next time, Dustin Hector Publisher – American Dairymen


February 2018

©Twin Rivers Media, LLC, 2018. All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recorded or otherwise without the prior written permission of Twin Rivers Media, LLC, 2018. The information and advertising set forth herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Twin Rivers Media, LLC, 2018 (“Publisher”) however, does not warrant complete accuracy of such information and assumes no responsibility for any consequences arising from the use thereof or reliance thereon. Publisher reserves the right to reject or cancel any advertisement or space reservation at any time without notice and for any reason. Publisher shall not be liable for any costs or damages if for any reason it fails to publish an advertisement. Advertisers are solely responsible for the content of their respective advertisements appearing in this publication and Publisher is not responsible or liable in any manner for inaccuracies, false statements or any material in such advertisement infringing upon the intellectual property rights of others. Advertisements appearing in this publication are not necessarily the views or opinions expressed by Publisher.

Industry News

International Agri-Center Prepares For World Ag Expo® Article provided by Jennifer Fawkes - Marketing & Sponsorship Manager International Agri-Center® to hold its 51st World Ag Expo® farm show on February 13-15, 2018 The largest annual agricultural exposition of its kind, World Ag Expo® boasts more than 1,500 exhibitors displaying cutting-edge agricultural technology and equipment on 2.6 million square feet of exhibit space. In 2017, 105,780 people came from 43 states and 71 countries to attend the 50th anniversary of World Ag Expo®. The World Ag Expo® Arena will once again offer daily Equipment Showcases, where exhibitors will perform live demonstrations of their latest products. Seminars will be offered in a variety of categories, including dairy, irrigation, international trade, business and farm management, marketing and media, and general agriculture. These seminars are presented by professionals in the industry and provide attendees with valuable information to improve their operations. T h e To p -10 Ne w P r o du c t s Competition, sponsored by Bank of A merica, is back w ith produc t s of fer i ng ne w te ch nolog y and increased efficiencies. From unma nned spray systems a nd remote monitoring, to new tire traction solutions and ag film recycling, the Top-10 New Products has something to offer every type of farming operation. 8

February 2018

“World Ag Expo® has built a legacy of bringing agricultural buyers and sellers together,” says Jerry Sinift, International Agri-Center ®’s Chief Executive Officer. “Ag is always evolving in order to feed a growing world. World Ag Expo is here to facilitate the connections between the exhibitors who provide the most advanced technology and equipment and the farmers who continue to evaluate and improve their operations to meet that demand.” The 2018 World Ag Expo® will host daily events, including the Wednesday evening Bud Light After-Hours Party in the Arena, with a free concert by Craig Campbell. Attendees can look forward to a few new events this year, including a livestock seminar and demonstration on Wednesday afternoon in the Arena, a woodworking demonstration, the Italian Trade Agency pavilion, and a wide variety of new seminars that cover everything from Organic farming to new technology in the ag industry. Attendees will also be able to enjoy the 20 new acres of parking to the south side of the International Agri-Center® grounds. This new addition will allow for easier parking and greater attendance. Starting February 1, World Ag Expo® attendees can get the latest news, information and updates about the show by downloading the new 2018 mobile app. The free app provides mobile access

to the schedule of events, an exhibitor directory, map of the show grounds and other visitor resources. The app is available for download from the app store by searching “World Ag Expo® 2018.” For a full schedule of events, more information about the show or to purchase tickets for 2018 World Ag Expo, visit World Ag Expo—bringing you the best in Ag since 1968. In addition to producing World Ag Expo®, International Agri-Center® is also home to the AgVentures! Learning Center and Museum, the California Antique Farm Equipment Show, and the Harvest Festival and has a wide range of facility rentals available for any size event.

Event Details At-A-Glance:

2018 World Ag Expo®, February 13-15 February 13: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. February 14: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. February 15: 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. International Agri-Center® 4500 S. Laspina St. Tulare, CA 93274 $15 gate admission $12 online ticket price with a discount code Tickets:

Calf Nutrition

Calf nutrition key

to replacement heifer success By Michael Cox

‘A good start is half the battle,’ is a saying that certainly rings true for early calf nutrition. As replacement heifer calves are a limited resource of future high genetic-merit cows in the milking string, producers should strive to provide good quality nutrition to get calves off to the best possible start in life.


Excellent calf nutrition begins first and foremost with colostrum. High quality ‘liquid gold’ colostrum is crucial for passive immunity transfer of immunoglobins from dam to calf. Research studies from around the world regularly state that 50 per-cent of calf mortality in year one occurs during the first six weeks after birth. Colostrum is key to reducing future illness and mortality in youngstock. An NAHMS 2007 study shows less


February 2018

than 15 per-cent of dairy farms test for colostrum quality. So how do we know if our colostrum is up to scratch? A Brix refractometer or a digital refractometer is a useful tool to help identify good and poor-quality colostrum. Antibody IgG levels of 50mg per mL or more is considered good quality. On a Brix refractometer, this colostrum will give a reading of 22 percent or greater. An alternative method for testing colostrum quality and intake is to perform a total protein blood count on calves between one and four days old. 5.2g per dL or greater of total blood protein indicates first-rate passive transfer of immunoglobins. In Ireland, dair y men have seen widespread improvements in calf performance by implementing a ‘Colostrum 1,2,3 Program.’ Colostrum 1,2,3 is a nationally

publicized program that involves three steps; Step 1 – 1st milk only. Milk from the first milking only is to be used as colostrum. Milk from subsequent milkings will contain massively reduced levels of antibodies and is not suitable as a first feed for newborn calves. Step 2 – Two hours. Time is of the essence when feeding newborn calves colostrum. The gut wall of the calf has a time-limited window to absorb immunoglobins, after which it seals up and become impermeable to the beneficial IgGs. Colostrum should be fed to calves via stomach tube within the first two hours after birth. S te p 3 – T h r e e l ite r s . Depending on the breed type/size of the calf, a minimum of three liters of colostrum should be fed. * Continued on page 14

Michael Cox is a freelance writer for American Dairymen. His background is in Animal Science, where he graduated from University College Dublin Ireland with a First Class Honors degree in 2016. He is currently involved with a dairy business in Missouri, managing a 750 cow grass-based grazing farm and am also a research scholar with University of Missouri- Columbia.

Calf Nutrition

Ideally, calves should also be ‘snatched’ or removed from the dam as soon as possible after birth to reduce disease risk. Newborn calves in the maternity/freshening pen are particularly at risk to picking up Johnes disease, as mature carrier cows will often shed this disease during periods of stress, i.e. calving.

Whole milk vs Milk Replacer

After sufficient colostrum has been taken care of, the calf can now move on to a whole milk or milk replacer diet. Although whole milk on a dry matter basis often contains higher protein (24%-27%) and higher fat (28%-36%) than milk replacer powder, many producers prefer the consistency, minimal disease risk and economic benefits (depending on mailbox milk price) that milk replacer provides. Heifer calves should be offered at least 15% of body weight in milk daily, typically 4-6 liters or more during the first few days of life. If milk replacer is used, producers should check the source of fat on the ingredients list. Animal based fats will offer better digestion than plant based fats and can reduce levels of nutritional scours. There is currently some debate as to whether twice-a-day ‘accelerated’ feeding programs are better than once-a-day feeding. Although accelerated twice-a-day programs are linked to larger-framed mature cattle and increased milk production in later life, there are some questions as to the net effect on farm profitability. 14

February 2018

Once-a-day feeding is widespread in New Zealand, where calves are typically grouped in mobs of fifteen to fifty calves, depending on age. The main benefits of once-a-day feeding include reduced labor and earlier weaning ages. Calves can be weaned earlier as the once-a-day system promotes faster and greater intakes of starter grain. Adequate growth rates of 1.5lbs per day have been reported on once-a-day systems by University of Minnesota Extension. During cold Spring weather, some producers are seeing benefits of feeding during the early morning hours from 1am-3am, to help calves get through the coldest part of the day and minimize environmental stress.


Regardless of the feeding system, consistency is key in early calf nutrition. For producers using whole milk, one way to increase consistency is to pasteurize the milk before feeding. Bacteria load in whole raw milk can vary greatly day-to-day and pasteurization will help reduce bacteria levels to a safer, lower level. Two types of pasteurization are available to dairymen, ‘batch’ and ‘HTST’ pasteurization. Batch pasteurizing involves heating a tank of milk to 63*C for thirty minutes. HTST – High Temperature Short Time pasteurizing rapidly heats milk to 72*C for fifteen seconds, before the milk is quickly cooled again. Milk must be cooled after pasteurization as a small number of bacteria will be present

and multiply faster in warmer milk. Reports from Penn State University highlight the benefits of feeding pasteurized milk including, “improved weight gain, improved calf health, lower disease transmission and utilizing ‘waste-milk’ effectively.” Calves should be fed at the same time of day and in the same order. Ideally a dedicated calf rearer or team will take care of calf rearing duties. This will promote greater ‘buy-in’ and responsibilit y for high-quality work. It will also minimize animal health issues as milking staff or other farm workers will not be in contact with young calves. Adequate fresh water must be available to calves at all times and starter grain should be introduced after one week of age. Weaning should only be considered once calves are consistently eating 3-4lbs of grain daily. A gradual weaning process over several days using reduced and diluted milk levels will provide a seamless transition from liquid to solid food for young calves. While calf-rearing systems are unique to every farm, the key components of good quality colostrum, consistency of feeding and a gradual weaning process must be built into every plan. With mailbox milk price looking challenging over the coming months, producers should still maintain good calf-rearing protocols and avoid the short-term temptation to cut costs in calf-rearing.

Partnering with Producers for Success

Improving the Milk

Pumping Process By Maura Keller

When dairy farmer Jeff Williams, owner of William Bedrock Bovines in Brodhead Wisconsin, needed an improved level control for his dairy pumping process, he turned to Tri County Dairy of Janesville who then looked to McFinn Technologies in Kenosha, WI. McFinn Technologies; established by John McGinn and LeRoy Finnigan, manufactures innovative, patented and trademarked gentle handling, low shear pumping technology for the dairy industry. McFinn Technologies received its first U.S. patent for its leading-edge low shear centrifugal pump, the Bowpeller, in 2003 and the rest is just hard work and dedication. Since 2003 the company has received two additional patents and three registered trademarks for 16

February 2018

products within the dairy industry. The company also is a 3A sanitary standards holder for pumps, valves and fittings. For Jef f Williams, McFinn Technologies products were the perfect solution to the problem he was facing on his dairy farm.

Specifically, his f loat units were being broken during the cleaning cycle and Williams wanted a pump that was gentler to milk and did not foam the milk. To streamline the installation process, McFinn Technologies partnered with Tri County Dairy Supply in Janesville, Wisc onsi n. Tr i- C ou nt y Da i r y Supply has been in business since 1989. The company offers a full line of milking equipment, calf and kid goat feeding equipment, freestall housing equipment and hardware. The company offers a full line of chemical and hygiene products and offers 24-hour services and a schedule maintenance program. “Tri Count y Dair y installed our Brain control system with our Ultra Sonic non-intrusive level and our patented low shear Bowpeller

pump,” McGinn says. “Initially we installed our Infrared level sensor but changed to Ultra Sonic sensor because it was more effective in the cleaning cycle.” Indeed, as Jeff Jensky, installation manager at Tri Country Dairy explains, the installation involved replacing the existing milk pump and installing the Bowpeller. “The controller was mounted, wired, programed and monitored for per-

The dairy industry makes up approximately 50 percent of McFinn Technologies’ revenue; so McFinn Technologies is continually working to innovate and develop products that make a dairy farmer’s production processes more streamlined, efficient and simpler.

Sonic level sensor that was no longer subject to the physical handling aspects during cleaning,” McGinn

says. In fact, the Bowpeller pump is, on average, 20% more efficient

than the competition across the VFD speed range. So what makes the Bowpeller pump model truly unique? Its patented impeller shape and casing design impart a fraction of the jerk acceleration and shearing forces of standard centrifugal pumps. This design allows for consistent head pressure across its full pumping range, making it more efficient when pumping through a chiller. In addition, the state-of-the-art technology includes the “Brain” controller, which interfaces with a smart phone and reduces the parameter input to the VFD. The controller “Brain” makes input and output signals simple and scalable; The “Brain” does the math and runs the VFD accordingly. The dairy industry makes up approximately 50 percent of McFinn Technologies’ revenue; so McFinn Technologies is continually working to innovate and develop products that make a dairy farmer’s production processes more streamlined, efficient and simpler. As part of their effort to inform dairy farmers about the company’s product line, McFinn Technologies provides direct mailings to dairy farmers and also features booths at the two largest dairy shows in the U.S,; the Madison World Dairy Expo and the World Ag Show in Tulare, CA. McFinn also provides solutions to the wine, beer and whiskey processing industries.

formance during both milking and washing,” Jensky says. Tri County Dairy partners with many different companies to help promote their products. Their personnel are trained on the benefits and features of the product and the proper installation guidelines. A s a resu lt of McFinn Technologies’ innovative solution and Tri County Dairy’s installation, Williams Bedrock Bovines experienced improved efficiency through the chiller, due to the pump and controls. “Our customer now had a Ultra

February 2018



February 2018

Industry Innovation




here is an old adage “we are what we eat,� and scientific studies are bearing this statement out every day. As a result, consumers are becoming more health conscious and more knowledgeable about where their food comes from and how it has been grown and/or raised. In response, farmers and ranchers across the country are realizing the importance of the health of their dairy cattle. The questions then arise for dairy producers: To whom do we turn for answers? Who can we trust to help us raise the healthiest animals possible? 20

February 2018

At the forefront of this agricultural movement is Phileo Lesaffre Animal Care (, the animal health and nutrition business unit of Lesaffre Yeast Corporation (LYC) located in France. Phileo-Lesaffre is a global expert in the field of yeast and yeast extract with a global presence in more than 70 countries with 16 production sites across the five continents.

Yeast Propagation

With its U. S. headquarters in Milwaukee, WI and plants in Cedar Rapids, IA and Dothan, AL, PhileoLesaffre is committed to help provide A mer ica’s producers w ith ev idence-based solutions that enhance animal health and performance. Years of study by the research and development team of microbiologists, engineers, nutritionists and veterinarians have proven that feeding animals a yeast supplement enhances many facets of animal’s performance: • Improvements in digestibility and bioavailability, for better feed conversion and performance • Cost-effective nutritional alternatives, providing substitutes for unsustainable or limited feed sources • Control of the risk associated with bacterial toxins and mycotoxins through binding and detoxification • Enhancement of immune response

and digestive health in preventive management • Reduction of pathogen pressure to help limit the risk of antibiotic resistance • Optimization of the physiological

mechanisms against stress, to support animal well-being.

Dr. Joe Ward, who is North America Project Manager, has been in the animal research and health business for over 30 years. He says the research and development team has spent years working to develop literally thousands of strains of yeast through yeast propagation and selection. “Our researchers and production teams grow live yeast tailored with a specific outcome in mind to enhance animal health and performance. We grow live yeast, safely … without using any drugs or harmful additives. The end result is that animals are healthy, perform well and everything we produce is ecologically safe for the environment and safe for humans.”

A Series of Studies

Matt Cravey, Ph. D., PAS and head of the North American Ruminant Programs here in the United States has been a part of research and studies for the past several years. According to Cravey, research of both dairy and beef animals through the use of a variety of Phileo yeast strains continues to show science-based solutions that positively and safely enhance animal health and performance. Several studies deal with Phileo’s ActiSaf Sc 47, which is a specifically selected patented yeast strain of live yeast concentrate Saccharomyces cerevisiae.Sc 47. ActiSaf Sc47 HR+ is the thermostable form that is produced by a unique Lesaffre manufacturing

February 2018


Industry Innovation

during the hot season on production, feed efficiency and digestibility. Two groups of dairy cows were part of this study with one controlled group consuming diets supplemented with ActiSaf, while the other group was fed their regular diet without ActiSaf. “Results demonstrated that the dry matter intake, milk yield and rumen pH were higher for the group with ActiSaf than the control group without supplemental ActiSaf. The buffering affect of our live yeast is due in part to an improved lactic acid utilization in the rumen. Essentially, ActiSaf is altering the rumen environment to enhance the preferred bacterial population

improving feedstuff digestibility and improving animal performance.â&#x20AC;? The impact of supplementing ActiSaf during the dry period on milk somatic cell counts (SCC) and health in post-calving dairy cows was investigated at the University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno in the Czech Republic. Milk SCC was monitored during the 17 weeks following calving of dairy cows. Results demonstrated that dairy cows fed ActiSaf had a significant decrease in SCC by 63 percent (P< .05) during the first four weeks post calving. Colostrum quality (total Ig mg/ml) increased significantly

process that ensures better stability; in turn more yeast cells reach the rumen or intestines alive. Actisaf has been found to improve growth rates by up to nine percent, increase dry matter intakes, improve feed conversion rates, improve carcass classification, reduce the risk of acidosis and reduce lameness. In a discussion of a recently completed research in Israel at the Department of Dairy Cattle, Institute of Animal Sciences, Volcani Center, Cravey notes the effects of live yeast supplementation fed to dairy cows


February 2018

(P<0.05) by 34 percent in the ActiSaf fed group. In addition, at week seven post-calving, metritis cases were significantly reduced with the group receiving ActiSaf. A reduction in the incidence of clinical mastitis cases was observed in the ActiSaf fed group resulting in a significant decrease in veterinary treatment costs. Cravey also discusses the positive results in two research studies that feature OptiSaf Beef, a proprietary concentrated blend of selected strains of live yeast. The first study took place in the Southeast using recently weaned calves that had been exposed to conditions that would considered by industry standards to be at high-risk. “In this study, OptiSaf Beef improved calf weight gains by about 10 pounds per head over a 56-day period versus a similar group of calves that did not receive OptiSaf Beef. This 10-pound advantage held true throughout a subsequent 90-day grazing period. Additionally, the calves receiving the OptiSaf Beef had fewer second treatments indicating improved health.” A similar study conducted by Dr. Jeff Carroll at the USDA facility near Lubbock, TX, showed the same positive results for a group of feedlot cattle under heat stress. The OptiSaf Beef

fed cattle perform significantly better than the group of cattle not receiving OptiSaf Beef. Cravey says, “This study shows that OptiSaf Beef significantly reduced the negative effects of heat stress on beef cattle.” Phileo Leaffre Animal Care is working at the crossroads of health and nutrition, committed to delivering evidence-based solutions to improve animal performance and health. Ward notes that there are several research studies currently underway both in the United States and globally to investigate the best practices and

combinations for using live yeast and various yeast components in all stage of animal production. The Lesaffre group is working together to better feed and better protect the planet by making a positive impact on animal performance and health. Producers wanting to learn more about products can go to their local feed supplier and ask for Phileo Lesaf fre A nimal Care products by name, or they can contact the company through the website at

February 2018


Tax Recorm Bill

Tax Reform

Implications for Agriculture By Michael Cox

Too much fanfare, the House and Senate approved ‘Tax Cut and Jobs Act’ was signed into effect by President Trump on December 22nd 2017. The new tax reform was aimed at reducing overall taxation and simplifying the tax code. Republicans claim the tax bill will stimulate investment and expansion by business, repatriation of off-shore profits back to America and further bolster strong economic growth. American Dairymen Magazine recently discussed the major possible implications of the reform for agriculture with accountants from two of the nation’s leading accounting and tax advisory firms; Genske Mulder and Company, California and CliftonLarsonAllen LLP, Illinois. “At the moment, the bill is a set of guidelines to allow lawmakers to work on the finer details,” says Gary Genske, of Genske Mulder and Company, “but we do have a clearer picture now of what the big changes will be.” The most unprecedented change is the new 20 percent deduction on business


February 2018

income. “For a married couple with income less than $300,000, 20 percent can be deducted ‘straight off the top’, says Genske. For higher income businesses, the deduction is limited to 50 percent of W-2 wages paid, or the combined sum of 25 percent of W-2 wages plus 2.5 percent of business depreciable property. It is yet unknown if the 20 percent deduction will apply to both income and social security, which would affect self-employed farmers. A potential ‘glitch’ in the new bill is the advantage it infers to sales made to cooperatives. “Under current interpretation, if a farmer sells to a co-op he gets the 20 percent deduction off total income, but if he sells to a private company, the deduction only applies to profit,” says Patrick Sturz of CliftonLarsonAllen LLP. This section of the bill has raised controversy in recent weeks and is likely to be reviewed and possibly amended before the end of the year. C- Corporations have also seen

changes. For farmers utilizing a C-Corp, the old tax rates of 15 percent, 25 percent, 34 percent and 35 percent have now been merged into a single 21 percent rate. “Overall this is positive, says Sturz, “but lower income farmers of $100,000 or less need to be careful as their tax liability may actually rise by 6%”. A minor C-Corp deduction change was made to the ‘household meals’ deduction, which has been halved to 50 percent and will be phased out over time. Although all tax brackets have dropped, in some hightax states such as California or New York, the reduction will not compensate for the repeal of some deductions that were applicable in the past. Capital Investment Sect. 179 has also been re-written. Genske says, “The deduction has doubled from $500,000 to $1 Million, with phaseouts coming in at $2.5 Million.” ‘Bonus Depreciation’ has been altered from the old system of 50 percent write-off before depreciation, to a new 100 percent write-off on new or

Michael Cox is a freelance writer for American Dairymen. His background is in Animal Science, where he graduated from University College Dublin Ireland with a First Class Honors degree in 2016. He is currently involved with a dairy business in Missouri, managing a 750 cow grass-based grazing farm and am also a research scholar with University of Missouri- Columbia.

used equipment. Bonus depreciation can also be calculated into a negative figure, whereas the Sect 179 will stop once the calculation hits zero. “The lifespan of depreciable assets has shortened too, from seven years down to five years,” says Sturz. Like several sections of the bill, the bonus depreciation has a timeline of five years, after which the allowable depreciation will drop by 20 percent annually. Net Operating Losses, which could be a factor for many ag producers in 2018, is now limited to $500,000 for pass-through entities, with 80 percent carryforward allowed. Carryforward and carryback rules have changed to a maximum of two years carryback and unlimited carry forward. The ‘Death Tax’ or Estate Tax threshold has doubled to $24 Million for married couples. This will effectively eliminate Federal Estate Tax for the majority of family farms, although local State taxes are still likely to apply. For beef producers, particularly feedlots, the significant change

is the limit to 30 percent de duc t ion on loan interest for business generating $25 Million or more. “They need to be paying attention to that and working on strategies around it,” says Sturz. For example, giving up the 100% bonus depreciation could allow for further loan-interest deductions. Cash accounting will remain in play for farmers, with the gross income limit raised from $5 Million to $25 Million. Like-Kind Exchanges are still permissible but limited to real property, i.e. land can be swapped for land taxfree, but trade-ins on equipment will not be tax-free. The AMT – Alternative Minimum Tax will remain for individual filers, however the exemption levels have been increased.

People in agriculture should be proactive and seek professional advice regarding the tax bill changes. “Some of the benefits are influenced by your State, so you really need to get good advice,” says Genske. Although the market outlook for commodities is somewhat gloomy, especially for dairy, Sturz urges farmers to “think big-picture and make sure any necessary steps are taken in 2018” to set the business up to succeed further once the market pendulum inevitably rises.

February 2018


Partnering with Producers for Success

Sometimes Simple is Simply Better By Steve Weisman


February 2018


hether it is new construction or updating a dairy’s milking facilities, PBI Parlor Systems ( has become known in the dairy industry as a leader in the manufacturing of milking stalls and equipment for dairies around the world. From the time he started building stalls in Anthony, New Mexico in 1989, owner Steve Peacock has been committed to helping dairy producers improve their bottom line by offering the finest, most durable milking stalls and equipment, along with the most exceptional ongoing customer support in the business. “ The business has cer tainly grown over the years,” says Peacock. “I started out being an industrial welder, and my goal was to be the best welder that I could be. Then I went into construction, remodeling corrals and barns and even built a couple of barns. Then a friend of mine, Jerry Settles, manager of Del Oro Dairy, asked if I would design a parallel stall for his dairy barn.” Peacock’s initial response was “No, because I had no clue.” However, Settles kept after him until Peacock said he would do it! It took some tweaking, but after six months, they were both satisfied with the results. Peacock had hit a grand slam with his stall design, and over the subsequent years, dairies of all sizes, from small family dairies to large commercial dairies, have been fitted

with PBI stalls. The business has grown to include customers all over the world. Today, PBI Parlor Systems sets the standard for milking stalls and related equipment. In addition, PBI stalls are engineered to be the best solution for maintaining cow safety and dairy efficiency. Among the international customers is Almarai in Saudi Arabia.

The philosophy and commitment remain the same: to help improve dairy profits, while offering superior customer service. “They have become a huge customer for us,” says Peacock. “As a matter fact, when we first started working with them over 20 years ago, I and one of my employees went over to Saudi Arabia to help them set up their facilities. Since that time, we have sold over 40 sets in a variety of sizes ranging from double 10s to double 75s.” Much of the company’s success has come because of the PBI employees. “We are truly blessed to have trusted and loyal employees,” says Peacock. “You know, in the first few years, we kept tweaking our design, just doing little things to make the product even better. We worked very hard to make the system as effective and as simple as possible.”

Whether it is new construction or remodeling an existing facility, PBI works closely with the customer to make sure that everything is customized to meet their needs. “Remodeling has become a huge part of our business,” notes Peacock. “We also do a lot of front-end conversions. The stall design gives the customer the capability of keeping their existing butt shields in most cases. This saves them time and money on a front-end conversion.” Value is built into every PBI stall design. Low installation and maintenance costs make PBI stalls a valuable investment for dairies of all sizes. Plus the durable construction, smooth operation and labor saving design provide ongoing increased profits. Stall designs are adaptable to suit the needs of dairies of all sizes, no matter the environment. So, really, each installation is tailored to meet the specific needs of each facility. In addition, they are compatible with all brands of milking equipment. The Elite Parallel Stall is PBI’s signature stall and includes the following: • A hydraulic cylinder operates an entire row raising the headstalls to a full 62” clearance. High enough for even the largest cow. • The speed of lowering of headstalls can be adjusted to your specifications. February 2018


Partnering with Producers for Success

• Rapid exit allows cows to leave at the same time. • Counter weights are used on our divider gates. No springs to break or hurt your cows. • This stall is offered on 26” centers for jersey cows only, 27” centers with double index for mixed herds or standard index for Holsteins, or 28” centers for Holsteins. PBI also offers herringbone stalls on 29”, 30”, 36”, 38” and 44” centers. “We have found that the most efficient size centers for a herringbone stall is on 38” centers. Here again, we build to suit the producer’s needs.” Peacock emphasizes again the simplicity of the system. “I think that’s what producers like the most. It’s simple, it works and they don’t have to mess with it.” Even so, Peacock will continue to ask those same questions. “Now today, when I go around and talk with customers, I will ask them whether they have any ideas for changes. Most often, they will tell me, ‘No! Leave it alone! It works fine!’” David DeJong, owner of Horizon Dairy near Hico, TX, has ties with PBI going back to his days in high school. “I have been a lifelong purchaser of PBI milking stalls. When I was in high school, we converted


February 2018

our old Herringbone into a PBI parallel Parlor and have not looked back. Every parlor since has been constructed using PBI stalls. They are extremely reliable, durable and trouble free. The staff is professional, knowledgeable, prompt and a pleasure to work with when you may need replacement parts or a new install. PBI is the first and only number I call when it comes to milking stalls.”

Meanwhile, John Verhaar, who owns Aquila Farms near Bad Axe, MI, totally agrees with Peacock’s assertion about the simplicity of the system. “PBI installed double 32s over 14 years ago. Today, they still look like new, and everything continues to work just like it’s supposed to. They are just so sturdy. I cannot see any reason they won’t go for another 15 years.” Verhaar adds that service has never been an issue. “After installation, they checked with me, but I’ve never needed anything serviced. It’s such an open design and not a maze of gates. The cows like it and feel comfortable entering and being in the stall. My son-in-law, who has a dairy just north of my place, liked the system so well that he put PBI stalls in in 2013. They just are the best.” The track record of PBI Parlors and the positive response from customers over the years speak for itself. The philosophy and commitment remain the same: to help improve dairy profits, while offering superior customer service. From the free consultation and quote, through the installation and the subsequent customer service, PBI Parlor Systems is there for the dairy producer.

Product Spotlight


CALF HUTS PolyDome is now manufacturing a complete line of livestock waterers. Included in the new line are water tubs from 56 gallons to 1000 gallons, and heated water bowls large enough for herds from 40 to 200 beef cattle. Made from


February 2018

high-impact, UV stabilized polyethylene, these tanks will stand up to rough treatment from large animals and extreme temperatures. The Standard Water Tubs have reinforced outer lips, 2-inch drains, and are light enough to be moved to wherever your animals are. They are available in 4 sizes from 85 to 1000 gallons, and range in height from 19-inches to 28-inches. The Pro Series Water Tubs have a built-in float, that is protected from livestock, and a 3/4” diameter hose fitting for water hookup to maintain water levels. They have reinforced outer lips, and 2-inch drains. They are available in 4 sizes

POLYDOME from 56 to 700 gallons, and range in height from 19-inches to 33-inches. New Heated Water Bowls are the perfect solution for farmers and ranchers in cold climates. The 2-piece design allows for easy installation and maintenance of the plumbing. A round top float heater, secured by wing nuts. is designed to make it easier for your livestock to drink. Thermo cycling draws water to the heat source. Heated water bowls are available in 4 sizes for herd sizes ranging from 40 to 200 beef cattle, or 20 to 100 dairy cows. Pre-installed 3/4” plumbing connectors and 3/4” Rojo ® valves are included.

800-328-7659 WWW.POLYDOME.COM

RIVERSIDE PLASTICS INC The RSI calf hutch is a one piece molded hutch manufactured from food grade,UV inhibited polyethylene plastic. Design of the RSI hutch allows for natural air f low thru the rear adjustable vent. Structural design needs NO metal framework around the bottom.

Available with side and rear doors to allow the calf producer to choose their feeding, and bedding locations.

Additional benefits include: • Adjustable, hinged Flex Roof Cover™ provides effective protection for calves in foul weather, and opens in one easy movement for light and ventilation • Streamlined setup to simplify daily chores like bedding, feeding and watering

• One-step rear vent control • Another innovative calf housing solution from Agri-Plastics, The Calf Housing Specialist


AGRI-PLASTICS Agri-Plastics, an Ontario-based manufacturer of calf housing solutions, has introduced Flex Hutch™ for improved ef f icienc y in an outdoor hutch system. “Flex Hutch makes it much easier to care for calves in two- and three-calf hutch systems” said AgriPlastics Owner Darren VanBuuren. “Instead of opening three doors, one for each calf, for example, the caregiver only has to open one. That’s a huge labor and efficiency savings.” Flex Hutch can accommodate two or three calves using a changeable inner panel system. Hutches can be placed directly on the ground or elevated on skids to optimize drainage. Rugged, molded plastic construction outlasts traditional wooden hutches, and is easy to clean and sanitize for reduced downtime.

905-945-3116 WWW.CALFHUTCH.COM

PORT-A-HUT INC. For over 50 years Port-A-Hut Inc. has been manufacturing and marketing its own line of portable steel livestock shelters. Our shelters and huts get used for just about everything that you can imagine. From individual calves or sows, to sheep and goats or horses, or for larger groups of livestock, or even for storage for smaller

machinery, or vehicles. The small hut (41/2’x71/2’) comes assembled and has optional front’s with and without doors. The 6’ wide hut comes in 7’ and 11’ lengths and also comes assembled, it also has optional fronts and f ront s w it h doors. The 8’,10’,12’,and 1 4’ w ide shelters come in

any length in 7’ increments and are assembled by the customer . 2 men can setup a hut or shelter in from 2 to 4 hrs. depending on the size. The larger shelters come with all parts including 4x4 skids and bolts. You do have to anchor the larger shelters to the ground, anchors are not included with these. The small huts and the 6’ wide huts do come with anchors.

800-882-4884 WWW.PORT-A-HUT.COM

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Partnering with Producers for Success

Passive Immunity

Protects Calves from Sickness By Steve Weisman


February 2018


attle producers are always looking for ways to improve the nutrition and health of their newborn calves. Healthy, strong offspring increase the quality of the adult herd and are a huge key in the financial success of the operation. However, there is always the concern of battling sick calves and even worse the loss of calves due to bacteria, viruses or other pathogens. The concern comes at birth, because the calf is born with virtually no immune system. It is through the mother’s first milk (colostrum) that provides the maternal antibodies to help kick in the calf’s immune system. That is why it is so crucial to get the calf up and sucking as soon as possible. It can take several days and even up to a few weeks for the calf’s immune system to create its own antibodies. Unfortunately, there are many variables that might cause this first milk to not create the immunity needed to fend off the many bacteria, viruses or other pathogens the calf might encounter. O v e r t he y e a r s , pr o duc e r s have foug ht t his problem a nd have basically come up with two types of remedies: active immunity and passive immunity. Active immunity comes in the form of vaccination, which generates antibodies to specific infectious agents. Passive immunity is provided by administering pre-formed antibodies to infectious agents that might cause sickness. Dr. Jim Lowe, who graduated from Texas A & M University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1995 and was in private practice for 18 years, is the Technical Services Veterinarian for Tomly n, (w w w.tomly a n over -t he - c ou nter bu si ne s s focused on providing high-quality products for cattle, horses and companion animals. Headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, Lowe is excited about the products that Tomlyn can offer cattle producers. Dr. Lowe says, “At Tomlyn, we believe in passive immunity. Instead

of vaccines, we are delivering preformed antibodies that can give the young calf the ability to more easily fight off these pathogens.”

The chicken and the egg

According to Lowe, the chicken and the egg are at the root of this success. You can actually trace a form of this back to the days when farms included a wide range of animals including chickens that roamed the farmyard. As they mingled with the other animals, the hens became exposed to every conceivable bacteria and disease. They would build up antibodies and an immunity, which would then be passed on through their eggs. Farmers would often mix eggs and/or yolks in the milk or supplement they fed to the calves that

appeared to need attention. With today’s advancements in science and technology, this practice has been greatly improved. According to Lowe, chickens are immunized with the antigens that most often attack young calves. The chickens then produce specific antibodies called egg yolk immunoglobulin (IgY) that will attack the pathogens that often cause intestinal inflammation and diarrhea. Eggs are collected and the IgY is extracted from the eggs and put into a powder or gel form that can easily be added to milk, milk replacer or calf starters. Lowe notes, “This will then function inside the ‘gut’ and can prevent bacteria from attaching to the intestinal wall, slow down bacterial multiplication and inhibit toxin

February 2018


Partnering with Producers for Success

production that causes sickness.” Tomlyn currently offers three key supplements for calves under the brand name EPIC: supplement for calves — Egg Protein In Complexes. EPIC® Calf IMMUNE SUPPORT is a highly- palatable paste supplement loaded with egg proteins that provides support from day one. For absorption and benefit, give this product in the first 24 hours. Lowe says, “The first 12 hours of a calf’s life are crucial for developing adequate initial immunity and EPIC provides additional immune support in addition to the natural maternal transfer of antibodies.” It is vital that a calf receive


February 2018

colostrum and supplements during this time frame. It is vital to ensure that the calf has the ability to deal with these issues during the first few months of life and provide them with a solid platform on which to start. Since it comes in a preloaded, single-use oral syringe, EPIC® Calf Immune Support is easy to give. EPIC® Calf SCOUR DEFENSE helps support the calf suffering from diarrhea (scours). Dr. Lowe adds, “Versus many standard anti-diarrheal products, it also provides electrolytes, yeast and charcoal to bind toxins, healthy gut microorganisms to re-establish healthy intestinal flora, a buffering agent and an amino acid to support intestinal h e a l i n g .” W h e n calves are i n a p en sit u at ion, healthy calves can

be given a lesser administrative level of the formula as a preventative measure. EPIC® Ca lf ELECTROLY TE is highly palatable, r apid ly d i s s olving and has the ideal osmolality and sodium content to help calves get back on their feet fast! One of the most important components in a calf electrolyte is the buffering agent. Sodium acetate is more ef fective than sodium bicarbonate as it does not prevent milk from clotting in t he aboma su m. This a llows t he calf to continue to rec eive mi l k or milk replacer.

It also saves the producer time because there is no need to give the electrolyte in water and then come back and feed later. It can go right into the milk in a one-step process. “I think the key thing in all of this is the story behind the EPIC lines of products; the abilit y to support the animal immune system in alternative fashions to vaccinations and antibiotics.” EPIC products are available at local feed stores. To find a dealer, visit w w

Tomlyn,® a pet health and wellness company founded in 1976, carries a complete line of scientificallydeveloped, veterinarian-approved pet health products. The company’s wide range of product categories range from immune support, vitamins and supplements and hairball remedies, to joint and hip support, calming aids and sanitizers. Known as the maker of Nutri-Cal® and Laxatone,® Tomlyn is owned by the ninth-largest veterinary pharmaceutical company in the world.

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