Archive for August 2016

With a daily routine of cows, off-farm jobs, errands and kids, most dairy connected families find themselves dreaming about smooth running morning routines.  While the dream may not include time for feet up R&R, it is entirely possible to prevent the onset of C&C – or as I know it — chaos and craziness. Bathroom lineups, lost library books, lost keys, and lost homework are just the “last straw” on school mornings. It’s especially upsetting if any or all of these come after breakfast bedlam and the fear-filled observation as you step out the door “you can NOT wear your barn boots to school!”

As parents of three and having the privilege of grand-parenting eight more, hubby and I have learned a few things about getting mornings with school kids off to a great start.  After all, whether they’re headed to school or if we are visiting during school days, no one wants to waste valuable time playing hide and seek with pairs of socks or racing the clock to find that permission slip that must be signed today!

THE KEY: “Don’t Wait Until Morning.”

Four keywords will turn your dairy/school mornings around: Don’t Wait Until Morning.  Those dairy farmers with the best-running operations know that, if they wait until the cows are ready to be milked before they get the feed ready or the milking equipment cleaned, there will be far too much wasted time. Unreported illness (staff or bovine), missing or malfunctioning equipment can also mess up a barn morning.  We all work hard to make sure that mornings are great in the barn.  We can do it with school mornings too.

FIND YOUR CENTER: “Hang it.  Post it. Pack it.”

I have always been somewhat of a morning person.  I say somewhat because there are some who think my mornings start in the middle of the night.  Nevertheless, those are my most productive hours.  I don’t want them to be watered down because I become wrapped up in un-planned crisis management.  These days the early morning chores are different, but I still enjoy time in the morning to see everyone off on the right foot and, hopefully, with matching shoes.

I am always searching for new ways to do things better. Pinterest is my addiction. However, my seeking has also been especially blessed with great role models.  My daughter-in-love is one of mine. Last year she implemented three centers that have resulted in huge time savings in a house with three school children under ten.  One is the command center in the family room the other. The second is the control center by the front door.  The third is the lunch box center, which is a cupboard dedicated to kid’s lunchboxes in the kitchen. These three organized areas are indispensable to a smooth-running school morning.

 

DSC07171COMMAND CENTER

With all the school papers, notes and notices that come into our homes, it is hard to imagine having them corralled in one area that is also attractive and functional.  But such is the case for my Maple grandchildren and their parents.  With three drawers for each of the three kids and three for the adults to share, all of the incoming paper has a place to go.  The four hanging boards are magnetic, attractive and labeled with the name of the child. Chalk painted magazine boxes hold school notices, and the front lets everyone know when library books are due. Event notices, play dates, and doctor appointments are posted here and clearly visible from across the room.

 

 

 

 

DSC07177CONTROL CENTER

At the front door, there are child-height hooks for coats and book bags, buckets for hats, mitts, scarves, and gloves. This amazingly useful area also has cubbies for shoes and a drainage tray for wet boots or Crocs.  There are two extra large baskets which are perfect for whatever is necessary for the current after school sports activities or teams. Sunscreen and hand sanitizers are also stored, where else, but at hand. Once we identify everything that is needed for a quick morning exit, we make sure that it is stored in this easily accessible area.  No adventures in hide-n-seek.  No sending someone back upstairs, downstairs or to who-knows-where-for-who-knows what.

 

 

 

 

DSC07179THE LUNCH CENTER

This is probably the smallest of the three centers, but the lunch center is one of the most important.  This very accessible child height (under the counter) cupboard has some of the key components that make lunch packing quick and easy. This is where the kid’s lunchboxes, thermoses, water bottles, snacks, reusable food boxes and cutlery are kept. Not only, does this make it easy for them to be involved in making lunches, it also dramatically cuts down crisscrossing of the kitchen in search of needed supplies. When the dishwasher is being emptied, everything lunch related and non-perishable finds its way to this cupboard.

My dairy nutritionist daughter also encourages taking lunch preparation into the refrigerator zone.  Since her children are slightly older, they are developing a system of washing, chopping and preparing fruit, veggies and sandwich makings for a few days’ worth of lunches.  Ideally, this happens on grocery day or on Sunday evening. Small containers inside larger ones make it look inviting, organized and easy to select from when the girls make their lunches. It takes up very little space in the refrigerator and again condenses storage for fast access.

EVERY GOOD CENTER NEEDS TO HAVE A GOOD ROUTINE

It’s one thing to have things organized.  It’s even better if everyone, kids especially, knows how to make the system work.  In the same way that a good morning milking routine needs to be replicated at every other milking, a good school morning routine has to have a complimentary after-school routine.  With the centers we have been talking about, the kids come in from school … empty their backpacks (dishwasher, garbage, and lunch center), change their clothes, have a snack and play or have personal time for 20 to 30 minutes.  Homework is started and completed before supper.  School notes and homework for checking are placed on the shelf in the command center for Mom and Dad to check when they have time. While my grandchildren don’t live on farms, all three homes are dairy connected with parents working in marketing, semen sales or dairy nutrition. If they were on a farm, they might have chores to complete.  As it is, on many days there are after school activities.  Having an easily repeated routine working is as effective for kids in the house as it is for calves and cows.  The last thing every night is a quick tidy of the control center, moving everything needed to the command center, showers teeth brushing and one load of wash in the machine. This pretty much guarantees that everyone will make a clean exit in the morning.

  • BONUS TIP #1: “Get Dressed”
    Having clothes organized is in the DNA of the female Hunt family and spouses. At our Huntsdale house, the next day’s clothes hang on hooks (five outfits at a time).  Our American grandkids (Michigan and Wisconsin) have been raised with organized closets and drawers.  Here in Ontario, the three kids under ten can find their school and play clothes easily because they are using a labeled drawer system. For them, a night time shower or bath means that just a few minutes are needed in the morning for hair-combing and teeth brushing.
  • BONUS TIP #2: “Find Your Best ”
    Some dairy ladies and their helpers do as much school prep as they can in the afternoon before chores. Others choose night prep. Depending on chore time or dairy priorities, it could affect when the kids do homework … and where.  It’s amazing how much can be done in the barn office (feed alley or milkhouse). Been there.  Done that. The training lies in the commitment to doing the homework EVERY time. You wouldn’t put an untrained heifer into the milking routine.  Don’t expend an unprepared student to excel in the school system.
  • BONUS TIP #3: “Need help? Use technology!”
    Technology loves to help us get organized. You can synchronize Google calendars to your phones. If you can name the time management problem, you can probably find an app to solve it.  When everyone involved in child care, pickups and deliveries are working from the same calendar; it is much more likely to run smoothly.  I have prepared a basic grocery list that is always available for whoever finds themselves near the store on any given day. Like any system, though, you must use it, not lose it!
  • BONUS TIP #4: “Magical Mornings happen when the kids participate too!”
    Even the littlest helpers can keep the household running smoothly. Our Michigan girls have daily chores, and the Maple Loves are very good at putting their laundry away (in the aforementioned labeled dresser drawers) and picking up toys. Everybody is good at setting the table. Things are getting exciting as the older ones are starting to try their hand at meal preparation.

THE BULLVINE BOTTOM LINE

A new school year is always exciting and promises to have nearly as many memorable events on the calendar as a well-managed dairy farm.  Starting each day in a way that builds confidence and reduces anxiety is the goal. Everyone here at The Bullvine wishes you the best school year ever as you find your best way to earn your dairy morning Ph.D.: “Post it. Hang it. Do it!” Whether it’s school mornings or dairy mornings, success is all about being well-prepared!

 

 

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Categories : Management

I will never forget the day that a former co-worker once told me that “farmers will never buy into laptops and personal computers!” That co-worker is now retired! I call myself re-fired! At that time, fifteen years ago, I was a crusader for saving time and money for our national company by making better use of available technology such as laptops, conference calls, and email instead of flying boards of directors everywhere, the laborious taking of minutes and monthly, instead of daily, updates. For me, as the Information Director, everything moved too slowly. Today we have access to devices and platforms that weren’t even imagined then. And, in my opinion, as far as time management goes, traditional methods are as outdated as the grandfather clock that chimes the hours at Huntsdale!

Goodbye offices. Hello, telecommuting!

Traditional time management teaches us to “start with a list of things you want to accomplish today!” In 2016, once you have checked Facebook and email, that list is already unrealistic and woefully behind.

Traditional time management also teaches us to “Set Priorities: 1, 2, 3, etc.” I can’t tell you the number of discussions we have about prioritizing. It seems that everything is “high priority” and “urgent.” I am genetically opposed to crisis management. Well-managed time is not driven by the current crisis. It prevents them!

Traditional time management teaches us to “close the door” to prevent being distracted. Closed door or not, our brains are spinning with incoming lures from the internet, cell phones, iPads, and pagers. On dairy farms and ag businesses, the concept of a schedule is already three hours behind before 8 o’clock in the morning.

Distraction From Work? OR Distraction By Work?

The problem is not that we are getting distracted away from the task at hand. The problem is that we are being distracted by other work continually presenting itself. How many times have you started to complete an important task on your daily priority list, only to be lured away by incoming emails, service providers driving in the lane or Mother Nature putting a special spin on the simple logistics of feeding, raising and moving cattle? Today’s dairy managers are so overwhelmed by incoming information; they spend much of their time “fielding” incoming issues. They end up operating without a big picture look at their total responsibilities. Work is coming at them from half a dozen sources. Interruptions seem non-stop. It feels like there is no time for anything let alone for managing time itself.

Techniques we Learned in the Past Are Failing Us

Look around your office. Are there too many sticky notes beginning to curl up at the corners? Are the paper lists landing in an ever-growing pile of printouts? Does it happen that flagged emails quickly fall below the scroll and get buried? When was the last time you had a day where you didn’t feel you were in a state of constant distraction and multi-tasking?

Are you Busy or are You Productive?

A study out of the University of Illinois (Disruption and Recover of Computing Tasks) concluded that ” More than a quarter of the time someone switches tasks, it’s two hours or more before they resume what they were doing.” (Source: Time Management Doesn’t Work) I don’t know of any statistical analysis of farm routines that compares the effect of multi-tasking, but common sense confirms that if you are always managing distractions, you are consistently reactive instead of proactive. This means that you could be missing the financial benefits of moving your business forward.

The truth is, we have to work differently now.

Effectiveness is the measure of time management success. Employees need to be trained to improve their productivity skills and overcome the challenges of modern day problems.

There are three critical components required in order to build effectiveness:

  1. Manage role priorities rather than task priorities.
  2. Manage attention rather than managing time.
  3. Set up a comprehensive workflow management system for staff.

If employees use these three steps, they won’t spend their time being distracted by incoming issues. Priorities will arise only from those things that are priorities for their assigned role. They gain clarity and focus when they manage their attention.

Dairy Managers Must Align Roles and Goals

One of the hardest habits to overcome is “being busy”. There is a certain satisfaction in knowing that your day has been full. However, just as working late doesn’t mean you are working efficiently. A busy day does not mean that you have dealt effectively with your dairy priorities.

If you find yourself balking at taking the time to work out the goals of your dairy farm, then time management will never be a useful tool for you and your staff. Managers and employees need to be very clear on what is expected of each position on the farm. When employees know how to focus on their primary job roles, it is easier to filter out the irrelevant noise and take effective action. For example, when a vet/nutritionist/feed salesperson arrives unannounced at the farm, it should be clear how this interruption is to be handled and by whom. Hubby reminded me of a sign that was posted on a farm: “We shoot every third unannounced visitor and the second unannounced person just left!”

If these distractions and others are handled on a first come first served basis, there will never be enough time to raise the effectiveness in any area to the next level.

Little Things Make a Big Difference

For example, as a dairy manager, how often do you feel that you are spending too much time working at the dairy farm rather than working for the dairy farm.

A renewed focus on clearly defining the role of the dairy manager, calf manager or milking manager can reduce the temptation to spend too much time on email and other day-to-day minutiae or interruptions.

Do You Go with the Flow or Do You Control the Flow?

There are many unique situations that arise every day on dairy farms. These irregularities force changes in order to accommodate weather, planting season, harvesting … equipment challenges and animal sickness. And those are just a few. This is where communication is crucial. Everyone needs to be aware of how their role changes during seasons of added activity or high stress. The temptation is just to put your head down and do whatever it takes to get through everything. Too many of us have been raised to accept that if it means multitasking…so be it. If the days are long and strenuous…so be it. If everything doesn’t get done to the highest standard…so be it. At the end of the season – or a particular stress — the hope is that everything has turned out all right. The question I have each time relates to the fact that, although it’s unusual, the stress does return. Perhaps at some point, it becomes time to plan ahead. We want change, but we are not committed to changing anything. The planning — in 2016—needs to move beyond sticky notes left in the milkhouse … quick notations on a calendar or something you scribbled on the back of the seed delivery invoice.

Measured Success

The modern dairy form doesn’t survive by having the longest list of jobs that got done. Success turns on the interaction between feed production, animal care, nutrition and financial management. The old fashioned “Get a whole lot done!” must evolve into “Get it done right!”

The Bullvine Bottom Line

The true measure of time management is its effectiveness. It isn’t easy to be productive and efficient on dairy farms that are overloaded with information and fighting for survival alongside fast changing technology, genetics, and economic pressures. When the right work is done right by using the right resources, the results are intentional, measurable and financially and personally rewarding.

 

 

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Categories : Management

Is there an Ideal Calving Interval (C.I.)?

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

A month ago I was challenged by my Facebook friend, Ian Crosbie, a keen dairy person from Benbie Holsteins, Saskatchewan Canada, with the question “Is there or should there be an ideal calving interval?”.

Well, I must admit that on first thought I would have quickly replied to Ian saying “Of course it is 12-13 months just like we have all been taught in agricultural school.”

But on second thought I question if there should be such a universal statement.

As it is beyond me to have the complete answer to the question I will bring forward some thoughts on the subject so breeders themselves can determine what calving interval best suits their dairy farming situation.

What Got Us to Wanting a 12-13 Month Calving Interval

Although not an all-inclusive list, here some factors that initially lead to 12-13 months being the recommended answer:

  • Milk cows were originally dual purpose cows, so they needed to not only produce milk but also calve on a regular, timely basis to provide replacements and beef animals.
  • In order to best utilize the regional forages and minimize the amount of forage that must be stored for Northern European winters, the dual purpose dairy cows were calved for the spring grasses, a cheap feed time. And they were dried off in winter time to minimize stored winter forage requirements.
  • Cows that did not conceive to calve the next spring were sent to slaughter in the fall and thereby their genetic impact on the breeding herd was terminated.
  • Very few cows, not in calf, could milk all winter and then increase production again when they were given spring grasses.
  • Cows produced 4,000 – 6,000 pounds in 200 to 250 days and bulls were run with the milking herd, so heat detection and timing of breeding were not issues.
  • Often milk processors paid a premium for summer milk so they could make their cheese and butter that were stored and sold in the winter when store prices were higher.

All these factors led to the cows calving in every spring being preferred.

Thoughts to Consider When Developing a Herd C.I. Plan

Through selection, feeding changes and husbandry changes dairy cattle and dairy farming has undergone significant changes. Here are factors to consider going forward:

  • USDA predicts that by 2025 confinement fed and housed cows will produce 33% more than they do today. Mature cows are predicted to produce 30,000+ pounds in 305 days.
  • In the future breeders will breed, feed and manage for daily and lifetime income over fed cost in addition to production of milk, fat, and protein yields.
  • Calving will always be the most stressful time for dairy animals
  • Ongoing research continues to show that 55 – 60 days is the ideal dry period
  • Technology will continue to replace labor on dairy farms so there will be less and less time to manage cows with problems or in times of stress.
  • Breeders will continue their current moves to breed and feed their herds for animals that carry more body condition (higher BCS) during the first 100 – 150 days of lactation.
  • Age at first calving will decrease to 18 – 20 months of age. Young first lactation cows may need to be handled separately

Have a C.I. Plan

Having a plan is always superior to taking what happens. Some choices of possible plans follow:

Milk Production Herds

  • For Moderate Management & Moderate Net Returns Herd
    • Breed heifers using AI until 14 months of age then run a young bull with heifers
    • Have voluntary waiting period of 75 days for first calvers and 50 days for later lactation cows
    • Use AI for first services and run beef bulls with first calvers over 105 days in milk and cows over 90 days in milk. Sell the crossbred calves to provide a revenue stream.
    • Plan and manage for a herd average 12.5 – 13-month calving interval
  • For Top Managed and High Net Returns Herds
    • Breed heifers using AI until 13 months of age then run a young bull with heifers
    • Have a voluntary waiting period of 150 days for first calvers and cows over 125 days in milk
    • Use AI for first three services and run high index bulls with females milking over 175 days
    • Plan and manage for a herd average 14-16 month calving interval
  • For Grazing Herds
    • Bred heifers using AI until 14 months of age then run a young bull with heifers
    • Have a voluntary waiting period of 45-50 days for all milking females
    • Use AI for milking cows under 80 days in milk after than run a bull with milkers
    • Schedule for 70 % of the herd to calve about two weeks before spring grass and two weeks after pasturing starts
    • Plan and manage for a herd average 11.5 to 5-month calving interval
  • Buy Replacement for the Herds
    • Buy in all herd replacements as first calvers
    • Have a voluntary waiting period of 75 days
    • Run a beef bull with all milkers. Sell calves for beef or beef herd replacements
    • Plan and manage for a herd average 12-13 month calving interval

Breeding Stock Herds

  • Show Herds
    • Breed heifers using AI starting at 13 months of age with some bred so they calve for the show season
    • Have a voluntary waiting period of 75 – 85 days. Time some calvings for the show season
    • Flush or IVF some top heifers and cows
    • Market both live animals and embryos
    • Use sires the have high type indexes. Be aware that some top show sires are below average for fertility and productive life
    • Skinny cows will, on average, have longer calving intervals
    • Potential buyers are seldom interested in progeny of herd bulls
    • Calving interval will be as short as 12 months and as long as 24 months for animals flushed extensively
  • Top 1-5% Total Merit Herds
    • IVF top heifers starting at nine months of age. Breed top 50% of heifers to elite genomic sires.
    • IVF or flush top first lactation and only the elite older cows
    • Implant bottom 50% of heifers and bottom 80% of milking cows.
    • Market both live animals and embryos
    • Use only top 1-5% sires, genomic or daughter proven. Natural sires will not have a place in the program
    • There will be a wide variation in calving interval within the milking herd – majority of the time it will be 13-16 months
  • Herds Selling Some Breeding Stock
    • Breed heifers starting at 11-12 months aiming for calving at 21-24 months.
    • Have a voluntary waiting period of 80 days for first lactation and 60 days for other cows
    • Sell surplus heifers and cows as herd replacements for other herds. There is not the profit in selling springing heifers that there once was. Fresh first calvers will be in There will be no demand for fresh older cows.
    • Use top 10% sires, genomic and/or daughter proven
    • Herd calving interval will range from 13-14 months

C.I. Mostly Management

C.I. encompasses all of management, genetics, nutrition and environment. But the key lies in management carrying out the plan.

On the genetic side sires below average for conception, daughter fertility, calving ease, daughter calving ease and, in the future, health traits should not be used in any herd. Any herd bulls used must be genomically tested in order to avoid any bull that will create calving problems.

Herd nutrition is important to fertility and calving interval, especially for heifers under one year of age and for females up to 150 days in milk.

At times breeders have been know to love cow families so much that they will tolerate delayed first calving and long calving intervals for family members. With raising replacements, the third largest dairy herd expense and every day beyond 60 days in dry pens costing $5 per day it is financially important that breeders not be soft on managing proactively for calving interval.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

There is not one answer to Is there an Ideal Calving Interval? Each breeder needs to decide for themselves. But make sure that the decision is made on an economic basis. Remember to include all lost revenue and costs incurred: days beyond 60 days dry; purchase of technology; labor; extra feed; and larger facilities.

 

 

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Categories : Management

I’d not personally bought a Registered Holstein since the 2011 Pinehurst Dispersal in Wisconsin. Owner David Bachmann, Sr., had for decades been a useful and wise resource, not only on breeding registered livestock, but on operating a farm entity with viable scale and income. I had bought a lot of bulls and some frozen semen from him, and he used me as a ringman in the World Premiere Sale series at World Dairy Expo. At his dispersal, I bought a direct maternal descendant of Audrey Posch, not so much because I wanted one, but because she was a good value, and Mr. Bachmann had been most generous and fair with me for many years, so I helped his sale a little.

Move forward five years to a Facebook message I got from Dan Hovden in late April, 2016. “Eric,” it started, “We have decided to offer Popsicle for sale.  She was Grand Champion at last year’s Iowa State Fair and due to Shottle June 24…” There was a photo attached, some more information and a price that was reasonable, but more than I was inclined to pay for pretty much anything.

“I’ll stop and look at her today,” I replied. Popsicle was housed by Jason Volker, and his farm was right on my way to a Wisconsin Jersey Show where I had an interest in a couple of head entered.

Mr. Hovden had introduced himself to me a year earlier at the Iowa State Fair, and Mr.

Volker, I knew only by his part in a successful Iowa Holstein show string from the last couple years with Mr. Hovden. Neither gentleman did I know well or at all, really.

I arrived at the Volker farm and put on a pair of boots I’d kept in my trunk from my sale days with Donny Vine and a couple of other sale managers in the 1980s. They still fit and serve a purpose, giving me an opportunity to babble mindlessly as a has-been about a bygone era and render control of the visit from the outset.

Jason took me into a modest barn with a clean, well-bedded area where Popsicle was stalled with some other exceptional cows. Popsicle was recently dry, kind of heavy, and had a huge middle that looked like she could deliver tomorrow. Maybe deliver twins – certainly a giant bull by Shottle from an Atwood from a Shottle. She looked like she could even have giant twin bulls. “Hells bells something smells,” I thought. “I need to look at the other stuff and take off.”

“We didn’t ultrasound her,” Jason said.

“OK, who wouldn’t ultrasound a champion cow?” I thought.

I looked over the rest of show stock, washed my old ringman boots and left for Wisconsin thinking how to word my facebook rejection message which ended up saying, “I’m going to pass for now but may reconsider in a couple of weeks…also, milk went under $13 today and there will be some good values in the months ahead…”

That night in Wisconsin we had the requisite pre-show supper with me heading the table and show cow-partner Jason Steinlage on my right. A win followed the next day for a Jersey cow named Rosa, owned with David Koss. Lea McCullough took a lovely picture after the show, and I posted it a couple of weeks later. This apparently gave Dan Hovden an excuse to pitch again.

“I like this one!” came a message from Dan. “A Purple Ribbon for Queen Rosa!!

Congratulations. ”

“Thank you,”  I replied.

Dan continued, “Jason Volker and I talked again about Popsicle and are willing to take…” The message went on and outlined an agreement that I could consider, but I just thought something was wrong. There was something wrong with this cow, and Mr. Hovden and Mr. Volker either knew it or thought it.

I made another trip to the Volker farm and Jason had a veterinarian diagnose her long bred. I looked at her and thought she had cleaned up some, and her middle looked less ominous for a cow due in 30 days. She was great with calf but didn’t look dangerously great.

I was under some pressure – disguised as encouragement – from dairy show enthusiast Jason Steinlage to buy Popsicle. Jason Volker was again most cordial and professional, and delivered what seemed to be a full account on the cow regarding her health, the price they wanted and an assertion that they did, in fact, not know what she was carrying for a calf or calves. One heifer, one bull, twins, it could be anything, but it was sired by Grandpa Shottle. A double cross of anything could result in a really big calf or two, or small ones. They told us that at Iowa State a couple of times, or at least that’s how I remembered it.

Popsicle did look pretty good, and I did think a best case scenario was a Holstein that could win her class at State Fair. Our last Holstein Grand Champion was during the Carter Administration. Another Holstein Grand Champion might be a fun goal, and Popsicle looked like a reasonable risk – once I found out what was wrong with her.

I had a signed check with me that day, printed out for the amount I was willing to spend on Popsicle.  I had no blank checks, maybe fifty in cash and Jason Volker had storm damage from a tornado the night before. Jason Volker and Dan Hovden were still wanting more than I wanted to spend, so I left on good terms and made it to the local Casey’s General Store for milk, cookies, a couple donuts, and coffee to go.

While eating my sack lunch, I decided to seek counsel from Jason Steinlage. I called and got some words of encouragement, and an assurance that he and his in-laws, Pam and Dan Zabel, would work in concert with me on Popsicle before during and after calving, then get her in to the ring at State Fair.

I decided to pay the price. I called Jason Volker, and he had left the farm to get stuff in another town, but he would call Dan Hovden and go back to the farm again. I drove back to the farm, as well.

Jason Volker and Dan agreed to sell, signed the transfer over to Jason Steinlage and me, agreed that I could send an additional check the next day, and got a health chart that said she was long bred. They also delivered her, though I said I would have my guy do it. They further assured me that Popsicle had not been ultrasounded to determine sex, and they knew of nothing wrong with her, health or otherwise.

They were right.

Jason Steinlage, Pam, and Dan Zabel cared for Popsicle, delivered her very nice typed, medium sized double Shottle heifer calf which, incidentally, was born unassisted and without incident. Popsicle got some Ca++ Boli for a couple days, milked down, uddered up and was named Grand Champion Holstein at this year’s Iowa State Fair. But that’s not the story here.

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Mr. Volker and Mr. Hovden at all times and in every instance acted in good faith with full disclosure. I got a cow that cost more than I had hoped but turned out to be exactly as represented.  They, in turn, got their full asking price in full and on time.

I’ve bought and sold bulls and cows totaling a couple million dollars over 40 years, primarily as a family owned livestock farm that milked many cows, sold many bulls, and showed a few Holsteins, Ayrshires, and Jerseys. Few times have sellers apparently misrepresented, lied or lied by omission to me. I have refunded some money or replaced some livestock a few times, too. I didn’t get paid for all or part of three low-dollar animals over the years and had to bite a small loss on those.

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From my perspective, Volker-Hovden Holsteins’ integrity ranks with current and former vendors Pinehurst Farms in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin, Lyon Jerseys in Toledo, Iowa, and Tim Rauen here in Iowa. Mr. Rauen has sold me a few lots of ova, then promptly made a couple of adjustments when some eggs came up missing.  I think I got the long end of the adjustment both times.  These are four examples all well set for the registered livestock industry.

Photos by Randy Blodgett of Blodgett Communications

 

 

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Categories : Breeder Profiles

Are daughter-proven sires still popular?

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

A quick look at the US Holstein sires with the most registered daughters would have you believe that proven sires are still more popular than genomic sires.  Currently all three of the top-3 with the most registered daughters are daughter-proven bulls (Mogul, Supersire, and Yoder).  However, coming to the conclusion that proven sires are therefore more popular, would mean that you don’t understand how much the dairy artificial insemination industry has changed with the introduction of genomics.

To understand the trends in sire usage, you first need to understand semen production.  It is a well-known fact that young sires do not produce as much semen as proven sires.  A top producing young sire might produce 20,000 units in their first year of production, whereas a top producing mature sire can produce about 200,000 units in a year.   Young sires are much like teenage boys, who are full of “energy”, but have not yet reached maturity when it comes to sexual reproduction.  In fact, they are just learning how to regularly produce semen.  On the other hand, a mature sire has reached their sexual maturity and they not only produce more semen per ejaculate, but they can also be collected more frequently. On average mature sires produce up to 10X as much semen per year.

Thus we must conclude that the reason top proven sires fair well on the top registration lists has more to do with semen production than with sire popularity.  In fact, it is well known that a substantial production sire, with a decent type proof and who is also an excellent semen producer, will have much larger sales than most people would expect him to have. Die-Hard, the millionaire sire at ABS Global, is a great example of this.  Cost effective price setting, excellent distribution, and solid performance can all have a tremendous impact on an individual proven sire’s sales.

To answer the question of proven sires’ popularity vs. genomic sires’, you need to look at the overall sales.  While the US studs do not release their overall semen sales numbers, Canada, that has a very similar market, shows that Holstein genomic sires are the breeders’ choice, when it comes to usage.  Additionally, in Canada, the same pattern of sire usage also applies for the Ayrshire, Brown Swiss and Jersey Breeds.

Source: Trend in Genomic Versus Proven Sire Usage - Canadian Dairy Network 09-AUG-2016

Source: Trend in Genomic Versus Proven Sire Usage – Canadian Dairy Network 09-AUG-2016

Over the past four years, the ratio of Holstein Proven Sires to Genomic Sires in Canada has gone from 48:52 to 69:31.  That tells us that semen sales for genomic sires have risen from being equal almost 70% of the current market share.  This trend is in line with an August 2014 article in The Bullvine where we wrote that genomic sales would cross Malcolm Gladwell’s tipping point of 84% in the next two years. (Read more: Why 84% of Dairy Breeders Will Soon Be Using Genomic Sires!)

What the top registration lists in the US tell us is that there is a chance that we will continue to see Millionaire sires.  (Read more: Will there ever be another Millionaire Sire?)  However, they will be a different type of Millionaire than they have been in the past. It used to be that sires that came up with a  high proven sire proof and who were also high volume semen producers made this distinguished category.  The Millionaire sires of the future will be the sires that start with high genomic indexes. They will be able to stay in the top 10 TPI sires throughout their genomic test period. They will come out with a strong official daughter proof, when they can most capitalize on their increased semen production.  Another change will be that their sales, once they are proven, will most likely be to secondary markets. Today most major markets, similar to North America, will have moved to mostly genomic sire sales.  Fortunately for AI companies, there are still many countries that don’t yet allow genomic sires to be imported into their countries.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

The bottom line is that the dairy breeding industry is changing very rapidly.  As the AI companies have learned, genomics has been one of the greatest developments ever seen.  However, along with this great change, have come great challenges.  One of the biggest issues AI companies now face is the limited semen production from genomic young sires. For this reason, top lists can be miss-represented to say one thing, even though those that understand the dairy breeding industry know that genomic young sire usage is certainly more popular than proven sire usage. It won’t be long until the tipping point of 84% will be crossed!

 

 

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Categories : The Bullvine

Atlantic Summer Showcase 2016

Saturday, August 13th, 2016

DATE: August 13, 2016
LOCATION: Charlottetown, PEI
JUDGE: Joel Lepage, QC

Grand Champion

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GRAND CHAMPION: BRICON WINDHAMMER KATIE (WINDHAMMER), 1ST SENIOR 3-YEAR-OLD, EAST RIVER FARMS, PE
RESERVE GRAND CHAMPION: EASTSIDE ATWOOD LANA (ATWOOD), 1ST 4-YEAR-OLD, PHOENIX, WINRIGHT & JAQUEMENT, ON
HM GRAND CHAMPION: MORSAN GOLDEN BOOBOO (GOLDWYN), 1ST MATURE COW, BLOYCE THOMPSON, PE

Intermediate Champion

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INTERMEDIATE CHAMPION: PETITCLERC ATWOOD ATLAS (ATWOOD), 1ST JUNIOR 2-YEAR-OLD, REJEAN PETITCLERC, QC
RESERVE INTERMEDIATE CHAMPION: EASTSIDE DOUBLE CARAMEL (BRADY), 1ST MILKING YEARLING, BLAIR WEEKS & FERME JEAN-PAUL PETITCLERC & FILS INC, PE
HM INTERMEDIATE CHAMPION: SHADOWAVE BABY BLUE (SID), 1ST SENIOR 2-YEAR-OLD, COBEQUID HOLSTEINS, NS

Junior Champion

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JUNIOR CHAMPION: COBEQUID WINDBROOK PIROUETTE (WINDBROOK), COBEQUID HOLSTEINS, NS
RESERVE JUNIOR CHAMPION: COBEQUID ATWOOD IGGY (ATWOOD), COBEQUID HOLSTEINS & DIAMOND HILL, NS
HM JUNIOR CHAMPION: DENISTIER HIGH OCTAN LYLYWHITE (HIGH OCTANE), DENISTIER 24113185 QUEBEC INC., QC

JUNIOR CALF (10)

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1. (BO) DENISTIER HIGH OCTAN LYLYWHITE (HIGH OCTANE), DENISTIER 24113185 QUEBEC INC., QC
2. COBEQUID GOLDCHIP ALYSON (GOLDCHIP), COBEQUID HOLSTEINS, NS
3. IDEE DOORMAN LOUKA (DOORMAN), IDEE HOLSTEINS, PE
4. ROTALY WINDBROOK LOTTOLUCK (WINDBROOK), CEDARLANE FARMS
5. GOLDENFLO BANKROLL PEAKES TEE (BANKROLL), MACBEATH FARMS, PE
6. DIAMOND HILL MERIDIAN ASHLEY (MERIDIAN), DIAMOND HILL FARMS, NB
7. MALLETTDALE ENDURE JEWEL (ENDURE), MALLETTDALE FARM, PE
8. SHADOWAVE I GOT THE SAUCE (MASCALESE), SHADOWAVE HOLSTEINS, NS
9. CRASDALE BLONDIN DOORMAN LAYLA (DOORMAN), WINTERBAY HOLSTEINS, PE
10. BROWNTOWN ATTIC SUGAR (ATTIC), BROWNTOWN FARMS, NS

INTERMEDIATE CALF (15)

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1. (BO) COBEQUID WINDBROOK PIROUETTE (WINDBROOK), COBEQUID HOLSTEINS, NS
2. EASTSIDE DOORMAN HOLLY (DOORMAN), EASTSIDE HOLSTEINS, PE
3. BROWNTOWN MARIO MARLO (MARIO), BROWNTOWN FARMS, NS
4. IDEE DOORMAN LEXIE (DOORMAN), IDEE HOLSTEINS, PE
5. WINTERBAY ALONZO ABERDEEN (ALONZO), WINTERBAY FARMS, PE
6. HI-CALIBRE BRADY MERRY (BRADY), HI-CALIBRE HOLSTEINS, PE
7. BIRKENTREE FACEBOOK KALLEN (FACEBOOK), BIRKENTREE HOLSTEINS, PE
8. COBEQUID DOORMAN PIPPY (DOORMAN), COBEQUID HOLSTEINS, NS
9. GOLDENFLO OCTANE NITRIC OXIDE (HIGH OCTANE), MACBEATH FARMS LTD, PE
10. IDEE DOORMAN LUCITA (DOORMAN), IDEE HOLSTEINS, PE

SENIOR CALF (14)

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1. SICY DOORMAN BRIE (DOORMAN), BLAIR WEEKS & HI-CALIBRE HOLSTEINS, PE
2. (BO) CRAGGAN REGINALD NEPTUNE (REGINALD), CRAGGAN FARMS & EAST RIVER FARMS, PE
3. BEN301 CG CHEEZIE (CAPITAL GAIN), CREEK HOME FARMS, NB
4. COLSTEIN WINDBROOK CHATTER (WINDBROOK), ELOC FARM, NS
5. EASTSIDE BRADY PIPPA (BRADY), BLOYCE THOMPSON, PE
6. EASTSIDE DOORMAN ARYANNA (DOORMAN), BLOYCE THOMPSON, PE
7. GOLDENFLO ELUDE NOSEDIVE (ELUDE), MACBEATH FARMS LTD, PE
8. WALKERVILLE HIGH CLASS BROKAW (BROKAW), MACBEATH FARMS LTD, PE
9. COBEQUID DOORMAN BELLE (DOORMAN), PORTER WEEKS, NS
10. HI-CALIBRE GOLDCHIP HEAVEN (GOLD CHIP), HI-CALIBRE, COBEQUID, DAPPLEDALE, NS

SUMMER YEARLING (5)

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1. (BO) EASTSIDE APPLEJACK ODESSA (APPLE JACK-RED), BLOYCE THOMPSON, PE
2. BIRKENTREE DOORMAN FIBEE (DOORMAN), BIRKENTREE HOLSTEINS, PE
3. WINRIGHT GOLDWYN EBERLE (GOLDWYN), BUCHANAN, WEEKS, BORBA & ALLEN, PE
4. TAPINTA DOORMAN KATHY (DOORMAN), EAST RIVER FARMS, PE
5. BIRKENTREE B CONTRAST EMMY (CONTRAST), BIRKENTREE HOLSTEINS, PE

JUNIOR YEARLING (4)

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1. (BO) BERNADALE DOORMAN LUCY (DOORMAN), BERNADALE HOLSTEINS, PE
2. CRAGGAN LUCKY (GOLDWYN), CRAGGAN FARMS LTD, PE
3. LEIGHSIDE GOLDENFLO LILLIAN (DOORMAN), LEIGHSIDE FARMS LTD & MACBEATH FARMS LTD, NB
4. AROLENE GOLD CHIP PEARL (GOLD CHIP), FERME AROLENE INC, PQ

INTERMEDIATE YEARLING (2)

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1. (BO) COBEQUID ATWOOD IGGY (ATWOOD), COBEQUID HOLSTEINS & DIAMOND HILL, NS
2. GOLDENFLO DOORMAN MEDINAH (DOORMAN), MACBEATH FARMS LTD, PE

SENIOR YEARLING (2)

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1. COBEQUID WINDBROOK AFFINITY (WINDBROOK), COBEQUID HOLSTEINS & DIAMOND HILL, PE
2. EASTRIVER FEVER DEB 254 (FEVER), EAST RIVER FARMS, PE

JUNIOR BREEDERS HERD (5)

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1. COBEQUID HOLSTEINS, NS
2. BLOYCE THOMPSON, EASTSIDE HOLSTEINS, PE
3. IDEE HOLSTEINS, PE
4. BIRKENTREE HOLSTEINS, PE
5. HI-CALIBRE HOLSTEINS, NS
JUNIOR PREMIER BREEDER: COBEQUID HOLSTEINS, NS
JUNIOR PREMIER EXHIBITOR: BLOYCE THOMPSON, EASTSIDE HOLSTEINS, PE

MILKING YEARLING (3)

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1. (BU) EASTSIDE DOUBLE CARAMEL (BRADY), BLAIR WEEKS & FERME JEAN-PAUL PETITCLERC & FILS INC, PE
2. (BO) PETITCLERC ATWOOD SNOOPY (ATWOD), FERME JEAN-PAUL PETITCLERC & FILS INC, QC
3. GOLDENFLO LIVING CPT MORGAN (LIVING), MACBEATH FARMS LTD, PE

JUNIOR 2-YEAR-OLD (5)

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1. (BO) PETITCLERC ATWOOD ATLAS (ATWOOD), REJEAN PETITCLERC, QC
2. (BU) IDEE MCCUTCHEN LEEZA (MCCUTCHEN), IDEE HOLSTEINS, PE
3. COBEQUID DUDE CHARLEA (DUDE), COBEQUID HOLSTEINS, NS
4. GOLDENFLO AIRINTAKE MAUREEN (AIRINTAKE), MACBEATH FARMS LTD, PE
5. BIRKENTREE DOORMAN BRIDGET (DOORMAN), BIRKENTREE HOLSTEINS, PE

SENIOR 2-YEAR-OLD (4)

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1. (BU) SHADOWAVE BABY BLUE (SID), COBEQUID HOLSTEINS, NS
2. EASTRIVER GOLDWYN DEB 176 (GOLDWYN), DAVID DYMENT & BLOYCE THOMPSON, PE
3. WINTERBAY FEVER ELITE (FEVER), EAST RIVER FARMS, PE
4. (BO) BIRKENTREE SAVIOR CORRIE (SAVIOR), BIRKENTREE HOLSTEINS, PE

JUNIOR 3-YEAR-OLD (4)

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1. (BU) CRASDALE DESTRY JENNIFER (DESTRY), BIRKENTREE HOLSTEINS & DIAMOND HILL FARMS, PE
2. (BO) IDEE GOLDWYN LIQUORICE (GOLDWYN), IDEE HOLSTEINS, PE
3. COBEQUID DUDE ZIPPER (DUDE), COBEQUID HOLSTEINS, NS
4. GARDENVALE BRUNO NITROGEN (BRUNO), GARDENVALE FARMS INC, PE

SENIOR 3-YEAR-OLD (8)

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1. (BU) BRICON WINDHAMMER KATIE (WINDHAMMER), EAST RIVER FARMS, PE
2. (BO) GOLDENFLO WHAMMER KRISTINE (WINDHAMMER), MACBEATH FARMS LTD, PE
3. COBEQUID JERMEY CRIMSON (JEREMY), COBEQUID HOLSTEINS, NS
4. CHERRY CREST WINDBROOK ARIEL (WINDBROOK), EAST RIVER FARMS, PE
5. IDEE GOLDCHIP LILLIAN (GOLD CHIP), IDEE HOLSTEINS, PE
6. EASTRIVER ASHOCK CORALIE 115 (AFTERSHOCK), EAST RIVER FARMS, PE
7. PETITCLERC SID SEATTLE (SID), FERME JEAN-PAUL PETITCLERC & FILS INC, QC
8. BIRKENTREE AKIN KELSEY (AKINATOR), BIRKENTREE HOLSTEINS, PE

4-YEAR-OLD (9)

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1. (BU) EASTSIDE ATWOOD LANA (ATWOOD), PHOENIX, WINRIGHT & JAQUEMENT, ON
2. (BO) WEEKSDALE CASINO KNOCKOUT (CASINO), ELMER WEEKS, PE
3. SHADOWAVE IMAGE (DUPLEX), SHADOWAVE HOLSTEINS INC, PB
4. COBEQUID SANCHEZ OLIVIA (SANCHEZ), COBEQUID HOLSTEINS & FERME AROLENE INC, NS
5. MASSICO WINBROOK CHARLY (WINDBROOK), FERME JEAN-PAUL PETITCLERC & FILS INC, QC
6. EASTRIVER ATWOOD DUSTY (ATWOOD), EAST RIVER FARMS, PE
7. BIRKENTREE DH LAUTHORITY ELLA (LAUTHORITY), BIRKENTREE HOLSTEINS, PE
8. EASTSIDE ATWOOD GLEE (ATWOOD), BLOYCE THOMPSON, CONNIE MCCLELLAN & SHORE-VIEW HOLSTEINS, PE
9. KENNETCOOK CAT (WINDBROOK), COBEQUID HOLSTEINS, NS

5-YEAR-OLD (5)

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1. (BU) ZACH-I SANCHEZ CALLIE (SANCHEZ), COBEQUID HOLSTEINS, NS
2. (BO) EASTSIDE MIL REMIX (MIL), BLOYCE THOMPSON & T&L CATTLE CO, PE
3. GOLDENFLO ATWOOD JAM (ATWOOD), MACBEATH FARMS LTD, PE
4. COBEQUID ATWOOD THISTLE (ATWOOD), COBEQUID HOLSTEINS, NS
5. KAY-BEN AFTERSHOCK LADY (AFTERSHOCK), SHADOWAVE HOLSTEINS INC, NB

MATURE COW (4)

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1. (BU) MORSAN GOLDEN BOOBOO (GOLDWYN), BLOYCE THOMPSON, PE
2. GILLETTE JASPER ELECTRA (JASPER), CLARKVALLEY HOLSTEINS & SHADOWAVE HOLSTEINS INC, ON
3. (BO) WEEKSDALE GOLDWYN MALIBU (GOLDWYN), ELMER WEEKS, PE
4. BVK SANCHEZ AUBURN (SANCHEZ), SHADOWAVE HOLSTEINS INC, NB

BREEDERS HERD (5)

1. COBEQUID HOLSTEINS, NS
2. BLOYCE THOMPSON, EASTSIDE HOLSTEINS, PE
3. IDEE HOLSTEINS, PE
4. MACBEATH FARMS LTD, PE
5. BIRKENTREE HOLSTEINS, PE
PREMIER BREEDER & EXHIBITOR: COBEQUID HOLSTEINS, NS
TOP SHOWPERSON OF THE SHOW: LANE YUILL, NS
TOP PRODUCTION COW: GOLDENFLO WHAMMER KRISTINE (WINDHAMMER), SENIOR 3-YEAR-OLD, MACBEATH FARMS LTD, PE

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Categories : Show Reports

Saloon Surpasses Supersire

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For the second proof round in a row, SANDY-VALLEY SALOON (Altaiota x Planet x Bolton) increased both his production and conformation proofs and is now the number #1 TPI proven sire in the world, exceeding Supersire, who holds steady at number 2.  Saloon is the Altaiota son from the outstanding brood cow, Sandy-Valley Plane Sapphire TY VG-87 GMD, who’s Robust, son, SANDY-VALLEY STERLING is the number seven TPI sire in the world. Sapphire is out of an EX-92 Bolton from the Dellia family. So far Sapphire has 10 VG daughters sired by Robust (3), Uno (3), Mogul (2), and Iota (2). The Mogul daughters, Sunset and Summer, scored VG-88 and VG-87 on first classification and Sunset is now EX-91. Saloon has the bonus of being a little different bloodline to the Robust dominated top-list, as he is sired by O-Man son Altaiota. Saloon increased almost 200 points on Milk and .29 on his FLC this round and stands at 2749 for Milk and 2.84 for PTAT.  In fact, Saloon and Sterling are among the only top TPI sires that are over the magic 2,000 lbs for Milk and 2.00 PTAT. You will want to use Saloon on daughters who typically have low rump angle and correct thurl placement as he needs to be protected in this regard.

Munition debuts with guns blazing

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SULLY MUNITION (Robust x Planet x Shottle) debuts as the top newly proven sire at #5 on the top TPI list.  Munition is a Robust son from another prolific Planet daughter, Sully Planet Manitoba-ET GP-83 DOM.  Manitoba is also the dam of the popular proven sire, Meridian.  Manitoba is a daughter of Sully Shottle May-TW EX-90 DOM, who has produced such sons at McCutchen, AltaMeteor, and Mayfield.  With a double dose of Oman in his pedigree, it’s no surprise the Munition excels in health and reproduction and has the added bonus of being A2A2.  At +7.8 for Productive Life and +2.5 for DPR, Munition will deliver long-lived productive cows with a combined fat and protein over 100 lbs.  You will want to protect typical Munition daughters on their high pins and overall strength, chest width and body depth.

Multiply is the #2 new release sire

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The second highest new release proven sire is S-S-I MOGUL MULTIPLY (Mogul x Robust x Ramos) who debuts at #10 TPI sire.  From the ART program at Select Sires, which has also produced the number three TPI sire, S-S-I SNOWMAN MAYFLOWER, and the number nine TPI sire, S-S-I BOOKEM MORGAN, Mutliply may not be from as well known a pedigree. Unlike Mayflower and Morgan, who come from the well known Seagull-Bay Oman Mirror-ET VG-86 DOM cow family, Multiply is from Hurtgenlea O Meara-ET TR TV TL TD GP-84 GMD DOM who is probably best known for producing the Goldwyn son, Jamar, at Genex.  Similar to Munition, Multply also possesses a double dose of Oman in his pedigree and with that comes the outstanding Health and Fertility traits. At +7.5 Productive Life and over 2.0 on DPR, Multiply will produce trouble free long-lasting cows.  You will need to use Multiply on daughters that have low pins and some curve to their legs, as he tends to produce high-rumped straight legged daughters.

Noble brings cutting-edge genetic technology to the top Genomic Lists

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MR SPRING NOBLE-ET (Altaspring x Numero Uno x Robust), the number one genomic testing male for TPI in the world at +2913, has a fascinating story.  Not only is he the only sire to ever cross the +2900 TPI mark, but he is also a product of advanced technology in the genetics marketplace.  You see Noble’s dam, MS DELICIOUS NIGHTOUT 3-ETN is a clone of MS DELICIOUS NIGHTOUT the #1 GTPI cow in the world.  From the Windsor-Manor Rud Zip TV TL EX-95 3E GMD DOM cow family, Noble’s 2nd dam is Miss OCD Robst Delicious-ET VG-87 DOM, who is well known for producing such genomic sires as Delta and Denver. Noble’s genomic tests are simply out of this world.  He is over 140 lbs for combined fat and protein and High Cow Liveability at +3.2. Cow Liveability is  CDCB’s new index for breeding long lasting cows (Read more: Cow Livability: Breeding for Cows That Stay in the Herd).  You may want to protect Noble daughters on their loin strength and body depth.

Modesty delivers early results

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For those that are looking for bulls with actual semen available, we look at the sires over one year of age, as opposed to calves that may still be wet in the hutches.  With that BACON-HILL PETY MODESTY (Pety x Supersire x Bolton) remains the top of the list.  Modesty is sired by Siemers Mogul Pety, a Mogul son whose pedigree traces through Explode to a Mac daughter of Welcome Goldwyn Penya. As such, Modesty combines the two heavy-hitter families of the Welcome herd into the one pedigree. With Mogul breeding on the sire’s side, Modesty traces back to Pasen Leadman Madam on both top and bottom sides of his pedigree. Modesty has been the most heavily used mating sire at Select in recent years.  His dam, Bacon-Hill Suprs Modesty-ET VG-85 DOM is a Supersire sister to the hugely popular Mogul sire of sons at Select, Bacon-Hill Montross.  In fact, Modesty has already started to prove himself as a sire of sons with many sons ranking in the top 10 genomic TPI sires.  Modesty excels in his extreme Fat, excellent udders, and high productive life.  You will want to protect him on his SCS, pin width and body depth.

Outlast is out at last

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For those of you that are looking for a more recently released genomic sire, there is Progenesis Outlast (Doorsopen x Altaoak x Robust).  From the Wesswood-HC Rudy Missy-ET TV EX-92 3E GMD DOM cow family, Outlast’s 2nd dam is the incredibly prolific Seagull-Bay Miss America-ET VG-87 DOM.   His sire, Ladys-Manor Doorsopen may not be well known to most, but he is a Doorman son from the Ladys-Manor Star Opal EX-94 3E DOM cow family. Doorsopen excels in his conformation and fat tests.  As one of the first sons to ring the bell for the Canadian Progenesis program, Outlast shines in his component production as well as strong type scores and solid health and fertility.  You will want to protect him on his body depth as well as his daughter pregnancy rate (DPR).

Polled is climbing

There are now seven polled sires that are within 10% of the top genomic test sire, Noble.  Leading the way is Pine-Tree Splendid-P (Alta1stclass x Supersire x Colt P-Red).  Splendid-P is from the Hickorymea Signif Ohio-P-ET PP EX-90 cow family that has produced so many top polled sires, including Ohare-P, Outfit-P and Oswald-P.  Former #1 Polled Sire, Peak Altamighty P-ET (Powerball-P x Supersire x Bookem), leads the way for the many Powerball sons at the top of the list.

All this hype and no type?

What would a proof day be without checking out the top type lists?  The top type sire over a year of age is Emilio, a French sire that is a Capital Gain x Yorick at +4.10.  For those looking for a pedigree in North America that they are more familiar with, there is Doorman son, Cycle Doorman Jacoby (Doorman x Gold Chip x Lion King RC ) who has maintained his status as the #1 North American Sire for PTAT over 1 year of age at +3.99 PTAT.  Taking over from the long time PTAT king Atwood, as the top proven sire for type, is Scientific B Defiant (Braxton x Goldwyn x Durham).  This red carrier Braxton son increased his PTAT to +3.80.

Check out the complete lists and evaluations from around the world in Sire Proof Central

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Brewmaster: Master of LPI, Pro$ and Fat

Since first proven in April 2015, Mapel Wood Brewmaster has led the breed for both LPI and Fat. He adds to his list of credentials as an elite sire by regaining the #1 position for Pro$ this round. Four other bulls rank among the Top 10 for both LPI and Pro$, including two sires that took a nice jump up in rank for LPI. Mountfield SSI Dcy Mogul-ET (#8 Pro$) and AJDH AltaAgency (#9 Pro$) are the new #2 and #3 bulls for LPI, previously ranking #8 and #10, respectively. Minnigan-Hills Day-ET (#5 LPI, #6 Pro$) and OCD Stargazer-ET (#6 LPI, #4 Pro$) also hold  onto positions among the Top 10 for both national indexes.

After each adding hundreds of new daughters since April for both production and type, Coyne- Farms Dorcy-ET (#4 LPI, #17 Pro$) and De-Su Bkm McCutchen 1174-ET (#7 LPI, #83 Pro$) manage to penetrate the Top 10 LPI list this round. Dymentholm S Sympatico also remains among the Top 10 LPI (#6 LPI, #13 Pro$) along with Val-Bisson Doorman (#9 LPI, #174 Pro$) and Chartoise Smurf (#10 LPI, #12 Pro$), who drops from #1 LPI position last round but remains among the elite Top 10 group.

Looking at the Top 10 Pro$ list, following Brewmaster’s lead is newcomer Sully Munition-ET (Robust x Sully Planet Manitoba-ET) at #2 Pro$ (tied #10 Protein, #21 LPI), who also sires three of the Top 10 cows for Pro$. Apina AltaEmbassy (#3 Pro$, tied #80 LPI) and Seagull-Bay Sargeant-ET (#5 Pro$, #44 LPI) move up in rank for Pro$, allowing them to maintain positions among the Top 10 for this index. The second highest newly proven sire this round is De-Su AltaGilcrest-ET (AltaGreatest x Goldwyn), who debuts at #7 Pro$ and #4 Protein (tied #49 LPI), while Cangen Pinkman stays strong, now at #10 Pro$ and #11 LPI.

Interesting Arrivals Among Breed Leaders for LPI and Pro$

In total, 115 genomic young sires receive their first official progeny proof this August, including four sets of identical brothers. The highest newly proven bull for LPI is Sully McCord 269-ET grabbing #12 position (#15 Pro$), who is sired by Ladys-Manor RD Grafeeti-ET and is  a maternal brother to Munition as the highest newcomer for Pro$ in #2 spot (#21 LPI). A pair of identical brothers are the second highest newcomers for LPI as Gillette Mr Johnson and Gillette January (Snowman sons out of Gillette Goldwyn Jenny) share #17 LPI (#35 Pro$). Roylane Socra Robust ET sires three of the newly proven bulls ranked within the Top 40 LPI, despite not yet having an official proof himself. These include the aforementioned Sully Munition-ET (#21)  as well as De-Su RB Montreal 11043-ET at #26 LPI (#85 Pro$, dam is Sully Planet Montana-ET) and Co-Op Cabriolet-ET at #38 LPI (#41 Pro$, dam is Co-Op Planet Classy-ET). Alna Sevenday makes his debut at #29 LPI and #33 Pro$, making him the highest ranking son of Gerard (dam  is Gen-I-Beq Bolton Season.

In addition to Munition and AltaGilcrest as the highest ranking new arrivals for Pro$, nine other bulls achieve progeny proven status among the Top 35 rankings for Pro$. OCD Snowman Downtown-ET (Snowman x Planet) has an impressive start at #14 Pro$, #2 Protein and #5 Milk (#40 LPI) and is immediately followed by Sully McCord 269-ET at #15 Pro$ (#12 LPI). Taking

#23 Pro$ is Gen-Com Blizzard (Snowman x Shottle, #56 LPI), with two Freddie sons not far behind as Morningview Marcelon CRI-ET and Verkis Chevrolet debut at #28 and #31 Pro$, respectively. Other new arrivals among the Top 35 Pro$ are OConnors Busch (AltaIota out of Gen-I-Beq Shottle Bombi) at #32 Pro$ (#37 LPI) as well as the twins, Gillette Mr Johnson and Gillette January at #35 Pro$ (#17 LPI). A final noteworthy newcomer is Broeks Danton-ET (Snowman x Toystory), who becomes the new #1 Milk bull in the breed.

Three Newly Indexed Cows Enter Top 10 Rankings with Highest New LPI being Polled

The list of Top 10 cows for GLPI and Pro$ both include three new additions, including the polled, Dudoc McCutchen Rancune P (dam is Dudoc Magna Requiem P) who debuts tied at #4 GLPI alongside View-Home McC Found-ET. The next highest newly indexed cows for GLPI are Silverridge V McCut Entranced (McCutchen x Velthuis SG Snow Evening) and Stantons Camaro Crystal-ET (dam is Rockymountain Uno Cheyanne), who rank #6 and #7 GLPI, respectively. Stantons McCutchen 1174 Agree (dam is Stantons Observer Extreme) recaptures the #1 GLPI status she held a year ago, just five points ahead of Gillette Mogul Carrel (dam is Gillette Iota Carmen), who gains 109 points and climbs from #11 to #2 GLPI (tied #9 Fat). Although Snowbiz Brewmaster Swan*RDC experiences little change this round she is forced out of her previous #1 position into #3 GLPI spot. The Top 10 GLPI list is completed by Silverridge V McCut Elicia staying firm in #8 spot, Stantons Mogul Evaporater at #9 (up from #29 last round) and Elicia’s maternal sister, Silverridge V Munition Earwig in #10 GLPI (#8 Milk).

When looking at Pro$, however, it is Silverridge V Munition Earwig that maintains her position as breed leader in #1 position and it’s her full sister, Silverridge V Munition Evalyn, that now occupies #2 Pro$ (tied #9 Protein, #12 GLPI) making her the highest newly indexed cow for  Pro$ this round. The two other newly indexed cows that penetrate the Top 10 Pro$ list are Ste Odile Munition Elsa at #6 Pro$ (#44 GLPI, dam is Ste Odile Snowman Mod Emeraude) and Stantons Anton Classic at #8 Pro$ (#29 GLPI), who is one of 15 daughters of Stantons Freddie Cameo among the Top 1000 cows for Pro$ this round. Gillette Epic Jingle, Ri-Val-Re Num Uno Bee-ET and Gillette Mogul Carrel take positions 5 to 7 for Pro$ this round, in that order. The Top 10 Pro$ list is completed by Bofran Brewmaster Faby, staying firm in #7 position (tied #7 Fat), as well as Silverrridge Epic Comet (#9) and Woodcrest Mogul Anna-ET at #10 Pro$, up from #16 position.

Two other newly indexed cows the become chart toppers are Bluenose Dorcey Detroit (Dorcy x Planet), who reaches #2 Milk this round and Ulmar Doorman Elmie, who becomes tied at #2 Conformation with +18.

Check out the complete lists and evaluations from around the world in Sire Proof Central

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Quite often these days a new genetic index comes along that has been produced for breeders to use in their breeding plan. This month, August 2016, the new index is one that the Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding (CDCB) is calling Cow Livability (C.LIV). For breeders wanting their cows to live for many lactations, this will be a trait of interest.

What is Cow Livability?

CDCB is defining Cow Livability (C.LIV) as a prediction of a cow’s transmitting ability (aka genetic index) to remain alive while in the milking herd.

Every extended day that a cow remains milking in the herd gives the opportunity for more herd profit from more milk revenue and lower replacement costs. Cows that can remain alive when exiting the herd generating breeding stock or beef revenue, instead of the cost associated with deadstock disposal.

Facts About the USA Dairy Herd

It is interesting to note that CDCB reports that USA cow mortality rate averages 7% each lactation and death claims 20% of the USA cows while in the milking herd. On an annual basis that death loss costs the U.S. dairy farms $800 million or approximately $90 per milking cow per year.

How is C.LIV Different than PL?

CDCB provides the following explanation. “In contrast (to C.LIV), PL predicts how long a cow is expected to remain in the milking herd before dying or being culled.”

Livability is one of the traits that make up Productive Life, and it is economically important that cows remain alive, productive and not requiring another cow to replace her.

For decades, cow termination codes have been captured from DHIA herds with 32 million cows in CDCB’s database. Based on that extensive amount of data, CDCB has calculated correlations between C.LIV and PL of 0.70. So they are, in fact, different traits and breeders can expect to see that some sires may be ranked differently for the two traits.

Other Useful Traits

Already available, for a considerable time now, for breeders to use in breeding long-lived trouble free cows have been traits like PL and SCS.  But they only partially cover the spectrum of what breeders want to know. For instance, SCS does report the expected SCC level, but it does not cover if in fact a cow is able to resist mastitis. Each mastitis flare up, even though not life threatening, costs $400 (lost revenue, treatment, added labor, lost future production, etc.)  To address that, CDN now produces a genetic index for Mastitis Resistance. It includes factors (Read more: MASTITIS RESISTANCE SELECTION: NOW A REALITY!) beyond SCC.  Furthermore, Zoetis has now developed a Dairy Wellness Profit Index (DWP$) that is a genetic estimate of a cow’s ability to avoid or resist health problems or disease. (Read More: THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING ZOETIS’ NEW WELLNESS TRAITS – CLARIFIDE® PLUS)

CDN has recently reported a three-year release plan for health and fertility traits.  In December 2016 it will publish a metabolic disease (ketosis & displaced abomasum) resistance index, in 2017 an index for resistance to fertility disorders (metritis & retained placenta) and in 2018 a hoof health index.

Considerable research is currently under way, and it will be interesting to see if breeds and/or bloodlines within breeds have different genetic capabilities for these added indexes. Many breeders feel that they detect differences between cow families for these various auxiliary traits.

What Do the Numbers Show for C.LIV?

The following CDCB table shows the importance of having high genetic indexes for individual traits when it comes to a sire having a high NM$ index.  All traits are directly or indirectly included the NM$ except for C.LIV.  That makes the comparison of C.LIV to NM$ truly independent.

Table 1 Average Genetic Index for USA AI Bulls (born after 1999), Grouped by Percent Rank for NM$

&RK for NM$Avg NM$Milk-lbsFat - lbsProtein-lbsDPRPLC.LIV
80 to 99588104352381.35.62.1
60 to 7942394434300.93.81.4
40 to 5931061225220.42.60.9
20 to 39197432181601.40.2
0 to 19-53-164-2-2-0.8-0.8-1.1

Soures: CDCB Article ” Genetic Evaluation for Cow Livability”

It is estimated by D Norman, CDCD and J Wright and P VanRaden, AIPL-USDA that having cows at 2.1 C.LIV compared to -1.1 C.LIV would be worth an additional annual net income of $9,400 (or $38.50 per cow) in the average USA DHIA herd of 244 cows.

CDCB reports that at some time in the future that C.LIV will be included in the four NM$ indexes replacing some of the current emphasis on PL. When that change is made CDCB sees the possibility that the combination of PL (14%) and C.LIV (7%) will move from the current 19% emphasis on PL in NM$ to 21% for PL plus C.LIV

Will These Functionality Traits Be Used?

For breeders that follow the concept of breeding for type and feeding for production, these functional traits are often regarded as a ho-hum issue.

However, for breeders wanting herds of cows that cause few problems, have minimal added expenses, and that remain in the herd a lactation or two longer than cows have in the past, then these additional traits, including C.LIV, will be important, when selecting the sires to buy semen from.

It is highly unlikely that there will be even one sire that is a standout for all functional traits. In fact, that is impossible. However, knowing bull ratings for added functional traits will allow breeds to avoid using sires that are below average for the traits that breeders find relevant to their breeding plan.

 The Bullvine Bottom Line

C.LIV is the latest, but certainly not the last, genetic index that will be available for breeders to use to breed functional, commercially profitable cows. Time will tell if it is useful. But the fact remains breeders need to consider all traits for which there are genetic indexes and then make informed choices about which ones to include in their sire selection plan.

 

 

 

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An Open Letter to All Dairy Farmers

Friday, August 5th, 2016

To the hard-working dairy farmers who get up before dawn every day so that the rest of us can enjoy wholesome, healthy milk on our cereal and in our morning coffees, “Please sell your cows!”

At first, I know that may be a hard pill to swallow.  Dairy farming for many is more than just a job. It’s a way of life.  The thought of not being able to help feed the world would make many of you sick.  But you see as an industry we are currently producing so much of the good stuff that we are killing the industry for producers everywhere.

Every day we see headlines in the news about record low milk prices.  Prices considerably below fair market rates and in many cases the cost of production.  Producers around the world have taken to the streets to protest.  However, none of us en mass have done the number one thing that will help solve this problem.  “Stop producing more milk than there is demand for.”

I am definitely not an economic expert, but I do remember a little from my courses in university.  The main message I retained is that “When supply is greater than demand, the price goes down.”

Sure there is the fact that many processors are making record profits. Trust me that makes me outraged at a time when there are producers that have gotten so desperate that they have taken their lives.  However, as an industry, we have given the processers this power.  Because we continue to produce more of the silky good stuff, and the processors, have been able to drive the price the average producer receives way down.

Now let’s not deny that there are many great reasons that we are producing more milk than ever:  An increased rate of genetic improvement (Read more: The Genomic Advancement Race – The Battle for Genetic Supremacy), the fact that sexed semen has lead to a greater number of females (Read more: Sexed Semen from Cool Technology to Smart Business Decision) or that our understanding of nutrition and environment have made significant advances over recent years (Read more: Dairy Herd Managment) All of these progressive improvements have contributing to this debilitating situation.

However, the fact remains that, unless we start producing less milk, we are going to continue this bad situation.  If we don’t start to produce less milk, the choice will not be ours to make.  You see as we continue to over-produce, farm gate prices are only going to go lower or, at best, remain at the current record lows.  This will lead to more producers going deeper in debt to the bankers, and in some extreme cases, cause more producers to consider the drastic measure of suicide. 

We have the power to right this situation.  Look at the oil industry.  When gas prices get too low, the major powers simply just produce less crude.  It’s not that they can’t produce more.  They understand how to maximize their revenues and when prices get too low, they simply produce less.  Prices increase and then they start to increase production again.  It’s a simple solution to a major problem.

Many of you will say, “Well if I produce less my neighbor is just going to produce more.”  Moreover, that’s true.  But unless we, as a group, start to work together, the processors will continue to have control over us, and we will always be in a poor situation.

So while I know it sounds harsh to decrease production at a time when the world’s population is growing,  the simple fact remains that rate of consumption is not as high as the level we have increased production to.  Until we change this situation, we are only going to see this situation get worse.  So I ask you….no we plead with you…please sell off some of your cows, maybe feed them a less potent ration.  Maybe even use some less productive genetics, but whatever you do, please start producing less milk. United we stand, Divided we fall.

Sincerely,

Andrew Hunt
Founder – The Bullvine

 

 

 

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No matter where it happens, negativity leads to a breakdown in morale. The strange part is that it isn’t always easy to spot the negative person on your staff.  They could even appear to be positive and supportive but, over time, the underlying negative message they are sending out can do a tremendous amount of damage to your dairy!

On a day to day basis, these negative folks don’t generally make big mistakes that set themselves up as targets.  In fact, they’re usually good at their jobs and, therefore, don’t attract attention.  However, like a contagious disease, their negativity attacks the work and achievements of others and ultimately affects the bottom line of the entire dairy operation.

How Does Negativity Get Started?

Here are six ways that negativity infects a workplace: (1) complaining, (2) exaggerating problems (3) gossip (4) rumors (5) innuendo and (6) criticism. As you looked at that list, you probably recognized each of the negatives.  It is embarrassing to acknowledge that we all, at one time or another, have been guilty of using one or more of these ways of communicating at work. It’s true. Nobody’s perfect.  But it is also a fact that work life and success improves enormously when you strive to eliminate using any of these to negatively affect fellow workers.

Complaints

The whole process of trying to improve obviously starts with the recognition that there are problems.  But there is a difference between trying to correct something and continually complaining about everything. Positive criticism turns on a willingness to be an active participant in finding the solution.  Negative staff merely voice a defeatist attitude and offer up unending complaints.

Exaggerations

There will always be a full range of good and bad perceptions regarding the effectiveness of the day to day happenings on a 24/7 dairy.  It is particularly damaging if problems are reported as threats that are so exaggerated that it spreads concern and hasty or perhaps counter-productive decision-making. For example, it’s one thing to deal with a health problem in calves or heifers.  It’s another to incite panic through emphatic misrepresentation of details on the numbers affected or the ability to turn the situation around. Negative staff love to point fingers at co-workers who are “always screwing up” or “never” in control of their responsibilities.

Gossip

By it’s very nature, gossip causes irreparable damage.  Although it is easily spread, the source of gossip is very difficult to pin down or verify.  The juicier the story, the more likely it may be accepted as true.  Once one employee is pitted against another, real damage can be the result of childish story-telling.

Rumors

Sometimes the worst problems have no actual basis in fact.  The rumor mill spits out a suggestion and, in no time, it becomes accepted as fact. Unfortunately, perception is reality, regardless of whether it is truth or lies.

Innuendo

Rarely does a negative staff member have the courage of his or her convictions.  They proudly and loudly recognize what is wrong, but they don’t go to the source in a spirit of making things better.  Instead they are masters of innuendo.   They prefer to stay well below the radar so as not to draw attention to themselves and, by doing so, the problems are rarely recognized and become even less likely to be dealt with in a timely manner.

Criticism

Teams rely on the respect given to bosses and supervisors, but a never-ending flow of criticism builds a momentum that eventually swamps even the best intentions. Many a good manager has had their authority and effectiveness undermined by negativity getting a grip on their staff.

Stop!  Look!  Listen! And Act!

  1. It’s already too late if the first sign you have of an bad employee attitude manifests itself in major disruption of your dairy
  2. Regularly check for employee actions and attitude that differ from the team as a whole so that you are aware if negativity is having an impact on your staff.
  3. The first step is to identify the actions of the negative staff member and make it clear to him or her that continuing these actions will not be tolerated and to emphasize how it could improve morale and productivity if they were to be positive.

Establish A Positive Policy

It is one thing to criticize negative behavior.  It is much better is to establish a policy for benchmarking appropriate behavior. One example of a policy statement could be something like this:

“Each staff member will demonstrate professional behavior that supports the entire team (insert the name of your dairy) and contributes to performance and productivity.”

Having such a policy in place is the beginning of establishing a good framework. The next step is day-to-day coaching and training that keeps the message getting through to the front lines. It isn’t like a missed step in a machine or feeding protocol.  Negativity is not as obvious as that and, therefore, can be difficult to bring out into the open.

It’s human nature to want to delay having a tough conversation with an employee who has a bad attitude. But that only makes things worse.

And since it’s going to be a tough conversation, it’s recommended that supervisors prepare for the discussion. After all, your goal is to turn a confrontation about negativity into positive communication.  Here are some suggestions.

  • Be specific. Don’t generalize. In the simplest terms, you would like to tell your employee. “You have a bad attitude.  It needs to change!” Even though that is accurate, it is also so general that it could have no effect. Instead, you need a specific example and recommendation. “Your criticism of your co-workers behind their backs is undermining the entire team. From now on, if you can’t offer support, please don’t say anything at all.”
  • Gather Examples. While it is important to have specific examples to illustrate the behavior, it is also important not to dump an entire load on the staff person. You don’t use the problem to cure the problem. The goal is clarity, not an accusation.
  • Expect to hear a defense. It is a sign of respect and positive intentions for the future to allow the negative staff person an opportunity to vent their side of the discussion. If the staffer were adept at accepting and handling criticism, they would probably not be the type to disperse negativity upon others. Furthermore, they could feel they are being judged, and they are, and it is human nature to want an opportunity to mount a defense.
  • Steer the conversation toward results that are good for everybody. Avoid accusation and encourage acceptance of the idea that the identified problem is something that “we need to change.” There can’t be a positive outcome of any kind if the entire responsibility for the behavior is put on the employee.
  • Don’t start a fight. It is all too easy to start off saying, “You have a bad attitude and everybody knows it.” Once those fighting words are out there, there is no turning back to a more constructive situation. Acknowledge your role in either continuing the negative behavior or in turning it into a win-win for everyone.
  • Little Words Can Make a BIG Difference. When we are faced with delivering criticism, we often lead with praise.  For example, “You are doing a good job in the milking parlor” and then we lower the boom with, “but you’re attitude with co-workers is causing a problem.” Not only have you reduced the effect of the praise, but you have also linked it to something negative.  It would be surprising if the employee thought or said, “You can never just give a pat on the back.  You always have to be critical!”
  • Substitute “And” for “But” and “However.” Before you water down your praise of an employee, consider a simple change. “You’re doing a pretty good job, and we need to talk about how to get you to show more respect for all of the dairy team.”
  • Don’t feel you have to fill in the Blanks None of us likes to be on either side of a difficult As the manager, you need to be prepared when gaps develop in the conversation.  Trying to fill every lull will not resolve the problem.  Let your staff person consider and respond, as he or she is able. Sometimes remaining silent is the most effective way for proper consideration to be given to the problem.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Although it takes a combination of teacher, counselor, and sheriff to manage negative people, there are some proven ways to deal with bad attitudes. Letting things work themselves out is NOT an option. Of that, you can be positive!!

 

 

 

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Great Dairy Employees Need Great Starts!

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016

Recently The Bullvine initiated some give and take with readers after our article, “From Cow Bossy to Dairy Super Boss” where we discussed the role of managers on well-run dairy operations.  We considered whom to hire, what to pay, how to train and other important issues that arise between dairy bosses and their employees. The ten points that were discussed all have a legitimate impact on dairy success but today we are going to rewind the process a little bit to consider the first day and how it is one of the most important moments in dairy staff relations. If you are building an effective dairy team, it is crucial to get off to a good start.

Great Dairies Are Full of Great Beginnings

We can all appreciate the importance of great beginnings when it applies to genetics, planting seasons and milk records. When we get it right, the effects are visible and measurable all the way to the bank.  Dairy staff is one area where we may experience the effects of poor beginnings without realizing exactly what caused the problem. Unfortunately, there is a big difference between a relationship that gets off to a good start and one that gets off to a bad one.

Day One on the Dairy

Assuming all the due diligence has been done, and you have hired a new dairy employee, it is important to get off to the best start possible.  Regardless of whether there has been a previous relationship, it makes good sense for both sides to be as well-prepared as possible.  Never assume that the myriad of details is “obvious” or “standard.”  It is a sign of respect, to give your new staff member every opportunity to succeed.

Write it Down

While your plans, including starting days and dates, may be very familiar to you, it is always a good idea to write the details down for new employees.  With equipment, buildings and animals to get familiar with, it could be a simple detail such as when to arrive, where to park and what to wear, that gets overlooked or misunderstood by the new person. Confirm all points discussed either by email or in writing.  You won’t regret starting off by making sure everything is clearly understood.  On the other hand, misunderstandings can result in all your careful recruiting, interviewing and negotiating being wiped out by frustrations which could lead to a rocky or terminated start.

A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place

Once again, you may think that everything on your operation is self-evident and easily understood, but an orientation tour not only gives new hires the chance to ask questions, it can also be an unpressured way to start building a good working relationship.  Now is the time to point out special safety considerations, medication storage or details regarding equipment operation.  If your operation is complicated in any of these areas, you can set your new staffer’s mind at ease by explaining plans for training as needed. Whether you have two employees or two hundred, don’t leave new employee orientation to chance.

A New Employee Checklist

Everyone has been a newbie at least once in their life, and so we can identify with the feelings of someone who is thrust into a new environment.  New dairy staff must be helped to settle in comfortably, otherwise they may fail to perform well.  Here are some basic considerations.

The Paper Work

  1. A written description of the job and its responsibilities.
  2. Contact information. A chart that shows how the new position relates to staff organization.
  3. All of the necessary administration and benefits forms.
  4. A handbook, if there is one, for any of the job responsibilities.

The People Parts

  1. Provide an opportunity to meet coworkers, specifically those he or she will work closely with.
  2. You could provide a “buddy” or mentor for the new hire so that they have someone they can go to for more information or help.
  3. Set up opportunities for ongoing orientation and training. Who will provide it?  When? And Where?

Knowing The LITTLE Details Makes a BIG Difference

  1. Where does staff park?
  2. What should I wear?
  3. To whom should I report?
  4. What is the work schedule? Where is it posted?
  5. Where are restrooms, telephones, and computers?
  6. What should be said when answering the phone?
  7. What food, snacks or beverages are provided? Should I bring my lunch?
  8. Is the farm tobacco or smoke-free?
  9. What is the policy regarding use of cell phones or personal computers?
  10. What record keeping is required regarding animal treatment?
  11. What record keeping is required regarding work hours?
  12. What job supervision and review are scheduled?
  13. What opportunity does the employee have to give feedback?

If you take care of these details, the likelihood of a smooth start for the new employee will be increased. Even though you probably won’t micromanage each day’s activities, it is important to make sure that the employee knows that you are available to answer concerns.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

We know that employee turnover is expensive and that it is important to retain valuable employees. Is your first-day strategy achieving the desired results? Is it decreasing turnover? The goal is that everyone joining your dairy staff overcomes their fears, fits into the workforce and becomes a productive employee. This is the foundation that successful dairies are built upon.

 

 

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