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Buckeye Dairy News : Volume 9 Issue 2
Cost of Nutrients and Benchmarks of Profitability for Ohio Dairy Farms
Dr. Normand St-Pierre, Dairy Management Specialist, The Ohio State University.
At the time of this writing, fears of a drought in the Eastern corn belt are accentuating, bringing the usual wild market speculations in the process. Weather will be the prime determinant of the corn and soybean markets in the next few months. Other feeds should follow more or less in sympathy. Thus, the results presented in this column could change very quickly in weeks ahead.
Using SesameTM (available at www.sesamesoft.com), implicit market prices of nutrients were calculated using market prices of 29 commodities in central Ohio (Table 1). Net energy lactation is currently at a record price, approaching $0.15/Mcal compared to a 10 year average of about $0.07/Mcal. Presently, feed energy is the predominant factor driving the price of commodities. On the other hand, both degradable and undegradable protein are currently priced at much discounted prices. Non-effective NDF (a major feature of byproducts) is also heavily discounted, whereas effective NDF (a major feature of forages) is about at its historical average. Thus, dietary energy is currently very expansive whereas protein and fiber are not. This should impact the nutritional strategy used by nutritionists when balancing dairy rations.
Table 1. Prices of nutrients, central Ohio.
Nutrient nameMay 2006March 2007July 2007 Net energy for lactation - 3X (NRC, 2001; $/Mcal)0.0720.1170.148 Rumen degradable protein ($/lb)-0.013-0.069-0.163 Digestible-rumen undegradable protein ($/lb)0.2000.2060.169 Non-effective neutral detergent fiber (NDF; $/lb)-0.027-0.046-0.095 Effective-NDF ($/lb)0.0650.0330.044
In Tables 2 and 3, we report the results for 27 feed commodities traded or available in central Ohio. Most people think that corn grain at $3.95/bu is highly priced. Certainly, this is a high price by historical standards, but corn is currently a bargain when compared to all other feed sources. Most other commodities are being traded at prices well above their historical averages. I remember when tallow at $0.15/lb ($300/ton) was considered expensive. Now you can't find tallow under $0.30/lb. We live in a new era, a new "feed world".
Table 2. Grouping of feed commodities, central Ohio, November 2006.BargainsAt BreakevenOverpriced
Bakery byproduct Alfalfa hay - 44% NDF Beet pulp Corn grain Cottonseed meal Brewers grains Corn silage Whole cottonseed Canola meal Distillers dried grains Gluten meal Citrus pulp Feather meal Molasses Meat meal Gluten feed 48% Soybean meal Soybean hulls Hominy Roasted soybeans 44% Soybean meal
Expeller soybean meal
Tallow Wheat middlings Wheat bran
Table 3. Commodity assessment, central Ohio, July 2007.
NameActual ($/ton)Predicted ($/ton)Lower limit ($/ton)Upper limit ($/ton) Alfalfa Hay, 44% NDF, 20% CP140132.26105.90158.61 Bakery Byproduct Meal185210.53197.36223.71 Beet Sugar Pulp, dried200146.06125.45166.67 Brewers Grains, wet3929.0724.7133.42 Canola Meal, mech. extracted191.60138.59121.94155.24 Citrus Pulp, dried214173.30162.35184.26 Corn Grain, ground dry151219.72207.46231.98 Corn Silage, 32 to 38% DM5065.4456.2774.61 Cottonseed Meal, 41% CP185174.52160.22188.81 Cottonseed, whole w lint220234.37200.51268.23 Distillers Dried Grains, w solubles116170.27153.46187.09 Feather Hydrolyzed Meal260295.90269.43322.37 Gluten Feed, dry104149.39136.67162.10 Gluten Meal, dry383351.54317.20385.88 Hominy140178.92167.73190.11 Meat Meal, rendered285255.33232.91277.75 Molasses, sugarcane154161.13150.65171.61 Soybean Hulls11568.1738.4095.95 Soybean Meal, expellers275.10309.56286.61332.51 Soybean Meal, solvent 44% CP235.10192.29169.91214.68 Soybean Meal, solvent 48% CP244.10228.78209.31248.25 Soybean Seeds, whole roasted299317.32297.73336.92 Tallow645607.14565.89648.39 Wheat Bran7791.0671.18110.94 Wheat Middlings70111.29111.2993.96Appraisal Set NameActual ($/ton)Predicted ($/ton)Corrected ($/ton) Alfalfa Hay - 38% NDF, 22% CP160133.88163.62 Alfalfa Hay - 48% NDF, 17% CP130133.77113.76 Blood meal, ring dried745399.55 Fish Menhaden Meal, mech.970340.38
Nutrient prices and milk components prices can be used to calculate a benchmark for feed costs (nutrient costs, really) and income over nutrient costs. Results are presented in Table 4. The cost of feeding for a milk yield of 75 lb/day has gone up $0.40/cow/day since last March and is $1.24/cow/day greater than it was in May 2006. Improvements in milk prices, however, more than compensate for the increase in feed costs. The income over nutrient cost is currently $5.93 and $3.65/cow/day greater than it was in May 2006 and last March, respectively. At $10.75/cow/day, income over nutrient costs far exceeds its historical average of $6.25 to 6.50. These are good times for dairy producers. These good times should make up for the bad ones, such as those we went through for most of 2006.
Table 4. Nutrient costs and income over nutrient costs, central Ohio.1
NutrientMay 2006March 2007July 2007------------------------------ $/cow/day -------------------------------- Nutrient costs2
Vitamins and minerals0.200.200.20
Milk gross income
Income over nutrient costs4.827.1010.75
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, October 2006.
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.
Drought-Stressed Corn for Silage
Dr. Bill Weiss, Dairy Nutrition Specialist, The Ohio State University
The dry conditions in many parts of the State have greatly reduced hay and haycrop silage yields, which has reduced forage inventory on many dairy farms. In addition, corn plants are becoming stunted and grain yields are likely to be poor. Low forage inventory and the desire to salvage some value from corn fields means that much of the drought-stressed corn in the state will be chopped for silage. Drought-stressed corn silage can be a good feed for dairy cows and other ruminants if some guidelines are followed.
Chop at the correct dry matter: 30 to 38% dry matter. Corn plants, whether drought-stressed or not, must contain the proper amount of moisture for good fermentation in the silo. Corn plants that are chopped with less than about 30% dry matter (especially less than 27% dry matter) are at high risk of a poor fermentation (high acetic acid, low pH, etc). Corn plants chopped with much more than 38 to 40% dry matter usually undergo a limited fermentation and can mold and spoil during storage and feed out. Drought-stressed corn often is much wetter than normal corn because normal corn has more kernels and kernels are drier than the vegetative part of the plant. Before chopping drought-stressed corn for silage, cut some stalks and run dry matter analysis. If the crop is too wet to make silage, do not chop. Forage supplies are likely to be very tight this fall and winter. Do not exacerbate the situation by chopping at the incorrect dry matter concentration and making poor quality silage. Even under severe drought, it is extremely likely that corn plants are too wet to make into silage in mid-July.
Nitrates might be a problem and greenchopping corn plants is not recommended. Silage fermentation can greatly reduce nitrate concentrations. Therefore, very often silage is safe to feed even though the plants would have been toxic if fed fresh. If greenchopping must be done because of limited forage supplies, set the chopper high because nitrates accumulate in the lower portion of the stalk.
- Nutrient value of drought-stress corn silage can be fairly high. Compared with normal corn silage, drought-stressed corn silage usually has 1 to 2 percentage units more crude protein, 10 to 20 percentage units more neutral detergent fiber (the fewer the number of ears, the higher the fiber concentration), and 15 to 25 percentage units less starch. Even though fiber concentrations are high and starch concentrations are low, energy values (TDN, net energy, etc.) of drought-stressed corn are usually 90 to 95% as high as normal corn silage because the fiber is highly digestible. The bottom line is that if drought-stressed corn silage ferments properly (see point #1), it is quite acceptable as a forage for even high-producing dairy cows. However, the nutrient composition of drought-stressed corn will be more variable than normal corn silage and it must be sampled and analyzed for nutrient composition and diets balanced accordingly.
- Chop at the correct dry matter: 30 to 38% dry matter. Corn plants, whether drought-stressed or not, must contain the proper amount of moisture for good fermentation in the silo. Corn plants that are chopped with less than about 30% dry matter (especially less than 27% dry matter) are at high risk of a poor fermentation (high acetic acid, low pH, etc). Corn plants chopped with much more than 38 to 40% dry matter usually undergo a limited fermentation and can mold and spoil during storage and feed out. Drought-stressed corn often is much wetter than normal corn because normal corn has more kernels and kernels are drier than the vegetative part of the plant. Before chopping drought-stressed corn for silage, cut some stalks and run dry matter analysis. If the crop is too wet to make silage, do not chop. Forage supplies are likely to be very tight this fall and winter. Do not exacerbate the situation by chopping at the incorrect dry matter concentration and making poor quality silage. Even under severe drought, it is extremely likely that corn plants are too wet to make into silage in mid-July.
Chopping Soybeans for Silage
Dr. Bill Weiss, Dairy Nutrition Specialist, The Ohio State University
Because of dry conditions, soybeans may not mature adequately to justify harvesting the crop as beans. An alternative is to chop the entire plant and make silage out of it. If harvested at correct stage of maturity and good silage making practices are followed, soybean silage can be a good feed for cattle.
The crop must contain adequate water for fermentation. The best fermentation usually occurs when soybeans contain 35 to 45% dry matter (wetter silages for bunkers and drier silages for upright silos).
Excessive fat (oil) in the seeds can inhibit fermentation. Soybeans at the R-6 stage usually do not contain enough oil (6 to 9% of the whole plant dry matter) to cause problems. Under normal growing, R-7 stage beans contain about 10% fat (whole plant) which can cause some fermentation problems, but under drought conditions, R-7 may still ferment adequately. If your soybeans contain much more than about 10% fat, they should be blended with other crops (corn plants) at the time of ensiling.
Silage must be chopped relatively finely to encourage consumption of stems. A theoretical length of chop (TLC) of 3/8 inch should be adequate, but chop length should be evaluated at the time of cutting. Chop several feet of material and look at the forage. If several long stems remain, reduce TLC, if you cannot find any stem pieces that are about an inch long, increase TLC (not all the pieces should be 1 inch but you should be able to find some).
Nutrient value of soybean silage chopped at the R-6 stage is similar to early to midbloom alfalfa. Average concentrations (dry matter basis) of some nutrients are: crude protein - 19%, neutral detergent fiber (NDF) - 40%, and fat - 6%.
Certain herbicides that are used for soybeans may not be approved when harvesting the crop as silage. Check with your chemical supplier.
- The crop must contain adequate water for fermentation. The best fermentation usually occurs when soybeans contain 35 to 45% dry matter (wetter silages for bunkers and drier silages for upright silos).
Testing for Nitrates
With the dry conditions in many areas in Ohio, crop growth has been severely affected and producers are considering using grain corn for forage. With the dry conditions, concerns have arisen about the potential for nitrate toxicity of animals. Conditions favorable to high nitrate concentration and feeding guidelines are described in the OSUE fact sheet titled "Nitrates in Dairy Rations" (http://ohioline.osu.edu/as-fact/0003.html).
Options for testing for nitrates are sending samples to feed analytical laboratories or using field test kits. Many analytical laboratories test for nitrates with a very fast turnaround time for results, but the samples must be properly handled (call the laboratory for instructions before the sample is sent). The following laboratories, among many others, offer nitrate analyses:
Holmes Laboratory, Millersburg, OH, (800) 344-1101
DairyOne, Ithaca, NY, (800) 344-2697
Cumberland Valley Analytical Services, Maugansville, MD, (800) 282-7522
Spectrum Lab, Washington C.H., OH, (800) 321-1562
Field test kits are available from different suppliers, but many of these are designed for water and must be modified for feed. Some suppliers of test kits are:
To use the test kits designed for water to analyze for nitrates in corn plants, follow the procedure below:
- Chop a representative sample of corn plants into very small pieces and mix
- Weigh about 20 grams of the chopped corn silage and add 100 ml of distilled water
- Let the mix stand for about 10 minutes, shake vigorously, and repeat this step two or three times (a better approach would be to mix the silage and water in a blender)
- Remove 5 ml of the solution and add 95 ml of distilled water and mix
- Run the test using the kit that you have purchased.
Convert the results to a dry matter basis, using one of the following methods:
a. Test result x 400 = ppm (DM basis, assuming the corn is 30% DM)
b. Analyze the DM content of the corn silage and use the following equation: (test result x 120) / DM proportion, expressed as a decimal = ppm
*If values are below the detection limit of the assay, nitrate concentration in the plants should not be a problem for the animals.
Planting Small Grains in Late Summer for Supplemental Forage
Dr. Mark Sulc, Forage Specialist, The Ohio State University
Forage yields have been reduced this year due to the late spring frost and dry weather since May. Supplemental forage can be produced yet this year by planting small grain species on land coming out of wheat or corn silage production.
Planting oat or spring triticale for forage production are probably the best options remaining for producing supplemental forage for dairy animals yet this year, especially if the forage will be harvested by mechanical means. Oat seed usually can be purchased at a more economical price than spring triticale seed, but either species will produce good dry matter yields of high quality forage within 60 to 80 days of planting.
When planted in early to mid-August and with adequate rainfall for vigorous growth, oat and spring triticale can produce up to 5000 lb of dry matter by mid-October. At that point, they will reach the boot stage of growth, which provides the best compromise of yield and forage quality. If harvest is delayed until November, August planted oat will be heading out and yield near 6000 lb/acre of dry matter. Forage quality will be lower at that stage.
Oat and spring triticale can also be planted in early to mid-September, immediately after an early corn silage harvest. With the later planting date, yields will be much lower (1500 to 2000 lb/acre of dry matter) and harvest will be delayed into months with poor drying conditions (November to early December). On the positive side, forage quality will be very high - CP will be near 30% and NDF will be 30 to 35%. Green chopping or grazing will likely be the best options for harvesting oat or spring triticale forage planted after corn silage because of the high probability of poor drying conditions in late autumn.
When planting small grains in late summer, no-till seeding will conserve moisture and provide firmer soil for either harvesting equipment or grazing animals in the fall. Oat should be planted at 70 to 90 lb/acre and spring triticale at 90 to 110 lb/acre.
When planted after wheat or corn silage, oat or spring triticale will likely require additional nitrogen for good growth. If applying N fertilizer, apply from 50 to 80 lb/acre of N at planting. The higher rate should be used where wheat straw is not removed prior to planting. Manure applications prior to planting can replace some or all of the N fertilizer, depending on the amount of readily available N in the manure.
Wheat and winter triticale are not good options for autumn forage because they do not grow much in autumn. However, wheat and winter triticale will produce good yields of high quality forage in the spring. So they are good options for late September or early October planting for spring forage production. Winter rye is also an option for early spring forage. Some forage-type varieties of winter rye (e.g. Wheeler, Winter King, and Aroostook) will produce more forage in the fall than common cereal rye, but oats will usually produce more forage in the autumn than the forage-type winter rye varieties. On the other hand, winter rye will survive the winter and can provide early spring forage, whereas the oat will winterkill.
Many producers will likely need additional forage this coming autumn as well as early next spring. In that case, mixtures of oats with winter rye or oats with winter triticale are good options. The oats will produce the bulk of the autumn forage, and the winter cereal will produce significant forage yield in early spring.
Annual ryegrass is another possible option for producing high quality forage, especially for grazing in late autumn and early winter. Some varieties are more likely to survive the winter than others. Refer to the Ohio Forage Performance Trials for selecting varieties (http://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/forage2006/default.asp). Plant 20 to 25 lb/acre of annual ryegrass seed and apply 100 to 120 lb/acre of urea either at planting or at the early tillering stage.
We have also planted annual ryegrass in early September the last two years, and one can expect 800 to 2000 lb/acre of dry matter by late November and early December, with yields of 3 to 5 tons/acre of dry matter the following year from improved varieties with good winter survival and high N fertilization. Annual ryegrass can be planted earlier in August, especially if soil moisture is favorable, which should provide higher yields in late autumn.
Sorghum sudangrass and pearl millet were good options for planting after wheat, if planted by July 15-20. After July 20, their production potential declines rapidly because of the diminishing number of warm days remaining. Those species require warm temperatures for rapid growth. In addition, late planting increases the potential for risk of prussic acid poisoning with sorghum-sudangrass because harvest is delayed to when freezing temperatures are more likely to occur.
Additional information on annual forages and their establishment and management is provided in Chapter 7 of the Ohio Agronomy Guide, 14th ed., available at Extension offices and at http://ohioline.osu.edu/b472/0008.html. Good management is important to achieve success with these alternative forages.
Feeding Glycerol to Dairy Cattle
Dr. Maurice Eastridge, Dairy Specialist, The Ohio State University
Are you a label reader? Probably not, unless you get bored when you are on "business" in the bathroom and you don't have the Readers Digest or the local daily newspaper in arms reach. But take a look at the labels on the bottles of hand or body lotion, sun screen, and skin moisturizer. Very high on the list (and ingredients are listed in order from highest to lowest concentration), you will find glycerin (another name for "glycerol"). You also will find it in teat or udder ointment. Glycerol is an odorless, colorless, and sweet tasting viscous liquid, even at low environmental temperatures. It is the backbone for fatty acids to form fat (or triglycerides). Fat from soybeans, tallow, restaurant grease, etc. is being used presently for biodiesel production. The fatty acids are the integral part of the fuel, but the glycerol is a byproduct from the process. Every gallon of biodiesel produced will general about 0.75 lb of crude glycerol. So, with the increased availability of glycerol as a byproduct of biodiesel production, it is being investigated as a feed ingredient for dairy cattle. The bacteria in the rumen (first stomach compartment) can use glycerol to primarily produce propionate and the propionate will be converted to glucose by the liver of the cow.
In a recent Purdue University study, 60 dairy cows were fed diets containing 0, 5, 10, or 15% glycerol (replaced corn). The diets contained 31.9% corn silage, 10% alfalfa haylage, 12.2% alfalfa hay, and 45.9% concentrate (including the glycerol). The concentration of nonfiber carbohydrates (NFC) across the diets was approximately 39%. Feed intake, milk yield, milk fat, and milk protein were similar among the dietary treatments (53.5 lb/day, 81.2 lb/day, 3.60%, and 2.85%, respectively). Concentrations of milk urea nitrogen were lower with diets containing glycerol and cows consuming 10 or 15% glycerol gained more weight than cows not fed glycerol. We also recently completed a study at OSU whereby 48 cows (averaged 112 days in milk) were fed different concentrations of glycerol and NFC: 1) 0% glycerol and 37% NFC, 2) 5% glycerol and 37% NFC, 3) 10% glycerol and 37% NFC, or 4) 10% glycerol and 42% NFC. Diets contained 37.4% corn silage, 9.1% hay, and 53.5% concentrate (including the glycerol). Feed intake, milk yield, milk protein, and milk urea nitrogen were similar among the dietary treatments (52.6 lb/day, 87.1 lb/day, 3.06%, and 14.3 mg/dl). Milk fat percentage was decreased with glycerol addition (3.52, 3.18, 3.19, and 2.93%, respectively), especially when 10% glycerol was fed with 42% NFC.
In each of these studies, cows were fed the diets for eight weeks, and based on the results from these two studies, as well as some other published research, we can conclude that glycerol has value as a feed ingredient for dairy cattle. Feeding glycerol may have to be limited more when diets are rather high in NFC. The effect observed in milk fat percentage in the OSU study may not be a negative effect on the ruminal fermentation because feed intake was not altered; therefore, the effect may be on fat synthesis in the mammary gland. Feeding glycerol at 5 to 10% of the dietary dry matter should be valuable nutritionally and should pose limited risks to animals. Given the viscous nature of the product, it may help reduce sorting of total-mixed rations by dairy cows.
However, there is caution with the findings of these two studies. Both projects were conducted using food-grade glycerol. Crude glycerol from biodiesel production will contain unused catalyst (e.g. sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide), methanol, and salts. The actual amount of glycerol in crude glycerin may range from 75 to 90%. The Food and Drug Administration has issued a letter stating that if methanol is over 150 ppm (0.015%), then it should not be used for animal feed. So, additional research is going to be needed to determine the variation in composition of crude glycerol, including the concentration of contaminates that are of particular risk to animal health. Once these are better identified, then more defined feeding guidelines for crude glycerol can be established based on not only the nutritional value of the ingredient but also the limitations due to the impurities that may cause some risks.
(This article first appeared in Farm and Dairy, 6/21/2007, http://www.farmanddairy.com)
Bonnie Ayars Hired as Dairy Program Specialist
Dr. Maurice Eastridge, Dairy Specialist, The Ohio State University
Bonnie Ayars started on Monday, June 4 in the Dairy Program Specialist position in the Department of Animal Sciences (position formerly held by Laurie Winkleman). Her responsibilities include coaching the 4-H and collegiate dairy judging teams, organizing the goat and dairy skillathons for the Ohio State Fair, and working with various youth and adult educational programs relating to dairy. Bonnie brings many years of experience in the dairy industry and in teaching to the position. She and her husband, John, own a dairy farm in Mechanicsburg, OH. Bonnie is very active in several Ohio and national dairy organizations. She has taught Family and Consumer Sciences in the Fairbanks and Urbana school systems and conducted some work for the Ohio Department of Education for about 6 months. She not only brings a lot of experience to the position but also a high level of enthusiasm and concern for the development of youth. As she expressed in her application for the position "My life has been devoted to cows, people, and my passion has been the opportunity to work with young people." Her office and contact information is: 222C Animal Science Building, 2029 Fyffe Court, Columbus, OH 43210, (614) 688-3143, FAX (614) 292-1515, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, web site: http://ansci.osu.edu/showdetails.php?FID=205.
Results of Ohio 4-H Dairy Quiz Bowl
Dr. Maurice Eastridge, Dairy Specialist, The Ohio State University
The annual Ohio 4-H Dairy Quiz Bowl competition for youth ranging in age from 3rd grade through 18 years of age was held on Saturday, May 19 on the OSU Columbus campus. Nine junior (age 13 and under) teams and 24 senior (ages 14 through 18) individuals competed in the contest. The junior teams took a written exam and competed in a double-round elimination tournament. The senior individuals took a written exam and competed in a jeopardy-style tournament whereby 16 individuals advanced to Round 2 and 8 individuals advanced to Round 3. The 4-H members participating in the contest were from Champaign, Licking, Logan, Mahoning, Stark, and Wayne Counties. The Champaign/Logan Team A took first place (members of the team were Tarah Bishop, Garrett King, Hillary Jackson, and Ethan Starkey), and the second place team was Wayne County B (Diane Gress, Eileen Gress, Julie Gress, and Hannah Rennecker). The top junior for the written exam was Sam Weeman from Wayne County. The top placing seniors for the first through sixth places were, respectively: Laura Gordon (Wayne County), Rachel Townsley (Champaign County), Heidi Moff (Mahoning County), Issac Rummell (Stark County), Paul Gordon (Wayne County), Kathy Phillips (Mahoning County). Rachel Townsley had the high score on the written exam among the seniors.
2007 Recipients of the Dairy Science Hall of Service
Dr. Maurice Eastridge, Dairy Specialist, The Ohio State University
The annual Dairy Banquet for the Department of Animal Sciences and the Buckeye Dairy Club was held on Saturday, May 12 at the Der Dutchman in Plain City. One of the highlights of the banquet was the induction of Mr. Tom Noyes (Creston, OH) and Mr. Lowell Stevens (Urbana, OH) into the Dairy Science Hall of Service. This award was initiatied in 1952 with the objectives 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 citations for the 2007 award recipients are provided below.
Tom Noyes grew up on a small farm in Johnston, Rhode Island and was a 10-year member of 4-H and Boy Scouts, attaining the rank of Life Scout. He spent his high school and college years working on family dairy farms and spent some time working at a wholesale produce market.
He graduated in 1967 with a B.S. in Agriculture from the University of Rhode Island, with a major in Animal Science and a minor in crops and agronomy. In 1974, he completed a M.S. in Agriculture from the University of Massachusetts with a major in Animal Science (dairy nutrition) and a minor in Agronomy.
His first position was with the University of Massachusetts Cooperative Extension Service in Berkshire County, Massachusetts as an Extension 4-H Youth Agent (1967 to 1974). He had the responsibility of 4-H youth programs in Berkshire County and in conducting regional dairy programs for the 4-H youth. He coached the state dairy judging team, winning the national contest in 1972, and he assisted with the writing of the 4-H Dairy Project Material that was in use in Massachusetts.
From July, 1974 to October, 2005, he was the Extension Dairy Agent for Ohio State University Extension in Wayne County. As an Extension agent, he was responsible for planning, conducting, and teaching dairy Extension programs in Wayne County and northeast Ohio. He was a member of the OSU State Extension Dairy Team, Northeast Ohio Dairy Excel Team, OSU Extension Forage team, and the OSU Extension Sustainable Agriculture Team. He has conducted field research in dairy nutrition, forage production, and farm financial management. He wrote bi-weekly news columns for the Wooster Daily Record Newspaper, monthly columns for the Dairy Excel program, grazing articles for Farm and Dairy, and various articles for the OSU dairy newsletter known as the Buckeye Dairy News.
He has been involved in many professional organizations, including Ohio Extension Agents Association and the National Association of County Agricultural Agents, having received the Distinguished Service Award from both organizations; American Dairy Science Association; National Mastitis Council (served on Education Committee); Ohio Forage and Grassland Council (received Distinguished Service Award); American Forage and Grassland Council; American Jersey Cattle Association; Ohio Jersey Breeders Association (received Pioneer Service Award); and National Ayrshire and Ohio Ayrshire Breeders Associations. He served on the Planning Committee for the Tri-State Dairy Nutrition Conference for 3 years.
Tom is currently retired from The Ohio State University Extension, and he owns and operates, along with his wife (Rosalie), daughter (Cheryl King), and son-in-law (Russell King), a 100-cow dairy farm that utilizes management intensive grazing. The dairy has been operating at 9959 Canaan Center Road, Creston, OH since 1983. He enjoys vegetable and flower gardening and playing golf, including assisting the local Boy Scout troop as advisor to gardening and golf merit badges. He is a member of the Wooster- Madisonburg Evening Lions (Past President), and he does some consulting on dairy management and teaching Extension dairy programs upon request, including teaching milking management schools and milking system trouble shooting for Amish dairy producers.
Throughout his life, Tom has exemplified a passion for the dairy industry. From his professional role as an educator to managing a family dairy operation, he has taken hold of the advancements in agriculture. He has shared his knowledge, skills, and leadership with many organizations connected with the dairy industry. The recognition provided as a recipient of the Dairy Hall of Service Award is most fitting for his life of service to the Ohio dairy industry.
Lowell W. Stevens was born in Champaign County, OH on April 7, 1939, and he has been a part of the dairy industry ever since. He grew up showing Jersey cattle in 4-H and became a Dairy Herd Improvement milk tester after graduating from Urbana Local High School in 1957. During those 9 years as a milk tester, he met a girl on a Holstein farm named Julia Yoder, and they have now been married for over 43 years. Lowell and Julia have 2 daughters (Molly McCumons and Margaret Sennett) and 5 grandchildren.
Following a stint with the Air Force National Guard, Lowell began to work for NOB A in 1964, breeding cows for farmers in Champaign and Logan Counties. During the last 41 years, he has been with the organization as it has progressed from NOBA to Genex. Lowell has served as a breeding technician, Area Sales Representative, and during the past 8 years, he has served as an Area Program Consultant. Throughout his tenure at Genex, Lowell has developed a very profitable sales unit with a loyal customer base through his dependable service and valuable advice and training on sire selection and A.I. training, and his experiences have been priceless in training newer employees.
The Stevens family was in partnership with Mrs. F.E. Lowry, and in 1980, Lowell and Julia purchased his family's half of the Jersey herd. Club Hill Jerseys was formed from this very successful partnership, and over the next several years, Club Hill Jerseys and the Stevens family enjoyed much notoriety on the show circuit. For example, at the 1985 Ohio State Fair, Club Hill Jerseys enjoyed a banner day, winning Junior Champion, Grand Champion, and Premier Breeder and Exhibitor. His family has participated in the All-American Jersey Show for 12 years, with highlights including several Genetic Index Awards and breeding the 1989 Reserve Grand Champion. Club Hill Jerseys was always a regular stop for 4-H and collegiate judging teams from across the country, especially when practicing en route to the World Dairy Expo. In 1992, Club Hill Jerseys hosted a complete dispersal that commanded the highest sale average ($1700) and the highest selling female at public auction ($10,000) for the year.
Lowell's eye for good cattle has been realized in the steady improvement of his customers' herds and the accomplishments of his own herd, and it has also been recognized through his appointments as a judge. In addition to overseeing several county and district shows each summer, Lowell has judged many state and national shows, including being Associate Judge at the All-American Jr. Jersey Show.
Lowell was a director on the Champaign County Dairy Service Unit for 30 years, serving in many positions including President. Lowell's commitment to youth is evident as he has served as a Chair of the Junior OJBA, he has served as a 4-H advisor for 25 years, and he sat on both the county and state 4-H Advisory Boards. He served on the 2006 All-American Junior Jersey Activities Committee, a national committee that he has chaired twice. He has also served on the Spring Dairy Expo Committee, the State Ethics Committee, and the Host Day Committee for the 2000 National Holstein Convention. He was Co-Chair for the 2003 National Jersey Convention held in Ohio. Lowell currently represents Genex on the board of the Ohio Dairy Producers, and he is a member of OJBA (has served as President and represented District 9 for many years), Ohio PDCA, American Jersey Cattle Association, and National Dairy Shrine. For many years, Lowell has assisted Julia in managing the secretarial and treasury duties of the OJBA. Lowell is probably most well-known in Jersey circles on the state level for the outstanding Ohio Spring Classic sale that he manages every Memorial Day that consistently rates as one of the best state sales in the country.
Among the awards that he has received include: DHIA Superior Achievement Award (1966), Ohio Jersey Breeders' Pioneer Service Award (1990), 1995 Kentucky Colonel, Ohio State Fair Hall of Fame (2000), and Genex Mission Award (2006). Lowell is a member of the Urbana United Methodist Church where he has been President of the Methodist Men and served on the Church Administrative Board. The recognition provided as a recipient of the Dairy Hall of Service Award is most fitting for commitment to advancing the Jersey breed, his dedication to educating youth, and his untiring efforts to advance the Ohio dairy industry.