News – Page 2

CWT-Assisted Dairy Product Export Sales Surpasses 400 Million Pounds Milk Equivalent

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) member cooperatives accepted 24 offers of export assistance from CWT secured sales contracts, raising the year-to-date milk equivalent of products sold to 419.3 million pounds on a milkfat basis.

The contracts captured this week included 2.302 million pounds (1,044 metric tons) of Cheddar, Gouda and Monterey Jack cheese; 1.056 million pounds (479 metric tons) of butter, and 5 million pounds (2,268 metric tons) of whole milk powder. These products are going to customers in Asia, Central and South America, and the Middle East, and will be delivered from March through September.

CWT-assisted member cooperative 2019 export sales now total 24.738 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 2.765 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) and 17.641 million pounds of whole milk powder. The products will be going to customers in 22 countries in six regions.

Assisting CWT members through the Export Assistance program positively affects all U.S. dairy farmers and all dairy cooperatives by strengthening and maintaining the value of dairy products that directly impact their milk price. It does this by helping member cooperatives gain and maintain world market share for U.S dairy products. As a result, the program has significantly expanded the total demand for U.S. dairy products and the demand for U.S. farm milk that produces those products.

The amounts of dairy products and related milk volumes reflect current contracts for delivery, not completed export volumes. CWT pays export assistance to the bidders only when export and delivery of the product is verified by required documentation.

 

Source: CWT

The curious case of tainted milk from a Maine dairy farm

For Maine dairy farmer Fred Stone, the discovery in 2016 that his cows were producing tainted milk has since brought financial ruin and threatened to shut down a century-old family business.

Now state regulators and health experts are investigating whether the contamination could reflect a much broader problem for farms that used similar methods to fertilize their land.

The chemicals on Stone’s farm likely came from biosolids, or nutrient-rich sewage from municipal utilities, that he spread across his fields, according to a report last year by Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The chemicals are known as perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS some of which have been linked to cancers, liver damage, low birth weight and other health problems.

The discovery of contaminated sites in Maine and around the country prompted Maine Governor Janet Mills this month to form a task force to study the extent of PFAS contamination and suggest protective measures. The state DEP says testing for the chemicals is underway at more than 95 sites.

“Staff has been specifically working on identifying farms statewide that may have received sludge and identifying the original source,” department spokesman David Madore said in a statement to Reuters.

Patrick MacRoy, deputy director at the Maine-based Environmental Health Strategy Center, said the contamination at the Stoneridge Farm raises questions about the safety of biosolids used at farms nationwide.

“The Stone case is incredibly troubling because the source of exposure – waste sludge – is something that is also spread across hundreds of farms in Maine and thousands nationally, he said.

Experts said that far more research is needed to determine how sludge-spreading programs may be contributing to contamination of groundwater, crops, or finished products such as milk.

Maybe this one farm is an oddball in Maine, but without further testing, theres no way to be sure, said Michael Rainey, a former biosolids inspector at the health department in neighboring New Hampshire.

Alan Bjerga, a spokesman for the National Milk Producers Federation, said that his organization believed the Stoneridge case to be an isolated event.

“We see no wide threat to the milk supply,” he said in a statement.

Grease and water-repellent PFAS have been used for decades in cookware, specialty paper, fabrics, firefighting foam and other products. State and federal regulators have been scrambling to set safety standards for human exposure to some of the chemical compounds.

Scores of lawsuits have been filed in pollution cases seeking billions of dollars from chemical manufacturers and industrial PFAS users. Two major cases have already settled in recent years for a combined $1.5 billion.

‘FOREVER CHEMICALS’

Stone and his wife Laura Stone run the Stoneridge Farm on 100 acres of land in southern Maine, one of hundreds of small-scale dairy operations across the U.S. northeast prized for the quality of their milk, cream and butter.

The Stones started spreading treated sewage in the 1980s as part of a state program that would help utilities get rid of the waste and fertilize pastures. They also used one delivery of sludge waste from a paper mill.

Concerns about PFAS in the farm’s milk first arose in 2016, when the local water district found the pollutants – often referred to as forever chemicals because they dont break down easily – in a well it maintained on the Stones’ land.

Stoneridge informed its milk distributor, Oakhurst, and the state DEP. Additional tests found high levels of PFAS in Stoneridges milk, soil, hay, and cow manure. The areas of highest soil contamination overlapped with where the sewer district sludge had been heaped, Stone said.

The Environmental Protection Agency has said that biosolids spreading programs are active in all 50 states. In Maine, 66 sites are currently permitted for sludge spreading, according to state data.

The numbers were higher during the years Stoneridge participated in the state-sponsored waste-spreading program, between 1983 and 2004. Data compiled in 2000 by the Toxics Action Network, an environmental group, showed that 226 sites, mostly farms, had sludge-spreading permits.

Much of the regulatory push around PFAS so far has focused on water. In 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency set a lifetime health advisory for two of the compounds – PFOS and PFOA, which a growing body of research has linked to health problems. The EPA recommended that drinking water should contain no more than 70 parts per trillion of these chemicals combined.

Theres no federal standard for safe levels in milk. But Maine public health officials said in 2017 that milk with PFOS exceeding 210 parts per trillion should be considered “adulterated” and banned from sale.

So far, this ban has only affected Stoneridge, whose milk had levels as high as 1,420 parts per trillion.

FADING FAMILY TRADITION

Fred Stone, 63, fears hes nearing the end of a century-old family tradition. The contamination ordeal has already put him in $500,000 of debt, he said. Hes considering selling some land and looking for a job.

My grandfather, my father, and myself, weve all been dairy farmers here, he said, wearing coveralls and mud-stained rubber boots as he walked the farmland his family bought in 1914.

Until a few weeks ago, Stone was still trying to salvage his dairy operation. He purchased several dozen new cows, installed a $20,000 water-filtration system and stopped using his farms hay for feed.

The effort at first seem to work. Last year, test results on his farms milk came back clean, and he was allowed to sell milk to Oakhurst again. But PFOS reappeared in the milk within months, causing distributor Oakhurst to permanently end its business relationship with Stoneridge.

When they dropped us, that was the end of our milk market, Stone said. So that was the end of us.

Source: cnbc.com

Cattle TB confirmed in Texas Dairies

While Texas State Veterinarian Dr. Dee Ellis says this week’s confirmation of Cattle tuberculosis (TB) in dairy herds at two Panhandle facilities is not expected to affect Texas’ TB-free status, animal health officials say they will immediately begin testing dairy, calf-raising and dairy heifer-raising operations in Texas and other states with epidemiological links to the infected herds to determine the possible origin and the potential for spread of the disease.

The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) announced the news this week (Jan. 13) after a federal testing laboratory confirmed cattle from two dairies in Castro County tested positive for the disease.

A comprehensive and effective animal health surveillance system developed by TAHC is being credited with quick identification and confirmation of the infected animals.

“The detection of these new herds simply indicates our strong surveillance system is effective. The TAHC is working closely with the dairies involved and the Texas dairy industry to ensure the disease is quickly contained and the affected dairies can return to normal business practices as soon as possible,” Ellis said.

Cattle tuberculosis is a chronic, debilitating disease of cattle caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium bovis. Human tuberculosis is caused by a closely related type of bacteria and was historically known as “consumption.” A variety of other species may be susceptible to cattle tuberculosis, including captive elk and exotic deer, bison, goats, swine, humans and cats. Sheep and horses are rarely affected.

Symptoms

Cattle tuberculosis is primarily a respiratory disease affecting lungs and chest lymph nodes. Symptoms can include progressive weight loss, chronic cough, and unexplained death losses.

Tuberculosis has a long incubation period (months to years) and was once the most prevalent infectious disease of cattle and swine in the United States. Bovine TB caused more losses among U.S. farm animals in the early part of the 20th century than all other infectious diseases combined. Through a cooperative state-federal program, bovine tuberculosis has been nearly eradicated from livestock in the United States. Texas has been declared free of TB, but constant vigilance is crucial to maintaining that TB-free status.

While the TABC announcement provided few details about the latest confirmed cases, a USDA-APHIS Cattle TB monthly update posted in November (2014) indicates dairy cattle from a Texas dairy were suspected of M. Bovis tuberculosis in early testing at time of slaughter and that the case was “pending.”

In that same federal update, a new case in a steer slaughtered in Texas was detected in November. Tissues were compatible for mycobacteriosis by histology and PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) was positive for Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex. Culture and genotyping were listed as pending. The update indicated the animal came from a lot of Mexican-origin cattle, but did not have official Mexican animal identification present at the time of slaughter.

So far USDA-APHIS has not acknowledged there a connection between the cases confirmed this week and those listed in the November monthly TB update.

In 2000, Texas won a battle against cattle TB, earning the U.S. Department of agriculture’s TB accredited-free status. In 2002, however, that status was revoked when two infected cattle herds were detected. After extensive testing, Texas regained its TB-free status from USDA in October 2006. This effort included testing 2,014 purebred beef operations and all 818 of the state’s dairies. Slaughter surveillance was also greatly enhanced at that time to ensure that any remaining TB infected herds would be detected.

Cattle TB is most often detected through carcass inspection at slaughter plants. Internal lesions that are identified by inspectors are collected and forwarded to a laboratory for confirmation of the disease. Efforts are made to track or “trace” the animal back to its herd of origin so that herd-mates or other exposed cattle can be tested.

Following the last TB incidents, TAHC effected several regulation changes to aid in tracing exposed or diseased animals and to help guard against re-introduction of TB.

Because of wide-scale problems with cattle TB in Mexico, as part of those rule changes, all Mexican-origin cattle are required to be retested 60 to 120 days after entry into Texas from Mexico by a Texas veterinarian. They must also receive a permit prior to entry into Texas from another state. In addition, such cattle originating in Mexico must have an official permanent form of identification and be listed individually on a health certificate prior to entry, and they must possess a current negative TB test performed within the previous12 months at all times.

For information about TB in the Panhandle, contact the Region 1 office at 1-806-354-9335. For general information about TB, call 1-800-550-8242 or visit.

Source: farmprogress.com

A dozen dairy cattle, barn lost in Rock Falls (IL) fire

A barn fire around 5 a.m. Monday at 270 Rock Island Road caused extensive damage and killed several dairy cows in rural Rock Falls, Capt. Nathan Hartman said.

Firefighters were called to the scene at 5:04 a.m. and found the barn, which measures about 100 feet by 60 feet, heavily involved. No one was injured, but about a dozen cows were killed and the barn is a total loss, Hartman said.

Firefighters were on scene until about noon Monday.

Source: SaukValley

New bipartisan bill introduced to address labor shortages on dairy farms

The American Dairy Coalition supports a new federal bill that has been introduced by Congressmen Anthony Brindisi, D-N.Y., and John Joyce, R-Pa., to expand the current H-2A visa program, allowing for its use by dairy farmers.

The bill will amend the Immigration and Nationality Act, making it suitable for the year-round labor needs of the dairy industry by allowing for an initial three-year visa with an option to extend for another three years. Under current law, dairy workers are not allowed to utilize H-2A visas because the dairy industry is not considered seasonal. This new legislation will change this and allow workers from outside of the United States to utilize the H-2A to access agricultural jobs on dairy farms.

“It is clear that one of the reasons our dairy farmers in Pennsylvania’s 13th District are struggling is because they are lacking the manpower that they need to produce their goods and get them to market,” said Congressman Joyce in a press release on his website. “Milk production in our country relies heavily on our migrant workers, and for far too long Congress has harmed the dairy industry by failing to fix our broken immigration system. This small change to the H-2A visa classification will come as welcome news to our dairy farmers and will give them flexibility that they need to be more efficient and profitable.”

“As a fourth-generation dairy farmer, my family has poured our hearts and souls into our dairy farm and the dairy industry for over 110 years. Our farm along with many other dairy farms throughout our great country have come to rely on migrant workers to milk, feed and care for our dairy cows on our farms,” said Walt Moore, ADC president. “We need to have a steady, highly skilled, reliable work force to continue to properly care for our cows and to continue to produce one of the safest, healthiest foods in the world. I applaud Congressman John Joyce and Anthony Brindisi for understanding the needs of the American dairy farmer and introducing a bill that will amend the current H2A program to allow dairy famers throughout the country to access year round migrant workers. Please take a few minutes out of your busy day and reach out to your representative in congress to pass this bill into law.”

 

The American Dairy Coalition encourages all ADC members to reach out their legislators and encourage them to support this bill as a significant step forward in securing a reliable labor force to care for your cows.

Australian supermarket giants pledge to raise milk prices by 10 cents a litre — in the short term

Major retailers Coles and Aldi have increased the price of cheap milk in a bid to help struggling dairy farmers.

Key points:

  • Both Coles and Aldi will match Woolworths and charge an extra 10 cents per litre for their home brand milk
  • The supermarkets say the measures are temporary, to aid struggling dairy farmers
  • However, both retailers said industry reforms were needed to address the problems facing dairy producers

The supermarkets had been under pressure to follow competitor Woolworths, which increased the cost of its home-brand milk by 10 cents per litre last month.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud recently called on Australian shoppers to boycott Aldi and Coles for as long as the supermarkets continued to offer cheap milk.

Coles and Aldi both issued statements on Tuesday night announcing the price of two and three-litre home brand milk at their stores would increase by 10 cents per litre from March 20.

Coles described the price increase as an interim measure, and Aldi said the price hike was a short-term solution.

Both supermarkets said the proceeds would be passed on to dairy farmers.

“This victory is a good start in the war against $1-a-litre milk,” Mr Littleproud said.

“I welcome this news and I encourage supermarkets and processors to spread this right across the dairy range.”

Coles chief executive Steven Cain said drought had compounded many of the difficult issues Australian dairy farmers are facing.

Announcing the price increase, Mr Cain said the retailer was “continuing to explore long-term solutions with government and industry stakeholders” to help the dairy industry.

“However, we know that many dairy farmers cannot wait for structural reform to be delivered so we are moving to provide relief right now,” Mr Cain said.

In a written statement, Aldi Australia spokesman Oliver Bongardt said the German retailer would work with dairy processors to support the long-term viability of the dairy industry.

“Our decision to increase fresh milk prices has been reached in recognition of the significant issues currently impacting the dairy industry and the fact that broader government-led policy reform is unlikely to occur in the short term,” Mr Bongardt said.

The price increase comes as Australian dairy farmers are expected to produce the lowest level of milk since the mid-1990s.

A growing number of dairy farmers are exiting the industry, saying it costs more to produce the milk than they are paid for it.

Drought, a downturn in crucial export markets, and high feed, water and electricity prices have made it difficult for farmers to compete since a global downturn in mid-2016.

Source: abc.net.au

ICE raid at NY dairy farm sends shivers

The fears weigh on Mike McMahon: If one of his undocumented workers gets a traffic ticket, it could prompt an immigration audit of his entire farm. If another gets detained by immigration agents at a roadside checkpoint or in a supermarket parking lot, the rest may flee. And if his undocumented workforce disappears overnight, there is no one to replace them.

“It keeps me up at night,” said McMahon, who owns a dairy farm south of Syracuse. “There are people out there who just say, ‘Send them all back and build a wall.’ But they would be facing empty shelves in the grocery store if that were to happen.”

It has long been an open secret in upstate New York that the dairy industry has been able to survive only by relying on undocumented immigrants for its workforce. Now, this region has become a national focal point in the debate over President Donald Trump’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants and their role in agriculture.

The tensions have escalated to such a degree over the last year that Gov. Andrew Cuomo described federal agents as reckless, accusing Immigration and Customs Enforcement of violating the rights of farmers in pursuing undocumented immigrants.

Cuomo was responding to a high-profile raid on a dairy farm, during which a farmer was briefly handcuffed after protesting that ICE agents were mistreating one of his workers. The farmer claimed ICE did not have a warrant to enter his farm.

Cuomo is a Democrat, but Republicans who represent upstate New York in Congress have also come to the defense of the farmers.

The pressures here reflect broader challenges facing farmers across the country who rely on undocumented workers. The farmers are struggling with a shrinking labor pool as fewer migrants cross illegally into the country and migrants who are long-term residents become too old for field work.

This year the labor shortage has been compounded by Trump’s trade war and extreme weather, forcing some small farmers to switch to higher-value crops, to reduce their acreage and to consider selling their farms.

If anything, the situation in upstate New York is more difficult.

Smaller dairy farmers here have been some of the hardest hit by tougher immigration enforcement because their workers are subject to scrutiny from both ICE and the border patrol, which is allowed to operate within 100 miles of the border — in this case, with Canada.

Agriculture contributes an estimated $37 billion to New York’s economy and is responsible for nearly 200,000 jobs.

“We are seeing that the immigration enforcement is having a tremendous enforcement impact on farmworkers, on farms,” said Mary Jo Dudley, director of the Cornell Farmworker Program. “For many farmers, there’s no alternative labor force.”

To search private property like a farm, ICE needs a warrant that shows reason to believe a particular undocumented immigrant is living or working there. But if undocumented workers leave the farm to go to a grocery store, they can be approached by ICE agents in a parking lot or a roadside checkpoint, detained and deported.

Advocates for undocumented immigrants said ICE agents target immigrants indiscriminately in these public spaces. But ICE disputes those claims.

“ICE continues to focus its limited resources first and foremost on those who pose the greatest threat to public safety,” said an ICE spokesman, Khaalid Walls. “ICE only conducts targeted immigration enforcement. The agency does not conduct raids or sweeps that target aliens indiscriminately.”

Supporters of stricter immigration policies said they were sympathetic to the plight of small farms. But they pointed out that the farms’ reliance on inexpensive, undocumented labor would handicap U.S. agriculture in the long term.

They argue that while immigration crackdowns could force farms to consolidate and mechanize and may be hard for individual farmers, it would make the industry more competitive globally.

“The more productive policy response would be subsidized loans to invest in machinery for small-scale farmers, rather than revising how we import foreign workers and perpetuating the labor-intensive old-fashioned way of doing business,” said Mark Krikorian, executive director for the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank that favors restricting immigration.

Dairy farmers face particular challenges because without American workers, they have no alternative to migrant labor. The government program that brings in legal temporary workers does so only for seasonal workers and dairy farming is a year-round activity.

In Washington, lawmakers representing dairy-heavy districts have tried to reform the legal foreign workers program to include year-round dairy workers.

But so far, efforts have fallen short. These lawmakers are caught between staunch conservatives who consider any reprieve a form of amnesty and Democrats who want more comprehensive immigration reform, which would also address the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, and immigrants with Temporary Protected Status.

Over the last 50 years, U.S. farms have relied on two labor forces: migrants who settled in the country during the migration wave of the 1960s and ‘70s; and those who stayed temporarily, illegally crossing the border for each harvest season. But today, permanent migrants who settled are reaching their 60s, fewer and fewer seasonal migrants are coming to the United States, and enforcement operations are driving the few migrants left out of the state.

Source: AgWeek

Tight Labor Market Raises U.S. Wages on Dairy Farms

President Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration in the United States is producing higher wages and better working conditions on American dairy farms, the New York Times admits.

Though 1.5 million legal immigrants continue to be admitted to the country every year, and illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border soars to historic levels, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency efforts to go after employers who hire illegal aliens are proving to be an economic surplus for lower-wage workers.

The latest New York Times report on immigration details complaints from dairy farmers who argue that they needed illegal aliens to survive as a viable business. Recent ICE raids of dairy farms, they claim, have made dairy farming more difficult as they can no longer readily rely on cheaper, foreign workers.

Dairy farm workers, on the other hand, are seeing the benefits of Trump’s “Hire American” tight labor market through increased wages and better working conditions:

Without a legal alternative to informal migrant labor, the competition between dairy farms to retain migrant workers is so fierce that farm owners, once notorious for underpaying and mistreating workers, are now improving working conditions and wages to entice employees to stay on their farms, workers said. [Emphasis added]

Victor Cortez is an immigrant who has worked on a dairy farm in western New York for 18 years. A few years ago, farm owners “wouldn’t let us leave the farm,” he said, adding, “They wouldn’t pay us as much as they promised they would.” [Emphasis added]

“But the good thing about it now,” he said, “is that we get paid more and this farmer is good to me.” [Emphasis added]

For decades, a flooded labor market for America’s working and middle class due to mass legal and illegal immigration has produced generations of low-wage workers, stagnant salaries, and a cheaper labor economy — a benefit to employers at the expense of American workers.

Center for Immigration Studies Director Mark Krikorian said that rather than U.S. dairy farms relying on an endless flow of cheaper, foreign workers, the federal government ought to provide subsidized loans for smaller dairy farmers to invest in robots and machines that can do the work more efficiently and without Americans having to subsidize the cost of illegal alien labor.

A Bloomberg report from 2015 highlighted the effectiveness of dairy farmers mechanizing:

A recent analysis by Goldman Sachs revealed how Trump’s tightened labor market for America’s working and middle class helped grow wages by four percent in 12 months.

ICE has played a crucial role in carrying out Trump’s “Hire American” economic nationalist agenda by indirectly reducing the foreign competition, which U.S. workers have been subjected to. Last fiscal year, for example, ICE agents deported more than a quarter of a million illegal aliens, including more than 95,000 deportations of illegal aliens who were living in the interior of the country.

Currently, the nation’s Washington, DC-imposed policy on mass legal immigration — where about 1.5 million unskilled legal immigrants are admitted to the U.S. every year — is a boon to corporate executives, Wall Street, big business, and multinational conglomerates, as working and middle-class Americans have their wealth redistributed to the country’s top earners through wage stagnation.

Research by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has discovered that immigration to the country shifts about $500 billion in wages away from working and middle-class Americans to new arrivals and economic elites.

Source: breitbart.com

Small Pennsylvania family farm shares concerns of dairy industry

A Mercersburg farmer believes price fixing is negatively impacting the dairy industry for small farms natiowide.

 
“The problem in the dairy industry today is the low milk prices that’s being paid to the farmers and the reason that’s happening is because the usda has the authority to set the price of milk,” Charles Goetz, dairy farmer, said.
 
Goetz even went as far as writing a letter to President Donald Trump expressing his issues with surplus and milk production.
 
He says that his cooperatives require a certain amount of milk for each pck-up. Economically, Goetz said his production has became a full time job.
 
“Once you go above 40 cows that is your job you can’t make money off the farm anymore, that’s your full time job so if your taxes go up well you got to milk a few more cows which adds to the surplus,” Goetz said.
 
Goetz thinks the U.S. Department of Agriculture authorizes the milk prices which he believes are too low to sustain a well working farm.
Source: localdvm.com

Milk Markets Lower Monday in Chicago

On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Monday milk futures were down and cash dairy prices were unchanged except for butter, following Friday’s selloff of 20 cents per cwt. March lost 2 cents per cwt. to $14.92 while April fell another 13 cents to $14.75 per cwt. Beyond April, milk prices declined 2-8 cents per cwt. The March-June average now stands at $15.02. The 2ndhalf is offering $16.15 per cwt.  Class IV markets had little change with May 5 cents stronger, September 7 cents lower and November down 3 cents. The March-June 2019 average closed Monday at $15.99 while the 2ndhalf ended at $16.65 per cwt. respectively.

Dry whey was down $.02 at $.30 cents per pound. Five sales were recorded at that price. Forty-pound blocks were unchanged at $1.56 per pound. No sales were recorded. Barrels were unchanged at $1.4925 per pound. No sales were recorded. Grade AA Butter was up $.0050 to $2.2850 per pound. One sale was recorded at that price. Nonfat dry milk was unchanged at $.9675 per pound. No sales were recorded.

Holstein USA 2019 Member Update Meeting Videos Now Online

Holstein Association USA (HAUSA) invites all to view videos from the recent Member Update Meeting. The meeting was held in conjunction with the California Holstein Association State Convention.

“We have furthered our market reach through the Basic ID Program, as we now touch 380,994 Holsteins through this program. This compares to the 105,853 head that went through the program in 2003. This represents an increase of 275,141 animals.

“Clearly there is value in Registered and identified Holsteins. That’s why you have increased the number of Holsteins we’re identifying by 90 percent in 15 years,” says John Meyer, CEO of Holstein Association USA.

The meeting is broken down into several sections for ease of viewing. See the following video presentations:

HAUSA Staff Presentations

  • 2018 State of Association Address – HAUSA CEO John Meyer
  • HAUSA Director Elections – Bill Genasci, Region 9 director
  • HAUSA Products and Services Update – Lindsey Worden, executive director, Holstein genetic services
  • AgriTech Analytics (ATA) Update – Bill VerBoort, ATA general manager
  • Calendar of Events – Jodi Hoynoski, executive director, Holstein identification and member services

Guest Speakers

  • Better Cows, More Profit – How Genetics Paves the Way – Dr. Jason Osterstock, Zoetis, executive director, global genetics
  • A Data Driven Approach to Sourcing the Profit Focused Beef Bulls for Your Registered Holstein® Program – Chip Kemp, director, ASA & IGS commercial and industry operations, American Simmental Association
  • Holstein USA and Allflex – From Animal Identification to Animal Intelligence – Glenn Fischer, president, Allflex USA and Darin Johnson, manager, dairy ID programs for HAUSA

This is the sixth year that HAUSA has recorded its Member Update Meeting and posted videos online. They can be viewed at www.youtube.com/HolsteinUSA or by visiting the Holstein USA website, www.holsteinusa.com and click on Meetings & Conventions in the main menu, select Member Update Meeting.

 

Trump Crackdown Unnerves Immigrants, and the Farmers Who Rely on Them

The fears weigh on Mike McMahon: If one of his undocumented workers gets a traffic ticket, it could prompt an immigration audit of his entire farm. If another gets detained by immigration agents at a roadside checkpoint or in a supermarket parking lot, the rest may flee. And if his undocumented work force disappears overnight, there is no one to replace them.

“It keeps me up at night,” said Mr. McMahon, who owns a dairy farm south of Syracuse. “There are people out there who just say, ‘Send them all back and build a wall.’ But they would be facing empty shelves in the grocery store if that were to happen.”

It has long been an open secret in upstate New York that the dairy industry has been able to survive only by relying on undocumented immigrants for its work force. Now, this region has become a national focal point in the debate over President Trump’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants and their role in agriculture.

The tensions have escalated to such a degree over the last year that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo described federal agents as reckless, accusing Immigration and Customs Enforcement of violating the rights of farmers in pursuing undocumented immigrants.

Mr. Cuomo was responding to a high-profile raid on a dairy farm, during which a farmer was briefly handcuffed after protesting that ICE agents were mistreating one of his workers. The farmer claimed ICE did not have a warrant to enter his farm.

Mr. Cuomo is a Democrat, but Republicans who represent upstate New York in Congress have also come to the defense of the farmers.

The pressures here reflect broader challenges facing farmers across the country who rely on undocumented workers. The farmers are struggling with a shrinking labor pool as fewer migrants cross illegally into the country and migrants who are long-term residents become too old for field work.

This year the labor shortage has been compounded by Mr. Trump’s trade war and extreme weather, forcing some small farmers to switch to higher-value crops, to reduce their acreage and to consider selling their farms.

If anything, the situation in upstate New York is more difficult.

Smaller dairy farmers here have been some of the hardest hit by tougher immigration enforcement because their workers are subject to scrutiny from both ICE and the border patrol, which is allowed to operate within 100 miles of the border — in this case, with Canada.

For decades it has been an open secret in upstate New York that the dairy industry has been able to survive only by relying on undocumented immigrants.CreditLibby March for The New York Times

Image
For decades it has been an open secret in upstate New York that the dairy industry has been able to survive only by relying on undocumented immigrants.CreditLibby March for The New York Times

Agriculture contributes an estimated $37 billion to New York’s economy and is responsible for nearly 200,000 jobs.

“We are seeing that the immigration enforcement is having a tremendous enforcement impact on farm workers, on farms,” said Mary Jo Dudley, director of the Cornell Farmworker Program. “For many farmers, there’s no alternative labor force.”

To search private property like a farm, ICE needs a warrant that shows reason to believe a particular undocumented immigrant is living or working there. But if undocumented workers leave the farm to go to a grocery store, they can be approached by ICE agents in a parking lot or a roadside checkpoint, detained and deported.

Advocates for undocumented immigrants said ICE agents target immigrants indiscriminately in these public spaces. But ICE disputes those claims.

“ICE continues to focus its limited resources first and foremost on those who pose the greatest threat to public safety,” said an ICE spokesman, Khaalid Walls. “ICE only conducts targeted immigration enforcement. The agency does not conduct raids or sweeps that target aliens indiscriminately.”

Supporters of stricter immigration policies said they were sympathetic to the plight of small farms. But they pointed out that the farms’ reliance on inexpensive, undocumented labor would handicap American agriculture in the long term.

They argue that while immigration crackdowns could force farms to consolidate and mechanize and may be hard for individual farmers, it would make the industry more competitive globally.

“The more productive policy response would be subsidized loans to invest in machinery for small-scale farmers, rather than revising how we import foreign workers and perpetuating the labor-intensive old-fashioned way of doing business,” said Mark Krikorian, executive director for the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank that favors restricting immigration.

Dairy farmers face particular challenges because without American workers, they have no alternative to migrant labor. The government program that brings in legal temporary workers does so only for seasonal workers and dairy farming is a year-round activity.

In Washington, lawmakers representing dairy-heavy districts have tried to reform the legal foreign workers program to include year-round dairy workers.

Mark Nicholson of Red Jacket Orchards switched to using the legal foreign worker program last year. “We didn’t really have a choice but to use to H-2A,” he said.CreditLibby March for The New York Times

Image

 
Mark Nicholson of Red Jacket Orchards switched to using the legal foreign worker program last year. “We didn’t really have a choice but to use to H-2A,” he said.CreditLibby March for The New York Times

But so far, efforts have fallen short. These lawmakers are caught between staunch conservatives who consider any reprieve a form of amnesty and Democrats who want more comprehensive immigration reform, which would also address the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, and immigrants with Temporary Protected Status.

“We’ll have detractors on both sides,” said Representative Chris Collins, a Republican in western New York.

Still, Mr. Collins said, a solution is urgently required to keep dairy farms afloat while the political impasse over a comprehensive immigration package drags on. “There’s not a single person representing dairy that doesn’t understand it’s a crisis, a true crisis,” he said.

He plans to introduce legislation in the coming weeks that would offer temporary employment authorization to year-round farmworkers on dairies as a stopgap measure.

Deportations have been a concern for New York’s farmers and farm workers since the early 2000s, when the sudden enforcement of immigration laws led to a rash of immigration enforcement activities on farms across the state. After the Obama administration narrowed the pool of immigrants ICE prioritized for deportation, some sense of security returned to upstate farming communities, which was shattered when Mr. Trump took office.

“We had heard things were starting to get bad, some wineries in the area and quite a few in the Finger Lakes started losing workers. It was almost immediately after Trump took office that ICE started snagging people,” said Kelly Raby, a vineyard owner in Lewiston.

Last fall, Victor Pacheco, the foreman on Ms. Raby’s family farm for 23 years, was detained by ICE agents and deported to Mexico.

Ms. Raby has struggled to find a foreman skilled enough to manage her vineyard, where the grapevines are now dusted in a light coat of snow and in need of winter pruning. This has left her uncertain about the future of their family farm and the president she helped vote into office.

“I still agree with Trump in a lot of ways, but I’m more on the fence about him now,” Ms. Raby said. “I don’t want to lose the immigrants who are working here and growing our food.”

Over the last 50 years, American farms have relied on two labor forces: migrants who settled in the United States during the migration wave of the 1960s and 1970s; and those who stayed temporarily, illegally crossing the border for each harvest season. But today, permanent migrants who settled are reaching their 60s, fewer and fewer seasonal migrants are coming to the United States, and enforcement operations are driving the few migrants left out of the state.

Victor Cortez, 42, has now worked on dairy farms for 15 years, specializing in trimming hooves and inseminating the cows.CreditLibby March for The New York Times

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Victor Cortez, 42, has now worked on dairy farms for 15 years, specializing in trimming hooves and inseminating the cows.CreditLibby March for The New York Times

“Today you go to work and you don’t know if you’ll come back home and be with your family again,” said Eladio Beltran, an immigrant from Mexico who works in an apple orchard in Albion. He is currently awaiting deportation proceedings after being pulled over by state troopers and taken into ICE custody.

“Being undocumented and living in New York State is not worth it anymore,” he said.

For dairy farmers like Mr. McMahon, if even one of his migrant workers leaves, the absence has a drastic effect on his 2,300-acre farm operation. He depends on having enough workers for round-the-clock shifts, seven days a week. They keep this schedule year-round, he said, to ensure his roughly 800 cows are milked three times a day, their calves are fed, and all cows are medically cared for.

“What we really want is some kind of method of getting foreign workers legally,” Mr. McMahon said from his farm in Homer, about 30 miles south of Syracuse.

Owners of apple orchards and vineyards, who can afford to, have also started turning to the H-2A program, the legal foreign worker program that brings agricultural labor to the United States for temporary work.

Critics of the program argue that workers are often exploited by employers and risk deportation if they complain about mistreatment. Farmers complain that it is costly, complicated and laden with bureaucracy.

“We didn’t really have a choice but to use to H-2A,” said Mark Nicholson of Red Jacket Orchards, which switched to using the program last year. “When the system works, it answers one of our biggest challenges to staying in business — and that’s having a reliable source of skilled farm labor. But when it doesn’t work, it dooms us to the same risk as before.”

If the issue of undocumented farm workers is left unaddressed, there will be an impact across the supply chain. “There will be long-term consequences that not only our farms will deal with, but consumers will have to deal with as well,” said Steve Ammerman, the senior associate director of public policy at the New York Farm Bureau.

Without a legal alternative to informal migrant labor, the competition between dairy farms to retain migrant workers is so fierce that farm owners, once notorious for underpaying and mistreating workers, are now improving working conditions and wages to entice employees to stay on their farms, workers said.

Victor Cortez is an immigrant who has worked on a dairy farm in western New York for 18 years. A few years ago, farm owners “wouldn’t let us leave the farm,” he said, adding, “They wouldn’t pay us as much as they promised they would.”

“But the good thing about it now,” he said, “is that we get paid more and this farmer is good to me.”

Source: nytimes.com

The Reality on Cows and Climate Goals

It’s time to address the “cow” in the room. By that, we mean any potentially cow-centric misconceptions or ideas about fighting climate change. California has made great progress as a long-time leader in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and its dairy farms are doing their part, producing highly nutritious and affordable foods while continually reducing their carbon “hoofprint.” Our dairy farmers know that further improving environmental performance is not just about what’s “technically feasible,” but also what’s economically sustainable. In a tremendous undertaking, California dairy farmers are currently partnering with the state to further shrink dairy’s carbon footprint to unprecedented levels and support the transition to clean energy and transportation. We hope these efforts can serve as a model of what’s possible—to help distinguish the highly-ambitious-but-achievable climate goals from any pie-in-the-sky ones.

In discussing cows and realistic climate strategies, let’s start with reviewing dairy’s contribution. In California—the nation’s leading dairy state—the entire livestock sector (including cattle, swine, poultry, and sheep) produces about 5 percent the total GHG emissions. The California dairy sector’s relatively low carbon footprint, compared to other regions around the world, has been achieved through decades of improved efficiencies—producing more milk with fewer cows. California dairies continue to reduce GHGs by reducing reliance on fossil fuels through solar energy generationconversion of farm equipment to electricity and adoption of energy-efficient measures and equipment. And now, the state’s dairy farmers are actively pursuing the reduction of methane—a short-lived climate pollutant.

In California, approximately half of dairy methane emissions are enteric (coming directly from cows), while the other half come from how manure is handled and stored. Several emerging feed additives show potential to reduce enteric emissions; however, none are yet commercially available. California is the only region in the world with a goal to reduce dairy manure methane emissions by 40 percent by 2030. Three main strategies are being used: 1) capturing methane via digesters and turning it into renewable energy, 2) avoiding methane via alternative manure management technologies and strategies, and 3) supporting ongoing research into new and better ways to reduce manure methane. The state and its farmers are making great progress, but achieving the 40 percent goal will require continued incentive funding and ongoing coordination in all three areas—not to mention the cutting-edge research needed to accurately measure emissions (and verify reductions) at an unprecedented level. Through the use of digesters, California dairies are not only shrinking their carbon footprint, they are also helping the state transition to clean energy.

Of the state’s 48 climate programs, the Dairy Digester Research and Development Program is the most effective investment to date in terms of total GHG reduction. It’s also the third most cost-effective, providing one ton of GHG reduction for every $8 invested by the state. By comparison, heavy-duty transportation sector investments are providing just one ton of GHG reduction for every $600 invested by the state.

The state is investing in projects that will create carbon-negative renewable natural gas (RNG). According to the California Air Resources Control Board (CARB), dairy biomethane is by far the least carbon-intensive transportation fuel currently available in California with a negative carbon intensity score of -255, making it nearly ten times more effective at reducing carbon than even electric vehicles. Aside from GHG reduction, when used in heavy-duty trucks, the renewable fuel will play a significant role in helping improve air quality.

With continued funding, the state is on pace to have as many as 120 dairy digesters operating by 2022. This effort will require significant investments in infrastructure needed to collect biomethane from the dairy digesters and to clean, condition, and inject it into natural gas pipelines. Meanwhile, CARB is working to create stable market incentives for the sale of the RNG. Additionally, with the implementation of Senate Bill 1440 (Hueso, 2018), utilities may soon be procuring biomethane under long-term contracts from dairies and other projects. These developments will be essential in ensuring the long-term economic sustainability of the state’s barn-to-biogas projects.

While there is still much work ahead, California has achieved significant milestones. Dairy farmers have a long history of working with state officials and researchers. A key factor in success so far is that incentive programs offer practical approaches for farmers to improve manure management in ways that work best for their operation. Continued incentives will be critical for family farmers who are dedicated to the environment, but are also struggling with rising labor, energy, and regulatory costs. In the past ten years alone, more than 500 California dairy farm families (28 percent) have either closed their operations or left the state. That’s why voluntarily achieving the 40 percent goal—and avoiding the need for future costly regulation—is critical to sustaining the state’s remaining family farms, which are among the most environmentally friendly in the world.

It’s a challenging task, but California is developing a world-leading model for climate-smart dairy farming. The state is demonstrating how well dairy can fit into a low-carbon future as an affordable and nutritious food for a growing population and as a valuable source of renewable energy. However, accomplishing the 40 percent goal by 2030 will require ongoing incentive funding and continued cooperation. So, when we hear of cow flatulence and pie-in-the-sky climate goals, we hope the joint effort of California and its dairy farmers will serve as a helpful example.

Source: CDRF

4 ways the best dairy farmers are producing 1,000kg of MS a cow

Recent figures show the top 15% of Kite Consulting’s clients are producing between 840-1,000kg of milk solids (MS) a cow a year.

Genetic data and management strategies were assessed from about 100 dairy farms involved with the Asda Pathfinder Group.

Within this group are 17 farmers taking part on the 1.5 Group, which looks at how cows can achieve production of 1.5kg of MS/kg liveweight – a level of production some the very best-performing dairy herds in the world are delivering.

David Levick from Kite Consulting explains what these farmers are doing differently to achieve such good yields and constituents which help increase their return.

He says it’s not just about driving milk constituents but instead improving a range of things from feeding and management, to lighting, ventilation and feed space.

Below are some common factors Kite has identified within this group as well as other high-production herds, as important to improving milk solids output.

1. Make the right sire selection for production

 Don’t select bulls just on milk constituents.

“Given the emphasis put on this by some milk buyers, we’ve seen many farmers focusing totally on fat and protein percentages as their primary breeding goal and compromising on yield.

“In some cases, milk yield per cow has actually dropped, making overall milk solids per cow do the same or, at best, flat line,” says Mr Levick.

Production traits are highly heritable and a slight change in focus will make a huge difference very quickly.

High-producing herds are selecting sires that are both high production and transmit good constituents.

2. Breed from your best animals and not just heifers

Select the best possible genetics to make each cow place as efficient and profitable as possible.

In many cases we wrongly presume heifers have the best genetics and are therefore the best breeding stock, but this is nearly always not the case, says Mr Levick.

Usually, about 60% of heifers can be classed as genetically superior to the rest of the herd.

This means that if you leave the future development of your herd just in the hands of your heifers, about 40% will be well under par, he adds.

Herds using genomics across all youngstock to identify breeding animals achieve higher milk solids.

3. Practise multi-cut to produce high-quality forage

Herds that are producing high levels of milk solids are benefiting hugely from very high-quality forage, in the form of multi-cut silage.

This approach sees grass cut more regularly – possibly up to six times – but can help deliver better-quality silage which in turn improves intakes, drives constituents and can help lower concentrates.

Mr Levick says the target is to feed 60% high-quality silage in the diet.

4. Adopt compact feeding and get it right

Many of the high milk solids herds have fully adopted compact feeding and are reaping the rewards as a result.

Studies have shown that compact feeding, which involves soaking concentrates in water and pre-mixing, can increase yields but 1.6 litres a cow and lift butterfat.

But the key is doing it properly, Mr Levick stresses:

  • High-quality silage is crucial
  • It must be chopped at around 10mm length
  • And, crucially, with a dry matter should not be less than 35%

 

Source: Farmers Weekly

Migrant workers the backbone of the dairy industry, doing the work Kiwis won’t

Navdeep Singh has worked on dairy farms in New Zealand since 2007. Originally from India, he came to New Zealand in 2006 to study tourism at Lincoln University but gave away the course to go dairying.

“I started at the bottom and worked my way up to become a contract milker,” he says.

“I don’t want to go back to India where you can work, but you won’t get anywhere.”

Singh is one of about 2000 migrant workers from as far afield as the Philippines, Brazil and India who bolster New Zealand’s dairy industry, making up 15 per cent of the workforce. The statistics are almost double in provinces like Southland where dairying plays a significant role in the economy.

He says he has no ambition to own a dairy farm and may only stay in the industry for another few years. Although he would like to stay in New Zealand.

“To say I’m going to stay in dairying for life … well life is a long time. I’d like to explore other options.”

Singh is married to Dutch immigrant Ellen van der Velden, who also works in the industry.

Singh’s employer, John Gregan of Waimate says Navdeep could go ” all the way” in the dairy industry.

“I have talked to Navi about this,” he says. “He has a real understanding of feed budgets and how to look after cows. He would have a great career in dairy if he wanted to continue.”

Selwyn dairy farmer Michael Woodward says he employs migrant workers because there is a shortage of skilled Kiwi labour.

“My preference is to employ Kiwis, but at the same time, the jobs on-farm require a certain level of skill. So we choose the right person for the job which happens to be a migrant worker,” Woodward says.

In his team, he has two junior Kiwis and a Kiwi manager, but his intermediate staff are from Brazil and the Netherlands.

“The Netherlands girl put herself through the industry training schemes and is being pro-active in preparing for the next step up.”

That’s something young Kiwis aren’t doing, he says. They’re expecting it to be given to them. So when it comes time to evaluate who to put into the next position, they haven’t done the extra work.

The wages are pretty good these days, $50,000 to $100,000 for a farm manager. That’s for 50 hours on a six days on, two days off roster. And it only takes five years of commitment to get into a management role where you are earning upward of $100,000 a year, Woodward says.

That compares with a shepherd’s wage on a sheep and beef property of $43,000; a head shepherd $51,000 and a farm manager $63,000.

On an arable farm a manager would earn $58,000, and a tractor driver 51,000. Operations manager on a dairy farm could expect to get upward of $90,000. It is easy to see what’s the most attractive option.

A lot of the farm owners are ageing, and they need employees coming through to take their place. If dairying is not promoted as a valid vocation, farms won’t be able to run cows because there will be no one to milk them, Woodward says.

“If I had a choice of who to employ? The easier route is definitely a Kiwi, but if they aren’t the right fit for the team, you are better off putting yourself through the hassle of that extra paperwork and expense and getting someone from overseas.”

Armado Cruz works on a dairy farm in the Selwyn district. He arrived from the Philipines two years ago and has worked his way into a second in charge this after spending six months on a dairy farm in Saudi Arabia.

“I am happy in my job,” he says. “But would rather my family were here as well. I’m hoping this will happen soon.”

He regularly sends money home to his wife but says he worries about her welfare and that of his two children. This can be a distraction, he says.

“To begin with I found the new culture and the weather hard,” he says.

“It helped that there were other Filipinos around and I do spend more time with them than with Kiwis. We are all in the same boat together which is nice.

“On the whole working here is a good experience. My boss is very good, very understanding of my position, and I appreciate that he made an effort to employ me, as I know this was difficult.”

He says the paperwork to get a work visa was extensive, and there was a time he thought of giving the idea of working in New Zealand away but is glad he pushed ahead.

“I feel I have a future in dairying that I wouldn’t have had back in the Philipines. I’m hoping to become a manager in the next few years. And the money is good. I could never earn this money at home.”

Antonio Alvarez has been working on a dairy farm in Southland for almost three years. He initially came on a tourist visa but wanted to stay.

“I volunteered on a farm for a few weeks, then applied for a temporary work visa and have been here ever since,” he says.

Alvarez has experience on dairy farms in Brazil and now works in a in a assistant manger position.

“I enjoy the work, the lifestyle. I enjoy Kiwis. I am learning a skill that I hope will get me a better job when I get home.”

There are plenty of Brazilians working on farms in Southland, he says. Isolation isn’t a problem, and he doesn’t feel homesick.

He would like a contract milking position in the future.

Federated Farmers national president Katie Milne, who dairy farms at Rotomanu on the West Coast, says. there is reasonable pool of Kiwi labour her area and she has not employed migrants.

“The gaps get filled, but not necessarily at the standard we would like. Some floaters wander around doing a bit of work here and there, and they fill a gap,” she says.

“But I would prefer to have someone more invested and wanting to make a future for themselves rather than get the pay cheque and go to the pisser.”

New Zealanders don’t seem to realise there are opportunities in the industry – they don’t hear the good stuff, she says.

“It’s bloody good money. We are getting to the stage of struggling to afford it on a smaller farm. You want a high standard of work delivered for that pay rate.”

She said migrant workers rarely stayed in the district.

“We have found that after two weeks they are asking where Ashburton is as that’s where there are other internationals. So they don’t hang around on the West Coast, they bugger off to a community with their own people and culture.”

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment visa services manager Michael Carley, says non-New Zealanders can apply for a temporary work visa under the “essential skills” policy if they have had a job offer from a New Zealand employer. They must be skilled in an occupation where there are not enough Kiwis available to do the work.

“Any employer wishing to employ a migrant will need to satisfy immigration officers there are no suitable Kiwis to do the job. This includes proving that you have advertised it before offering it to a migrant.”

There is no limit on the number of migrant dairy workers that can be granted a visa, he says. Each application is assessed on a case by case basis based on the employer’s needs.

Federated Farmers dairy industry group chairman Chris Lewis says the same core issues exist in all rural areas that are not close to a town.

Most rural New Zealanders have jobs, and the unemployment statistics are meagre. And the people that are available are not suitable for outdoor physical work or have a poor work history. The available talent pool is next to zero, he says.

“We do need migrants, but they aren’t the farmers first choice. We would prefer Kiwis because they are here. And there’s no paperwork, no dramas going through the immigration palaver every year, putting an application in, needing to get legal advice to make sure you have written it correctly and paying a lot of money.”

He says he has hired a few migrants, and they are highly skilled. But under the current system, they are deemed as unskilled which is demeaning for someone who got a degree or work experience.

At the end of the day, farming is perceived as being unskilled, he says.

“It doesn’t help that the Government sees it as a low skilled vocation. This doesn’t do much to attract the youngest and brightest into the industry.”

Lewis says he mostly hires Filipinos, who have previous work experience in Japan or Saudi Arabia. Some have degrees in agriculture or engineering.

They come here looking for a better life for their families knowing that in 10 or 15 years they can go back and buy a house or a business. Not all of them want to stay here forever, he says.

“On the whole, I’ve been very happy with them. There have been a few challenges on the way, partly because I have had to learn a new culture and develop new skills to employ them successfully.

“I’ve had a good run, they’ve been smart people, picked up things quickly, turned up on time, and been good at doing things the way they are supposed to be done.”

 

Source: Stuff

Cutting state inspector could close Alaska’s last dairy farm

Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s budget proposal calls to eliminate the state’s dairy inspection program, which has shocked operators of the state’s final dairy farm outside Palmer.

“There are federal regulations. I cannot inspect myself, I cannot pay someone to inspect me. The state has to do that,” said Ty Havemeister, the manager of the Havemeister Dairy’s on-site creamery.

He’s a third-generation dairy farmer. The Havemeister family has made its home in the Mat-Su since long before Alaska became a state.

“My grandparents were colonists to Alaska in 1935. My dad’s been running it ever since, really,” Havemeister said.

A picture of the Havemeister Dairy farm from October 9, 1964.

A picture of the Havemeister Dairy farm from October 9, 1964. Havemeister Family

His father, Bob Havemeister, was busy running tractors around the farm on Friday afternoon.

“He’s 78, in the barn every day,” Havemeister said.

Over the years they’ve watched many neighboring farms close their doors.

“If you go back to when my dad was a kid there was a dairy on every corner. That’s what he did, he was picking up milk cans from all these little dairies and dropping them at the co-op before he went to school,” Havemeister explained.

Now their farm is the last one left but he’s not sure how long they can hang on if the state cuts its dairy inspection program.  He said state inspectors come to the farm four times a year; milk gets tested in a lab once a month.

The barn at Havemeister Dairy was built in the 1930s when the family settled in Palmer as colonists.

The barn at Havemeister Dairy was built in the 1930s when the family settled in Palmer as colonists.  

“If there’s no state inspector there’s no commercial milk and you’re not going to see another dairy open up. It’s too expensive. It’s the only reason we’ve been able to do this is because we’ve been here for so long and we’re established,” Havemeister said.

“Eliminating the dairy program will not increase risk to public health, as unregulated milk will not enter the market,” the proposal states. “Those wishing to purchase local milk will still be able acquire raw milk through a cow-share program.”

Havemeister said that’s not a feasible option for the farm for several reasons. It’s illegal to sell raw milk commercially in Alaska and, with 90 cows, the dairy has too high of a volume for people to “cow-share” and pick it up at the farm.

When Matanuska Creamery folded in 2012, farms were left without options for getting their milk to market. That’s why Havemeister Dairy invested in equipment to begin their own creamery to pasteurize milk.

“We obviously incurred some debt. We have to pay that debt back. Having a half million dollars in useless equipment is not something we’re interested in doing,” Havemeister said.

Shutting down operations could have a negative trickle-down effect. It’s not just the Havemeister family that depends on the farm.

“This is my entire income right here. I’ve been up here for two years now working. I guess I would go back to Michigan and start over,” said Doug Kamer. “There’s eight of us on here getting a paycheck out of this farm.”

The dairy also supports other local businesses.

“Alaska Mill is coming through the yard every 10 days with 12 tons of grain. I buy all of our plastic for our jugs, there’s a blow mold in Palmer so it’s 100 percent local,” Havemeister said.

Five-thousand gallons a week go out to stores around Southcentral with most of the milk hitting shelves within 24 hours. Alaska has issues with food security Havemeister has seen first-hand.

“Stores are calling us for milk because it’s stuck on a boat somewhere out at sea. I think it’s important to have what little food security we can supply, at least something,” he said.

State Rep. DeLena Johnson, R-Palmer, said that’s one reason she’d like to see the program spared, too.

“I think anyone who just went through the [Nov. 30] earthquake recognizes how quickly food can fly off the shelves,” she said. “Right now, we don’t have any way to sell milk that is made in Alaska, grown in Alaska and produced in Alaska except for Havemeister Dairy.”

Havemeister said it’s important lawmakers come to a decision soon.

“We have 90 cows; they have to be milked twice a day. You can’t just turn this off, then turn it back on when the Legislature says, ‘Maybe we’ll keep you,’” he said.

The Havemeister farm has stood the test of time for more than 80 years, outlasting all others in the dairy industry.

“Being the last dairy isn’t something we think about,” Havemeister said. “We’re just continuing what we’ve always done and we’d like to keep this place going.”

The dairy’s future rests in the hands of legislators in Juneau.

Source: ktva.com

Minnesota Legislature backs disaster aid for barn collapses

The Minnesota Senate has approved expanding a zero-interest disaster loan program for farmers, just in time for producers whose buildings have been damaged by heavy snow this winter.

The bill passed the Senate unanimously Thursday. It broadens eligibility for the Disaster Loan Recovery Program run by the state’s Rural Finance Authority. The proposal was one of many that were included in a massive budget bill vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton last year.

A similar farm aid bill awaits a vote on the House floor.

The bill adds uninsured losses from the weight of snow, sleet or ice to the list of damages covered by the disaster loan program. It would be retroactive to Jan. 1.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture says around 75 barns statewide have collapsed this winter.

 

Source: Austin Daily Herald

Feed truck catches fire at Washington State University Dairy

A barn was damaged at the Washington State University Knott Dairy Farm when a feed truck caught fire inside the building Saturday morning. No cows or people were hurt in the blaze. Whitman County Fire District 12 Chief Lester Erwin said the cattle were released from the barn to protect them from injury.

Erwin said the fire likely began when an employee tried to start the truck, causing the starter to issue sparks beneath the vehicle and ignite hay on the ground below. Catching fire inside the facility’s freestall barn, farm employees quickly released the animals from the barn allowing them to escape the flames. Fortunately, no animals, students or employees were harmed.

While there was some minor damage to the barn, including melted lighting and electrical components, officials said WSU will still be able to use the structure to house cattle and feed.

NZX futures point to strong milk prices next season

Dry weather throughout much of the country has driven up milk futures prices to close to $7.00 a kg for next season.

The NZX milk futures contract – designed to help farmers mitigate the risks associated with variable milk prices – has been steadily rising since January, when the dry weather started to set in.

Fonterra has forecast milk collection to fall to 1,510 million kg of milk solids for the current season due ongoing dry weather, particularly in the North Island.

The co-op’s latest forecast is slightly above last season’s collections of 1,505m kgMS – a season also impacted by poor on-farm conditions – and down from February’s forecast of 1,530m kg.

The NZX’s September 2020 milk price contract last traded at $6.80/kg, up from around $6.00/kg in January.

“The fear is that this dry weather is going to roll into next season,” Nigel Brunel, director of institutional commodities at OM Financial, said.

Brunel said the rally in the milk futures contract reflected the 22 per cent rise in the “grand daddy” of the New Zealand milk products – whole milk powder – since late last year.

Futures market pricing pointed to another lift in prices at the next sale this Wednesday, he said.

At current levels of US$3400 to US$3500 a tonne, whole milk powder production was starting to look attractive for competing dairy producers abroad, he said.

Weather agency NIWA, in its weekly report, said the North Island, from Wellington-Wairarapa to the lower Waikato, soil moisture levels had increased over the past week due to beneficial rainfall. In the north and east of the North Island, soil moisture levels had generally remained the same.

NIWA said the driest soils for the time of year were across the northern Waikato and in the Bay of Plenty.

The wettest soils for this time of year are located in Gisborne, central Hawke’s Bay, and Wellington-Wairarapa.

In the South Island, soil moisture levels were similar to this time last week.

The driest soils for the time of year are across the Buller and Tasman District as well as Nelson, where the Ministry for Primary Industries recently classified the combination of impacts of fire and drought as a medium-scale adverse event. The wettest soils for the time of year are now located in northeast Marlborough, it said.

 

Source: NZ Herald

72nd Alice in Dairyland Top Candidates Announced

Five top candidates for the 72nd Alice in Dairyland were announced today, a key step in the process of selecting Wisconsin’s next agricultural ambassador.

The five top candidates ­were announced at a press conference held at the New Glarus Hotel in New Glarus. Following an extensive interview process, the 72nd Alice in Dairyland will be selected from among the five candidates at the conclusion of the Alice in Dairyland Finals Program, scheduled May 9-11 at various locations in Green County.

The five top candidates are Sarah Achenbach, Eastman; Cassandra Krull, Lake Mills; Abigail Martin, Milton; Mariah Martin, Brooklyn; and Tess Zettle, Juda.

“While the end destination is naming the 72nd Alice in Dairyland, the journey through the coming weeks is one in which each top candidate will gain from this professional development experience,” said 71st Alice in Dairyland Kaitlyn Riley. “The various components of the extensive interview process allows each candidate to showcase communications and public relations skills required for being Wisconsin’s agricultural ambassador. The personal growth they will experience from this process will carry far into their future careers.”

About the candidates:

Sarah Achenbach grew up learning about hard work and dedication while helping her parents raise crops and livestock on their diversified farm, and by helping at her uncles’ dairy farms. Achenbach participated in her local 4-H and FFA clubs, where she held multiple leadership roles. Achenbach shared her love of Wisconsin agriculture as the 2010 and 2011 Senior Fairest of the Fair, and the 2014 Crawford County Fairest of the Fair. She graduated in 2018 from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a degree in therapeutic recreation with an emphasis in communication. While at UWLC she held officer positions in Student Senate, Therapeutic Recreation Club, Tri Sigma, and Gamma Sigma Sigma. With her degree, she strives to connect individuals with disabilities to life on the farm.

“As Alice in Dairyland, I will use my leadership skills and abilities to communicate to inform consumers from diverse backgrounds about the importance of the agricultural industry in Wisconsin, where their food comes from, and the farming community,” said Achenbach.

Cassandra Krull developed her work ethic and go-getter attitude from farming alongside her parents and siblings on the family dairy farm. Striving to be the fourth-generation farmer at Krull Farms, she completed her degree in animal science with a dairy emphasis from the University of Wisconsin- Platteville in December 2015. Upon graduation, she started her professional career with Cargill Animal Nutrition, working with customers on all phases of the farm to improve dairy cow and farmer profitability. Currently, she works for STgenetics as a call center sales specialist, providing dairy farmers with different genetic opportunities throughout their herd. In her free time she gives back to the organizations that helped mold her into the individual she is today. She helps with Jefferson County Dairy Youth, coaching dairy quiz bowl and jeopardy, teaching fitting and showmanship clinic; and she oversees dairy youth exhibiting at the Wisconsin Junior State Fair.

“As the 72nd Alice in Dairyland, I will strive to create awareness of Wisconsin’s diverse agriculture industry through different channels of communication and education,” said Krull. “As Alice, I will share our Wisconsin agriculture story, as well as traditions and values, to many audiences throughout my travels of our beautiful state.”

Abigail Martin has a passion for all things Wisconsin: good cheese, the Wisconsin Badgers, and her Wisconsin farm family. She is the fourth generation on her family’s registered Holstein farm. It was there that she found a love for dairy cattle, and long summer days at the county and state fairs. Her interest in agriculture led her to pursue a degree in dairy science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. On campus, she was involved in the Association of Women in Agriculture, Badger Dairy Club, Collegiate Farm Bureau, and was on the intercollegiate dairy judging team. She has held previous roles in marketing at the Rock County 4-H Fair, East Central/ Select Sires, and Babcock Hall Dairy Store. Upon graduation in May 2018, she accepted a role with DeLaval Inc. in their North American marketing and communications department.

“Being chosen as Alice in Dairyland would be an extreme honor,” said Martin. “As Alice, I would demonstrate a strong commitment to learning and sharing about our great state and its robust agriculture industry.”

Mariah Martin is the seventh generation in her family to be involved in the agriculture industry. Her love for Wisconsin agriculture began with her involvement with the Brooklyn Mighty Mites 4-H club. Martin graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in May 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in life sciences communication and a certificate in agricultural business management. Her passion for agriculture has led her to work for and with farmers as an account associate at Osborn Barr + Paramore, an advertising agency with a focus in the rural and agriculture landscape. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and her involvement with Association of Women in Agriculture Benefit Corporation and Farm Bureau.

“From the farmer’s gate, to the consumer’s plate, the diversity of Wisconsin agriculture is evident. As Alice in Dairyland, I will use my gift of gab and passion for sharing farmers’ stories to deliver the value and economic impact of agriculture to diverse audiences throughout our great state,” said Martin.

Tess Zettle found her love for agriculture at a young age. Growing up on her family’s dairy farm, she learned firsthand about the hard work and dedication involved with farming. Zettle was an active member of 4-H, FFA and the Wisconsin Junior Holstein Association, and she also served as her community’s Dairy Queen and Green County Fairest of the Fair. In 2015, she graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville with a degree in animal science, with an emphasis in dairy and a minor in public relations. She currently is employed at Kuhn North America, an international innovator in agricultural forage and manure handling implements. As product management administrator, she is responsible for the creation of catalogs for domestic and export products. Zettle had the opportunity to travel to Kuhn’s home office in Saverne, France, and, while in France, she tasted some locally made cheeses, further driving her passion and love of all things cheese. As such, this past fall, she proudly represented the dairy industry and Swiss heritage as the 2018 Cheese Days Ambassador.

“Sharing the story of Wisconsin agriculture is my passion, from cheese to cranberries, ginseng to mink pelts and more,” said Zettle. “As Alice in Dairyland, I will promote and educate the public on the diversity and importance of agriculture in our state.”

(l-r): Sarah Achenbach, Cassandra Krull, Tess Zettle, 71st Alice in Dairyland Kaitlyn Riley, Abigal Martin, Mariah Martin.

Alice in Dairyland is a one-year, full-time public relations position with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The start date for the 72nd Alice is June 3, 2019. Top candidates completed an application and a preliminary interview.

In this highly visible and fast-paced position, Alice in Dairyland travels throughout the state teaching rural and urban audiences of all ages about Wisconsin’s extensive agricultural industry. In the position, Alice cultivates relationships with television, radio and print media outlets; writes and delivers speeches; and utilizes social media to tell the stories of Wisconsin agriculture. Additional duties include developing and executing marketing plans, delivering classroom presentations, and networking with industry professionals.

Each year, a different Wisconsin county hosts the Alice in Dairyland interview and finals activities, with Green County serving as the host county this year. The 72nd Alice in Dairyland will be selected at the conclusion of the three-day finals program, May 9-11.

The public is welcome to attend two public events during the finals in Green County in May:

Candidate Discussion Panel, Friday, May 10 (Albany Lions Club): dinner, 6 p.m.; discussion panel, 7 p.m. Ticket required ($15). Join the 72nd Alice in Dairyland candidates as they take part in a discussion panel addressing agricultural topics.

72nd Alice in Dairyland Finale Program, Saturday, May 11: social, 5:30 p.m.; dinner, 6 p.m.; finale, 7:30 p.m. Tickets required: Dinner (Monroe Turner Hall) and Finale Program (Monroe Middle School Auditorium), $30 for both; Finale Program only, $10.

For more event information, visit aliceindairyland.com.

 

New Robotic Milking Tour Powered by VMS™ PRO

The educational VMS™ PRO (Professional Robotic Operators) event series – hosted annually by DeLaval throughout the U.S. and Canada – will receive a boost with the addition of a tour program.

For the first time in 2019, attendees of regional VMS PRO events will have the opportunity to tour dairies robotically milking with DeLaval VMS milking system V300 units. Unveiled in 2018, the new milking robot is the result of a complete redesign of the “classic” VMS, featuring a faster, more intuitive attachment system, better teat cleaning and prep, and a new app for managing the robot on the go.

“The VMS PRO seminars are unique opportunities for VMS customers and prospects to learn more about DeLaval’s milking robot, including how to optimize herd productivity and benchmark their performance,” said Muhieddine Labban, Solution Manager, Robotics. “By adding a tour to this already successful program, producers will have the opportunity to see the future of robotic milking in action.

“Through our North American dealer network, we’re offering a fantastic trade-in program for existing VMS ‘classic’ customers. Our goal is to make it easy for them to enjoy the added benefits of VMS V300 milking technology.”

Talk to your DeLaval dealer about our VMS trade-in program and 2019 VMS PRO events in your area.

More Learning Opportunities

DeLaval offers Robotic Operators Training for VMS owners and operators at its Waunakee, WI. training center. These informative events happen throughout the year, so be sure to discuss them with your DeLaval dealer. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates on training opportunities.

Top Dairy Industry News Stories from March 9th to 15th 2019

Feature Stories:

Top News Stories:

‘Highly Aggressive’ Bull Mounts Car, Attacks Woman in New Jersey: Police

A “highly aggressive” bull in New Jersey went berserk, attacking its owner and charging at police officers after it got out of its enclosure.

Officers got several calls about a cow approaching cars on Houses Corner Road in Sparta around 3 p.m. on Friday, Sparta Township police said on Monday.

One of the calls was from the animal’s owner, who told police the cow was actually a bull, and said the animal had been acting “highly aggressive” recently.

When Sparta Police Officer Arlene Lippencott got to Houses Corner Road, the bull’s owner was already at the scene in her own car, police said.

 

The bull initially started following his owner’s car up a gravel road toward the farm, but soon began bumping against the car and trying to mount it, according to police.

When the owner arrived at the farm, she got out of her car and tried to get the bull to go through a gate and back into its enclosure, at which point the bull started attacking her and throwing her around, police said.

“[The owner] was screaming that the bull was going to kill her and needed to be shot,” police said.

Officer Lippencott tried to distract the bull and managed to get the woman into her police car, at which point several other officers and EMS arrived at the farm, according to police.

Two other officers put the bull down after it charged at their police car, the department said.

The bull’s owner was taken to the hospital, where she got stitches on her head and was treated for lacerations and bruises on her upper body, police said.

She told police the bull had recently attacked her husband, but said that attack hadn’t been as serious.

Source: nbcphiladelphia.com

Dairy farmer launches baleboard campaign to promote Pennsylvania-produced milk

Dairy farmers have been feeling the squeeze due to falling milk prices and reduced demand, so a farmer has created his own marketing campaign to try to turn those fortunes around.

Baleboards are popping up all over Susquehanna Valley farmland, and they’re the work of Nelson Troutman.

“I got to thinking over the weekend, I have the perfect sign right here — a wrapped hay bale. So I painted one, put it up here at the crossroad,” he said.

The ad campaign, which started in Troutman’s driveway, carries a simple but important message from dairy farmers.

“That whole milk isn’t full of fat like a lot of people perceive,” he said.

Troutman’s 120-acre farm in Lebanon County has been in the family for 70 years, but hard times are hitting dairy farmers as consumers have turned to cheaper alternatives. Milk prices have plummeted from $26 per 100 pounds to $16 per 100 pounds.

The bales also promote drinking Pennsylvania-produced milk.

“Look at the carton and see where it’s produced — the 42 code,” Troutman said.

The grassroots campaign has its own website, and word is spreading to neighboring states.

“There’s a lot of bales up in New York, some in Maryland, had a call from Kentucky,” Troutman said.

Troutman also dropped off some bales at ELCO High School to help ensure his and other farms are around for future generations.

Source: wgal.com

Milk price slips, but it’s projected mostly up in ‘19

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the February Federal Order Class III benchmark milk price Feb. 27 at $13.89 per hundredweight, down 7 cents from January.

However, that is 49 cents above February 2018 and, indicating the current down market, the first month that the Class III price topped the previous year’s price since November 2017.

It equates to $1.19 per gallon, compared to $1.20 in January and $1.15 a year ago.

The Class IV price is $15.86, up 38 cents from January, $2.99 above a year ago and the highest Class IV price since August 2017.

Reports abound throughout the country of dairy farms leaving the business due to financial issues. Farm margins were relatively flat in the first half of February, with values still projected below break-even over the first half of the year, according to the latest Margin Watch from Chicago-based Commodity & Ingredient Hedging LLC.

Cheese traders took the cheddar blocks higher for the fifth week in a row, closing March 1 at $1.61 per pound, up 1.5 cents on the week. That’s the highest level since October 2018, and 5 cents above a year ago. The barrels finished at $1.41, up a half-cent on the week, 6.5 cents below a year ago and 20 cents below the blocks.

Cheese demand reports vary, according to Dairy Market News, although a growing segment of Midwestern cheesemakers report a seasonal shift slower. Cheese inventory is unchanged, but long.  

Milk is readily available in the West and vats are at or near capacity. Inventories are still heavy and manufacturers want to keep stocks in check as the spring flush nears.

Butter closed March 1 at $2.2875 per pound, up 2.75 cents on the week, the highest since Feb. 1, 2019, and 8.75 cents above a year ago.

Central butter plant managers continue reporting widely available cream for the churns, as milk production marches on. But demand is picking up ahead of the spring holidays. Inventories are plentiful.

Western churning continues at a full and fast pace, so some processors have stopped buying cream as they do not have enough capacity. Butter supplies are also plentiful and stocks continue to increase.

Grade A nonfat dry milk saw a close at 98.5 cents per pound, down 1.25 cents on the week but 32.25 cents above a year ago.

Dry whey saw some ups and downs, but finished at 36 cents per pound, 1.25 cents higher on the week.

The Northwest Dairy Association makes these price projections for the Class III price and Pacific Northwest blend price:

Month ClassPNW

IIIBlend 

Feb. $13.89$15.20

(current)

 

March $15.15  $15.70

April  $14.80   $15.60

May  $15.00   $15.70

June  $15.40  $16.05

July  $15.80   $16.35

Aug.  $16.10  $16.60

Sept. $16.30  $16.80

Oct.  $16.30  $16.75

 

Source: Lynden Tribune

Dairy farmer loses thousands of dollars during blizzard

The blizzard didn’t stop a Colorado dairy farm, even though the farm lost power and had to run off a generator.

The owner, Tom Dobler, couldn’t take a snow day and his staff continued milking cows as the storm intensified.

The milk, which then travels to large holding tanks where it will sit until a semi-truck comes by to haul it away, didn’t make it to its destination on Wednesday and Thursday morning, because those trucks never showed up.

“The milk truck should’ve been here at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, we were filling up. It got caught someplace up along the Front Range, highways were closed,” said Dobler.

That’s when Dobler had to make a difficult decision.

His milking operation runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but he had nowhere to store the new milk that was coming in. He says he had no choice but to start emptying the tank, dumping hard work and money down the drain.

“We dumped several times during the day hoping that each time it would be enough until the truck got here, finally at 4 o’clock this afternoon it did make it,” said Dobler.

He figured he probably dumped half a semi-truck worth of milk, which amounts to about $4,000 worth of product. He said it’s a painful loss for a small family-owned farm.

“Well, I felt that too many people saw the fact that cars were stuck in Denver getting home at night, that’s all there was to the blizzard, there’s a lot more to the blizzard you know, this whole eastern sector of Colorado took a hit on this,” said Dobler.

Source: thedenverchannel.com

USDEC: March’s Dairy Data Dashboard

Every month, USDEC aggregates dairy data to display 10 charts on a one-page dashboard. Click here or on the image below to get a printable PDF file. Get email alerts when a new dashboard is published by subscribing to the U.S. Dairy Exporter Blog here.

October Dashboard

 

Click here to get a printable PDF of the Dashboard.

GPS-enabled collars allow farmers to steer cows around the farm remotely

Growing up on a small dairy farm in Waikato exposed Craig Piggott to the problems farmers face.

Armed with an engineering degree and a year’s experience building satellites for Rocket Lab, Piggott, 24, is now solving them with his own agri-tech invention.

His brainchild is a GPS-enabled collar powered by solar energy, named Halter, which was unveiled to farmers at the Central District Field Days at Manfeild, Feilding, on Thursday.

It self-herds cows and sends data about cows’ behaviour, emotions and health to a farmer’s mobile phone, saving time and money.

The collar makes warning sounds when a cow approaches a boundary, teaching it how far it can move into an area.

Farmers can set up schedules and have cows meet them at the milking shed, receive alerts when cows are on heat, calving or lame, and set up virtual fences to keep cows out of rivers and drains.

Until now the collar has only been used on Halter’s trial farm in Morrinsville, but it will soon be rolled out to other trial farms before hitting the open market.

Piggott never had a “lightbulb moment” or quit his job, but throughout his childhood he noticed farming was full of inefficiencies. 

“Growing up I always thought: ‘Man, there must be a better way to do this’.” 

When he started Halter in 2016, his vision was to reduce the intensive hours required to run a farm and the lack of technology supporting dairy farmers. 

“A farmer trying to watch 1000 cows, it’s impossible. Stick a device on them and you can see exactly what’s going on.

“The device trains the animal [where it can and cannot go], based on audio cues… It’s similar to a dog barking.” 

The collars are paid under a subscription model, where the collar is free and farmers contribute a monthly fee, per cow, based on the features they want enabled. Halter retains ownership of the collars and takes responsibility for their maintenance. 

Patchy internet reception is no barrier, with connectivity only needed at the actual time instructions are sent to the collars. 

The company uses communication technology suited to rural areas, where signals can be sent to collars up to 8 kilometres away.

 

Source: Stuff

Huge fine over effluent a warning for New Zealand Dairy farmers

DairyNZ and Waikato Dairy Leaders’ Group chairman Jim van der Poel had no sympathy for the Waikato dairy farmer who was last week fined $131,840 for over-irrigating effluent.

Mr van der Poel said local authorities had his organisation’s full support in encouraging all farmers to meet their effluent obligations.

“We are disappointed, as I’m sure most dairy farmers are, that a few individuals continue to let the sector down through failing to comply with effluent management rules. There is certainly no excuse for repeated offences that could have been prevented,” he said.

“The total fine in this prosecution is significant, and sends a strong message to farmers who need to do better. We support the Waikato Regional Council, and other regional councils, in monitoring and prosecuting farmers for serious infringements of the rules.

“From our point of view, any breach is one too many. Managing effluent is a necessary part of running an efficient dairy system. The sector needs those farmers who aren’t doing the right thing with their effluent management to step up, take responsibility, and make the necessary changes.”

DairyNZ supported farmers with making those changes, and a number of resources were available, including a dairy effluent storage calculator, a farmer’s guide to building a new effluent storage pond and access to accredited effluent system designers.

“The majority of dairy farmers are doing their utmost to make sure they’re doing all they can to protect the environment and the waterways that run on and near their farms every day,” Mr van der Poel added.

“Significant non-compliance for dairy effluent discharges nationally in 2016/17 was 5.2 per cent, the lowest on record, but we realise there’s still a way to go.”

The dairy sector was committed to helping farmers continue to operate more sustainably, and significant changes had been made over the last decade, including fencing off 99.4 per cent of significant waterways.

“The first commitment in the sector strategy Dairy Tomorrow is, ‘We will protect and nurture the environment for future generations,’ and we intend to get all our farmers on track to achieving that goal,” he said.

“Our vision is clear — we want healthy waterways — and we are committed to helping farmers achieve it.”

 

Source: NZ Herald

Milk Markets Trend Higher in Chicago Thursday Cash Dairy Mixed

On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Milk futures closed higher Thursday ahead of a neutral to bearish dairy product production report. Class III milk gained in most months. April was up 14 cents to push back above that $15 mark and finish the day at $15.09. March was up 4 to finish at $14.95/cwt.  May 14 cents higher at $15.33. June up 13 cents at $15.64. July through November contracts were three to 11 cents higher.

Thursday’s market had an upward trend driven by the strength in Cheddar blocks and Barrels.  Dry whey down $0.01 at $0.3225. Seven trades were made ranging from $0.3225 to $0.33. Blocks up $0.03 at $1.56. Three trades were made ranging from $1.54 to $1.56. Barrels up $0.0625 at $1.4875. Five trades were made ranging from $1.42.50 to $1.4850. Butter up $0.0050 at $2.2850. Three trades were made ranging from $2.28 to $2.2850. Nonfat dry milk down $0.0025 at $0.9625. One trade was made at that price.

USDA released the January Dairy Products report Thursday. Most notable was the 190 million lbs of Butter produced. This is up 4.2% from January 2018 and is 10.4% above December 2018’s large production.  Total cheese in January hit 1.1 billion pounds. Up 4/10 of a per cent above January 2018 productions and 7/10 above December’s production. NonFat Dry Milk was up 7.7 % from last year, however, Skim milk powder production fell 33.5% from January 2018.  Dry Whey production was down 10.1 % from a year ago at 81.2 million pounds. Lactose was up 10.9% from January 2018 production.

Winter weather impacts make manure storage monitoring critical

Liquid manure storage pit at a dairy operation. Photo by USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Given the snowfall and temperatures we have had across Michigan this winter, it is crucial that livestock producers keep a close eye on their manure storage structures and pumping equipment. Farmers need to monitor the condition of manure storage structures as well as all manure transfer pipes pumps and valves to ensure they are performing as expected under unexpected and severe weather conditions. Michigan State University Extension recommends that all farms develop a regular schedule to inspect each component of manure storage and pumping equipment.

Farm size and complexity of the manure storage system, mechanical devices (pumps and valves), relative distance to water, type of storage structure and occurrence of rainfall or snowmelt – should all be considered when determining inspection frequency. Regular checks and maintenance of all pumps, agitators, piping, valves and other mechanical and electrical equipment will ensure everything is in good operating condition and minimize the risk of any spills or leaks. Permitted farms are required to check all manure transfer equipment and manure storage structures weekly. The extreme cold may necessitate checking more often. Small and medium livestock farms should initiate a monitoring process if they haven’t already. Developing a checklist of items to be inspected, including dates and times of inspection, may be a useful tool to ensure a thorough, timely and regular process.

Given the recent rain and snowmelt, farms should confirm there is adequate freeboard in their liquid or slurry storage structures. Resources intended to assist farmers with near full or full manure storage during weather extremes are posted on MSU Extension News:

The heavy snowfall this winter may make it difficult for livestock producers to check the integrity of earthen or concrete storage structures but all that more crucial they be monitored. It has been an unusually long, cold winter and the weather will be taking its toll on the equipment depended upon to move manure from collection points to long term storage structures. Spills may be caused by burst or ruptured piping, or by leaking joints.

Farms should also have an emergency plan in place in the event of an overflow, breach, leak or need for emergency land application. Emergency plans should contain phone numbers for appropriate first responders: fire departments, police, hospitals and other emergency contacts. Emergency plan templates can be found on the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program website. It is important to discuss the emergency plan, location of the emergency phone list and the expected responses with the entire farm crew.

Source: canr.msu.edu

Manure injection offers hope, challenge for restoring water quality

In a four-year study, shallow-disk injection of manure was found to result in less phosphorus loss in runoff from farm fields compared to broadcasting or spreading manure. The research findings have implications for Chesapeake Bay water quality. Image: Melissa Miller / Penn State

Widespread adoption by dairy farmers of injecting manure into the soil instead of spreading it on the surface could be crucial to restoring Chesapeake Bay water quality, according to researchers who compared phosphorus runoff from fields treated by both methods. However, they predict it will be difficult to persuade farmers to change practices.

In a four-year study, overland and subsurface flows from 12 hydrologically isolated research plots at Penn State’s Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center were measured and sampled for all phosphorus constituents and total solids during and after precipitation events. During that period, from January 2013 to May 2017, the plots were planted with summer crops of corn and winter cover crops of cereal rye. Half the plots received broadcast manure applications, while the others had manure injected into the soil.

The research was conducted at Penn State’s Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center on 12 hydrologically isolated research plots. Half the plots received manure injection; half had manure applied by broadcasting it on the surface. IMAGE: Jack Watson Research Group / Penn State

Researchers evaluated loads of total phosphorus, dissolved phosphorus, particulate phosphorus and total solids against flow volumes to learn how phosphorus and sediment losses differed between plots. Shallow-disk injection of manure was found to be more effective than broadcasting manure in promoting dilution of dissolved phosphorus and to a lesser extent, total phosphorus. The broadcast manure plots experienced more runoff of particulate phosphorus than did the injection plots.

Importantly for no-till advocates, no difference was detected between application methods for total solids in the runoff — meaning manure injection, with its slight disturbance of the soil surface, did not cause sedimentation. No-till practitioners, who constitute slightly more than half of the dairy farmers in Pennsylvania, have been slow to adopt manure injection due to concerns about the practice causing sedimentation and muddying streams.

However, the precision and accuracy of the study, recently published in Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, was constrained by hydrologic variability, conceded Jack Watson, professor of soil science and soil physics, Penn State. His research group in the College of Agricultural Sciences conducted the study. Watson pointed out that the findings demonstrate that, even at a small scale, the effectiveness of a practice in accomplishing water quality benefits varies.

“This has been the case with previous phosphorus-mitigation field studies, as well,” he said. “Even studies done with carefully constructed research plots like ours, which allow us to collect, measure, test and contrast runoff, are confounded by hydrologic variability.”

But despite the variability, the findings showed that manure injection decreased the overall phosphorus losses, according to lead researcher Melissa Miller, a master’s degree student in soil science when she conducted the study.

“When we looked at the total phosphorus losses from the plots, we were able to see a strong trend,” she said. “It was revealed in both overland and subsurface flows following rain events.”

 

bar graphs phosphorus collection Thanks to the design of research facilities at Penn State, researchers were able to collect, measure and analyze both overland and subsurface flows from plots. As the bar graphs show, manure injection resulted in reduction of total phosphorus and dissolved phosphorus in runoff. IMAGE: Jack Watson Research Group / Penn State

That variability, however, complicates efforts to convince dairy farmers they should convert to manure injection, noted research team member Heather Gall, assistant professor of agricultural and biological engineering. She suggested that the practice, widely adopted, could help states comply with total maximum daily load stream regulations set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to protect the Chesapeake Bay from nutrient pollution and associated algal blooms and dead zones.

“When we make recommendations to farmers about what they can do to improve runoff quality, we want to be able to tell them how well it will work,” she said. “But how much manure injection will reduce the amount of phosphorus loss on a particular farm can depend on site characteristics, such as what kind of soil it has, what kind of crops are growing and the slope of the landscape. And so, we might not be able to tell a farmer definitively what to expect in terms of load-reduction benefits, making it difficult to make a compelling case that an investment in shallow-disc manure injection equipment will be worthwhile.”

Watson explained that manure injection equipment is expensive and that it takes longer and requires more fuel for farmers to apply manure to their fields using injection than broadcasting or spreading it. For shallow-disc manure injection to be broadly implemented in the Chesapeake Bay drainage, he said, it will require substantial financial support from government or other off-farm sources. But it needs to be done, Watson believes.

“In the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions, we have a lot of dairy animals concentrated in a small area. We have all this manure that has to be gotten rid of and all the nutrients that go with it have to be disposed of on a small amount of land. It must be done in a way that will protect the Chesapeake Bay,” he said.

 

By far, most dairy farmers in the Chesapeake drainage broadcast or spread manure but research findings suggest that if they could afford injection equipment and would embrace the technology, bay water quality would improve. IMAGE: Michael Houtz / Penn State

And even if the phosphorus reductions are uncertain due to site variability, Watson added, there are the additional benefits from manure injection, such as reducing ammonia volatilization and reducing odor emissions, which have significant value as well.

Also involved in the research were Charlie White, assistant professor of soil fertility and nutrient management and Kathryn Brasier, professor of rural sociology, Penn State; Peter Kleinman, Anthony Buda, Lou Saporito and Tamie Veith, Pasture Systems and Watershed Management Unit, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, University Park; and Clinton Williams, Arid-Land Agricultural Research Center, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Maricopa, Arizona.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture supported this work.

Source: news.psu.edu

Top 10 States that Lost the Most Dairies in 2018

In this depressed dairy industry, the number of dairies going out of business has his record highs. As part of the March milk production report released on Tuesday, USDA reported 2,731 dairy farms went out of business in 2018.  40 of the 51 states in the U.S. lost at least 60 farms. No states saw farm numbers increase. However, 12 states reported that dairy farm numbers remained unchanged: Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming. Here are the top 10 states that lost the most dairies in 2018:

#10. Iowa – In 2017, there were 1,200 licensed farms in the state. In 2018 there were 1,120 farms, a difference of 80 farms (6.6%).
#9. Vermont – In 2017, there were 820 licensed farms in the state. In 2018, there were 730 farms, a difference of 90 farms (10.9%).
#8. Indiana – In 2017, there were 1,070 licensed farms in the state. In 2018, there were 965 farms, a difference of 105 farms (9.8%).
#7. Missouri – In 2017, there were 1,040 licensed farms in the state. In 2018, there were 920 farms, a difference of 120 farms (11.5%).
#6. Ohio – In 2017, there were 2,380 licensed farms in the state. In 2018, there were 2,200 farms, a difference of 180 farms (11.5%).
#4. (T) Minnesota – In 2017, there were 3,210 licensed dairies in the state. In 2018, there were 2,980 farms, a difference of 230 farms (7.2%).
#4. (T) Michigan– In 2017, there were 1,750 licensed dairies in the state. In 2018, there were 1,520 farms, a difference of 230 farms (13.1%).
#3. New York – In 2017, there were 4,470 licensed dairies in the state. In 2018, there were 4,190 farms,  a difference of 280 farms (6.3%).
#2. Pennsylvania – In 2017, there were 6,570 licensed dairies in the state. In 2018, there were 6,200 farms, a difference of 370 farms (5.6%).
#1. Wisconsin – In 2017, there were 9,090 licensed dairies in the state.   In 2018, there were 8,500 farms,  a difference of 590 farms (6.5%).

 
 

Source: USDA

New Zealand’s dairy product prices go into meltdown: statistics

Butter prices fell 10 percent in February 2019 to a 19-month low, New Zealand’s statistic department Stats NZ said on Wednesday.

The average price for a 500g block of butter fell to 5.2 NZ dollars (3.56 U.S. dollars) in February 2019, down from a record high of 5.79 NZ dollars in January 2019, Stats NZ said.

“In January we saw milk prices fall to a 19-month low. This price fall now looks to be flowing on to other dairy products,” consumer prices manager Gael Price said in a statement.

In February, prices fell for cheese, yoghurt and milk, Price said, adding that global dairy trade auction prices fell between June and November 2018. These were reflected in lower dairy export prices in the December 2018 quarter.

“The lower international prices appear to have been passed on to New Zealand consumers, with the usual lag of a few months,” Price said.

Despite cheaper dairy products, overall food prices rose 0.4 percent in February 2019, mainly due to higher prices for soft drinks, waters, and juices, statistics showed.

 

Source: Xinhua

Wisconsin dairy farms struggle with low prices, rising costs

Wisconsin is known as the “Dairy Capital” of the United States. If it continues shedding dairy farms at rates similar to 2018, it’s in danger of losing its title.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection bureau, more than 600 dairy farms were shuttered across the state in 2018. That’s a seven percent decline. It’s the largest round of closures in over a decade.

Much of the blame is put on the slowly declining price of milk, a trend that’s lasted four years.

While dairy farmers need to adjust to the declining retail price for their product, those in the transportation and processing business also must deal with increased hauling costs.

As of February, Wisconsin was the highest producer of milk in a collection of seven states that make up what’s known as the Upper Midwestern Order. Farmers across Wisconsin delivered over 60 percent of the milk produced.

A report from the Federal Milk Marketing Order Program stated that the cost to haul milk within the state of Wisconsin rose 40 percent over the prior year. While it’s not uncommon, or unexpected, for there to be a slight rise in costs year over year, a nearly fifty percent change does provide industry insiders pause.

While the cost increases are not directly tied to the “products” being hauled and processed, the effects are being felt by those two industries.

“We did have a larger than average increase in hauling costs last year,” Mark Stephenson, director of Dairy Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, said. “The weighted average hauling charges in the Upper Midwest increased from about 20 cents in 2017 to about 27 cents in 2018 or about a 38 percent increase. This is a substantial increase in hauling charges, but virtually all of it was because diesel fuel prices increased from about $2.50 per gallon to about $3.18.”

Bob Cropp, professor emeritus of the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said Wisconsin dairy farmers still have lower hauling costs than most dairy farmers elsewhere

“Hauling cost has increased this past year but dairy farmers still pay a relatively small share of actual cost,” Cropp said. “Likewise, premiums paid have come down. With plenty of milk, plants don’t need to pay higher premiums to get milk. None of this is good news to dairy farmers when they have been struggling with four years of low milk prices.”

Stephenson said the combination of low prices and higher hauling costs is particularly hurting smaller farms.

“Many farms are at a fragile point now as we are heading into the fifth consecutive year of relatively low milk prices,” he said. “Any increased costs are hard for farms to bear under the circumstances, but the same holds true for the milk haulers. Given that smaller farms tend to be the ones that we are losing during this downturn and that their milk hauling costs tend to be higher, it could be the final financial insult that some of them cannot bear before bowing out.”

 

Source: Wisconsin Watchdog

Heavy snow causes partial collapse of Cattle Barn roof at State Fairgrounds

A portion of the roof of the Cattle Barn at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds collapsed Tuesday evening, weighted down by successive rounds of snow and rain.

The Falcon Heights building, which is used mainly for storage during the off-season, was unoccupied at the time of the collapse and no one was injured, the Minnesota State Fair said in a news release.

Part of the southeast corner of the roof on Judson Avenue gave way about 6:15 p.m. due to sliding snow, according to the St. Paul fire department. Members of the fire department and a structural engineer assessed the building and determined the rest of it remains structurally sound. Damage to the items stored in the barn has not yet been assessed.

The 1920 brick building, which has space for about 1,000 head of cattle, also houses the Fair’s milking parlor and the Moo Booth — an informational exhibit about dairy farming, according to the State Fair’s website.

Also on Tuesday night, the roof over the pool at a Super 8 Motel in Shakopee collapsed, the Shakopee Police Department said on Twitter.

The pool was closed at the time of the collapse because it had been sagging earlier in the day. The motel was evacuated.

In northwestern Minnesota, heavy snow also caused a warehouse roof at the Tuffy’s pet food plant in Perham to collapse on Saturday. No one was injured, and work at the factory resumed on Monday.

A number of other structures around the region failed following the weekend’s accumulation of wet, heavy snow.

Source: twincities.com

Hageman Elected as Board President of World Dairy Expo

World Dairy Expo leaders elected officers at the annual March meetings of the Board of Directors, Commercial Exhibitor Committee and Dairy Cattle Exhibitor Committee. Comprised of dairy producers, business professionals and Expo exhibitors, these groups were also charged with setting new initiatives for the 2019 World Dairy Expo, October 1 through 5, during their respective meetings.

The Commercial Exhibitor Committee elected Doug Williams, Kuhn North America, to serve as committee chair while re-electing Jane Griswold, Hoard’s Dairyman, as committee vice chair. Joining the committee as newly elected members were Dave Jons, Dairy Agenda Today; Dave Kuehnel, Rule of Three Solutions; and Elizabeth Sarbacker, Furst-McNess Company. The Dairy Cattle Exhibitor Committee re-elected Tom Morris, industry representative, and Bryan Voegeli, National Brown Swiss representative, as committee chair and vice chair, respectively.

The annual meeting of the Board of Directors included the election of the 2019-2020 officers. Bill Hageman, at-large representative, was elected to serve as the president of the Board of Directors. Mike Hellenbrand, purebred breeders of WDE; Debbie Crave, at-large representative; and Bob Hagenow, at-large representative, were elected as first vice president, second vice president and secretary/treasurer, respectively. Also serving on the Executive Committee are Scott Bentley, WDE general manager; Dave Bollig, overall Dairy Cattle Show superintendent; Joan Lau, at-large representative; Tom Morris, Dairy Cattle Exhibitor Committee chair; Bryan Voegeli, purebred breeders of WDE; and Doug Williams, Commercial Exhibitor Committee chair.

 

Crossbreds, New Traits, and other changes coming – CDCB April 2019 Updates

Genomic evaluations including crossbred animals

Effective April 2019, CDCB genomic evaluations will include crossbred animals. A full description of the policy applied to these evaluations is provided in the “CDCB Policy” document.  In short, changes in the evaluation procedure will be:

  • CDCB will update the procedures for Breed Base Representation (BBR). Updated BBRs will be obtained by setting to 0 any breed proportion ≤2% (considered statistical noise) coming from the BBR calculation. The remaining percentages will be proportionally rescaled.
  • All animals will receive a new BBR in April, based on the revised methodology (see Policy). BBR will not be fixed anymore, and changes to the genotype/pedigree of the animal may cause new BBR estimates for affected animals.
  • Animals with BBR≥90 will receive evaluations based solely on the (single) breed they belong to (SINGLE-group). Animals with BBR<90 (MULTI-group) will receive an evaluation based on a multi-breed population in which blended SNP effects (based on the BBR) will be used to calculate their Direct Genomic Values (DGV).
  • During monthly evaluations, animals with a phenotypic-based evaluation and a BBR ≥94% for that breed will be included in the PTA reference population (population used to estimate SNP effects). Animals in the MULTI-group (BBR<90) will not contribute to any PTA reference population.
  • Animals in both SINGLE- and MULTI-groups will be published in their respective breed of evaluation file, since they all share the same breed base. CDCB will label single-breed based evaluations as “S” and multi-breed blended evaluations as “M” in the genomic files.
  • Animals in the MULTI-group will not receive any fertility haplotype information. Research is ongoing to validate the accuracy of the calls in a multi-breed scenario.
  • Current genomic evaluations for animals in SINGLE-group are not expected to vary substantially, as they will only be affected by a slight decrease in the number of animals in the reference population (due to the more restrictive criteria used).
  • Animals currently receiving genomic evaluations that will now be included in the MULTI-group, will likely be more affected as their DGV will be blended and their PTAs will be obtained based on parameters coming from a multi-breed population.

Early first calving as a new trait

Accurate records for age at first calving have been recorded in DHI for decades for nearly all cows. Early first calving (EFC) is defined in days and reverses the age scale so that positive PTAs are favorable.

  • The EFC genetic evaluation includes 31 million records for heifers born since 1957 and combines all breeds and crossbreds. Initial research used 14 million records for heifers calving since 1997 to compute single-breed evaluations (Hutchison et al., 2017).
  • The heritability of EFC was estimated to be 2.7%. The estimated inbreeding depression for EFC is -.62 days per 1% inbreeding and base heterosis is +3.3 days.
  • The within-breed PTA standard deviation is only about 3 days, but some recent bulls have PTAs above 10 or below -10 days.
  • In both Holsteins and Jerseys, genetic trends toward earlier calving already have resulted in about 10-day gains in EFC breeding value over 60 years due to selection on other traits favorably correlated to EFC. In each breed, an additional 1- or 2-day gains in EFC occurred in the last 5 years.
  • Breed differences are large compared to within-breed differences. Jerseys have a 4-day average genetic advantage for EFC breeding value compared to Holsteins, whereas Brown Swiss calve 28 days later, Ayrshires 41 days later, Guernseys 18 days later, and Milking Shorthorn 15 days later based on heifers born together in the same herds.
  • Reliabilities of EFC genomic predictions for young animals averaged 66% for Holsteins and 51% for Jerseys.
  • Net Merit (NM$) is expected to include EFC in a later revision, and then EFC could get 3% of the total emphasis in NM$. The relative emphasis on heifer conception rate (HCR) would then be reduced because HCR currently accounts indirectly for some of the EFC benefits. Traits EFC and HCR have a genetic correlation of about 0.5. In the future, EFC could be incorporated into a fertility index such as that published by Holstein Association USA. The next base change in April 2020 may be a chance to review how to group traits into sub-indexes or options for changing the presentation.

Variance adjustments for health trait evaluations.

A pre-adjustment for variance across lactation in health traits will be applied in April 2019. The current PTAs were compared to variance-adjusted values.

  • The largest changes from previous were for Milk Fever. All other traits had PTA correlations .92 to .98 for bulls with >70% REL born since 2000.
  • The Standard Deviation (SD) of Health$ should change little, although slight increases in SD were observed for Mastitis and Displaced Abomasum. Slight decreases were observed for the other traits. The SD of all lactation evaluations are expected to be about 5% more than first lactations due to higher reliability, and all traits except Displaced Abomasum were closer to this expectation.
  • The first lactation evaluations were also more correlated to new than to previous evaluations for all traits except Metritis. Genetic trends were compared using correlations of PTA with birth year to automatically adjust for the differences in SD. For all traits, the first lactation trends agreed with the new trends more closely than with the old trends.
  • The variance-adjusted PTAs for Mastitis (the only trait evaluated at Interbull) passed both Interbull trend validation methods. CDCB will submit these records as official in April. In August, CDCB will include MACE information in the evaluation of Mastitis.

Correction of AY heterosis calculation for MACE from Scandinavian breeds

Since August 2018, Scandinavian Red breeds are treated as being the same as Ayrshire (AY) when computing pedigree heterosis to be consistent with Breed Base Representation (BBR) genomic methods. The AY PTAs submitted to Interbull used the new heterosis definition, but the MACE files received from Interbull continued to be adjusted using the previous heterosis formula that treated each breed (SR, NR, and RE) as unique. This mismatch of definitions reduced the MACE PTAs for bulls that had more inheritance from these breeds. The heterosis adjustment will be applied consistently in April. We thank Gary Rogers for discovering this error from differences between published daughter yield deviations and PTAs for bulls with U.S. daughters.

Genomic parent averages in monthly and weekly files

Traditional parent averages (PAs) were provided since 2009 in monthly and weekly update files, whereas genomic PAs (average of parents’ official evaluations) have been provided since 2013 in the triannual full releases. For consistency, genomic rather than traditional PA will be provided in the monthly and weekly files. Traditional PAs originally allowed breeders to see the differences caused by adding genomic information but are less relevant today because most calves are now two generations removed from their proven grandsires, and the traditional PA does not reflect the genomic selection already done in the parent’s generation. Monthly and weekly file formats will supply genomic PAs for most traits but still report traditional PAs for type and calving traits. For those traits, no PAs are supplied in the triannual formats because calving traits are evaluated using a sire–maternal grandsire model where dams are not evaluated. For type traits, PAs are computed by breed associations or they show both the sire and dam PTAs separately.

New genomic evaluation file formats (CSV)

In February, CDCB released the first test run of the new genomic evaluation. Among many other changes, the new genomic evaluation files contain the aforementioned genomic parent averages instead of Traditional PTA and reliabilities. The first official release of the new format was on March 2019. In April 2019, these new file formats will be released publicly. A transition period of 6 months, in which CDCB will release both old and new formats, will follow after the first official release. On September 2019 monthly and weekly evaluations release day, CDCB will only distribute the new file formats. All XML and old CSV formats will be discontinued after that date. Although CDCB will be distributing both formats during the transition period, the old formats will not be maintained after April 2019. Therefore, further development of the formats will only affect the new formats.

Dairy safety net payment triggered

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that the January 2019 income over feed cost margin was $7.99 per hundredweight, triggering the first payment for eligible dairy producers who purchase the appropriate level of coverage under the new but yet-to-be established Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program.

DMC is a voluntary risk management program for dairy producers that was authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill. The program offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all milk price and the average feed cost (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said sign up for DMC will open by mid-June of this year. At the time of sign up, producers who elect a DMC coverage level between $8.00 and $9.50 would be eligible for a payment for January 2019.

“Congress created the Dairy Margin Coverage program to provide an important financial safety net for dairy producers, helping them weather shifting milk and feed prices,” FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce said. “This program builds on the previous Margin Protection Program for Dairy, carrying forward many of the program upgrades made last year based on feedback from producers. We’re working diligently to implement the DMC program and other FSA programs authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill.”

Additional details about DMC and other FSA farm bill program changes can be found at farmers.gov/farmbill.

Source: themountaineer.com

Five key consumption trends shaping the dairy industry in 2019

With the World Dairy Innovation Awards 2019 now open for entries, we take a look at the five top trends that are shaping the international dairy industry today.

Digestive wellness

With consumers becoming increasingly concerned with wellness, a focus on gut health and probiotics is set to be a major trend for the dairy industry this year. Dairy is said to be one of the best vehicles for carrying probiotics into the body, with some yogurt bacteria having been shown to improve lactose digestion for those with an intolerance. Kefir in particular has seen a surge in popularity in the global food and health market this year, with the global probiotics market predicted to reach over USD 73 Billion by 2024.

Dairy proteins

Growth in protein consumption has driven innovation within the dairy industry, with many consumers turning to dairy proteins as their protein of choice. According to Gail Sabatura of AMCO Proteins, whey protein, the protein found in dairy, has a 10 year CAGR of 7.5% and the market shows no signs of slowing down. Dairy companies are advertising products as “high protein” largely due to their functionality as a health ingredient, particularly as they contain all of the essential amino acids. From coffee creamers to desserts, yogurts and ice cream, we are seeing a vast increase in the number of protein-enriched dairy innovations.

Flavour experimentation

Rising demands among consumers, particularly of the younger generation, for fun, new, interesting flavours are set to impact dairy product innovations. A recent report by NZMP was indicative of ‘adventurous’ consumption as global changes such as multiculturalism are opening up the possibilities for dairy. Alcohol-infused ice creams, flavoured butter and spicy marinated cheese are just a handful of the types of flavour experimentation we have seen in the dairy industry so far this year. With the plant-based dairy alternative sector now growing rapidly, competition is higher than ever and dairy companies have to think outside the box and experiment with flavours to stand out.

Reducing sugars

Delivering products with maximum taste but minimum guilt is set to be a challenge for dairy companies, to meet the demands of increasingly health-conscious consumers. So far this year we have seen a plethora of low-calorie ice creams and Cadbury’s have even released a new Dairy Milk bar containing 30% less sugar. However, some have said this still isn’t far enough as the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has argued for mandatory controls on unhealthy food. After the government introduced a sugar levy on drinks in 2018, this means we could potentially see high-sugar foods also being taxed, so we are set to see an increase in reduced sugar products for the dairy desserts market.

Camel milk

There are now a whole host of cow’s milk alternatives hitting the shelves and while many of these are plant-based nut milks, there is a new dairy contender – camel milk. Milk from camels is said to taste more similar to cow’s milk than plant-based alternatives and also garners many more nutritional benefits, including showing to be effective in treating diabetes. Camel milk is also lower in fat and cholesterol and rich in protein, so as trends lead towards consumers seeking healthier products with higher proteins, camel milk demand is likely to be on the rise this year.

 

Source: FoodBev Media

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