Buckeye Dairy News : Volume 7 Issue 5

  1. Per Capita Demand for Dairy Products a Review

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

    Much discussion these days centers on national milk production and how it can be managed, voluntarily or involuntarily, with the aim of keeping milk prices strong. But, the truth of the matter is that a strong and growing demand for product is what is required over the long haul to ensure good market prices for milk. A demand that continues to grow will simultaneously absorb a growing supply and provide good market prices. In this article, I will review some of the longer term trends in per capita demand for fluid milk and dairy products. My source of data is the USDA Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service (http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/ldp). The time period is 1975 through 2004 (see Figure 1). The dairy products are: fluid milk, cheese, ice cream, butter, cottage cheese, and yogurt.

    Fluid Milk Products: The news here is not good. The long term trend for all beverage milk products is down. Per capita sales of all beverage milk is only 74% of what it was in 1975. Whole milk is down to 35% of 1975 levels. Lower fat milk peaked in the early 1990's at 100 lb per capita and has declined over the last decade to 50 lb per person. In spite of clever and attractive ads and renewed efforts to get younger people back to drinking milk, the beverage group continues to lose out to other types of beverage drinks.

    Cheese: The news here is much better than the fluid beverage category. The All Cheese group (American, Italian, and Miscellaneous) has increased steadily over the 1975 to 2004 period. All cheese per capita consumption was 14 lb in 1975 and was 32 lb in 2004. The real growth product in the cheese group has been the Italian Mozzarella. Mozzarella use per person was 2 lb in 1975 and increased to 10 lb in 2004. For the natural American cheeses, Cheddar leads the way with 11 lb per capita in 2004. However, this has not been a growth product since the mid 1980's. In the miscellaneous group (cream cheese, Neufchatel, Swiss, Munster, and others), it is the cream cheese and Neufchatel group showing the growth potential. This category accounts for just over 2 lb per capita in this group which showed 5.5 lb per person use in 2004.

    Butter and Cottage cheese: There is not much to report for these products. Per capita butter use has been flat over the past 30 years. It appears that we have a use for just under 5 lb per person and no more than that amount. Per capita cottage cheese use has declined over the 30 year period from about 5 lb to just over 2 lb per person.

    Ice Cream and Yogurt: The trend for ice cream over the 1975 to 2004 period is down. Per capita use for ice cream was just over 26 lb back in 1975 and now stands at 23 lb. Yogurt, on the other hand, has increased over this period from 2 lb per person to 9 lb.

    In summary, this chart tells us what we need to know about the demand for dairy products in the United States (source: Marketing Service Bulletin, FMMO 32, August 2005). On a milk equivalent basis, we consume over 300 lb of milk in the form of cheese. This is 100 lb more than our consumption of fluid milk and cream products.


    Figure 1. Per capita consumption of dairy products in the US from 1975 through 2004.

    If you like to stay up-to-date as to the opportunities for getting better than average prices for your milk, be sure to bookmark my Ohio Dairy Web (http://aede.osu.edu/programs/ohiodairy/) and visit daily. My current milk price outlook can be viewed on the web. This outlook is updated each month (http://aede.osu.edu/programs/ohiodairy/ProActivePricing/priceforecast.htm).

    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. Stable Nutrient Costs and Income for September

    Dr. Normand St-Pierre, Dairy Management Specialist, The Ohio State University (top of page)

    We have had a few ups and downs in the feed commodity markets this summer, but in all, there hasn't been much excitement one way or another. The effect of Katrina on feed prices, especially in the cottonseed complex, is still very speculative.

    Milk prices have been amazingly resilient to substantial increases in supply. We must remember, however, that statistics on changes in milk supply use the prior year as the base. At this time last year, milk supply was lagging that of the prior year (2003). Thus, the current national supply is just slightly above where it was two years ago. In addition, there have been substantial changes in the structure of the U.S. dairy industry lately, enough so that old price benchmarks may not be appropriate anymore. There will be more about this in the December issue of Buckeye Dairy News.

    Prices of nutrients, as calculated by Sesame using early September, prices are reported in Table 1. Overall, the price of net energy has gone DOWN during the last two months. Prices for fats and high fat byproducts have generally been trading lower, thus driving the cost of a unit of energy down. Digestible, rumen undegradable protein prices have been going up through the last 12 months, mostly reflecting changes in the marketing of animal protein products. Prices of effective and non-effective fibers are relatively stable and close to historical averages.

    Based on wholesale prices in central Ohio, feed commodities can be partitioned into three groups in mid-September 2005 as shown in Table 2. A more detailed analysis of break-even prices is presented in Table 3.


    Table 1. Prices of nutrients, central Ohio.

    Nutrient name
    September 2005
    July 2005
    September 2004
    Net energy lactation ($/Mcal)
    0.075
    0.094
    0.086
    Rumen degradable protein ($/lb)
    -0.073
    -0.090
    -0.051
    Digestible-rumen undegradable protein ($/lb)
    0.300
    0.269
    0.227
    Non-effective NDF ($/lb)
    -0.067
    -0.085
    -0.041
    Effective-NDF ($/lb)
    0.065
    0.040
    0.061


    Table 2. Groupings of commodities, Central Ohio, September 2005.

    Bargains
    At Breakeven
    Overpriced

    Corn grain
    Corn silage
    Distillers dried grains
    Feather meal
    Gluten feed
    Expeller soybean meal
    Wheat bran
    Wheat middlings

    Alfalfa hay
    Bakery byproducts
    Brewers grains, wet
    Cottonseed meal
    Whole cottonseed
    Gluten meal
    Hominy
    Meat meal
    Soybean hulls
    48% Soybean meal
    Roasted soybeans
    Tallow

    Beet pulp
    Blood meal
    Canola meal
    Citrus pulp
    Molasses
    44% Soybean meal

    Table 3. Commodity assessment, Central Ohio, September 2005.

    Name
    Actual ($/ton)
    Predicted ($/ton)
    Lower limit ($/ton)
    Upper limit ($/ton)
    Alfalfa Hay, 44% NDF, 20% CP
    120
    109.74
    85.16
    134.33
    Bakery Byproduct Meal
    107
    116.81
    104.78
    128.84
    Beet Sugar Pulp, dried
    145
    105.98
    87.05
    124.91
    Blood Meal, ring dried
    470
    435.25
    403.88
    466.62
    Brewers Grains, wet
    25
    24.12
    20.07
    28.18
    Canola Meal, mech. extracted
    175
    116.55

    101.37

    131.73
    Citrus Pulp, dried
    165
    99.48
    89.24
    109.71
    Corn Grain, ground dry
    97.50
    126.59
    115.11
    138.07
    Corn Silage, 32 to 38% DM
    35
    45.87
    37.29
    54.44
    Cotton Seed Meal, 41% CP
    185
    175.77
    162.95
    188.60
    Cottonseed, whole w lint
    150
    177.02
    145.35
    208.69
    Distillers Dried Grains, w solubles
    116
    133.05
    117.37
    148.73
    Feathers Hydrolyzed Meal
    267
    312.05
    290.96
    333.14
    Gluten Feed, dry
    69
    109.30
    97.68
    120.93
    Gluten Meal, dry
    342
    348.51
    325.34
    371.68
    Hominy
    95
    104.44
    94.09
    114.79
    Meat Meal, rendered
    235
    222.43
    201.46
    243.39
    Molasses, sugarcane
    145
    85.80
    76.10
    95.51
    Soybean Hulls
    72
    47.34
    20.40
    74.29
    Soybean Meal, expeller
    237
    275.76
    259.36
    292.16
    Soybean Meal, solvent 44% CP
    197.40
    165.77
    145.08
    186.46
    Soybean Meal, solvent 48% CP
    206.40
    203.97
    185.75
    222.19
    Soybean Seeds, whole roasted
    241
    238.70
    220.35
    257.04
    Tallow
    300
    308.38
    269.76
    346.99
    Wheat Bran
    26
    55.33
    37.26
    73.40
    Wheat Middlings
    19
    71.01
    55.24
    86.79


    Using published milk prices for August 2005 in combination with the calculated costs of nutrients reported previously and known nutritional requirements, we can calculate the cost of providing the necessary nutrients to support the production of 75 lb/cow/day of standardized milk. Results from these calculations are reported in Table 4. Both July and September results are substantially greater than the historical average of about $6.00/cow/day. Thus, profitability of Ohio dairy farms should still be good and above historical average.


    Table 4. Nutrient costs and income over nutrient costs, Central Ohio.1

    Nutrient
    September 2005
    July 2005
     
    ------------------------------ $/cow/day --------------------------------
    Nutrient costs2
     
     

    NEL

    2.61
    3.26

    RDP

    (0.39)
    (0.48)

    Digestible-RUP

    0.68
    0.61

    ne-NDF

    (0.25)
    (0.40)

    e-NDF

    0.70
    0.43

    Vitamins and minerals

    0.20
    0.20

    TOTAL

    3.55
    3.62
    Milk gross income
     
     

    Fat

    4.93
    4.30

    Protein

    5.03
    5.98

    Other solids

    0.58
    0.50

    TOTAL

    10.54
    10.78
     
     
     
    Income over nutrient costs
    6.99
    7.16

    1Costs and income for a 1400 lb cow producing 75 lb/day of milk, with 3.6% fat, 3.1% protein, and 5.9% other solids. Component prices are for Federal Order 33, August 2005.
    2NEL = Net energy for lactation, RDP = rumen degradable protein, RUP = rumen undegradable protein, ne-NDF = noneffective neutral detergent fiber, and e-NDF = effective neutral effective fiber.

  3. Update on Pricing Standing Corn for Silage Harvest

    Dianne Shoemaker, Bill Weiss, and Normand St-Pierre, The Ohio State University Extension 

    How to price corn silage as a corn crop standing in the field is a perennially challenging question. The optimal answer will vary depending on your point of view. Are you buying or are you selling? Realistically, there is a range within which a reasonable price can be negotiated. We will take a look at pricing and other considerations from each party's point of view.

    The Seller

    This corn silage pricing discussion is based on a corn crop standing in the field. While what it costs to grow the corn crop is important to the profitability of the crop farmer, it does not impact the final decision on a price for the standing crop. Presumably, the crop farmer wants to maximize income from the crop.

    The grain market puts a value on the standing corn based on either the current market price, the anticipated market if the grain is stored for later sale, or the price at which the crop is contracted with a buyer of grain. In order to get that price, the grain farmer has to harvest and deliver the corn. Therefore, those costs must be deducted to calculate the net income for the crop sold as grain.

    For example, if a farm can get $1.87 per bushel out of the field in early September and the crop will yield 120 bushels per acre, income per acre is $164.50 after harvest costs. Harvest costs are estimated from the OSU Extension publication "Farm Custom Rates Paid in Ohio, 2002", and Purdue Extension's "Indiana Custom Rates 2004" and adjusted for current energy prices.

    If that 120 bushel/acre crop yields ~16 T of corn silage per acre, then the farm's lowest logical price should be $164.50 ÷ 16 = $10.28 per ton. If the dairy farmer is not willing to pay at least the equivalent amount for the crop as silage, the crop farmer will be better off to sell the crop as grain rather than silage.

    In early September, cash grain markets are very low. It is unlikely that a market price of $1.87 less harvest costs will cover total costs of production for many farms. There is opportunity for the grain farmer to negotiate a price that covers their cost of production in the difference between the income from the crop sold as grain and the nutrient value of the crop harvested as silage to the dairy farmer. Each crop farmer should review their grain harvest costs and yield potential to calculate the value that best represents their farm.

    To the grain farmer, the corn crop may have more value than just the income from the sale of grain. If the crop is sold as silage, the corn fodder is no longer available as ground cover and/or as a source of some nutrients and organic matter. This creates a potential opportunity for the dairy farmer to provide some nutrients and organic matter to the corn fields from manure.

    The crop farmer may also have concerns about a different method of harvest (chopping vs. combining) and the potential impacts on the soils and access roads into the corn fields. What if soil conditions are wet when the corn crop is at its' optimum moisture level for harvest as silage? How is a decision reached to proceed with harvest? These are questions that need to be addressed between the buyer and seller before harvest begins.

    The Buyer

    Corn silage is not required by dairy cows; it is only a vehicle containing nutrients required by cows. Therefore, the value of the silage is based on its nutrient composition and the prices of alternative feeds. If a dairy farmer can purchase the nutrients provided by corn silage less expensively from other sources and provide a balanced and productive ration, they should not buy the silage.

    To value silage based on nutrients provided, we need to estimate the dry matter (DM), energy (NEL), protein (CP) and fiber (NDF) provided by the silage. The NRC 2001 nutrient values are used for "normal" silage. The SESAME computer program was used to value each nutrient based on the September 2005 or estimated "historic" values of alternative feedstuffs that could be used in Ohio. The estimated "historic" prices give a slightly lower value for the nutrients, but represent a more realistic longer-term value to price a feed that will be used over an extended time in the coming year.

    Based on the nutrient values calculated with the SESAME program, silage would be valued at $45.87/ton at September 2005 prices, or approximately $35.46/ton at "historic" prices determined for the fall 2003 silage harvest. These values are for the silage sitting in the feed bunk in front of the cow at feeding.

    These are not the prices that a dairy farmer should pay for the crop standing in the field. The standing crop has not been harvested, fermented, or stored. Costs for these steps must be deducted from the value at feeding to arrive at an "in the field" price.

    Standing corn must first be chopped, then ensiled, and stored before it is fed. Costs, losses, and risks are associated with each of these steps. The cost of chopping usually ranges from $4 to $7 per ton of silage (assumed to contain 35% dry matter). Historically, we have used a charge of $5 per ton. To reflect increasing fuel costs over the past few years, an additional $0.40 per ton was added. Chopping costs per ton decrease as per acre yields increase. Storage costs typically range from $3 to $4 per ton.

    On average, about 10% of the material put into a silo is lost via fermentation (shrink). Additional storage and feeding losses do exist but are borne solely by the dairy farmer and do not enter into the equation to price standing corn.

    Based on these assumptions, standing corn has a value of approximately $32/ton (35% dry matter) to a dairy farmer based on September 2005 nutrient values. In comparison, average normal corn silage with average yield has a value of approximately $23/ton (35% dry matter) using historic prices for alternative feeds. Final prices should be further discounted to reflect risk concerns.

    The last factor affecting the value of standing corn is risk. A farmer purchasing standing corn is assuming risk (Is the corn high in nitrates? Will it ferment properly? Can it be harvested at exactly the right time? What will the final nutrient content be?, etc.).

    The price for the standing crop should be discounted to recognize these risks. What is the right amount to discount? This is not an easy question and is one of the factors to consider when the buyer and seller are negotiating a final price. Setting the final, fair price for corn silage rests on an understanding of the needs of both the buyer and the seller and negotiating a price that ensures a reasonable profit for both.

    Finally, it is critical that both parties agree on price, payment method and timing, crop measurement, restrictions, and similar details before the crop is harvested! Ideally, the agreement should be in writing and signed by both parties. These agreements are especially important when large quantities of crops (and money!) are involved. While this type of contracting may be uncomfortable for some producers, mainly because they aren't used to conducting business on more than a handshake, it forces the parties to discuss issues up front and can minimize troubling misunderstandings after harvest.

  4. OARDC Biomass to Energy Program

    Dr. Lynn Willett, Professor, Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University

    The rapid escalation of energy prices in the wake of Hurricane Katrina only provides an exclamation on the fact that the United States and world will not be able to sustain energy needs based on petroleum. Alternative and renewable energy sources will need to be developed to meet the increasing demand for environmentally friendly energy. Approximately four years ago, scientists from the Department of Animal Sciences initiated a program based on the biological conversion of biomass to energy through anaerobic digestion. An initial survey of resources indicated that Ohio was in a preferential position to produce heat and/or electrical energy from by-products of agricultural and food production.

    Although anaerobic digestion of livestock manures to produce methane-based biogas for limited heating and electrical generation is an established technology, the cost of systems and the suboptimal typical biogas composition of approximately 60% methane and 35% carbon dioxide compromise economic returns in comparison to systems using fossil fuels. Anaerobic digestion with manure as the sole feedstock is generally a stable process but provides low energy and economic yield. In contrast, use of high-strength food waste feedstocks with their higher potential for energy and economic returns, often results in unstable anaerobic digestion and unreliable production of biogas. Clearly, the biological processes and digester designs must be improved for the incorporation of high-energy feedstocks. A better understanding of bioprocesses associated with the anaerobic digestion of high-energy food wastes would provide a basis for anaerobic digestion of manure-food waste feedstock combinations that could improve the composition and yield of biogas while preserving process reliability. Improved biogas quality may be applicable to new technologies for improved efficiency for electricity and heat production.

    With the leadership of Dr. Floyd Schanbacher, Director, OSU/OARDC Biomass to Energy Program, faculty were identified with resident expertise in biology, biochemistry, microbiology, analytical chemistry, nutrition, and economics, which could provide an interdisciplinary approach to the conversion technologies needed. Whereas the central core of these faculty resides in the Department of Animal Sciences, researchers from other departments play key roles in the research program. Further, a group of industrial collaborators, food processors, and producers provide support to the program. The collaborations have been organized in a "hub and spoke" model which allows for multiple collaborators, focused on different market niches, to work toward a common objective. As a result of this research and its innovative organizational model, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center was awarded a prestigious 2005 NorTech Innovation Award. In part the citation reads:..."This ability to simultaneously pursue multiple independent commercial paths based on a single core technology will rapidly accelerate the development of innovative new products and services for our economy, and brings together in a unique way our state's agricultural and technology communities in what we hope is just the beginning of a new trend in agricultural technology ventures."

    The researchers collaborating in this Biomass to Energy Program have attracted significant grant funding from the Ohio Third Frontier Wright Project program, the U. S. Department of Energy, U. S. Department of Agriculture, plus industrial and university sources which will be primarily creating the physical and laboratory facilities to conduct the needed biological research. Aside from specialized laboratory equipment, a section of the Krauss Dairy Center is being renovated for biomass to energy research. It will house two research-scale (1,600 gallon each) and multiple smaller-scale research anaerobic digester systems. These will be coupled to solid-oxide fuel cells to convert biogas to electricity. An additional major component of the research program will be a 3-stage pilot-scale anaerobic digester with an 8,000 gallon capacity. This unit will be located near major biomass producers. This research unit will provide biogas for heat production to power fuel cells or to evaluate turbine and internal combustion technologies, while providing verification of operational efficiencies and yield at near commercial conditions and scales.

    It is anticipated that the results of this research will allow Ohio livestock and food production entities to become competitive contributors to regional energy needs. It is hoped that, in many instances, the production of energy will become a major source of income to Ohio agricultural producers.

  5. New Information on Feeding Behavior and Intake by Lactating Cows

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

    At this year's Federation of Animal Science Societies (FASS) annual meeting, several presentations were given on management and facility factors that can affect feeding behavior and dry matter intake. One study conducted at the University of British Columbia examined how stocking density (inches of feed bunk space per cow) and type of feed barrier (post and rail vs. headlocks) affected cow behavior. On average, Holstein cows in a post and rail system spent 20 more minutes per day eating than cows fed with headlocks (a 7% increase). With both systems, eating time decreased as bunk space decreased (Figure 1). Going from 1 headlock per cow (24 inches of bunk space) to 1 headlock per 3 cows (8 inches) decreased eating time by 17%. That was the same percentage decreased observed when bunk space decreased from 24 inches to 8 inches with a post and rail system. Cows with 16 inches of bunk space in a post and rail system spent the same amount of time eating as did cows with 24 inches of bunk space in a headlock system (1 headlock/cow).

     


    Figure 1. Effect of bunk space and feeding system on eating time by lactating Holstein cows. With the headlock system, 24 inches = 1 headlock/cow, 16 inches = 2 headlocks/3 cows, and 8 inches = 1 headlock/3 cows. Data from Huzzey et al., 2005. J. Dairy Sci. 88 (Suppl. 1): 392.

    Cows that spend less time eating must either reduce dry matter intake (intake was not measured in this experiment) or increase their rate of consumption (i.e., more feed consumed per minute spent eating). Both of these can have negative effects on productivity. Reduced feed intake usually results in decreased milk yields and/or excessive loss of body condition. Cows that consume feed too rapidly are at risk for ruminal upsets. These data suggest that if cows are moderately crowded, a post and rail system may be better than a headlock system with respect to feed intake and ruminal health (headlocks have advantages when working with cattle that must also be considered). Severe crowding in both systems most likely will result in reduced feed intake and increase the risk for rumen acidosis.

    The effect of feeding frequency was examined in another study conducted at the University of British Columbia. Cows had 24 inches of bunk space and were fed either once, twice (about 8 hours apart), or 4 times (about 6 hours apart) per day. For cows fed once daily, feed was pushed up 3 times/day and for cows fed twice daily, feed was pushed up twice per day (feed pushing occurred at the same times as cows in the 4 X group were fed). Compared with cows fed once daily, feeding twice daily increased eating time by 10 minutes/day (about a 3% increase) and feeding 4 times increased feeding time by 24 minutes (an 8% increase). These rather modest increases in eating time may not be adequate to justify the increased labor costs of more frequent feeding. Whether these responses would be the same when cows are crowded (< 24 inches of bunk space) is not known.

    The effect of amount of feed refusal on eating behavior and intake was examined in a study conducted at the University of Idaho. They fed Holstein cows (average production about 90 lb/day of milk) the same diet to two groups of cows. One group was offered enough feed so that about 5% was remaining 24 hours later (actual refusal was 5.5%). The other group was offered enough feed so that about 2.5% was remaining 24 hours later (actual weighback was 3.4%). Feeding for less refusal did not affect milk production or dry matter intake (averaged 57 lb), but it did affect eating patterns. Eating time was reduced by almost 60 minutes/day, and the rate of eating (grams of dry matter per minute) was increased by almost 25% for cows fed for low feed refusal. Although feeding for less feed refusal will reduce feed costs, it may increase the risk for acidosis because of the increased rate of feed consumption. This should be considered before implementing this feeding program.

  6. Controlled Lighting in Dry Period Increases Production in the Following Lactation

    Mrs. Dianne Shoemaker, Extension Dairy Specialist, OSU Extension Center at Wooster 

    Increased milk production of 5 to 10% is a well-documented response by lactating dairy cattle to controlled lighting. For lactating cows, 16 hours of light followed by 8 hours of dark elicits this response. This simple strategy is a cost-effective method of increasing income per cow.

    Estimates of annual profit range from $4400 to $10,400 (at milk prices of $9.50 and $14.50 per cwt., respectively) in an 80-cow tie stall facility (Dahl, 2001). Estimates for a 250 cow freestall barn range from $24,000 to $43,000 for the same milk prices. These calculations include increased milk income, feed intake and electricity use. They do not include the potential initial investment in additional lighting needed in some barns.

    Continuing research is increasing our understanding of the mechanisms behind the increase in daily milk yield. Light hitting the cow's eyes signals the cow to suppress release of the hormone melatonin. Longer periods of light, such as the 16 hours of light recommended for lactating cows, means shorter periods of time of high melatonin levels.

    These shorter periods of higher melatonin levels then impacts the levels of prolactin and IGF-1 (used as an indication of immune system response) circulating in the cows' blood. Over the course of a few weeks, this chain of events causes the cow to increase milk production. Increased feed intake follows to support the increased milk production.

    For lactating cows, a minimum of 6 hours of uninterrupted dark is recommended for cows milked 3X per day. Eight hours of uninterrupted darkness is optimal for cows milking 2X. Low wattage (7 to 15 watts,) red incandescent lights can be used when moving cows to and from the parlor in 3X situations to help achieve 6 to 8 hours of uninterrupted darkness. These lights provide adequate illumination to work the cows but are not perceived as "light" by the cows.

    Recent research at the University of Illinois (Hall et al., 2005) is exploring the impact of controlled lighting in the dry period on milk production in the following lactation. Cows receiving 8 hours of light (SDPP, or Short Day Photo Period) and 16 hours of dark for the full dry period achieved higher production in the following lactation than control cows housed in ambient (naturally occurring) lighting conditions.

    A 2-year study at the University of Maryland, (Miller et al., 2000), documented a 7 lb increase in milk production for the first 16 weeks of the following lactation for cows receiving the SDPP treatment during the dry period compared to cows exposed to long-day photoperiods (LDPP). Interestingly, their hypothesis was that the LDPP dry cows would out-produce the SDPP dry cows!

    In this study, all cows were housed together in ambient (naturally occurring) lighting conditions after calving. The benefits of the dry period lighting conditions carried forward into the following lactation.

    More recently, heifers housed in SDPP conditions for the last 60 days of gestation also showed increased production in their first lactation compared to heifers housed in ambient lighting conditions. It is not yet clear if their response is as great as older cows.

    Current research results indicate that the SDPP is needed for the full dry period. The increased milk production response was not seen in animals receiving the SDPP for only 21 days prepartum. Peticlerc et al. (1998) also found that simply supplementing cows and heifers with melatonin during the dry period did not increase production in the following lactation.

    Restricting light to dry cows and pre-fresh heifers is not an easy management practice to implement. In naturally-ventilated buildings, it may be nearly impossible in all but the winter months. However, it may be a realistic way to achieve a controlled lighting response on farms where 3X or 4X milking practices make it difficult to achieve a continuous 6 to 8 hour period of darkness for lactating cows.

    When considering new construction, can this practice be economically implemented? Restricting light to 8 hours per day narrows housing options to enclosed, mechanically ventilated facilities nearly year-round. Typically, these structures will increase housing costs. Actual costs at the individual farm level should be weighed against the potential increase in milk production from controlled lighting.

    Additional information about controlled lighting, an example lighting system design and calculations can be viewed at http://www.trail.uiuc.edu/photoperiod/ .

    Dahl, G. E. 2001. Update on photoperiod management of dairy cows. Proceedings of the 4-State Applied Nutrition and Management Conference. pp. 139-142.

    Hall, E.H., T.L. Auchtung-Montgomery, G.E. Dahl, and T.B. McFadden. 2005. Short Communication: Short-day photoperiod during the dry period decreases expression of suppressors of cytokine signaling in mammary gland of dairy cows. J. Dairy SCI 88:3145-3148.

    Miller, A.R.E., R.A. Erdman, L.W. Douglass, and GE Dahl. 2000. Effects of photoperiodic manipulation during the dry period of dairy cows. J. Dairy SCI 83:962-967.

    Peticlerc, D., C.M. Vinet, G. Roy, and P. Lacasse. 1998. Prepartum photoperiod and melatonin feeding on milk production and prolactin concentrations of dairy heifers and cows. J. Dairy SCI 81 (Suppl.1):251.

  7. Appointment of Laurie Winkelman

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

    Beginning October 1, 2005, Ms. Laurie Winkelman will begin in the position of Dairy Program Specialist, Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University. She will be taking the position formerly held by Amanda Hargett. Her primary responsibilities will be in organizing and conducting dairy cattle and goat educational programs for adults and youth. Laurie is originally from Watertown, WI and received B.S. degrees in dairy science and agricultural journalism from the University of Wisconsin in 2003. She is nearing the completion of a M.S. degree in ruminant nutrition with Dr. Chris Reynolds in the Department of Animal Sciences at Ohio State University. In addition to growing up on a dairy farm, she brings a tremendous amount of experience in working with the dairy industry and in working with youth. She is a freelance writer for Hoard's Dairyman, and she helped to develop the dairy youth ethics publication "The Rules are Black and White - And They Apply to All Breeds". She assisted in the development of an interactive CD-ROM on "Dairy Cattle Judging Made Easy". She completed an internship in CA with Cargill Animal Nutrition and has worked with the Equity Livestock Cooperative in Johnson Creek, WI. She has been very active in dairy judging as a participant and now as a judge and coach. She is still involved with her family's farm - ask her about her favorite breed (hint: BIG brown cow with about 4% fat and 3.4% protein in milk). She certainly has already established herself as a leader in the dairy industry, and we look forward to her assistance with the dairy programs at Ohio State. You can contact her at: 222C Animal Sciences Building, 2029 Fyffe Court, Columbus, OH 43210-1095, winkelman.6@osu.edu, (614) 688-3143, FAX (614) 292-1515.

  8. Results from Ohio State Fair Dairy Cattle Skillathon

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

    The Dairy Skillathon during the 2005 Ohio State Fair (OSF) was held on August 4 and 12. There were 94 youth who participated in this educational program, about the same number as for 2004. However, less than half (44%) of the youth with dairy cattle on exhibit participate in the skillathon. In addition, youth do not have to have an exhibit at the OSF to participate in this Skillathon, thus your help in encouraging participation is requested.

    The stations in the Dairy Skillathon this year were: Feeds and Nutrition (feedstuff identification, digestive tract anatomy, and record book); Quality Assurance; Milk Production and Dairy Products; and Animal Well-Being (calf housing and animal diseases). The tie-breaker was a genetics task and a set of questions relating to information on a DHI Individual Cow Page.

    From the two combined sessions of the Skillathon, the top ten individuals in each age category received a ribbon, and the high scoring individual in each age category received a cash award and a decorative walnut box. The overall winner received a banner and a director's chair. The winners for the 2005 Dairy Skillathon were:

    Age Division
    (years old)

    Name
    County
    9
    Chelsea Skidmore Darke
    10
    Jordon Moore Wayne
    11
    Eileen Gress Wayne
    12
    Rachel Townsley* Champaign
    13
    Tad Nelson Champaign
    14
    Hayden Gress Wayne
    15
    Allison Bay Guernsey
    16
    Matthew Weeman Wayne
    17
    Sherri Gress Wayne
    18
    Tim Lamb Champaign
    *Overall winner