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September 2018


American ®

In This Issue Vol. 44 No. 9 • September 2018


6 Publisher Statement 8 Industry News

Trending news from around the dairy world.

Industry Features


12 16 22 26 4

September 2018

Feeding Hay More Efficiently

By Evan Whitley, Ph.D. and Curtis Larson

A bale processors ability to process almost anything including hay to cornstalks, combined with the functional performance of bunk delivery, windrowing, total mixed ration delivery, blowing bedding into buildings or silage into a storage facility make it an increasingly valuable tool for almost any producer.

22 26

Corn Silage Harvest Preparations

By Michael Cox for American Dairymen Magazine

Several factors influence the quality and quantity of corn silage harvest on our dairies. While weather and growing conditions can have huge effects on corn crops, we still have many variables under our direct control that will influence the type of corn silage we will feed out to cows in the future.

Replacement Heifers: Tough Decisions and Great Opportunity By Jaclyn Krymowski for American Dairymen Magazine

Some dairymen make the case that heifers are the most important animals on the farm. There’s some truth to this. It’s important to remember a heifer’s value isn’t based solely on her personal genetics and youth. Rather, emphasis should also be on her as a replacement in the dairy life cycle. Hopefully she is an improvement to her foremothers.

Sponsored Features


Top Dairy Farms Rely on Automated Calf Feeding Systems


Glen Dimplex Thermal Solutions Offers Producers Reliable and Expandable Chiller Systems

Article and photos courtesy of Förster-Technik GmbH

With growing interest in animal welfare, group housing and self-determined feed intake for calves are becoming more and more popular. Automatic calf feeders allow calves to drink higher amounts whenever they want and thus act out their natural drinking behavior. The result is well growing, healthy calves that grow into high-performing and long-living dairy cows.

Article and photos courtesy of Glen Dimplex Thermal Solutions

Read how GDTS, which has been known for its outstanding chillers and coolers in the industrial and medical markets for more than 60 years, has recently entered the dairy market.

Publisher Statement American

Refreshing I don’t know about anyone else, but it seems like


Products and Services

Vol. 44 No. 9 • September 2018

President/CEO Gale McKinney

two or three times a year I hit a wall and seem to just go through the motions and just try and get through

VP/CFO Audra McKinney

the day. Anyone else fight that battle? One thing that tends to pull me out of that funk is surrounding

Group Publisher/COO Patrick McKinney

myself with positive people and man did I ever get to

Publisher Dustin Hector

experience that a couple weeks ago. I was working our booth at the Wisconsin Farm Technology Days show

Controller Robert Reedy

outside of Marshfield, WI a few weeks ago and honestly, wasn’t really looking forward to it. The show is always hot, you are in the middle of nowhere,

Office Manager Dawn Busse

underneath a tent that serves as a make shift incinerator/wind tunnel, and the days seem to drag on. This year, that was not the case, other than it being

Art Director Brandon Peterson

hot. I would rank this year’s show as one of the top 5 industry shows I have attended, and in my position you attend a lot of trade shows. The producers,

Graphic Designer Teri Marsh

both beef and dairy, were so much fun to be around. Considering everything going on around them in the Ag economy they were still very positive and upbeat. They would help themselves to a magazine or comment that they already receive it and look forward to reading it. A vast majority of the exhibitors were also very positive and commenting on how well things were going. It amazes me how the people you surround yourself with influence your attitude. It was refreshing to have some discussions that were upbeat and positive even considering the negative that seems to surround us on a

Advertising Account Executives Lori Seibert Kathy Davidson Mary Gatliff Irene Smith Wendy Mills Joyce Kenney Ed Junker Kendra Sassman Circulation Coordinator Shawna Nelson

daily basis. I believe the staff that I work with daily would agree that since returning from the show I have a renewed positive attitude. We are also beginning to prepare for the upcoming World Dairy Expo that will be taking place in Madison, WI October 2-6. It is a long show but

for American Dairymen

Contributing Writers Bruce Derksen, Michael Cox, Jaclyn Krymowski, Steve Weisman

what better way to gain knowledge and perspective of what is going on in the industry worldwide. You get the opportunity to talk to producers and business’ from all over the world. What an opportunity. And of course, who could forget the cheese curds, ice cream, and all the other deliciousness that the food venders have to offer. Please make sure you swing by our booth and say “hi” to the ladies and myself. We would love to hear what is going on and happening at your farm. We are located in the Exhibit Hall, booth 1305.

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

Attending shows and getting out in the industry allows me to get feedback from our readers which we don’t get very often. That being said, we always welcome feedback regarding our publication. What do you want to hear or read about, topics you would like us to cover, etc. Also, make sure you check out the American Dairymen Facebook page. We are continually posting new information, photos, and videos related to the industry. Thanks again for reading and working hard to feed America. Best Regards, Dustin Hector Publisher – American Dairymen


September 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

YETI ® Tocayo Backpack

YETI® Expands Premium Outdoor Product Lineup

Introducing YETI Tocayo™ Backpack, Boomer™ Dog Bowl, Lowlands™ Blanket, and more

Article and photos courtesy of Yeti® Y ET I ® , a leading premium outdoor brand, announces multiple new products to join its lineup. Today, the Austin, Texasbased company proudly reveals the Tocayo™ Backpack, Boomer™ Dog Bowl, Lowlands™ Blanket, Rambler ® Stackable Pints, and various Rambler® accessories. “We are commited to building products that deliver innovation and premium performance for our customers,” says YETI CEO, Matt Reintjes. “Our teams are passionate about redefining everyday items by

creating ones tough enough to withstand, whether in the backcountry or the backyard.” The Tocayo Backpack is a rugged day pack engineered with a resilient exterior, superior padding, and ultra-strong zippers to keep your valuables protected, whether you’re commuting by floatplane, dirt road, or bike lane. Constructed with firm and durable EVA padding built into the base, back, and each compartment, the pack is designed to stand tall on its own and refuses to fall flat or tip over when you set it down.

YETI ®New Fall Apparel

* Continued on page 10


September 2018


September 2018

Industry News This pack is built for maximum ut i l it y, w it h m i n i m a l e x ter ior pockets and a sleek design. A QuickStash™ pocket located at the top of your pack keeps your earbuds, passport, or any other must-grabs permanently close by. The interior of the pack boasts a Rambler pocket on each side, which can snugly fit a variety of YETI drinkware, or even safekeep your dog leash or tennis shoes. A 360˚-protected laptop pocket and side-zip access gives you peace of mind as you carry your devices from point A to point B. The Lowlands Blanket is ideal for laying low in epic spaces. Equal parts functional, plush and spacious, the ultra-durable Lowlands Blanket transforms every outdoor concert, tailgate, or backcountry post-up into your personal base camp. Featuring a waterproof bottom utility layer, as well as a supremely soft, insulated layer, Lowlands is there to keep you comfortable in any setting. To make this item even sweeter, this machine washable blanket repels dirt, burrs, and pet hair, and features reinforced loops at each corner so you can stake it down when needed. The Boomer Dog Bowl is designed to be as dependable and down for adventure as [wo]man’s best friend. This double-wall non-insulated dog bowl is constructed with ultra-durable kitchen-grade stainless steel to resist rust and roughhousing. Thanks to YETI’s BearFoot™ nonslip base, it won’t slide across the f loor, no matter how enthusiastically your pup chows down. Most importantly, Boomer is food safe and BPA-free so you can fill it to the brim with eight cups of fresh water, treats, or your canine’s favorite kibble, knowing your buddy is well fed and taken care of. And when they’ve licked the bowl clean, simply throw it in the dishwasher. YETI is proud to introduce two new products to its Ramber line, including the 16oz Stackable Pint and Wine Tumbler MagSlider Lid. With elements that YETI fans have come to know and love, the Rambler Stackable Pint is constructed of 18/8


September 2018

k itchen-grade stainless steel, fe at u r e s t h at f a m i l i a r double-wall vacuum insulation, and includes a lid so you don’t waste a drop of your frosty beverage. These cups are easy to stack and pack so the whole crew can enjoy a cold one. An add-on for Y ET I’s beloved Wine Tumblers, the Wine Tumbler MagSlider Lid ensures dir t and bugs stay out of your favorite varietal. The dishwasher-safe lid provides a snug seal that fits perfectly with your Tumbler. All items listed will be available this fall on The Tocayo Backpack is available for $249.99 in two colors: black and tan. The Boomer Dog Bowl will be available for $49.99 in four colors: stainless, seafoam, black, and brick red. The Lowlands Blanket will be available for $199.99 in two colors: Smoke Blue and Fireside Red. Rambler Stackable Pints will be available in two-packs for $49.99 in stainless, black, seafoam, navy, white, and brick red. Wine Tumbler MagSlider Lid is available for $9.99. For more information on all new Fall 2018 products, please visit yeti. com.

About YETI

Founded in Austin, Texas in 2006, YETI is a leading premium outdoor brand. The world’s top hunters, anglers, outdoor adventurers, BBQ pitmasters, and ranch and rodeo professionals trust YETI to stand up to the world’s harshest conditions. For more on the company and its full line of products and accessories, visit

Bale Processors

Feeding Hay More Efficiently Bale Processors Provide Efficiency to The Feed Allocation Process By Evan Whitley, Ph.D. and Curtis Larson


ngage a livestock producer in a conversation about the benefits of a bale processor and versatility is often the number one attribute they identify. A bale processors ability to process almost anything including hay to cornstalks, combined with the functional performance of bunk delivery, windrowing, total mixed ration delivery, blowing bedding into buildings or silage into a storage facility make it an increasingly valuable tool for almost any producer. Thus, significantly improving the allocation of hay and roughage. “Allocation is also of utmost importance and can alter the overall efficiency by which these “stored” nutrients are utilized. Most often, allocation consists of a hay bale sometimes in a ring, in the middle of a pasture, or next to mineral and a water source. Although this is commonly the case, it isn’t the most efficient means of feeding hay. Minimally, use a bale ring to maintain the integrity of the bale for as long as possible and to reduce losses caused by trampling and contamination from urination and defecation. To further reduce wastage, consider labor availability and minimize the amount of hay offered, but be sure to meet the daily intake needs of the animals being fed especially if a hay

ring isn’t being used. Many producers trying to further improve the overall efficiency of feeding hay are investigating other means of allocation. Bale processors are one such mechanism of choice and are used to deliver hay in both pasture (windrows/troughs) and

pen environments. From a strictly nutritional perspective, processing (i.e., lightly chopping) hay improves utilization due to the increased accessibility of structural and nonstructural carbohydrates in the hay to the microbial population in the animal’s rumen, especially for roughages that are lower in quality. Operationally, the processor is very easy to use and does a good job of uniformly chopping most roughage sources given, including bermudagrass, alfalfa, soybean, rye/ ryegrass, switchgrass and native grass. Overall, we have witnessed less wastage when “windrowing” cows in

* Continued on page 14


September 2018

Bale Processors

the pasture, but we have had some difficulty feeding in our concrete bunks (especially in high winds). As with any piece of equipment, we continue to learn more and better ways to use it. A good example is using the processor to cover newly constructed pond dams and rights-of-way, where it worked very well. As one would imagine, the biggest potential downside is the machine cost. This has to be weighed on a case-by-case basis depending on the size of the operation, access to resources labor, hay quality, capital, etc.) and the value placed upon convenience.” - Noble Research Institute. When choosing a Bale Processor, producers should find the following checklist adapted from a list originally compiled by Blaine Metzger, Project Manager at the Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development Centre, valuable to consider:

Processing Functions:

• Processing f unctions var y greatly among bale processors, meaning producers should carefully consider the type of functions they need. For example, some processors cannot spread heavy layers of bedding are limited in the spreading distance.


September 2018

• Feedbunk height is also another key consideration. Some processors are design to reach high feedbunks and evenly distribute material over a fence to a Feedbunk on the other side, whereas others cannot. • Regardless of size, all producers may want to consider a processor with the ability to add supplemental feed or nutrients to the processing material. During periods where pastures are producing little nutrients this becomes a valuable tool.

Power Supply Requirements:

• Most bale processors are PTO driven and horsepower requirements can range from 60 h.p. to 150 h.p. Many small operations have limited power to operate the machines manufactures have now developed models to accommodate almost any size of tractor. Skid Steer attached models are also manufactured allowing maneuverability for smaller confined areas and hydraulic power-driven systems.

Types of Material Handled

• Determining the type of material, the processor will handle in any operation is a key factor in deciding which model to choose. Moisture content of the material you intend to process should be a major consideration as

different units may process dry and/ or wet material more effectively. Make sure you understand the material handling capabilities of the unit you intend to purchase.

Ease of Operation

• Large, open material chambers, distribution chambers and rotors play a significant role in the operating ease of a processor. Machines

that allow for easy adjustments of the processing mechanisms offer more trouble-free processing; including, material feeding, processing speed and aggressiveness, length of cut, material distribution and other parts of the processing sequence are the best for controlling quality in the final product.

Speed of Processing

• Speed is another factor of

consideration but is not as critical for a smaller operation as it is to large feed lots and cow herds. An adjustable, aggressive processing mechanism and material feeder system with a large processing chamber ensures the quickest processing of all materials. A large open distribution chamber also assists as it provides the least resistance to material flow.

Cost & Durability

• Price and durability are significant factors as well. The cost of a bale processor will vary depending on adjustment capability, processing capability, materials handled, self-loading capability and extra accessories. As with any equipment purchase a producer must base their decision on a compromise among features, capability and cost. Whether a bale processor is the right tool remains a decision based upon the producer’s individual operation. However these versatile machines continue to improve the efficiency and quality of feed allocation.

September 2018


Industry Innovation

Top Dairy Farms rely on automated

Calf feeding systems Article and photos courtesy of Förster-Technik GmbH


ith growing interest in animal welfare, group housing and self-determined feed intake for calves are becoming more and more popular. Automatic calf feeders allow calves to drink higher amounts whenever they want and thus act out their natural drinking behavior. The result is well growing, healthy calves that grow into high-performing and long-living dairy cows.

Since 1971, the German company Förster-Technik GmbH develops innovative solutions for automated calf feeding. In North America, the company is represented by its subsidiary Foerster-Technik North America Inc. Many dairy farms all over the world use feeding systems from Förster-Technik and are satisfied with their technical solution. The Milking R Dairy Farm in Okeechobee, Florida, was started in 1940 by the Rucks family. Today Sutton and Kris Rucks own and 16

September 2018

operate the farm in collaboration with their two children, Lindsey and Garrett, and Lindsey’s fiancé Mark. Milking R herd is around 1600 cows plus youngstock. Four years ago, in July of 2014, the Rucks decided to change their calf feeding system into an automatic one. With great support from their dealer, Steve Walker from Emory Walker Co., they bought and installed three Förster-Technik automatic calf feeders. Lindsey Rucks, who graduated at the University of Florida and came back to the farm in

2014, now oversees the calf barn as well as the heifers on the farm. She is happy with the automated solution: “The decision to move to the FörsterTechnik feeders happened for many reasons. Before the feeders, we only raised our heifers for the first week, then they were shipped to a grower out of state and did not return until they were pregnant. With the ever-changing dairy economy, we knew that we had to make a change and knew we had the infrastructure to raise our replacements in house. We also were looking into ways to improve performance and growth for our heifers. The Förster-Technik feeders were an easy choice for our farm and would easily pay for themselves over time. Over four years have passed and the ripple effect

in our herd is mind blowing. We love that our calves have an option when they drink. With our very hot and humid climate, more than six months out of the year, calves sometimes are not interested in their afternoon feeding and having automatic feeders completely eliminates that problem. They choose when to eat and never have to wait until the morning feeding. Our barn is very active in the coolest parts of our day Automatic calf feeder with feeding station

and the calves can relax and socialize in their climate controlled environment. In September 2017, Hurricane Irma impacted our area. As the storm approached and the weather intensified, we lost power and had to use our backup generator. The power was out about 30 minutes before someone was able to safely turn it on and the calves were not happy about having to wait on us! In the middle of a Category 4 Hurricane, our calves

did not miss a beat on the feeders. Mother Nature did not set our calves back a bit and having our automatic feeders paid off during such a

Our calves come off the feeders aggressive, well grown and with social skills. Calves learning to socialize and become herd mates are another plus for au tom ated feeding systems. trying time. We were able to know our calves were content and we could focus on other parts of the farm that had been affected.� The calves of the Rucks family are housed in individual wire pens for the first days of their lives. On day 10 they are moved to the automatic feeder in groups of 25 to 30 calves. “Calves are on a 12- or 15-liter program and are weaned at 55 days. Each meal is up to 3 liters. Our average daily gain has gone from 1.8 to 2.4 lb. Our calves come off the

September 2018


Industry Innovation

feeders aggressive, well grown and with social skills. Calves learning to socialize and become herd mates are another plus for automated feeding systems. We find that our calves build up immunity from group housing and have seen both our mortality and morbidity rates drop since starting Garrett, Kris, Sutton and Lindsey Rucks


September 2018

with Förster-Technik feeders. Our mortality rate is less than 1 % and our morbidity rate is around 15 % for calves on the feeders and 2 % for all other heifers on the farm.” But how does automated feeding reduce diseases? Due to the intensive feeding throughout the day, calves are optimally supplied with energy. The natural, self-determined feed intake prevents hunger and stress. In addition, the automatic calf feeders log detailed information about drinking behavior and speed of each calf. Lindsey Rucks tells: “Being able to monitor drinking speed is a wonderful tool. 99 % of the time you can find and treat a calf that is just starting to get sick. We have been able to keep many a calf from becoming

too ill and missing meals. Overall, this has impacted our average daily gain because consumption never plummets.” Good calf rearing is the decisive basis for successful dairy farming. During four years with automated calf feeding, Lindsey Rucks was able to observe the changes in the herd: “The impact on our herd has been significantly noticeable. We have seen our age at first calving drop to 22.5 months. Our cows are outperforming themselves, with cows on their 2nd and 3rd lactation shattering our past records for peak milk. We have been able to sell replacements as well. Having too many heifers is definitely a good problem to have. Our Förster-Technik feeders have given

Calves at the feeding station

us profitable animals and have drastically lowered our cull rates. The feeders have helped us raise IVF heifer calves from some of my Brown Swiss herd, R ADical Genetics. These heifers have gone to compete at shows like World Dairy Expo and have garnered various awards and several All-American nominations. Being able to compete in the show ring, calves need to be well grown and Förster-Technik feeders have made that possible.” If you are also interested in automated calf feeding systems, please contact Jan Ziemerink from FoersterTechnik North America Inc. under 519-239-9756 or jan.ziemerink@ You can also

visit Förster-Technik at the World Dairy Expo in the Trade Center, booth number 915, and get further information about automatic calf feeders and other technical solutions for your calf rearing.

September 2018


Corn Silage

Corn Silage

Harvest preparations By Michael Cox for American Dairymen Magazine


everal factors influence the quality and quantity of corn silage harvest on our dairies. While weather and growing conditions can have huge effects on corn crops, we still have many variables under our direct control that will influence the type of corn silage we will feed out to cows in the future. Harvest timing

Timing of harvest is the most impor tant consideration when aiming to achieve good yields and high digestibility silage. Several factors will dictate harvest timing, such as crop dry matter, variety type, whether the crop is a hybrid or not, spacing between the crop rows and the weather conditions. Dry matter level will dictate when har vest should begin and w ill be inf luence by all of the above factors. University of Kentucky research suggests that bunker silage should be harvested between 30-35% dry matter, with standing silos being able to accommodate higher dry matters of 35-40%. Dry matter levels have a direct inf luence on how the silage will ferment

and the amount of shrink during storage. If silage is too wet, nutrients will be lost through seepage during storage. Harvesting high dry matter silage increases the risk of air pockets in the silo and also reduces digestibility, as the kernels will be drier, physically harder and more difficult to breakdown in the cow’s digestive tract. Harvesting outside of the target dry matter parameters will result in poorer fermentation and greater shrink than desired. As dr y matter in standing crops generally increases by .5% daily, it is crucial to have frequent samples and assessments of the crop prior to harvest. Milkline position is a simple way of estimating dry matter levels. As the crop matures, the milkline will move

slowly down the kernel towards the center. The optimum stage of harvest is when the milkline is 3/4s of the way down the kernel. A lthough judging the milkline position and black layer development are simple ways to estimate dry matter and harvest timing, it is advisable to check whole plant dry matters from various fields before harvest. If testing moisture levels using a microwave, having finely chopped samples will give most accurate results. Finely chopped samples allow for a more representative subsample to be tested.

Processing and stem height

Most dair ies have now recognized the benef its of kernel processing on the greater availability of starch when digested by the cow. If on-line processors are not available on the harvester, chop length should be reduced to ½ inch to compensate for the lack of processing, compared to ž inch chop * Continued on page 24


September 2018

Corn Silage length for processed silage. Roller clearance of .12 inches in on-line processors should be sufficient for good kernel processing, but kernel breakage must be monitored, and rollers adjusted up or down as necessary. A quick and easy way to check if enough kernels are being broken is to count the number of whole kernels from a given sample. Producers should target having at least 55-65% of kernels broken. If high nitrate levels in the crop is a cause for concern pre-harvesting, raising the cutting height can lower nitrate levels in the forage, as the lower par t of the plant stem contains the largest amount of nitrates. Nitrate levels can be increased in crops that receive

rain after a drought period, during cloudy, overcast weather, in more mature plants and in very thick, high population crops. Raising the cutting height can reduce nitrate levels and increase quality and digestibility of the silage, but it will also obviously reduce the overall

yield of the crop. In well fermented silage, nitrate levels will reduce by 50% from harvest levels, so ensuring good fermentation can be a more desirable option than raising cut ting heights in some cases. Higher cutting heights will also influence dry matter levels. Raising cutting height by 12 inches will typically raise dry matter in the silage by 2%. The intended animal group that will eat the silage can also influence stem height levels. If the silage is for dry cows and heifers, lower quality and greater yields may be more desirable, and therefore cutting heights can be lowered. If silage is intended for peak lactation cows it may be cost effective to produce higher quality silage by leaving higher stalk residues in the field.

Final results

After all the time, effort and cost that is involved in raising and harvesting a corn crop, it is crucial to take a forage sample for analysis and get the cold hard facts of what is actually in the bunker. Pre-harvest estimates of dry matter and kernel processing during harvest are typically less accurate than laboratory analysis. When taking forage samples to test for quality and dry matter, the size of the sample can affect the accuracy of the results. Research from Cornell University suggests that sample weights from 400g to 600g per sample are best for consistency and accuracy. Lighter sample weights show more variation between samples than heavier weights, which will have pooled forage for a more accurate representation from the silo.


September 2018

September 2018


Replacement Heifers Fertility Concerns

Replacement Heifers: Tough decisions and great opportunity By Jaclyn Krymowski for American Dairymen Magazine


ome dairymen make the case that heifers are the most important animals on the farm. There’s some truth to this. It’s important to remember a heifer’s value isn’t based solely on her personal genetics and youth. Rather, emphasis should also be on her as a replacement in the dairy life cycle. Hopefully she is an improvement to her foremothers.

When replacements are at an adequate level, the herd average can be kept on the younger side. A younger herd compared an older one is beneficial for production and quality. The more available replacements can allow for more intense culling pressures on older animals. Herds in the habit of culling cows with fewer lactations chip away opportunities to generate more replacements. Statistically, if you’re culling at a 40% rate based on a retention of only 2.5 average lactations, your cows are spending as much time in the herd as it took to raise them to get there in the first place.

What turns heifers into optimal cows

The goals of heifer raising are

very simple. They are to make sure replacement animals enter the herd when they’re at the optimal weight, stature and age which will contribute to their best production and fertility. Consider that puberty is based on an animals’ size more so than age. In most heifers, puberty begins when a female is at 50-55% of her mature weight. This means they will usually be about 85% of their mature weight at the time of first calving. Research has shown that heifers of better size, growth, and condition outperform their herdmates. One Australian study found that heavier heifers at 12 months old were more likely to be cycling than their lighter weight counterparts. For example, only 30% of heifers

were cycling at 440lbs. comparted to 65% of heifers cycling when they reached 570lbs. Likewise, heavier heifers also had higher conception rates. Heifers who with an advantage in weight also have a longer-term gain. Research in Tasmania showed that a heifer weighing around 100lbs. more than her contemporaries produced and additional 2,000lbs. of milk, 84lbs. of fat, and 93lbs. of protein over her first three lactations. These heifers are also more likely to be long lasting as milkers. Adequate nutrition is an important contributor to heifer growth. One benefit of feeding heifers is these animals are much less prone to over conditioning because they put their energy into growth. Excessive fatness in heifers is unlikely unless they won’t calve until they’re over two years old.

Is it worth every heifer?

As much as can be said on the benefits of proper replacement * Continued on page 28


September 2018

September 2018


Replacement Heifers

management and turnover, in some circumstances even the best heifer management program isn’t profitable for every heifer that will be born on your farm. Remember, the cost of raising youngstock is often one of the largest expenses on a dairy operation. The economic, financial and opportunity costs of either raising on farm or through a contract raiser will f luctuate from year to year. The market for heifers, calves and springers are also very influential factors for many. Several state extension services provide helpful worksheets which aid with the bookwork and number crunching. With all the benefits of replacement animals, it is very typical for most farms to naturally retain every heifer that’s born. However, some discussion is suggesting this may not always be the best strategy. In terms of practical cost savings, selling the bottom 10-15% of heifers born equates to saving the thousands of dollars it would take to otherwise raise them. This is also a track to accelerate your genetic improvement. Optimal percentage of what 28

September 2018


September 2018

heifers to keep is the percentage of calves that minimizes the average net cost of rearing. One study used a retention of 73% of a herd’s heifers for a year. The total net cost ended up being 6.5% lower than when all animals were kept. Of course, the decision of how many replacements are necessary shouldn’t be made solely on the cost. For example, it may be economically feasible to raise a certain number of replacements, but they may put a strain on other resources such as feed, facilities or labor. Other considerations can include the herd size in relation to its stability, reduction or expansion, the cull rate, and the anticipated death loss. Note that what qualifies the top or bottom percentages of your replacements will vary based on your breeding strategy. For some operations this may be based on genomic testing and for others it could be on type, pedigree or production. It’s important to recall your breeding goals and set distinct benchmark values in your heifer program so the bottom can be culled without hesitation.

Business Profile

The portable and powerful J Series is an ideal chiller for smaller cooling opportunities.

The P Series can be connected and operated through a master controller for optimal uptime using syste m redundancy and expansion flexibility.

Glen Dimplex Thermal Solutions Offers Producers Reliable and Expandable Chiller Systems By Steve Weisman


or dairy producers, the collection of quality milk requires a lot of planning and care. It all starts with healthy cattle free of disease. After that, the producer must make sure that a safe and proper milk processing is established from milk collection to an approved tank. A critical time during the milking process is cooling the milk from 100 degrees Fahrenheit to 40 degrees Fahrenheit within 30 minutes to prevent the development of harmful bacteria. Cooling this milk can be accomplished a couple of ways: with a refrigerated tank or through a plate cooler. Glen Dimplex Thermal Solutions, also known as GDTS, now offers dairy producers a simpler and more reliable cooling solution.

GDTS, which has been known for its outstanding chillers and coolers in the industrial and medical markets for more than 60 years, has recently entered the dairy market. The Koolant Koolers brand chiller has a strong reputation in the industrial process cooling and medical imaging markets with a reputation known for its robust and reliable performance. With more than 60,000 chillers in the field, the Koolant Koolers chiller is no stranger to extreme and harsh ambient conditions, dirty, dusty, corrosive or oily air conditions, while providing consistent temperature control and efficient, dependable operation. According to Bonnie Martens, GDTS Marketing Communications Manager, “We are now just entering

the dairy market. We believe our expertise in the industrial and medical markets will transfer into the dairy industry. We have spent the past two years visiting with dairy producers, listening to their needs and suggestions. We realized we have the experience in designing and manufacturing chillers that can provide an all-in-one system that will save money, space and time, while improving the cooling requirements for the milking process.” GDTS has been the premier provider of OEM medical imaging fluid cooling equipment for use with MRIs with a track record of 99.96 percent uptime with more than 1,400 MRI chillers in North America. Denise Klaren, New Business Development

Manager, shares the company’s excitement of entering the dairy market. “We really believe our history in both the medical and industrial areas make us a good fit in the dairy industry. Our chillers offer exactly what dairy producers need no matter the size of their milking operation.” At the Kalamazoo, Michigan facility, which is the central location for the engineering and manufacturing of the Koolant Koolers brand, all chillers undergo thorough testing in an environment, which reflects the conditions the equipment will face in the field. GDTS has several chiller models ranging from 1/8 ton to more than 90 tons but one chiller design may be the answer to ever-expanding dairy farms. GDTS has designed a pressurized closed loop chiller featuring an oxygen-free system that prevents evaporation and biological growth in water-only systems and extends life for water-glycol systems. This chiller, the P Series is also a self-contained unit with its own tank, pump and header piping to be a scalable system. In the 40 tons and larger, dual refrigeration circuits are available in each module for improved uptime through * Continued on page 32


September 2018

Business Profile

component redundancy. When reliability is so important, redundant systems provide confidence that the system will function every second of every day. Since the P Series can be utilized as a single self-contained module, it works well for both the small and large producer. The P Series has modules for 5 tons to 90 tons of cooling, and with its unique design, it can easily connect more modules with the series, and as a result, actually providing 100s of tons of cooling. Each module is able to operate as a stand-alone chiller that is equipped with its own controller. When the need for more cooling is realized, new modules can be added that not only increases cooling capacity but also component and system redundancy. When individual modules are connected, the master controller intelligently rotates each compressor in each module into lead position providing even and extended wear of the compressors, as well as energy efficiency to match the process cooling output and capacity demand. Since each module has its own refrigeration system, adding modules provides system redundancy while allowing for independent maintenance without production interruption, since individual modules can be manually isolated. Multiple building communication protocols are available for remote monitoring of predictive maintenance and service issues. In working with one Midwest dairy producer, Klaren noted the difference

The P Series individual modules offer component redundancy for energy efficiency and uptime.

a P Series system would make. “The original equipment included five compressors, a pump, tank and evaporator, which was all housed indoors and individual pieces. The barn was approximately 40’ x 60’ building, and all of the equipment took up nearly two thirds of the building. Our two 60-ton system is 194” x 96” – that’s 16’ x 8’! On top of that, because the P Series can handle ambient temperatures between -20 degrees and 120 degrees, we can install the system outside the barn. Think of the space that we can save for the producer.” If expansion is in the future for this producer, the P Series is easily adaptable. “Since each module is self-contained,

The W Series is a robust custom unit that has built in compressor redundancy for 99.96% uptime. 32

September 2018

we can easily add another module to this unit,” says Klaren. “In the future if there is an issue, only the module that needs service is affected. The entire unit keeps performing. We have a 24-7 service team that will take care of the situation.” With its pressurized system, scalabilit y and redundant design capabilities, the P Series offers dairy producers more for the lowest total cost of ownership, Klaren adds, “We believe our P Series will be a difference maker for dairy producers. GDTS offers an 18-month warranty on all parts and labor. We also have over 600 certified contractors to work with dairy producers. We also offer a training program to help other contractors become certified. In this short time, we have had an excellent response to the P Series, and we look forward to helping more dairy producers with their milking systems.” Each year dairy producers across the country attend the annual World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin. Martens and Klaren note that GDTS will be a first-time exhibitor at the 2018 World Dairy Expo. Martens says, “Stop by the Trade Center and visit our booth-#947 to enter your name for a drawing and to receive a free gift.”

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American Dairymen September 2018  
American Dairymen September 2018