optimize pricey
See Page 10
Feed for profitSee
Page 12
going, going..
See Page 16
marCH 2008
in this issue
See Page 14
fertilizer rate.
Crop yields were highly variable in the
Northeast in 2007, from timely rains produc-
ing bumper crops in much of the Champlain
Valley to parched crops in Western New
York. In felds where yields were especially
high, be sure to fertilize adequately in 2008,
especially with potassium. This might also
be a good case for a new soil analysis, even
if the old one is only two years old. It’s a lot
cheaper to pay $10 to $15 for a soil test than
to risk depleting a good alfalfa stand.
Fertilizer “insurance” will
be much more expensive this year.
Some farmers just can’t bring themselves
to apply only nitrogen (N) fertilizer (instead
of an N-P-K corn starter) to highly fertile
corn felds, or no fertilizer at all to that
alfalfa-grass feld near the barn, the one that’s
been heavily manured time and again. This
may be the ideal time to draw down on the
“soil bank” reserves you’ve built up over
the years. A plant doesn’t care in the least
whether the nutrients it gets are from the fer-
tilizer you apply this spring, from long-past
applications of manure or fertilizer, or from
the nitrogen released by recently-plowed sod.
Cornell University has done an extensive
series of on-farm strip trials as well as several
replicated trials at research stations, looking
at the infuence of starter fertilizers on the
yield of corn silage. While a modest amount
of nitrogen at planting was needed in almost
all situations, whether the crop would beneft
from phosphorus (P) or potassium (K) in
the corn starter depended entirely on the soil
test level of these nutrients. Where P and K
soil test levels were high, there was little or
no response to anything other than starter N.
Forage analysis confrmed that N-P-K starter
fertilizer (vs. just N) didn’t result in any dif-
ferences in corn silage quality, either.
At Miner Institute we divide our corn
felds into three starter fertilizer categories:
High fertility felds get about 100 pounds per
acre of a 50-50 blend of urea and ammonium
sulfate, which supplies 30 to 35 pounds of
N per acre — no P or K. Medium fertil-
ity felds get about 200 pounds per acre of
14-21-21, while low fertility felds get about
275 pounds per acre of 14-21-21. So we only
have to order two fertilizers for our 300-plus
acres of corn. Those one-
ton bags that have become
so popular make switching
from one fertilizer to the
other very easy.
Get serious with
manure manage-
ment. The commercial
fertilizer you buy this year will be more
expensive, but every pound of nutrient in
livestock manure will also be more valuable
— if used properly. With what’s been hap-
pening in fertilizer markets, the nutrients in a
ton of manure may be worth one-third more
than they were in 2007. Of course, diesel fuel
prices are also up, but not by as much on a
percentage basis as fertilizer prices. What this
means is that you can haul a spreader-load
of manure somewhat further in 2008 before
the cost of hauling equals the value of the
nutrients in the manure.
For example: A 4,000-gallon liquid
manure spreader full of slurry dairy manure
has an analysis of 20-8-20 per 1,000 gallons.
(Manure varies widely from farm to farm
because of differences in solids content and
the feeding program.) Based on current fertil-
izer prices, that 4,000-gallon load of manure
is worth about $80 if you plow it down right
after application, conserving the ammonia.
Even if you don’t incorporate it, it’s worth
over $50. And these prices don’t take into
account the secondary nutrients (sulfur, mag-
nesium, calcium) and micronutrients in ma-
nure, or the benefcial effects of the organic
matter. With these prices, you should be able
to haul manure a long way
indeed before hauling costs
approach the value of the
Liquid manure isn’t the
only valuable source of nu-
trients. Based on two recent
analyses of compost on the
Institute farm, consisting of
spoiled feed, used bedding from calf hutches,
etc. — one 6-ton spreader load contained at
least $50 worth of nutrients.
As I stated at the beginning of this article,
these ideas are nothing new. Use soil tests
to know what you have, follow the recom-
mendations to reduce fertilizer inputs where
possible and make maximum use of animal
manures, including hauling to low fertility
felds. Nothing new perhaps, but if $500 per
ton urea doesn’t get your attention, what
will? q
March 2008 Northeast DairyBusiness 11
■ Everett Thomas is vice president
of agricultural operations at W.H.
Miner Agricultural Research Insti-
tute. Go to:
“Flies are a problem!”
They’re more than just a nuisance to you and your cattle. Left
uncontrolled, flies can overtake your operation and reduce your
cattle’s productivity. In addition, it is key to control a pest that has
been implicated in the transmission of 65 different disease organisms.
When mixed into cattle feed, ClariFly
passes through the digestive
system into the manure where flies lay their eggs. The active
ingredient, Diflubenzeron

prevents pupae from becoming breeding,
disease carrying adult nuisance flies.
Control nuisance flies with ClariFly
Contact your feed supplier,
call 1-800-347-8272, or visit
ClariFly and the ClariFly logo are trademarks of Wellmark International. ©2007 Wellmark International.
† ClariFly contains Dimilindiflubenzuron manufactured by Chemtura Corporation and/or its affiliates.
Dimilin is a registered trademark of Chemtura Corporation.
feed for profit
Adequate endf is essential when
feeding high-digestibility forage.
12 Northeast DairyBusiness March 2008
nutrition management
strategies (Part I, Northeast Dairy-
Business, November 2007) and choice of
nutritionist (Part II, NDB, Jan. 2008), are im-
portant to feed cost control and proftability
management. Formulating rations to reduce
feed costs while maintaining milk income is
also critical.
feed less grain and more forage,
which generally decreases ration costs, and
you can still maintain milk and component
yield. The strategy:
• First, formulate diets using one of the
nutritional models such as the Cornell Net
Carbohydrate and Protein System (CNCPS or
CPM) or using NRC 2001. They help more
precisely determine animals’ nutrient require-
ments and better estimate actual nutrients
supplied by a diet. Modeling diets reduces
the need for “safety factors” that increase the
amount of recommended concentrate.
• Second, the major reason we can’t
feed all-forage diets is that forages are less
digestible than concentrates, mostly because
of higher fber content. But we can increase
dietary forage content by feeding higher
quality forage. Feeding very high quality
high digestibility forage is the major key
to reducing diet cost and maintaining or
improving milk yield.
As forage digestibility in-
creases, effective fber (effective neutral
detergent fber, or eNDF) drops. Maintain-
ing adequate eNDF levels is critical to cow
health and component yield. Some of my cli-
ents grumble that for years I badgered them
to make better forages – and now I complain
that their forages are “too good” because they
don’t supply enough effective fber to main-
tain cud chewing and rumination. We need
both higher digestibility forages and enough
effective fber for rumen-healthy diets. Maxi-
mizing forage digestibility is very important,
but very high-digestibility forages lose their
effectiveness as fber sources.
You must provide adequate eNDF in
the ration when feeding higher digestibility
forages. This might be lower quality forage,
chopped hay or pre-chopped straw. It’s usu-
ally more proftable to feed purchased straw
with very high digestibility forages than to
feed low quality forages and more concen-
trates, even when straw is expensive. Straw is
preferable because it is a concentrated source
of effective fber that delivers eNDF in a
small package, thus you can feed more highly
digestible forages without compromising
rumen function and health. Straw and coarse
grass hay are not as brittle as alfalfa and
Higher forage diets can keep feed
costs down
By Buzz Burhans
part iii
Buzz Burhans
March 2008 Northeast DairyBusiness 13
don’t break up well in a mixer so they should
be chopped frst or cows will sort them out.
High quality grass hays are usually too soft to
provide much effective fber in a TMR.
We don’t always have to provide an
ingredient specifcally for effective fber. It
depends on other factors, including moisture
content of the diet forages, forage particle
length, and the maturity of the plant mate-
Choose corn silage varieties
with higher digestibility, especially brown
midrib (BMR). BMR has some additional ex-
pense and risk but can enhance proftability.
When feeding BMR silage, adjust rations for
higher forage and adequate eNDF to avoid
acidosis-related health problems or reduced
butterfat yield.
One exception to forage that’s “too
good” may be very high relative feed value
(RFV) Western alfalfa. High RFV (above
200) alfalfa hay, grown under irrigation in
arid climates, is very dry, brittle and leafy
with low fber content and very little effective
fber, making it diffcult to maintain adequate
eNDF even on high hay diets.
Another problem is that small particles
from high RFV alfalfa hay have high rumen
passage rates. Partial solutions include feed-
ing hay with RFV values of 175 to 195 or
mixing in lower quality “feeder” or “mixer”
hay. To increase diet eNDF levels, consider
buying less than excellent Western alfalfa, or
Very high digestibility forages
fed alone to replacement heifers can fatten
them excessively. It’s often a problem if
you grow only high quality forage with no
provision for lower digestibility forages for
heifers. Find lower quality forages as a main
forage for heifers or added to high digestibil-
ity forages to reduce energy and intake.
On the other hand, heifer diets that contain
mostly poor quality forage must be supple-
mented with concentrate for growth. Reduce
feed costs by feeding better quality forage
and eliminating purchased supplements other
than minerals for older heifers.
Choose ingredients wisely.
Ingredient price and ration cost are differ-
ent things. High-density ingredients are
usually more expensive than lower density
ingredients. For instance soybean meal (49%
protein) is more expensive
than canola meal (37%
protein). But higher density
ingredients deliver their
nutrients in a smaller pack-
age – and leave more room
in the diet for forage, often
reducing net diet cost. This
is especially true in diets
formulated for high levels of
production where fber is at
a premium.
Use ration software to evaluate similar
ingredients. The outcome is not based on cost
alone; appropriate nutrient constraints are ap-
plied before “least costing.” Have your feed
adviser rerun options by least-cost optimiz-
ing, especially when booking feed.
Buying on price alone could increase ra-
tion cost if you have to feed more, even when
buying mixed feeds. This is one reason we
recommended in the frst article in this series
that producers should insist that mix formula-
tions be provided and open to the purchaser.
Given today’s commodity prices,
higher corn silage diets will usually reduce
feed costs compared to diets heavy on hay.
This is driven by the price of corn grain and
other energy ingredients but also because
of greater dietary protein effciency. Corn
silage diets can often be lower in total protein
because the high starch content supports eff-
cient rumen microbial yield. Also, high pro-
tein hay-crop diets tend to have much higher
soluble and degradable rumen protein loads,
requiring more expensive bypass protein.
But high corn silage di-
ets are not more economi-
cal when a dairy grows
its own corn grain. With
reasonable yield and input
costs, it is less expensive
for these dairies to feed
high levels of high quality
hay crop as base forage.
The economics of feed-
ing dairy cows is chal-
lenging, intensifed by current feed prices.
Feeding higher forage diets can help, but
eNDF content must be maintained. Choose
feed ingredients wisely – using denser, more
expensive ingredients may result in lower
cost diets. q
Productive cattle, a happy home, and less
nuisance flies — courtesy of ClariFly
Fly relief is pleasing to everyone. At least as far as a productive
dairy operation and a happy home go, and all you have to do
is mix ClariFly
into your cattle’s feed.
is a feed through that attacks flies where they lay
their eggs. The active ingredient, Diflubenzeron

has a low
environmental impact, but hits house and stable flies hard–
the nuisance flies that affect your bottom line and your family.
When you control nuisance flies with ClariFly
your cattle
can show increased weight gain and milk production.
Contact your feed supplier,
call 1-800-347-8272, or visit
ClariFlyand the ClariFly logo are trademarks of Wellmark International. ©2007 Wellmark International.
† ClariFly contains Dimilindiflubenzuron manufactured by Chemtura Corporation and/or its affiliates.
Dimilin is a registered trademark of Chemtura Corporation.
■ Buzz Burhans is a nutritionist
with Dairy-Tech Group,
815 So. Albany Rd,W. Glover, Vt.
Tel: 802-755-6842.
hronic mastitis: It’s a headache for every dairy.
However, you have four tools to manage chronic
mastitis infections:
• Individual cow Somatic Cell Counts (SCC)
• Milk culture results
• Culling
• Pharmaceuticals.
These tools aren’t new, but methods for integrat-
ing information about your herd’s mastitis status are
giving you and your veterinarian more effective ap-
proaches to keeping your herd healthy.
First, determine if chronic infections are a prob-
lem in your herd. Top Northeast herds consistently
have fewer than 6% of their cows carrying chronic
mastitis infections. If more than 8% of your herd are
chronically infected, you may beneft from an inte-
grated response to chronic animals. (Figure 1)
You need individual-cow SCC to identify chroni-
cally infected animals. If a cow’s SCC is greater
than 200,000, or Linear Score (LS) greater than 3.9,
for two months in a row or two out of the last three
months, she is chronically infected.
You can determine the percent of your herd chron-
ically infected by using your DHI SCC summary re-
port high SCC list and counting animals with a high
count last month. Or calculate it with Dairy Comp.
If more than 8% of your herd is chronically in-
fected, create a list of the animals to submit milk
samples for culturing. Identify animals for this list
from Dairy One SCC lists or your dairy software.
The High Linear Score report (DHI-241) makes it
easy to select chronically infected animals. You can
also prioritize animals to begin culturing based on
their contributions to your bulk tank.
To cull or to culture
It’s easy to decide whether to cull some chroni-
cally infected animals. Just look at their reproductive
status, production records and the presence of other
health problems.
When it comes to culturing, the fow chart (Figure
2) can help you choose the best candidates. Once you
prioritize the animals to culture, follow these steps:
• Take milk samples in small sterile vials follow-
ing the correct procedure.
• If you’re new to taking milk culture samples,
contact Quality Milk Production Services (QMPS),
your Dairy One technician or your veterinarian for
directions on the best procedure.
• Freeze samples you can’t culture immediately.
• Send samples with your Dairy One technician to
its laboratory, to QMPS or to your veterinary clinic if
it’s using the “Culture Tracker” system.
The Culture Tracker involves software that will
track each animal’s culture results and then put them
into your herd’s Scout, Dairy Comp 305 or Dairy
One Technician’s Dairy Comp records via the In-
Once culture results are integrated with your
cows’ Scout or Dairy Comp 305 records, you can
easily look up an individual animal, summarize how
mastitis in your herd is changing and make the infor-
mation available to your advisers.
There are several advantages to having an ani-
mal’s production, reproduction and SCC history in-
tegrated with milk culture results. You can:
• Better make decisions for chronic cows.
• Devise treatment protocols for specifc infec-
tions and implement them.
This will improve cure rates, decrease expenses by
not treating animals unlikely to respond, and reduce
the risk of having milk or meat residues by incorpo-
rating withhold dates directly into the cow card.
The fow chart summarizes the process for detect-
ing chronic subclinical cows and treatment options.
For animals more than 200 days in milk (DIM) and
pregnant, early dry-off with the appropriate antibi-
otic is a good option to consider.
Mastitis is a headache for every dairy. However,
by using all the tools available, you can construct
logical and effective protocols to diagnose and re-
solve high bulk milk SCC.
By Jack van Almelo and Linda Tikofsky
Chronic mastitis: Use all tools for a healthier herd
14 Northeast DairyBusiness March 2008
Figure 1. Action triggers for mastitis cases
New Chronic Fresh
Top ≤5% ≤5% ≤10%
OK ~8% ~8% ~15%
Not OK 10+% 10+% 20+%
is the newsletter of Dairy One and
Quality Milk Production services pub-
lished with the support of Schering Plough
Animal Health
How to reach us...
Jack Van Almelo is part of the Dairy
Management Resource group at Dairy One.
He focuses on the application of herd man-
agement information and helping managers
and their advisers use the best tools avail-
able for making good herd management
Linda Tikofsky, a veterinarian, is a senior
Extension associate with Quality Milk
Production Services. Reach her at lg40@
QMPS is a program within the Animal
Health Diagnostic Center, a partnership
between the New York State Department of
Agriculture and Markets and the College of
Veterinary Medicine at Cornell.
The QMPS staff of veterinarians,
technicians and researchers works with
New York dairies to improve milk quality
by addressing high somatic cell counts,
milking equipment and procedures, and
milker training in English and Spanish.
QMPS also conducts research and teaching
Reach the four regional QMPS labora-
tories at:
• Central Lab, Ithaca.
877-MILKLAB (877-645-5522)
• Eastern Lab, Cobleskill.
• Northern Lab, Canton.
• Western Lab, Geneseo.
QMPS website:
Dairy One is an information technol-
ogy cooperative, providing DHI records
services and herd management software
to dairies throughout the Northeast and
Mid-Atlantic region. A comprehensive
laboratory network provides milk quality
testing as well as forage, soil, manure and
water testing.
Contact Dairy One Cooperative Inc. at
730 Warren Rd., Ithaca, N.Y. 14850. Tel:
800-344-2697. Email:
See the next QM
in April's Northeast
March 2008 Northeast DairyBusiness 15
Identify high SCC cows
• 2x SCC >200,000
• CMT+ ≥1 quarter
Select cows
• >60 days from dry off
• 3
lactation or younger
• No more that 5 high counts
• 1 or 2 quarters CMT+
Culture + Sensitivity of CMT+ quarters
No treatment
If SCC continues
to be high, culture
Staph aureus
Milk last
Post dip
Treat appropriate
animals (heifers)
after consultation
with veterinarian.
Strep spp
S. agalactiae:
Therapy with
S. uberis:
Therapy (if
S. dysgalactiae:
Therapy (if
(if sensitive)
E. coli/
No therapy
Consider culling
if chronic.
Figure 2.
Subclinical mastitis
Cow 243
Cow 243 had a clinical mastitis episode on 1/12.(Figure 3) The culture revealed
Strep species in the left front quarter. The dairy sent the sample to the culture lab,
and preliminary results were automatically downloaded into its PC the next day.
Final results were downloaded in two days.
The dairy’s manager decided to begin a treatment regime for 243 that set the
Milk Withholding Date (MKDAT) to 1/18 and the Beef Likely OK (BFDAT) date
to 1/22. Active protocol is in red in Figure 3, and the BFDAT and MKDAT are
colored because they’re still in effect.
Cow 243 is 321 days in milk (DIM) and bred just six days. On the plus side, 243
didn’t go through a dry period with this infection.
Cow 243’s Test
Day Page reveals a
chronic problem be-
ginning on 6.21.05.
(Figure 4) Surpris-
ingly, she had only
one clinical case
since that date. Data
show that if Strep
infections are de-
tected and treated
early, the likelihood
of a cure increases.
Beginning in late
June, the dairy be-
gan culturing all an-
imals at freshening,
with many animals
cultured on one day
in July. The majority
of cultures of fresh
animals yield Staph
species but begin-
ning in late Novem-
ber, an “outbreak”
of Strep species in
mid-lactation cows
Figure 4. Cow 243 Test-Day Page
Figure 3. Cow 243 Cowcard on 1/17/06
16 Northeast DairyBusiness March 2008
the winner of a new essay contest
writes about generating revenue
through carbon offsets
By Colleen Klein-Wolfanger
With all types of industries being
scrutinized for their impacts on the environ-
ment, it’s no wonder that dairy farmers are
often uncomfortable when eyes turn in their
direction. Dairy farmers will face an increas-
ing number of environmental restrictions and
regulations in the coming years due in part to
the popularity of the green movement. Facing
these challenges, however, is not without
beneft. One opportunity to cash in on the
global warming fght is emerging in the form
of carbon offsets, which could be convenient-
ly created right on your dairy!
in order to gain additional revenue
from carbon offsets, it is important to under-
stand the concept of the carbon footprint. A
carbon footprint is the total amount of carbon
dioxide and other greenhouse gases, such as
methane, emitted over the full life cycle of a
product or service. It is calculated using the
Life Cycle Assessment, or LCA, method.
Carbon footprints are used as a tool for indi-
viduals or businesses to measure their impact
in contributing to global warming.
Once an individual or business has deter-
mined the amount of their carbon footprint,
they may attempt to reach a carbon neutral
status by “offsetting” the calculated emis-
One way to accomplish this is to invest or
purchase offsets the carbon-offset market to
compensate for emissions. While offsetting
one’s carbon footprint is still voluntary in
Colleen Klein-Wolfanger,
right, and her father,
Stanley Klein
March 2008 Northeast DairyBusiness 17
the United States, increasing pressure to be
environmentally responsible is resulting in
mounting popularity and demand for carbon
So where does the dairy industry ft
in? Most notably by using anaerobic diges-
tion systems to manage manure. Anaerobic
digestion systems recover the biogas created
by methane and carbon dioxide emitted by
manure. In addition to creating a source of
electrical energy, digesters also create carbon
offsets, which can be sold and traded on the
carbon offset market. Additional information
for dairy farmers interested in exploring the
possibility of a digester, including funding
sources, can be found at www.manureman-
If you aren’t in the market for a digester,
an alternative is to cover an existing liquid
or slurry manure storage and destroy the
captured methane by faring it. This will also
produce carbon offsets. Jenifer Wightman, a
consultant for Central New York Resource
Conservation and Development, lists addi-
tional methods for generating offsets:
• practice no-till to eliminate carbon on
large acreage
• reduce nitrogen application to reduce
nitrous oxide emission and energy
• practice timber stand improvement in
woodlands to eliminate carbon in trees
• supply an energy processor with wood
chips, grass for pellets, oilseeds for biodiesel
or other biomass to displace fossil fuels
• make signifcant improvements in ef-
fciency resulting in reduced energy use
• use wind, solar or geothermal energy
sources to displace fossil fuel use.
Carbon credits are traded on the
Chicago Climate Exchange. In order to jump
into that arena you need to be an aggregator,
or collector of credits. Many dairies are not
large enough to meet the minimum require-
ment but can work with companies that pool
credits from smaller farms. Native Energy,
Terra Pass and are a few of
the companies that work with farmers and of-
fer carbon offsets for sale. Another option is a
community digester, where several
smaller dairies combine manure in
order to deal directly with the Chi-
cago Climate Exchange. An ex-
ample of this is in Port Tillamook
Bay, Oregon, where seven smaller
farms have joined forces in a com-
munity digester with almost 4,000
cows contributing to the project.
Generating and
trading carbon credits is an
emerging market in the United
States. While the possibilities and
opportunities for dairy farmers are exciting,
we need to keep in mind that carbon trading
is still a somewhat experimental idea. As
with any new venture, the key to success is
education and research. A great source for
information for interested dairy farmers and
landowners is
Central New York Resource Conservation
and Development Project Inc. and Envi-
ronmental Defense are working to develop
protocols to assist farmers and landowners
in the Northeast in selling carbon credits to
interested buyers. They will host a workshop
this spring for farmers interested in learning
more about carbon trading opportunities in
the Northeast. Rebecca Schuelke, commu-
nication specialist with the New York Farm
Viability Institute, said her organization has
also funded a project to help dairy farmers
with on-farm digesters explore opportuni-
ties to increase profts from the digesters,
including carbon credits. Information on
that project can be found at www.nyfarmvi- or by contacting the project leader,
Michael Timmons. p
Monsanto Dairy Business and Northeast DairyBusiness
introduce the Technology Today, Feeding the World Tomor-
row feature article competition for undergraduatestudents at Northeast agricultural
colleges and universities.
Entries must consider dairy agricultural topics that relate directly to agriculture,
agribusiness or the social and scientifc implications of advances and technologies in
agriculture. Specifcally, how will technology play a role in dairy agriculture in the
Three prizes will be awarded to entrants who display excellence in dairy agricultur-
al journalism: First prize is $800, and the feature article will be published in Northeast
DairyBusiness next spring. Second prize is $500. Third prize is $300.
For more information, please contact Amanda Van Blarcom at amanda.l.van.blar- Information is also available at colleges and universities.
Original manuscripts must be submitted to Northeast DairyBusiness by Dec. 1,
The winners!
Colleen Klein-Wolfanger is in her frst year of
a two-year agricultural business program at Al-
fred State, Alfred, N.Y. The mother of two young
daughters, Reilly and Harley, she also works on her
family’s dairy farm in Perry, N.Y., where she and her
husband, Jesse Wolfanger, live. She is a weekend
relief milker and feeds calves on the 200-cow dairy,
working alongside her brother, Russ; her parents,
Stanley and Michelle; and grandparents Ron and
Jackie Klein.
“I picked my subject (for the article competition)
because I was trying to fnd a topic that was new, not
something we had heard of 10 times in 10 different
ways,” Klein-Wolfanger said.
Second and third place winners in the contest were
Ashley Gillis of Schuylerville, N.Y., and Tyler Rice of
Mount Pleasant Mills, Pa.
One year after a California dairy producer rally to
protect producers’ rights to use safe and valuable man-
agement tools used in agricultural production, a formal
organization – American Farmers for the Advancement
and Conservation of Technology (AFACT) – returned to
World Ag Expo, Feb. 12-14, 2008 to build on the effort.
AFACT was organized by farmers who are frustrated
by the loss of safe and valuable management tools as
a result of inaccurate labeling and marketing practices
that mislead the consumer. As the organization’s name
implies, AFACT is dedicated to supporting producer
choices of existing, safe management practices and
new technologies. AFACT members represent a variety
of producers in terms of size, geography and level of
technology use.
“Restrictions on the use of safe animal production
tools have escalated due to food marketer attempts to
differentiate their products using misleading absence
claims,” said Carrol Campbell, AFACT co-chair and
dairy producer from Winfeld, Kan. “These restrictions,
if left unchallenged, will lead to greater losses of tech-
nology and innovation.”
AFACT held seminars all three days of World Ag
Expo, in Tulare, Calif.:
• Day 1: AFACT co-chair and Wisconsin dairy
producer Liz Doornink, Baldwin, Wis., and Campbell
presented information on AFACT’s formation, goals
and activities.
• Day 2: Dairy producers Troy Lenssen, Lynden,
Wash., Louie Kazemier, Rickreall, Ore., and Paul Rol-
AFACT returns to World Ag Expo
26 Western DairyBusiness March 2008
AFACT activity updates
AFACT Communication: AFACT launched a new web site: Log on to get updates on the following
Labeling: While AFACT continues to fght misleading
and confusing labeling of dairy products through so-called
absence labels (such as rbST-free, antibiotic-free and
pesticide-free), the nation’s dairy processor organization, the
International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), said it would
fght state efforts to restrict those claims. States addressing
the issue so far – either in the form or legislation or admin-
istrative rules — include Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio, Utah,
Kansas and Vermont. AFACT members have already peti-
tioned the Federal Trade Commission and U.S. Food and
Drug Administration to address the issue at the national
level. IDFA said it is now looking at options to block label
restrictions at the federal level. Visit the AFACT web site for
legislative updates.
Consumers: AFACT has held numerous consumer focus
groups throughout the United States, learning that when it
comes to milk, price, fat content, quality and expiration date
– and not concerns over technology – are the major factors
in consumer buying decisions.
AFACT Advocates: A spokesperson training session to
help AFACT producer/members communicate with consum-
ers, processors and retailers was scheduled for late March
in Madison, Wis. Additional regional training sessions will
be held elsewhere. Visit AFACT’s web site for an updated
AFACT Summit: Tentatively scheduled for June, a national
AFACT Summit will bring together producers and allied
industry. Visit AFACT’s web site for an updated schedule.
AFACT Education: AFACT is creating fact sheets incor-
porating scientifc data and other documents summarizing
studies on technology safety. Visit AFACT’s web site for
downloadable fact sheets.
American Farmers for the Advancement and Conservation of
Technology co-chairs Carrol Campbell and Liz Doornink presented
information about AFACT at World Ag Expo, Feb. 12-14, in Tu-
lare, Calif.
lin, Burrel, Calif., joined Doornink and Campbell on a
producer roundtable, discussing “Sustainability Through
Technology.” Each producer refected on the variety and
importance of technologies they use on their dairy, and
how those technologies impact fnancial and manage-
ment systems. They also shared experiences with their
milk processors’ requirements to sign affdavits and stop
using recombinant bovine somatotropin (rbST).
• Day 3: Doornink and Campbell presented video of a
consumer focus group, conducted in Chicago, revealing
that consumers make milk-buying decisions based on
price, quality, expiration date and fat content, with little
concern over biotechnology.
AFACT in action
It’s been an eventful year since last year’s rally. Pro-
ducers motivated to action have initiated meetings in
a number of states, sharing concerns about the loss of
on-farm management tools.
“In some locations, consumer focus groups have been
held to learn more about what drives their decisions at
the dairy case,” said Doornink, noting that producers
now meet weekly via teleconference to discuss issues and
develop action plans to grow their voice.
AFACT seeks to educate and empower all segments in
the food chain to understand the benefts of technology
and encourage consumers to demand access to high-
quality, affordable food with a minimal impact on the
“We may have came together due to activities sur-
rounding the marketing of rbST-free milk, but it took us
about fve minutes to realize that this is far bigger than
one particular technology,” said Campbell. “The loss of
safe technologies affects not only animal agriculture but
the entire agriculture production industry.”
AFACT’s mission
• Safeguard the image of modern agriculture prod-
ucts in the marketplace
• Provide consumers safe, valuable and wholesome
• Advocate for producers’ freedom to choose produc-
tion technologies and practices for the beneft of all
• Support the development of agricultural technologi-
cal advances required to feed a growing global popula-
•Educate all in the food chain that “sustainable”
agriculture utilizes technologies to produce safe, nutri-
tious and affordable foods with minimal environmental
impact and maximum consumer value.
To learn more about AFACT, visit
Contact Doornink via e-mail: lizdoornink@ Contact Campbell via e-mail: carrol@
March 2008 Western DairyBusiness 27
Dairy producers Paul Rollin, Burrel, Calif., and Carrol Campbell,
Winfeld, Kan., AFACT co-chair, participated in a roundtable dis-
cussion on “Sustainability Through Technology.”
AFACT co-chair Liz Doornink discussed the organization with
World Ag Expo visitors.
AFACT Membership
Concerned about the loss of technology on your
farm or ranch? Join like-minded producers to defend
your right to use safe management tools and prac-
tices as a producer-member of AFACT.
AFACT also needs the support of allied industry
participants who have a vested interest in a strong
and vibrant U.S. agriculture industry.
Separate AFACT producer and allied industry mem-
bership applications are available at
20 Northeast DairyBusiness March 2008
Tips & TacTics – EvEnTs
Ruminant Health and Nutrition Conference
March 25. – Liverpool, N.Y. For information and
to register go to: Or
contact Ric Zimmerman, Northeast Ag and Feed
Alliance, 518-426-0214. Email: rzimmerman@
Successful Dairy Modernization
March 25. – Canton, N.Y. Contact Frans Vokey,
315-376-5270 or Ron Kuck, 315-788-8450.
Successful Dairy Modernization
March 26. – Carthage, N.Y. Contact Frans Vokey,
315-376-5270 or Ron Kuck, 315-788-8450.
New England Nutrition Conference
March 27. – W. Lebanon, N.H. For information
and to register go to:
Or contact Ric Zimmerman, Northeast Ag and
Feed Alliance, 518-426-0214. Email: rzimmer-
Northeast Grasstravaganza
March 28-29. – Binghamton, N.Y. contact Central
New York RC&D, 607-334-4632, Ext. 4.
Dairy Production Skills Training, in Spanish
April 3. – Martinsburg, Pa. Call 888-373-7232 or
go to
Dairy Production Skills Training, in Spanish
April 10. – Pennsylvania Furnace, Pa.
Call 888-373-7232 or go to www.dairyalliance.
For More Information Contact:
Vermont Large Farm Dairy Conference
UVM Extension
338 Highland Avenue • Newport, VT 05855
Phone: (802) 334-7325 ext. 11
or Toll-Free at (866) 260-5561 ext. 11
Fax: (802) 334-5208
pa Tours
Tours of six Pennsylvania dairy processing
facilities are offered during the Dairy Advo-
cacy and Resource Team (DART) meetings,
hosted by the Center for Dairy Excellence, in
Participants will learn how to transition
herds into lower-cost, freestall housing and
incorporate precision feeding. DART meet-
ings are scheduled:
• April 17, Galliker’s Dairy, Johnstown
• April 22, Yoder’s of New Holland, New
• April 23, Middlebury Center Co-op.,
Middlebury Center
• April 24, Land O’Lakes Carlisle, Carlisle
• April 29, Sunbury Weis Dairy Plant,
namEs in ThE nEws
Eleanor Jacobs, editor of PRO-DAIRY’s
The Manager and former editor of Northeast
DairyBusiness, was presented the Richard
Popp Leadership Award at the Northeast
Dairy Producers Association’s annual meeting
in March.
Emily, Glenn and Jon Beller, Carthage,
N.Y.; and Lowell and Karen Davenport,
Ancramdale, N.Y., won top Platinum honors
in NMC’s National Dairy Quality Award
(NDQA) contest.
Tim, Michele and Chris McDonald,
Greenwich, N.Y, were NDQA Gold winners.
Arlan and Janell Garber, Chambersburg,
Pa.; Siobhan Griffn, Schenevus, N.Y.; Jeff
and Shannon Kane, Enosburg Falls, Vt.;
Steve, Patricia, Andrew, Taylor and Nick
Meyer, Hardwick, Vt.; Brian and Harold
Newton, McDonough, N.Y., and Jason and
Ashley Randall, Westfeld, Vt., were NDQA
Silver winners.
The awards recognize dairy producers with
a high priority on producing high-quality
milk. Awards were given to 37 NQA win-
ners during NMC’s annual meeting, in New
Orleans, in January.
North Hardwick Dairy LLC in Hardwick,
owned by Stephen, Patricia, Nick, Andrew
and Taylor Meyer, won Vermont’s Highest
Quality Milk Award, presented at the Ver-
mont Farm Show in January. The dairy also
won for lowest somatic cell count.
Robin’s Nest Farm, St. Johnsbury, owned
by Kenneth and Beverly Robinson, was
frst runner-up for the top quality award, and
David and Tina Houde, St. Johnsbury were
second runners-up. Thomas Debevoise and
Laurie Livingston, South Woodstock, were
third runners-up and tied for the Best Flavor
Award with Dale and Alma Briggs, Ad-
dison. The Briggses also won the lowest PI
count. Andersonville Dairy LLP, West Glover,
owned by Robert Young and Mark Rodgers,
won the lowest pasteurized count. Jasper
Hill Farm, Greensboro, owned by Andy and
Meteo Kehler, won the lowest standard plate
count award.
Red Knob Farm, Peach Bottom, and Den-
nis Milhoan, president of Lancaster Dairy
Farm Automation, Lititz, received the Penn-
sylvania Dairy Stakeholders’ 2008 Pacesetter
• April 30, Dairy Farmers of America,
New Wilmington
Dairy professionals directly involved
with Pennsylvania producers are encour-
aged to attend. Find more at To register, contact
Cerrita Reed. Email: Tel:
Two-day hR program
The Penn State Dairy Alliance offers a
program titled “People in Ag, Success with
Human Resources for Agricultural Advisers”
in April at these dates and locations:
April 16-17 – State College, Pa
April 23-24 – Clifton Park, N.Y.
The program gives educators, consultants,
state employees, veterinarians and other
advisers tools to help their clients improve hu-
man resource management. It is sponsored by
Penn State Extension and Cornell Coopera-
tive Extension
To register, call Penn State Dairy Alli-
ance, 888-373-7232. By mail, Dairy Alliance,
324 Henning Building, University Park, PA
16802. Cost: $85 for both days, $55 for frst
Organic production
Dairy industry leaders from across the
United States will discuss organic production
and sustainable agriculture in a free seminar
series at the University of New Hampshire
called Farming for the Future.
Seminars are from 4 to 6 p.m. in Cole Hall
at the Thompson School of Applied Sciences.
For information, go to www.organicdairy.unh.
edu or call 603-862-3757.
• March 26: Johan Six, University of
California at Davis
• April 2: Hue Karreman, Penn Dutch Cow
Care and University of New Hampshire
• April 16 – Paul Detloff, staff veterinarian,
Organic Valley
• April 30 – Francis Thicke, Radiance
Dairy, Iowa, and Ed Maltby, Northeast Or-
ganic Dairy Producers Alliance
• May 7– John Reganold, Washington
State University
Awards at the Pennsylvania Dairy Summit
in February. The Pennsylvania Dairymen’s
Association presented these awards: Charles
E. Cowan Memorial Award – Richard Ebert,
Blairsville, vice president of Pennsylvania
Farm Bureau; Distinguished Dairy Women
Award – Dina Zug, Miffintown; Extension
Award – David Wolfgang, Penn State Exten-
sion veterinarian.
Winners of National Dairy Herd Informa-
tion Association (DHIA) scholarships include
Aaron Horst, Chambersburg, Pa.; and Han-
nah Smith, Clear Spring, Md.
March 2008 Northeast DairyBusiness 21
ROPS rebate
The New York Center for Agricultural
Medicine and Health (NYCAMH) has in-
creased the rebate to New York farmers to
retroft tractors with a rollover protection
(ROPS) kit, to a maximum $703 for 2008
from $600 last year.
Tractor rollover fatality rates in the North-
east are the highest in the country. Studies
have shown that using a rollbar in combina-
tion with a seatbelt could prevent almost all
of these tractor rollover deaths, yet half the
tractors in New York are unprotected.
For many farmers, the price of retroftting
a tractor after rebate has been about $250, ac-
cording to NYCAMH. Call 877-ROPS-R4U
for information.
Chemical guidelines
New guidelines on chemical storage from
the Department of Homeland Security could
affect producers. Pennsylvania Agriculture
Secretary Dennis Wolff said some chemicals,
if stored in suffcient quantities, could trigger
a requirement for a security assessment.
Some of the listed chemicals that may be
used by producers include:
• Chlorine – 2,500 lbs. bulk or 500 lbs.
bagged or on a trailer,
• Anhydrous ammonia – 10,000 pounds
• Ammonium nitrate – 2,000 lbs.
• Potassium nitrate – 400 lbs.
• Sodium nitrate – 400 lbs.
Failure to comply with the new regulation
could mean a $25,000 fne. Find out more
on the department’s website at http://www. under “What’s New.”
For more information on the U.S. Depart-
ment of Homeland Security’s Chemical Facil-
ity Anti-Terrorism Standards, or to view the
chemicals of interest list, visit http://www.dhs.
gov/chemicalsecurity. For questions when
completing the top screen, call the Chemical
Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards help desk at
More information on DHS’s Chemical Fa-
cility Anti-Terrorism Standards may be found
Composting video
Composting Animal Mortalities on Farm is
a two-DVD video that discusses the hows and
whys of composting animal carcasses on the
farm. It’s produced by the Vermont Associa-
tion of Conservation Districts. Contact Sylvia
Harris at 802-257-5621 or email: sylvia.har-
The Law and you
Jeffrey Fetter
Professional farm business
and estate planners try to ensure agreements
are in place to address what happens with
ownership interests in the event of death,
disability or other termination of an owner’s
relationship with a farm. But what happens
when a farm owner divorces? That possibility
is often overlooked in farm business planning.
Divorce is too common to ignore today. If
a farm has more than one owner, it’s safe to
assume that during the life of the business one
of them is going to divorce. Marital problems
cause emotional distress within a family and
may have disastrous effects on farm opera-
tions. Prenuptial agreements can help avoid
some business-related effects of divorce.
Here are common questions asked about
prenuptial agreements and my answers:
when should a couple
draw up a prenuptial agree-
Historically, these agreements were gener-
ally limited to second marriages or when one
or both spouses had substantial family wealth.
But with the number of divorces and complex
relationships that exist among farm owners
today, prenuptial agreements are common for
owners being married for the frst time.
When the subject of prenuptial agree-
ments is frst raised, people may feel hurt
and distrusted by future in-laws. Handle any
discussion of these agreements with care. It’s
important to explain clearly and immediately
the reasons for the agreement and how the
agreement will work. To say “We’re going to
have a prenuptial agreement” and walk away
has the markings of disaster.
why are prenuptial agree-
ments needed?
Without a prenuptial agreement, state law
defnitions of “marital” and “separate” prop-
erty will control. Separate property includes
assets acquired before a marriage or by gift
or inheritance. Marital property includes all
property acquired during the marriage which
is not separate property. Therefore, any farm
assets purchased during the marriage will be-
come the property of both spouses and, if they
divorce, possibly subject to division based on
the rules of equitable distribution.
Families have several
reasons to want prenuptial
agreements for couples
involved in the business:
o Without an agreement, a
farm may have to sell assets
to satisfy an obligation to an
owner’s former spouse. If a
farm must borrow money to
make payments to a former
spouse, its ability to borrow
operating funds could be hampered.
o Owners wish to keep the farm out of an-
other owner’s marital problems.
o With prenuptial agreement, owners can
avoid having a partner’s former spouse as a
co-owner or creditor of the farm.
how should a prenuptial
agreement be designed?
Younger couples may want to have an
agreement only in the event of a divorce. But
older couples can use prenuptial agreements
to provide for children from prior marriages
in the case of death and divorce.
If the agreement is for both death and
divorce, arrangements can be made for a
surviving spouse in the event of death. For
example, a life insurance policy or specifc
assets identifed for a surviving spouse may
protect both the spouse and the farm. Also,
the farm’s agreement may guarantee the sur-
viving spouse can stay in the farm home for a
period of time.
A prenuptial agreement may or may not
address maintenance -- the new alimony – in
the event of divorce. In many cases, main-
tenance depends on whether the nonfarm
spouse is self-supporting or has devoted his or
her time to the farm and family.
what should prenuptial
agreements include?
If farm assets are to be considered separate
property, should this only include farm assets
brought into the marriage?
If the farm acquires new
farm assets by the family
owners, will they be consid-
ered separate property? If
one of these farm assets is
sold during the marriage,
are the proceeds separate
property, too? Answers vary
with each situation.
For a prenuptial agree-
ment to be enforceable, it must meet legal
requirements, and both spouses must have
independent legal counsel. If one spouse isn’t
represented, that doesn’t by itself invalidate
the agreement, but it is taken into account
with other factors.
Both spouses must make full fnancial
disclosure and fulfll other requirements, such
as having the agreement properly notarized.
Your farm policy on prenuptial agreements
should apply to all farm family owners. As
diffcult as it is to discuss a prenuptial agree-
ment with your fancé, it is even more dif-
fcult to explain why your brother’s or sister’s
spouse was not required to sign one.
In some cases, prenuptial agreements have
a specifed termination date if the couple is
still married and living together.
Review your prenuptial agreement pe-
riodically to ensure it’s consistent with the
farm’s current business plan. If there have
been changes in farm ownership, fnancial or
family situations, or tax laws that affect the
farm, the prenuptial agreement should also be
Finally, if as parents you want your son’s
or daughter’s fancé to sign a prenuptial
agreement, remember when you were the
in-law coming into the farm business and the
family. Although a prenuptial agreement is an
important component of a farm business plan,
it can be an emotional process. It’s vitally
important for a new family member to feel
welcomed into the family. p
Touchy to discuss, prenuptial
agreements are an important
part of farm business planning
By Jeffrey Fetter
22 Northeast DairyBusiness March 2008
■ Jeff Fetter is an attorney with
the frm Scolaro, Shulman, Cohen,
Fetter & Burstein, P.C., Syracuse,
N.Y. Reach him at 507 Plum
Street, Suite 300, Syracuse, N.Y.
13204. Email:
March 2008 Northeast DairyBusiness 23
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AFACT .......................................... 18, 19
Albers Manufacturing Co. .................... 5
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Central Life Sciences .................... 11, 13
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Monsanto Dairy Business ..................... 7
National Institute of Animal Ag. ......... 23
Norbco, Inc ......................................... 28
Select Sires, Inc. .................................. 21
Timely diagnosis and appropriate
treatment of illness in calves is essential
for recovery. However, once the calves feel
better, it does not mean the episode is over.
Calves usually shed
pathogens not only while
ill but also after recovery.
These pathogens are our
“unwelcome guests.”
Parasites. A calf
infected with cryptospo-
ridiosis can shed up to 10
billion cryptosporidia eggs, or oocysts, per
day during the peak of the illness. For calves,
light shedding may continue indefnitely.
Adult cows shed constantly.
There is no approved medicine in the
United States for this illness. The route of
infection is fecal-oral, that is, the calf eats
the oocysts that were shed in the manure of a
cow, another calf or herself.
These oocysts are very hardy. Cryptospo-
ridium can live for up to a year in cool, moist
conditions. Dry conditions will discour-
age exposure: Wet bedding is essentially a
welcome mat for cryptosporidiosis. They
are not vulnerable to common disinfectants
like bleach. In climates with an extended
freeze-thaw season, many of these oocysts
are destroyed by weather changes.
Coccidiosis is another common calfhood
illness. The coccidian parasite, again, in its
egg or oocyst form, is shed in large numbers
by a clinically ill calf. Even heifers showing
no symptoms shed the organism for months
until they build resistance to the disease.
Four approved medicines are effective in
reducing the intensity and duration of coc-
cidiosis (see FYI). The route of infection is
just as for cryptosporidia – oocysts that were
shed in the manure of a cow, another calf or
herself are ingested by the calf.
Given a cool, damp, dark environment
these oocysts will survive a very long time.
Cleaning up calf pens/hutches is our best
defense against high levels of exposure.
Leave a clean hutch site empty and exposed
to the weather. After three to four months, the
oocyst population will be drastically reduced.
The longer clean, dry calf-barn pens are
unoccupied, the lower the chances of oocyst
survival as well.
Giardia, although not common, is another
parasite affecting calves. Unfortunately,
while diarrhea symptoms in a treated calf
may end in less than a week, these calves
may continue to shed cysts at a declining rate
for a long time. The shedding period may
exceed 30 weeks.
Consult with your herd veterinarian
about an approved medication to reduce the
intensity and duration of the illness. Prompt
diagnosis and treatment mean fewer cysts
shed into the environment. The cysts shed in
the manure of an infected animal are ingested
by a calf. If the number of cysts eaten is high
enough (an infective dose), the calf gets sick.
Cows are not a common reservoir of this
parasite. More commonly calves frst are
exposed to water carrying the parasite, for
example, pond or surface water. Wild animals
commonly shed the cysts. However, once we
have shedding calves on the farm, they are
another source of our unwelcome guests.
Fortunately, these cysts are less hardy than
oocysts from cryptospo-
ridia and coccidia. Freeze-
thaw cycles destroy them.
On a dry surface nearly
all cysts will be destroyed
within one week. The key
to their survival is moisture.
They may live in either
water or moist soil three
months or longer. They are
not destroyed by common

Bacteria. Salmonella
are defnitely unwelcome
guests. Your veterinarian
can advise you about prompt diagnosis and
treatment of sick calves, the most effective
way to reduce the number of these bacteria in
the environment.
Bacteria are often brought onto the farm
by purchased animals. However, many cows
will carry a low level of these bacteria in
their systems and shed it in large numbers
when heavily stressed. The route of infec-
tion for salmonellosis is fecal-oral, the same
as for parasitic diseases. Once a calf is no
longer clinically ill with salmonellosis, she
continues to shed the bacteria.
In general, bacteria, compared to para-
sites, are much more vulnerable. A number
of good disinfectants kill them effectively.
Remember, however, that pens and hutches
have to be clean before using a disinfectant.
Household bleach is not recommended for
salmonella situations. Oxidizing disinfectants
such as Virkon-S work quite well, but others
may be appropriate for your situation. Check
with your veterinarian or dairy supply person.
n Our frst defense against unwelcome
guests is prompt diagnosis and treatment of
sick calves. Fewer “guests” are shed.
n Our second defense is keeping things
clean. Getting rid of dirty bedding is abso-
lutely essential. Remember that soiled forks,
shovels and loader buckets
may spread unwelcome
guests to previously unin-
fected housing.
n Third, in many of these
situations pens and/or
hutches must be cleaned
and disinfected.
n Finally, be aware how
long calves are likely to be
shedding our unwelcome
guests. It may be best to
minimize housing these
shedders with other heifers
for as long as facilities
permit separation. p
n Sam Leadley is a replacement
consultant with Attica Veterinary
Associates, Attica, N.Y. He spent
several years managing replace-
ments on a New York dairy.
n See, click
on Calving Ease, click on No-
vember 2002 “Coccidiosis and the
Young Calf” for a review of medi-
cations for coccidiosis.
nSee, click
on Calf Facts, click on “Giardia in
26 Northeast DairyBusiness March 2008
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Retail fluid milk
Retail cheddar cheese
Average California
Producer pay price
April 1996*
January 2008*
$17.90/cwt. (EST)
This is our 9th annual illustration explaining why
Dairy Producers MUST support a national "C.W.T." program!
All producers benefit!
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management in which all functions are interdependent.
3. To earn a satisfactory return to the owners.
4. Marketing textbooks say that goals 1-2-3 can only be met if
everyone works together.
Are dairymen getting a fair share of the retail dollar?
Why dairymen should have a coordinated marketing plan:
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David Beal, C.P.A.
Brad Carr, C.P.A.
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Robert Burroughs, C.P.A.
Glenn Hoagland, C.P.A.
Carla R. Nunes, C.P.A.
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Average producer pay price needed to keep up with retail price increases: $24.81/cwt.
*Per Genske, Mulder & Co., LLP survey and sales of dairy products, "Loss Leaders" excluded.
Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Mas-
sachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New
York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West
About the Cover
Ev Thomas, well-known agronomist, vice
president of agricultural programs at W.H. Miner
Agricultural Research Institute, Chazy, N.Y., since
1981, and the author of our cover story, retires this
year. See page 10. Photo by Susan Harlow.
MARCH 2008 voluMe 10 no. 3
Come to think of it 6
Hometown heroes
By Susan Harlow
The law and you 22
Prenuptial agreements are an important
part of farm business planning
By Jeffrey Fetter
Calf Connection 26
Unwelcome guests
By Sam Leadley
Events 20
Names in the News 20
Index to Advertisers 25
The economics of raising replacements.
U.S. Dairy Statistics & Trends
DairyBusiness Communications details
state and regional milk production statistics
and trends for 2007
4 Northeast DairyBusiness March 2008
Management 8
Speak out on animal abuse
Nutrition 8
Feeding distiller’s for protein and fat
Environment 8
Manure management problems and solutions
Herd systems 9
Understand cow phases to increase proft
Optimize pricey fertilizer 10
There’s really nothing new when it comes to using fertilizers effciently,
but with prices like these, farmers may be more likely to pay attention
By Everett Thomas
Feed for profit 12
Higher forage diets can keep feed costs down
By Buzz Burhans
QM2 - Quality Management Quality Milk 14
Chronic mastitis: use all tools for a healthier herd
By Jack van Almelo and Linda Tikofsky
Going...Going...Green! 16
The winner of a new essay contest writes about generating revenue
through carbon offsets
By Colleen Klein-Wolfanger
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Come to think of it by SuSan harlow
i got a little shock recently, trolling through a blog of reader comments on a news-
paper story about the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program. This is a newspaper in
Vermont, where farmers usually rank right up there with Tom Brady.
One blogger claimed that Midwest corn farmers are millionaires who
fy their own jets to Florida for the winter. Another (unidentifed, of
course) maintained that farming is proftable – but farmers spend those
profts on new snowmobiles and pickups to show a tax loss. “Dairy farm-
ing in vermont [sic] isn’t proftable because farmers have learned to spend
everything they bring in and then some so it appears that they lost money,”
he or she wrote. These could be your neighbors.
So what are you going to do about it? asked a speaker at the Vermont
Large Farm Dairy Conference last month, urging producers to speak up.
“Not again,” I thought. “This guy would be better off talking to the local Rotary or garden
club, not to a roomful of farmers.”
But Trent Loos, a spokesman for animal agriculture who moonlights as a Nebraska rancher,
disabused me of that notion. “I need to preach to the choir because you, the choir, are too
quiet.” Even though dairy producers do the best job of putting a human face on agriculture, he
told the conference, there’s more yet to do.
His suggestions: Tell your story. Host school tours.
Write letters to the editor. Don’t let anyone say something
you disagree with without confronting them. “Go some-
where, somehow, and engage,” Loos said. “Talk about
what you do. Each of us is an expert on our own experi-
ences, but somehow we don’t think we’re qualifed. But
you’re celebrities in your hometowns.”
Wisconsin producer Jay Richardson was at the conference to talk about production topics
but, as the best speakers do, he shone a light into a different corner of the defend-your-industry
issue. We may scoff at activists who put great emphasis on animal welfare. But, Richardson
said, he found himself quite ready to spend thousands of dollars to resuscitate his wife’s dying
cocker spaniel. Them is us.
Input costs are one of the winter’s most depressing stories. The price of corn has risen 113%
over the last two years while fertilizer prices doubled in 2007. The jump in fertilizer prices is
driven by the same factors as other inputs – greater demand in China, Brazil and other coun-
tries where people can afford more and better food; rising prices for oil and greater demand for
natural gas, both of which affect fertilizer production; and, of course, ethanol.
Producers aren’t totally helpless in the face of these cost increases. Dairy producers do have
plenty of fertilizer on hand and make more every day – manure. Learning how to use that fer-
tilizer resource to its best potential is just one more skill you must master. And the Northeast
has excellent resources leading the way in research and Extension to help you.
One of them is Ev Thomas, vice president of agricultural programs at W.H. Miner Agri-
cultural Research Institute or, as he prefers to be known, the Crops Dude. He wrote our cover
story on making the most of your fertilizer resource. It’s not news that Ev plans to retire this
year, so wish him best of luck on the Southern links when you see him this spring.
hometown heroeS
“each of us is an ex-
pert on our own expe-
riences, but somehow
we don’t think we’re
6 Northeast DairyBusiness March 2008
PubliCation offiCe
6437 Collamer Rd., East Syracuse, NY 13057-1031
315-703-7979; 800-334-1904; fax 315-703-7988
Susan Harlow, Editor
603-756-9624 • fax 603-756-3217
Eleanor Jacobs, Associate Editor, PRO-DAIRY Program
585-237-3266 • fax 585-237-6051
Dr. David Galton, Editorial Advisor
PRO-DAIRY Program, Cornell University
dairybuSineSS editorial Staff
Ron Goble 800-934-7872 • fax 559-687-3166
Carolina Evangelo 559-687-3160 • fax 559-687-3166
Dave Natzke 800-561-2933 • fax 715-712-0397
adVertiSinG SaleS
Cliff Passino, Account Manager
866-511-7271 • fax 802-365-4163
Debbie Morneau, Advertising Coordinator
800-334-1904, ext. 222 • fax 315-703-7988
Jackie Machado, Account Manager
866-520-2880 • fax 805-641-1134
Christina Elgorriaga Etchamendy, Account Manager
866-390-3897 • fax 661-588-1853
Russ Beckmann, Account Manager
800-308-8184 • fax 559-627-3255
ClaSSified adVertiSinG
Debbie Morneau
800-334-1904, ext. 222 • fax 315-703-7988
800-334-1904 • fax 315-703-7988
William M. Woodruff, Art Director, ext. 229
Mike Hudson, Graphic Designer ext. 228
Joel P. Hastings, President/Publisher
800-334-1904, ext. 227 • fax 315-703-7988
Suzanne Miller, Vice President, Admin. Finance
800-334-1904, ext. 226 •
Dave Natzke, Editorial Director
Published monthly by
a multi ag media llC Company
Scott A. Smith, Chairman; John L. Montandon, President
Joel P. Hastings, H. Wayne Snavely
also owned by multi ag media
• Western DairyBusiness
• Midwest DairyBusiness
• Holstein World
• DairyLine Radio Network, Lynden, WA
• Dairy Profit Weekly newsletter, Neenah, WI
• Farm Market iD ag databases
• Phoenix Data Processing, Westmont, IL
northeast dairybusiness (ISSN 1523-7095) (USPS
020-389) is published and distributed monthly free to qualifed
subscribers in Connecticut, Dela ware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts,
New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island,
Vermont and West Virginia. Copyright © 2008 by DairyBusiness
Commu ni cations, 6437 Collamer Road, East Syracuse, NY 13057-1031.
Periodicals postage paid at East Syracuse, NY and additional mailing
offces.POSTMASTER: Send address changes to
Northeast DairyBusiness, P.O. Box 608,
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Make 10
is a service mark and POSILAC
is a registered trademark
of Monsanto Technology LLC. © 2007 Monsanto Company.
[32245 strp vh 10/07]
Our goal is to help you maximize output with POSILAC.
At your dairy.
With your management. On your terms. We want to help you average
10 extra pounds per supplemented cow per day.
Let’s make it a mission to make 10.
Speak out
on animal abuse
The Center for Food Integ-
rity said that recent cases of animal abuse,
such as at the Hallmark/Westland meat
packing plant, are “inexcusable” and that pro-
ducers and others in animal agriculture have
an ethical obligation to stop animal abuse.
Report it immediately if you see it, taking one
of these steps:
n If on a farm, bring it to the immediate at-
tention of the owner or farm manager on duty.
n If during transport, contact the transporta-
tion company.
n If at a plant, contact the plant’s manage-
ment or USDA inspector. The National Milk
Producers Federation, American Farm Bureau
Federation and National Council of Farmer
Cooperatives are three of the organizations
supporting the center.
Feeding distiller’s
for protein and fat
Feed distiller’s grains (DDG)
for high protein and fat values but keep a
close eye on sulfur and phosphorous content
in grain, say nutritionists for Pioneer Hi-Bred.
“When evaluating the potential value
of these products, make sure you request a
nutrient profle from the plant,” says Pioneer’s
Steve Soderlund. “Consider how these
products complement your existing feeding
One of the biggest factors in determining
the nutrient content of distiller co-products
is the grain source used by the ethanol plant.
“In comparison to corn, if the plant is using
sorghum as a primary grain source, expect
to see higher protein levels, but a lower fat
level,” says Soderlund.
Distiller’s grains will be used primarily
as a protein and fat source in dairy rations,
which generally limits its inclusion rate to
less than 10% of the diet. However, university
tests have shown that distiller’s grains can be
fed at up to 20% of the ration when feeding
higher forage levels.
“Dairy producers need to pay close atten-
tion to the amount of effective fber in the
diet,” Soderlund says. “Even though distiller’s
grains contain a relatively high level of neu-
tral detergent fber, the fber is very fne and
will not maintain good rumination.”
With its rapid expansion, the ethanol
industry has greatly increased the volume of
distiller’s grains and is
making several different
distiller feed products.
The highest volume
product is distiller’s
grains, which mostly
contains unfermented
grain residues – pro-
tein, fber and fat. The
remaining fraction is
called thin stillage,
which contains yeast
cells, soluble nutrients
and very small corn
“Most large distill-
eries have the capability
to dry their distiller’s
grains - DDG,” says
Soderlund. “The thin stillage is concentrated
to a molasses-like consistency to form con-
densed distiller’s solubles (CDS). The CDS
product can be sold directly to liquid feed
manufacturers or dried and placed back on the
DDG to produce distiller’s grains plus soluble
While the majority of distiller’s grain pro-
duced in the upper Midwest is sold as DDGS,
a high percentage produced in the High Plains
is fed as wet distiller’s grain (WDG) locally –
reducing energy costs associated with drying.
WDG needs to be fed within four to fve
days before warm weather causes signifcant
Manure management
problems and solutions
New York dairies have had a
noticeable number of manure management
problems in the last couple years, according
to Jackie Lendrum, Concentrated Animal
Feeding Operation (CAFO) coordinator for
the New York Department of Environmental
Conservation (DEC).
“The end of 2006 and into 2007, there
were a lot of manure spills – catastrophic
spills,” she said at the CAFO Road Show,
held at different sites across New York in
Lendrum cited
the following manure
management problems:
1. Manure storage
overfow. “There’s no
reason for this other than
a catastrophic event,”
she said. “Figure out the
reason why it happened
and prevent it.”
2. Poor supervision
of manure handling.
Often people in charge
of manure spreading or
transport aren’t trained
or informed on regula-
tions such as setbacks
from streams.
3. Spreading plan violations or changing a
spreading plan without documentation. Talk
to your Comprehensive Nutrient Manage-
ment Plan (CNMP) planner if you change
your plan. For example, alert your planner if
you plant corn in a feld that your plan called
for leaving in hay, Lendrum said. You violate
your plan by subsequently spreading manure
on the feld.
4. Poor recordkeeping. “Records should
match up with your plan,” she said. “They’re
your best protection.”
5. Spreading during or just before adverse
weather conditions. Your plan may say you
can spread manure in February, but you need
to use common sense. Does the weather fore-
cast call for heavy snow or rain?
6. Silage leachate discharge.
7. Poor manure storage maintenance, such
as not checking the condition of sidewalls.
8. Pump, pipeline and valve failures.
9. Runoff through feld tile drains. “You’re
8 Northeast DairyBusiness March 2008
“We’ve realized more
savings by having this
relationship with our
neighbors than you
can imagine. Getting
together can’t be over-
estimated – it’s good
BMPs (best manage-
ment practices) with
your neighbor.”
Ben Freund, E. Canaan, Conn., a member
of Canaan Valley Agricultural Cooperative.
The cooperative is in its eleventh year and
has seven members representing around
2,000 cows.
responsible if manure runs out of tiles,” Lendrum said.
10. Tankers’ or trucks’ tipping over is the most
common accident compliance issue, she said.
Your best protection in any manure spreading
incidence is to have followed your CNMP application
rates. Lendrum advised dairy producers to train their
staff for emergencies and feld spreading require-
ments. Also if you expand your dairy and go from a
medium to a large CAFO, you must have a CNMP
in place. Speaking of expansion, if you’re doing con-
struction, get a storm-water permit.
Dairies have some good management practices,
Lendrum said. She sees more cover crops planted,
greater use of buffers along streams, better leachate
collection and improved barnyards.
Understand cow phases
to increase profit
“There is defnitely an opportunity to make at
least $100 more proft when you manage each phase
of a dairy cow’s life cycle,” said Bill Tom, ARM &
HAMMER Animal Nutrition general manager in a
company press release.
The signifcant – and interdependent – phases of
cows’ production lifecycles are:
n Heifers: The key to maximizing proft with
young stock is helping heifers achieve an ideal size
and weight so they reach breeding age earlier and en-
ter the milking string sooner, said Elliot Block, senior
manager of technical services for the company. Stud-
ies estimate that calving heifers one month earlier is
worth between $140 and $225 per heifer calved.
n Close-up: Proper management of transition
cows is key, given the frequency and high cost of
each case of milk fever ($186), displaced abomasum
($324), ketosis ($160) and metritis ($217).
Then there are proft opportunities gained by
improving pregnancy rate. “A study presented at the
Western Dairy Management Conference showed just
a 2% increase in pregnancy rate is worth $70 per cow
per year,” Block said.
n Fresh: “This is where the concept of marginal-
ity really comes in,” Tom said. “Taking those cows
and getting one more pound of milk or one more
point of protein or fat, or making the same milk with
one less pound of feed can really make a difference
to proftability. Using multiple component pricing,
just a one point increase in fat and protein will add
another 4 cents per hundredweight to a producer’s
milk check.”
n Lactating: Maintaining feed and nutrient eff-
ciency keeps cows as healthy as possible and allows
them to achieve higher production and component
levels, Block said.
Herd SyStemS
March 2008 Northeast DairyBusiness 9
Better Decisions Begin With
Better Information.
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