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Cool stuff we saw at World Dairy Expo 2017

Progressive Dairyman Editorial Staff Published on 10 October 2017
World Dairy Expo Colosseum

It’s become a tradition for the Progressive Dairyman team to scope out new products, ideas and innovations to share with readers following World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin. The 2017 show, with a theme of “Discovering New Dairy Worlds,” had plenty to offer.

Progressive Dairyman editors Walt Cooley, Karen Lee, Jenna Hurty-Person, Dave Natzke and Audrey Schmitz, as well as Progressive Forage editor Lynn Jaynes, provided their observations about “cool stuff” that caught their attention at the show.



new VAS platform

DairyComp moving to the cloud

Valley Ag Software unveiled a first look at its new cloud-based software design during the show. The interface is much more visual now than it used to be and updates in near real time. The ongoing redesign is a multi-million-dollar investment and involves 30 software developers.

During the show, I also got to sit down one-on-one with the company’s new CEO, Tim Taylor. He’s charismatic, energetic and calls himself a “technology guy.” He said in his first six months on the job, he’s been focusing on changing the company’s culture.

“VAS was the company that knew how to say ‘no’ elegantly,” Taylor said during a press conference held during the show. “Now we’re the company that knows how to say ‘yes.’”

The company is accepting applications for early sign-up for the cloud-based version and assured current customers that if they don’t want to move to the cloud, they don’t have to. Early adopters will get the cloud-based version in the first part of 2018 with a full release scheduled for next summer. Pricing for the new cloud-based service is not yet available.


—Editor Walt Cooley

dairy bottle nipple washer

A dishwasher for bottle nipples

This stainless steel tub of roiling water and bobbing nipples caught my eye at the show. The new product from Daritech is a nipple washer. Sales representative Ryan DeWaard says the company created the product after receiving requests from dairies who use the company’s bottle washing trailer for a solution to wash nipples in bulk too. The unit comes in three sizes and can wash 150, 300 or 600 nipples at one time. DeWaard says the unit is as easy to use as a dishwasher and requires just three steps to use: load, set and wash.

—Editor Walt Cooley

Nationwide Microbial Terroir maps clostridia

Earlier this year, Church & Dwight Co. Inc., the parent company of Arm & Hammer, acquired Agro BioSciences, which developed an innovative platform to identify distinct bacteria to improve animal and agricultural productivity. The Microbial Terroir uses proprietary techniques and functional genomics to map the microbes specific to a dairy facility. A terroir is the sum of the effects of a local environment. On a dairy farm, this can include the barn, water, air, feed, weather, microorganisms, soil, etc.

The terroir can be farm-specific or target a certain region. Arm & Hammer representatives shared with Progressive Dairyman editors that terroirs have been conducted across the U.S. They have sampled the soil, feed ingredients, the TMR and fecal samples to identify specific disease and environmental challenges to each operation, and have found them to be particularly helpful in addressing clostridia challenges.


Among more than 5,000 tested fecal samples, representing more than 115,000 animals, 99 percent of animals tested positive for clostridia. The same sample set shows 83.6 percent of cows and 64.9 percent of calves tested positive for pathogenic Clostridium perfringens.

In gathering information in the terroir, the Arm & Hammer representatives say they can create tailor-made solutions specific to a farm or region to better combat clinical and subclinical clostridium challenges.

—Editor Karen Lee

milk24 app

App provides individual cow data for smaller farms

Finally, producers who milk cows in stanchion barns have an opportunity to track milk production and other parameters on an individual cow basis thanks to the milk24 app released by DeLaval at World Dairy Expo.

The app, which is available for Android, Apple and PC devices, works in conjunction with specific milking units that are Bluetooth equipped to send the data they collect to a smartphone, tablet or laptop. The data is compiled into a user-friendly form, and producers can monitor individual cow data and herd information over time.

The select milking units are all capable of providing milk yield and flow data, while certain milking units are also equipped to collect blood and conductivity data that can be collected by the app as well.

With cow information collated in the app, it can detect deviations and send out alerts, allowing producers to take immediate action in herd management.

Access to data in the app can be shared with other managers on the farm, veterinarians or additional consultants for a team management approach.

“This is an exciting step for our stanchion customers,” Patrick Wiltzius, DeLaval solution manager, said in a press release provided at World Dairy Expo. “The app is easy to integrate into the milking process, and it’s an effective solution for their first step towards herd management.”

—Editor Karen Lee

GEA foam manure tanker

Foam manure tanker

Squeezable foam cows are a popular giveaway item at World Dairy Expo. This year it was exciting to find a squeezable foam manure tanker as the giveaway item from GEA. It is easy to focus on cows from the show ring to the trade show at World Dairy Expo, but where there is livestock there is manure. The proper handling of manure is an important part of the dairy industry, and it was good to see it being highlighted even in a small, squeezable way!

—Editor Karen Lee

hay probes

Hay probes

These bale probes were sticking out of hay bales in the display at National Hay Association’s booth (at least temporarily), as Markus Nawrath explained their purpose – to take the internal temperature of a bale and send a message to a smartphone if the temperature reaches critical levels. Hopefully we can include more specific information in an upcoming issue about its technology and specifications. You know, how to not feed it into the tub grinder accidentally, how to make sure your phone is charged when the notification comes in, how to apply for a reduced rate on your insurance premiums because barn fires are reduced (that’s probably a stretch, but it could happen – maybe). Something to keep your eye on.

—Editor Lynn Jaynes

pink calf hutch

Agri-Plastics launches Hutches for Hope

As many as one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Agri-Plastics kicked off October, which is breast cancer awareness month, by launching their Hutches for Hope initiative. To help promote the campaign, the company built a pink calf hutch that they displayed at World Dairy Expo and will be raffling off on Oct. 31. In addition, the company is donating $10 for every calf pen or hutch sold and $20 for every group hutch sold in October with a maximum donation of $30,000 to the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF).

Although some animal rights activists have come out against this initiative, Skip Wiswell, U.S. sales manager, says that so far the agriculture community and NBCF have been supportive of the initiative.

Breast cancer can have a huge impact on an individual, their family, friends and co-workers. Knowing this, Wiswell says the company wanted to find a way to give back to the countless women in the dairy industry, many of whom raise calves. They hope this gesture will have a positive impact on the lives of these women who help to keep the dairy industry running smoothly.

—Editor Jenna Hurty-Person

virtual tour

Canarm AgSystems calf barn virtual tour

When you can't bring the people to the calf barn, bring the calf barn to the people. Or at least that was Canarm's idea when they created a virtual tour of one of the company's calf barns. The barn being featured has 30 calf pens on either side of the center aisle and is located in Ontario. The two-minute tour was made possible via a headset through which participants could take in 360-degree views of the facility. Tours included a video demonstration of some of the features available in their barns and views from inside a calf pen.

—Editor Jenna Hurty-Person

Mark Linzmeier

MarginSmart Smart Milk Basis

With milk basis shrinking, Mark Linzmeier, MarginSmart, unveiled a Smart Milk Basis program for U.S. dairy clients. The program provides a special confidential report comparing an individual dairy farm’s milk basis and net mailbox price to all milk produced in the farm’s federal milk marketing order (FMMO) and all other farms enrolled in the MarginSmart Smart Milk Basis project. It will compare component percentages of butterfat, protein and other solids; payment per pound by the farm’s plant for the various components; producer price differentials (PPD) and market adjustments paid by the farm’s plant; and all other premiums paid by the plant. Hauling charges, checkoffs and other assessments applied against the farm’s net milk pay price will also be analyzed. Customers can choose to have the analysis done either one time (2014 through September 2017), monthly going forward or both. For more information, visit the MarginSmart website or call (877) 474-7589.

—Editor Dave Natzke

Audrey Schmitz with photo of dad

Life-size photo of dear old Dad

It’s not every day you get to see a life-sized picture of your dad. So, you can probably imagine I was shocked, surprised and excited to recognize the dairyman featured on the Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) backdrop. It was my dad! Out of DFA’s 13,000 members, his photo was chosen to represent their organization and producers. Naturally, I dashed up and had to have my picture taken beside the poster.

This was such a cool moment for me at World Dairy Expo, and it wasn’t even my picture. I can only wonder what it makes a dairy producer feel like to be the billboard face of such a great industry.

My hat’s off to the companies and organizations who took the time to recognize their farmers on signs and brochures. There were several other booths featuring farmers and their families. We appreciate you for acknowledging the men and women who dedicate their lives to their cows, farm and industry. Thank you for showcasing the true faces of dairy.

—Editor Audrey Schmitz

SilaSoft kernel technology

12 years in the making: Soft kernels

At long last Mycogen Seeds released with a grand bang Unified corn silage with SilaSoft technology at the expo. Why should producers care about softer kernels? Efficiency and components.

The new corn silage (non-GMO) is billed as “the next step in silage innovation” and pairs fiber digestibility with digestible starch, which translates to more milk and better components. With increasingly tighter profit margins, the dairy industry focus has turned toward milk components to achieve a price bump.

The softer kernel improves starch digestibility. The William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute reported in a feeding trial with Unified, there was a 7 percent increase in feed efficiency compared with non-BMR hybrids, as well as an advantage of 10.1 pounds more energy-corrected milk per cow per day. Findings also showed a 7 percent increase in butterfat and 13 percent increase in protein compared with non-BMR hybrids.

Limited seed supply is available this fall and full seed supply rollout will happen in 2018.  end mark

—Editor Lynn Jaynes

PHOTOS: Photos courtesy of VAS, DeLaval, Mycogen Seeds and PD staff.

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