Current Progressive Dairy digital edition

2014 World Dairy Expo seminars and virtual tours cover technology, management, manure and more

Published on 11 September 2014

2014 world dairy design

From September 30 – October 4, Madison, Wisconsin, hosts World Dairy Expo.



Continue on to read more about the seminars and virtual tours being presented this year.

Interact with industry experts at expo seminars

1 p.m. Mendota 2 - Seminar
“How to Handle Difficult Questions from Consumers and Make a Difference for Dairy”
Stan Erwine
Vice President of Producer Communications, Dairy Management Inc.

Consumers have access to more information than ever. However, sometimes that information is inaccurate. This leads to more questions about dairy farming than ever before. Stan Erwine will focus on developing a values-based approach to responding to consumers’ questions and the skills and techniques to welcoming and responding effectively to difficult questions.

This interactive workshop will focus on questions for dairy producers, veterinarians and agribusiness professionals across the country. It will offer skills and tips you can use the moment you leave the room.


Jim Ostrom, John Vosters and Todd Willer

2 p.m. Mendota 1 - Virtual Tour
Hosted by: Milk Source – Hudson Dairy, Hudson, Michigan
3,000 Milking/Water Conservation
Sponsored by: Livestock Water Recycling Inc.

“Milk Source – Sustainability Starts Here.” This tagline reflects the ideals of Hudson Dairy perfectly, where cow care and water conservation are top priorities. Launched in June, this is the fifth large-scale dairy that the Milk Source partnership has erected.

Other dairies, located in Wisconsin, include Tidy View Dairy, Omro Dairy, Rosendale Dairy and New Chester Dairy, along with Milk Source Genetics, a nucleus herd of elite Holstein and Red-and-White cattle. The partnership is comprised of Jim Ostrom, John Vosters and Todd Willer.

The group also owns Heifer Source, a 20,000-head heifer raising facility in Kansas, and Calf Source, a 10,000-head calf facility. Hudson Dairy houses 3,000 milking cows with a rolling herd average of 24,000 pounds of milk.

The newly completed facility features a manure processing center that extracts nutrients and solids to be used as fertilizer, with the end product being clean, potable water. Cow care is a top priority as well. All Milk Source dairies are part of the National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) program which emphasizes the utmost care for all animals on the farm.


Milk Source was recently recognized as the 2014 Innovative Dairy Farmers of the Year by the International Dairy Foods Association and Dairy Today, among their numerous environmental and genetic accolades.

10 a.m. Arena Building - Seminar
“Making Quality Baleage with Annual Forages”
Mike McCormick
Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, Franklinton, Louisiana

Annual forages such as ryegrass and sorghum sudan are often used in double cropping systems, on rental land or on land unsuitable for growing alfalfa or other forage crops. Putting them up as baleage instead of hay offers many advantages, including lower field losses and higher quality forage. McCormick offers advice on how to make high-quality forage using stretch-wrapped plastic.

11 a.m. Mendota 2 - Seminar
“Impact of Feeding Calves Three Times a Day versus Twice a Day”
Dr. Donald C. Sockett
Epidemiologist/Microbiologist, Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
Sponsored by: Land O’Lakes Animal Milk Products Co.

Nutrition plays a critical role in the health and viability of calves. Research shows that calves may need more than the traditional two feedings per day to meet nutritional requirements. Sockett will review both the short- and long-term impacts of a recent field trial where calves were fed milk either twice or three times per day.

Data will be presented on calf growth, starter intake, health and how feeding frequency affects the probability that calves will enter the milking herd. Sockett is recognized internationally for his work on infectious diseases of livestock, particularly dairy cattle.

At the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (WVDL), he is responsible for diagnostic cases that are submitted to the laboratory by practicing veterinarians and livestock producers. He also does outreach education for the WVDL.

Rokey family

12 p.m. Mendota 1 - Virtual Tour
Hosted by: Rokeyroad Holsteins, Sabetha, Kansas
114 Milking/Genetic Advancement
Sponsored by: Kansas Department of Agriculture

Dwight and Anita Rokey will tell you they are living their dream every day on their dairy. Established in 1999, Rokeyroad Holsteins is home to 114 registered Holsteins with plans to expand. Originally growing up on crop and hog farms, the Rokeys have bought into several well-known cow families including Raven, Dellia, Caramac, Bellwood Linda, Roxy, Elegance and more.

As a result of their breeding program, they bred last year’s All-American Red & White milking yearling and have placed several bulls in stud, including Rokeyroad Rokstar-Red-PP, a homozygous polled bull. They have sold animals across the U.S. and Canada, and have earned several premier breeder and exhibitor banners at local and national shows.

Rokeyroad has a rolling herd average of 28,200 pounds of milk with 4 percent fat and 3.2 percent protein. Currently, the herd is housed in the only tiestall barn in Kansas. This facility is equipped with an evaporative cooling system and tunnel ventilation, which can cool the barn by more than 20 degrees.

The Rokeys will be constructing Kansas’ first bedded-pack barn with sawdust sourced from a local cabinet facility. In only 15 years, Rokeyroad Holsteins has earned several breeding and production awards. Dwight has served as the Kansas Holstein Association president and a delegate to the National Holstein Convention for the past two years.

1 p.m. Mendota 2 - Seminar
“Why We Are Genomic Testing”
Dr. Bennet Cassell
Moderator, Virginia Tech
Matthew Nuckols
Eastview Farm
Greg Andersen
Seagull Bay Dairy
Robert Bignami
Brentwood Farms
Sponsored by: Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding

Genomics has been part of the dairy genetics scene for nearly five years. However, producers utilize this technology and the data yielded from it very differently. This panel discussion, moderated by Cassell, will look at how dairies are taking advantage of genomic information on their operations.

Dr. Bennet Cassell was an extension dairy geneticist at Virginia Tech for 28 years, retiring in 2010. In addition to his extension responsibilities, Cassell conducted research in genetic improvement and advised graduate students.

Following his retirement, he taught applied dairy cattle genetics at Virginia Tech for three years. This gave him the chance to share his vision of the game-changing implications of genomics technology in the dairy industry.

Matthew Nuckols is from Eastview Farm in Beaverdam, Virginia. Currently, Eastview Farm has more than 250 registered Holsteins and milks 120 cows. Matt and his cousin, Taylor Nuckols, work together to follow a tradition of breeding success set by their fathers, F.C. and Wayne Nuckols.

Approximately two-thirds of the herd is bred with a focus on high Type Production Index (TPI) and Net Merit, with an emphasis on functional type. The other third is bred for show ring type.

Genomic testing is important to both goals, and all females are genomic tested. Offspring have been sold to Japan, Italy, Germany, Spain, Mexico and Canada. Eastview cow families include Mattie G, Love Lady and Lani.

Greg Andersen is a partner in Seagull Bay Dairy in American Falls, Idaho. The dairy is home to 600 cows and several hundred replacement heifers. Thanks to herd favorite Ammon-Peachey Shauna, Seagull Bay has been able to market numerous sires into A.I.

Their greatest success to date is Shauna’s Robust son, Seagull-Bay Supersire. Seagull Bay Dairy also bred the dam of the number one Net Merit and TPI sire – Robust. Other sire standouts include Silver, Sheriff, Secretariat, Platinum, Diamond, MVP, Headliner and Sargeant.

Bob and Pam Bignami own Brentwood Farms of Orland, California. Brentwood milks 1,600 registered Jerseys and is a recognized name worldwide.

Herd highlights include breeding and owning the former number one JPI cow, the number one genomic JPI cow, several number one ranked JPI sires and the number one ranked PTAT sire, as well as the All-American champion, the All-American junior show champion and the All-American cheese yield champion.

They have sent numerous sires into A.I. and marketed cattle worldwide. Bignami received the American Jersey Cattle Association (AJCA) Master Breeder Award in 2007 and is a former president of the AJCA, director of Land O’ Lakes and the National Dairy Board.

1:30 p.m. Arena Building - Seminar
“Using Propionic Acid to Preserve More Hay”
Wayne Coblentz
U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center, Marshfield, Wisconsin

Historically, propionic acid-based preservatives for hay have enjoyed demonstrated effectiveness within research studies, but these studies mostly have been with small rectangular bales. More recent studies with large, round bales have been disappointing, but other studies with large, rectangular bales have produced excellent results.

Coblentz will review research results obtained with a variety of bale types and offer practical advice on when and how to use propionic acid to preserve hay.

Sugar Creek Farms

2 p.m. Mendota 1 - Virtual Tour
Hosted by: Sugar Creek Farms, New London, Wisconsin
1,200 Milking/Adopters of Technology
Sponsored by: Zoetis

What started as an FFA friendship has developed into a productive operation. Mike Bruette and Jeff Handschke were members of the same FFA chapter in high school. Since 1997, they have been farming in partnership and expanded in 2001 and again in 2008. They are currently milking 1,200 cows with a rolling herd average of 29,500 pounds of milk.

Sugar Creek Farms believes in implementing the latest technologies and having strict protocols to ensure the health and safety of animals and employees. The herd is outfitted with RFID tags that are tied to the herd management software to track herd health, vaccination programs and reproductive statuses.

Overall, the monitors have made it easier to ensure that all protocols are being followed. They have been genomic testing all females for the past two years. Sugar Creek Farms uses this information to maximize their use of sexed semen and to facilitate culling decisions.

By working closely with employees and the management team, including their veterinarian, they ensure their animals stay healthy, happy and productive. Sugar Creek Farms also opens its doors to host a variety of events. They hosted the 2012 Farm Technology Days and were a host farm for the 2014 Midwest Regional Dairy Challenge.

10 a.m. Arena Building - Seminar
“Undigested NDF and Updates to NDF Digestibility: New Tools in Forage Analysis”
Mike Van Amburgh
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

The industry is constantly looking for better ways to improve forage fiber analysis as a tool for comparing forages and for estimating rate of digestion, rumen fill and intake potential of dairy cattle diets. One of the newer tools is uNDF (undigested neutral detergent fiber).

Van Amburgh explains the new method, compares it to other measures of NDF undigestibility, describes how agronomic conditions impact uNDF independent of lignin content and shows how the dynamic nature of the uNDF helps explain variation in NDF digestion.

11 a.m. Mendota 2 - Seminar
“New Monitoring Technologies May Help Manage Cow Reproduction and Health”
Dr. Jeffrey Bewley
Associate Extension Professor, University of Kentucky
Sponsored by: DeKalb

Precision dairy farming uses technology to measure physiological, behavioral and production indicators on individual animals to improve management strategies and farm performance. We have only seen the beginning of these sophisticated technologies in monitoring dairy cows.

Bewley will outline a number of options available to dairy producers, as well as the complex decision-making process for the adaptation of these technologies. The economic, technical and social advantages and disadvantages of these technologies will also be discussed.

Bewley’s current research focuses on precision technology implementation, as well as mastitis prevention, cow comfort, lameness prevention and decision economics.

Joe Lyon, Eric Lyon and Stuart Lyon

Noon Mendota 1 - Virtual Tour
Hosted by: Lyon Jerseys LLC, Toledo, Iowa
400 Milking/Productive Life
Sponsored by: American Jersey Cattle Association

For over 90 years, the Lyon family has taken a no-nonsense approach to building one of the top Jersey herds in America. Today, the operation includes Joe Lyon, his son Eric and nephew Stuart. The herd of nearly 1,000 registered Jerseys includes 400 cows that averaged 18,170 pounds of milk at 5.2 percent fat and 3.6 percent protein last year.

The Lyons focus their breeding efforts on production with high butterfat and protein components, balanced type and longevity. This philosophy has paid off. Since 2006, the herd has ranked nationally in the top 10 for butterfat in their herd size category.

They have bred 254 Excellent cows to date, with 242 cows achieving lifetime production over 100,000 pounds of milk. Two cow families have been developed for over 26 generations. In the past 10 years, the Lyons have marketed 1,175 head of cattle, including 960 bulls.

Among the most prominent of these are Lyon Duke Dutchy, Excellent-95 and reserve grand champion of the 2011 International Jersey Junior Show; and Lyon Impuls Louie Chart, a bull that made the top 25 active A.I. sires list on his first daughter proof this past April.

The Lyon family has been honored as Iowa Master Farmers, and Joe as National Dairy Shrine Guest of Honor and World Dairy Expo’s Dairyman of the Year.

1 p.m. Mendota 2 - Seminar
“Milking with Robots: How is it Done? Part II”
Dr. Marcia Endres
Professor, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
Sponsored by: GEA Farm Technologies, Inc.

Robots are becoming increasingly popular on U.S. dairy farms. Last year, Endres presented research on how dairies were using robotic milking systems and how cows responded to this new technology. Now, one year later, the initial findings will be outlined along with new research on the data, which will provide insight on production efficiency and cow behavior.

Endres is a professor in the department of animal science at the University of Minnesota with an extension and research appointment. Her research interests include dairy management, welfare and behavior. Some of her current research projects explore dairy technologies such as automated calf feeders, robotic milking systems and cow sensors.

1:30 p.m. Arena Building - Seminar
“Make Sure Your Kernel Processor is Doing Its Job”
Kevin Shinners and Brian Luck
University of Wisconsin – Madison
Madison, Wisconsin

You know that processing corn silage improves starch utilization in dairy cattle, but do you know if the kernels are being processed adequately at the time of harvest? Two University of Wisconsin – Madison experts describe an on-farm test that can be used during harvest so you can make equipment adjustments before material goes in the silo. They will also discuss a new “image” approach that may someday be a smartphone app to help assess kernel processing.

Lepple family

2 p.m. Mendota 1 - Virtual Tour
Hosted by: Lepples’ Ridge-View Farm Inc., Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
130 Milking/Robots
Sponsored by: Lely

As the next generation became involved in Lepples’ Ridge-View Farm Inc., the goals were to maintain producing a high-quality product while improving the family’s lifestyle. This is exactly what the Lepple family has accomplished.

As Joel and Jean brought their sons, Craig and Brent, into the family dairy business, they knew the milking equipment was due for replacement or upgrading. During this time, the family researched and selected two robotic milkers to install and automated more of their feeding system. Cows are fed a partially mixed ration (PMR) when they enter to be milked, helping newer cows adjust to the robots.

With the addition of the robots came the necessity to build a freestall that features an elevated ceiling and waterbeds for increased cow comfort. The Lepples will tell you they have learned a lot in the past three years, including the importance of teat placement.

Currently, 130 cows are milked an average of 3.1 times per day, averaging 85 pounds of milk per cow per day. With robots taking care of the daily milking, this allows the Lepples to better manage their dairy herd through automatic monitoring of milk quality and cow activity, and it has brought freedom and flexibility to the family.

10 a.m. Arena Building - Seminar
“Redesigning Alfalfa for Improved Protein Utilization: PPO and O-diphenols vs. Tannins”
John Grabber
U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center, Madison, Wisconsin

Improving the utilization of protein in alfalfa by dairy cows would reduce feed costs for producers and lessen the risk of ammonia loss to the environment from manure. Grabber describes how these goals could be met by introducing protein-protecting tannins or PPO plus o-diphenols into alfalfa.

11 a.m. Mendota 2 - Seminar
“Dairy Farm Employee Management: Getting the New Employee Off to a Good Start”
Dr. Melissa O’Rourke
Farm and Agribusiness Management Specialist, Iowa State University

Dairy farm owners and employers spend a great deal of time carefully recruiting, interviewing, checking references, evaluating and selecting new employees. All that effort can quickly dissipate with a lack of training and clear understanding of expectations.

O’Rourke will share information on how to get new employees off to a good start and set the tone for the entire employment relationship. O’Rourke is a farm and agribusiness management specialist and attorney for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Her work in extension combines her background in education, agriculture and law as she informs and advises members of the farm and agribusiness community on an array of business planning and legal topics. She also authors a series of articles related to farm employee management and legal issues.

Wanner family

Noon Mendota 1 - Virtual Tour
Hosted by: Wanner’s Pride-N-Joy Dairy, Narvon, Pennsylvania
772 Milking/Environmental Stewards
Sponsored by: Quality Liquid Feeds Inc.

Environmental stewardship and animal husbandry are top priorities for the Wanner family and have been for over seven generations. For Alfred Wanner Jr. and his sons, John and Matt, having their farm located in the Chesapeake Bay watershed has driven them to be the best environmental stewards possible.

The herd of 750 cows averages over 90 pounds of milk per cow per day with a rolling herd average of over 27,000 pounds of milk and somatic cell counts below 150,000. Wanner’s Pride-N-Joy Dairy utilizes an on-site methane digester as part of their manure management system.

Power generated from the digester is both used on the farm and sold by net metering to the local power company. Digested manure is separated and solids are used for bedding the herd. Liquids flow to a two-stage lagoon system, and second stage effluent is irrigated.

Low-protein rations balanced for amino acid needs and a yucca plant extract help minimize ammonia, thereby decreasing odor – a benefit for neighbors and visitors of the family’s guest house and farm tour enterprise.

Calves are fed pasteurized waste milk supplemented with an accelerated milk replacer to balance solids. New heifer facilities allowed Pride-N-Joy Dairy to meet their goal of calving heifers by 22 months of age and 1,300 pounds.

1 p.m. Mendota 2 - Seminar
“The Nutrient Value of Manure: What’s It Really Worth?”
Dr. Brad Joern
Professor, Purdue University
Sponsored by: Jung

While manure has inherent value based solely on its composition, the actual value of manure depends on many additional factors, including when, where, how, how much of and how well that manure is applied.

Joern will discuss how these and other factors like labor availability, equipment and regulations can be used together to develop an application strategy to maximize the return on manure. He will also discuss fertilizer recommendations, manure nutrient availability algorithms and how to improve them. Joern is a professor of agronomy at Purdue University.

He conducts research in soil fertility, nutrient cycling and water quality. He is recognized as a national leader in comprehensive nutrient management planning in the U.S. Joern’s software, Manure Management Planner (MMP), is supported nationally by both NRCS and USEPA to develop and implement nutrient management plans for crop and livestock producers.

1:30 p.m. Arena Building - Seminar
“Manure on Forage Crops: Benefits and Challenges”
Bill Jokela
U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center
Marshfield, Wisconsin

Looking for ways to successfully apply manure to forage crops? Jokela discusses the benefits, as well as challenges, of applying manure on alfalfa and grass forages. He will present results from research on manure management and application methods that maximize yield and minimize crop damage and environmental impacts.

Johnson's Rolling Acres family

2 p.m. Mendota 1 - Virtual Tour
Hosted by: Johnsons’ Rolling Acres Partnership, Peterson, Minnesota
1,050 Milking/Community Involvement
Sponsored by: AgStar Financial Services

Johnsons’ Rolling Acres is a diversified farm with a community-minded focus. For the Johnson family, community is truly the cornerstone of all their efforts. Johnsons’ Rolling Acres makes an effort to hire most of their staff locally. The staff has been a vital asset to the farm’s success as they help care for 1,050 cows with a rolling herd average of 30,000 pounds.

For the Johnsons, it is of utmost importance that people are educated about where their food comes from. They open their farm up to numerous activities, including FFA tours, events for student and parent groups, as well as hosting Dairy Night on the Farm as a kick-off to June Dairy Month.

Most notably, for the last five years, the Johnsons have been providing milk free of charge to local preschool children. When they realized that most children were drinking juice instead of milk, they took action and started purchasing milk for approximately 100 kids.

Additionally, when a nearby community flooded, they were on hand with pumps and equipment to save public utilities and facilities. Johnsons’ Rolling Acres has received several honors, including recently the University of Minnesota – Extension Farm Family of the Year.

10 a.m. Arena Building - Seminar
“Do Higher Seeding Rates Improve Alfalfa Stand Persistence and Yield?”
Dan Undersander
University of Wisconsin – Madison
Madison, Wisconsin

It seems logical that more alfalfa seed in the ground would translate to higher yields and better stand persistence, but research at the University of Wisconsin – Madison suggests that this isn’t always the case. Extension forage agronomist Undersander shares the results of recent research on stand dynamics.

11 a.m. Mendota 2 - Seminar
“Exploring Value-Added Dairy Opportunities”
Sarah Cornelisse
Senior Extension Associate
Penn State University
Sponsored by: Badgerland Financial

Dairy farming has become more volatile than ever when it comes to the bottom line. One solution can be launching a value-added dairy enterprise. It is an appealing idea as a strategy to increase revenue without increasing the size of the dairy herd.

However, the launch of a successful value-added dairy enterprise requires significant planning. Cornelisse will address considerations for starting a value-added enterprise on your dairy, including product options, marketing and pricing.

Cornelisse is a senior extension associate in the department of agricultural economics, sociology and education at Penn State University. She focuses on agricultural entrepreneurship, with an emphasis on business planning and decision making, marketing and value-added agriculture.

Cornelisse also has an interest in the use of social media for agricultural farm and food business marketing and value-added dairy and meat enterprises.

red dairy barn

Noon Mendota 1 - Virtual Tour
Hosted by: Twin Birch Dairy LLC, Skaneateles, New York
1,240 Milking/Sustainability
Sponsored by: DuPont Pioneer

Twin Birch Dairy strives to be innovative and profitable. Located by a lake that provides fresh water to Syracuse, New York, Dirk Young and farm partners have invested in the latest technologies to ensure environmental stewardship.

For manure management, the dairy uses a methane digester and a unique underground pipeline system that delivers manure to fields through the use of a dragline. By utilizing precision agriculture, they are able to maximize their forage yield without jeopardizing quality. They also take advantage of increased planting densities and variable rate seeding.

Through the use of scales and increased bunker storage, they are able to maximize their harvesting efforts and maintain a high-quality product for their herd of 1,240 cows that have a rolling herd average of 30,500 pounds of milk. While already a very profitable enterprise, Twin Birch Dairy is looking to the future.

Working closely with a marketing group, they are planning to add a new milk plant that will supply milk protein concentrates for milk protein shakes, skim milk powder and whole milk powder. For all of their conservation efforts, Twin Birch Dairy was awarded the Onondaga Conservation Farm of the Year. PD