Buckeye Dairy News : Volume 8 Issue 3

  1. Milk Prices Begin to Firm as U.S. Production Begins to Cool Off

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

    As we enter the summer 2006 calendar year, it is time to take stock of where we are milk price-wise and where we are likely to go in the next 12 months. In this column, I will review the trends observed in the cash markets for dairy commodities. If you would like to follow my weekly price projections for the milk and dairy product markets, you can do so by accessing my Ohio Dairy 2005 website at this address: http://aede.osu.edu/programs/ohiodairy/ . Here, you will find a wealth of information on the national, regional, and Ohio dairy industries. Also, you will find current cash and futures markets charts and data, and my 24 week forecast for butter, nonfat dry milk (NDM), cheese, whey, and milk prices.

    Cheese market

    After peaking at $1.73/lb in last week of January 2005, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) average cheese price has followed a general downward trend through the end of 2005. Over the first 20 weeks of 2006, the CME average cash cheese price has fallen from the just-okay of $1.35's/lb to the not-okay $1.18/lb mark. The somewhat better news is that the bottom of this slide appears to have passed during the first week of March 2006 when the CME average cheese price hit $1.11/lb. This is a price not seen since May of 2003. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Dairy Market News reports that cheese markets are firm, and it appears that the abundance of production relative to demand is correcting. Rising cheese prices, along with promotional specials, are moving inventory. While this is good news, do not look for the cheese price to regain its old glory anytime soon. My crystal ball has the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) cheese price staying in the $1.18 to 1.21/lb range through September 2006. Could this change quickly? Certainly! Consider the two marketing years 2002 and 2003. In 2002, CME cheese prices fell all summer long and only recovered to $1.22/lb during the first week of October, before again retreating. Now consider 2003. The CME cheese prices started off low, $1.07/lb in March, and stayed there through June. Then, due to a hot, hot summer in the west, the CME cheese price moved up from $1.11/lb the last week of May to trade at $1.58/lb most of the weeks of August through early October of that year. For this to happen again, we need a serious slowing of milk production over the coming months.

    Butter market

    The USDA Dairy Market News reports that butter markets are showing some firming at the current price of $1.18/lb. Opinions are mixed as whether this is the bottom or not. The CME butter market has declined slowly after peaking only recently during the third week of September, at $1.72/lb. The CME cash butter has been trading at or under $1.17/lb since mid February. The NASS reported butter prices have followed this downward slide and were at $1.17/lb by the second week of May. My butter market forecast suggests that butter prices will begin to increase and reach $1.26/lb toward the third quarter of 2006. Like cheese prices, butter prices can move up very quickly given the right conditions. The NASS butter prices were reported at $1.15/lb for the week of October 17, 2003, and by April 23rd, 2004, they hit a market high of $2.30/lb! On the other hand, butter prices hardly traded over $1.10/lb during the entire period of May 2002 through July of 2003. Getting a handle on milk production will be the key to how quickly butter prices recover.

    Skim powder and whey markets

    The powder markets had been on an upward trend through all of 2005. The NDM, benefiting greatly from a very tight world market for skim powder, increased steadily from a low of $0.88/lb to its high of $1.00/lb. The first twenty weeks of 2006 have experienced a reversal of this trend. With NDM prices in the west at support, product has move steadily to the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC). Current CCC NDM inventory, at 38.7 million pounds, is 21.7% above the same period in 2005. During 2005, the dry whey market moved in lockstep with the rising skim powder market, increasing from a low of $0.24/lb to the current high of $0.35+/lb. Early estimates on world supply and demand suggested that this price may be the high for the coming year with the price retreating back to the $0.30/lb level. This has been realized. Current whey prices reported by NASS are 27.68 cents per pound and declining. The expectation is for the market to continue to decline to the mid 20 cent per pound range for the coming months.

    Let's take a look at what is ahead for milk prices

    With milk cow numbers increasing, dairy slaughter low, and the energy prices siphoning disposable income from the consumer pocketbook, we can anticipate low milk prices over the next 12 months. Projected Federal Order 33 producer prices for 2006 are shown in Figure 1. With butter and cheese prices staying just above support price levels, the estimate for the 2006 Federal Order 33 mailbox price is the $12.63/cwt. At the low Class III prices, the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program will contribute another $0.60 to 0.80/cwt on eligible milk shipments.


    Figure 1. Federal Order 33 Mideast Price Information: 2000 to 2006 (estimate);
    Blend = Federal Order 33 Uniform or Blend Price, PPD = Federal Order 33
    Producer Price Differential, MBPrice = Calculated Federal Order 33 Mailbox Price,
    and Year 1= 2000, 2 = 2001, etc.

    The 2006 prices are generated to be consistent with the CME Class III futures contract prices as of May, 2006. The Producer Price Differential (PPD) and the mailbox price (MBPrice) for 2006 are estimates based on the average CME Class III futures price for 2006 and historical price averages for Federal Order 33. Consistent with the 2006 price, the 2006 MILC payment will average $0.60/cwt on a maximum of 2,400 cwt. For comparison, the MILC payment averaged $1.20/cwt in 2002 and $1.63/cwt in 2003, both years of low Federal Order 33 mailbox price.

  2. Cost of Nutrients and Benchmarks of Profitability for Ohio Dairy Farms

    Dr. Normand St-Pierre, Dairy Management Specialist, The Ohio State University. 

    Here are a few things that we know. The price of milk is dropping. It always rains as soon as you start the first cut of hay. Feed prices keep changing. All of these events create headaches and opportunities. In this column, we concentrate on the opportunities offered from changes in feed commodity markets.
    Springtime generally brings substantial changes in the relative price of feedstuffs. With a few exceptions, this year has been an exception so far. There has been no significant change in the relative prices of most feed commodities lately. But, it is always good to periodically re-evaluate your purchasing strategy. To help you with the process, we evaluated current commodity markets in central Ohio using the software SESAME (available at www.sesamesoft.com). The appraisal would be slightly different for other Ohio regions, but not markedly so.

    Compared to March 2006, prices of nutrients (Table 1) show:

    1) A drop of 0.7¢ per Mcal of net energy lactation,
    2) An increase of 2.4¢ per pound of degradable protein,
    3) A drop of 0.8¢ per pound of undegradable protein,
    4) No change in the price of non-effective NDF, and
    5) An increase of 1.5¢ per pound of effective NDF.

    Therefore, as a general rule, it is currently wise to reduce the safety margins of dairy rations for degradable protein and effective NDF. Meanwhile, the markets are willing to pay you for using additional non-effective NDF. In practical terms, this means that there are some high fiber by-products that are currently real bargains. These are identified in Table 2.

    In Tables 2 and 3, we report the results for 27 feed commodities traded or available in central Ohio. Table 2 conveniently groups commodities into three groups: bargains, at breakeven, and overpriced. If all the ingredients in your rations are from the overpriced column, it is time to visit with your nutritionist. Details of commodity pricing are shown in Table 3. In this table, the column labeled "actual" is the price for tractor trailer loads (TTL) FOB central Ohio. The "predicted" column is the calculated breakeven price per ton; lastly, the "lower limit" and "upper limit" are the 75% confidence range for the breakeven price.

    Nutrient prices can be used to calculate a benchmark for feed costs. All these years of research have resulted in relatively precise nutrient requirements for milk production. Results of the calculations using the National Research Council (2001) requirements are presented in Table 4. The cost of feeding for a milk yield of 75 lb/day has gone up by 3¢/cow/day since March. Meanwhile, milk prices have plummeted. Consequently, income-over-feed costs (IOFC) has dropped $1.02/cow/day from March 2006, and $2.93 from May 2005. Historically, this benchmark has averaged about $6.00/cow/day. At $4.82/cow/day, IOFC is well below this average, resulting in meager profits, if any, for our Ohio dairy farms. Considering that the national supply of milk is very strong, one needs a good dose of optimism to see any light at the end of this low milk price tunnel. Management on our dairy farms must be prepared for an extensive period of low prices and very marginal profits at best.

    Table 1. Prices of nutrients, central Ohio.

    Nutrient name
    March 2006
    May 2006
    Net energy for lactation - 3X (NRC, 2001; $/Mcal)
    Rumen degradable protein ($/lb)
    Digestible-rumen undegradable protein ($/lb)
    Non-effective NDF ($/lb)
    Effective-NDF ($/lb)

    Table 2. Grouping of feed commodities, central Ohio, May 2006.

    At Breakeven
    Bakery byproducts Alfalfa hay - 44% CP Beet pulp
    Corn grain Brewers grains - wet Canola meal
    Corn silage Gluten meal Citrus pulp
    Whole cottonseed Meat meal Cottonseed meal
    Distillers dried grains Expeller soybean meal Molasses
    Feather meal 48% Soybean meal Soybean hulls
    Gluten feed Roasted soybeans 44% Soybean meal
    Hominy Tallow  
    Wheat bran    
    Wheat middlings    

    Table 3. Commodity assessment, central Ohio, May 2006.

    Actual ($/ton)
    Predicted ($/ton)
    Lower limit ($/ton)
    Upper limit ($/ton)
    Alfalfa Hay, 44% NDF, 20% CP
    Bakery Byproduct Meal
    Beet Sugar Pulp, dried
    Brewers Grains, wet
    Canola Meal, mech. extracted


    Citrus Pulp, dried
    Corn Grain, ground dry
    Corn Silage, 32 to 38% DM
    Cottonseed Meal, 41% CP
    Cottonseed, whole w lint
    Distillers Dried Grains, w solubles
    Feathers Hydrolyzed Meal
    Gluten Feed, dry
    Gluten Meal, dry
    Meat Meal, rendered
    Molasses, sugarcane
    Soybean Hulls
    Soybean Meal, expeller
    Soybean Meal, solvent 44% CP
    Soybean Meal, solvent 48% CP
    Soybean Seeds, whole roasted
    Wheat Bran
    Wheat Middlings

    Appraisal Set
    Actual ($/ton)
    Predicted ($/ton)
    Alfalfa Hay - 38% NDF, 22% CP
    Alfalfa Hay - 48% NDF, 17% CP
    Blood meal, ring dried
    Fish Menhaden Meal, mech.

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

    May 2005
    March 2006
    May 2006
    ------------------------------ $/cow/day --------------------------------
    Nutrient costs2











    Vitamins and minerals



    Milk gross income





    Other solids




    Income over nutrient costs

    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. Harvesting Hay Crop Silage

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

    In Ohio, the first cutting of alfalfa and cool season grasses usually makes up about 45% of the total annual yield. Therefore, the quality of first cutting will affect your cows for a substantial period of time. Milk production and income over feed costs are almost always better when good forages are fed.

    1. Cut the forage at the correct maturity because quality doesn't improve after the crop is cut; it only gets worse. The best single index of hay crop forage quality is NDF. We found that with alfalfa, milk production decreases about 0.3 lb/day for every 1 unit increase in NDF concentration above about 37%. A good compromise between yield, quality, and stand longevity is to cut alfalfa so that the resulting hay or silage has about 40% NDF. A useful tool to determine when to cut alfalfa is an Alfalfa Quality Stick (if interested in purchasing contact Mark Sulc, sulc.2@osu.edu ). You go out into a field and measure the height of the longest stem with the stick, and it will tell you the approximate NDF concentration. Because NDF concentration increases during hay and silage making, cut alfalfa when it is about 38% NDF and the resulting feed will have about 40% NDF. Cool season grasses with an NDF concentration of about 50% is nutritionally equivalent to alfalfa with 40% NDF. To obtain that concentration, grasses need to be cut before they head (probably too late by the time you read this)

    2. Get the crop to the correct dry matter as soon as possible. Mow early in the day to take advantage of sunlight and lower humidity during the entire afternoon. Wide swathing helps increase drying rate, but the swath has to be really wide (swath width at least 70% as wide as the cutter) to see a big effect. Tedding increases drying rate, but it should be done soon after alfalfa is mowed so that leaf shatter is minimal, and labor and fuel costs must be considered. With wide swathing, tedding is probably unnecessary. Mechanical conditioning greatly increases drying rate of first cutting alfalfa, especially under good drying conditions. Responses are much less for subsequent cuttings.

    3. Chop at the correct dry matter (DM) concentration. For hay crop silages, DM percentages should be in the low 30's for bunker silos and around 40 for uprights and bags. At the DM that alfalfa is chopped for silage, the moisture concentration can decrease by several percentage units in an hour. If you have a lot of acres, chopping should start when the crop is slightly wetter than desired so that when you are finished, it will not be too dry.

    4. A good lactic acid bacterial inoculant is often profitable (reduces fermentation losses) when applied to first cutting hay crops. If you use them, make sure they are well-distributed during application (either at the chopper or at the blower).

    5. Fill the silo quickly, pack well, and cover or seal the silo as soon as possible. Delaying sealing by 24 hours causes a measurable decrease in fermentation quality and a measurable increase in fermentation losses.

  4. Tail Docking of Dairy Cattle: Is it beneficial or a welfare issue?

    Dr. Naomi Botheras, Animal Welfare Program Specialist, The Ohio State University 

    Tail docking of dairy cattle has become common in the United States. Farmers suggest that the practice of tail docking reduces the transmission of diseases carried by cows, such as Leptospirosis, to workers. Producers also suggest docking improves ease of milking, and makes milking more comfortable for the workers because the shortened tail is less likely to hit people. Importantly, docking is also thought to improve cow cleanliness and udder health and hygiene, thereby decreasing somatic cell count (SCC) and the risk of mastitis.

    While there are several perceived benefits of tail docking, it is also important to consider the effects of tail docking on the welfare or well-being of dairy cattle. There may be both short-term and long-term disadvantages to the cow associated with tail docking. These may include acute pain associated with the docking procedure, the possibility of chronic (long-term) pain in the tail stump, reduced ability of the cow to use its tail for communication and other normal functions, and altered ability of the cow to avoid flies. These possible disadvantages for the cow are welfare issues that should be considered alongside any possible benefits of tail docking.

    Interestingly, a number of scientific studies have found no effect of tail docking on several of the suggested hygiene and cleanliness benefits of tail docking. Tucker et al. (2001) found no difference in a commercial free-stall barn between cows with intact tails and those that had been docked in terms of cleanliness, SCC, or cases of mastitis. Matthews et al. (1995) found similar results for cows on pasture with docked versus intact tails, with no difference in udder cleanliness, SCC, or incidence of mastitis. Eicher et al. (2001) also found no difference in udder cleanliness or SCC for docked and intact cows housed in a tie-stall barn, but they did find that docked cows were cleaner on their rear-quarters. In a substantial study with a large number of cows on 8 commercial free-stall farms observed over a 9-month period, Schreiner and Ruegg (2002) found no difference in SCC or intra-mammary infections between docked and intact dairy cows. These authors also found no difference in udder cleanliness scores, although there was a trend for docked cows to have slightly cleaner legs.

    An obvious question is whether the welfare of tail docked cows is reduced because of either the inability of the animal to avoid flies or the disruption of important behaviors (such as feeding and lying) by the use of alternative fly-avoidance behaviors. Typical fly avoidance behaviors include running away, stomping, kicking, tail swishing, skin twitching, and head or ear movements. Increased fly loads are associated with disruption and alterations of eating patterns and increased energy expenditure in fly avoidance behaviors, which have implications for feed efficiency and consequently milk production and animal performance. It has been found that fly numbers are actually greater on tail docked cows and that docked cows show increased fly avoidance behaviors (Ladewig and Matthews, 1992; Eicher et al., 2001; Eicher and Dailey, 2002), which may have serious implications for animal performance.

    Several European countries, including the United Kingdom, have prohibited tail docking of dairy cattle; however, no legislation in North America currently addresses this issue. However, tail docking is prohibited or not recommended in several animal welfare assurance/certification programs that have been developed for the U.S. dairy industry. Furthermore, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) opposes routine tail docking of cattle, stating "current scientific literature indicates that routine tail docking provides no benefit to the animal and that tail docking can lead to distress during fly seasons. When medically necessary, amputation of tails must be performed by a licensed veterinarian".

    While some studies have indicated minimal adverse short-term effects from docking tails of dairy cattle using a rubber ring, no positive benefits to the cows have been identified, and potential long-term adverse effects of tail docking remain a possibility. These results suggest that with the possible exception of improved worker comfort, producers (and their cows) have little to gain from adopting the practice of routine tail docking of dairy cattle, as there may be disadvantages for the cows (e.g., pain and increased fly loads leading to increased fly avoidance behaviors) and also lack of cleanliness and udder health benefits. Until benefits for the cow of tail docking can be scientifically established, the routine tail docking of dairy cattle cannot be recommended. Investigation of alternative ways of improving cleanliness are warranted, as management decisions other than tail docking may play a more significant role in determining udder cleanliness and milk quality. For example, trimming the switch of the tail may offer an acceptable alternative to tail docking and should be considered whenever possible. Importantly, as tail docking of dairy cattle actually increases the fly load on the cow, if it is necessary to tail dock cows, particular attention to fly control is essential. This is important not only for the consideration of the cow's well-being, but also in terms of limiting effects on animal performance due to increased fly avoidance behavior.


    Eicher, S.D., and J. W. Dailey. 2002. Indicators of acute pain and fly avoidance behaviors in Holstein calves following tail-docking. Journal of Dairy Science 85:2850-2858.

    Eicher, S.D., J.L. Morrow-Tesch, J.L. Albright, and R.E. Williams. 2001. Tail-docking alters fly numbers, fly-avoidance behavior, and cleanliness, but not physiological measures. Journal of Dairy Science 84:1822-1828.

    Ladewig, J., and L.R. Matthews. 1992. The importance of physiological measurements in farm animal stress research. Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production 52:77-79.

    Matthews, L.R., A. Phipps, G.A. Verkerk, D. Hart, J.N. Crockford, J.F. Carragher, and R.G. Harcourt. 1995. The effects of tail docking and trimming on milker comfort and dairy cattle health, welfare and production. In: Animal Behaviour and Welfare Research Centre, Hamilton, NZ, pp 1-25.

    Schreiner, D.A., and P.L. Ruegg. 2002. Effects of tail docking on milk quality and cow cleanliness. Journal of Dairy Science 85: 2503-2511.

    Tucker, C.B., D. Fraser, and D.M. Weary. 2001. Tail docking dairy cattle: Effects on cow cleanliness and udder health. Journal of Dairy Science 84: 84-87.

  5. New Diagnostic Testing for Johne's Disease in Ohio

    Dr. Bill Shulaw, Extension Beef and Sheep Veterinarian, The Ohio State University

    Since the middle of last summer, a new diagnostic process for Johne's disease fecal cultures has been in place at the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at the Ohio Department of Agriculture in Reynoldsburg. At the center of this process is the Trek ESP liquid culture system.

    In contrast to the older system of culture on solid media, this system utilizes a liquid media, or "broth" as it is sometimes called, in which to grow the causative bacteria - Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP). Following standard fecal sample preparation procedures, a small quantity of the processed sample is placed in a sealed vial of the liquid media along with specific growth supplements and certain antibiotics to control non-specific bacterial and fungal growth. The vial is then placed into a specialized incubator and connected to sensors that monitor changes in pressure which signal growth inside the vial. Several of these incubators are connected to a computer that monitors the changes in each vial several times each hour. These data are stored in the computer and continually matched to a preprogrammed formula that mimics the typical growth of MAP. When the match is close enough, the computer signals the microbiologist that the sample is positive.

    Liquid from the positive vials is stained to look for typical organisms and stain-positive specimens are then subjected to a procedure called PCR which stands for polymerase chain reaction. This reaction tests for the presence of DNA specific for MAP. In fact, two different PCR reactions are used to be sure positive samples really contain MAP. Although samples may be positive as soon as 10 to 14 days, the vials which are not identified as positive by the computer are incubated for a total of 42 days. At the end of this time, they are also stained to look for the typical bacteria. If they are seen, the sample is tested by PCR in the same way. This is important, because not all positive fecal specimens will be detected without this step. The final accounting and reporting are complete about eight weeks after the process begins. This is a significant improvement in the incubation time required for the older solid media cultures which were incubated for a total of 16 weeks before the final report was issued.

    Perhaps, the most significant advantage of the liquid media-based system over that of the solid media method is its apparent overall increase in positive fecal samples. An exhaustive comparison of this system with the solid media method has not been done, but research has suggested that the improvement should be at least 40 to 50% and possibly considerably more depending on herd history and specific situations. This is similar to the experience of other laboratories using this system and research done in Ohio with other liquid culture systems. Although not all the factors are known, it is likely that the liquid supports the growth of MAP better than the solid media.

    For producers, the increase in sensitivity may be a "good news, bad news" situation. The good news is that more cows shedding MAP in their manure will be detected, especially those shedding low numbers. For producers attempting to eliminate the infection, more rapid progress can be made. In addition, we can have increased confidence in the status of "test-negative" herds that have been cultured. The possibility of detecting animals shedding low numbers of MAP in pooled samples from several animals is improved, thus facilitating some kinds of testing strategies. The "bad news" is that for some producers, it may appear that their control efforts are going in the wrong direction. For example, a producer annually testing 100 cows who has typically found 10 test-positive animals may see 15 positive animals on the next test using the new culture method, assuming their situation stayed the same. A similar increase in sensitivity of culture occurred a few years ago when the laboratory adopted an improved sample preparation technique that resulted in more MAP being available to inoculate on the media.

    An additional advantage of this liquid culture-based method is that it reduces labor by eliminating the need to pull thousands of solid media tubes out of walk-in incubators and visually inspect them for growth. This is partially offset by the need to routinely stain all liquid cultures and perform the PCR tests on positive samples. However, the net effect of this method, along with some changes in laboratory procedures, is to allow a modest increase in the number of samples that can be processed each week.

    The biggest disadvantage of the liquid-based culture method is cost. The supplies and equipment needed to perform the cultures are somewhat more expensive than the solid media and the supplies to conduct the confirmatory PCR tests are also fairly expensive. This means that in times of tight state and federal budgets, it will become increasingly difficult to provide the high level of testing support currently enjoyed by Ohio's producers.

    For years, producers and veterinarians have asked for better tests for Johne's disease. Science continues to provide incremental improvements, and tests will continue to get better as has fecal culture. Will we ever have a test that will positively identify an infected heifer at six months of age with a single test? Although this is highly desirable, the answer is, "Probably not." The biology of this disease and the nature of the animal's response to the infection suggest that this will be very difficult. Consider the situation with human tuberculosis caused by the related bacteria, Mycobacterium tuberculosis. This disease affects about one-third of the world's population, and someone is newly infected every second of every day. One person will develop active tuberculosis every three seconds. The diagnostic screening tests for human tuberculosis are still a skin test and a chest x-ray, and culture of the patient's respiratory secretions remains the confirmatory test. No satisfactory vaccine for human tuberculosis exists. Although our tests for Johne's disease get better nearly every year, and this newest method of culture is very good, testing and culling alone will never be enough to control or eradicate the disease.

  6. Results from Research Supported by the Ohio Dairy Research Fund

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

    The Ohio Dairy Research Fund was developed to support research by voluntary dairy producer contributions. Much research is needed to address today's complex issues relative to dairy production, milk quality, and milk products. Since 1982, over $730,000 in producer investments have funded research that has greatly benefited Ohio's dairy industry. From time to time, results of this research will be included in the Buckeye Dairy News. For this issue, the results from two recent projects are provided below.

    Occurrence and Control of the Fescue and Ryegrass Toxicosis Endophytes in Ohio Dairy Pastures
    Dr. Landon H. Rhodes, Department of Plant Pathology, and Dr. David J. Barker, Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, The Ohio State University

    Objective 1: Determine the incidence and distribution of endophytes in ryegrass and tall fescue in Ohio dairy pastures.

    A significant finding was that 11% of the ryegrass pastures sampled in 2003 had high (> 40%) incidence of endophyte infection. Intensive grazing on such pastures is likely to result in poor animal performance or animal health problems. Those pastures with moderate levels of endophyte (5 to 40% endophyte infection) are also cause for concern, with 24% of the ryegrass pastures sampled falling into this category. Of the fescue fields tested, 3 (18%) had moderate infection and 8 (47%) had high infection. For those fields re-sampled in 2004, levels of endophyte were similar to those found in 2003. The factor most consistent with high endophyte levels in ryegrass and tall fescue was greater seed of unknown origin. This finding points out the importance of obtaining endophyte-free seed for establishing new pastures. The use of endophyte-free seed to establish new ryegrass (and tall fescue) pastures is probably the best method to ensure that endophytes will not become a problem.

    Objective 2: Determine the ability of selected fungicides to eradicate or permanently reduce the incidence of endophytes in established tall fescue and ryegrass.

    A field experiment was conducted to determine if certain fungicides could eradicate or reduce the incidence of endophyte in established pasture. Results indicated that none of the 10 fungicide treatments significantly reduced endophyte levels. The unsprayed control plots had 47.5% incidence of endophyte. Considering that plots received four applications of each fungicide and that the maximum label rate of each fungicide was used each time, it appears unlikely that fungicide eradication of endophytes in established pastures will be successful. However, it should be noted that neither the antibody method nor the staining method used to assess endophyte levels in plant tissue are capable of discriminating between living and dead endophyte. Fungicides may have killed some of the endophyte within the grass plants, but these samples would appear identical to samples with live endophyte. Further work is necessary to assess the amount of dead versus living endophyte in tissue samples.

    Additional Implications of Findings: Data obtained from these studies has led to improvements in methodology that may be helpful in assessing endophyte levels in the future. In 2003, pre-application sampling in small plots (96 square feet) revealed high spatial variation in endophyte distribution at both Columbus and Jackson. Therefore, in summer 2004, we initiated two field studies (Columbus and Coshocton) investigating the spatial variability of endophyte using 'precision agriculture' methodologies. In each study, 425 tillers were sampled from a 192 square foot area and analyzed for endophyte. We were able to draw spatial maps that showed distinct spatial variability in the distribution of endophyte. Patches ranged from 60 to 100% within the 192 square foot areas. Future work will aim to repeat the spatial mapping studies in an additional year, as well as investigate the implications of this spatial variability (e.g. on livestock grazing patterns). Also, we will continue studies on the mechanisms of endophyte re-infestation of endophyte-free tall fescue pastures, including financial analysis of the costs and returns to livestock producers.

    Production of Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) Rich Milk
    C. K. Reynolds, S. Loerch, V. Cannon, P. Tirabasso, D. Clevenger, and G. Lowe, Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University

    Justification: Milk and dairy products are the major source of dietary CLA for humans, and 'naturally' enriched high CLA butter has been shown to reduce the number and incidence of mammary tumors in rats. There is now considerable interest in the development of 'naturally' enriched CLA milk and milk products for niche markets.

    Objectives: Assess the effects of ration forage type (corn silage versus alfalfa pellets or haylage) and novel oil supplements (combination of soybean and marine algal oils) on the enrichment of milk fat conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) content.

    Results: Two studies were conducted in 2 calendar years using lactating ewes at the OARDC sheep center. Ewes were used as a model for cows in order to increase the number of observations obtained, and the studies were designed to be complimentary to studies in cows conducted simultaneously at the University of Reading in England using grass- and corn silage-based rations.

    Study 1. Feed dry matter intake was lower for corn silage and was reduced by feeding oil. Milk yield was not affected, but milk fat concentration was increased by feeding oil. The concentration of medium chain (12 to 16 carbon) saturated fatty acids was relatively high compared to cows. Their concentration was decreased by feeding oil with alfalfa, but increased by feeding oil with corn silage. The concentration of total (largely cis-9, trans-11) CLA was higher for corn silage than alfalfa and increased by feeding oil, and the response was greater for alfalfa. As for CLA, the total trans-18:1 isomer concentration was higher for corn silage and increased by oil, but the response to oil was greater when corn silage was fed. This difference in total trans-18:1 concentration was due to differences in both trans-10 and trans-11 isomers.

    Study 2: As in study 1, feed dry matter intake was reduced by feeding oil and tended to be lower when corn silage was fed. Milk yield was reduced by feeding oil with alfalfa haylage but increased by feeding oil with corn silage. Milk fat concentration was increased by feeding oil with alfalfa haylage, but reduced by feeding oil with corn silage. In contrast to study 1, the concentration of CLA (largely cis-9, trans-11) was higher for alfalfa haylage and increased by oil, and the response to oil was greater with alfalfa haylage. The concentration of trans-10, cis-12 CLA (a known inhibitor of milk fat synthesis in cows) was also increased by oil and was higher when corn silage was fed. As in study 1, the concentrations of trans-11 C18:1 and total trans C18:1 were higher when corn silage was fed, were increased markedly by feeding oil, and the response was greater when oil was fed with corn silage.

    Conclusions: The response of milk fatty acid concentrations to supplemental oil was influenced by the type of forage fed, but reasons for the greater increase in CLA concentration when oil was fed with alfalfa in both studies are not certain. Based on diet analysis, the greater basal CLA concentration was associated with greater intakes of linoleic acid in both studies. This suggests that the fatty acid content of the forage fed is an important determinant of basal concentration of milk CLA. In contrast, the greater response of CLA to supplemental oils when alfalfa was fed may be due to greater fiber intake relative to starch, which has been shown to influence CLA levels in milk of dairy cows fed similar oils with diets differing in forage level. This may be due to the effects of diet carbohydrate type on rumen microbes and their ability to saturate fatty acids.

    In both studies, the concentration of trans-C18:1 isomers were higher when corn silage was fed, were increased by feeding oil, and the response to oil was greater for corn silage. This also may relate to differences in the amount of starch consumed relative to fiber, and subsequent effects on rumen microbes.

    Despite large increases in trans-fatty acid concentration, including trans-10, cis-12 CLA, total milk fat concentration was increased by feeding highly unsaturated oils to ewes. This is opposite to the expected response based on a number of studies in cows. Reasons for this difference are not certain, but if they can be identified, then our understanding of the causes of milk fat depression in dairy cows, and how to manage it, will be improved.

  7. 2006 Inductions to Dairy Science Hall of Service

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

    The Dairy Science Hall of Service was initiated in 1952 to recognize worthy men and women who have made a substantial and noteworthy contribution toward the improvement of the dairy industry of Ohio, elevated the stature of dairy farmers, or inspired students enrolled at the Ohio State University. The desirable qualifications for the award include outstanding leadership, demonstrated creativity, willingness to share, and proven ability to inspire and motivate others for the improvement of the dairy industry. The annual induction occurs at the Department of Animal Sciences Dairy Banquet and portraits of the inductees are hung in the halls of Plumb Hall on Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.

    This year's inductees were Drs. R. David Glauer and David Zartman. Since 1993, Dr. Glauer has served as Ohio's State Veterinarian and as the State's top animal health official. He oversees a state field staff comprised of livestock inspectors and veterinary medical officers, in addition to administering Ohio's Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (ADDL). Dr. Glauer will be retiring this summer. Dr. David Zartman has been on the faculty at The Ohio State University since 1984, serving in roles as a Department Chair from 1984 to 1999, actively engaged in outreach education relating to management intensive grazing, and being an acclaimed teacher. Dr. Zartman retired from Ohio State on January 31, 2006. Both of these men have made major contributions to Ohio's dairy industry - our THANKS to them for their many years of dedicated service.

  8. 2006 National Dairy Challenge

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

    The North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge (http://www.dairychallenge.org) 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 fifth annual National Contest was held on March 31 and April1, 2006 in Twin Falls, ID and was hosted by the University of Idaho and Washington State University. The event attracted 27 teams from the United States and Canada, challenging them to put their textbook and practical knowledge to the ultimate test - analyzing dairy farms. The format started with a walk-through at the dairy farms, followed by the opportunity to ask questions of the owners, and analyze farm-specific data. Student teams used this information to develop management recommendations, and then presented their management recommendations to a panel of five dairy industry judges. The placement categories for the contest are platinum, gold, and silver, with the team from The Ohio State University doing an excellent job by placing in the gold category. The students that represented Ohio at the 2006 National Contest were Michael Klein, Stacey Moritz, Dan Sanders, and Amanda Todd, with Dr. Maurice Eastridge serving as their coach. The farm evaluated by Ohio's team consisted of 2700 Holstein cows, double-29 and double-20 parallel parlors, milked 3-times-a-day, and the rolling herd average for milk was 25,636 lb. Other large farms and a calf ranch were visited during the program. In 2008, the National Contest will be held March 30-31in Sioux Falls, SD. Iowa State University and South Dakota State University will be co-hosting the event.

    The team that represented Ohio and placed in the gold
    category at the 2006 National Dairy Challenge were:
    Front row: Amanda Todd and Stacey Moritz; Back row:
    Dan Sanders, Dr. Maurice Eastridge (Coach), and Michael Klein.

  9. 2006 Ohio 4-H Dairy Quiz Bowl

    Ms. Laurie Winkelman, Dairy Program Specialist, The Ohio State University

    The 29th annual Ohio 4-H Dairy Quiz Bowl competition was held on Saturday, May 20. Both junior and senior competitors started the day by taking a written exam to determine seeds for the contest set-up. Receiving the highest scores on the junior exam was Rachel Townsley from Champaign County. Topping the competition in the senior division was Kathy Phillips from Mahoning County.

    Eight junior teams representing four Ohio counties competed in a double elimination tournament-style competition. A combined team from Champaign and Logan Counties surged from the bottom of the bracket to beat Team A from Mahoning County twice in the final round. Members of the winning Champaign/Logan team included: Rachel Townsley from Urbana, Garret King from West Liberty, Ethan Starkey from Mechanicsburg, and Hillary Jackson from DeGraff. The winning team was coached by Mark and Lorraine Townsley of Urbana. Mahoning's runner-up team consisted of Austen Shoemaker from Salem, Billy Grammer from Sebring, and Megan Wyss and Jonathan Dye, both from Beloit. Jane Moff and Katey Lora coached the Mahoning County team.

    In the senior competition, 11 youth participated in a Dairy Jeopardy contest. After two rounds of competition, the top 6 youth were selected to compete in the finals. Winning the Senior Dairy Jeopardy contest was Tad Nelson from Champaign County. The second place senior was Samantha Grizzell from Ross County. Rounding out the top six were: 3rd - Heidi Moff (Mahoning), 4th - Kourtnie Buchanan (Ross), 5th - Kathy Phillips (Mahoning), and 6th - Hayden Gress (Wayne).

    A combined team from Champaign and Logan Counties won the 2006
    State 4-H Dairy Quiz Bowl Jr. Contest. The team (from left to right) consisted
    of Ethan Starkey, Hillary Jackson, coach Mark Townsley, Garret King,
    Rachel Townsley, and coach Lorraine Townsley.

    Mahoning Co. juniors placed second in the 2006 State 4-H Dairy
    Quiz Bowl contest. From left to right are: coach Katey Lora,
    Megan Wyss, Jonathan Dye, Austen Shoemaker, Billy Grammer,
    and coach Jane Moff.

    Senior 4-H quiz bowl contestants competed in a Dairy Jeopardy contest.
    The top 6 youth are pictured above. From left to right are Hayden Gress -
    6th place, Wayne Co., Kathy Phillips - 5th place, Mahoning Co., Kourtnie
    Buchanan - 4th place, Ross Co., Heidi Moff - 3rd place, Mahoning Co.,
    Samantha Grizzell - 2nd place, Ross Co., Tad Nelson, 1st place, Champaign
    Co., and Dr. Maurice Eastridge, Extension Dairy Specialist.