Midwest Dairy Challenge is Feb. 5-7

Fox Valley Technical College will host dairy students from 18 schools in 10 states at the Midwest Dairy Challenge, Feb. 5-7, in Appleton, Wis.

At Dairy Challenge, each team of students puts textbook knowledge to the ultimate test – providing solutions for a dairy. Teams inspect an operating dairy, analyze farm data and interview farm owners. Then each team develops recommendations for nutrition, reproduction, milking procedures, animal health and housing to help the farm optimize performance and profitability.

Teams will present their recommendations to farm owners – while being evaluated by a panel of five judges including dairy producers, veterinarians, farm finance specialists and industry personnel. In addition to this consulting competition, students have ample opportunity for networking and education.

Educational seminars are also planned:

•   What Does a Financial Consultant Look For? by Gary Sipiorski, Vita Plus

•   Analyzing Reproductive Performance by Molly Sloan, Alta Genetics

•   Farm Financial Analysis from a Banker’s Perspective, by Dan Gitter, Greenstone Farm Credit

•   Finding Opportunities and Eliminating Bottlenecks, by Dr. David LaCount, Purina Animal Nutrition

•   Team Building: Group Management of a Dairy Farm, by Dale Beaty, Wisconsin Farm Bureau

•   Effective Leadership through Active Listening, by Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin

The Midwest event is one of four regional contests sponsored each year by North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge (NAIDC). These regional contests – plus a national event for about 300 dairy collegiates – are funded through support by 130 agribusinesses and dairy producers.

The 2014 national event will be April 3-5 in Fort Wayne, Ind., hosted by Michigan State University, Ohio State University and Purdue University. VIsit www.dairychallenge.org.


2014 IDP regional dairy meeting continue

The 2014 Indiana Dairy Producers (IDP) Regional Dairy Meetings  continue Feb. 4-5 & 11-13.

Each of these meetings will include Dr. Ray Nebel, speaking on the economics of heifer AI; Dr. Judy Loven, on starling and nuisance bird control; and Dr. Bret Marsh, on new animal ID rules and other biosecurity challenges. 

Dates and locations include:

• Feb. 4 – Columbus, Bartholomew County Fairgrounds

• Feb. 5 – Warrenton, The Log Inn

• Feb. 11 – Shipshewana, Farmstead Inn

• Feb. 12 – Goshen, Elkhart County Fairgrounds

• Feb. 13 – Decatur, Back 40 Junction Restaurant

Download a meeting brochure here. Call or email Dr. Mike Schutz to register at 765-494-9478 or mschutz@purdue.edu.


Indiana Dairy Producer of the Year nominees sought

The Indiana Dairy Producers are seeking nominations for the Dairy Producer of the Year and Young Dairy Producer of the Year awards.

Dairy producers can self-nominate or nominate a worthy fellow dairy farmer. Dairy industry representatives are also encouraged to submit nominations. Nominations are due by Feb. 21.

Nomination forms can be downloaded here. Please submit completed nominations to Dr. Mike Schutz, Purdue University, 125 South Russell Street West Lafayette, IN 47907, mschutz@purdue.edu, Fax: 765-494-9347.


IDP, PDMP members to meet at Fair Oaks

The Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania (PDMP) are planning a dairy tour to Indiana, joining members of the Indiana Dairy Producers at Fair Oaks, March 25.

The plans include a tour of the Dairy Adventure, Pig Adventure, a meeting with Mike McCloskey and lunch.  The group will travel to Hidden View Dairy, a farm featuring tunnel ventilation, a 72-cow rotary, and a "hybrid" methane digester. 

The dinner program will feature Kevin Jones, Ghost Hollow Consulting, discussing the “six elements of dairy profitability.” 

Cost is $50 per person, with participation limited to 55. Call Doug Leman at 317-695-8228 to register.



Ohio: Buckeye Dairy News posted

The January 2014 Issue of the Buckeye Dairy News has been posted at: http://dairy.osu.edu, then click on Buckeye Dairy News. This month’s articles include: U.S. Dairy Update: Exports and Policy Top the List, Dr. Cameron S. Thraen, Associate Professor and OSUE State Dairy Markets and Policy Specialist, Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics, The Ohio State University It’s Game Time.  Are You In It?, Dianne Shoemaker, Field Specialist, Dairy Production Economics, The Ohio State University Extension Youth Dairy Program Updates, Ms. Bonnie Ayars, Dairy Judging Teams Coach and Extension Youth Specialist, Ohio State University



Wisconsin: Cow care and compromised cattle meeting

Although all farmers strive to take excellent care of their animals, there are times when animals are sick or injured and are not able to stand on their own. There are various circumstances that require special attention to the animal’s condition or situation.

University and industry experts will share information about the proper and appropriate care of animals that are compromised at three Wisconsin meetings in February.

Dates, locations and registration contacts include in the month of February:

Feb. 14 – Tundra Lodge, Green Bay. Jamie Patton (715) 526‐4871 or Aerica Bjurstrom (920) 388‐7138

Feb. 17 – Sauk County UW-Extension, Baraboo. Katie Pfeiffer (608) 355-3257

Feb. 25 – Marshfield Agriculture Research Station, Marshfield. Heather Schlesser (715) 261-1230

The program addresses these topics:

• Assessing Risk – Ensuring Animal Welfare on Farms

• Preventing Drug Residue in Cull Cows

• Minimizing the Risk of Down Cows and Guidelines for Down Cow Welfare

• Safely Moving Down Cows.


Heartland ag land sales remain strong

Land sales finished strong in 2013, spurred by good farmer demand for additional land, according to Farmers National Company, a farm and ranch real estate company. Farmers National Company recorded real estate sales of $750 million for 2013, compared to $640 million in 2012.

Activity during the first half of 2013 slowed slightly because of a surge in sales at the end of 2012 prompted by tax law changes. However, sales levels turned upward to round out the year and finished strong, according to Randy Dickhut, AFM, vice president of real estate operations. He notes that trends indicate an active pace will continue through the first half of 2014 for most regions.

There has been continued widespread auction activity at year-end. Farmers National Company real estate agents worked 45 auctions during November alone. Out of 829 properties sold by Farmers National Company in 2013, over 40% sold at auction.

While land prices have stabilized compared to the double-digit price increases seen in recent years, levels are at historical highs. Prices per acre for high quality land range nationwide from $3,500 to as high as $12,000 to $13,000 per acre in areas of Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska. Values in the Upper Midwest are also very strong, with sales reaching $10,000 per acre.

"Farms remained profitable in 2013 despite lower commodity prices, in part due to reductions in fertilizer expenses of nearly 30%," said Dickhut. "This is prompting farm owners to continue buying premium land to expand their operations. Interest in average to medium quality land has waned, slowing activity for such property."

Prices for pasture land have increased in places like Nebraska, as Texas livestock producers transplanted herds due to recent drought. As regions in Texas continue to recover from the drought, land values there are forecast to rise 5%-7%, according to Dickhut.

A price drop of 40% for sugar beets has impacted land values in the Northern Region (North Dakota/South Dakota/western Minnesota). Income reduction of nearly $350 per acre in some cases is taking some land buyers out of the market. Despite this pressure, values are fairly stable in this area, Dickhut said.

Farmers continue to be the primary land buyers. Dickhut reports that investor interest in land has been more guarded as many are not willing to pay high prices without a guaranteed strong return. Recent success in the stock market is generating interest in alternative investments, pushing outside investors to choices besides land.

"The market for farmland overall remains strong, particularly for quality land even though buyers are getting more cautious," said Dickhut. "The impact of changes in commodity prices, expenses and interest rates will all play into year-end results."

Visit www.FarmersNational.com.



Missouri Dairy Business Update

The January 2014 Missouri Dairy Business Update, a monthly web publication presenting information on current dairy issues to people interested in the Missouri dairy industry, has been posted.

•   •     Milk Prices

•   October Milk Production

•   2014 Farm Bill Legislative Update -Courtesy of DFA

•   Dairy Profit Seminars - Dr. Mike Hutjens - keynote speaker

◦                    Sedalia - Feb. 24 - Pork Palace, State Fair Grounds

◦                    Springfield - Feb. 25, Springfield Livestock Auction

◦                    Mountain Grove - Feb. 26, Fruit Station

◦                    Cape Girardeau - Feb. 27, Extension Center

◦                    Union, Friday, Feb. 28, Hagie's Restaurant

•   MU offers Risk Management Webinars

•   Co-Product Feed Prices

•   Missouri Heifer Prices - Norwood or Springfield

•   Missouri Dairy Business Opportunities

•   Missouri Dairy Calendar of Events - Click in the Calendar for Event Programs

•   Missouri Dairy Resource Guide

Contact Joe Horner for further information.


Wisconsin: 'Returning to the Farm’ workshop rescheduled

The University of Wisconsin Center for Dairy Profitability, University of Wisconsin-Extension and University of Wisconsin-River Falls are offering a workshop to help farm families plan for a son, daughter or partner to return to the farm and eventually take over the farm business. The four-day workshop will be offered at the River Falls Public Library on March 7-8 and April 4-5.

The registration fee for this four-day program is $325 per farming unit (up to four people per farm). This includes materials, meeting room costs, refreshment breaks and lunches. The registration deadline is February 28, 2014. If you have more than four people in your farming unit attending the workshop, $80 will be charged for each additional participant. click here