Cornell University Claims Victory in National Intercollegiate Dairy Cattle Judging Contest

Cornell University finished first among seventeen schools in the National Intercollegiate Dairy Cattle Judging Contest on September 27 at World Dairy Expo®. The Cornell University team, who finished with a score of 2,468, placed third for reasons, second in placings, and had the top two individuals Bryce Windecker and Johnathan King, who both had a score of 829. In addition to these two judges, the team also included Grace Harrigan and Laura Littrell and was coached by Kevin Ziemba. Finishing second and third overall with only a one point margin were Virginia Tech and Iowa State University, respectively. Other teams finishing in the top five include University of Wisconsin – Platteville, University of Minnesota and Pennsylvania State University.  

Teams and individuals receiving recognition include:

Top Ten Teams – Overall:

  1. Cornell University, 2,468, team members: Johnathan King, Grace Harrigan, Bryce Windecker and Laura Littrell, coached by Kevin Ziemba
  2. Virginia Tech, 2,445, team members: Seth Carson, Elizabeth Menard, Joseph Real and George Sebright, coached by Katharine Knowlton
  3. Iowa State University, 2,444, team members: Anna Hanson, Amanda Engelken, Brianna McBride and Jessica Schmitt, coached by Christen Burgett
  4. University of Wisconsin – Platteville, 2,435, team members: Megan Breuch, Emma Buss, Maddy Gwidt and Brooklyn Hollis, coached by Cory Weigel
  5. University of Minnesota, 2,420, team members: Matthias Annexstad, Leif Annexstad, Ashley Hagenow and Kjersten Veiseth, coached by Les Hansen, Alicia Hiebert, Eric Houdek, and Gabriella Houdek
  6.  The Pennsylvania State University, 2,406, team members Ryan Allen, Hannah Diehl, Austin Kolb and Madison Woodis, coached by Dale Olver
  7. University of Wisconsin – Madison, 2,393, team members: Jared Baudhuin, Josh Gerbitz, Anne Runde and Colin Uecker, coached by Brian Kelroy and Trent Olson
  8. University of Illinois, 2,392, team members: Justin Huff, Ainsley Peterson and Rachel Scidmore, coached by Derek Nolan
  9. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, 2,380, team members: Lantz Adams, Matthew Brasil, Ryan Haringa and Genevieve Regli, coached by Caitlin Lopes and Morgan Wonderly
  10. University of Wisconsin – River Falls, 2,370, team members: Mikayla Erf, Marie Haase, Lacey Nelson and Colin Wussow, coached by Mary Holle

Top Ten Individuals:

  1. Bryce Windecker, 829, Cornell University
  2. Johnathan King, 829, Cornell University
  3. Elizabeth Menard, 828, Virginia Tech
  4. Ainsley Peterson, 827, University of Illinois
  5. Maddy Gwidt, 827, University of Wisconsin – Platteville
  6. Hannah Diehl, 818, The Pennsylvania State University
  7. Emma Buss, 818, University of Wisconsin – Platteville
  8. Brianna McBride, 817, Iowa State University
  9. Josh Gerbitz, 817, University of Wisconsin – Madison
  10. Amanda Engelken, 817, Iowa State University

Top Ten Teams – Reasons:

  1. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, 821, coached by Caitlin Lopes and Morgan Wonderly
  2. Virginia Tech, 816, coached by Katharine Knowlton
  3. Cornell University, 812, coached by Kevin Ziemba
  4. University of Minnesota, 807, coached by Les Hansen, Alicia Hiebert, Eric Houdek and Gabriella Houdek
  5. The Pennsylvania State University, 801, coached by Dale Olver
  6. University of Wisconsin – Madison, 800, coached by Brian Kelroy and Trent Olson
  7. University of Wisconsin – Platteville, 798, coached by Cory Weigel
  8. University of Illinois,796, coached by Derek Nolan
  9. Iowa State University,789, coached by Christen Burgett
  10. University of Wisconsin – River Falls, 775, coached by Mary Holle

Top Ten Individuals – Reasons:

  1. Ainsley Peterson, 282, University of Illinois
  2. Ashley Hagenow, 279, University of Minnesota
  3. Genevieve Regli, 278, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
  4. Elizabeth Menard, 276, Virginia Tech
  5. Hannah Diehl, 276, The Pennsylvania State University
  6. Brianna McBride, 275, Iowa State University
  7. Maddy Gwidt, 274, University of Wisconsin – Platteville
  8. Bryce Windecker, 273, Cornell University
  9. Michael Wolf, 273, University of Connecticut
  10. Grace Harrigan, 273, Cornell University

The National Youth Contests are made possible in part through generous support of Platinum Level Sponsor, Bayer Crop Science; Gold Level Sponsor, STgenetics and Cullenberg & Tensen, PLLC; Silver Sponsors, Bio-Vet, Inc.; Bronze Sponsors, Agri Feed International, L.L.C and Revolution; and additional supporters.

Serving as the meeting place of the global dairy industry, World Dairy Expo brings together the latest in dairy innovation and the best cattle in North America. The dairy industry will return to Madison, Wis. for the 54th event, September 28 – October 2, 2021, when the world’s largest dairy-focused trade show, dairy and forage seminars, a world-class dairy cattle show and more will be on display. Download the World Dairy Expo mobile event app, visit or follow WDE on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Spotify, Instagram or YouTube for more information

Wisconsin Wins Fourth Consecutive National 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging Contest Title

Wisconsin claimed top honors in the National 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging Contest at World Dairy Expo®, winning for the fourth year in a row. The Wisconsin team members Jenna Gries, Lauren Siemers, Clarissa Ulness and Emma Vos were coached by Paul Siemers and Angie Ulness. The second place overall team, by a margin of 15 points, was the Florida team of Nicholas Hammer, Austin Holcomb, Julia Heijkoop and Savannah Rice, coached by Gene Holcomb and Chris Holcomb. Other teams finishing in the top five are New York, Ohio, and Maryland, respectively.

Teams and individuals receiving recognition include:

Top Ten Teams – Overall:

1. Wisconsin, 2,025, team members: Jenna Gries, Lauren Siemers, Clarissa Ulness and Emma Vos, coached by Paul Siemers and Angie Ulness
2. Florida, 2,010, team members: Nicholas Hammer, Austin Holcomb, Julia Heijkoop and Savannah Rice, coached by Gene Holcomb and Chris Holcomb
3. New York, 2,003, team members: Aidan Ainslie, Elizabeth Hyman, Kailey Kuhn and Miranda Nickerson, coached by Douglas Waterman
4. Ohio, 1,970, team members: Austin Borchers, Cole Pond, Curtis Shellenberger and Madelyn Topp, coached by Sherry Smith
5. Maryland, 1,968, team members: Morgan Osborn-Wotthlie, Emma Schnebly, Bryce Zepp and Kelsey Zepp, coached by Brian Schnebly and Sarah Potts
6. Pennsylvania, 1,965, team members: Andrew Houseknecht, Sara Reed, Cody Walker and Nicole Weaver, coached by Chad Dechow
7. Indiana, 1,933, team members: Jonah Hopf, Paige Hopf, Faith Lortie and Makenzie Resler, coached by Julia Troyer, Marcus Troyer, and Lukus Troyer
8. Illinois, 1,928, team members Delana Erbsen, Nevin Erbsen and Jacob Raber, coached by Derek Nolan
9. Kentucky, 1,912, team members: Jackson Baird, Loralea Cox, Celia Johnston and Lily Palmer, coached by Larissa Tucker and Bland Baird
10. Virginia, 1,908, team members: Hayley Daubert, Regan Jackson, Salem Sifford and Ellie Vincent, coached by Jeremy Daubert and Lois Skeen

Top Ten Individuals – Overall:

  1. Nicholas Hammer, 686, Florida
  2. Morgan Osborn-Wotthlie, 686, Maryland
  3. Clarissa Ulness, 682, Wisconsin
  4. Jenna Gries, 681, Wisconsin
  5. Savannah Rice, 680, Florida
  6. Elizabeth Hyman, 678, New York
  7. Madelyn Topp, 671, Ohio
  8. Aidan Ainslie, 670, New York
  9. Andrew Houseknecht, 669, Pennsylvania
  10. Delana Erbsen, 665, Illinois

Top Ten Teams – Reasons:

  1. Wisconsin, 675, coached by Paul Siemers and Angie Ulness
  2. Florida, 663, coached by Gene Holcomb and Chris Holcomb
  3. Maryland, 650, coached by Brian Schnebly and Sarah Potts
  4. New York, 643, coached by Douglas Waterman
  5. Minnesota, 642, coached by Keith Brogan and Cassandra Lang
  6. Pennsylvania, 641, coached by Chad Dechow
  7. Ohio, 640, coached by Sherry Smith
  8. Michigan, 640, coached by Sarah Black and Joe Domecq
  9. Indiana, 632, coached by Julia Troyer, Marcus Troyer, and Lukus Troyer
  10. Kentucky, 632, coached by Bland Baird and Larissa Tucker

Top Ten Individuals – Reasons:

  1. Jenna Gries, 230, Wisconsin
  2. Nicholas Hammer, 228, Florida
  3. Aidan Ainslie, 227, New York
  4. Emma Schnebly, 226, Maryland
  5. Julia Heijkeep, 225, Florida
  6. Savannah Rice, 224, Florida
  7. Clarissa Ulness, 223, Wisconsin
  8. Lauren Siemers, 222, Wisconsin
  9. Adalee Thelen, 220, Michigan
  10. Morgan Osborn-Wotthlie, 219, Maryland

The National Youth Contests are made possible in part through generous support of Platinum Level Sponsor, Bayer Crop Science; Gold Level Sponsor, STgenetics and Cullenberg & Tensen, PLLC; Silver Sponsors, Bio-Vet, Inc.; Bronze Sponsors, Agri Feed International, L.L.C and Revolution; and additional supporters.

Serving as the meeting place of the global dairy industry, World Dairy Expo brings together the latest in dairy innovation and the best cattle in North America. The dairy industry will return to Madison, Wis. for the 54th event, September 28 – October 2, 2021, when the world’s largest dairy-focused trade show, dairy and forage seminars, a world-class dairy cattle show and more will be on display. Download the World Dairy Expo mobile event app, visit or follow WDE on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Spotify, Instagram or YouTube for more information

World Dairy Expo 2021 Activities Begin with Youth Fitting Contest

Overall Fitter Award
Jasenko Gavranovic, New Ulm, Minn.

The Youth Fitting Contest kicked of World Dairy Expo® 2021 events on Sunday, September 26 at the Alliant Energy Center. 37 youth participants represented nine U.S. States, and one Canadian Province. These contestants, ranging in age from 13-21, were allotted 60 minutes to prepare their animal to be show-quality ready. Judging the Youth Fitting Contest was Jason Danhof, professional fitter and dairy cattle genetics merchandiser from Waukon, Iowa.

Jasenko Gavranovic, New Ulm, Minnesota, was presented the Overall Fitter Award after topping the Senior Male Division. For this achievement, Gavranovic received a jacket and chute lighting, sponsored by Images Custom Embroidery and Under Udder LED Lighting, respectively. Dana Johnson, Tomah, Wisconsin, was the top finisher in the Senior Female Division, on the heels of her win at the intermediate level at the last WDE. Her and Gavranovic were each presented clippers from Clipper Parts & Repair, in recognition of their accomplishments. The first-place finishers in the Intermediate Male and Female Divisions, Payton Calvert, Cuba City, Wisconsin and Alexis Blankenberg, Platteville, Wisconsin, respectively, were presented fitting mats from Weaver Livestock.

Other awards included neck ribbons with medallions and cash prizes to top five finishers in each division, courtesy of the Klossner Family, FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative, ABS Global/St. Jacobs ABC and Mill Wheel Show Clinics. Mill Wheel Show Clinics also provided clippers for the second-place finisher in both the Senior Male and Female Divisions.

Placings for the Youth Fitting Contest are as follows:

Intermediate Female Division:

  1. Alexis Blankenberg, Platteville, Wis.
  2. Adhyn Schell, Lewiston, Minn.
  3. Ellie Larson, Evansville, Wis.
  4. Jamie Gibbs, Rollingstone, Minn.
  5. Shelby Knoble, Lancaster, Wis.

Intermediate Male Division:

  1. Payton Calvert, Cuba City, Wis.
  2. Nathan Rumovicz, New Berlin, N.Y.
  3. Joseph Achen, Little Falls, Minn.
  4. Mason Ziemba, Durhamville, N.Y.
  5. Wesley Winch, Fennimore, Wis.

Senior Female Division:

  1. Dana Johnson, Tomah, Wis.
  2. Cassie Gebert, Wawaka, Ind.
  3. Brooke Hammann, Barron, Wis.
  4. Haley Beukema, New Richmond, Wis.
  5. Sophie Leach, Linwood, Kan.

Senior Male Division:

  1. Jasenko Gavranovic, New Ulm, Minn.
  2. Robert Nagel, Clymer, N.Y.
  3. Dillon Freeman, Bremen, Ind.
  4. Keenan Thygesen, Tunbridge, Vt.
  5. Jordan Hawthorne, Listowel, Ontario, Canada

Serving as the meeting place of the global dairy industry, World Dairy Expo brings together the latest in dairy innovation and the best cattle in North America. The dairy industry will return to Madison, Wis. for the 54th event, September 28 – October 2, 2021, when the world’s largest dairy-focused trade show, dairy and forage seminars, a world-class dairy cattle show and more will be on display. Download the World Dairy Expo mobile event app, visit or follow WDE on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Spotify, Instagram or YouTube for more information.

Kaskaskia College Captures Gold in the International Post-Secondary Dairy Cattle Judging Contest

After a year hiatus due to the pandemic, Kaskaskia College secured a first-place win as the overall team in the International Post-Secondary Dairy Cattle Judging Contest on Monday, September 27, 2021. The team consisted of Chloe Haas, Zach Paul, Addison Raber and Rosalee Zehr coached by Aaron Heinzmann. The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute followed as the second-place team. Topping the team reasons portion of the contest was SUNY Cobleskill followed by Kaskaskia College. To round out the contest, SUNY Cobleskill placed third overall with Modesto Junior College in fourth and SUNY Morrisville in fifth. In the Practical Contest, Kaskaskia College placed first overall followed by The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute #2 in second.

Teams and individuals receiving recognition include:

Top Ten Individuals – Overall:

  1. Erin Curtis, 781, SUNY Cobleskill
  2. Rosalee Zehr, 777, Kaskaskia College
  3. Addison Raber, 763, Kaskaskia College
  4. Aspen Silva, 755, Modesto Junior College
  5. Marissa Topp, 748, The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute
  6. Gracelyn Krahn, 747, Linn Benton Community College Oregon
  7. Erin Armitage, 742, SUNY Morrisville
  8. Rachel Sherman, 739, The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute
  9. Zach Paul, 734, Kaskaskia College
  10. Jade Atherton, 727, SUNY Morrisville

Top Ten Individuals – Reasons:

  1. Erin Curtis, 236, SUNY Cobleskill
  2. Addison Raber, 234, Kaskaskia College
  3. Gracelyn Krahn, 231, Linn Benton Community College Oregon
  4. Rachel Sherman, 224, The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute
  5. Tesika Kilmer, 220, SUNY Cobleskill
  6. Erin Armitage, 219, SUNY Morrisville
  7. Rosalee Zehr, 218, Kaskaskia College
  8. Drew Neyer, 217, Michigan State Ag Tech
  9. Jade Atherton, 216, 216, SUNY Morrisville
  10. Abigail Hatch, 216, SUNY Cobleskill

Top Ten Teams – Overall:

  1. Kaskaskia College, 2,274, team members: Chloe Haas, Zach Paul, Addison Raber and Rosalee Zehr, coached by Aaron Heinzmann
  2. The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute, 2,196, team members: Stephen Parthemore, Megan Raudebaugh, Rachel Sherman and Marissa Topp, coached by Donald Hange and Royce Thornton
  3. SUNY Cobleskill, 2,194, team members: Erin Curtis, Abigail Hatch, Emily Hatch and Tesika Kilmer, coached by Carrie Edsall
  4. Modesto Junior College, 2,147, team members: Kathleen Homen, Aspen Silva, Colton Silveira and Allison Ward, coached by Nicole Morris
  5. SUNY Morrisville, 2,139, team members: Erin Armitage, Jade Atherton, Kainan Beardsley and Gavon Darfler, coached by Devin Kuhn and Ashley Marshall
  6. Michigan State Ag Tech, 2,061, team members: Rachael Bosse, Drew Neyer and Abby Van Dyk, coached by Joe Domecq and Sarah Black
  7. Lakeshore Technical College, 1,815, team members: Lily Charapata, Colin DeYoung, Alex Diersen and Sarah Jennings, coached by Craig Lallensack
  8. Lakeshore Technical College, 1,685, team members: Kelsie Bramstedt, Zoey Neuens, Kaylee Pingel and Brenden Wenzel, coached by Craig Lallensack
  9. The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute, 1,316, team members: Hayley Bankey and Rebecca Sprang, coached by Donald Hange and Royce Thornton
  10. Linn Benton Community College Oregon, 747, team member: Gracelyn Krahn, coached by Jim Krahn

Top Five Teams – Reasons:

  1. SUNY Cobleskill, 672, coached by Carrie Edsall
  2. Kaskaskia College, 667, coached by Aaron Heinzmann
  3. The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute, 651, coached by Donald Hange and Royce Thornton
  4. SUNY Morrisville, 641, coached by Devin Kuhn and Ashley Marshall
  5. Michigan State Ag Tech, 614, coached by Joe Domecq and Sarah Black

Top Five Teams – Practical Contest:

  1. Kaskaskia College, 757
  2. The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute #2, 724
  3. Northeast Iowa Community College, 712
  4. Fox Valley Technical College, 670
  5. The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute #1, 635

Top Five Teams – Linear Contest:

  1. Kaskaskia College, 270
  2. Lakeshore Technical College #2, 260
  3. The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute #2, 250
  4. Northeast Iowa Community College, 240
  5. Southwest Technical College, 225

Top Five Teams – Corrective Mating:

  1. Kaskaskia College, 164
  2. Northeast Iowa Community College, 164
  3. Lakeshore Technical College #1, 160
  4. The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute #2, 147
  5. Southwest Technical College, 145

Top Five Teams – Commercial Class:

  1. Fox Valley Technical College, 100
  2. The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute #1, 100
  3. The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute #2, 90
  4. Southwest Technical College, 90
  5. Lakeshore Technical college #2, 90

Top Five Teams – Registered Class:

  1. Kaskaskia College, 188
  2. Northeast Iowa Community College, 183
  3. Fox Valley Technical College, 182
  4. The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute #2, 181
  5. Lakeshore Technical College #1, 169

The National Youth Contests are made possible in part through generous support of Platinum Level Sponsor, Bayer Crop Science; Gold Level Sponsor, STgenetics and Cullenberg & Tensen, PLLC; Silver Sponsors, Bio-Vet, Inc.; Bronze Sponsors, Agri Feed International, L.L.C and Revolution; and additional supporters.

Serving as the meeting place of the global dairy industry, World Dairy Expo brings together the latest in dairy innovation and the best cattle in North America. The dairy industry will return to Madison, Wis. for the 54th event, September 28 – October 2, 2021, when the world’s largest dairy-focused trade show, dairy and forage seminars, a world-class dairy cattle show and more will be on display. Download the World Dairy Expo mobile event app, visit or follow WDE on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Spotify, Instagram or YouTube for more information

World Dairy Expo to adopt new event schedule in 2022

Beginning in 2022, officials announced that World Dairy Expo will be held Sunday through Friday while remaining at its home in Madison, Wisconsin, the Alliant Energy Center.

The impetus for the change is to improve efficiencies for all stakeholders, from exhibitors to attendees to event partners, officials said.

According to a news release, over the years Trade Show exhibitors have requested a shorter exhibition period to better align with today’s trade show industry standards. However, the new schedule will still include five days of showring events including breed shows on the iconic colored shavings.

This new event schedule also brings with it a breed show rotation plan.

Beginning on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, World Dairy Expo will officially start its’ 6-day event with youth activities and contests. The Dairy Cattle Show will begin on Monday, and the Trade Show will kick off on Tuesday. Expo will wrap up on the night of Friday, Oct. 7 with the naming of the Supreme Champion after a week of competition, commerce, education and networking.

Officials say that adding Sunday and the youth events and contests to the Expo schedule offers strong continuity of event dates and brings additional prestige to these historic contests – upholding the show’s commitment to every key stakeholder group.

Education and networking will continue to play a consistent role in events throughout World Dairy Expo. Attendees can anticipate the return of Tanbark Talks, Expo Seminars, Virtual Farm Tours, Expo en Español, Knowledge Nook Sessions and Dairy Forage Seminars.

More information about the 2022 World Dairy Expo schedule changes and breed show rotation can be found here,

California dairy ordered to recall raw milk for fourth time since 2019

For the fourth time since 2019 California health officials have ordered a recall of unpasteurized, raw milk sold by Valley Milk Simply Bottled.

The California Department of Health reported illegal levels of Campylobacter jejuni found by the state’s Department of Food and Agriculture in raw cow milk produced and bottled by the company. In addition to the recall, there is a quarantine in place, according to a statement from state officials.

As of the posting of the recall and quarantine notice no illnesses had been reported. People who have consumed the milk or served it to others should monitor themselves for symptoms of Campylobacter infections.

The agriculture department said Campylobacter jejuni can cause diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever, but most people recover completely. The symptoms usually occur two to five days after exposure and last about a week. Children and elderly people or people with compromised immune systems can develop severe infections and require hospitalization.

“The raw cow milk is distributed in one-gallon (128 oz) and half-gallon (64 oz) plastic jugs with brown colored bottle caps and labeled as ‘Valley Milk Simply Bottled Raw Milk’ or ‘DESI MILK Raw Milk.’ The recall order applies to products marked on the container with expiration code dates of SEP 26 2021 through OCT 03 2021, according to the state agriculture department.

“Consumers are strongly urged to dispose of any product remaining in their refrigerators, and retailers are to pull the product immediately from their shelves. Products from the firm marked with other expiration code dates or with bottle caps of a different color than brown are not subject to the recall order.”

Reached by phone Wednesday by the Modesto Bee, the owner of the dairy, Joe Bento, said independent testing has not found the source of the problem in the livestock feed or other parts of the operation.

The recall and quarantine this week comes after a recall of raw goat milk in late August this year. The unpasteurized, raw goat milk was produced by Valley Milk Simply Bottled of Stanislaus County, according to a recall notice posted by State Veterinarian Dr. Annette Jones. The same producer had recalls in 2019 and 2020 because of Campylobacter in its raw milk.


Daylight savings on the dairy farm: ‘The cows wonder why you’re an hour early’

“You don’t want to get out of bed too early is my theory,” says Golden Bay dairy farmer Wayne Langford.

Things You Should Do When Daylight Savings Time Ends Or Begins

There is more to do than turn your clock back or forward and here is a checklist.

Southland dairy farmer Bart Luton says his cows always notice something isn’t quite right when daylight savings hits.

“My cows will be wondering what I am doing in the paddock because I am an hour early or so. It takes them a couple of days to get used to it. They look around and think ‘you are too early’, and while you’re milking the cow flow will be a bit slower. They definitely need adjusting to it.”

Daylight saving time starts on Sunday when clocks will be turned forward one hour. Sunrise and sunset will be about an hour later than the day before and it will be lighter in the evening.

Canterbury farmer Alan Davie-Martin said cows were behavioural animals and knew when to gather at the gate. It usually took a few days for them to get used to the new timetable.

The shorter day also had an effect on the milk production, which had a small financial impact, he said.

“Believe it or not there is a small production drop because on Sunday morning they will be getting milked an hour early.”

But it depended on whether a farmer was the kind of person who wanted to get going early whether daylight savings was a positive or negative.

Wayne Langford, who farms in Golden Bay said he favoured a longer lie-in.

“I think the early starters like the daylight in the morning to get going earlier but at the peak of things when you’re really busy you have daylight anyway. You don’t want to get out of bed too early, is my theory.”

Nor did he think the cows noticed much.

Langford said dairy farmers were used to working with lights and torches on dark mornings and he appreciated the extra time with family in the evenings and the ability to take part in social sports.

The temperature stayed cooler for longer which made a difference to the cows on their walk to the milking shed.

Luton said he was a morning person and liked to get stuck in. “It affects me because it’s starting to get light at 6am now and after Sunday it will be getting light at 7am.”

Taranaki share milker Simon Wilkes said the Spring daylight savings could be a mental blow. After a long, physically draining calving season, there was hope of a light at the end of the tunnel bringing the cows in.

“Then daylight savings comes along and you’re back in the darkness again.”

Davie-Martin said one of his bugbears about a longer dark period in the mornings was how difficult it was to identify the cows that had been selected for mating, which generally happened around Labour Day.

“Like everyone else we enjoy the summers but the issue is it just gets a bit dark for a wee while. It will be pitch black at 4.30 when the guys get up. I’m 61 and it has been going for a fair chunk of my life and we just live with it.”


Large companies leading the way in global

40 leading organizations, including 11 of the 20 largest dairy companies in the world, among first to support new global “Pathways to Dairy Net Zero” climate initiative.

Pathways to Dairy Net Zero, a ground-breaking new climate initiative, includes 11 of the 20 largest dairy companies in the world. Collectively, these supporters represent approximately 30% of total milk production worldwide.

The new climate initiative demonstrates the global dairy sector’s commitment to reducing GHG emissions while continuing to produce nutritious foods for six billion people and provide for the livelihoods of one billion people.

“Pathways to Dairy Net Zero will accelerate climate efforts already underway and drive further necessary action to reduce dairy’s emissions over the next decades. The dairy sector has a lot to offer to lead this transition,” said Hein Schumacher, Chief Executive Officer of Royal Friesland Campina and Chairman of Global Dairy Platform.

“Mengniu is proud to join the global dairy sector in uniting behind this effort, the first of its kind in
agriculture, because we must all do our part to meet this worldwide climate challenge,” said Minfang (Jeffrey) Lu, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of China Mengniu Dairy Company.

The initiative is underpinned by six key principles

  1. Mitigation. Continuing to improve production and process efficiency to further reduce the GHG emissions intensity of milk and dairy products.
  2. Greenhouse gas removals. Enhancing production practices that protect carbon sinks (soil, forests, grass, peatlands) and complement natural ecosystems.
  3. Avoidance and adaptation. Improving practices such as feed, manure, fertilizer and energy management.
  4. Insets and offsets. Identify and implement alternative, credible reduction options.
  5. Measurement and monitoring. Measuring greenhouse gas emissions to plan mitigation and monitor progress.
  6. Overall support. Promoting the global initiative and emphasizing the dairy sector’s climate ambition.

Identifying and clarifying plausible mitigation options

A multi-stakeholder group of organizations, including the global dairy sector and representatives from the scientific and research communities, are working together to develop science-based methodologies, tools and pathways that work for every dairy system.

Research is underway to identify where positive climate change action is possible. The study is led by Scotland’s Rural College and the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre, research institutions from two of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases’ 65 member countries, backed up by data and analysis from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

Initial research found that the dairy sector already has the means to reduce a significant proportion of emissions – up to 40% in some systems – by improving productivity and resource use efficiency.

Researchers are identifying plausible GHG mitigation pathways for different dairy systems globally, in particular methane reduction. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report reaffirmed that the main GHG challenge is the reduction of carbon dioxide, which remains in the atmosphere for centuries. The report also identified reductions in methane, a potent but short-lived climate pollutant that lasts only about 12 years in the atmosphere, as an immediate opportunity to address global warming.


Wisconsin Milk Output Rises Six Consecutive Months

Total milk production in Wisconsin rose during August when compared to the same time last year–the sixth straight month of consecutive increases. According to the USDA’s latest milk production report, Wisconsin farmers produced 2.68 billion pounds during the month, up 2.6 percent from last August, but lower than the 2.72 billion made in July 2021.

Nationally, 18 billion pounds of milk was produced in the 24 major dairy states for the month. That was a 1.1 percent increase from 2020, but less than the previous month’s 18.3 billion.

California continues to have the highest total production with about 3.39 billion pounds. South Dakota had the greatest percent-increase in output as that state produced 316 million pounds of milk–about 16.2 percent more from the same period last year. Sixteen of the top 24 states had higher year-to-year production last month.

Meanwhile, the number of milk cows on farms in the 24 major states was 8.97 million head, 112,000 head more than August 2020, but 20,000 head less than July 2021. The average number of milk cows on Wisconsin farms for the month was 1.27 million head–about the same as last month, but 21,000 over last year. Monthly production per cow averaged 2,100 pounds, which was 20 pounds per cow more than last year’s figures.

Source: Wisconsin Ag Connection

How to become more sustainable in the European dairy sector

With much progress being made but much left to achieve, what should be the focus?

Building on much past progress, there is a great deal of opportunity to further increase environmental sustainability in dairy farming in Europe and around the world. Indeed, with higher levels of motivation from industry and governments alike to address climate change, new technologies and better genetics, there are more sustainability opportunities than ever.

Many dairy farmers are already using the latest systems to reduce water and electricity use, as well as more eco-friendly barn cleansers. They are also working to reduce nitrogen and to manage manure in much more sustainable ways in order to cut greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, the dairy sectors in many countries are also using food waste and food processing by-products in dairy cattle feed, reducing the resources needed to create feed from crops.

Genetic advancements and breeding

Genetic advancements also continue to help raise cow productivity, again translating into fewer resources being required to market a given volume of milk. There are also new specific initiatives such as the Future Forage Programme in Australia that will further reduce the environmental impact of individual cows through breeding and more.

At the farm level, whilst genetics and new technologies are important in the quest to dairy farm with less environmental impact, dairy farmers also need other sources of support.

In addition, new methods to improve animal health monitoring and prevent illness represent another avenue to reduce emissions. More healthy, productive cows require fewer resources than less-healthy counterparts.

Supported in the change to sustainability

However, at the farm level, whilst genetics and new technologies are important in the quest to dairy farm with less environmental impact, dairy farmers also need other sources of support. This is strongly recognised in a recent report from the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP), entitled ‘A vision for the future of the European dairy industry’.

In this report, IEEP external impact director, Faustine Bas-Defossez and her colleagues, note that moving Europe’s dairy sector towards greater sustainability requires a ‘just transition’ in which those affected within the sector are supported in the change to greater sustainability. “They must be enabled to be part of the change,” she says.

Australia: Working on the cows of the future
Victorian scientists in Australia will be working on methods to reduce the environmental footprint of the Australian dairy cow and to create a more profitable and sustainable dairy sector. Read more…

All initiatives important

To be successful with greater dairy sector sustainability, government decision-makers, consumers and the entire supply chain must all work together, notes Bas-Defossez. “All categories of initiatives are very important and they are all interconnected,” she says. “There are more formal policies, and also the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy shapes the practises on the ground and provides the criteria for subsidies that can support more sustainability.”

Factors that matter to consumers

But whilst consumers worldwide now have high expectations for reduced environmental impact for all their goods and services, Bas-Defossez notes that in the dairy sector’s relationship with consumers, meaningful product labelling and explanations of sustainability progress are very important.

“Some sustainability marketing campaigns do not always make things clear and sometimes also only focus on one or two aspects of sustainability,” she explains, adding that we need to understand and keep in mind the other factors that matter to consumers when making their purchasing decisions.

Pricing of dairy products

When asked about one of those important factors – price – Bas-Defossez expresses the view that the price of dairy products in Europe should not rise as sustainability progress is made. Rather, she says, there should be mechanisms in place that support these advances to gradually become the norm without the need to increase product costs.

I might suggest that biodigesters would be something that dairy farmers could focus on first to make significant gains.

Areas of environmental sustainability

In terms of particular areas of environmental sustainability that the European dairy industry should focus on (or the areas that should be stressed to consumers where the most significant advances are being made), Bas-Defossez says this is difficult to answer. Renewable energy use, manure management practices, reduction of water and electricity use – they are all interconnected and important.

“We don’t want to place greenhouse gas emissions as more important than water quality or air quality,” observes Bas-Defossez. “Everything must be done and the challenges are large, but perhaps, given the climate emergency and EU carbon neutrality objectives, I might suggest that biodigesters would be something that dairy farmers could focus on first to make significant gains.”

Shared responsibility

Overall, Bas-Defossez believes members of the EU dairy industry should be optimistic that they will reach their ambitious sustainability goals. “Many tools need to be activated and the responsibility must not be just on the shoulders of farmers,” she says, “but continued progress will be made with everyone involved including consumers and the right policies and financial supports.”

Feeding strategies

A recent 6-year US research project called the Dairy Coordinated Agricultural Project assessed practises that can help farmers reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The study found, to no one’s surprise, that genetics, improved feeding strategies and better manure management are all important.

In terms of specific feeding strategies that reduce cow (enteric) emissions of methane, project director, Dr Mark Ruark of the University of Wisconsin-Madison notes that “all the little things [farmers] can do to improve feed efficiency add up.”

The feeding conundrum

His colleague, Dr Michel Wattiaux, explains further, noting that feeding strategies to reduce enteric emissions are somewhat of a conundrum. “Feeding low fibre/high concentrate diets reduces enteric emission compared to high fibre/low concentrate diets,” he explains, “but in the former, we make cows consume a diet in ‘competition’ with humans, rather than ‘complementary’ to human feed resources. But in the latter, milk production may be reduced leading to an increase in emission per kg of milk.”

Dairy cattle concentrates are rich in protein and energy and can contain a wide range of high-value crop ingredients, from barley, canola meal, corn and oats to wheat, molasses and beet pulp.

At the same time, however, Wattiaux reminds us that there are now a number of commercial products such as seaweed or 3-NOP that have been shown to reduce emissions without affecting milk production.

Manure management

With regard to feeding strategies that reduce nitrogen emissions from manure (to air as ammonia and/or water as nitrate), Wattiaux says a reduction of dietary protein concentration would make a difference, but farmers and dairy nutritionists “don’t want to take a chance and thus still use a ‘safety margin’ which ends up in manure for the most part”.

In terms of the best manure management to reduce emissions, Ruark echoes Bas-Defossez’ idea that digesters should be a dairy industry focus. “It really is about enteric methane and reducing greenhouse gases from the manure before land application,” he says. “So, all investments should focus on those aspects of production.”

Sustainability in developing countries

Dr Marion de Vries at Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands, with colleagues there and in Indonesia, has recently published a paper noting that whilst increasing milk yield would help fight climate change mitigation strategy for small-scale dairy farms in developing countries, this is difficult to achieve.

Productivity gains are a matter of genetics and several other factors, and even if cows with better genetics were to be distributed from more developed to less-developed countries, De Vries notes that genetic potential can only be reached if supported by proper animal management and husbandry, which is often not the case in developing countries.

“Also, note that ‘absolute’ emissions per animal will be higher in case of higher productivity,” she explains. “This is due to a higher feed intake and manure excretion. So, although increasing milk yield per cow is promising to reduce GHG emissions per kg milk (i.e. relative emissions, also called ‘emission intensity’), this strategy will increase absolute emissions if the size of the national herd population is kept the same.”

De Vries also points out that more sustainable manure management techniques in developing countries depend greatly on local conditions and farm types. “For smallholder farmers, only low-cost solutions will be feasible, for example, daily spread,” she says. [It’s]…a very low cost, low-emission and simple option, but often not applicable due to lack of land close to barns.”


Predicting future key to irrigation efficiency for Australian dairy farmer

As a volunteer rural firefighter, Peter Williams is used to checking weather forecasts often. As part of that role, it’s important to predict upcoming fire danger from wind, but it’s the predicted rainfall that he’s more concerned with on the Williams’ family dairy farm.

Located in Vacy in the lower Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia, Peter has been active on the farm since leaving high school and milks between 300-350 jersey cows all year round.

Because of its location and soil, irrigation is essential to the productivity of the dairy farm.

“We irrigate between 150 to 200 hectares of our farm, and we wouldn’t survive without it. Most of the area we irrigate is undulating hills, and as we’re always saying, we’re about two weeks away from drought every time it stops raining,” Peter said. “If we couldn’t irrigate, we’d be out of feed very quickly.”

Forecasting ahead

Knowing when to irrigate is essential to getting the most out of your water, and Peter achieves this by utilising the weather forecasts provided by SWAN systems, delivered daily straight to his e-mail.

He found out about the free service through his involvement as a reference group member of the Smarter Irrigation for Profit (SIP2) Dairy Optimisation Site at Tocal, NSW.

“We start irrigating early, and don’t let the soil moisture get too low. Our light, shallow soils only hold a small amount of water, and you can’t hang off irrigating and hope for rain,” Peter said. “We signed up for the SWAN e-mail forecasts about twelve months ago. We’ve found it really useful.”

“Because of the way they structure the forecasts – they use a percentage to show the chance of moisture as well as the amount – it gives you a really accurate outlook for the week on what rainfall you’re expected to get.”

“Another great thing about the forecasts is SWAN is quick to adapt. If the forecast changes, they’ll let you know, and not keep you in the dark. It allows you to adapt on a day-to-day basis,” Peter said.

Having trust in the forecasts is what gives Peter confidence in his irrigation scheduling. The soils across his farm are mostly a light loam soil, with a sandstone base.
“Because of the texture of the soil, the structure we’ve got, and the climate we can lose our soil moisture in the middle of summer in three or four days.” Peter said. “The grass reacts very quickly to a moisture deficiency and that’s where the SWAN forecasts come in. The SWAN forecast provides us with a pretty accurate evapotranspiration (ETo) prediction for the coming seven days, along with rainfall. A quick calculation can determine what the moisture short-fall will be, and we schedule to at least fill that gap between ETo and rainfall with supplement irrigation.”

Understanding Evapotranspiration and how it effects irrigation scheduling

While the SWAN forecasts feature predictions on chance of rain, range and estimated rainfall, it is the predicted ETo for the days ahead that has provided the most benefit
Understanding water inputs and losses from the soil is integral to knowing how much irrigation is needed to keep soils within the Readily Available Water (RAW) zone under irrigation. The RAW is the amount of water held in the soil profile that the plants can easily access and is determined by the depth of the pasture roots and the soil texture. It can be likened to the soil “bucket”. ETo is a determination of how much moisture will be lost from the soil in millimetres per day, through plant use and evaporation- what can be lost from the soil “bucket” daily.

“Now that we’ve installed centre pivots on our farm, we’re able to be really accurate with our irrigation coverage. By using the ETo forecasts, we’re able to better predict how much irrigation water is required to keep soil moisture within RAW and therefore keep our pastures growing at an optimal rate,” Peter said.
“Combined with the other parts of the forecast, it gives us confidence that our water budget is correct. The chance of rain, and how much, together with the ETo forecast tells us if we need to irrigate in the next seven days, how much water to irrigate with, and how long it’ll last,” he said.

Forecasting to save water, and money

“We’re on contract with our power company, and the network charges for essential energy are at a fixed, non-negotiable price. We pay quite a large fee every month we irrigate once we commence the season, whether we irrigate one day in the month or 15 days in the month, and that all adds up. This means we have been really cautious in the past to start-up irrigation too early in the season as once we start, our power costs go up across the farm.”

“With the SWAN forecasts it takes the tough decision of when to start up irrigation out of our hands. If we need to commence to ensure we keep growth rates up and production going, then the additional power costs are out-weighed by the results in the VAT and opportunities to conserve dry matter” Peter said.

While knowing when irrigation is necessary for the drier months, it sometimes proves to be the opposite in the autumn for dairy irrigators of the Hunter and NSW north coast. Using weather predictions to refrain from irrigating to avoid saturation is also important. East Coast Lows are part and parcel of autumn in this dairy region of Australia. Allowing room in the soil “bucket” to capture moisture from predicted rainfall events is an integral management strategy and can also help to keep power costs down.

“There’s nothing worse than starting to irrigate, and then it starts to rain right after.”

“Being able to accurately predict when it’ll be dry gives us confidence to know that the water, and the energy costs associated, won’t be wasted. It mitigates the risk involved, especially on our bottom line,” he said.

Getting the most out of your irrigation

SWAN systems provide e-mail forecasts direct to your inbox daily, but also have more in depth software available for water and nutrient management. Find out more at

The SWAN systems are part of a range of tools and resources being tested at Smarter Irrigation for Profit 2 (SIP2) sites across Australia, to optimise irrigation efficiency on dairy farms.

SIP2 is supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture Water and the Environment as part of its Rural R&D for Profit program, and Dairy Australia.

To find out more about the project, and find the tools and resources that will help you get more crop for your drop, visit Smarter Irrigation for Profit 2.

Source: Dairy Australia

Maine lawmakers seek USDA help for dairy farmers shut out of Danone contracts

Thirteen congressional members from New England are urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to intervene on behalf of farmers left in the lurch by Danone SA, the French food giant that owns the Horizon Organic brand.

Last month, Danone notified 89 farms in four states, including 14 farms in Maine, that their contracts will end in August 2022. The news dealt a blow to producers who have grappled with rising production costs and falling consumer prices for years.

In a Sept. 22 letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, members of Congress from the affected states demand “urgent action” to support organic dairy producers in Maine, New York, Vermont and New Hampshire by Danone’s action, “leaving these farmers without buyers and effectively pulling out of New England altogether.”

“Danone appears to be consolidating their supply to prioritize more concentrated producers for transportation economies and abandoning smaller and more dispersed family farms,” says the letter, whose signatories include all four members of Maine’s Congressional delegation. 

“We believe this matter further underscores the long overdue need to close existing loopholes in the rules governing how livestock are transitioned to organic and strengthen enforcement of the pasture rule, particularly for large-scale complex dairies. We ask that the U.S. Department of Agriculture use whatever funding sources and programs necessary to support organic farmers in our region during this period of market upheaval.”

The letter goes on to say that while the organic dairy industry is an important economic engine in the northeastern United States with many of the farms anchoring local rural economies, farmers have been put at a significant economic disadvantage for years “that is now threatening their livelihood and shaking consumer confidence in the organic label.”

The lawmakers also criticize the USDA for the ongoing delay in finalizing a rule designed to close a loophole that has allowed large producers in some states to expand herd sizes quickly through continual transition of conventional animals in and out of organic management.

To help the farmers whose contracts have been canceled by Danone, the lawmakers ask the agency to use any tools at its disposal to work quickly to support the farmers and work to expand market channels for their products.

Suggestions mentioned in the letter include targeted and increased support through USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers program, targeted investments in processing capacity and transportation efficiencies for businesses that can contract with the farmers and temporary price supports to allow the farmers to transition to new markets.

Out of Maine’s 196 total dairy farms, 40% produce organic milk, according to Maine Dairy Industry Association data from earlier this year. 

The figures also show that the state’s 78 organic dairy farms make up less than 8% of all the milk produced here.

Maine’s dairy industry generates more than $570 million a year to the state’s economy and contributes more than $25 million annually in state and municipal taxes. 


CDCB Industry Meeting: Improving Cow Mobility Through Genetics

Dairy professionals and producers are invited to participate in the Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding (CDCB) Industry Meeting on October 20, focused on improving cow mobility through genetics. Meeting participants will be among the first to learn of the foundational work underway to measure, research and improve hoof health and lameness.

The 2021 industry meeting – the seventh for CDCB – will be held virtually on Wednesday, October 20, from 2:00-4:00 p.m. EST. Attendees may register here to participate via Zoom.

CDCB, the University of Minnesota (UMN), and several collaborators are working to create a pipeline for hoof health data collection and better understand genetic improvement for cow mobility.

“Lameness in dairy cows is an important topic for animal health, welfare and herd profitability, with estimates that about one-half of dairy cows will be affected during their productive life,” stated Javier Burchard, Chief Innovation Officer at CDCB.

Without an existing data pipeline for hoof health, the essential first step is to mobilize the means to measure and record phenotypic data,” Burchard continued. “This coordination among researchers, hoof trimmers, veterinarians and dairy producers has exciting potential for future genetic evaluations and management tools to improve cow mobility.”

The new project, “Reducing lesion-related lameness using a combination of epidemiological, genomic and extension approaches,” is a key part of the plan to develop a hoof health and lameness data pipeline. The work is facilitated by CDCB in conjunction with lead researcher Gerard Cramer, DVM, associate professor at University of Minnesota.

Interactive session with researchers, project partners

The October 20 meeting will be opened by CDCB Chair, Jay Weiker of National Association of Animal Breeders, followed by an interactive session with researchers and project partners.

  •  Welcome, Jay Weiker, CDCB Chair
  •  Reducing lesion-related lameness using epidemiological, genomic and extension approaches, Gerard Kramer, University of Minnesota
  •  Hoof health and lameness: Overview of data collection and genetics, Kristen Parker Gaddis, CDCB Geneticist
  •  Scoring lameness through digital locomotion images, Terry Canning, CattleEye
  •  Roundtable and Q&A: Selection for hoof health and improved mobility, moderated by Javier Burchard, CDCB

o Terry Canning, Cattle Eye

o Gerard Cramer, University of Minnesota

o Kristin Parker Gaddis, CDCB

o Josh Vander Well, Black Soil Farms

  •  Dairy Genetic Research Update, Dr. Asha Miles, USDA AGIL
  •  2021 Year in Review, João Dürr, CDCB CEO
    All dairy professionals, producers, and genetic enthusiasts are invited to register here for the October 20 meeting.For more on the lesion-related lameness study by CDCB-UMN, click here. Questions about CDCB or the industry meeting can be directed to CDCB Chief Executive Officer, João Dürr.

    *USDA AGIL = United States Department of Agriculture, Animal Genomics and Improvement Laboratory

Scientist looking to improve milk enzymes

Mother’s milk is best for baby – irrefutable fact. But not all mothers are able to feed their babies as they wish to, for whatever reason, and need the support of nutrition scientists to get the best possible alternatives.

New Zealanders are well aware of our huge export income from cows’ milk powders, especially infant formula, which so many Asian mothers rely on. They may not know that there is an increasing supply of goat and sheep milk, some of which is made into infant formula and exported to many countries.

Drinking raw milk comes with a risk of contamination by harmful microorganisms such as the bacteria E coli. Milk from any animal source has to be heat-treated, most commonly by pasteurisation (75 degrees Celsius for 15 seconds) to kill any bugs, or the ultra-high temperature process (143C for 15 seconds). But what effect does that heat have on the good stuff in milk?

Dr Juliana Leite,​ a postdoctoral fellow at the Riddet Institute​ (Massey University), is working on a joint AgResearch-Riddet Institute project studying the effect of heat and drying processes (drying to make the milk powder) on enzymes present in milk from different species (cow, goat and sheep).

Enzymes are proteins that have a physical effect on other proteins, enabling or speeding up chemical reactions. There is a group of enzymes in milk called proteases​ (pronounced pro-tea-ayzes), which break up the big protein molecules in milk into smaller bits (peptides and amino acids) that can be absorbed by the gut. This is particularly important for infants whose digestion is immature. Some elderly people may also need help to digest proteins.


Although a lot of research has been done on cows’ milk, little is known about milk from sheep and goats. Leite has assessed the types and amounts of proteases in their milks, and found goat and sheep milk have higher amounts of a protease called plasmin,​ compared to cows’ milk. However, our dominant supplier by no means suffers in comparison. The margins are small and all of their milks are complete protein foods for most people.

Leite has found that rather than destroying or reducing the effect of proteases in milk, mild heat treatment, as applied in pasteurisation, actually increases the activity of some of these proteases. She has also discovered that the different heat treatment processes have different effects on each of the milk types. She is interested in ways of modifying milk treatment methods to protect and enhance their protease content.

Proteases are not just important as an aid to digestion. The peptides that result from their action can have particular effects, such as improving our immune function. Leite is studying what proteases produce what peptides, and what effects these peptides have in the body.

She imagines that, in future, the industry will be able to develop products with specific benefits for target populations – whether that be more digestible milks for the elderly or ones that result in peptides that help get you to sleep or boost your immune system.

Source: Stuff

New embryo identification IVF method set to boost cow milk and meat production

This breakthrough is set to greatly reduce pregnancy issues in cows, increase overall meat and milk production, and become a platform for further research in IVF in humans.

After humans, cattle are the species in which there is the most interest for IVF and it is usually referred to as in-vitro production (IVP). Approximately one million IVP embryos are transferred worldwide yearly to improve the genetics of the global breeding herd for food production.

Advanced programmes select embryos with traits such as disease resistance, food conversion (reducing waste) and improved meat and milk production. This involves a process similar to one used in human IVF, wherein cells are taken from the early developing placenta and diagnosed for certain genetic traits and diseases. However, a high proportion of these cattle embryos fail to grow into calves.

This research has developed a new means of identifying a subset of embryos that rarely lead to a live birth (less than 5% chance) due to carrying chromosome disorders. Researchers found this process improved overall pregnancy rates in cows by 7.8%, after careful analysis of 1,713 embryos.

Chromosome disorders are well known in humans as a cause of IVF failure, pregnancy loss and diseases like Down syndrome, however this is the first time their detection has been shown to improve cattle IVP significantly.

The process, known as preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidy (PGT-A), is one of the most discussed areas of reproductive medicine in humans. PGT-A has both vocal opponents and proponents and these results will therefore inform future treatment in fertility clinics.

Professor Darren Griffin, Professor of Genetics at the University of Kent and Senior Author of the paper said: ‘This new PGT-A method of embryo identification will be an enormous boost for the cattle production industry and will also be the platform for further research into this vital science, for which we anticipate seeing the benefits especially in fertility clinics.’

Materials provided by University of Kent.

Here’s what experts have to say about Cadbury Dairy Milk’s latest ad that has taken the internet by storm

  • Cadbury dropped a new ad last Friday and the internet went gaga over it. The ad went viral immediately and people still haven’t stopped talking about it.
  • Mondelez India and Ogilvy India gave reimagined one of their popular ads from the ’90s, Cadbury Cricket 1993, and reversed the gender roles to celebrate women athletes.
  • And the internet is loving the much-needed plot twist. The giant has reversed the advertisement and this time, a man performs a candid, adorable celebratory dance to cheer his friend/partner.
  • We speak to experts to find out why a recreated ad has worked so well and how does it reflect on changing gender narratives in the advertising and marketing industry.

I remember watching Cadbury’s iconic Stadium ad in the 90s. It was so liberating to see a woman dance in front of a packed stadium, unabashedly. It is 2021 and we women are still told how to speak, sit and talk and in the 90s, when women barely had any good, non-domestic leading roles in ads, Ogilvy and Mondelez’s ad was revolutionary. She forgets all these filters that are ingrained in our minds and just takes to the stadium to celebrate her friend’s victory, completely carefree. She was breaking the barriers metaphorically to simply express her joy and be herself. It was way ahead of its time.

When I first got to know that the old Cadbury Cricket ad has been recreated, I was a little scared, to be honest. It is too iconic to be messed with (watch any Bollywood songs from the 90s which have been recreated recently, the result is disastrous). But again, it is Ogilvy and Cadbury. If someone can recreate an old ad without losing its magic, it is them. I opened the link to the ad and my worries melted away in a second, as a Dairy Milk Silk bar does on a hot day. I felt like a 10-year-old again and at the same time, I was extremely delighted to see a woman cricketer.

This is the contemporary take that was long overdue. The film, conceptualized by Ogilvy India, for Mondelez India, shows a young woman cricketer scoring a winning boundary and her male friend running towards the field dancing with unabashed glee, celebrating her smashing performance, as the crowd cheers on. As he passes by the security team and the woman blushes, I had a huge smile on my face and goosebumps. This ad is definitely staying with me for a long, long time. The film ends with the powerful message of #GoodLuckGirls in recognition of today’s equal world where more women are breaking barriers and pursuing their dreams.

And it is not just me. It has become a huge hit online and both millennials and GenZ haven’t stopped talking about it yet. Ogilvy India has beautifully retained the commercial’s soul by using the same background score by Shankar Mahadevan ‘ Asli Swad Zindagi ka’ and keeping the dance unchoreographed. Internet users are, ergo, gushing about its nostalgia value and talking about how they have connected strongly with the ad like they did 28 years ago. Here are a few examples of how they reacted:




Team Ogilvy was scared and excited to recreate this ad but they trusted the idea and stood up to the challenge.

“It needed a brave client back in 1993 to go ahead with the original Cadbury Cricket film that became so popular. It needed an even braver client to attempt something with an iconic film and make magic out of it. I am delighted that the team at Mondelez India and at Ogilvy India has done this magic, made it relevant, exciting, and so Cadbury, in its bold and front foot fashion,” said Piyush Pandey, Chairman of Global Creative & Executive Chairman, India.

Sukesh Nayak, Harshad Rajadhyaksha and Kainaz Karmakar, Chief Creative Officers, Ogilvy India said, “To recreate such a big hit is like setting yourself up for a million opinions. The only reason we went ahead was it felt right, and it felt awesome. We loved the idea from our gut. Luckily, so did the client.”

Source: Business Insider

Federal court rejects Idaho pollution permit for dairies

A federal circuit court has rejected a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency statewide Idaho permit involving pollution into waterways from large dairy farms.

But the ruling appears to have limited immediate ramifications for the state’s $3 billion dairy industry because no Idaho dairies are required to get such a permit.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday said the permit issued in May 2020 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lacked sufficient monitoring provisions for underground discharges that can reach waterways.

The three-judge panel also said the permit has no requirement to monitor runoff from irrigated fields during dry weather to make sure allowed discharges aren’t exceeded.

“The Idaho Permit forbids underground discharges from production areas and dry weather discharges from land application areas,” the court wrote. “However, the Permit contains no monitoring requirements for either kind of discharge.”

Snake River Waterkeeper and Food & Water Watch challenged the Idaho permit under the Clean Water Act.

They said the ruling could have future implications for regulating industries that concentrate farm animals in small areas. Such operations are called Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs. Nationwide, CAFOs generate about 500 million tons of animal manure annually, federal authorities say.

The court’s “decision strikes a major blow against EPA’s practice of granting illegal exceptions and special treatment to the factory farm industry,” said Tarah Heinzen, legal director at Food & Water Watch. “We are confident that this is the first domino to fall on the path to comprehensive pollution monitoring and accountability of America’s corporate factory farm industry.”

Suzanne Skadowski, a spokeswoman for the EPA, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.

Heinzen said the ruling affirms key provisions of the Clean Water Act that could be used in individual cases involving CAFOs.

She also said her group has petitioned the EPA to require CAFOs to get permits. In Idaho, she said, most dairies aren’t required to get permits as they say they are not discharging waste.

“That flies in the face of reason and just simply doesn’t add up from a numbers perspective,” said Buck Ryan of Snake River Waterkeeper, noting his group takes water samples and finds pollution most evident near CAFOs. “I hope this is the first in a series of steps in getting accountability over the factory farm industry in the Snake River Basin.”

Idaho ranks third in the nation in dairy production, behind only California and Wisconsin. In 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Idaho produced more than 16 billion pounds of milk with a value of just under $3 billion, making it the state’s top agricultural product. As of Jan. 1, the agency said, Idaho had about 650,000 milking cows.

Chanel Tewalt, spokeswoman for the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, in a text message said the agency is reviewing the court’s decision and had no comment.

A large number of dairies are in the Snake River watershed, along with cattle feedlots, the court noted.

Specifically, the court’s decision involves a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit the EPA issued. The permit came out just before Idaho officials were about to take over the program, putting the transition on hold.

Jess Byrne, director of the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, said his agency will now work with federal officials to complete the transition.

“We will be working with the EPA to determine the next steps from here and the future of what permitting for CAFOs in Idaho looks like,” he said.

Source: News Observer

What does Horizon’s exit mean for Vermont’s organic dairy producers?

Kathleen Hescock in a barn at Elysian Fields, the organic dairy farm owned by Hescock and her husband Joe, in Shoreham on Wednesday, Sept. 15. Theirs is one of the Vermont farms whose contracts with Horizon Organic will be terminated next year. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

In 2017, Horizon Organic recognized Joe and Kathleen Hescock with an honorable mention for a national award praising their commitment to farming and their involvement in their community. 

Last month, the Shoreham-based family, along with 88 other farmers in the Northeast, received a letter with news that Horizon’s parent company, Danone, plans to terminate their contracts on Aug. 31, 2022. 

The Hescocks, who milk 325 cows at their farm, Elysian Fields, have been producing for Horizon since 1999. It’s been about a month since they received the letter, and the Hescocks don’t know what their future holds, or whether they’ll be able to continue farming at all.

“We’re at the point where if we don’t ship milk, it’s pretty hard to stay in business,” Joe Hescock said.

Joe and Kathleen Hescock run Elysian Fields, an organic dairy farm in Shoreham. “We’re at the point where if we don’t ship milk, it’s pretty hard to stay in business,” Joe Hescock said. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

Because farmers in the organic program are paid a higher premium for their product, organic certifications have served as a way to maintain the economic viability of many of Vermont’s small- and medium-sized farms. 

Many close to the issue say gaps in federal regulations have allowed large farms around the country to maintain organic certifications, flooding the market and making it more difficult for Vermont’s organic dairy farmers to compete on a national scale. 

Those who have current contracts with existing producers, like Organic Valley and Stonyfield Organic, remain on solid footing. But farmers without contracts are faced with tricky decisions, like finding innovative new markets, becoming larger, or abandoning the organic milk business altogether. Some say it’s also becoming harder for newcomers to access the industry. 

Growing larger is a difficult task because of Vermont’s mountainous, forested landscape and strict organic certification rules. Some farmers say it’s also contrary to their mission. 

“We’re really committed to producing food organically,” Hescock said. “It will be hard not to do it that way.”

Danone North America, part of the global, Paris-based food company, said in a statement to VTDigger that it plans to support “new partners that better align with our manufacturing footprint.”

“We are committed to continuing to support organic dairy in the east, and in the last 12 months alone, we have onboarded more than 50 producers new to Horizon Organic that better fit our manufacturing footprint,” the company’s statement reads. “This decision will help us continue providing our consumers with the products they love.”

Danone points to “growing transportation and operational challenges in the dairy industry, particularly in the Northeast.”

A cow stands in a barn at Elysian Fields. Organic dairy farms decreased by 8% in Vermont between 2010 and 2020, according to state data. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

“It is devastating to see 28 Vermont farm families and 89 across this region dropped by Horizon, simply because they don’t meet the company’s plan to consolidate supply from larger farms in other regions,” U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt, said in a statement to VTDigger. 

Leahy helped author the national organic rules when he chaired the Senate Agriculture Committee. 

The region’s conventional dairies have struggled for years “in a market that supports fewer, larger farms each year, and now that pattern is hitting organic farms as well,” he said. 

According to 2021 data from the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation, the number of dairy farms in Vermont has decreased by 37% in the past 10 years and by 69% in the past 24 years. Organic dairy farms decreased by 8% between 2010 and 2020. 

At the end of 2020, Vermont had a total of 181 organic dairy farms, according to the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont, or NOFA-VT.

Nicole Dehne, NOFA-VT’s organic certification director, said the issue with organic farmers feels different because it’s revitalizing the state’s broader dairy industry. 

“We’re already trying to think outside of the box about how to keep our dairy farms and how to have them be successful,” she said.

State officials, farmers, processors and others involved with the industry, like members of NOFA-VT, have been convening for weeks to try to find solutions for the farmers affected by Danone’s decision to pull out of the region.

Anson Tebbetts, secretary of Vermont’s Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, has assembled a task force on the matter. Members of Vermont’s delegation and representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture are working on the issue, and Dehne said she’s met with regional members of the national Organic Farmers Association.

“I think that the state needs to start considering what we lose when we lose small farms,” said Abbie Corse, an organic dairy farmer who sells to Organic Valley and serves on the board of NOFA-VT of Vermont and on the Vermont Climate Council.

Loophole and enforcement

Two factors have made it increasingly easy for bigger farms across the country to become certified as organic. Both relate to gaps in the National Organic Program

One such gap, meant to allow conventional farmers to make a one-time transition to organic farming, is a loophole that permits animals not raised organically to be transitioned to organic later on in their lives.

Some farmers have used the rule to continually raise young livestock non-organically, which is cheaper. That puts farmers who closely adhere to the spirit of the certification at a disadvantage.

“I believe that loopholes in our organic standards are being exploited by very large dairies and I have appealed directly to USDA Secretary [Tom] Vilsack to close these loopholes, which are now directly impacting our rural communities,” Leahy’s statement said. “My staff and I are working closely with state agencies and other stakeholders to look at every possible tool.”

Many advocates of organic farming, including Leahy, have pushed to pass what’s called an “Origin of Livestock” rule. The rule would allow farmers to transition animals from conventional to organic only once. 

Tom Berry, agriculture policy adviser for Leahy, testified before Vermont’s Task Force to Revitalize the Dairy Industry on Monday when members were discussing options for the farmers affected by Horizon’s departure. 

Leahy has drafted a letter to the USDA encouraging passage of the Origin of Livestock rule, Berry said, and it’s currently being circulated among the Vermont delegation and delegations from other Northeastern states for additional signatures. The letter should become public later this month. 

In a 2019 letter urging the USDA to adopt the rule, NOFA-VT surveyed three organic dairies to estimate the cost difference between raising animals organically and conventionally. 

“The first farm milks 200 Holsteins and uses nurse cows,” the letter reads. “They estimate it costs them $2,800 to raise a heifer organically to calving. They estimated that it would cost about $1,500 to raise the same heifer conventionally; a difference of $1,300 per animal.”

The other two farms, both with Jersey cows, estimated the difference would amount to $800 per animal.

“This loophole puts producers truly meeting the intent of the regulations at a substantial economic disadvantage and damages the integrity of the organic label,” NOFA’s letter reads. 

The second gap relates to national enforcement of the pasture rule, which requires organic livestock to spend a certain amount of time grazing in pastures. 

“It’s clear that that’s been loosely enforced at best,” Berry told members of the task force. “On a number of large farms, the physical requirements of exposing hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands, of cows to pasture on the required basis kind of baffles any practical person as to what that looks like.”

Berry told the group that Leahy’s letter will also ask the USDA for increased enforcement of the violations, which are more likely to be taking place on farms not located in the Northeast.

Vermont officials don’t know whether other producers for Horizon are taking advantage of the loophole in the origin of livestock rule, or whether they’re violating the pasture rule. But the company’s departure from the Northeast has been widely seen as a symbol of a growing reality that organic farmers must grow or consolidate to compete in a national market. 

Cracking open Vermont’s organic dairy market

Some of the remaining processors that purchase milk from Vermont producers are working against that tide. Organic Valley, for example, is a farmer-owned cooperative, and representatives say the company is staying put in Vermont. 

“Organic farming is facing the same crisis we’ve seen in conventional agriculture – consolidation, industrialization, ‘get big or get out,’” Bob Kirchoff, CEO of Organic Valley, said in a statement. “It will take a lot of people working together to solve it, but we all must be bold enough to believe we can.”

What, exactly, Organic Valley can do to help the farmers affected by Horizon’s decision is still unclear, though it’s involved in ongoing discussions with various groups. 

“Organic Valley started as a cooperative in 1988 because of a farming crisis,” Kirchoff said in an interview with VTDigger. Back then, he said, conventional agriculture was faced with the same types of “get big or get out” choices. 

“Things have come full circle a bit,” he said. “This isn’t really super surprising to any of us.” 

While farmers have always faced challenges, they’re now seeing inflation for inputs, weather extremes, shifts in consumer behavior, and complexities with hauling milk. At the moment, many companies are struggling to find haulers, and accessing farms on rural backroads is an extra burden that companies are becoming less likely to take on. 

Kirchoff said farmers with the cooperative are encouraging the company to find a market for the milk. 

“We’re doing those things,” he said. “We can’t make promises, but obviously, we do have empathy.”

Several solutions to the problem have been floated, like a Vermont brand of organic milk, processed in-state, that could be shipped to local markets and the New York and Boston areas. Dehne said no one has come forward yet with the necessary experience and capital. 

Some producers may be able to sell their milk to cheesemakers in the state, she said. 

Dehne likes the idea of convincing existing processors, like Organic Valley and Stonyfield, to pick up these producers, guarantee a buyer that can give the product a Vermont label, then sell it on a regional scale. The state could help such an effort by selling the product in Vermont’s public institutions, like schools, she said. 

“They don’t have to worry about the contracts with the producers, they don’t have to worry about the transportation, they’re just purchasing the product and marketing and distributing it,” she said. 

Conversations are ongoing about plans like this, but “whether that happens, I don’t know,” she said. 

During testimony before the state’s dairy task force, Corse said in general, offering farmers assistance like retirement planning and better options for child care could make the industry more viable for young farmers looking to enter the market. 

“The macroeconomics aren’t working out for small farmers,” Corse told VTDigger. “And so if we believe in small farmers, many of whom tend to either be certified organic or be practicing organically, then we’re going to have to make a decision to invest in that type of farming, and in organic farming.”

Cows head back to the barn at Elysian Fields. The Hescocks milk about 325 cows. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger


Are there differences in beef and dairy bull fertility?

U.S. dairy producers have had access to sire conception rate data as part of sire proofs since 2008. SCR is based on actual conception rates observed on cows in the first through fifth lactation, and first through seventh AI service. For Holsteins, sires need more than 100 services in the past year, and more than 300 services in the past four years, to generate an SCR proof. It has been a useful tool for helping producers rank the relative fertility of sires.

Similar information has not been available in the expected progeny differences published for beef sires. Instead, the beef industry has used an indirect measure of fertility, scrotal circumference, as a predictor of fertility. A larger SC indicates greater fertility.

The increased use of beef sires on dairy cattle has raised questions on the relative fertility of beef vs. dairy sires. Specifically, does using beef sires result in reduced fertility?

Fertility differences

A 2020 study by McWhorter et al. dove into this very topic. The breeding records of over 5,000 beef sires of more than 50 breeds were obtained. Angus was the predominant breed represented, with over 95% of the matings. Ninety-one percent of the Angus-sired breedings were to Holstein cows. There were too few services for other breed combinations to draw meaningful conclusions.

Data was divided out separately for cows vs. heifers. For lactating Holstein cows, data from 1,344 Angus sires were compared to 15,401 Holstein sires. In all, there were 233,379 inseminations for the Angus sires and 14,474,142 inseminations for the Holstein sires. The mean conception rates for Angus sires used on Holstein cows and Holstein sires on Holstein cows were similar at 33.77% and 34.29%, respectively. It’s important to note that the mean service number for Angus on Holsteins was 3.04, which was greater than the 2.13 average service number observed for Holstein on Holstein matings.

For Holstein heifers, data from 443 Angus sires was compared to 12,129 Holstein sires. There were 19,437 Angus inseminations and 2,261,250 Holstein inseminations. The mean conception rates for Angus on Holstein and Holstein on Holstein were 52.96% and 55.34%, respectively. Again, there was a difference in mean service number for Angus on Holstein and Holstein on Holstein matings: 2.83 and 1.92, respectively.

Ideally, an SCR for beef sires would also be calculated using the increasing amount of data from these matings. McWhorter et al. also looked at this and found a similar SCR between Angus and Holstein sires, but a lower reliability for Angus sires due to fewer matings.

Earlier this year, Weigel et al. (UW-Madison, unpublished) did a similar analysis of conventional, sexed semen and beef-on-dairy inseminations in herds predominately located in the Western part of the U.S. and found similar results. Average conception rates for inseminations of lactating dairy cows were 33.8% with conventional Holstein semen, 34% with sexed Holstein semen, 37.5% with conventional Jersey semen, 35.5% with sexed Jersey semen, and 35.4% with conventional beef (primarily Angus) semen. Again, there were differences in how the semen was used, with sexed semen used more frequently on younger cows and for first and second services, and with beef semen used more heavily for repeat services.

Study implications

What does this all mean? Comparisons in fertility should go beyond comparing raw averages. Factors such as lactation number, service number and level of production have an influence, in addition to the sire.

In most cases, when comparing the fertility of beef sires to Holstein sires within a herd, we’re also comparing different populations of females. Scenarios include breeding first service to sexed dairy semen, and later services to beef; breeding the highest genetic-merit cows to sexed dairy semen and lower-merit cows to beef; and breeding first-lactation cows to sexed dairy semen and older cows to beef. In all these examples, we are no longer comparing apples to apples. Simply comparing average conception rates in these scenarios can be deceiving.

For more information, please visit, or view the recording from our Badger Dairy Insight webinar Improving Dairy Farm Efficiency Through Genetics below. All Badger Dairy Insight recordings can be found on the Farm Ready Research website.

Wake Up with Tanbark Talks at Expo

While at World Dairy Expo®, members of the global dairy industry are invited to start their mornings with educational and insightful Tanbark Talks. This new opportunity to learn takes place in The Tanbark at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday morning of Expo.

Topics of this year’s Tanbark Talks range from dairy adaptability to current ag outlooks. Each session is presented by industry experts from all over the United States. With The Tanbark offering optimal seating, Tanbark Talks are the ideal way to begin your mornings at World Dairy Expo.

The following is a current description of the 2021 Tanbark Talks. Download World Dairy Expo’s free mobile event app or visit for an up-to-date schedule and for more information about each session.


Farming Forward Through Enhanced Innovation and Farm Profitability,
Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), which manages the national dairy checkoff, has kept its focus on today and tomorrow in its quest to drive sales and trust in dairy. Bob Johansen, from the Institute for the Future, will kick off the session sharing insights from his work with farmers, industry leaders and eventually dairy checkoff. Afterwards, a panel discussion to take place to dive deeper into the checkoff’s strategy of envisioning a secure future for dairy farmers. Panelists include Tom Gallagher, DMI CEO, Dwyer Williams, DMI Chief Transformation Officer, Lee Kinnard, Kinnard Farms CEO, Peter Vitaliano, National Milk Producers Federation Vice President of Economic Policy and Market Research, and Eve Pollet, DMI Senior Vice President of Strategic Intelligence.  


U.S. Farm Report – LIVE
U.S. Farm Report host Tyne Morgan will host and film a one-hour session featuring a panel of experts, focused on markets, industry news and trends. Content captured during this Tanbark Talk will be broadcast on the U.S. Farm Report, to air the weekend of October 2-3. This Tanbark Talk if your chance to experience a live taping of a national TV program and learn from some of the best in the business. Panelists include Mike North,, and Ben Laine, Rabo AgriFinance.


This Business Called Agriculture – Presented by Damian Mason
Damian Mason will deliver a crisp, current ag outlook and insights presentation in a humorous manner. Through his public speaking, the two podcasts he hosts, and the several books he has authored, Mason strives to spread accurate information and dispel misinformation about the world’s most important industry: Agriculture. 

Serving as the meeting place of the global dairy industry, World Dairy Expo brings together the latest in dairy innovation and the best cattle in North America. The dairy industry will return to Madison, Wis. for the 54th event, September 28 – October 2, 2021, when the world’s largest dairy-focused trade show, dairy and forage seminars, a world-class dairy cattle show and more will be on display. Download the World Dairy Expo mobile event app, visit or follow WDE on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Spotify, Instagram or YouTube for more information.

What’s the average number of days a cow spends in milk?

The number of days a cow spends in milk affects how much milk it produces in a season, and long term shifts across the whole herd will influence national production.

Over the last ten years, the trend has generally been an increasing number of days in milk[1]. There were some bigger swings in the 2010-2015 period and relative calm in the latter part of the decade. As of the 12 months ending June 2021, the average days in milk was 314.3 using Kingshay data, and 315.0 using Promar data. This is up from about 310-311 days in milk ten years before. Changing farm practices could account for this.


Our estimates based on Kingshay data have been trending downwards since June 2020. Efforts to curb milk production are likely to have played a role in this, as drying cows off earlier is one way to achieve lower production. As the data uses a twelve month rolling average, it will impact the figures for a while after the initial period of action is over. However, our estimates based on the Promar data have a much less decisive trend. Although there is also a dip from June 2020, it is less steep and has since recovered. This difference between the two will be down to the specific mix of farms included in each company’s datasets.

How much does this impact milk production?

We discussed this topic at the latest Milk Forecasting Forum. It was mentioned that another thing that might influence the average days in milk is the calving system a farm is using. For a block calving farm, in order to maintain a strict block, cows would need to be dried off on schedule. The average days in milk for a block calving farm would, theoretically be around 305 days. As this is lower than the current overall average, a substantial shift to block calving, would drop the average days in milk, and may impact production. However, it was also noted that for all-year-round herds, improvements in conception rates will mean cows getting back into calf sooner, and therefore being dried off sooner. At the moment, there are far more AYR herds than block herds in GB.

If we add GB milk production to the graph, we can see that there is correlation between production and days in milk – though it is weaker in more recent years. This implies that it is a factor to consider, but not the only one. This will be true at both the national and farm level.

[1]We estimated the average number of days in milk based on Kingshay and Promar data. We took 12-month rolling averages of the proportion of cows in milk, and multiplied it by the number of days in a year (cows in milk ÷ total cows in herd x 365).

Source: AHDB

9th Circuit vacates factory farms permit for Idaho

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(Reuters) – A federal appeals court on Thursday tossed a water permit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted Idaho for factory farms, also known as concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), citing deficiencies in its environmental monitoring requirements.

In a victory for the food and environmental groups who sued under the Clean Water Act, a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the state’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit (NPDES) lacked sufficient safeguards to ensure that pollutants from CAFOs, typically manure from the thousands of animals raised in the facilities or litter, would not end up in nearby waterways.

EPA spokesperson Tim Carroll declined to comment.

Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) spokesperson Mary Anne Nelson said the agency is working with the EPA “to determine the future of permitting for CAFOs in Idaho.” and to seek a new, “compliant” permit.

Tarah Heinzen, the legal director with co-plaintiff Food & Water Watch, said in a statement: “Today’s decision strikes a major blow against EPA’s practice of granting … special treatment to the factory farm industry.”

CAFOs raise livestock and poultry, often in the tens of thousands, in confined spaces instead of pastures.

Idaho is home to about 365 CAFOs, EPA data shows, primarily dairy farms and cattle feed lots in the state’s south, the ruling says.

Food & Water Watch and Snake River Waterkeeper challenged last June the permit issued months before, alleging its issuance was arbitrary and capricious because its lack of monitoring requirements threatens ecosystems and human health by preventing the reporting of illegal discharges.

Manure contains pollutants like nitrogen and phosphorous, which can fuel the growth of algae blooms that suffocate aquatic life, and can also contain E. coli bacteria. It can leak into surface and groundwaters from lagoons where it is stored, or run off from fields where it is applied as fertilizer.

In Thursday’s ruling, U.S. Circuit Judge William Fletcher said that while the permit’s daily inspection requirements make for sufficient monitoring for “above-ground” discharges, it contains no monitoring provisions for “underground” discharges from CAFO sites.

Above-ground discharges can be lagoons overflowing on land, while underground discharges can entail leaching through a lagoon’s bottom.

“The failure of the Permit to require such monitoring is striking,” Fletcher wrote.

The judge also noted an absence of monitoring requirements for runoff resulting from the application of manure and litter to fields during dry weather.

Fletcher was joined by U.S. Circuit Judge Michelle Friedland and Senior U.S. District Judge Frederic Block, who sat by designation.

There are more than 21,000 CAFOs in the United States, according to EPA data. Nationwide, CAFOs generate more than 500 million tons of animal manure annually, the ruling said.

The case is Food & Water Watch, Inc., et al v. USEPA, 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 20-71554.

For Food & Water Watch, Inc., et al: Tyler Lobdell with Food & Water Watch.

For USEPA: Benjamin Grillot with the U.S. Department of Justice.

Source: Reuters

George Malkemus of Arethusa Dairy Has Died

George Malkemus, who co-founded Bantam-based Arethusa Farm Dairy with partner Tony Yurgaitis, died Thursday after a long illness, Arethusa representatives announced Friday. He was 67.

“It is with a heavy heart that we tell you our beloved George Malkemus passed away yesterday evening at his home in New York City after a long battle with cancer,” Arethusa announced in posts on Facebook and Instagram.

“Our George was very private — preferring not to trouble anyone with his health concerns. Though, throughout his illness, George and Tony worked together planning for and insuring the future of Arethusa,” the post stated. “Even in our grief, we will honor George and his legacy by following his wishes – to celebrate his life and continuing to serve our community the very best that Arethusa Farm has to offer.”

Erbacres Snapple SHAKIRA is now EX-97 2E

Erbacres Snapple SHAKIRA is now EX-97 2E. The international superstar just keeps adding to her acolades already being named the 2020 Breeder’s Choice Grand Champion. Her story is not a rag to riches story.  It is a story of some of the most talented breeders from around the world coming together to breed and develop an international superstar. Read more.   Shakira won multiple titles in 2021& 2020 like: Supreme Champion of Le Suprême Laitier Show 2021, Grand Champion Summer Invitational 2020 & Supreme Champion Fall Invitational, Lindsay Ontorio 2020. Furthermore she was the Intermediate Champion at World Dairy Expo in 2018. She is sired by O’Kaliber and a direct daughter of Miss Apple Snapple-Red EX-96-USA, one of APPLE’s latest EX-96 daughters and Grand Champion Midwest National R&W Spring Show 2019.  Congratulations to Shakira her owners Ferme Jacobs from Canada.

Selling the herd: Labor woes force dairy farmer’s hand

Michigan Farm News
Hank Choate just sold off his roughly 500-head Holstein dairy herd, pivoting to 1,800 acres of row crops. He attributes the move to a lack of hired help. | Mitch Galloway, Farm News Media

CEMENT CITY — Empty stalls inside a mostly empty barn.

A few birds chirp in the rafters.

Seventy-one-year-old Hank Choate, feeling somewhat empty himself, walks through the structure.

He just sold off his roughly 500-head Holstein dairy herd, pivoting to 1,800 acres of row crops.

It’s a decision the Cement City farmer had to make, especially after two of his workers walked away in the summer due to other job opportunities.

Labor, he said, had taken a toll on him, his family, and his employees.

Twelve-hour workdays became 16-hour workdays.

Finding additional help seemed impossible.

The Aug. 18 dairy dispersal, or auction, had to happen for Choate’s mental health.

His financial health.

“I knew it was going to be a difficult task of finding somebody. Last time we had to find someone, it took five and a half months,” said Choate, who’s milked cows for 53 years.

“So, with a reduced workforce and with the same amount of work that had to be done, and the age of myself and my brother (66), we came to the point that maybe we need to shift our operation, rather than being dependent upon hired help.”

KK_Choate_image.jpgInstead of 11 employees on the farm, Choate’s Belly Acres LP now employs three: Hank, Hank’s son Levi, and brother Randy. The family no longer depends on hired help, doing what they can by themselves.

According to Choate, he paid about $15 an hour for part-time help, which is more than Michigan’s minimum wage rate of $9.87.

Amid the current dairy economy, he said he couldn’t pay more.

Choate said the finding-labor issue isn’t exclusive to his dairy operation.

According to an American Farm Bureau Federation report, no state registered an increase in licensed dairy operations from 2019 to 2020, including 2,550 fewer licensed dairy operations year-over-year.

Some point to labor as a driving force.

“The labor concern has been on my mind for quite some time,” said Choate, a 2012 board member of the Michigan Milk Producers Association. “The investment we’ve made over the last nine years wasn’t positioning us to make that transition. We were demonstrating a commitment to continue our dairy operation.”

Some of the investments include $1.3 million into improving the dairy facility, like upgrading manure-handling equipment, adding barns, and improving the milking parlor.

However, Choate said the investments couldn’t offset his labor problems.

He’s still losing money.

“I wasn’t going to overwork the employees who I had and demand more of them because they all have families,” Choate said.

“The concern that I had is if we continue to look for help and are unable to find help — to pick up the slack — at what point do you burn out the employees you currently have? And the setting is in a worse position than when you started asking more of them.”

Ernie Birchmeier, livestock and dairy specialist for the Michigan Farm Bureau, said finding labor is a problem in many segments of business and industry.

“Many of our farmers have been challenged with finding a reliable, consistent workforce that will show up and work,” Birchmeier said.

“Expanded unemployment pay this past year has made the situation even worse. Our Farm Bureau members have consistently said that labor is one of their biggest concerns. We have seen an increase in robotic use on dairy farms over the past several years, and I would expect that trend to continue.”


Help wanted

Michigan farmers looking for additional labor can use H-2A to meet some seasonal labor needs.

The guestworker program’s usage nationally is up 225% since 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, with Michigan’s H-2A use up 11% from last year.

“Our farms — and the food and agriculture sector — are just like the many other sectors of our economy struggling to find labor,” said Sarah Black, manager of the Great Lakes Ag Labor Services (GLALS), a third-party entity that helps employers complete the H-2A application process for temporary or seasonal labor.

“And because of that, we are now seeing disruptions in the supply chain again, where food products are not making their way to the grocery store shelves or restaurants,” Black continued. “Let’s be clear: There’s no shortage of food, and our farmers are working very long days to grow and produce it, but there is a real and severe shortage of labor to get it to your plate.”

GLALS helps farmers find workers with the right skill sets, arranging for the workers’ Consulate appointments and transportation to the farm.

According to Black, GLALS this year helped about 60 Michigan farms bring in more than 1,800 workers.

However, the program is not catered to the dairy industry, which needs year-round help.

Choate, now a retired dairy farmer, knows this and wonders if something in D.C. can be done.

“Taking everything into consideration,” he said, “I know it was the right decision.”

Source: Michigan Farm News

Robotic Milking Myths Busted for the Dairy Industry

Nicolas Lyons is a dairy leader at the NSW Department of Primary Industries, with expertise in dairy science, robotic milking, technology, pasture and data management.

He is also leader of the Milking Edge project, which aims to enable better decision-making around the consideration, purchase and implementation of automatic milking systems and builds upon the decade of research and development undertaken by the Future Dairy project.

He went through some of his experiences undertaking this work, including myths, challenges and success stories with robotic dairy technology, at the 2021 DairySA Central Conference in Victor Harbor in a presentation called ‘Robotic milking: expectations vs reality’.

“Today, there is about 31,000 robotic dairy farms across the world, with 48 farms in Australia and at least another four signed up/installing,” he said.

Dr Lyons said the growth of AMS installations in Australia had been slower than expected.

“It prompted us to conduct a survey (of 200 farmers and 1000 service providers) to better understand current and expected adoption of technology,” he said.

“Of the 57 farms that commissioned robots since 2001, now there were only 48 operating.

“We had nine cease – some went back to a conventional dairy and some left the industry entirely – which is a common figure observed across the world.

“The are multiple reasons for this, and every case is different, but it basically comes down to things like expectations weren’t met; some couldn’t make it work; some didn’t have a good relationship with the equipment provider; and some didn’t achieve what they had hoped.”

Dr Lyons said one myth was that robots were not suited to large farms.

“The largest pasture-based robotic farm in the world is located in Tas, where they milk 900 cows with 16 robots in a split calving, pasture-based system,” he said.

“The world’s largest indoor farm is in Chile, where they have 72 robots milking 4400 cows.

“Robotic milking is not only for small farms. Yes, the world average is about two robots per farm, but that’s because 95pc of the installations are in Europe.

“But there are large farms in Asia, Australia, New Zealand, South America, the United States and even Europe.”

Some people also think because robotics are voluntary, cows will be underfed, he said.

“The reality is that you use feed as an incentive to make cows come to the dairy,” he said.

“Total cow and herd requirements do not change, you will need to tweak the way you feed, in order to achieve cow traffic targets.”

Dr Lyons said farmers were also concerned about not seeing every cow every day.

“The reality is you can see every cow every day, but you will see her through the data,” he said.

“You will need to learn about what happens through numbers, tables and graphs.

“There are roughly 120 measurements captured when a cow walks into a robotic dairy – production, weight, times, traffic, age, days in milk – all that ends up in the computer.

“However you don’t spend all day on a computer – the average robotic farmer spends roughly 40 minutes per day on the computer and that is not all in one go.”

Dr Lyons said there would also be a change in health management.

“Because you are not seeing every cow, every single milking, you will have to detect health issues through sensors and the software,” he said.

“And if anything, the data helps you to pick up on the cows that you need to see.

“The cow you need to fetch from the paddock is the one that isn’t walking to the dairy on her own.

“Research has shown that in a well-managed farm, most of the common cow health issues – mastitis, fertility and lameness – are all improved with AMS.

“Lameness often comes from cows standing on concrete for long periods of time – in a robotic dairy, cows don’t wait, because they don’t have the rest of the herd in front of them.

“The cows that are doing what they are meant to be doing just move along, you don’t see them, you just see the data.”

“There is a lot of misconception about how much a robotic milking system costs – people think it’s into the millions, and let me tell you it is not,” Dr Lyons said.

“But it is also hard to do the maths if you are trying to compare it to an old conventional dairy – you can’t, it’s like comparing apples with donkeys.

“We did five years of economic analysis in Australia and compared 14 robotic dairies with 100 conventional dairies that had up to 400 cows.

“It showed the cows produced the same amount of milk, utilised the same amount of pasture and farms had similar labour efficiency.

“Despite the robotic farms having on average higher overhead costs, such as depreciation and repairs and maintenance, total overall profitability was very similar to conventional dairies.

“Opportunities for improving pasture utilisation, labour efficiency and robot utilisation could improve productivity and profitability of these systems, and therefore increase the interest of this technology.”

Dr Lyons said Milking Edge was creating a tool that helped farmers who were considering robotics.

Source: The Land

Dutch Bros Soars in Trading as Dairy Farmer Becomes Billionaire

When third-generation dairy farmers Dane and Travis Boersma were looking for something to do outside the family business, they decided to try coffee. Not only could they make a little money, they’d be able to hang out with friends and listen to music.

They pooled their savings to buy a coffee cart and an espresso machine and began selling in downtown Grants Pass, Oregon, in the early 1990s. Pretty soon they had five carts.

After losing his older brother Dane in 2009 to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease — Travis continued building the business. Dutch Bros Inc. now has 471 shops across the Western U.S. with sales of more than $400 million a year.

The company began trading Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange under ticker BROS. Its share price jumped 48% from the offering price to $34.01 at 12:32 p.m., giving the company a valuation of $5.6 billion. Boersma, 50, is the largest shareholder with a stake worth $2.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Dutch Bros declined to comment on the size of Boersma’s holding.

Annihilator, 9-1-1

With competitors like Starbucks Corp, Dunkin’ and Peet’s Coffee & Tea Inc., the U.S. coffee market would seem to be a tough business to break into. Still, Dutch Bros carved out a niche with a culture it calls “Dutch Luv.” At the company’s stores — all drive-thru — its “broistas” sell more cold drinks than hot, such as the chocolate macadamia-flavored “Annihilator” and the “9-1-1,” which combines six shots of espresso with half-and-half and Irish cream syrup.

The company had net income of $6.3 million on sales of $404.5 million for the 12 months ended June 30, compared with $186 million of revenue in 2018.

Employee satisfaction and advancement are a key company focus, according to the prospectus. The annual turnover rate among Dutch Bros’s hourly employees is 40%, compared with the industry average of more than 100%, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Michael Halen.

“It’s very difficult to hire in the restaurant industry right now,” Halen said, because of the tight labor market. “Retaining your employees helps a lot.”

It also makes for a better customer experience. “You have experienced employees committed to the brand and making a career out of this,” he said.

Boersma stepped down as chief executive officer in February, when veteran beverage-industry executive Joth Ricci took over the role. Boersma continues to be executive chairman.

Private equity group TSG Consumer Partners originally invested in Dutch Bros in 2018, and will continue to own more than 65 million shares after the IPO, making it the second-largest shareholder after Boersma.

Source: Bloomberg L.P.

For nearly 50 years, she’s sculpted women’s faces at the state fair — out of butter. Now she’s retiring her knife.

At the Minnesota State Fair, sculptures are done live of pageant finalists, a tradition that dates back to 1965

Sculptor Linda Christensen with 2021 Princess Kay of the Milky Way pageant winner Anna Euerle and the butter sculpture Christensen made of Euerle. (Midwest Dairy)

September 10, 2021 at 6:00 a.m. EDT

The butter busts began as a way to bring attention to Minnesota’s dairy industry and have remained a draw since, as thousands of visitors show up every August to watch the painstaking artistry while a winner is named Princess Kay of the Milky Way.

“It would be hard to find a person in Minnesota who doesn’t know about Princess Kay of the Milky Way,” said sculptor Linda Christensen, 79, about the contest naming a state dairy ambassador.

For almost 50 years, Christensen has been the principal artist to create the busts. She uses a kitchen knife she calls “Old Faithful” to carve the faces into salted butter. Each one takes about six hours.

Now, after churning out more than 500 princess butter heads over nearly five decades, Christensen has decided to retire her knife. She turned her last 90-pound block into a creamy masterpiece at the fairgrounds last month from her glass-enclosed studio.

“You learn to get used to working in a rotating glass booth with everyone watching you,” she said. “You have to bundle up, because the temperature is set at 39 degrees. There probably aren’t a lot of artists who’d like to work with cold butter, but I really enjoyed it.”

Christensen, who grew up in Minneapolis, said it has been an honor to work as an industry butter artist. She moved to Oceanside, Calif., 18 years ago, but returned to her home state every August to keep up the tradition.

State fairs in Iowa and Illinois are famous for showcasing cows crafted from butter, but Christensen said she doesn’t know other artists who regularly sculpt the likenesses of live dairy models year after year.

She said she admires the women she sculpts, most of whom come from dairy farming families.

“As kids, they knew what it was like to get up at 4:30 to help with the farm chores before catching the bus to school,” she said. “They’re tough.”

“That’s what I’ll miss the most: Getting to know the ‘princesses’ who would show up in my chilly booth, all bundled up, wearing their tiaras. We’d spend about six hours together while I made their butter heads.”

The Princess Kay of the Milky Way contest is not based on looks. It is a goodwill ambassador program focused on leadership skills and “promoting the goodness of dairy products,” according to the Minnesota Dairy Princess Handbook.

The handbook states: “While a dairy princess doesn’t have to be a ‘dairy expert,’ she should have sufficient knowledge of dairy production and the importance of milk and other dairy foods in a healthy diet.”

The princess is selected based on how well judges think she will promote Minnesota’s dairy industry at trade shows and community events. Women who live or work on dairy farms are encouraged to compete in county contests every year, with the finalists advancing to the Minnesota State Fair.

The top dozen ended up in Christensen’s see-through butter booth as she chiseled their likenesses into edible works of art.

Christensen began the niche portraits in 1972 when the American Dairy Association of Minnesota (now known as Midwest Dairy) was looking for a new artist to make giant princess butter heads at the state fairgrounds in Falcon Heights, outside of St. Paul.

Christensen had recently graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and was recommended by one of her instructors to make sculptures of the pageant’s finalists.

Christensen worked as an art teacher at the time, but she thought two weeks of butter sculpting would be a fun way to make extra money, she said. She didn’t imagine she’d remain for nearly 50 years.

She’s turning over her knife to Gerry Kulzer, an art teacher from Litchfield, Minn., who was chosen as her successor.

Kulzer, 52, is hoping for a smooth transition, but he knows it won’t be easy following Christensen’s lead in gargantuan blocks of frozen churned cream.

“It’s an honor to have been chosen,” said Kulzer, who has worked with Christensen as an apprentice in past years.

“Now after doing it, I realize how difficult it is to produce a likeness in a cold, spinning butter booth,” Kulzer added. “I honestly don’t know how Linda has been able to do it for 50 years.”

The Princess Kay of the Milky Way pageant — named in the 1950s by the winner of a public contest — wouldn’t have been the same without Christensen’s sculpting talent, said Molly Pelzer, the CEO of Midwest Dairy.

“Linda’s butter sculptures have helped solidify [the pageant’s] iconic place in Minnesota culture,” she said.

Past winners have included Kristi Pettis Osterlund, who in 1996 was crowned as the 43rd Princess Kay of the Milky Way. She took her butter bust home to Winthrop, Minn., where it was kept frozen in a meat locker until the last month of her reign. She then decided to melt down her likeness and serve it to her community to slather on corn on the cob.

“I thought that a sweet corn feed would be the perfect way to thank everyone for their support,” said Osterlund, now 46 and living in Billings, Mont., where she works for the Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming.

She and her mother fired up the largest slow-cooker they could find, cut the butter head into big chunks and melted it one batch at a time, she said.

“I remember cringing when my mom took a butcher knife to the head,” she said. “That was a little emotional for me. But it was such a fun and memorable party. I’ll bet we easily had six or seven quarts of melted butter.”

Donna Schmidt Moenning, a Princess Kay finalist in 1980, opted for a different approach.

Moenning shared the back half of her butter bust with friends and neighbors in Marietta, Minn., for baking projects. But then she froze the face portion. It’s still sitting in her deep freeze, next to the pork chops, she said.

“It’s held up amazingly well,” said Moenning, now 60. She works in food and agricultural communications and runs the family farm in southeastern Minnesota with her husband, Mark Moenning.

“Tossing [my butter head] out was never an option — it’s just too unique,” she said. “I still pull it out now and then to show the kids and friends. It’s a little piece of Minnesota State Fair history.”

For Christensen, who was once asked to create a butter bust of David Lettermanfor a CBS affiliate, and the likeness of Big Bird for a Minneapolis showing of “Sesame Street Live!,” that is the ultimate compliment.

She also said she admires the practicality and community spirit of melting and using the 90-pound sculptures.

“Some princesses have even used their butter heads to hold pancake breakfasts for their entire town,” she said.

Source: The Washington Post

Three Black farmers and the fight for diminishing land in southern Ontario

Black and Indigenous households are vastly more likely to experience food insecurity in Canada. But when it comes to bringing local food to Black communities in Toronto, farmers say access to land remains one of the biggest hurdles

This photo essay is part of The Narwhal’s BIPOC Photojournalism Fellowship, operated in partnership with Room Up Front and made possible by The Reader’s Digest Foundation and the generosity of The Narwhal’s readers.

Canada brandishes its agricultural sector as an economic “powerhouse” that’s responsible for producing some of the world’s highest quality foods.

In 2019, the federal government unveiled the first-ever Food Policy of Canada, which is meant, in part, to ensure everyone across the country has access to “a sufficient amount of safe, nutritious and culturally diverse food.”

Yet the food that is harvested in Canada often does not end up on the plates of racialized and marginalized communities. Individuals from the Black, Indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC) community represent the most food-insecure people in Canada.

According to research from PROOF Food Insecurity Policy Research, an initiative of the University of Toronto in partnership with other universities, national food insecurity — the inability to access food due to financial constraints — is predominantly experienced by Black and Indigenous communities.

A 2020 PROOF analysis of Stats Canada data from 2017 and 2018 found that 28.2 per cent of Indigenous households and 28.9 per cent of Black households identify as being food-insecure, representing the highest rates in the country.

Black-centred urban farms in Toronto — one of the world’s most diverse cities, and Canada’s largest metropolitan city — recognize this issue and see first-hand how it impacts their own community.

Toronto’s primarily Black neighbourhoods — such as Downsview-Roding CFB, Weston and Glenfield Jane Heights — are some of the poorest in the city. In 2014, the city identified these neighbourhoods — along with 28 others — as Neighbourhood Improvement Areas. Today, these neighbourhoods have been hit the hardest with COVID-19 cases.

But even as an urgent need to improve these areas is top-of-mind for Toronto decision-makers, Black urban farmers say they still face significant uphill battles when it comes to bringing healthy, local produce to Black urban communities.

“Your food is your medicine and your lifestyle is your therapy,” Jacqueline Dwyer, co-founder of the Toronto Black Farmers and Food Growers’ Collective, tells The Narwhal. “I don’t see our food doing that. [Black people] are eating the worst kind of food now.”

Dwyer says there’s been a concerted effort from Black farmers in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) to bring more produce to the communities that need it most.

“We’re not here to sell to sexy white markets. We’re here to serve our community, to feed those who don’t have the money to buy food and access food banks regularly.”

Black urban farmers say they are experiencing difficulty serving Toronto’s Neighbourhood Improvement Areas with high Black populations, mostly due to a lack of access to arable land. Map: Alicia Carvalho / The Narwhal

The city recognizes this issue too, and initiated the Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy 2020 to provide funding to the neighbourhood improvement areas and establish action plans to improve their wellbeing. Providing “free land, soil, mulch, etc. for community gardens and urban farming,” was listed as a prioritized action to promote food security for the improvement ares.

Yet, despite these ongoing initiatives, Black farmers in the city say not enough is being done to connect food-growers with useable land. Accessing and retaining arable land — that is both affordable and offers proper infrastructure — continues to be a struggle for these marginalized farmers.

The following photos document the experience of three Black-led farms, Sundance Harvest, the Toronto Black Farmers and Food Growers’ Collective and Lucky Bug Farm, which are committed to resolving food insecurity within their communities but are struggling to access and retain the necessary land. Two of the farms are based in the GTA and one is based in Wellington County. Each of them, while different, have unique experiences with land accessibility and retention.

Twenty-four-year-old Cheyenne Sundance, founder of Sundance Harvest, at her farm in June.

Sundance Harvest is a for-profit farm, founded and run by 24-year-old Cheyenne Sundance. The farm is located at Downsview Park, an urban federally and provincially run greenspace about a twelve-minute drive from the intersection of Jane and Finch that once served as a Canadian Forces Base.

Sundance became interested in farming after she left the suburb where she grew up and began travelling. At 18-years-old, Sundance says her visit to a farm in Viñales, Cuba, piqued her interest. She admired the way the farm served its community.

After her travels, Sundance made her way back to the GTA, intent on finding a job within the agriculture industry. But she says she couldn’t find a farm that paid their workers fairly. Nor could she find a farm that would advocate for food justice.

“That’s organic farming [in Canada]: white men saying ‘you can live in a tent, work 40 hours a week and we’ll give you lentil soup and rye bread,’” she says.

“I didn’t want that life.” 

And so, Sundance started her own farm with the eponymous name, using her life savings and a $5,000 grant from a non-profit group. 

“I wanted to start a farm because I wanted to see a farm like this,” she says. 

By “this,” Sundance means a farm that is Black-led and focuses on food justice by serving marginalized folks with their produce and mentorship programs, all while paying workers a liveable wage. 

At the entrance to one of Sundance Harvest’s greenhouses, Sundance preps produce to sell at a local market on the afternoon of June 16, 2021. “I don’t get enough credit and I’m OK with that,” Sundance tells The Narwhal. “I’m doing some pretty cool stuff.”
Twenty-one-year-old Sundance employee Kiyana tends to the garlic and onion at Downsview Park. She says she first learned about farming through Sundance Harvest’s mentorship program, Growing In The Margins. “I grew up in the city. I’m not really exposed to this kind of stuff,” she says. “I’m from the Dovercourt-Junction area where we don’t have a farm or garden space. They’re either taken down because of condos or other development.”

As a young, Black woman who came from a lower-income family, Sundance knew creating a farm wouldn’t be easy, especially when it came to finding land. But she was willing to improvise.

In 2019, when she noticed an empty greenhouse at Downsview Park, Sundance approached the people on site but couldn’t find an answer on who to talk to about renting space to start her own farm. With a little internet sleuthing, Sundance found out that Canada Lands Company, a federal Crown corporation that manages land and develops former Government of Canada properties, was leasing the space and immediately emailed them to inquire about rent.

“I don’t like waiting, and I’m not patient. So I just did it,” she says. “Everyone says farming requires patience. It should but — at the same time — if you want to make fast decisions and grow fast, impatience is nice.” 

Sundance’s quick request met with a favourable response. She heard back that, to start, she could rent half a greenhouse from Canada Lands Company. Around a year later, in September 2020, she expanded to one full greenhouse. By December that year, she expanded to two greenhouses and a one-third acre parcel of land. 

Sundance says she was able to make profit within the first year of farming. She sells more than 100 pounds of tomatoes — one of her farm’s specialties — every week.

And her success has gone beyond just what she’s grown in the dirt. Over the last year Sundance has garnered media attention across Canada for her work in food insecurity, food justice and food sovereignty. Her Instagram has also increased by tenfold, with nearly 32,000 followers to date.

Sundance checks the quality of her heirloom tomatoes before packing them up for sale at market.

Media coverage of Sundance Harvest’s success resulted in a new realm of possibilities for Sundance. She says as her farm’s popularity grew, real estate developers began reaching out to offer their undeveloped land for farm space — for free.

“[They’re] reaching out to me to start farms where a condo would be. I would have the land for five years before they would start building. I was offered an acre with no rent because they wanted to use the Sundance branding. If I was someone who had no following, they wouldn’t do that.” 

Sundance tends to peppers at Downsview Park. She says she checks the plants and swaps out peppers that are in bad shape with beans.
What’s a sign of good soil? “Worms,” Sundance says. “They also improve the quality of the soil, which ends up improving the plant.”

Sundance says she still faces barriers when working on site at Downsview Park, in spite of her success and being established for nearly two years. 

“The amount of sexism and racism I experience here from the public is crazy,” she says. 

Sundance and her staff — particularly the staff who are young women of colour — have experienced white men harassing them, following them to the greenhouses, or standing and staring at them for long periods of time.

A bright orange fence, set up on Sundance Harvest’s plot to deter theft and public trespassing. Sundance says she’s considering planting sunflowers to create a barrier in the future.

“They’d keep asking: ‘Why aren’t you talking to me? Why aren’t you showing me this? What are you doing with the garlic?’” she recalls. “I pay a lease here. I’m not paid to teach you. I have to work to make money.”

Sundance eventually introduced walkie talkies for staff and instituted new rules about the company having at least two people on site to ensure employee safety.

“And if that doesn’t work, I always have a harvest knife on me in case,” she says.

Sometimes, Sundance says, the sexism takes a more obvious form.

“My friend Evan was doing the drip tape irrigation the other day. I was very clearly telling him what to do. This man comes up, steps in front of me and starts talking to Evan, offering his company’s packing and delivery services to the farm.”

Theft has also occurred at the site, with nearly 100 garlic pods being stolen in July. Sundance says she is currently trying to build more fences and tape, and move certain plants to the greenhouse as methods to prevent further theft.

Experiences like these are also why Sundance wants to mentor young marginalized folks through her 12-week program, Growing In The Margins. This includes people who identify as low-income, Black, Indigenous, a Person of Colour, LGBTQ2S or a person with a disability. The mentorship stream of this program aims to educate those who want to start their own full-time career in urban farming.

Lucky Bug Farm was established in 2020, thanks to the help from Sundance Harvest’s mentorship program. Founder and owner Aliyah Fraser originally had an urban planning career, working at a law firm and with various levels of government. She says the lack of focus on sustainability and marginalized communities that she witnessed during her career made her want to switch professions. 

“[I realized that] at the end of the day, the people who have the power to make changes in our communities are not interested in making those changes. They’re interested in profits,” she says. “It’s hard for me to feel engaged in it.”

Yet she still wanted to put the knowledge and skills she had gained to good use.

“I remember thinking: what do I love? One of them is food and the other is the environment. Farming kind of sits at that intersection,” Fraser says.

“At the same time, I wanted to do something that involved working outside, doing things that were kind of different every day. And something about working with the land called me.”

Fraser carries a bucket of soil to start planting tomatoes and lettuce at her farm on June 9, 2021.

She says that when she happened upon Sundance’s work around May 2020, “it felt like serendipity.”

“I was trying to find someone who was kind of doing what I was thinking in my head, trying to find a precedent … [of] Black-owned urban farms in Canada,” Fraser says.

Sundance and Fraser had a one-hour consultation that summer. It was during that time when Sundance encouraged Fraser to apply for Growing In The Margins. Fraser says the mentorship program solidified her decision to switch to farming as a full-time career.

“It was like unlocking a different level of my brain,” she says about the program. “The space that Cheyenne created was so informative. It’s a space full of hope and imagining possibilities for how things could be different.”

In the 30°C heat, Fraser uses a “gridder” tool to smooth the soil and even up the space when planting her tomatoes.
Fraser plants each crop by hand at her farm. Pictured here is Fraser planting a tomato, with a lettuce plant in the foreground. “I don’t want to do traditional farming,” says Fraser, who is committed to no-till farming. “I don’t use chemical fertilizers. My fertilizers are naturally derived. But I love it. I love the environmental and ecological benefits of it.”

As a first-time farmer, Fraser says it’s the “lack of access to land that is [her] own” that is impacting her right now. “I think that speaks historically to the ways that Black people have been shutout [from] ownership in this country.” 

Fraser, who’s been living in the Kitchener-Waterloo region since attending University of Waterloo, was ideally hoping to find arable land with the right infrastructure near her. Instead — with the help of Sundance — she was able to find land in Wellington County, near Erin, Ontario. She says the commute is about 45 minutes by car from her place. 

Fraser is renting a quarter of an acre of land at Zocalo Organics, a farm that runs an incubator that prioritizes land accessibility for BIPOC farmers. 

“It’s like, pretty small in farming terms. But it’s also over 11,000 square feet,” Fraser says. “Starting with a quarter of an acre seems manageable.”

Still, Fraser says it shouldn’t be this difficult for people of colour to find land like this. She wants all levels of government to step up and “make some decisions about the type of agriculture they’d like to see.” 

“In my opinion that should look diverse and inclusive, not only for Black people, but for Indigenous people and other people of colour,” she says. 

The Toronto Black Farmers and Food Growers’ Collective was established in 2013, also at Downsview Park. At the time, it was one of the first Black-led park farms in Canada. 

“We set up about a 2.5-acre farm,” Dwyer says. “[Eventually], people figured out what we were doing. People who would use the park on a regular basis would protect the farm when we weren’t there.”

The Collective had their last harvest at that 2.5-acre space in 2015.

“We were told by Downsview Park that we couldn’t go back over there in 2016. At the time, they started putting in the infrastructure to build that community of condominium townhouses over there,” Dwyer says. 

Dwyer says she and her partner, Noel Livingston, didn’t object at the time, as they were still new to the farming community in Toronto. Eventually they partnered with Fresh City Farms, which was established in 2011, and were relocated to the land that they are at today. 

“We Black folks always have to be fighting for our own liberties, our own justice, accountability and access. I don’t know why that is but that’s always the case here,” says Jacqueline Dwyer, co-founder of the Toronto Black Farmers and Food Growers Collective.
Dwyer checks in on her seedlings and plants at the collective’s greenhouse at Downsview Park, after hail and snow briefly hit the GTA that morning. “We were supposed to plant these earlier, but we knew the weather was going to be bad. So Noel and I moved them all here last night,” she says. “It’s so obvious how climate change is changing our harvest season. Everything is delayed.”

Dwyer says Fresh City Farms recently signed a long-term lease with the Canada Lands Company, where they will receive an 11-acre plot at the south east area of Downsview Park for up to 20 years. According to their website, Fresh City Farms is currently looking for partnerships, as they say they will be using 1.5 acres of the land, while the rest will be shared by partners. 

They estimate that the monthly operating costs per half-acre to be between $750 to $1,100, which Dwyer says is unaffordable for the Black community and other marginalized groups.

“…We don’t have money,” Dwyer says. 

In May 2021 Fresh City Farms commented on the matter in an Instagram postafter someone voiced a similar concern on not bringing the collective with them to their future location, as well as their steep operating costs. Fresh City’s reasoning for the $750 to $1,100 operating costs was not to profit off the land. They say that the costs — which include rent, property taxes, insurance, electricity, water, repairs, washroom cleaning and garbage removal — have continued to be a “great challenge” at their site, as the costs are not paid by their landlord, Canada Lands Company. As a result, the operating costs will be split by their prospective partners. 

“[However] we will do everything within our power to ensure that cost is not a barrier to accessing the land, including finding donors, supporting partner grant applications and helping to coordinate a fundraiser,” they wrote. 

“It’s very tragic to see,” Dwyer says. “The people who work [at Downsview] predominantly are not from these neighbourhoods. They live in a 905 region or they drive into Toronto. So all this money that has been given to empower a neighbourhood or a community of neighbourhoods is really not doing that.”

Part of the collective’s plot at Downsview Park. The collective harvests a range of crops that includes callaloo, basil, butter lettuce, onions, okra and peppers.

With a reduced amount of arable land that includes proper infrastructure and more people to feed, Dwyer and Livingston say it has been impossible to find ideal land for farming in Toronto.

“We are left out of getting adequate resources to have a good operating team of people to do this work,” Dwyer says. “We’re locked out of infrastructure money, so we can’t put down our greenhouse and create our own space for our food hub.”

As a result they have created a partnership at Country Heritage Park in Milton, where they have access to two acres of land. The private land is about an hour-long commute by car from Downsview Park. 

“They were kind enough to give us this land,” Dwyer says in regards to the members of Country Heritage Park. “I see the people here actually live like a community. Here, they support each other. They’re still some good people left. When we come together, we can solve our issues.” 

For Dwyer and Livingston, this partnership has been tension-free. Here, they are able to do most of their harvesting, as well as provide and lease plots to community members and organizations who want to harvest their own crops. 

Dwyer also wants more to be done in the agricultural system in Canada, especially considering the history.

“[Colonizers] didn’t bring slaves here to pay them a fair wage. This agricultural system was built off the back of slaves and I am here unequivocally to tell them that I want reparation,” she says. “I want reparations for my daughter, myself, my mother, my grandmother, my great grandmother and my great-great grandmother. Genocide has been happening ever since you met us. And now we’re saying enough is enough.” 

“We need to now sit in communities and develop our own plan where we can actually share resources,” she says. “We need more feeding programs. We need to see some of our parks — that have good land — be rezoned to put our urban farms and help feed our number of communities.” 

Callaloo was sold out within minutes at the market.
Noel Livingston educates the market-goers on food insecurity within the Black community in Toronto.
Livingston and Dwyer are commemorated for their work in feeding their community by Faisal Hassan, MPP of York, South-Weston.

Source: The Norwal

Robotic milking myths busted for dairy industry

Nicolas Lyons is a dairy leader at the NSW Department of Primary Industries, with expertise in dairy science, robotic milking, technology, pasture and data management.

He is also leader of the Milking Edge project, which aims to enable better decision-making around the consideration, purchase and implementation of automatic milking systems and builds upon the decade of research and development undertaken by the Future Dairy project.

He went through some of his experiences undertaking this work, including myths, challenges and success stories with robotic dairy technology, at the 2021 DairySA Central Conference in Victor Harbor in a presentation called ‘Robotic milking: expectations vs reality’.

“Today, there is about 31,000 robotic dairy farms across the world, with 48 farms in Australia and at least another four signed up/installing,” he said.

Dr Lyons said the growth of AMS installations in Australia had been slower than expected.

“It prompted us to conduct a survey (of 200 farmers and 1000 service providers) to better understand current and expected adoption of technology,” he said.

“Of the 57 farms that commissioned robots since 2001, now there were only 48 operating.

“We had nine cease – some went back to a conventional dairy and some left the industry entirely – which is a common figure observed across the world.

“The are multiple reasons for this, and every case is different, but it basically comes down to things like expectations weren’t met; some couldn’t make it work; some didn’t have a good relationship with the equipment provider; and some didn’t achieve what they had hoped.”

Dr Lyons said one myth was that robots were not suited to large farms.

“The largest pasture-based robotic farm in the world is located in Tas, where they milk 900 cows with 16 robots in a split calving, pasture-based system,” he said.

“The world’s largest indoor farm is in Chile, where they have 72 robots milking 4400 cows.

“Robotic milking is not only for small farms. Yes, the world average is about two robots per farm, but that’s because 95pc of the installations are in Europe.

“But there are large farms in Asia, Australia, New Zealand, South America, the United States and even Europe.”

Some people also think because robotics are voluntary, cows will be underfed, he said.

“The reality is that you use feed as an incentive to make cows come to the dairy,” he said.

“Total cow and herd requirements do not change, you will need to tweak the way you feed, in order to achieve cow traffic targets.”

Dr Lyons said farmers were also concerned about not seeing every cow every day.

“The reality is you can see every cow every day, but you will see her through the data,” he said.

“You will need to learn about what happens through numbers, tables and graphs.

“There are roughly 120 measurements captured when a cow walks into a robotic dairy – production, weight, times, traffic, age, days in milk – all that ends up in the computer.

“However you don’t spend all day on a computer – the average robotic farmer spends roughly 40 minutes per day on the computer and that is not all in one go.”

Dr Lyons said there would also be a change in health management.

“Because you are not seeing every cow, every single milking, you will have to detect health issues through sensors and the software,” he said.

“And if anything, the data helps you to pick up on the cows that you need to see.

“The cow you need to fetch from the paddock is the one that isn’t walking to the dairy on her own.

“Research has shown that in a well-managed farm, most of the common cow health issues – mastitis, fertility and lameness – are all improved with AMS.

“Lameness often comes from cows standing on concrete for long periods of time – in a robotic dairy, cows don’t wait, because they don’t have the rest of the herd in front of them.

“The cows that are doing what they are meant to be doing just move along, you don’t see them, you just see the data.”

“There is a lot of misconception about how much a robotic milking system costs – people think it’s into the millions, and let me tell you it is not,” Dr Lyons said.

“But it is also hard to do the maths if you are trying to compare it to an old conventional dairy – you can’t, it’s like comparing apples with donkeys.

“We did five years of economic analysis in Australia and compared 14 robotic dairies with 100 conventional dairies that had up to 400 cows.

“It showed the cows produced the same amount of milk, utilised the same amount of pasture and farms had similar labour efficiency.

“Despite the robotic farms having on average higher overhead costs, such as depreciation and repairs and maintenance, total overall profitability was very similar to conventional dairies.

“Opportunities for improving pasture utilisation, labour efficiency and robot utilisation could improve productivity and profitability of these systems, and therefore increase the interest of this technology.”

Dr Lyons said Milking Edge was creating a tool that helped farmers who were considering robotics.

Source: The Land

N.J.’s largest dairy farmer begs Gov. Murphy: ‘Help us’

New Jersey’s largest dairy and vegetable farms in Gloucester County suffered millions of dollars in damages.

The Mullica Hill tornado caused significant damage at Wellacrest Farms in Mullica Hill, N.J. as seen on Sept. 2. Remnants of Ida moved through the Philadelphia area Wednesday into Thursday, bringing heavy rain and widespread flooding.
The Mullica Hill tornado caused significant damage at Wellacrest Farms in Mullica Hill, N.J. as seen on Sept. 2. Remnants of Ida moved through the Philadelphia area Wednesday into Thursday, bringing heavy rain and widespread flooding.Read moreMONICA HERNDON / Staff Photographer

The Eachus family’s dairy cows no longer have a barn for shelter.

And the third-generation owners of New Jersey’s largest dairy, called Wellacrest Farms in Mullica Hill, couldn’t store the milk at one point from their 1,400 cow herd — their refrigerated tanks were too damaged.

And the Eachuses expect “millions of dollars” in financial costs from Hurricane Ida. The storm generated an EF-3 tornado that tore through the state’s largest dairy operation, destroying equipment and buildings and trapping hundreds of cows under collapsed barns. Thirteen have died, a couple dozen more suffered injuries. A crew was milking when the twister ripped through and had only seconds to hide and hold on. They saw several cows swallowed by the funnel. About 10 cows remain missing.

The family did manage to repair their milk storage tanks. So they’re milking, storing, and shipping out each morning. But they still face a heap of bills. And Eric Eachus, 29, and grandson of the founder, had one request of Gov. Phil Murphy: “Help us.”

“We haven’t gotten any help from anyone, the state or the federal government,” although U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R., N.J.) had visited in the past week, Eachus said.

On Wednesday, the governor responded by announcing that FEMA had approved a major disaster declaration for six counties, including Gloucester. That means individuals there can register at for direct assistance for Ida-related recovery.

Not that all their losses will be covered.

A neighbor started a $1 million GoFundMe campaign for Wellacrest Farms, and Eric’s mother, Marianne, is now in charge of the fund-raising effort, which has topped $84,000. Another of the county’s largest vegetable producers, theGrasso Farm in Mullica Hill, also was destroyed and its GoFundMe page also has reached $84,000.

The Eachus family said they are encountering pushback from their insurance company, Farm Family, over the extent of damages covered by their policy, which charges $20,000-a-month premiums.

“They’re disputing the value, saying it’s worth half” of their estimate on the farm, Eric Eachus said, “so we’re already hitting roadblocks to full recovery. If we don’t get help, we might have to sell the herd.” A representative from the insurer was not immediately available.

Wellacrest sales average about 17 million pounds of milk annually, and account for roughly 75% of the farm’s total revenues. In addition, they sell horse hay and straw and other custom farming supplies. Wellacrest employs 15 full-time workers and a few part time in addition to the family.

Agriculture experts in South Jersey say the Eachus and the Grasso family farms suffered some of the worst damage from the remnants of Hurricane Ida.

Michelle Infante-Casella works for Rutgers University as an Agricultural Agent and professor with Rutgers Cooperative Extension in the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources. She estimates that 82% of the state’s agriculture production comes out of South Jersey.

Farming is still big business in New Jersey, ranked seventh in the U.S. for agriculture sales at slightly more than half a billion dollars per year. The most recent Census of Horticulture noted considerable growth compared to the 2014 horticulture census, which ranked New Jersey at $356 million in sales. New Jersey individual and family farms accounted for $106 million of those sales and ranked fourth nationally.

When Ida’s winds and tornado hit Mullica Hill on Sept 1, nearly all of the Wellacrest Farms’ barns, silos, and buildings were hit, some collapsing on the cows.

“We got most of them out, but we lost at least 10 from the herd,” Eachus said. Some had to be put down because the animals were so badly injured.

The night after the storm, the Eachus family’s electrician worked from 11 p.m. until 5 a.m. the following morning to restore the generator to power the milking parlor and turn on the water well.

“Since then we’re moving debris. Our barns were destroyed. We have a few walls from the barns and carried them out in front of the farm to create makeshift gates all the way around” the property, and keep the herd enclosed.

The farm’s 100-foot-high silos storing feed blew over and those remaining “are unsafe for use. The hits keep coming,” Eric Eachus said.

Wellacrest is a third generation farm, started by Eachus’s grandfather in 1943. “We want our kids to take over — hopefully — and keep the family business going.”

For the moment, though, they need cow barns — at least two — for wintertime shelter.

Angelo and Leonard Grasso, who are vegetable farmers, “lost just about everything from the Hurricane Ida tornado. Both their homes were damaged and now uninhabitable,” Infante-Casella said.

They are currently living with family members. Farm buildings, greenhouses, trucks, and other equipment were destroyed. Vegetable crops survived in many of their fields down the road, but their equipment and buildings to harvest and pack the crops are gone, she added.

“They are unable to continue farming on their own this season,” said Infante-Casella. “This family just put their life savings into construction of a new packing and cooling facility that meets modern food safety standards. It was completed just last week. In a blink of an eye, that improvement project was destroyed.”

Still unknown is the cost of replacing and rebuilding. New Jersey farms were already struggling against an influx of cheaper imports of vegetables and fruit from Mexico and South America.

Farmers must wait for insurance adjusters to evaluate what’s covered.

“FEMA also just set up at the library in Mullica Hill so people can put in applications for cost recovery from property damage,” said Infante-Casella. “They’re seeing what the adjusters have said. Now they wait to see what’s covered. That’s the big question right now.”

This Associated Press contributed to this article.

Remember that milk refund settlement everyone signed up for?

Millions of people signed up for the “Bought milk” settlement in early 2017. Now those people may finally be getting some money in the next few weeks.

WASHINGTON — After more than four and a half years wait, millions of Americans will finally be getting a little bit of cash from a highly publicized milk settlement. 

At this point, those who signed up may have forgotten all about it. But back in early 2017, it was announced a class action lawsuit against dairy producers would be giving money to everyone living in certain states who’d bought milk in the previous 14 years. 

All a person had to do was fill out an online form by the end of January 2017 to stake their piece of the settlement. The lawsuit accused milk producers of price-fixing. Instead of taking the case to court, it was settled for $52 million. The settlement only applied to those who bought milk products while living in Washington, D.C. or these 15 states: Arizona, California, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin. 

But the amount people will get is probably a lot less than they initially hoped for. 

It was first estimated that everyone could get between $45-70 just for signing up, but the actual payout for individuals is $7.51 and $210.28 for entities because there were “more claims than anticipated,” according to the Fresh Milk Products Antitrust Litigation website

While claims had to be submitted by early January 2017, payments are just going out now because there had been an ongoing court battle involving an appeal submitted by objectors to the settlement. In April 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit finally gave the go ahead for payments to begin.

According to the settlement website, payments will be sent out between Sept. 20 and Oct. 14. Those who filed claims will get an email payment notice and will be able to “instantly select from one of several digital payment options,” e-mails sent to those who signed-up explained. 

Source: 11alive

New Embryo Identification IVF Method Set to Boost Cow Milk

This breakthrough is set to greatly reduce pregnancy issues in cows, increase overall meat and milk production, and become a platform for further research in IVF in humans.

After humans, cattle are the species in which there is the most interest for IVF and it is usually referred to as in-vitro production (IVP). Approximately one million IVP embryos are transferred worldwide yearly to improve the genetics of the global breeding herd for food production.

Advanced programmes select embryos with traits such as disease resistance, food conversion (reducing waste) and improved meat and milk production. This involves a process similar to one used in human IVF, wherein cells are taken from the early developing placenta and diagnosed for certain genetic traits and diseases. However, a high proportion of these cattle embryos fail to grow into calves.

This research has developed a new means of identifying a subset of embryos that rarely lead to a live birth (less than 5% chance) due to carrying chromosome disorders. Researchers found this process improved overall pregnancy rates in cows by 7.8%, after careful analysis of 1,713 embryos.

Chromosome disorders are well known in humans as a cause of IVF failure, pregnancy loss and diseases like Down syndrome, however this is the first time their detection has been shown to improve cattle IVP significantly.

The process, known as preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidy (PGT-A), is one of the most discussed areas of reproductive medicine in humans. PGT-A has both vocal opponents and proponents and these results will therefore inform future treatment in fertility clinics.

Professor Darren Griffin, Professor of Genetics at the University of Kent and Senior Author of the paper said: ‘This new PGT-A method of embryo identification will be an enormous boost for the cattle production industry and will also be the platform for further research into this vital science, for which we anticipate seeing the benefits especially in fertility clinics.’

Materials provided by University of Kent.

Irish family’s livelihood gone as dairy herd wiped out by TB

Colin Foster (left) and his father, Albert.

A dairy farm in Fermanagh (Ireland) lies empty and silent this week as the ravages of bovine TB wipes out the milking herd.

In one of the most shocking and emotional videos posted on Facebook, the Ulster Farmers’ Union posted the heartbreaking interview of father and son, Albert and Colin Foster from Macken, Derrylin, as they watched over 40 years of successful dairy breeding end with the animals being loaded onto a double decker lorry to bring to slaughter.

Colin said in the interview: “TB needs to be sorted once and for all.”

It is another example, says the Union, of the continuing devastation to livestock farmers from TB breakdowns and they say, time for the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs to move ahead to stamp out the disease.

In moving images on the video, Colin said they as farmers looked after the cows and the cows in turn looked after them.

He said on the evening before the cows were due to be taken off the farm, he found it very difficult to answer his five-year-old son when he asked him what fields the cows were going to the next day?

“It breaks my heart,” said Colin, emotion clear in his voice.

His father, Albert spoke about the years of breeding a successful dairy herd, using some of the top genetics to breed cows producing an average of 8,000 litres from grass. He watched in vain as five sets of mothers, daughters and grand-daughters were loaded onto the lorry, along with in-calf heifers and other cows just weeks before calving.

“Where will next year’s calves come from?” he asked in desperation.

“It’s a lifetime of breeding.”

Colin says they are paid market value of the cows but no money to compensate for loss of income and the running of the farm while there are no cows there.

They both agreed that the Department needs to look at sources of infection of TB. Their farm is situated within roads, rivers and other parts double fenced so that no neighbouring cattle could spread the disease.

As the consultation on the DAERA’s TB eradication strategy continues, UFU President, Victor Chestnutt appealed to farmers to make their views known. The Union organised a webinar for members on Thursday evening last and informed members of their views on various proposals.

And in a press briefing for agricultural journalists on Friday morning, the Union’s Presidential team; President, Victor Chestnutt; Deputy Presidents, David Brown and William Irvine along with Animal Health Policy Officer, David McClure, reiterated their stance.

Victor Chestnutt said; “This disease has been the scourge of livestock farmers. We have to stop this.”

More than 12,500 cattle have been slaughtered in the past year as TB reactors, representing 0.8% of cattle and 8-9% of herds.

The disease is endemic in both cattle and badgers and the Union is pressing for action on wildlife as spreaders of the disease to cattle.

Victor Chestnutt said; “We have nothing against badgers but they carry TB and we have a problem with the disease.”

He described the current consultation as a once in a generation to get something done and they had an Agriculture Minister who wants to tackle TB, whether that’s in cattle or wildlife.

The UFU wants the criteria for selecting herds for the Gamma test to be open to all, not disregarding the very large herds or the small herds.

They do agree on testing of non-bovines where necessary such as Alpacas, on the same farm.

The UFU also supports DAERA preferred option for wildlife intervention with a non-selective cull of free-roaming badgers complemented by cage trapping. However the UFU does not support DAERA’s proposals for funding this saying they are concerned at the imbalance of costs.

The UFU is also vehemently opposed to DAERA’s proposal for the introduction of a £5,000 cap on compensation. Firstly the UFU say farmers are not paid compensation but rather market value for their animals. They feel that agreeing with DAERA on this proposal would diminish the genetic pool of breeding. The UFU are also against the Department’s proposal for reduced compensation. DAERA is looking at introducing 90% or market value of animals in the first year of a breakdown and 75% from the second year onwards if the herd is still in breakdown.

Source: The Impartial Reporter

High Ranking TPI® Genomic Young Bulls – September 2021

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HO840003238258363DENOVO 18332ABS210710.647123281782.685.
HO840003238827373PEAK 2355-ETPEAK210711.04976221762.638.
HO840003147135994PINE-TREE 8418 MASSY 744-ETSelect210810.14180211782.539.44.810.53.60.361.01-0.01-1.23761.43.62990
HO840003224239390FLY-HIGHER 600Select210710.74696229782.697.
HO840003238258387DENOVO 18356ABS210710.446124294782.875.
HO840003238808309PEAK 322-ETPEAK210710.170116305752.845.81.46.0-
HO840003238168580OCD MASSEY SURLY-ETSelect210710.34890227782.638.
HO840003236454940TERRA-LINDA GAMEDY 11240-ETSelect210710.756103279782.935.62.34.9-0.11.951.460.79-0.93752.54.92988
HO840003235932904PEAK 84455-ETPEAK210810.75999259752.796.
HO840003236339625DENOVO 30023ABS210710.066138342782.985.11.85.8-
HO840003127591592DENOVO 3994ABS210610.851103264782.677.43.04.5-
HO840003214742436SSI-TOG Z966Select21079.95090244782.707.
HO840003229908263PEAK 63743-ETPEAK21079.46286240752.925.
HO840003234373813SSI-BADGER 17617Select21079.942111255782.636.54.18.1-0.31.431.820.13-0.98772.05.22986
HO840003237169362DENOVO 4071ABS210710.054126293782.835.
HO840003237169363DENOVO 4072ABS210710.656120285782.893.
HO840003224239404FLY-HIGHER DELUXE ETGenVis210710.35999256782.686.
HO840003230986233DENOVO 18298ABS21079.856110292782.845.
HO840003235932894PEAK 84445-ETPEAK210810.749115267752.804.
HO840003238997220LADYS-MANOR OUTCOME 1236-ETHO210711.45487244782.825.
HO840003237169304DENOVO 4013ABS210710.556113306782.676.73.46.2-1.10.561.000.75-1.64762.24.22984
HO840003238258339DENOVO 18308ABS210710.648131294782.834.
HO840003213323881PLAIN-KNOLL LENNOX 11174Select210710.151106243782.685.
HO840003228657539OCD PAYLOAD LARRY-ETSelect210610.153102279782.805.
HO840003234731852T-SPRUCE 51867Select210710.46392261782.856.
HO840003236339622DENOVO 30020ABS210710.144146334782.805.12.52.6-0.70.360.87-0.23-1.84751.53.52983
HO840003238808311PEAK 324-ETPEAK210510.963106281752.756.02.16.2-
HO840003238997217LADYS-MANOR OUTCOME 1233-ETHO210710.84898238782.735.
HO840003224239405MVD 615Semex210710.750124292752.765.61.85.3-
HO840003231305140SSI-DUCKETT 2951Select21079.650120291782.695.
HO840003231545357PINE-TREE 8676 OUTCO 239-ETHO210811.256106278782.836.
HO840003235932850PEAK 84401-ETPEAK21079.64488216752.756.
HO840003235932902PEAK 84453-ETPEAK210810.66199276752.746.
HO840003236692440PEAK 32313-ETPEAK210710.363104254752.745.
HO840003144515562RONELEE SWIVEL CONTENDR 440Select210511.05497244782.783.
HO840003235932924PEAK 84475-ETPEAK210810.76696262752.906.
HO840003214324443LADYS-MANOR 1189-ETHO210310.97082238782.913.9-0.36.5-0.21.912.321.450.17762.94.92978
HO840003224239393MVD 603Semex210710.243108249752.666.
HO840003234749560DANHOF TOPDOG 11412-ETSelect21069.944109243782.606.
HO840003237112597AURORA 952Select210710.45197265782.875.
HO840003229908319PEAK 63799-ETPEAK21089.764106296752.707.
HO840003230986138DENOVO 18203ABS210610.849101239782.676.
HO840003234522741DENOVO 2741ABS210510.060129334782.874.
HO840003234749449DANHOF GD 14301-ETSelect210510.05694239792.706.
HO840003236692396PEAK 32269-ETPEAK21069.66399269752.755.20.64.1-0.11.521.450.84-0.37742.45.82977
HO840003237169350DENOVO 4059ABS210710.054114312782.865.
HO840003241466005SSI-DUCKETT 3004Select21079.86696270782.855.
HO840003231305173SSI-DUCKETT 2984Select210710.439104215782.778.46.510.
HO840003236692393PEAK 32266-ETPEAK210610.367113310752.965.
HO840003230986140DENOVO 18205ABS210711.15691229782.776.
HO840003230986150DENOVO 18215ABS210710.544115278782.656.
HO840003231305154SSI-DUCKETT 2965Select210710.848112246782.585.
HO840003231725205SANDY-VALLEY 4754Select210710.859103256782.765.
HO840003231725224SANDY-VALLEY 4773Select210810.84597256782.636.
HO840003236337418DENOVO 18387ABS210810.555119297782.835.
HO840003241466006SSI-DUCKETT 3005Select210710.251110284782.686.82.77.7-
HO840003147135995PINE-TREE 8418 MASSY 745-ETSelect21089.93778199782.498.53.710.
HO840003217637567LEANINGHOUSE BOSA 30123-ETHO210710.55485229782.657.
HO840003231305143SSI-DUCKETT 2954Select21079.94598221782.696.
HO840003235932940PEAK 84491-ETPEAK210811.554106267752.794.
HO840003236339623DENOVO 30021ABS210710.959105288782.775.
HO840003237169299DENOVO 4008ABS210610.648122279782.774.
HO840003237169314DENOVO 4023ABS210710.858121292782.804.
HO840003237169345DENOVO 4054ABS210710.247127272792.704.
HO840003127591590DENOVO 3992ABS210611.361116289792.825.02.03.5-
HO840003210724041EILDON-TWEED OB CHARRING-ETSemex21079.942108234762.774.
HO840003224437598KINGS-RANSOM G DEALER-ETSelect210710.054108285782.785.
HO840003228657540OCD LIMITLESS-ETSemex21069.86498292752.786.62.32.8-0.40.941.330.49-1.88742.34.52973
HO840003228764192COOKIECUTTER 90508Semex21079.757100272762.816.
HO840003234522132DENOVO 2132ABS210711.349111268782.805.63.19.7-
HO840003235932937PEAK 84488-ETPEAK210810.76093241752.796.
HO840003237169296DENOVO 4005ABS210610.959123323782.865.32.13.0-0.50.890.350.64-1.86762.14.72973
HO840003237169364DENOVO 4073ABS21079.855119294782.805.
HO840003235932862PEAK 84413-ETPEAK210710.571104275752.924.9-
HO840003235932872PEAK 84423-ETPEAK210710.959102279752.746.
HO840003236692394PEAK 32267-ETPEAK210610.75583244752.776.
HO840003238168584OCD 56288Select21079.971118319782.754.3-1.34.3-2.21.541.350.16-0.33772.55.92972
HO840003238258378DENOVO 18347ABS210710.461128306782.904.10.93.2-1.71.331.210.25-0.70761.64.02972
HO840003227859412PEN-COL 6229Select210710.64785230782.717.
HO840003234522139DENOVO 2139ABS210710.53297210782.527.
HO840003238997213LADYS-MANOR 1229-ETHO210710.86584240782.814.
HO840003220448706TTM JANGLE ACCORDSelect210610.256105279782.765.
HO840003224437608KINGS-RANSOM D DEFAULT-ETZoetis210710.956109269782.645.7-
HO840003232439497BLUMENFELD WARNER 7843-ETSelect21079.649102260782.687.
HO840003238258335DENOVO 18304ABS210711.048113277782.687.
HO840003241466070WILRA 3069Select210810.155108249782.745.83.16.9-0.81.721.380.51-0.16762.45.52970
HO840003224928452PEAK 3271-ETPEAK210810.35397243752.636.
HO840003229291577SIEMERS 35912Select210810.57091261782.815.20.23.1-0.11.771.590.24-0.10762.44.82968
HO840003236263114PINE-TREE 7826 ZAZZ 6154-ETPEAK210711.055101260772.735.
HO840003237169321DENOVO 4030ABS210710.149104272782.696.
HO840003237169327DENOVO 4036ABS210710.559108297782.696.32.15.1-0.90.771.240.44-1.68762.34.82968
HO840003238258403DENOVO 18372ABS210810.555102277782.766.
HO840003239509828RONELEE CONWAY LGHT 3517-ETSelect210610.74391205782.715.
HO840003224013286FLY-HIGHER MOONRISE 11964-ETSemex21089.85199249752.656.
HO840003224239412KINGS-RANSOM DELUXE 622-ETGenVis210710.14598211782.676.
HO840003224239422KINGS-RANSOM BOSA 632-ETSemex210810.749110274752.934.
HO840003224437589KINGS-RANSOM E DEVIL-ETSelect210610.35093233782.846.
HO840003229291574SIEMERS 35909Select210810.47092255782.725.61.16.0-
HO840003229908292PEAK 63772-ETPEAK210710.54489197782.565.
HO840003234522786DENOVO 2786ABS210710.557110284782.766.55.07.8-0.40.550.490.69-1.02761.94.72967
HO840003236692430PEAK 32303-ETPEAK210710.369112301762.715.
HO840003237169328DENOVO 4037ABS210710.653128276782.754.72.99.0-0.90.930.570.430.80761.74.42967
HO840003138997402SUGAR-C CAP FABIAOSemex210711.15996240762.944.
HO840003224928450PEAK 3269-ETPEAK21079.962115286752.775.
HO840003229908261PEAK 63741-ETPEAK210710.257100246752.644.71.56.8-
HO840003231545360PINE-TREE 7829 TENNE 242-ETABS210810.643120279792.715.
HO840003231725212SANDY-VALLEY 4761Select210710.15476237782.667.
HO840003235932895PEAK 84446-ETPEAK210810.15697247762.874.
HO840003212874640COOKIECUTTER 90470Semex210610.158107283752.885.
HO840003215092560BRANDT-VIEW CAPTAIN KIRBYHO210510.15183226782.965.
HO840003220448708TTM DELUXE ELCHEE-ETHO210610.353109262782.745.
HO840003224239401FLY-HIGHER 611Select210710.043101252782.627.
HO840003231305159SSI-DUCKETT 2970Select210710.65096225782.656.
HO840003213323883PLAIN-KNOLL PYLOAD 11176-ETSelect210710.458117282782.942.71.32.8-0.61.601.580.950.55762.75.72964
HO840003228657597OCD 94683Select21079.955129286782.704.8-0.14.7-1.51.441.290.060.24772.35.52964
HO840003230986222DENOVO 18287ABS210710.65393254782.767.
HO840003234749475REGAN-DANHOF GD 14327-ETSelect21069.74972196782.567.
HO840003235932863LEVEL-PLAIN 84414-ETPEAK210710.648126294752.865.02.24.2-
HO840003213323888PLAIN-KNOLL GAMEDY 11181-ETSelect210810.54491227782.676.
HO840003235932907PEAK 84458-ETPEAK21089.963105302752.816.
HO840003127591584DENOVO 3986ABS210610.347107277782.855.92.35.6-
HO840003215092565BRANDT-VIEW KING DOC DUFFYHO21079.936100205802.854.
HO840003229908295PEAK 63775-ETPEAK210710.856101241782.714.
HO840003236454949TERRA-LINDA DELUXE 11249-ETHO210710.459127289782.803.7-2.14.3-0.61.411.020.300.59772.05.32962
HO840003237169333DENOVO 4042ABS210710.134113229782.845.
HO840003230986147DENOVO 18212ABS210710.446106290782.746.
HO840003231725202SANDY-VALLEY 4751Semex210710.65896254752.794.61.16.7-0.31.681.611.150.45732.15.02961
HO840003235932878PEAK 84429-ETPEAK210810.359101246752.784.50.88.5-0.51.601.680.391.54731.84.12961
HO840003236651022WINSTAR 3622Select21079.942107243782.586.
HO840003236692415PEAK 32288-ETPEAK210710.775100275752.667.
HO840003239509835RONELEE BULLSEYE LIZ 3524Select210610.15179198782.766.
HO840003241466032SSI-DUCKETT 3031Select21089.838115240782.754.
HO840003227859419PEN-COL 6236Select21079.95085254782.608.
HO840003229291387SIEMERS 35722Select210710.46192230782.835.11.22.9-0.21.991.691.370.73762.25.02960
HO840003235932871PEAK 84422-ETPEAK210710.15890228752.775.
HO840003235932914PEAK 84465-ETPEAK210810.95599258752.696.
HO840003238168496OCD 56200Select210710.65392230782.775.
HO840003229291451SIEMERS 35786Select210710.64882203782.676.
HO840003231545328PINE-TREE 8177 FILMO 210-ETHO21069.952116250792.984.
HO840003234522145DENOVO 2145ABS21079.944123276782.654.72.16.3-
HO840003235932813PEAK 84364-ETPEAK210710.45277197752.814.
HO840003235932885PEAK 84436-ETPEAK210810.353114281752.855.32.54.6-0.81.361.240.59-0.87731.84.32959
HO840003235932925PEAK 84476-ETPEAK210810.355100249752.725.
HO840003236651020WINSTAR MENDEL 3620-ETABS210710.056110273782.726.
HO840003237169342DENOVO 4051ABS210710.66498286782.626.61.98.3-0.80.621.060.24-1.36751.74.62959
HO840003240484754PEAK 10004-ETPEAK210710.758103267782.914.6-0.12.7-0.31.601.870.85-0.55761.94.62959
HO840003241466062SSI-DUCKETT 3061Select21088.94896241782.785.
HO840003130790402PENN-ENGLAND GIFIAN1714A-ETSelect21079.86172225792.726.
HO840003229908304PEAK 63784-ETPEAK210810.746111267752.815.
HO840003237169293DENOVO 4002ABS210611.05098222782.645.
HO840003238168545OCD 56249Select210710.040113274782.774.
HO840003239126387LA-CA-DE-LE 9453Semex21089.557122286752.835.92.33.9-
HO840003231725223SANDY-VALLEY 4772Select210710.74798242792.806.
HO840003234522740DENOVO 2740ABS210510.14887227782.677.
HO840003234522761DENOVO 2761ABS210610.656111291782.895.
HO840003238258371DENOVO 18340ABS210710.258106240782.785.14.07.9-
HO840003230996900VATLAND 916Select210710.149108263782.706.22.96.7-
HO840003235932919PEAK 84470-ETPEAK21089.866106289752.933.70.82.4-0.61.361.590.31-0.14732.34.72956
HO840003238168555OCD 56259Select210710.24398243782.696.
HO840003238208025CHERRYPENCOL GDAY 545-ETSelect210510.25576232782.746.
HO840003241466060SSI-DUCKETT 3059Select21089.63487175782.636.
HO840003224437616KINGS-RANSOM 50370Semex21089.94696256762.805.
HO840003229291559SIEMERS 35894Select21089.06190242782.795.
HO840003231305132SSI-DUCKETT 2943Select210710.162108261782.923.
HO840003232439521BLUMENFELD 7867Select21079.95978231782.587.

High Ranking TPI® Genomic Females – September 2021

Registration NumberNameBirth DateGFISire's NamePTAPPTAP%PTAFPTAF%Feed Eff.% Rel.SCSPLLIVHealth
HO840003238827216UNITED-PRIDE WLHSE 16398-ET210811.1PEAK WHEELHOUSE-ET670.081060.18279752.676.
HO840003215684463SANDY-VALLEY MONDAY-ET210710.6RMD-DOTTERER SSI GAMEDAY-ET600.081380.32324762.736.01.95.6-0.81.581.150.77-0.08742.95.23113
HO840003241772819SDG-PH 8543 TRIBUTE 7680-ET210810.8PLAIN-KNOLL LGCY TRIBUTE-ET720.02970.05271782.676.
HO840003217449593KINGS-RANSOM GMDY DECIET-ET210710.5RMD-DOTTERER SSI GAMEDAY-ET610.101290.31323782.666.11.37.1-0.61.471.300.09-0.50752.44.53096
HO840003237547520LARS-ACRES SSI DRV 26435-ET210710.1KINGS-RANSOM LEGCY DRIVE-ET660.061200.21313782.706.
HO840003239527194TTM GAMEDAY MINECRAFT-ET210711.3RMD-DOTTERER SSI GAMEDAY-ET570.111070.26282792.606.
HO840003236454934TERRA-LINDA WHEELHOUSE 1-ET210710.4PEAK WHEELHOUSE-ET790.051210.14314782.734.9-0.55.8-1.81.641.620.910.98772.55.93089
HO840003228676837PLAIN-KNOLL GAMEDAY 3664-ET210710.9RMD-DOTTERER SSI GAMEDAY-ET570.061220.25302782.576.
HO840003236651212WINSTAR HERCULES 8112-ET210711.9DENOVO 16429 HERCULES-ET580.081190.26297782.795.
HO840003228657584OCD 94670210710.3C-HAVEN POSITIVE DELUXE-ET590.051280.24330782.726.00.23.7-
HO840003236792841OCD GAMEDY FRANCES 66162-ET210710.5RMD-DOTTERER SSI GAMEDAY-ET570.071180.24299782.746.
HO840003237547487LARS-ACRES SSI C 26402-ET210710.5PLAIN-KNOLL CRUSHER-ET570.151010.30247792.757.
HO840003233722346TTM GAMEDAY MONOPOLY-ET210711.2RMD-DOTTERER SSI GAMEDAY-ET630.041130.16295792.685.40.66.7-
HO840003205063662MS HENDEL ENVIOUS 5604-ET210510.0DENOVO 16333 ENVY-ET660.031170.16298762.945.
HO840003229291609SIEMERS TRBT PARIS 35944-ET210810.8PLAIN-KNOLL LGCY TRIBUTE-ET730.05820.03263782.566.
HO840003225323223210710.5PEAK ALTAZAZZLE-ET580.041150.20288782.676.93.47.5-0.21.371.220.54-0.38761.65.43060
HO840003227859402PEN-COL G 6219-ET210710.9RMD-DOTTERER SSI GAMEDAY-ET400.081190.34285782.707.
HO840003225323153FB 612502 PLINKO 700615-ET210611.3PEAK ALTAPLINKO-ET690.111040.20289782.736.
HO840003240345389PINE-TREE 7593 OUTC 9188-ET210810.7LADYS-MANOR OUTCOME-ET600.051340.26335802.766.63.98.2-
HO840003235976878T-SPRUCE GAMEDAY 16871-ET210710.4RMD-DOTTERER SSI GAMEDAY-ET510.121270.37289792.765.
HO840003235976940210811.1RMD-DOTTERER SSI GAMEDAY-ET510.041080.20274782.787.
HO840003235976903T-SPRUCE GAMEDAY 16896-ET210710.9RMD-DOTTERER SSI GAMEDAY-ET520.051030.19260782.767.
HO840003225323161FB 644050 PLINKO 700623-ET210610.9PEAK ALTAPLINKO-ET780.061160.14330782.795.51.35.1-
HO840003232316294LADYS-MANOR SC GRO ORLI-ET210610.9SANDY-VALLEY SUPERCHARGE-ET520.051050.20267792.835.
HO840003236692035210710.6SIEMERS RENGD PARFECT-ET570.08950.18241782.865.
HO840003225323197FB 636636 CONWAY 700659-ET210710.5SANDY-VALLEY R CONWAY-ET570.121270.35322782.915.
HO840003234373828BADGER SSI TRIBUTE 17632-ET21079.9PLAIN-KNOLL LGCY TRIBUTE-ET530.06980.19235782.567.
HO840003240345391PINE-TREE 8676 OUTC 9190-ET210811.4LADYS-MANOR OUTCOME-ET530.051060.20275782.865.
HO840003224337394JOOK CAPTAIN 1608-ET210610.7GENOSOURCE CAPTAIN-ET520.041090.20270782.795.
HO840003228676802PLAIN-KNOLL CONWAY 3629210710.6SANDY-VALLEY R CONWAY-ET540.11900.22231782.677.
HO840003235932835PEAK 84386-ET210710.6AOT SILVER HELIX-ET780.041190.12319782.864.2-2.42.5-0.31.660.82-0.010.87761.93.43040
HO840003238208055CHERRYPENCOL GDAY L OR L-ET210711.0RMD-DOTTERER SSI GAMEDAY-ET530.05900.15246782.686.
HO840003225323169FB 633676 ZAZZLE 700631-ET210711.1PEAK ALTAZAZZLE-ET480.091250.34285782.744.
HO840003241466051SSI-DUCKETT 3050210810.0BLUMENFELD RENEGAD AHEAD-ET470.10910.24217782.606.
HO840003225323164FB 650591 PLINKO 700626-ET210711.2PEAK ALTAPLINKO-ET700.061150.17321782.855.2-0.53.4-
HO840003240345385PINE-TREE 8676 OUTC 9184-ET210811.4LADYS-MANOR OUTCOME-ET420.111160.36257782.765.
HO840003214742449S-S-I EXTRA 12569 12915-ET21079.9OCD LEGACY EXOTIC-ET570.111100.28305782.827.
HO840003228682784PINE-TREE 8418 RAYSH 714-ET210710.5PEAK RAYSHEN-ET620.091040.20283782.625.
HO840003229111415FB 480328 TWITCH 714467-ET210510.8MR FARNEAR HELIX TWITCH-ET470.081410.39306792.694.80.45.4-
HO840003236792856OCD GAMEDY BALANCE 66177-ET210710.6RMD-DOTTERER SSI GAMEDAY-ET590.09830.14257782.609.13.711.21.30.981.400.30-1.16762.45.13036
HO840003239140649210710.4T-SPRUCE LEGACY LIFT OFF-ET470.091130.30283782.577.
HO840003231711932MS OCD UPSIDE 65534210610.2FARNEAR UPSIDE-ET680.01910.03275792.866.
HO840003235976979T-SPRUCE 16972210810.7T-SPRUCE RENEGADE REGAL-ET440.05960.21233782.607.
HO840003236651209WINSTAR TENNESSEE 8109-ET210710.1PINE-TREE TENNESSEE-ET470.041250.28301782.666.
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HO840003231305175S-S-I EXTRA 10751 2986-ET210710.5OCD LEGACY EXOTIC-ET410.081060.30238782.718.
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HO840003235976929210810.9RMD-DOTTERER SSI GAMEDAY-ET500.091210.32287782.855.
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HO840003235976971210811.3T-SPRUCE RENEGADE REGAL-ET580.08920.17236782.836.
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HO840003236692106210810.1S-S-I EISAKU PAYLOAD-ET630.061020.15270782.895.62.33.3-
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HO840003238168552OCD DELUXE RAEDEN 56256-ET21079.6C-HAVEN POSITIVE DELUXE-ET420.061120.29250782.585.
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HO840003238827256UNITED-PRIDE ZLION 16438-ET210810.6PEAK ZILLION-ET450.08800.18202752.607.83.510.81.21.552.030.88-0.07731.65.42984
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HO840003127011562CLEAR-ECHO ESPN 5371-ET210411.0PROGENESIS ESPN530.09930.20232782.754.
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HO840003231004493WINSTAR HERCULES 8069-ET210710.9DENOVO 16429 HERCULES-ET480.051100.24292782.666.
HO840003238814694PENN-ENGLAND BARB 18457-ET210710.6OCD RENEGADE LUNSER-ET440.091180.34249782.734.
HO840003128190651SYNERGY-FUST MLN PUDDING-ET210510.0PEAK MOLINE-ET390.061030.26246782.725.
HO840003231305157S-S-I DRIVE 3201 2968-ET210711.0KINGS-RANSOM LEGCY DRIVE-ET500.031030.17263782.737.
HO840003234373862SSI-BADGER 17666210711.1T-SPRUCE RENEGADE REGAL-ET500.09940.22245782.636.
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HO840003215684484SANDY-VALLEY CLEARWATER-ET210811.2SANDY-VALLEY LAKER-ET620.081060.20275752.655.52.78.2-0.50.790.870.750.05732.24.92978
HO840003235976877T-SPRUCE TOP DOG 16870-ET21079.9BOMAZ TOP DOG-ET430.07930.22202782.725.
HO840003237547563210810.5KINGS-RANSOM LEGCY DRIVE-ET480.03780.10216792.607.
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HO840003228404202RUANN CAVIAR ANNA-13854-ET210710.7HILMAR-D RIVETING CAVIAR-ET510.041140.23275792.804.10.72.4-0.11.831.700.54-0.05782.64.92976
HO840003228657497210610.5GENOSOURCE CAPTAIN-ET560.031090.17269792.905.70.66.6-0.61.481.910.31-0.69782.44.42976
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HO840003234373856HORSENS BADGER DRV17660-ET210710.4KINGS-RANSOM LEGCY DRIVE-ET430.031040.21264782.874.
HO840003238168504OCD PYLD DELICIOUS 56208-ET210710.7S-S-I EISAKU PAYLOAD-ET620.10830.14234782.846.
HO840003234373874SSI-BADGER 17678210810.6T-SPRUCE RENEGADE REGAL-ET520.051130.23265782.695.5-0.14.8-0.61.511.900.39-0.14772.85.42974
HO840003237547450210710.2PLAIN-KNOLL LGCY TRIBUTE-ET540.031010.16245782.726.
HO840003240345373PINE-TREE 8676 OUTC 9172-ET210711.3LADYS-MANOR OUTCOME-ET470.111180.35262782.874.
HO840003232439491BLUMENFELD MOLINE 7837-ET21079.9PEAK MOLINE-ET690.02870.03253782.616.41.26.3-
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HO840003237547425210710.2SIEMERS RENGD PARFECT-ET650.06870.09242792.885.21.17.2-0.71.902.021.230.35772.04.62973
HO840003235131574BACK-WATER CAPTAIN 343-ET210710.9GENOSOURCE CAPTAIN-ET630.021020.11252792.855.
HO840003235342386DUCKETT PARFECT HALLIE-ET210610.3SIEMERS RENGD PARFECT-ET620.06930.13230793.013.6-
HO840003236337828DENOVO TENNESSEE 3225-ET210710.3PINE-TREE TENNESSEE-ET390.051100.28250782.707.
HO840003236337830DENOVO TENNESSEE 3227-ET210710.8PINE-TREE TENNESSEE-ET460.051160.27272782.627.
HO840003236792850OCD GAMEDY FRANCES 66171-ET210710.4RMD-DOTTERER SSI GAMEDAY-ET610.101020.22265782.914.
HO840003237491995SCENERY-VIEW ALL COLLET-ET210710.2SIEMERS HAVE IT ALL-ET450.101090.32251782.993.2-
HO840003238168520OCD PAYLOAD MINT 56224-ET210711.2S-S-I EISAKU PAYLOAD-ET610.05890.11249782.796.
HO840003220448050CARTERS-CORNER TAOS HALO-ET210710.3LEANINGHOUSE TAOS-ET580.08940.17226782.815.
HO840003225323245210710.6PEAK ALTAZAZZLE-ET610.061030.17284782.635.92.15.8-
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HO840003232439471BLUMENFELD GAMEDAY 7817-ET210611.1RMD-DOTTERER SSI GAMEDAY-ET550.011150.17288782.895.72.87.0-
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HO840003215092385BRANDT-VIEW CAPTAIN EMMA210610.9GENOSOURCE CAPTAIN-ET620.001080.11293793.044.4-0.7-0.1-1.01.992.150.91-1.80773.05.32970
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HO840003230494342ARIZONA 37610210810.1STGEN DEDICATE HEIR-ET540.10790.16205762.846.
HO840003234325547WA-DEL CAPTAIN ELUZE-ET210510.6GENOSOURCE CAPTAIN-ET550.051020.17252792.725.1-
HO840003235976952210810.4S-S-I EISAKU PAYLOAD-ET600.081010.19257782.895.
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HO840003225323195FB 644050 PLINKO 700657-ET210710.8PEAK ALTAPLINKO-ET710.061060.14276783.
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HO840003239507913RUANN CAP FLANE-14163-ET210711.2GENOSOURCE CAPTAIN-ET680.03970.08276792.845.
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Covid-19: New Zealand dairy farmers have ‘no time’ for vaccinations during calving season

Dairy farmers say they are finding it difficult to get vaccinated against Covid-19 during peak calving season where they are in high demand and under pressure.

From late-July to September, dairy farmers are working around the clock as a large number of calves are born.

Dairy farmer and Filipino Dairy Farm Workers Association chairman Earl Magitay said the farm he worked at had 3000 cows, all calving “at the same time”.

During this time, Magitay said it was hard for dairy farmers to make time for Covid-19 vaccinations.

“Many are tired and may have no time at the moment for a vaccine,” he said.

Magitay said he believed only a small percentage of dairy farmers were vaccinated, while the rest were waiting for the busy season to end before booking an appointment.

General secretary of First Union Dennis Maga agreed.

“It is quite hard to do a booking with the timing as well, this is the most difficult time for them,” he said.

Maga believed dairy farmers should have been vaccinated earlier in the roll-out because they look after livestock, adding: “This is our food, this is no different from anyone working in the supermarket, or anyone in the essential industry.”

But there were many “logistical challenges” when attempting to vaccinate dairy farmers, he said.

“Their location is quite challenging. Second, if you book them [an appointment], you have to make sure that is the time they are available to do so.

“That is actually the challenge for dairy farm workers, the timing, when and where they can actually have their vaccinations,” said Maga.

Another concern was the lack of information available for farmers, who live rurally, said Magitay.

He said he wished the Ministry of Health had been more proactive in targeting the dairy industry.

“It would be good if there was an option where they can go and do vaccination in the farm,” he said.

Meanwhile Federated Farmers employment spokesperson Chris Lewis urged farmers to do all they can to enable staff to get vaccinated.

“I know dairy farms are flat tack with calving and workforce shortages have never been worse. But there’s nothing more important than your family’s health, and that of your staff and their families.”

Lewis said district health boards could help by booking a hall in smaller towns for vaccination clinics that were well advertised in advance.

“If it’s possible to combine getting a jab with a trip into town for the next supermarket shop, try to make it happen. It’s part of being a good boss,” Lewis said.

Astrid Koornneef, Ministry of Health Covid-19 vaccination operations manager, said “no farmer-specific vaccination events have been set up so far”.

“District health boards with higher proportions of remote and rural populations have been rolling out events where people in rural communities can be vaccinated close to where they live and work,” Koornneef said.


New app gives EU farmers access to ‘fair’ milk prices they can control

Concept Dairy has launched its app, giving all dairy farmers access to live dairy prices that “they can lock-in when they choose”.

Diarmuid Mac Colgáin has established the business to bring price transparency to the global dairy industry. He has a desire to facilitate economic sustainability for farmers, starting right here in Ireland.

The commodities trader, with 15 years’ experience, spent four years working in the dairy industry. Here, he recognised that farmers were subject to these price hikes and falls without any control of the situation.

Concept Dairy

As the grandson of a dairy farmer, he could not reconcile that this was a situation that the farmers should be facing in 2021.

“After working in the sector, I could see farmers were struggling with the volatility in the market.”

“Initially, you think it must be the fault of the processor that the farmers are receiving these prices. “

“But, in reality, the root of the problem is that market conditions across the dairy supply chain have evolved. Milk processors have not been supported to manage the evolution in the sector.”

Since quotas were lifted in 2015, the dairy market has become “more dynamic”.

Impact all the supply chain

He said it is an open market now, but processors have not had the tools to manage their market risk.

“It is really at no fault of the processors. But the time has come to bring about some change and create a more efficient, transparent and fair dairy sector that benefits the whole supply chain.”

Diarmaid and his partner, Jacqueline Fitzgerald, set about creating a solution that would support the whole dairy sector from farmer to processor to buyer, recognising that to provide an effective solution, they would have to impact “all parts” of the supply chain.

They believe this new app is an “important step” in giving farmers control of their milk price.

How does the app work?

The Farmer App gives dairy farmers a view on live and accurate prices that they can lock in when they choose for up to two years into the future.

The commodities trading risk management platform goes into the milk processor, helping them understand and manage their risk.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the chain, the team works with dairy buyers to create a “fully connected and transparent” supply chain.

Giving farmers some control

Jacqueline said, “Farming is hard work. It’s early mornings, long days, and at the end of it, farmers don’t know if they are even breaking even, let alone being profitable.”

“The Concept Dairy Farmer App is giving the primary producers – the farmers – some control. “

“For the first time, they will be able to download the app and see live, accurate future milk prices that they can lock in when they choose to create some financial security.”

“If the farmer knows what price they are getting, they can start to plan, support the local economy by employing staff, embrace climate change initiatives because they will have the financial capacity to do so.”

Free to download

The Concept Dairy Farmer App is free to download on Apple App Store and Google Play from today.

Source: That’s Farming

Is the Future of Big Dairy Regenerative?

Some of the world’s largest dairy companies are betting on regenerative ag to produce the grain they feed their animals. Critics say their practices could preserve the industrial approach—and lead to greenwashing.

Fourth-generation Kansas dairy farmer Ken McCarty is all in on regenerative agriculture. He’s planted cover crops, reduced tillage, and fosters biodiversity by creating wetlands and planting trees on the land where he grows the crops that feed his animals.

“We’re young and we’ve really staked our future livelihoods on these regions and their resources sustaining us for the next 20, 50, 100 years,” McCarty told Civil Eats. “Taking care of the assets that sustain you simply makes economic sense. And there’s a moral obligation . . . regenerative agriculture is the right thing to do.”

And yet, unlike many of the regenerative farmers who have been in in the spotlight in recent years, McCarty isn’t a small- or medium-scale farmer. His is one of two conventional operations that make up the MVP Dairy partnership, a company that owns a total 26,000 cows, including 13,000 milking cows, holds all its cows in barns, and grows grain—predominantly corn—on approximately 9,500 acres in two states.

Three years ago, MVP Dairy joined a new regenerative dairy program sponsored by Danone North America, the company behind Dannon yogurt and Horizon organic milk. Danone’s program has allowed the farmers to measure the impacts of their practices, further refine them, and publicly talk about improving soil health, a chief goal of regenerative agriculture, said McCarty.

Ken McCarty of MVP Dairy, standing in front of his dairy herd.

Ken McCarty of MVP Dairy.

And dairy farms like his may be the future of regenerative ag—a fact that could signal an important transformation to a struggling, often controversial industry.

Danone, General Mills (maker of Yoplait yogurt and Häagen-Dazs ice cream, among other big dairy brands), and yogurt maker Stonyfield have all recently launched soil health programs specifically aimed at dairy producers. The voluntary programs, which offer training, tech support, and financial assistance, are seen as key to transforming dairy farms—a major source of emissions—into “carbon sinks,” allowing Big Food companies to reduce their carbon footprints and open up new avenues to market their products.

And they’re coming at a time when many dairy operations are struggling, milk consumption continues to decrease, and the market share for plant-based milks has been on the upswing, leading the dairy industry to focus on other products (cheese and yogurt consumption is up, for instance).

“There’s a moral obligation . . . regenerative agriculture is the right thing to do.”

“Food companies have a tremendous amount of influence on their farmers. So if they are actively promoting these practices, that speaks volumes to the farmers,” said Allen Williams, a co-founder of regenerative agriculture consulting firm Understanding Ag and the Soil Health Academy coach hired by General Mills. “It signals to them that companies are getting serious about regenerative agriculture and maybe the farmers should, too . . . otherwise they won’t want to buy from them. It’s an impetus that can help drive this movement more rapidly.”

But it remains unclear whether regenerative agriculture can actually deliver on its promises of significantly reducing emissions and helping to reverse climate change. And while experts say it’s possible that corporate dairy programs canhelp accelerate the transition to regenerative production, they also take issue with large confinement-based dairies like McCarty’s entering the fray.

At a time when a number of multinational food corporations are working to control the narrative around concepts like sustainability and agroecology, these dairy companies will also help define how consumers see the term regenerative in the years to come—a vision that includes some sustainable practices but works to ultimately preserve an industrial food system.

“It should be clear and transparent what companies are doing along that [regenerative] spectrum so that it does not mislead people to think that they’re doing more than they are,” said Urvashi Rangan, co-chair at Funders for Regenerative Agriculture (FORA), a national initiative of funders and investors.

Conventional, Organic Dairies Welcomed

Over the past decade, as regenerative agriculture has exploded from a niche movement to a global sustainability trend focused on combating climate change through carbon sequestration, Big Food companies have been jockeying for a place on the stage. Myriad agribusiness giants—from Cargill to PepsiCo and Nestlé—have made public commitments to help finance farmers’ adoption of regenerative practices. The world’s largest retailer Walmart, Bayer, and even fashion brands have also joined in. Locking carbon in farmland is also a key piece of President Biden’s plan to combat the climate crisis, as the administration works to support an agricultural “carbon market.”

Much of the interest and support has focused on crop farmers, but dairy farms may be the new frontier in part because their operations have a sizable carbon footprint.

Agriculture contributes about 10 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissionsand dairy farms are an important source, due to both livestock and crop cultivation. As they digest food, cows constantly belch methane, a greenhouse gas that is nearly 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide. And their manure is a significant source of methane and nitrous oxide—a gas with 300 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. And the feed crops such as corn, alfalfa, and soy are typically grown using practices that lead to the use of massive amounts of fertilizer and pesticides, also significant sources of emissions.

The new regenerative dairy programs include a small number of farms for now, though they already encompass thousands of cows and tens of thousands of acres of farmland focused on growing animal feed. Danone, which four years ago became the first to launch such a program, is now supporting the transition to regenerative practices on 80,000 acres managed by 34 dairy farms. Twenty of those farms are conventional dairies that together manage 52,000 acres of land; the rest of the land is managed by 14 organic farms, members of Horizon Organic, the largest supplier of organic milk in North America.

Danone—which buys milk in the U.S. directly from approximately 700 farms, more than 600 of them organic)—considers dairy farmers key to slashing its emissions in half by 2030 and to becoming net zero by 2050. Its brand, Horizon, intends to become the first carbon positive dairy brand by 2025.

“Nearly two-thirds of our corporate footprint is tied to our upstream agriculture sources. So regenerative practices are a critical opportunity for us . . . to reduce our carbon overall,” said Deanna Bratter, Danone’s head of sustainable development.

Stonyfield Organic is also betting on regenerative practices to help it cut emissions by 30 percent by 2030. It launched a pilot program with five dairies in 2020 and has since expanded to include 10 of the milk producers it works with in the Northeast. The pilot includes more than 5,000 acres—mostly pasture and hay land. Though Stonyfield has not adopted a specific definition of regenerative agriculture and says its program is focused on managing climate change and going beyond the federal organic standards, the company is helping dairies improve soil health and other ecosystem services.

“We’re hoping to get climate benefits and increased carbon sequestration,” said Britt Lundgren, director of organic and sustainable agriculture at Stonyfield. And she said that dairy farmers also get soil that is more resilient in the face of flooding and drought, higher yields, and they end up spending less on inputs like fertilizers. “Regenerative agriculture can potentially impact their bottom line,” added Lundgren.

Also small in number for now, the new regenerative dairy programs encompass thousands of cows and tens of thousands of acres of land growing animal feed.

General Mills, which buys its milk from dairy suppliers and co-ops, not directly from farms, launched the most recent regenerative pilot program last year with three dairies in Michigan’s Great Lakes region. This year, the company added six more dairies, for a total of 17,000 acres in the pilot. The company already runs two other regenerative pilot programs for oat growers in North Dakota and Canada and wheat growers in Kansas. The company says the three programs are part of its commitment to advance regenerative agriculture on 1 million acres of farmland by 2030, at which point General Mills hopes to reduce its absolute greenhouse gas emissions across its full value chain by 30 percent (compared to 2020). The company hopes to achieve net zero by 2050.

Although Stonyfield intends to pay dairy operators to take up regenerative practices, Danone and General Mills are offering other forms of support instead. The promise of higher profits and opportunity to get a foot in the door in the regenerative supply chain—for products that will don regenerative labels in the future—also draw farmers in. However, because most farmers don’t see a return on investment for around four years, said Nicholas Camu, vice president of agriculture at Danone, “what we try to do is bridge those four years financially.”

Giving Farmers the Tools to Make the Transition

The three companies’ regenerative dairy programs have different focal points and approaches. Danone’s main focus is on helping farmers assess their practices, providing on-farm support, and unlocking financial resources to cushion the transition. When a dairy farm joins Danone’s program, it undergoes a full farm audit using the Cool Farm Tool, an online greenhouse gas, water, and biodiversity calculator. The assessment offers an accounting of the farm’s CO2footprint and helps farmers develop action plans by showing how their fields would respond to specific practices. Then, each farmer receives an improvement plan with a list of best practices and a baseline for monitoring progress, including soil carbon, biodiversity, water retention, and animal welfare.

The Danone dairies use a Return on Investment calculator to assess the financial impacts of the regenerative changes each farmer plans to implement. The tool was developed in collaboration with Kansas State University and Sustainable Environmental Consultants and their management platform EcoPractices, a third party that’s working closely with the dairies in the regen program. In addition, the company is helping them connect with new sources of financing to help with the costs associated with changing their practices, including government funding.

In the case of its Horizon dairies, Danone has established a $15 million Farmer Investment Fund that allows farmers who institute regenerative practices to access low or no-cost loans. But it’s unclear how committed Horizon is to its farmers’ regenerative pursuits: At the end of August, the company announced it would terminate contracts with 89 Northeast organic dairies, effective next year. Danone cited “growing transportation and operational challenges in the dairy industry” as the reason for the terminations and told Civil Eats that it had “onboarded more than 50 producers new to Horizon Organic that better fit our manufacturing footprint.” Vermont Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts told the Associated Press that the company planned to “focus on larger farms in Midwest and West.”

“It’s really important that our farmers don’t feel like the transformation toward regenerative agriculture is a burden,” said Danone’s Bratter. “We’re not just coming with education opportunities, we’re also helping them assess the economic benefits and investments needed. And then we’re working to unlock resources and funding.” Danone has also formed several cross-industry partnerships to advance regenerative agriculture, including One Planet Business for Biodiversity and Farming for Generations.

Stonyfield’s pilot, in its second growing season, is focused on developing the right technology and digital tools to help dairy operators easily integrate regenerative practices and measure outcomes, including improvements to soil health and carbon sequestration. To this end, in 2019 the company helped develop and launch OpenTEAM, a collaborative, open-source agricultural management technology platform for farmers across the world. Its goal is to help farmers enter data, track it, and run agronomics forecasts to improve practices and apply for organic or regenerative certification, incentive programs, or even carbon credit opportunities, said Stonyfield’s Lundgren. And they can regularly measure their own carbon on the farm, without having to send soil samples to the lab.

Testing soil health and soil carbon as part of Stonyfield's pilot program.

Testing soil carbon as part of Stonyfield’s regenerative dairy pilot program.

While farms in Stonyfield’s dairy pilot will conduct core sampling and lab testing—an expensive and cumbersome process—the company is also helping to calibrate two new on-farm sampling tools that give instant readings of carbon content. The tools, Quick Carbon and Yard Stick, are both hand-held spectral analysis drills featuring cameras that “read” the soil’s carbon content based on its color. Several Stonyfield dairy operators will take up to 50 samples per farm this season using the drills, and the company plans to compare their readings with lab samples to see which gives the most accurate results, Lundgren said.

“We’re looking for the tools to make it easier to participate,” she said.

General Mills’ approach includes comprehensive group and individual education and one-on-one coaching/technical assistance over a minimum of three years, coupled with a train-the-trainer program that has the potential to expand regenerative practices on a regional scale, well beyond the company’s supply chain.

The company pays Williams, the consulting trainer from Understanding Ag, to work with the dairies. The idea, said Jay Watson, General Mills’ head of sourcing sustainability and regenerative agriculture, is to first help dairy operators understand how a regenerative system works. This includes teaching the principles of soil and ecosystem health and how to restore natural cycles that are broken in the current agricultural system. Based on this knowledge, dairy operators build a management plan that’s unique to their farms.

“Once the dairy producers embrace a different mindset, that’s when we see a greater propensity to try new things,” said Watson.

Because intense education and coaching are expensive and difficult to scale up, Watson said, General Mills plans to keep the number of dairies it brings into its regen program small. But it plans to pay others, such as nonprofits, conservation groups, and crop advisors to train and support hundreds of other dairy operators in their regions. An early example funded by the company is the Sustain our Great Lakes initiative, which seeks to increase the adoption of regenerative agriculture in the Great Lakes region, improve soil heath and water quality, and enrich fish and wildlife habitat.

Source: Civil Eats

Full speed ahead for NSW/QLD dairy industry unity

A global pandemic has failed to slow plans to set up a NSW/Queensland dairy farmer organisation to advocate for fresh milk producers in each state under the single banner of eastAUSmilk.

This was the verdict from Dairy Connect Farmers Group president Graham Forbes after reflecting on what he described as “months of negotiations” between Dairy Connect Farmers Group and the Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation.

“Our two organisations are moving towards forming a single dairy farmer organisation to best represent NSW/Queensland under the name ‘eastAUSmilk’, with the ‘AUS’ standing for Advocacy, Unity and Service,” Mr Forbes said

“Those of us who have been working towards achieving this outcome believe firmly in the themes and culture that we intend to bring to this new dairy farmer organisation.

“Subject to the lockdown that COVID-19 has imposed on the industry, it is hoped that we will be able to visit dairy regions so that we can seek producer views face-to-face.

“However, if we are not able to do so because of COVID-19 or for some other reason, any dairy farmer will be able to join representatives of the Dairy Connect Farmers Group when we hold a ‘webinar’ to discuss the consultation issues paper.”

Dairy Connect chief executive Shaughn Morgan said the consultation paper would be a further opportunity for dairy farmers to ask any questions they may have or issues they may wish to canvas.

“Dairy farmer engagement and their taking ownership are vital to the overall success of this merger,” he said.

“The systemic issues that the Australian dairy industry is confronting will not go away overnight and indeed we need to ensure that we remain strong and viable with a sustainable dairy industry into the future.

“The establishment of eastAUSmilk will provide strong dairy farmer representation and advocacy, as agreed and outlined in the Australian Dairy Plan, for dairy farmers in our two states.”

Mr Morgan said he did not intend to go through the discussion paper but rather allow producers the opportunity to read the paper and consider those matters they wanted to raise.

“Vitally, the paper provides an outline of matters discussed and some of these issues still need to be settled, but it provides a guide as to how we believe the merged organisation will operate into the future,” he said.

“In the meanwhile, if you have any comments that you would like to make now, please do not hesitate to contact either Graham Forbes on 0419 448 613 or email or me on 0401 421 214 or email

The consultation paper can be found at

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