Buckeye Dairy News : Volume 2 Issue 8

  1. CORN SILAGE FEEDING MANAGEMENT

    Thomas E. Noyes
    The Ohio State University Extension, Extension Agent
    Wayne County

    Corn silage is being fed at a higher percentage of the forage dry matter today as compared to years ago.
    There is good reason for this as todays cows are capable of higher levels of milk production and need a
    much higher level of energy intake, including that coming from forage. Corn silage furnishes this energy
    along with its uniform quality and palatability.

    Corn silage is also a relatively easy and economical crop to grow, requiring less labor and management
    compared to a hay crop. There has also been significant improvement in varieties of corn grown for silage,
    especially in the area of improved fiber digestibility. We now have whopper choppers with kernel
    processors that make harvesting fast and improve the quality of the silage. The cracking and crushing of
    kernels increase the starch availability (digestibility) of the corn silage.

    This years drought in many parts of Ohio has added another factor to the corn silage that was harvested and
    will be fed this winter. Due to the dry growing season, the total dry matter yields per acre were lowered, due
    mostly to a reduced forage portion of the silage. Surprisingly, the grain yields in the silage were very good.
    Thus, on many farms, we have corn silage with much higher grain content than normal.

    What does all this mean to managing corn silage in your feeding program? For the high producing groups
    of cows, there is additional potential for acidosis Feeding corn silage with a higher grain content, that was
    kernel processed, and combined with the potential of less effective fiber can put the cows in potential
    problems. If you experience lower butterfat tests and suddenly you have seen milk production jump two to
    three pounds per cow per day, than you might want to review the rations being fed with your nutritionist.
    Also, check to be sure that the TMRs are not being over-mixed, which also reduces the effective fiber in the
    diets of the cows.

    Feeding relatively high corn silage diets this winter will require good management. You should use a Penn
    State forage particle separator box if you have concerns about the level of effective fiber in your forages
    and rations. Contact your County Extension Office if you need assistance.

  2. SHOULD I USE BST OR GENETICALLY ENGINEERED CROPS? WHETHER OR NOT I USE GENETIC ENGINEERING, HOW WILL IT AFFECT FARMING AND THE DAIRY INDUSTRY?

    Jim Skeeles
    The Ohio State University Extension, Extension Agent
    Lorain County

    Genetically engineered products are not new. Firmer and longer keeping tomatoes were one of the first
    genetically engineered products. The controversial, genetically engineered hormone called BST, which
    induces dairy cows to give more milk, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and
    has now been adopted my many American dairymen. It is not permitted in Canada. Corn seeds genetically
    modified to be resistant to a specific boring insect have been available for several years. However, the most
    dramatic adoption of genetic engineering has been by farmers using the Roundup Read soybeans
    developed and marketed by Monsanto. More than one-third of the soybeans planted in the United States and
    in northeastern Ohio are Roundup Ready. This means that the soybeans have been genetically engineered to
    be resistant to Roundup, a chemical weed killer also developed and marketed by Monsanto. More recently,
    Monsanto has also developed Roundup Ready corn.

    Many are concerned about genetic engineering because it is not natural One main concern is the
    healthfulness of the genetically engineered food. There are also concerns about how humane it is to inject
    a genetically engineered hormone into dairy cattle so they will unnaturally increase milk production.
    Some are concerned that those genetically engineered traits will be transferred to other plants in the
    environment. Others are concerned about reduction in bio-diversity as a result of genetic engineering.

    The government, (Environmental Protection Agency, EPA), regulates unnatural agricultural practices, such
    as chemical fertilizers and weed and bug killers, and the government will continue to regulate genetic
    engineering. Chances are if you have been unhappy with the risks allowed by EPA with chemicals in
    agriculture, you will not be happy with the risks allowed by the government with genetic engineering.

    Those who favor genetic engineering contend that the United States and individual farmers need to adopt
    this new technology as quickly as possible in order to maintain their competitive edge. Indeed, we in the
    United States pride ourselves in our productivity. Yes, we essentially feed the world and do it more
    efficiently and at a lower cost than most of the rest of the world. We do indeed enjoy a competitive edge in
    agriculture. We enjoy that edge because of our willingness to develop and adopt new technology, because
    of our productive soils/climate, and because farmers fiercely compete against each other. Economists call
    our system perfect competition. Ironically, this perfect competition forces out of business those farmers
    who can't or won't adopt technology that lowers the cost of production .

    With every revolution in agriculture, the less productive farmers have been forced out of business. The
    industrial revolution started a long trend of fewer and fewer farmers, with tractors replacing horses and
    machines replacing the labor of farm family members. The introduction of hybrid seed corn and plants bred
    to yield more with chemical fertilizers further increased productivity, so farmer numbers took another dive.
    Herbicides allowed crop production with less or even no tilling of the land, and insecticides assured
    consistently higher crop yields. Thus, productivity continued to increase, production costs decreased and
    more farmers were forced to leave the farm.

    So how will agriculture and the dairy industry change with the adoption of genetic engineering? Farmers
    will be forced to adopt the new technology to stay in business, and those least successful with the new
    technology will be forced out. Granted, some will find other ways to stay in business, with or without
    genetic engineering, such as segregating, marketing and/or retailing their product. However, typical
    farmers (who do not directly market to the consumer the commodity they produce) will continue to fiercely
    compete with each other, to produce at an inflation- adjusted lower cost, to operate larger farms but own
    less of them, and to adopt efficiency-enhancing technology.

  3. TRAINING NEW EMPLOYEES FOR PRODUCTIVITY AND LONGEVITY ON YOUR FARM

    Ernie Oelker
    The Ohio State University, Extension Agent
    Trumbull County

    Who ever heard of training a dairy farm employee? Don't you just hire people who already have the skills
    and experience that you need? Perhaps not. It appears that candidates for dairy farm jobs are increasingly
    less likely to have valuable experience. Besides, every dairy farm is different, so it is important that all new
    employees have adequate training and orientation in order to get off to a good start. Good training can
    eliminate many mistakes. Well-trained employees have better morale and improved performance compared
    to those who are forced to learn from their mistakes. Many of the mistakes dairy farm employees make are
    due to inadequate training and unclear expectations of job performance. Good managers provide training for
    every employee, new as well as experienced ones.

    Training

    Loosely defined, training is any attempt to improve current or future performance by increasing employee
    ability. Training consists of planned programs designed to improve performance at the individual, group,
    and/or organizational levels. Improved performance, in turn, implies measurable changes in knowledge,
    skills, attitudes, and/or social behavior.

    The purpose of training is to:

    • Promote high performance. Well trained workers get more work done with less effort.
    • Increase productivity. Fewer mistakes mean fewer accidents, lower costs and less down time.
    • Enhance workforce flexibility. Well trained workers are more confident in their abilities and skills. They are less afraid to tackle new responsibilities or to fill in for co-workers.
    • Improve worker commitment. Workers who see the commitment you make to their success show more commitment to their role in the success of your business.
    • Lower absenteeism and worker turnover. Well trained workers get more satisfaction from their work. Job satisfaction is more important than pay rate in keeping workers happy and productive.

    There are three main types of training. Each plays an important role in getting workers prepared to do a
    job and keeping them motivated and effective.

    Orientation

    Generally, dairy farm managers take time to show new recruits around the operation, introduce them to
    other employees and management team members. Sometimes it works better to have a trusted employee do
    the orientation of new hires. Orientation is extremely important to the overall training program. Orientation
    is the introduction of the new employee to the organization, the industry, the requirements of the job, the
    social situation in which he or she will be working, and the organizations culture. Therefore, orientation
    must be much more than just Ashowing the new employee around. Orientation is the time to help the new
    employee adapt to your operation and become assimilated into the social structure of the workplace. The
    overall goal is to help new employees learn about their new work environment.

    1. Create a Favorable First Impression
     A. Provide sufficient information about when and where to report for work.

     B. Get all relevant paperwork handled efficiently.
     C. Have personable and efficient people to assist with orientation.

    2. Enhance interpersonal acceptance
     A. Ease the employee=s entry into the work group.
     B. Assure proper orientation to the management team and procedures.
     C. Consider a buddy" or mentoring system to insure interaction of newcomers and Ainsiders.

    3. Increase individual and organizational performance.
     A. Reduce adjustment problems by creating sense of security, confidence and belonging.
     B. Employees perform better because they learn faster.
     C. Employees exhibit stronger loyalty through greater commitment to values and goals.
     D. Lower absenteeism.
     E. Higher job satisfaction.

    The following orientation check list may help you to do a more thorough job of covering the important
    things new employees need to know:

    A. Organization and policies
    B. Insurance benefits
    C. Other benefits
    D. First day schedule and duties
    E. Location of important facilities
    F. Working hours
    G. Pay policy
    H. Employees' second day activities and schedule
    I. Employees' first two weeks activities and schedule
    J. Other items
    K. Opportunity for reorientation

    Specific Job Training

    The second type of training is specific job training. This is where you or your manager train the new
    employee to do his or her specific job. You need to decide on some important issues before you structure the
    training program for new employees:

    A. What are the training needs for this person for this job? (What level of skill does the applicant have
    now, and what level is required to do the job?) Consult job descriptions for each position.
    B. How and where is the teaching to be done?
    C. What methods or type of training will be used for each task?
    D. What are the acceptable levels of performance for this person in the position?

    Now that you have decided what, how, and where training needs to be done, it is time to prepare your
    training plan. Dr. Bernie Erven, Ohio State University Extension Specialist in Human Resource
    Development, uses a simple approach to help trainers get their message across effectively. He calls it
    "Prepare, Tell, Show, Do, Review."

    The following are the steps that Dr. Erven suggests:

    1. Prepare or motivate the trainee to improve his or her performance.
    2. Tell or clearly illustrate the desired skills you want the trainee to learn.
    3. Show the trainee what you want done by doing it for them.
    4. Have the trainee DO the task and practice it until he or she is comfortable with it. Encourage the trainee
    to ask questions.
    5. Review and provide timely feedback on the trainee=s performance during the training and during the first
    weeks of work.
    6. Provide reinforcement while the trainee learns.
    7. Structure the training from simple to complex tasks.
    8. Be adaptable to solve learner problems.
    9. Make sure the trainee makes a positive transfer from the training to the job.

    Retraining

    The third important type of training is retraining. Retraining is training to overcome initial training
    deficiencies or to prepare workers for job changes, new routines, or new equipment. Every training program
    should include provisions for retraining. In order to assess the need for retraining, you must evaluate the
    performance of your employees. Besides helping you to determine the needs for retraining, evaluation of
    employee performance is important in determining wage increases and motivating them to continued high
    performance. A good training program is important in developing and retaining productive, happy
    employees on your farm.