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Cool stuff we saw at World Dairy Expo 2014

Published on 09 October 2014

Top 25

This article was #14 of the Top 25 most well-read articles on in 2014. It was published in the Oct. 20, 2014 Extra e-newsletter and Nov. 7, 2014 print issue.



After a major U.S. dairy trade show, Progressive Dairyman’s staff of editors and writers compile their favorite lists of new innovations seen, trends observed or people met. These lists are then turned into an article called “Cool stuff we saw” and published in the magazine’s e-newsletter. The recap from this year’s World Dairy Expo was a hit with readers.

We asked World Dairy Expo staff,
Q. What do you think led to the high level of interest in World Dairy Expo this year?

World Dairy Expo experienced increased participation across most venues in 2014. Gate attendance increased, participation at educational seminars was higher, and FFA member ticket sales grew. While the expo has grown at a steady pace over the last 15 years, it enjoyed a 9 percent jump in attendance this year. The catalyst that drove the increased interest was a combination of factors.

High milk prices the last few years have enabled some dairy producers to make capital investments, adapt new technologies or implement new cattle management products. Whenever the dairy economy is thriving, progressive dairy producers usually reinvest those dollars back into operational improvements. World Dairy Expo offers the largest array of dairy products and services available at one show. Consultants and experts are on hand to share the latest research and management protocols with dairy operation managers and owners to get maximum results.

Excitement and anticipation surrounding the unveiling of the New Holland Pavilions at the Alliant Energy Center was definitely one of the biggest draws. Interest had ramped up for many months during the planning and building phases of the new cattle housing. Dairymen from around the globe, some of who had not attended recently, came to view the new facilities and world-class cattle that reside within them.
—Janet Keller, Communications and public relations manager, World Dairy Expo



Editors observed trends and products during their visit to World Dairy Expo 2014 in Madison, Wisconsin. Here are their comments about things that caught their attention.

More views of World Dairy Expo

This year's show saw record attendance. No doubt it was in part due to the excitement surrounding the brand-new New Holland Livestock Pavilions. Crews finished construction of the new barns just in time for dairy cattle exhibitors to move in record numbers of cattle. The New Holland Livestock Pavilions include two buildings, totaling 290,000 square feet. These exhibitor- and visitor-friendly facilities are equipped with wide aisles, superior ventilation and lighting. They replace the nine former buildings that housed cattle for the show.

bird's eye view

The new barn included an observation deck that allowed for a birds-eye view inside, as well as an elevated look toward the Arena Building and Coliseum. This picture shows off the never-ending grilled cheese line at the Badger Dairy Club Stand from the observation deck looking outward.

bird's eye view 2


—Editors Emily Caldwell and Peggy Coffeen

An 11-foot tall cow statue
Expo visitors were awed by these giant cow figures, but a Wisconsin dairy family was particularly astounded to find a personalized bench in the name of a loved one. It was a fitting tribute to Keri (Behnke) Evert, a strong member of the local dairy community and no stranger to World Dairy Expo, who passed away in June. She was the daughter of Wallace and Donna Behnke of Brooklyn, Wisconsin, and sister to Roger (Lisa), Brian (Tami), Robert (Denise) and Brenda (Alan) Murphy.

Giant cow statues

The bench was a surprise to Evert’s family members who saw it for the first time at World Dairy Expo. It was commissioned by a colleague from Wisconsin's Oregon School District where she worked, and that will be its permanent home after the show.

—Editor Peggy Coffeen

World-class cattle displays
New cattle barns allowed visitors to easily view some of the best cows and heifers in the world.

MilkSource display

This impressive display, which was complete with live show-ring coverage, belonged to MilkSource Genetics in Kaukauna, Wisconsin. Their team’s highlight included exhibiting the grand champion of the International Red & White Show, Strans-Jen-D Tequila-Red-ET.

—Editor Peggy Coffeen

More younger farmers
In nine years of attending the show, this year seemed like the year I saw more young, married dairy couples at the show than ever before. Some had a little one, or maybe two, in tow. Each said they were transitioning into management of the family farm or had just recently done so.

Steve Schalla Presentation

Take for example Steve and Annette Schalla. Three years ago, Steve (at left in the photo) quit his job as a risk management specialist with Stewart-Peterson to work on his in-laws’ dairy, Bomaz Farms in Hammond, Wisconsin. Among other duties, Steve has been put in charge of the farm's risk management and business planning.

During a presentation at the show, he related what it has been like to manage a dairy farm's risk from the other side of the desk – the producer perspective. He said after a while even he needed help and turned to Stewart-Peterson for consultation because he discovered the markets could sometimes move faster than he could. However, it doesn't seem like he's doing anything to get himself fired. Schalla said the farm has only had four months during the past three years it was in the red, even as it navigates through some expansion and farm equipment upgrades.

—Editor Walt Cooley

Cloud-based herd management
After World Ag Expo earlier this year, one of my “cool things” was FarmerOn, a cloud-based herd management platform. They were at this show too, and with a growing presence in the marketplace. I also saw another cloud-based herd management software company, BoviSync, at the show for the first time. Both systems are compatible with tablets and mobile devices.

I sense that mobile, cloud-based cow card management is about due for a breakout. Both companies reiterated that “data wants to be free” and that they wanted to make dairy data more readily available and useful to dairy producers.

—Editor Walt Cooley

Cool dudes in dairy and forage competitions

FFA kids

Cool things I saw at World Dairy Expo? Easy – Corbin Van Veghel, Caleb Dehmlow and Bradley Dallman, three FFA students who had traveled from Adams-Friendship, Wisconsin, to compete in the dairy foods competition. They were a little nervous but hoping for the best. They were, however, much more enthusiastic than their fellow students who were still asleep in the van, awaiting the forage contest.

After the competition, I asked how they fared. Their advisor, Becky Grabarski, said, "Well, they learned a lot." Grabarski brought nine students to compete in forage, dairy livestock judging and dairy foods contests. She said these were the first competitions for several students. She was hoping they would gain experience to better train for the spring competitions. Ah, the memories being built.

Todd and Lisa Schroeder, and Travis Klinkner

I also met Todd and Lisa Schroeder (on right) from Schroeder Farms at Cashton, Wisconsin, and their agronomist, Travis Klinkner.

Klinkner had paid the entrance fee for Schroeder to enter their corn silage in the World Forage Superbowl Analysis competition.

Klinkner said, “I saw the test results, and I told Todd it was really good stuff, and he ought to enter it. Todd doesn’t skimp. He does things right.” Turned out Schroeder Farms won the Grand Champion First-Time Entrant cash award of $1,500 (sponsored by Kuhn North America). Guess there’s no question who bought dinner that night.

That’s what makes the show most worthwhile for me – the people and the stories behind them. They come in blue FFA jackets, in school and international groups, in matching company shirts, in strollers and wheelchairs, in rubber boots, in ties and in jeans. It’s rural America in all her variety and glory (even if you have to soak some of that glory out of your tired feet at the end of every day).

—Editor Lynn Jaynes

The perfect pen

I forgot to get his name, but this forage producer stopped by the Progressive Forage Grower booth to replace his pen. I initially thought he had picked up a broken pen that day, but he explained that he took a Forage Grower pen at last year's show, and the clip had just recently snapped off. As I handed him a new pen, he promptly put it in his shirt pocket and said, "Thanks! This is my favorite pen. I have it with me every day!"

Expo attendant

—Editor Emily Caldwell

It's all about the team
I was struck by how many discussions, story ideas and new products at this year's show centered around taking a team approach to dairy management. Many companies have strengthened relationships among dairy producers, veterinarians and nutritionists through easier-to-access data that allows for better decision making. Watch for more articles on this topic in the coming year, and take advantage of ways to get everyone surrounding your dairy on the same page.

—Editor Emily Caldwell

Lagoon Crawler stops traffic
Several attendees stopped in their tracks to get a closer look at NHUN’s Lagoon Crawler, a ginormous piece of equipment on the grounds.

NHUN’s Lagoon Crawler

This lagoon agitation boat is a remote-controlled amphibious vehicle capable of driving itself in and out of a lagoon. The crawler has a Cummins QSB6.7 engine and is powered by a quad port. It agitates the solids on the bottom and moves lagoon liquid in 10,000-plus gallon-per-minute volumes. PD

—Editor Jenna Hurty

Photos by PD staff.