Farm Horizons, April 2012

Carver County/University of MN Dairy Expo: 20 years and counting

By Starrla Cray

The 20th annual Carver County/University of Minnesota Dairy Expo and Trade Show Feb. 20 made for a fun, informative day for many area farmers.

The show took place at Central High School (531 Morse St.) in Norwood Young America, and included refreshments, entry to all sessions, trade show, lunch, and proceedings.

Forty-nine exhibitors and 29 sponsors were featured, showcasing a variety of agriculture-related products and services.

Informative sessions for dairy producers and related industries were offered in the morning and afternoon, and a producer panel took place just before lunch.

Morning sessions

• “Adding value to cull cows and reducing food safety risks,” presented by Dr. Dick Wallace of Pfizer Animal Health, provided insight into increasing the value of cull cows and strategically marketing those animals to help dairy farmers maintain profitability when milk prices are low.

• “Tips for enhancing forage digestibility; improving performance and efficiency,” presented by Dr. Noah Litherland of the University of Minnesota Extension explored factors that alter fiber digestibility in lactating cows.

• “Animal activism: Protect your farm from being a target,” presented by Sherry Newell of the Midwest Dairy Association, helped farmers take steps to being a source, not a subject, when controversy arises.

Producer Panel

• “Focus on [somatic cell count] SCC and milk quality,” moderated by Dr. Noah Litherland. Panel members included Bruce Boettcher of Boettcher Dairy in Mayer, Patty Traxler of Blue Sky Dairy in Cleveland, and Joel and Barb Grimm of Grimm Dairy Farm in Waconia.

The Grimms, who currently milk 44 Holsteins, have a somatic cell count of 55,000 to 85,000. They noted that the key to their farm’s low SCC is “clean, dry cows, being fussy about what goes into the bulk tank, comfortable cows, quality feed, [and] being observant.”

Traxler, who has 1,200 Jersey milking cows, recorded an SCC of 150,000 to 200,000, and stated that “faithful employees, cleanliness, [and] industry support” are also keys in low somatic cell counts.

Boetcher, with an SCC of 70,000, noted the importance of “teat dip, attention to detail/cleanliness, two-ply towels, attentive herdsman, stall maintenance (liming), [and] maintaining a barn routine.”

Afternoon sessions

• “A novel synchronization program to improve reproductive efficiency,” presented by Dr. Dick Wallace, provided a template to improve reproductive efficiency when implementing a timed artificial insemination program.

• “Effects of overcrowding on cow health and productivity,” presented by Peter Krawczel of Miner Institute, gave an overview on the relationship between a cow’s physical environment and behavior, milk production, reproductive success, and udder health.

• “Understanding performance and financial benchmarks,” presented by Laura Kieser and Dale Nordquist of the University of Minnesota Extension, explored the financial performance of Minnesota milk producers.

For information about next year’s show, contact Cindi (952) 466-5315 or Laura (952) 466-5306 at the Carver County Extension Office.

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