Buckeye Dairy News : Volume 6 Issue 4

  1. Dairy Policy and Market Watch

    Dr. Cameron Thraen, Milk Marketing Specialist, Ohio State University,
    Additional milk marketing information by Dr. Thraen

    Policy Watch

    The real pressing issue for Federal Order 33 producers is the depooling of milk caused by the joint effect of advanced pricing for Class I and the volatility currently exhibited in the cheese and butter markets. I have written about this issue over the past two months and it still remains a serious issue for our Federal Order. Let me illustrate. Back in January of 2004, the total pounds of Class I milk pooled equaled 584.1 million. The Class I price for January, set by dairy commodity prices back in the first two weeks of December 2003, was $13.85/cwt. Class I utilization was a reported 38.6%. Milk used in Class III and pooled during January 2004 was 648.4 million pounds, 111% of the Class I pounds. January Class III price was $11.61/cwt. The Uniform price paid to producers for January 2004 was announced at $12.51/cwt. This is the Class III price plus a positive $0.90 / cwt return to producers for the added value of Class I and Class II milk utilization.

    Now fast forward to April 2004. Class I milk pooled was 544.1 million pounds. Class III milk pooled on Federal Order 33 dropped a whopping 93% to 44.7 million pounds. Class III utilization for pooled milk diminished to a miniscule 5.1%. Class I utilization soared to 62.3%. The Uniform or Blend price paid to producers pooled on the Federal Order 33 was only $15.88 / cwt. The rapidly rising cash market prices for cheese and butter set the stage for an announced April 2004 Class III price of $19.66/cwt. The only way to reconcile this discrepancy between the Uniform price and the Class III price is to reduce the Class III price by the difference of $3.78/cwt. The return to producers for the added value of Class I and Class II milk utilization was now a negative $3.78/cwt.

    The same scenario was replayed in May 2004. Class III utilization increased a very small amount to 5.5%. The Class I utilization declined to 54.6%. The Uniform price increased to $18.99 / cwt. However, this was still not enough of an increase in the Uniform price. With the announced Class III price still riding high at $20.58/cwt, the only way to reconcile a Class III price which exceeds the Uniform price is by a negative producer price differential. The announced May 2004 producer price differential was a negative $1.59 / cwt.

    In just two months, those milk producers who remained tied to the Federal Order 33 pool lost $5.37/cwt on milk shipped during April and May. This exceeds the cumulative $2.07/cwt they earned during the January through March months by $3.30 / cwt. A good question to be asking about now is where did this money go? Into the pockets of those milk producers whose milk was depooled during this two month period? Into the pockets of those dairy firms who choose not to pool milk on Federal Order 33 during the April and May months? Clearly this $3.30/cwt is real money; otherwise, why bother to depool in the first place? I cannot directly answer the question as to where this money went. If your milk is typically pooled in Federal Order 33 and you belong to a dairy cooperative and did not see at least some of this money, you should be asking questions. If you are an independent producer and did not see some of this money, you also know where to go to ask questions.

    Besides the obvious equity issues stemming from the negative producer price differential, why is this an important issue for Federal Order 33 producers? Producers, and their representatives, operating in Federal Order 30 are attempting to close the door on Class III depooling in that order. Cass-Clay Creamery, Inc, Dairy Farmers of America, Foremost Farms, USA, Land O'Lakes, Mid-West Dairyman's Company, and four other cooperatives representing producers in Federal Order 30 have filed a petition with the USDA / AMS / Dairy Programs requesting an emergency hearing on pooling requirements for Federal Milk Marketing Order 30. If they succeed in closing the door on depooling in Federal Order 30, you can be certain that Federal Order 33 will become a target for a renewed interest in outside Class III milk to be pooled and depooled on our Federal Order. If this happens, you can expect to find yet more erosion in the average value of the Federal Order 33 producer price differential and even larger negative impacts from depooling when market conditions return, such as we witnessed last year July through October and again in April and May of this year. And, unless real changes are made in the Federal Order provisions, this will happen again.

    Market Watch

    For a complete update on current market conditions, futures, and options markets, and policy issues of importance to Ohio and Federal Order 33 producers go to my website, Ohio Dairy Web 2004, and click on Cam's Price Outlook.

    We have just set a new record for milk price in the U.S. The June blend price for Ohio hit $20/cwt. This would be a devastating low price in Japan but not here. For us, this is a new record high. It is very tempting at times like these to relax the intensity of our management, especially the controlling function of management. Most (if not all) of our dairy farms have gone through severe economic times during the last two years. It is normal and expected to take a "breather" when you have survived "the perfect storm". But, while you enjoy more favorable milk prices, you shouldn't lose your vigilance regarding feed costs. Across markets, feed prices are currently very high and could be taking away some or even all the benefits of higher milk price.

    I used the software SESAMETM to estimate nutrient prices and break-even prices of 25 feed commodities available in Ohio in early July. Table 1 reports estimated nutrient prices. Effective NDF (e-NDF) and digestible-rumen undegradable protein (D-RUP) prices are up compared to May 2004, whereas net energy lactation (NEL) rumen degradable protein (RDP) and non-effective NDF (ne-NDF) prices are down somewhat.

    Based on wholesale prices, central Ohio commodities can be partitioned into the three following groups:

     

    Bargains
    At Breakeven
    Overpriced
    Bakery byproducts
    Corn, ground, shelled
    Corn silage
    Distillers dried grains
    Gluten feed
    Gluten meal
    Meat meal
    Wheat middlings
     
    Alfalfa hay
    Brewers grains, wet
    Canola meal
    Citrus pulp
    Whole cottonseed
    Hominy
    Molasses
    Tallow
    Wheat bran

    Beet pulp
    Blood meal
    Soybean hulls
    Expeller soybean meal
    44% soybean meal
    48% soybean meal
    Roasted soybeans
    Fish meal

    A properly balanced ration cannot be made using exclusive ingredients in the "Bargains" column. But, you should try to maximize the use of feed ingredients in the "Bargains' column, minimize the use of those in the "Overpriced" column, and use as needed those in the "At Breakeven" column. Details on the estimated break-even prices (labeled "predicted") and 75% confidence limits on break-even prices are reported in Table 2.

    But what about forage prices? In the past, we have used SESAME to estimate what various forages were worth. We realized, however, that while the method used was sound, it didn't properly value forages of either excellent or poor quality. This is because forages, beyond being primary sources of nutrients, vary in quality, and forage quality affects production through changes in dry matter intake. Dr. Bill Weiss at OARDC studied this problem. Based on his research and that of others, he has worked out different equations to correct the break-even price of forages based on the quality (NDF content). These equations have been incorporated in SESAME (Version 3.01 - to be released in mid-August) and their output now appears in the standard SESAME report. This column will be reporting the corrected prices of qualities of grass hay, four qualities of mixed hay, and four qualities of legume hay. The nutritional composition of each hay is from the latest publication of the National Research Council on Nutrient Requirements of Dairy Cattle (2001). Results are reported in Table 3. The corrected break-even price of an immature legume hay (35% NDF) is $82/ton, more than that of a mature legume hay (51% NDF) at a milk price of $18/cwt. For grass hay, the difference between immature (50% NDF) and mature (69% NDF) is even more pronounced, amounting to $95/ton. This underlines the substantial economic value associated with forage quality and the importance of an accurate feed analysis when purchasing hay.

    Table 1. Estimates of nutrient unit costs - OH, July 2004.

    Nutrient name
    Estimates
     
    NEL - 3X (2001 NRC)
    $0.087028
    **
    RDP
    $0.023205
     
    Digestible RUP
    $0.342179
    **
    Non-effective NDF (ne-NDF)
    $-0.058122
    ~
    e-NDF
    $0.053600
    ~

    - A blank means that the nutrient unit cost is likely equal to zero.
    - ~ means that the nutrient cost may be close to zero.
    - * means that the nutrient cost is unlikely to be equal to zero.
    - **means that the nutrient cost is most likely not equal to zero.


    Table 2. Estimated break-even prices of commodities - OH, July 2004.

    Name
    Actual ($/ton)
    Predicted ($/ton)
    Lower limit ($/ton)
    Upper limit ($/ton)
    Alfalfa Hay, OH Buckeye D
    130
    150.16
    117.25
    183.08
    Bakery Byproduct Meal
    127
    153.51
    138.59
    168.43
    Beet Sugar Pulp, dried
    160
    122.10
    98.51
    145.68
    Blood Meal, ring dried
    600
    540.48
    501.31
    579.65
    Brewers Grains, wet
    35
    36.30
    31.13
    41.48
    Canola Meal, mech. extracted
    189
    180.58
    161.17
    199.99
    Citrus Pulp, dried
    126
    122.03
    109.30
    134.77
    Corn Grain, ground dry
    110
    156.39
    142.12
    170.66
    Corn Silage, 32 to 38% DM
    40
    52.96
    42.50
    63.41
    Cottonseed, whole w lint
    208
    220.59
    182.34
    258.85
    Distillers Dried Grains, w sol
    156
    183.65
    163.91
    203.39
    Feathers Hydrolyzed Meal
    330
    421.87
    395.25
    448.50
    Gluten Feed, dry
    102
    155.05
    140.22
    169.88
    Gluten Meal, dry
    369
    429.53
    400.61
    458.46
    Hominy
    132
    137.02
    124.14
    149.90
    Meat Meal, rendered
    280
    317.27
    290.98
    343.57
    Molasses, sugarcane
    105
    106.96
    94.87
    119.06
    Soybean Hulls
    112
    73.52
    39.84
    107.21
    Soybean Meal, expellers
    380
    343.77
    323.23
    364.31
    Soybean Meal, solvent 44% CP
    336
    252.96
    226.83
    279.08
    Soybean Meal, solvent 48% CP
    345
    293.74
    270.73
    316.76
    Soybean Seeds, whole roasted
    380
    317.82
    295.14
    340.49
    Tallow
    370
    357.20
    308.87
    405.54
    Wheat Bran
    79
    93.01
    70.34
    115.69
    Wheat Middlings
    71
    111.58
    91.78
    131.39


    Table 3. Break-even prices of forages - OH, July 2004.

    Name
    Predicted [$/ton]
    Corrected [$/ton]
    Grass Hay, Immature <55% NDF
    159.00
    174.42
    Grass Hay, Mature, >60% NDF
    152.91
    79.57
    Grass Hay, Mid mature, 55-60% NDF
    150.22
    128.97
    Grass Hay, all samples
    151.93
    97.72
    Grass-Leg Hay, immature <51% NDF
    159.67
    154.66
    Grass-Leg Hay, mature >57% NDF
    152.68
    88.58
    Grass-Leg Hay,mid mature 51-57% NDF
    159.78
    128.69
    Leg Hay, immature, <40% NDF
    150.45
    185.55
    Leg Hay, mature, >46% NDF
    134.52
    103.32
    Leg Hay, mid mature, 40-46% NDF
    139.60
    144.58

     

  2. Even With $20/cwt Milk, Controlling Feed Cost Is Important,

    Mr. David Marrison, Ashtabula County Agriculture & Natural Resources Extension Agent, Ohio State University

    In the previous edition of the Buckeye Dairy News, we discussed the need for dairy managers to develop procedures to adequately address heat detection. The failure to detect estrus (heat) in dairy cows can lead to economic loss due to extended calving intervals, additional cost of heat detection aids and semen, and loss of milk production. The first three steps in this approach [ 1) establish a heat detection protocol for your farm. 2) visual heat detection-two eyes are better than none, and 3) develop and maintain cow records] were shared in the previous edition (you can view this article at https://dairy.osu.edu/bdnews/v006iss03.htm). In this month's issue, we will focus on the final three steps.

    #4: Minimize herd health problems
    Herd health can be a major factor in reproductive failure. Managers should work to maintain a sound nutrition program, an up-to-date vaccination program, and a dry, safe and comfortable environment. Special attention should be given to cows with sore feet as they will not mount or permit other cows to mount. Managers should treat infected or sore feet immediately. Additionally, managers should work with their nutritionist to feed a quality transition ration so feed intake is maximized and postpartum problems are eliminated or minimized during the voluntary waiting period.

    #5: Use Heat Detection Aids & Estrus Programs Wisely
    A manager's ability to detect heat cycles can be enhanced when visual observations are supplemented with some type of aid. These aids are especially important to help the manager detect standing heats that may have occurred during a time in which no visual observation was conducted. The most important aid is a good record keeping system.

    Besides record keeping, the most common heat detection aids being used are the pressure sensitive mount detectors and tail chalking. Additional heat detection aids available include electronic mount detectors, videotape, heat detector animals, pedometers (activity monitors), and vaginal electrical resistance probes.

    Heat detection aids should only be used as a supplement to visual observation and management. Research indicates that standing heat identification is incorrect less than 3% of the time, while various other methods are incorrect up to 20% of the time (University of Nebraska). Table 1 shows research conducted by the University of Arkansas with regards to the effectiveness of heat detection aids.

    Table 1. Accuracy and efficiency of heat detection aids during continuous observations for cows with more than one mount.

    Items
    Three 30 min Observations per 24 hours
    Mount Detector
    Chalk
    Mount Detectors Plus Chalk
    Efficiency of cows in estrus (%)
    60.6
    93.9
    93.9
    93.9
    False positives
    0
    28
    38
    3
    Accuracy of detection (%)
    100
    52.5
    44.9
    91.7

    Source: Jodie Pennington, University of Arkansas

    Managers may also use progesterone (milk or blood) testing to confirm a suspected heat. Cows with low progesterone levels could be in heat. Milk progesterone should be high 21 days after breeding if the cow is pregnant or at mid-cycle. Dozens of progesterone tests are currently on the market to help farmers confirm early pregnancies or stages of heat cycles.

    Managers can also utilize hormonal synchronization programs to induce heat or ovulation. The GnRH, PGF2a, and CIDR® hormonal treatment programs will help increase the probability of detecting estrus or allows for timed inseminations. It is vital that synchronization programs are followed by a good visual heat detection program to catch cows that return to estrus in three weeks.

    #6: Develop goals for your breeding program
    Just as a producer sets financial and production goals for their operations, they should also establish goals for their breeding programs. Using the worksheet below, managers can obtain reproduction information from their DHIA records or computer records to monitor the herd's reproduction status.

    Goals
    My Farm
    Voluntary waiting period (50 to 60 days)  
    Days in milk at first breeding (60 to 85 days)  
    Days open (goal of 100 to 115 days)  
    Calving interval (goal of 12 months) ___________last ____________next
    Heat detection (goal of > 65%)  
    Services per conception (goal of < 2)  
    Age at first calving (goal of 22-24 months)  
    Cows bred ______AI _______natural service _______both
    Heifers bred ______AI _______natural service _______both

    Using these data, the manager should develop specific and measurable goals for the upcoming reproductive year. Some of the goals that a manager may consider include:

    • Observe 85% of cattle in estrus by 60 days postpartum,
    • To breed healthy cows starting at 50 to 60 days postpartum,
    • To observe 75% of all heats,
    • To maintain a conception rate of more than 40% for all services and greater than 50% for the first service,
    • Maintain an average days to first service at 75 to 80 days,
    • To maintain 60% of the estrus intervals between 18 and 24 days,
    • To maintain an average days open at 100 to 110 days,
    • To maintain a services per conception goal of < 2,
    • To have an average age at first calving of 22 to 24 months,
    • To visually observe cows three times a day for 30 minutes per observation, and
    • To take an artificial insemination refresher course.

    Final Thoughts

    Improving reproduction efficiency on dairy farms takes time and the willingness to examine the current reproduction program. Each dairy farm must design a reproduction program that is suited for their facilities, record keeping management, personnel, and daily schedule. Contact your local County Extension office or your local breed organization for assistance in determining the areas of need for your farm's reproduction program.
     

  3. Heat Detection in Dairy Cattle - Part II

    Recently, I received a phone call from a farm advisor who had concerns regarding the milk fat content in the herd of one of his clients. Cows were producing quite well, averaging 80 lb/day of milk, but the milk fat was hovering near 3.0%. Milk protein appeared relatively normal, at 3.9%. Herd health was normal, indicating that the low milk fat had not been associated with acidosis (at least to this point). The producer did not want to implement changes in the feeding program because he feared that if milk fat was brought within the normal range (3.5 to 3.7% for Holstein), milk production would drop and his milk paycheck would be severely reduced. What this producer needed to understand is that due to the last Federal Milk Marketing Order reform, milk in Federal Order 33 is now priced based on components: fat, protein, and other solids. A few other factors affect the monthly milk check (e.g. somatic cell counts), but these are relatively small and are not relevant to the analysis we are about to proceed with. Also, this producer needed to understand that nutrients are needed to produce the "other solids" fraction of milk.

    Nutritional requirements change with the composition of the milk produced. The analysis must factor in the amount of milk components produced, their respective prices, the amounts of each nutrient required, and their respective prices. We used nutritional requirements calculated using the 2001 edition of the National Research Council publication, "Nutritional Requirements of Dairy Cattle". Costs of nutrients were those calculated for Ohio for July 2004 using the software SESAME. Price of milk components were those for Federal Order 33 in June 2004. Calculations were made for the current situation: 80 lb/day of milk with a 3.0% fat content. Calculations were also made for an alternate scenario where milk production was dropped 6 lb/day to 74 lb/cow/day, while raising the milk fat to 3.6% and maintaining other milk components at the same levels.

    Results of our calculations are presented in Table 1. Under the new scenario, cows would produce an additional 0.26 lb/day of fat, but production of protein and other solids would drop by 0.17 and 0.35 lbs/day, respectively. The gross milk income would remain virtually unchanged to approximately $13.05/cow/day.

    Because of the different nutrient requirements, the cost of providing the necessary nutrients to support milk production would actually be reduced under the new scenario by a calculated $0.08/cow per day. The income-over-nutrient cost favors marginally the new scenario by $0.06/cow/day. The point is that this producer could afford losing 6 lb/cow/day in milk production to correct the milk fat content problem without any negative financial impact. It is very likely that correcting the milk fat problem would not result in a loss of 6 lb/cow/day. Depending on the exact cause of the milk fat depression, one could actually see an increase in the volume produced. The lessons to be learned for this exercise are:

    1. You are now mostly paid for the pounds of components shipped. The volume of milk is somewhat irrelevant.
    2. There is no free lunch. It costs something to produce milk components. For the other-solids fraction (lactose, minerals, and other small components), it costs you more to provide the nutrients required to their production than what you are getting paid for them ($0.134/lb in June).

    For those who want to explore other scenarios, we prepared an Excel spreadsheet (click here).

    Table 1. Analysis of income-over-nutrient costs under two different scenarios.

    Item
    Current
    Alternate
    Milk production (lb/cow/day)
    80
    74
    Fat (%)
    3.0
    3.6
    Protein (%)
    2.9
    2.9
    Other solids (%)
    5.9
    5.9
    Production (lb/cow/day)
     
     
    Fat
    2.40
    2.66
    Protein
    2.32
    2.15
    Other solids

    4.72

    4.37
    Nutritional requirements
     
     
    Net energy lactation (Mcal/day)
    33.83
    33.96
    Rumen degradable protein (lb/day)
    5.24
    5.29
    Rumen undegradable protein (lb/day)
    2.71
    2.39
    Non-effective NDF (lb/day)
    4.57
    4.63
    Effective NDF (lb/day)
    10.67
    10.80
    Gross income from milk ($/cow/day)
     
     
    Fat
    5.22
    5.80
    Protein
    7.21
    6.67
    Other solids
    0.63
    5.90
    Total gross income
    13.07
    13.05
    Nutrient costs ($/cow/day)
     
     
    Net energy lactation
    2.94
    2.96
    Rumen degradable protein
    0.12
    0.12
    Rumen undegradable protein
    0.78
    0.68
    Non-effective NDF
    (0.27)
    (0.27)
    Effective NDF
    0.57
    0.58
    Minerals and vitamins
    0.20
    0.20
    Total nutrient costs
    4.35
    4.27
    Income-over-nutrient costs
    8.72
    8.78

     

  4. Milk Volume or Components: What Should You Aim For?

    Dr. Mark Sulc, Forage Specialist, Ohio State University (top of page)

    Late summer can be an excellent time to establish forage crops, provided there is sufficient moisture for germination and good seedling growth. It is also a good time to seed in bare or thin spots in forage stands established this past spring. The following steps will improve the chances for successful forage stand establishment in late summer.

    1. Apply lime and fertilizer according to soil test and control problem perennial weeds ahead of seeding. Be careful with herbicide selection because some have residual soil activity and will harm new forage seedings of proper waiting periods are not observed. Read the labels for details.

    2. Prepare a firm seedbed if using tillage. Loose seedbeds dry out very quickly. Deep tillage should be completed several weeks ahead of seeding so rains can settle the soil before final seedbed preparation. A cultipacker or cultimulcher is an excellent last-pass tillage tool. The soil should be firm enough for a footprint to sink no deeper than 3/8 to 0.5 inch.

    3. No-till seeding is an excellent way to conserve moisture, provided weeds are controlled prior to seeding. Remove all straw after small grains. Any remaining stubble should either be left standing, or clipped and removed. Do not leave clipped stubble in fields as it forms a dense mat that prevents good emergence.
    CAUTION: No-till or reduced-till summer seedings of legumes are at risk of infection by Sclertotinia crown and stem rot, especially in fields where clover or alfalfa were present recently. Mid- to late-August plantings dramatically increase the risk of damage by this disease compared with planting earlier. It is best to avoid no-till where clover was grown recently.

    4. Don't plant alfalfa immediately after older established alfalfa, because autotoxic compounds are released by old alfalfa plants that inhibit growth and productivity of the new stand. It is best to rotate to another crop for a year before going back to alfalfa. Thickening up Spring 2004 seedings is fine.

    5. Seed when soil moisture is adequate or a good rain system is in the forecast. It is very risky to place seeds into dry soil, as there may be just enough moisture to germinate the seed but not enough for seedling establishment.

    6. Seed as early as possible. Seedlings require 6 to 8 weeks of growth after emergence to have adequate vigor to survive the winter. Seed by August 15 to 20 in northern Ohio and by September 1 in southern Ohio. Slow establishing species like birdsfoot trefoil or reed canarygrass should be planted in early August. Fast establishing species like red clover, alfalfa, and orchardgrass can be seeded up to the dates listed above if moisture is present. Kentucky bluegrass and timothy can actually be seeded 15 days or more later than the dates listed above. Keep in mind that the above dates assume sufficient moisture to establish the crop. Planting later than the dates mentioned above is sometimes successful depending on fall and winter weather patterns, but there is increased risk of failure and reduced yield potential for the stand as planting is delayed. A good rule of thumb for alfalfa is to have 6 to 8 inches of growth before a killing frost.

    7. Plant seed shallow and in firm contact with the soil. Carefully check seeding depth, especially when no-tilling. Drills with press wheels usually provide the greatest success in the summer. Broadcasting seed on the surface without good soil coverage and without firm packing is usually a recipe for failure in the summer.

    8. Use high quality seed of known varieties. Cheap seed often results in big disappointments and shorter stand life. Make sure legume seed has fresh inoculum of the proper rhizobium.

    9. Do not harvest new summer seedings this fall. The only exception to this rule is perennial ryegrass. If perennial ryegrass has tillered and has more than six inches of growth in late fall, clip it back to 3 to 4 inches before snowfall.

    10. Scout new seedings for winter annual weeds in October to November, and apply herbicides as needed. Winter annual weeds are much easier to control in late fall than in the spring.

  5. Manure Application to Alfalfa

    Dr. Mark Sulc, Forage Specialist, Ohio State University (top of page)

    Applying manure to alfalfa is becoming increasingly common for a variety of reasons. There are several environmental, agronomic, and management advantages and potential concerns with applying manure to alfalfa. This article provides a brief synopsis of those issues, taken from the North Central Regional Research Report 346, "Applying Manure to Alfalfa", authored by K.A. Kelling and M.A. Schmitt at the Universities of Wisconsin and Minnesota. At the end of this article, I provide information on how to obtain a copy of the complete report.

    The advantages of applying manure to alfalfa include the following: 1) it provides substantial cropland for spreading manure throughout the summer months, 2) alfalfa can utilize the macro and micronutrients provided in manure, including excellent utilization of the nitrogen applied in manure, and 3) alfalfa's deep root system extracts mobile nutrients such as nitrogen, sulfur, and boron at greater depths than corn. One nutrient concern, however, may be over application of potassium through the manure. This can lead to unacceptably high potassium levels in the forage. Soil test results are an essential tool to utilize when planning manure application to alfalfa or any other forage.

    There are three basic timing strategies for applying manure to alfalfa and each has its advantages and risks. Careful management can improve the success of each of these strategies, as discussed below:

    Applying Manure Before Alfalfa Establishment. This is a relatively new approach, and may provide the best combination of agronomic performance and reduced environmental risk. Research studies have shown that pre-plant manure applications generally have a positive effect on seedling-year alfalfa yield if weeds are adequately controlled. The yield response may be carried over into the first full production year. The increased weed pressure usually does not persist past the first cutting in the seeding year. In pure alfalfa stands, there are several good herbicide options to deal with this potential problem. When spreading manure ahead of seeding, avoid compacting soil and be sure that the manure is incorporated thoroughly in the soil so seed is not planted directly into areas with high amounts of manure. Do not apply more than 75 tons/acre of solid dairy manure or 20,000 gallons/acre of liquid dairy manure ahead of seeding to ensure healthy alfalfa growth and avoid environmental problems. If applying more than 40 tons/acre of dairy manure equivalent, apply at least 6 weeks before seeding. Other types of manure with higher salt and ammonia levels should be applied at lower rates than these.

    Topdressing Manure on Established Alfalfa. This practice is risky because of potential for compaction injury, salt burn to alfalfa leaves, stand suffocation, and increased weed pressure. Some research results showed reduced alfalfa yields with topdressed manure on established alfalfa. Applications on frozen soils run the risk of large nutrient runoff losses, so exercise extreme care and judgment in those situations and avoid it if possible. Consider topdressing manure only on older stands with the most grass, which tolerates topdressed manure better than alfalfa (this may cause further loss of the alfalfa in the stand but tends to increase forage yield via stimulating grass growth). Topdress manure only where the nutrients are needed. Apply no more than 3000 gallons of liquid or about 10 tons of solid dairy manure per acre in a single application, and spread manure as soon as possible after harvest to avoid burn potential and palatability or forage quality problems with the forage regrowth. Topdressing manure after substantial regrowth is present may also negatively impact the ensiling process of haylage. Make sure equipment is adjusted for uniform application, and spread only when soils are firm to minimize damage to alfalfa crowns.

    Applying Manure Immediately Before Terminating Alfalfa Stand. The most common strategy for applying manure to alfalfa ground is to spread it immediately before rotating the field to a grain crop, most notably corn. Advantages are that alfalfa injury is no longer a concern, labor is usually available in late summer to accomplish the task, and the field is still smooth and firm (before any tillage is performed). But, there is significant risk of loading the field with more nitrogen than the following crop can use, even if it is corn. Research has demonstrated that there is little, if any, response to additional nitrogen on corn following alfalfa. The environmental risk of nitrate leaching may be high with this practice. Limit the manure rate applied at the end of the alfalfa rotation to that amount which will supply the nitrogen required by the following crop AFTER accounting for the alfalfa nitrogen credit. Apply only to the very poorest hay fields where all alfalfa top growth has been harvested prior to manure application. The legume nitrogen credit increases as amount of topgrowth and alfalfa stand density increase. Apply manure immediately before primary or secondary tillage to reduce risk of direct manure runoff losses. Use a pre-sidedress nitrogen test before applying any additional nitrogen fertilizer to the following corn crop.

    Reference:

    Kelling, K.A., and M.A. Schmitt. 2003. Applying Manure to Alfalfa. North Central Regional Research Report 346. For copies contact Keith Kelling, Department of Soil Science, University of Wisconsin, 1525 Observatory Dr., Madison, WI 53706-1299. Phone (608) 263-2795, email: kkelling@wisc.edu. Also available online at http://www.soils.wisc.edu/extension/publications/Manure%20Alfalfa.pdf

  6. Ohio to Host 2004 Professional Dairy Heifer Growers Association Regional Meeting

    Mrs. Dianne Shoemaker, Dairy Extension Specialist, OSU Extension

    What is a "Professional Dairy Heifer Grower"? Ask the Professional Dairy Heifer Growers Association (PDHGA) and their response will be "Heifer growers dedicated to growing high quality dairy replacements." That is exactly the type of heifer grower that this year's regional meeting is designed for.

    Whether you raise heifers for your own or a client's dairy operation, reserve November 9th and 10th to participate in the PDHGA Regional Meeting at Wooster. Choose to participate in one or both days. Day one features a conference focusing on the basics of good management, managing feed costs, feeding alternative feeds, research updates, and key components of marketing plans that keep a professional grower's barns full. Day two features a tour of good heifer operations in the Holmes/Wayne county area.

    The meeting will be held on the OARDC campus in Wooster. Registration materials will be posted on the http//dairy.osu.edu web site as they become available.

  7. Manure Science Review

    Dr. Maurice Eastridge, Dairy Specialist, Ohio State University

    The 2004 Manure Science Review will be held in three locations. On Tuesday, August 24, it will be held in Reed Hall on the OSU Lima campus; on Wednesday, August 25, it will be held at the Fayette County Fairgrounds in Washington Court House; and on Thursday, August 26, it will be held at the Fisher Auditorium on the OARDC campus in Wooster. Topics will include feeding practices to reduce nutrients in manure, air quality, public perception of livestock operations, water quality and preferential flow, manure application, and liability issues. For more information, contact John Smith at (419) 738-2219 or Mary Wicks at (330) 202-3533 or go to http://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/ocamm.


    Dairy Leaders Honor Ohio's World Championship Industry During June Dairy Month Celebration,

  8. Dairy Leaders Honor Ohio's World Championship Industry During June Dairy Month Celebration

    Mr. Tim Demland, State Dairy Extension Associate, Ohio State University (top of page)

    On Tuesday June 1, 2004, the Ohio Dairy Industry Forum (ODIF) kicked off "June Dairy Month" by taking time to acknowledge the dairy industry's significant contributions to the region and to honor several individuals and companies that have contributed greatly to its success.

    During the business meeting portion of the day, Ohio's dairy industry representatives agreed to increase visibility by establishing a web site designed to feature dairy's contributions and highlights, ODIF activities, and news updates of many issues that are of particular interest to Ohio's dairy stakeholders.

    The group also heard an update by Dr. David Glauer, Director of Ohio Department of Agriculture's Animal Industry Division, on the implementation of the U.S Animal Identification program and several areas that will need legislative approval.

    After discussing several pertinent issues facing Ohio's dairy industry, such as animal identification and the current heated debate over the influx of new "Mega-Dairy" farms, forum participants turned their attention to matters slightly less controversial as they focused on the positive achievements of several Ohio dairy stakeholders.

    One of those honored by participants was ODIF's first Chair, Dr. Leon Weaver. Dr. Weaver was selected as the original chair at ODIF's organizational meeting in April of 2001 and served until late last year when his term expired. Leon was honored by the group for his proactive leadership and visionary foresights that he unselfishly shared with the group in order to better enhance Ohio's entire dairy industry. He will continue to serve as an ODIF board trustee and also on the past chair's committee.

    Pearl Valley Cheese and the Biery Cheese Company were also awarded Certificates of Achievement from the ODIF in recognition of their award winning performances at the World Cheese Contest held in March of 2004. According to Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association's Executive Director, John Umhoefer, "The international community of cheese makers and butter makers has made the competition the "Olympics of Cheese Making". Ohio was represented extremely well at the event and additional luggage was required for their return trip. Pearl Valley Cheese was awarded the Silver Medal in the highly competitive Colby cheese category with a Colby Deli Horn, while Biery Cheese was awarded "Best of Show" in two different Pasteurized Processed Cheese categories. Biery topped all other competitions in both the Pasteurized Process Cheese, with their White American and the Flavored Pasteurized Process Cheese with a Hot Pepper Cheese. Their Horseradish Cheese was also awarded a Bronze Medal in the Flavored Pasteurized Process Cheese class. Chuck Ellis, General Manager & co-owner, accepted the award on behalf of Pearl Valley Cheese and Dennis Biery received the certificate for Biery Cheese from ODIF's current chair Connie Finton. When asked "How could an Ohio cheese maker become so successful at such a prominent international contest?", Dennis Biery simply smiled and said, "Only an Ohio cheese maker has full access to Ohio milk".

    Representatives from Ohio's dairy producers, processors, allied industry, and retail/distribution sectors have come together to form the Ohio Dairy Industry Forum which, through quarterly forums, publications, and other proactive measures, strives to address and respond to pertinent and timely issues through consensus. This is accomplished by enhancing lines of communications and endeavoring to create an environment that fosters the creation of mutually beneficial relationships between all those that have a vested interest in Ohio's dairy industry.

    Go to http://putnam.osu.edu/ag/ODIF.html to get additional information on the ODIF and other News Release.

  9. Ohio Dairy Producers Will Be Operating the Dairy Stand at 2004 Ohio State Fair

    Mr. Tim Demland, State Dairy Extension Associate, Ohio State University (top of page)

     

    The Ohio Dairy Producers (ODP) will begin operating a dairy stand in the Food Pavilion during the 2004 Ohio State Fair that runs from August 4th through the 15th. The American Dairy Association and Dairy Council Mid East (ADA & DC Mid East), which has operated both the Food Pavilion stand as well as the Dairy Products Building in the past, has provided this opportunity to the ODP. "This is just one way that we can show our support for the ODP", said Scott Higgins, ADA & DC Mid East's General Manager. "The operation of two stands was a problem at times and having ODP run the smaller stand will enable them to offer some new and cutting edge products."

    The menu plans are not complete, but we are looking to serve all the flavored milk products that have been offered in the past as well as soft serve ice cream cones, sundaes, and hopefully four flavors of "Razzles"�. (similar to McDonald's McFlurries).

    To make the most of the opportunity and to help assure its success, the ODP board has agreed to solicit volunteers to operate the stand. If you or your group are interested in working in the stand, please contact Tim Demland at 419-523-6294 so we can get you scheduled. The ODP will reimburse fair admission fees, and volunteers will receive a small gift of appreciation.