Buckeye Dairy News : Volume 7 Issue 2

  1. Mideast Federal Order Hearing Held on March 7, Wooster, Ohio

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

    By now, anyone with an interest in the dairy industry here in Ohio, Michigan, Western Pennsylvania, Indiana, Northern Kentucky, parts of West Virginia, western New York, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and a host of other states, knows that on Monday, March 7, an event of high importance kicked off in Wooster, Ohio, at the Schisler Conference Center on the campus of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC).

    The opening day was long awaited for the Mideast Federal Order 33 hearing on depooling and repooling of milk on the Mideast Federal Order. This hearing was requested by the Ohio Dairy Producers Association and the Ohio Farmers Union. It followed directly on the heels of two identical hearings, one held this past December 2004 on behalf of the producers in the Central Federal Order 32 and the first, held at the request of the Midwest Federal Order 30 producers during August 2004.

    I hope you were able to attend at least part of the hearing program. It was very informative and fascinating look into the inner workings of your Federal Milk Market Order. Normally, the hearing program starts off with a very useful, in not somewhat dry, presentation of facts and figures on the Mideast Federal Order. Not so for our hearing. On the first morning, there was a presentation from the Federal Order 33 Market Administrator office setting the stage for the remainder of the hearing session. Thereafter, the testimony followed on behalf of those dairy entities who submitted proposals to be considered for rewriting the Federal Order language. This process was one of direct interview by lawyers on behalf of the proposal writers and then cross examination by lawyers on behalf of those dairy entities opposed to a particular proposal or set of proposals.

    Now, what is the central subject matter of this Federal Order hearing? To answer my question, I must provide a brief digression on Federal milk market orders. A central tenant of Federal Milk Market Orders, going all the way back to the enabling legislation of 1937 which codified what was already a practice in the then unregulated milk markets, is that consumers should and will pay more for milk (and all of its components) when used in fluid or semi fluid form. You know these as Class I and Class II products. This added market value was not left to the market to determine but was added directly into the pay price for raw milk used in these products. You know this as the Class I and Class II differentials. Milk producers whose milk went into this fluid market earned this added return in their milk checks. However, at the time that the first Federal Order was codified, it was recognized that this had the potential to cause a real problem for dairy producers. Those with fluid milk outlets received more for their milk than did their neighbors without access to the fluid milk market. In an attempt to avoid cut-throat competition for access to fluid milk markets and to rectify this equity of pay problem, the authors of the Federal Order language added the notion that all producers should share in this enhanced return by averaging or blending together the various pay prices for milk used in fluid and also manufacturing (cheese and butter) uses.

    This solved one problem and created yet another problem. In a market with a high percentage of milk produced flowing into the fluid market, there was only a marginal amount of milk in the manufactured market to be considered and this was thought of as a reserve supply for the fluid market. As such, it made sense, or at minimum an argument could be put forward that it made sense, that producers of this reserve supply should be able to share in the higher returns from the fluid milk market as an incentive to be a reserve supply. But what about markets where the proportion of milk in the fluid market was small relative to milk used in the manufactured products? Surely, not all of this milk was needed as a reserve supply for the fluid market. Surely not all of this milk deserved to share in the added returns from the fluid milk market. To resolve this problem, a set of rules, i.e. performance rules, were designed and used to determine which producer's milk would or would not be eligible for this blending of the fluid market returns. This is known today as pooling or being on the market pool. Pool participation is mandatory for those supplying milk to fluid milk plants and voluntary for all others. Performance rules were and are somewhat broad in order to provide the needed flexibility for milk to flow between uses.

    Now just what is the current Federal Order hearing, and the other two hearings as well, all about? This was a hearing to determine whether or not a language change is warranted as to who is entitled to share in the proceeds of the added market value built into milk used for Class I and Class II products, and what should be the rules by which entitlement to this added value is determined? Yes, there are other issues that came up during the two to three days of testimony, such as expanded transportation credits, some directly related and some only red herrings, but entitlement and performance was the focus of this particular hearing. Remember that your milk price in 2005 will be excellent by any standard.

    Currently the cash markets are very robust for this time of year. Cheese on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) is resisting a fall below the $1.55/lb mark. Likewise, butter on the CME is staying above the $1.50/lb level. When world supplies of skim powder are in tight supply, there is upward movement in the nonfat dry milk commodity market. This strength at the commodity level has forged itself into the CME futures market for Class III. While the futures contract level for 2005 has retreated some from levels reached last fall, there still is a good premium in the market, especially for the March through August contracts. To receive weekly updates on my price forecasts or to receive a daily update on the premiums or discounts in the CME futures market, check out my website at http://aede.osu.edu/programs/ohiodairy/

    Table 1. Dairy commodity price forecast 2005.

    Table 2. Milk Component Value Forecast, 2005.

    It is fair to ask what could alter my dairy product and milk price forecasts for 2005. Let's consider these factors as they may push prices up or down going into 2005. Feed prices are down and the milk-feed price ratio is at its highest point in the last three years. At this time, it appears that 2005 will be another very good year for milk prices and dairy farm income.

    Price Enhancing Factors:

    I think it sums up to this - continued lousy milk production weather in the West, Pacific Northwest, New Mexico, West Texas, and Idaho. As I have said many times before in this column, weather is the most effective supply management tool we have today. If the west continues to get soaked over and over again, look for the 2005 average Class III price to move up another $0.40 to 0.60/cwt.

    Price Reducing Factors:

    Here, I think that it all depends on the health of the general economy. If a weakness in consumer demand (due to escalating energy and utility prices and renewed weakness in the investment and employment markets) materializes, we could see prices for butter and cheese stay lower than forecasted. This would remove $0.20 to 0.30/cwt from my current forecast.

    Remember, if you fill life's jar with sand, there will be no room for life's gem stones.

    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 web site, Ohio Dairy Web 2004, and click on Cam's Price Outlook.

  2. When is the Best Time to Market Cull Cows?

    Mr. Dusty Sonnenberg, OSU Extension Educator, Henry County; Dr. Stephen Boyles, Extension Beef Specialist, The Ohio State University; and Dr. Michael Looper, USDA-ARS 

    The national average cull rate for dairy cows is 35% in the United States. With this in mind, the question is not if a cow should be culled, but rather when. As discussed in a previous article, a variety of factors go into determining when a producer culls a cow. In most years, the average dairy producer will cull 1 out of 3 cows. Often, these are the milk cows with poor feet and legs, udder and teat problems, high somatic cell counts, and chronic mastitis.

    This presents an interesting component to discuss when considering an impact on the beef (meat) industry in terms of quality assurance. Withdrawal times and holding milk out of the tank are watched very closely for treated cows in milk. Nonetheless, approximately 3,000 tanker loads of milk are condemned annually in the United States due to drug residues being detected in the milk. That is an average of 8 to 9 tanker loads of milk condemned per day.

    When cows with high somatic cell counts and chronic mastitis are culled, often they were being treated. Most likely that drug has both a withholding time for the milk, but also a withdrawal time for the slaughter of that animal. Just like the contaminated milk tankers, while unintentional, if the proper withdrawal time is neglected and the drug residue is detected during an ante mortem or postmortem inspection, that carcass will be condemned. This situation is compounded by the fact that oftentimes the medications are being administered as a dosage based on the weight of the animal. A well-intentioned producer can easily overestimate the weight of an animal being treated and administer too high a dose. In addition, if the cow is sick, the metabolism may be functioning slower than normal, thus the drug may not be processed by the body as quickly as under normal conditions. Yet, another factor to consider is extra label drug use as prescribed by a veterinarian. In an extra label use prescription, the withdrawal period will be extended from what is listed on the medication and must be re-calculated. The end result is that the withdrawal listed often is not sufficient for the cow's system to purge itself, and a drug residue situation will occur.

    In a recent study of antibiotic residue rates in dairy cull cows compared to beef cull cows, three times the antibiotic residue rate was found in cull dairy cows. From a beef (meat) industry quality assurance standpoint, feeding cull dairy cows for a given period of time after they are taken out of the milking herd not only can improve body condition score and potentially yield grade, as discussed in the January 2005 issue of Buckeye Dairy News, but also can do a great deal in alleviating potential drug residue concerns in cattle being processed for beef.

    In terms of the economics of feeding cull dairy cows, many variables must be calculated in the decision making process. The rate of gain is greatest when feeding cull cows from 28 to 56 days. One reason is during this period they have lower maintenance requirements. Feeding cull cows grain-based diets much longer than 2 months shows a decline in the rate of gain and will thus increase feed cost per pound of gain. The idea is to feed to facilitate cheap gain. There have been some questions asked regarding feeding left-over or waste feed from the previous feeding from the milk herd back to the cull cows. Producers should be cautious if considering practice, as it is not typically recommended due to biosecurity issues.

    The most profitable feeding management scheme is affected by the cost of feed inputs. Based on information from feeding cull beef cows, slower gains over the winter may be profitable if the cost of hay is relatively cheap. Expect dry matter intake (DM) of cows fed grain-based diets to be approximately 2.5 to 3% of bodyweight. Normally, there should be 60 to 80% concentrate in a grain-based diet. One can expect 3 lb/day or better of gain if the diet contains 80% grain and compensatory gain is expected.

    The protein requirement of cull cows does not appear to be particularly high. Crude protein levels of 9.5 to 11% of dietary DM are probably adequate. Keep in mind that the mineral supplementation program for grain-based diets and roughage-based diets are not the same. Calcium supplementation will be higher than phosphorus supplementation if feeding a high grain ration.

    Other livestock costs such as veterinary and medical expenses, farm utilities, power and fuel, and marketing expenses can be around $0.10/lb of gain. Excluding labor, management, and facilities, costs per pound of gain can range from $0.45 to 0.50.

    One final point to consider is the overall health of the cull cow being considered. Health and ability to gain weight are extremely variable in cull cows. Not all cull cows are suitable for additional feeding. Dairy producers should evaluate each cull cow on an individual basis.

    With an average of 33% of the U.S. beef production consisting of meat from market cull dairy cows, there is an obvious opportunity to increase the overall net farm profits by proper management of this often overlooked segment of the enterprise. With that opportunity, however, comes the responsibility to ensure a safe and quality meat product being supplied to the marketplace.

  3. Ammonia Emissions from Dairy Farms - The Basics

    Dr. Bill Weiss, Extension Dairy Specialist, The Ohio State University

    Dairy cows consume substantial amounts of nitrogen (otherwise known as crude protein or CP) each day. If cows are fed diets that approximately meet their requirements for protein, about 33% of the N consumed will be secreted in milk and retained by the cow (for example, by a growing fetus) and 67% will be excreted in urine and feces. The proportion of dietary N used for productive purposes (milk secretion and body retention) is reduced when cows are overfed CP. At the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), we have accumulated a large set of manure excretion and manure nutrient excretion data collected from lactating cows (see article on factors affecting manure production). In that dataset, average N intake was 564 g/day (equal to 7.8 lb of CP). Of the N consumed, on average, 4% (22 g) was apparently retained by the cow, 28% (158 g) was secreted in milk, 32% (181 g) was excreted in urine, and 36% (203 g) was excreted in feces.

    Cows excrete very little ammonia via feces, urine, and respiration; however, manure is a very significant source of ammonia on most farms. Of the N excreted via urine by a typical lactating dairy cow, 65 to 75% is in the form of urea. Urea can be broken down to ammonia and carbon dioxide by an enzyme called urease. Urease is produced by numerous bacteria that live in soil and feces. The rate at which ammonia is produced under field conditions is primarily a function of:

    1. The amount of urea in the system (greater amounts = greater ammonia production),
    2. Degree of mixing of urine (source of urea) and feces (source of urease) (greater mixing = greater ammonia production), and
    3. Temperature (higher temperatures = greater ammonia production).

    Under laboratory conditions where urine and feces are well-mixed and held at temperatures ranging from approximately 70 to 80oF, 40 to 50% of the N in manure can be converted to ammonia within 48 hours. Based on the average N excretion data from our experiments (384 g of manure N/day per cow), approximately 200 g of ammonia (not ammonia-N) could be produced from dairy cow manure within 48 hours of being excreted. The actual amount produced under field conditions will likely be less because of differences in mixing and temperature between laboratory and barn conditions.

    Ammonia that is produced from manure is not necessarily volatilized into the atmosphere. The quantity that is volatilized is a function of a multitude of factors, including the amount of ammonia in the manure slurry, surface area of the slurry, temperature, air flow across the slurry, and pH of the slurry. The pH of the slurry determines how much of the ammonia that is present is in the potentially volatile form. Depending on the pH of the solution, ammonia exists as either NH3 (ammonia) or NH4+ (ammonium); NH3 is volatile. As the pH of a solution increases, the relative proportion of NH3 increases and ammonia volatilization increases. In a solution that has a pH of 9.4, approximately 50% of the ammonia is NH3 and 50% is NH4+. The pH of fresh dairy cow manure averages about 8.2 (substantial variation exists depending on diet). At a pH of 8.2, approximately 6% of the ammonia will be NH3 (the volatile form) and 94% will be NH4+, but at a pH of 8.6, 15% of the ammonia will be NH3. Although we can calculate with reasonable accuracy the amount of NH3 in manure that can be volatilized, we cannot calculate accurately the amount of NH3 that is actually volatilized because of the complexity of the system. However, the following general relationships are correct:

    1. Increased surface area increases ammonia volatilization (a thin film of manure will result in greater ammonia emissions than a deep pile of manure),
    2. Increased air movement above the slurry will increase ammonia volatilization,
    3. Increased temperature increases ammonia volatilization, and
    4. Reducing the pH of the slurry will reduce ammonia volatilization (although we can formulate diets that will result in significantly reduced manure pH, this is not recommended currently as a means of reducing ammonia emissions because of metabolic effects on the animal).

    By far, the easiest and most effective means of reducing ammonia volatilization is to simply feed diets that provide adequate, but not excessive, amounts of protein. Numerous studies have shown that if protein fractions are balanced correctly, diets with 14 to 15% CP will support in excess of 70 lb/day of milk. In a recent experiment that we conducted, the excretion of manure N was 90 g/day per cow (a 20% reduction) lower when Holstein cows were fed a diet with 14% CP compared with a diet containing 17.5% CP. Milk production (averaged 80 lb/day) and milk protein yield were not affected by treatment.

  4. Prevention and Treatment of Hairy Heel Warts

    Dr. William B. Epperson, Extension Dairy Veterinarian, The Ohio State University 

    Lameness is an important condition on dairy farms. Dairy farms of midwestern states appear to have a 33% higher prevalence of lameness than dairy farms of the West or Southeast US. Lameness disproportionately affects high producing dairy cows, and has been associated with a 792 lb reduction in 305 day milk yield in one study. Multiple cross-sectional studies indicate that the prevalence of lameness on dairy farms is approximately 22%. That is, at any one time, 22% of cows are lame on the average dairy farm. From field investigations, we have conducted that 30% lameness prevalence is not uncommon on Ohio dairy farms.

    Papillomatous Digital Dermatitis (PDD; a.k.a. digital dermatitis, hairy heel warts, heel warts, hairy foot warts, digital warts, strawberry foot, strawberry foot disease, raspberry heel, and interdigital papillomatosis) can be the most common single cause of lameness in a herd. Currently, spirochetes of the genus Treponema are regarded as the principle bacteria involved in PDD. Dairy farms have seen a great increase in PDD over the last 10 years, though PDD was described in the early 1970's. Increased risk of PDD in a herd has been found to be associated with herd size, large dairy breeds, addition of outside animals, muddy lots, and generally poor foot hygiene.

    Diagnosis of PDD is usually made by observation of feet. The PDD is characteristically located just above the heels on the rear feet. Lesions may extend between the claws, into the interdigital space, and appear on the front side of the foot. The condition is contagious, and lesions are very painful. Photos of lesions can be accessed at http://www.cowdoc.net/. Click on foot lameness, then hairy warts.

    Herds differ dramatically in response to specific treatment programs for PDD. What works in one herd may not work in another. PDD is generally controlled through use of direct application of antibiotics or disinfectants to the affected area. There are 3 ways to make such an application - directly under a bandage, by topical spray, or through a footbath. Foot bandages need to be removed in 3 days, but response is generally very good. Tetracycline solution has been used under a foot wrap, though other non-antibiotic products have been promoted for use under bandages as well. Topical sprays are applied using a garden sprayer or other spray applicator. Sprays work better if they are applied to a foot free of mud and debris. A wide variety of compounds, both antibiotics and disinfectants, are available that are promoted for use as sprays. Tetracycline and lincomycin are two antibiotics that have been used with good effect in treatment and control of PDD. Twenty to 30 ml of mixed solution is applied to each foot, being sure to cover the affected lesion. Use of these products constitutes an extra-label use, so a veterinarian must be consulted for dosage, application instructions, and warnings. Generally, sprays are applied for 5 days out of 7. This treatment may be repeated as needed. As always, antibiotics must be used with some caution to avoid milk residues. Proper use of topical antibiotic solutions has not resulted in milk residues to date.

    Non-antibiotic (disinfectant) products are also used in PDD control programs. Compared to the antibiotics listed above, disinfectants may require re-dosing at frequent intervals. A number of commercial formulations are available. These products are generally proprietary but are based on organic acids or other GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) compounds. Efficacy data may be available on some of these products. Disinfectants including formalin (5%), chlorine bleach, copper sulfate, and zinc sulfate have all been used, often to a limited degree of success.

    Footbaths may be used in control and treatment of PDD. In general, traditional footbaths are the least efficacious method of application. Traditional footbaths offer a limited contact time and often became heavily contaminated. There are new footbath systems that manage solutions or allow extended contact time. In traditional footbaths, solutions should be changed when they are grossly contaminated, or for every 150 cows, whichever comes first. Footbaths may be more applicable for routine control, rather than for treatment. Copper sulfate (5 to 10%) and tetracycline (1 to 10 g/liter of finished solution - an extra label use) have been used with moderate success. Producers should carefully consider the cost of application via footbath, as it will often exceed the cost of topical spraying.

    A vaccine for PDD is available (Trep Shield HW- Novartis Animal Health). Producers should consult their herd veterinarian for a recommendation on use of this vaccine. Vaccination may best be thought of as an aid to the control of PDD. It appears that vaccination is probably most effective in heifers prior to joining an already infected milking herd. Results have been variable, but it appears that vaccination may help decrease new cases of PDD in unaffected animals and may be of limited benefit to cows already exposed to the organisms. Therefore, consideration of the herd, the magnitude of the problem, and the source and status of replacement heifers should be considered.

    In summary, PDD is a serious disease causing lameness in dairy cattle. Currently, Treponema bacteria are thought to be the primary agents. Short term control measures focus on the use of antibiotics or disinfectants on feet at some periodic interval. Treatment is best accomplished with foot wraps, topical sprays, and footbaths (in that order). A commercial vaccine is available and has been shown to provide some protection in unexposed heifers. Improving foot hygiene and foot defense are key to long-term control of PDD.

  5. Update on Ohio's Program for Controlling Johne's Disease

    Dr. Bill Shulaw, Extension Beef and Sheep Veterinarian, The Ohio State University (top of page)

    Johne's disease continues to receive considerable national attention as an important livestock disease. Previous research has indicated that this disease may cost the US dairy industry as much as $250 million annually. Reports concerning the possible role of the causative agent, Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP), in Crohn's disease of humans and the finding of this organism in pasteurized milk have added new dimensions to the concern. Perhaps, the most tangible evidence of this concern is the availability of several million dollars in Federal funding over the past 3 to 5 years for research in Johne's disease and for efforts to control it.

    In mid 2002, uniform standards for the Voluntary Bovine Johne's Disease Control Program (VBJDCP) were published by the USDA in cooperation with the National Johne's Disease Working Group and the United States Animal Health Association. This document outlines minimum standards for control of Johne's disease. The three basic elements are: 1) education, to inform producers about the disease and strategies to control it; 2) management, to provide producers with management and control strategies specific to their farm; and 3) guidelines for herd testing and classification programs to help separate infected herds from test-negative herds.

    Ohio has been at the forefront of efforts to educate producers and assist them in the control of this disease. State and federally employed veterinarians and private practitioners have been valuable resources in this effort. The publishing of the VBJDCP program standards and the availability of Federal monies for support to the states have led to some changes. The first of these is the appointment of a Designated Johne's Disease Coordinator. Dr. Ned Cunningham of the Ohio Department of Agriculture's (ODA) Division of Animal Industry and Dr. Roger Krogwold of the UDSA APHIS serve as co-coordinators in Ohio. They provide oversight of all aspects of the program in Ohio. This includes providing additional training for private practitioners who are then called "Johne's Certified Veterinarians". Last year, in addition to seven educational producer meetings, four meetings were held to provide this training and certification to private practitioners. As well as providing new information on Johne's disease diagnosis and control, veterinarians were trained to conduct on-farm risk assessments and to develop specific farm management plans for Johne's disease.

    Conducting a risk assessment involves a one-on-one meeting between the producer and the certified veterinarian and examination of several key areas where the disease may be introduced to the farm or where transmission of the infection may be more likely. These include such items as: a) examination of the calving area with attention to manure build up in the environment or on the cows and the time calves spend in the calving area; b) feeding and sanitation practices used in the management of pre-weaned calves; and c) management of calves post weaning with respect to opportunities for spread of the disease by contamination with infected manure. Each of six key areas is given a numerical score, and the weighted scores are totaled. This gives the producer an idea of "risk" on his/her farm and helps identify the areas that need the most attention for improvement. In practice, going through the risk assessment process is an educational activity and helps producers put the elements of Johne's disease control in perspective. Many people come to realize that the management strategies used to control transmission of Johne's disease are also very helpful in controlling other calfhood disease problems. When the risk assessment process is completed, a prioritized management plan is developed, and it is to be reviewed annually. Herd testing is not required for producers to participate in the risk assessment/management plan process. Currently, Federal monies of $350/farm are available to support the initial risk assessment/management plan. Support for subsequent risk assessments will likely be available, but the exact amount has not yet been determined.

    Herd owners who do not know their herd's infection status or who believe they are infected, can elect to do some diagnostic testing. Currently, if they have completed the risk assessment process, their veterinarian can receive $4 per sample submitted (one time per cow yearly) to support the cost of sample collection. This is available as a result of the strong Federal support for Johne's disease control. Blood can be collected for ELISA screening or fecal samples can be submitted for culture. Whole herd cultures do have to be scheduled in advance and must be received early in the week in order for them to be processed.

    Herd owners who believe their herd is not infected may want to enter the Ohio Johne's Disease Test Negative Status program. This program is designed and implemented for herd owners that wish to establish their herd's test negative status, and it is especially useful if they wish to market animals for breeding purposes. Negative ELISA results on all animals in the herd two years old or older will allow the herd owner to apply for Level 1 status. Herds advance through the five levels of the Test Negative Status Program by subsequent annual whole herd tests alternating between fecal culture and ELISA. Herd additions from off the farm are allowed, but all animals added must have had a negative fecal culture for Johne's disease within the previous twelve months or had a negative serum antibody test within thirty days after the animal was purchased. Click here for more information on the Test Negative Status Program.

    An area of intense research has been in development of improved diagnostic tests. The Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory of the ODA has evaluated several new diagnostic tests and techniques. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology is now available to confirm the presence of MAP in suspicious colonies found on the traditional solid culture medium and selected tissue specimens. The evaluation process for a new liquid culture media system has largely been completed. This system should allow a more rapid turnaround time of about 8 weeks for culture of fecal samples. In addition, this new system will have better sensitivity than the traditional solid media. This means that it is likely that more infected animals will be found on a herd test using this new method. It is anticipated that the laboratory will convert to use of this system for fecal cultures as soon as renovations can be completed to house the necessary equipment.

    Three herds in Ohio have been identified for intense study and the generation of educational material. The first round of testing in these herds was conducted in the fall of 2004, and they will be tested again in the spring of 2005. Again, Federal monies have been available to support this educational effort in Ohio and 18 other states. Data from these herds is being submitted to the USDA for eventual analysis that will help us better understand control strategies that are most helpful. As a part of this effort, samples from the farm environment are being collected and cultured for MAP. Although it comes as no real surprise, preliminary data from our herds here in Ohio indicate that it is relatively easy to find MAP on the udder of cows on an infected farm, even if the cow herself has a negative fecal culture.

    Although progress in the control of Johne's disease seems to be very slow, it is being made. The tools and knowledge we already have can allow us to make substantial improvement in reducing the disease's impact on individual farms. Producers should talk with their veterinarian about conducting a risk assessment and development of a management plan to control the disease or to prevent its introduction to the herd.

  6. Information on the Environmental Protection Agency Air Quality Program

    Dr. Lingying Zhao, Extension Agricultural Engineer, The Ohio State University

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the Air Quality Compliance Agreement (the Agreement) on January 21, 2005. The Agreement was published in the Federal Register on January 31, 2005. The EPA solicited public comments for 30 days on the Agreement. Producers with animal feeding operations (AFO) should decide whether or not to participate in the Agreement before May 1, 2005.

    The primary goals of the Air Quality Compliance Agreement are to ensure that AFO are in compliance with the Clean Air Act, Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), and Environmental Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) provisions and promote a national consensus on methodologies for estimating emissions from AFO.

    Key obligations of dairy producers to join the Agreement are to:

    • Pay a civil penalty of $200 (< 700 cows or 1,000 heifers), $500 (700 to 7000 cows or 1,000 to 10,000 heifers), or $1000 (>7000 cows or 10,000 heifers),
    • Pay $2,500 into a fund for a nationwide emissions monitoring program, and
    • Make facilities available for monitoring.

    Key protections and benefits for dairy producers joining the Agreement are:

    • Receive a covenant not to be sued by EPA for past violations of the Clean Air Act and CERCLA section 103 and EPCRA section 304 hazardous substance reporting requirements arising from releases of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide from animal confinement structures and agricultural livestock waste lagoons, and
    • Receive a covenant not to be sued for the period of the national emissions monitoring program (3.5 to 4 years from now).

      For detailed information about the Agreement, click here.
  7. 2005 Ohio Dairy Challenge

    Dr. Maurice Eastridge, Extension Dairy Specialist, The Ohio State University 

    The 2005 Ohio Dairy Challenge was held January 28-29 and was again sponsored by Cargill Animal Nutrition. The Dairy Challenge provides the opportunity for undergraduates at Ohio State University to experience the process of evaluating management practices on a dairy farm and to interact with representatives in the dairy industry. The program is held in a contest format whereby students are grouped into teams of three to four individuals, and the first place team received $800, the second place team $300, and the third place team $200 from Cargill Animal Nutrition. The farm selected for the contest this year was Layman Dairy, Inc. located in Utica, OH and owned by Dave and Brett Layman and their families. They have a herd of 275 Holstein cows that are housed in free stalls and are milked in a double-8 herringbone parlor. The contest started by the students and the judges spending about two hours at the farm on Friday evening, assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the operation by interviewing the owners and examining the specific areas of the dairy facility. On Saturday, the teams spent four to five hours reviewing their notes and DHI records to provide a summary of the strengths and opportunities of the operation in the format of a MS PowerPoint presentation. The students then had 20 minutes to present their results and 10 minutes for questions from the judges. The judges were Mr. Fred Martsolf (Cargill Animal Nutrition), Dr. Steve DeBruin (Veterinarian for Layman Dairy, Inc.; Feeder Creek Veterinary Services), Dr. Maurice Eastridge (Professor, Department of Animal Sciences, OSU), and Dr. K. Larry Smith (Professor Emeritus, Department of Animal Sciences, OSU). The teams that participated this year were: Team #1 (Third Place) - Kelly Epperly, Nathan Goodell, and Dan Ziegler; Team #2 - Neil Moff, Stacey Shipley, and Amy Sprunger; Team # 3 (Second Place) - Mike Allerding, Rick Ellerbrock, and Andrea Keener; and Team #4 (First Place) - Christy Lahmers, Mike Klein, Matt McVey, and Jason Nuhfer. The Awards Banquet was held at the Buckeye Hall of Fame Café, where the students and judges were joined by the Layman families.

    The North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge is a national contest created to inspire students and enhance university programs nationwide. It is a dairy management contest that incorporates all phases of a specific dairy business in a fun, interactive, and educational forum and is supported financially through generous donations by industry and coordinated by a volunteer steering committee. The fourth annual national contest will be held April 8-9 and will be hosted by Penn State University. The students selected to represent Ohio State at this years national contest include: Mike Allerding, Kelly Epperly, Matt McVey, and Stacey Shipley. Dr. Maurice Eastridge will be serving as their coach.