UW Center for Dairy Profitability plans webinars

The University of Wisconsin-Extension and UW Center for Dairy Profitability are hosting two webinars in March.

Webinar 1: Ag Land Values and Renting Farm Land will be held March 6, 1-2:30 p.m. The webinar will address input costs, flexible rent options and importance of written contracts.

Webinar 2: Farm Bill crop insurance provisions, will be held March 11, 11 a.m. Paul Mitchell, UW-Extension/Madison specialist will provide an update about changes in commodity support and crop insurance changes in the Farm Bill.

For more information about the webinars, contact Arlin Braanstrom, 608-265-3030, ajbranns@wisc.edu.


Holmes named to interim post at UW-Madison

Brian Holmes, who retired last year after a long career as professor and Extension specialist in biological systems engineering, has been named interim University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agriculture and Life Sciences associate dean for extension and outreach and UW-Extension co-director for Agriculture and Natural Resources. That position opened when John Shutske was named UW-Extension interim provost and vice chancellor.

 During his career Holmes worked with UW-Extension agents and farmers and others across the state sharing his expertise in the design of livestock housing, feed storage and other agricultural facilities.

Holmes begins his new position on March 1. He will share the UW-Extension co-director for Agriculture and Natural Resources duties with David Williams, current associate program director.


Consider spring forage options

Last year proved to be a challenging growing season in Minnesota, with a cold, wet spring lasting well into May. In addition to the excessive rainfall and cold spring, producers in some parts of the state experienced alfalfa winterkill, decimating their alfalfa supplies. When July and August came with nary a drop of rain, it restricted forage supplies even more.

Producers looking for ways to maximize forage production this spring have a few options, according to Julie Sievert, University of Minnesota Extension.

Planting a forage with an early harvest date might be the right option for some producers to provide the fastest remediation to short supplies. Some mixes to consider could include an oat/field pea or barley/field pea mix for a nice chopped haylage. Adding field peas to oats or barley can be expected to raise protein by 3 to 5%. By harvesting no later than the early boot stage, a high quality forage that is worthy of a dairy ration can be expected. Pea/oatlage or pea/barlage that is harvested too late will have lower feed value but should be acceptable for dry cow or heifer rations. After chopping, this crop could be followed by silage corn. Read more


Missouri Dairy Business Update

•   Milk Prices

•   January Milk Production

•   Dairy Profit Seminars - (Presentations available on-line)

•   MU Offers Risk Management Webinars in March

•   MU Southwest Center Grazing Dairy - Update

•   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

•    Archived Issues


CSIF ‘Farming for the Future’ Conference video’s available

Livestock farmers who missed the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers (CSIF) “Farming for the Future” conference in January can view the various segments via video at www.supportfarmers.com/video. Each segment includes experts who can help Iowa’s livestock and poultry farmers manage changes to their farms.

The video features industry experts on a variety of topics, including global economics of the agricultural industry, risk mitigation, financial feasibility and obtaining financing for new livestock projects. It also highlights several emerging opportunities in the state’s livestock industry and includes a panel of Iowa farmers who shared innovative things they are doing to increase the viability of their farm, including calving under roof, on-farm dairy processing, and custom and niche hog production.

A highlight video from the conference, as well as the full videos of each of the speakers and farmer breakout sessions is available here


Wisconsin farm survey provides employee information

Wisconsin agriculture is a $59.16 billion industry that supports 10%, or nearly 354,000, of the state’s workforce. The more than 76,400 people employed directly by Wisconsin farms have varied backgrounds, skills, education and experience, and wages and benefits received, according to a study conducted by University of Wisconsin-Extension Farm and Risk Management (FARM) Team.

The study looked at human resource management, including how farm labor is recruited, retained and compensated. On average, farms in the survey hired three new, non-family employees in the previous year. Eighty-one percent of the farms recruit employees via word of mouth, of current employees (43%), or friends/neighbors (29%), and consultants (9%).

“Communication barriers” was identified as the biggest labor management issue, followed by hiring and recruiting, training, and dealing with employee conflicts. Only 42% of farm managers conduct regular performance reviews; 69% do not have an employee handbook; and 57% do not have written standard operating procedures.

The average starting wage varied with the job performed and the worker’s experience. Highest wages on farms were for herdsmen: $11.42/hour for inexperienced; $14.31/hour for experienced. 

A factsheet series is available on the FARM Team Website: http://www.uwex.edu/ces/farmteam/workgroup/humanresource/


Indiana dairy ID and traceability rules discussed

Dr. Bret Marsh, Indiana State Veterinarian, provided an update on Indiana's proposed disease traceability rules during regional Indiana Dairy Producer Association meetings. The proposed rules for identifying dairy animals are designed to align with USDA's federal traceability program.

Although the proposal is new, many provisions of it have been in place for years. One of the biggest changes for dairy producers is that every dairy animal sold off the farm needs to be tagged, including bull calves, with permanent ID, unless it is going directly to slaughter. Approved ID's are 840 tags (840 identifies the animal as being from the United States) or an Indiana NUES tag (metal or plastic) that has a US shield. These tags can be purchased by producers. 840's can be either RFID or bangle tag. Registration numbers and tattoos are not acceptable ID.

Indiana's rule will probably be in full effect by January 2015. For more information on this rule, go to BOAH's website link here or contact the State Board of Animal Health at 877-747-3038


Indiana Milk Quality Conference is April 15-16

The Indiana Milk Quality Conference will be held April 15-16, at Don Hall’s Guesthouse, Fort Wayne, Ind. The meeting includes a producer panel featuring Nathan Kuehnert, John Metzger and John and Cynthia Adam. Ryan Rogers from Homestead Dairy will talk about setting up a digester. Special registration for each dairy farm is only $50 for all farm members. Visit website for registration details. Dairy farmers can get special pricing and download the producer registration form here.