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Purina Animal Nutrition, Land O’Lakes host conference

Progressive Dairyman Editor Peggy Coffeen Published on 24 February 2014
Purina Animal Nutrition and Land O’Lakes hosted the 12th annual Leading Dairy Producer Conference on Jan. 15-16 at the Kalahari Resort, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.

The attendance boasted 475 people, including dairy producers representing 212 operations and more than 145,000 cows.

The two-day conference kicked off with a conversation about feed costs and dairy efficiency. Diamond V’s Brian Perkins, Ph.D., provoked dairy producers to question if their current measures of success are translating into profitability.

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“It’s about dollars, not rates or ratios,” he said, warning that metrics such as the milk price-to-feed price ratio and feed cost per hundredweight can be misleading due to their inconsistent relationship with profit.

Feeding strategies headlined the breakout sessions. Land O’Lakes Animal Milk Products’ Dr. Tom Earleywine assessed the baby calf diet, while Balchem’s Dr. Ric Grummer highlighted new research in transition cow management.

Offering an academic perspective, Dr. Dan Undersander from the University of Wisconsin covered tips for growing dairy-quality alfalfa, and Dr. Lon Whitlow of North Carolina State University talked about the effects of molds and mycotoxins on animal health and performance.

A panel of three dairy producers shared their personal experiences with automated calf feeders: Pete Graff, Rambling Acres; Linda Diederichs, 3D Dairy; and Chad Gullicksrud, Hamlin Valley Farms.

Some other topics touched on included heifer inventory management, heat stress abatement for dry cows and digital dermatitis.

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The conference wrapped up with a call to action from agriculture advocates Troy and Stacy Hadrick. The South Dakota farmers and ranchers encouraged dairy producers to tell their story and sent them home with the tools to do it. PD

Click here to view a photo slideshow from the event.

peggy coffeen

Peggy Coffeen
Editor
Progressive Dairyman

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