Ronald Flatness – Founder Flatness International Passes Away

Ronald Larry Flatness of Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania passed away at home on Friday, September 15, 2023. Miller Bean Funeral Home Inc., 436 Cedar Ave., Scranton, Pennsylvania, handles arrangements and on-site cremation. Ron founded Flatness Worldwide, Inc., a corporation dedicated to the worldwide selling of bull semen and embryos. In 2023, the corporation would be celebrating its 38th year. If and when it becomes available, a complete obituary will be released.

Milking June Jr 2Yr from MS Goldwyn Alana Family Tops the Gone West Pierstein Select Sale

Encans Boulet and sale host The Stephens Family conducted the Gone West Pierstein Select Sale on September 19th, in Rockton, Ontario. Blondin Sires also participated in a sire information presentation. Sixty percent of the animals selling were under one year of age with the top seller being a VG85 Milking June Jr 2Yr Old Ashby x VG86 Chief x EX-1* Sanchez from MS Goldwyn Alana EX96-2E-20*at $18,500. The second highest seller, at $8,400, was a December 2022 Crushabull x EX91 Avalanche x VG89 Damion from Loyalyn Goldwyn June EX97-7E-5*. Top selling Jersey, at $4,700, was a March 2023 Ferdinand x EX95-2E Joel x VG88 Gentry x GP84 Sultan x VG89 Comerica x EX94 Blackstar.

The 7 Deadly Reproduction Sins That Are Costing Your Dairy Farm

Reproductive efficiency is a critical factor in the success of any dairy farm. Efficient reproduction ensures a steady supply of replacement heifers and a productive milking herd. However, some common mistakes or “reproduction sins” can hinder the reproductive performance of your dairy farm, leading to wasted time, decreased profitability, and potential long-term problems. In this article, we will explore these reproductive sins and discuss how to address them for the benefit of your dairy operation.

  1. Inadequate Record-Keeping

    Efficient reproduction management begins with accurate record-keeping. Failing to maintain detailed records of breeding, calving, and health events can lead to confusion and missed opportunities for improvement. Ensure your records include essential information such as breeding dates, pregnancy checks, and health treatments.

    Solution: Invest in a comprehensive farm management software or hire a dedicated record-keeper to maintain up-to-date and organized records.

  2. Delayed or Inconsistent Heat Detection

    Missing signs of heat or failing to detect them consistently can result in delayed breeding and lower conception rates. Heifers that are not bred in a timely manner may require more time and resources to reach productive milking age.

    Solution: Implement a rigorous heat detection program using tools like tail chalk, electronic heat detectors, or activity monitors to identify cows in heat promptly.

  3. Improper Nutrition

    Nutrition plays a vital role in reproductive success. Inadequate or imbalanced diets can lead to poor body condition, delayed estrus cycles, and reduced fertility.

    Solution: Work with a nutritionist to formulate appropriate diets for different stages of reproduction. Monitor body condition scores regularly and adjust feeding accordingly.

  4. Neglecting Herd Health

    Disease outbreaks can wreak havoc on reproduction rates. Failing to vaccinate against common reproductive diseases or providing inadequate healthcare can result in reduced fertility and increased veterinary costs.

    Solution: Develop a comprehensive herd health program with your veterinarian, including regular vaccinations, parasite control, and disease prevention measures.

  5. Poor Transition Program

    Any health condition after calving might have an impact on a cow’s fertility; even if she recovers completely, her reproductive health is likely to be impacted.

    Solution: Transition cow management ensures that animals remain healthy throughout their calving experience so that they can support their next pregnancy. It is critical to monitor fresh cows for transition concerns in order to guarantee that they will be able to calve again in the future.Monitoring their physical condition score is a crucial part of transition cow management.

  6. Ignoring the Importance of Genetics

    The selection of breeding sires is crucial for the genetic improvement of your herd. Ignoring genetic potential can lead to stagnant or even declining milk production over time.

    Solution: Collaborate with a geneticist or breeding specialist to choose sires that align with your breeding goals. Utilize genetic testing to make informed decisions.

  7. Inadequate Training

    Inefficient reproduction management can often be traced back to inadequate training for farm personnel responsible for breeding and reproductive health.

    Solution: Invest in ongoing training and education for your farm staff, ensuring they are up-to-date with best practices and the latest advancements in dairy reproduction.

Addressing these reproduction sins on your dairy farm can significantly improve reproductive efficiency, reduce wasted time, and enhance overall profitability. Regularly review and update your reproductive management practices, invest in staff training, and prioritize herd health to ensure a robust and productive dairy operation for years to come.

‘Like a slap in the face’ dairy farmers say of billboard near Tulare.

A billboard on Highway 99 urging travelers to “Ditch Dairy to Fight Climate Crisis” is not being welcomed by dairy producers in the Central Valley.

Case Anker, one of the owners of Hanford’s Poplar Lane Dairy, says it’s heartbreaking to see anything like that, particularly in a city where agriculture is the backbone.

“It feels like a slap in the face to everyone involved, not just business owners and landowners.” It’s the tractor dealership, the parts shop, all the farmer workers on whom we rely, so sure, I think it’s a bit out of place,” said Case Anker.

“It’s a huge topic in our community and business,” said Brooke Anker, the other owner of Hanford’s Poplar Lane Dairy.

The billboard is located on Highway 99 in Tulare County, south of the Tagus. The billboard encourages drivers to eliminate dairy from their diets in order to help combat climate change. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, which is funding the billboard, has asked the California Environmental Protection Agency Climate Action Team to urge residents to shun animal products and embrace a plant-based diet.

According to the California Milk Advisory Board, Tulare County is the greatest dairy-producing county in the country, and California is the top milk producer in the country, with over 1,100 dairy farms and 1.72 million milk cows.

However, such output has certain unintended consequences. Methane is produced by cattle as part of their natural digestion process, which is known as enteric fermentation. Methane is emitted into the atmosphere when cows burp. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, methane is also created when animal dung is stored or handled in lagoons or holding tanks.

According to World Health Organization officials, lowering cattle herds and reducing methane emissions, which are generally short-lived, are crucial in averting catastrophic climate change. While the sign is offensive to local farmers, Anker argues it’s nothing new for them.

“Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s the first time we’ve seen something like that, and I don’t think it will be the last.” “Not everyone loves us, and that’s okay; I think that’s common in any industry, but it’s a good reminder that we always need to be on our best behaviour, do the best we can, and perhaps further educate those about the benefits of dairy,” Case Anker said.

Anker claims that, despite the billboard and letter, dairy has accepted responsibility for their impact, and he hopes that consumers would educate themselves more.

“I hope this encourages people to ask questions so they can find out the truth.” “I mean, come see a dairy and farming and get the facts,” Anker remarked.

Dateline Daughter Wins Bathmen-Laren

With Bruninkweerd Glendale 34 (by Dateline), the Wijnbergen-Beernink family won the overall black and white championship at the Bathmen-Laren breeding day.

The dairy farmers from Warnsveld also performed well among the business groups with the reserve title of black and white, behind the black and white group of the Bouwmeester family from Lochem.

Nijkamp Ria 92 red and white day champion
Bouwmeester’s red and white group was also successful. Behind the red and white group of Rinus Bronzewijker, the dairy farmers from Lochem claimed the silver. In addition, one of the cows in Bouwmeester’s group, Nijkamp Ria 92 (by O’Kalif), claimed the overall championship. The O’Kalif daughter also won the senior title, beating Rosalien 424 (by Integral) from Bronzewijker.

Bouwmeester against Bronzewijker again
In the middle class red and white, Bouwmeester and Bronzewijker met again in the final, but the roles were reversed. Bronzewijker claimed the gold with Sien 463 (by Ammo P), while Nijkamp Antje 261 (by Agent) from Bouwmeester ended up in the reserve spot.

Newcomer Wijnbergen also made an appearance with the heifers. Bruninkweerd Elza 29 (by Hotjob) was victorious, while the reserve title went to Old Schoneveld Hoorn 3053 (by Manic) from the Meuleman partnership from Laren.

Anemone strongest in red and white heifers
Other livestock farmers came out on top with the red and white heifers. Huntje Holstein Anemoon 302 (by Crown) owned by Henk Oudenampsen from Laren took the title. She had the most competition from Dinie 135 (by Moutard) from the Schilderink family from Laren.

Prizes for black and white also went to various livestock farmers. For example, Hendrik-Jan Arendsen Raedt from Barchem claimed the senior title with Doortje 54 (v. Golden Dreams). In her wake, the reserve title, just like last year, went to Oosterbrook Acm9 S Hanillo (by Hanillo) from the Heijink dairy farm in Laren.

Heifer title also for Wijnberg
In the middle class, the Holmer family from Laren took the reserve title with Holbra Joy 2. The Casper daughter only had to let the later general champion Bruninkweerd Glendale 34 (by Dateline) go ahead.

Newcomer Wijnbergen also made an appearance with the heifers. Bruninkweerd Elza 29 (by Hotjob) was victorious, while the reserve title went to Old Schoneveld Hoorn 3053 (by Manic) from the Meuleman partnership from Laren.

How Prefresh Diets Set the Stage for Colostrum Yield

The period leading up to calving is a crucial phase in a dairy cow’s life cycle. Proper nutrition and management during this time can have a significant impact on the cow’s health, milk production, and the health of her newborn calf. One essential aspect of this phase is the “prefresh diet,” a carefully formulated diet given to cows in the weeks before calving. In this article, we will discuss the importance of prefresh diets and how they set the stage for colostrum yield, a critical component of calf health.

The Role of Prefresh Diets

Prefresh diets are designed to prepare cows for the demands of calving and lactation. They serve several essential purposes:

  1. Energy and Nutrient Replenishment: During the late stages of pregnancy, cows’ energy and nutrient requirements increase significantly. Prefresh diets provide the necessary nutrients to meet these demands, ensuring the cow maintains proper body condition and is ready for calving.
  2. Metabolic Health: Prefresh diets help prevent metabolic disorders like ketosis and fatty liver syndrome, which can occur if cows enter calving in a negative energy balance.
  3. Colostrum Quality: Proper nutrition during the prefresh period directly impacts the quality and quantity of colostrum produced by the cow immediately after calving.

Colostrum Yield and Quality

Colostrum, the first milk produced by a cow after calving, is a rich source of essential nutrients and antibodies vital for the health and immunity of the newborn calf. The prefresh diet plays a significant role in determining the quality and yield of colostrum:

  1. Volume: Adequate energy intake from the prefresh diet ensures that the cow can produce an ample amount of colostrum. A well-fed cow is more likely to have a larger colostrum yield, which is crucial for the calf’s first feedings.
  2. Nutrient Content: The prefresh diet influences the composition of colostrum. It provides the necessary nutrients, including immunoglobulins, vitamins, and minerals, which are essential for the calf’s health and development.
  3. Antibodies: Colostrum is rich in antibodies (colostral antibodies or immunoglobulins) that help the calf establish immunity. Proper nutrition during the prefresh period ensures that the colostrum contains a sufficient concentration of these antibodies.
  4. Consistency: Consistent and balanced nutrition throughout the prefresh period reduces stress on the cow and helps maintain stable hormone levels, which are essential for colostrum production.

Optimizing Prefresh Diets

To maximize colostrum yield and quality, dairy farmers should consider the following when formulating and managing prefresh diets:

  1. Consult a Nutritionist: Work with a qualified nutritionist to formulate a balanced prefresh diet tailored to the specific needs of your cows and herd.
  2. Monitor Body Condition: Regularly assess the body condition of cows during the prefresh period and adjust diets as needed to maintain optimal condition.
  3. Minimize Stress: Reduce stressors in the prefresh environment, such as overcrowding or sudden changes in diet, as stress can negatively impact colostrum production.
  4. Provide Clean Water: Ensure cows have access to clean and fresh water at all times, as water intake is essential for colostrum production.

Prefresh diets are a critical component of dairy cow management, setting the stage for successful calving, lactation, and calf health. By providing cows with the right balance of nutrients and maintaining their overall well-being during this crucial period, dairy farmers can optimize colostrum yield and quality, ultimately contributing to the long-term success of their dairy operations.

Cornish Herd Wins National Holstein UK Premier Herd Title

Cornwall-based Wills Brothers Ltd of the Willsbro herd have been crowned the winners of the 2023 Holstein UK Premier Herd competition. The Wills family who represented the Southern region, were presented with the highly acclaimed award on Wednesday 13th September at UK Dairy Day.

The award recognises the most outstanding Holstein herd in the UK with the winner of each individual club’s herd competition competing against neighbouring clubs to become one of the seven regional winners and finalists in the National Premier Herd Competition.

The seven regional winners are:

Eastern – Messrs Winter, Corringham Herd

Northern – Skirwith Hall Farms, Stowbeck Herd

Northern Ireland – G & J Booth, Beechview

Scottish – B & V Davidson, Errolston Herd

Southern – Wills Brothers Limited, Willsbro Holsteins

Welsh – Paul, Bessie & Bryn Williams, Waliswood Herd

Western – Pierce, Milwr Herd


The Wills family’s 1700-cow herd based at Wadebridge, was singled out for praise by judge Brian Moorhouse of the Aireburn herd, for its exceptional management and presentation on a very large scale.

The Willsbro herd was established in 1969 with just 40 cows milking in a Hosier abreast bale. In 1976 they increased their herd to 120 cows and started to milk in a 12/12 Alfa Laval herringbone parlour. 2004 saw a further increase to 800 cows and the addition of a new dairy set up on a green field site at Pawton Dairy. They primarily house cows in groups of 200, split according to stage of lactation. The cows are housed in sand-bedded cubicles, with a tidal wash-down system and milked three times daily through a 60-point rotary parlour.  In 2005, they graded up their herd to become full pedigree and started the journey in high genetic female families including Amber, Adina, Aderyn, Ashlyn, Lila Z, Pammy, Rachel, Rozy, Rozelle and Sharon, this was the start of Willsbro Holsteins. The herd is currently achieving an average yield of 14,467kg, 4.06% fat and 3.24% protein with a calving index of 411 days. The all-Year-round calving herd, gained a Holstein UK Master Breeder award in 2020.


National Premier Herd Judge, and 2022 winner, Brian Moorhouse of the Aireburn herd, visited each of the finalists and commenting on the Willsbro Herd he said “Willsbro had exactly what I look for in a herd. There’s tremendous consistency throughout, exceptional udders legs and feet the right balance of strength and dairy quality in every age group. They are outstanding with exceptional management and presentation on a large scale”


The Wills family are looking forward to showcasing their dairy setup in North Cornwall, at the upcoming open day and sale on Saturday 23rd September 2023 from 10am. More information can be found at


The best of the best at UK Dairy Day 2023

Record numbers of trade and cattle exhibitors were at UK Dairy Day last Wednesday, further cementing its reputation as the pinnacle event to attend in the UK for everything dairy related.

Across the exhibition areas, cattle lines and Sharing Knowledge Zone, the event provided the opportunity for dairy farmers to network and do business. Visitors created a real buzz around the show and enabled important face to face conversations to take place with trade exhibitors from across the UK that included feed manufacturers, animal health suppliers, vets, milk buyers, dairy and farm equipment suppliers, plus professional service providers and charities.

With Telford being located within a three hours’ drive of 98% of England and Wales, the International Centre’s central location is the perfect place for companies to do business with dairy farmers. The fantastic range of trade displays showcased products and services at their best, with trade stand awards presented to Wroot Water for the best Small Trade Stand Award, Easyfix for the best Medium Trade Stand Award, DairyMaster for the best Large Trade Stand Award and Hoofcount for the best External Trade Stand Award.

The New Product Competition featured 11 innovative products launched into the market since 1st August 2022. Semex UK was awarded the Best New Product Award for their Methane Efficiency Index.  The Highly Commended Award was presented to Kersia UK for their Octaklean System and a Judges Special Mention was awarded to Sylgen Animal Health for SlurryForSoil.

Industry panels focussed on ‘The Future of the Industry’ with the four panels drawing crowds who listened to the insight relating to the dairy cow, milk pricing and processing, and the dairy industry.  Leading industry professionals provided their views and advice on what the future may hold, sharing key take home messages with the audiences.  AHDB and NFU also used the event to launch this year’s GB Calf Week, opening the seminars with ‘GB Strategy, Where are we Now’.

The practical demonstrations were as popular as ever with Tim Carter showcasing his expertise on foot trimming, blocking and knife sharpening. Scarsdale Vets, led by Carolyn Bagley, presented their ‘Beneath the Black and White’ calf painting which included a starter for discussion about healthy feet in heifers.  In the Breed Village members of the National Bovine Data Centre’s (NBDC) Type Classification team demonstrated the merits of type classification and linear scoring.

This year saw the highest number of cattle to ever be exhibited at UK Dairy Day with exceptional quality throughout the classes in all six breeds, and was the largest show of in-milk cows seen this year in Britain.  In addition to the crowds around the ring, a worldwide audience of thousands watched via live streaming as the judges tapped out their winners, with a recording available to watch back on UK Dairy Day’s YouTube channel.

UK Dairy Day hosted the annual National Holstein, Ayrshire and Brown Swiss Shows along with Dairy Shorthorn, Guernsey and Jersey classes.  The cattle judges travelled from across the UK with Iwan Morgan judge of the National Holstein Show, Colin Christophers judge of the National Ayrshire Show and Brian Weatherup Jnr judge of the National Brown Swiss Show.

The Grand Champions were:

  • Holstein Grand Champion -Evening Sidekick Jennifer, James Wilson
  • Ayrshire Grand Champion – Allstar Ringer Joybell, E Tomlinson
  • Brown Swiss Grand Champion -Kedar Calvin Sanchia Maria, T Lochhead & Sons
  • Dairy Shorthorn Grand Champion -Churchroyd Bronte Wildeyes 62, IRG Collins & Partners
  • Guernsey Grand Champion -Greensfield Dandy Dan Butterfly, MJ & CE Greenslade
  • Jersey Grand Champion -Rivermead Verdi Pixie, The Davis Family

The Holstein UK Premier Exhibitor and Premier Breeder Awards were both won by Logan Holsteins.  The Best Tidy lines title was awarded to Panda Holsteins and Best Presented Lines title was given to Kedar.

The Howard Sneesby Memorial Trophy was presented to Lizzie Yates for her contribution to the National Holstein Show. Lizzie has worked for the Holstein UK Group since 2016 and is an integral member of the UK Dairy Day team in making the cattle show happen.

Hannah Williams, UK Dairy Day Event Manager, said; “The electric atmosphere that UK Dairy Day delivered this year is a true testament to the support from across the industry to what we believe has become the best dairy trade event in the UK.  Our thanks go to Principal sponsors Crystalyx, Lely, Holstein UK and NWF Agriculture, our media partners Farmers Guardian and Holstein International, along with all our associate and cattle class sponsors, trade exhibitors, and cattle exhibitors who all supported UK Dairy Day. We now look forward to planning for next year’s event when UK Dairy Day celebrates its 10th anniversary and once again will provide the opportunity to showcase products, services, advice and dairy breeds”.

Andrew Jones, Holstein UK Chairman, concludes; “An amazing display of dairy cows in the show ring was a proud moment for everyone involved with the event.  I would like to thank the cattle exhibitors for their breeding and showmanship with the presentation of every cow that was at this year’s event.  The six breeds have been showcased to UK and worldwide audiences.  Congratulations to the winners of all classes and the exhibitors crowned breed champions ”.

Save the Date for 2024.

UK Dairy Day will be held on Wednesday 11th September 2024 at The International Centre, Telford, Shropshire.


Cristella Sacarna Wins Grand at Orzinuovi in Italy

Cristella Sacarna (Mixer-Roland) of Azienda Agricola Belestreri Donatella won the interprovincial exhibition of Orzinuovi in Italy. Cristella Sagres (Captain-Solution) was named Reserve Champion. The HM award was obtained by Soc.Agr.Cedroni Stefano E Elia S.S., who was chosen as Premier Breeder and Premier Exhibitor.Elsa Cedroni (Unix-Solomon).

Advances in Genetic Technology Shaping the Future of Dairy Farming

Genetic advancement in dairy cows is a critical aspect of the agricultural industry, as it directly impacts the productivity and profitability of dairy farms. Over the years, advancements in technology, breeding techniques, and genetic selection have significantly accelerated the rate at which dairy cows are genetically improved. This blog aims to explore the factors driving genetic advancement in dairy cows, the benefits it brings to the industry, and the challenges faced by farmers in adopting these advancements. By delving into the topic, readers will gain a comprehensive understanding of the importance of genetic advancement in the dairy industry.

Factors Driving Genetic Advancement

There are several key factors that contribute to the rapid rate of genetic advancement in dairy cows. Firstly, advancements in technology play a significant role. With the development of tools such as genotyping and genomic selection, farmers can accurately identify superior genetics within their herds. This enables them to make informed breeding decisions, resulting in the production of high-quality, high-yielding cows.

Additionally, the use of artificial insemination (AI) and embryo transfer (ET) has revolutionized the breeding process. Farmers can now select the best sires and dams, increasing the likelihood of producing superior offspring. This method also allows for faster genetic progress, as it reduces the generation interval and enables the dissemination of desirable traits throughout the herd.

Furthermore, increased collaboration between researchers, breed associations, and farmers has facilitated the sharing of knowledge and resources. This collaboration has led to the discovery of new genetic markers and traits, further propelling genetic advancement.

The Benefits of Genetic Advancement in Dairy Cows

The rapid rate of genetic advancement in dairy cows brings numerous benefits to the dairy industry. Firstly, it leads to improved productivity. Through careful genetic selection, farmers can produce cows that are more efficient in converting feed into milk. This results in higher milk production, allowing farmers to meet the growing demands of consumers.

Genetic advancement also plays a crucial role in enhancing the health and welfare of dairy cows. By selecting for traits such as disease resistance and longevity, farmers can breed healthier cows that require less medical intervention. This not only improves animal welfare but also reduces veterinary costs for farmers.

Furthermore, genetic advancement contributes to the profitability of dairy farms. High-quality genetics lead to cows with superior milk production, improved feed efficiency, and better overall health. This translates into increased profitability for farmers as they can maximize milk yield while minimizing input costs.

Challenges and Considerations in Genetic Advancement

While the rate of genetic advancement in dairy cows offers numerous benefits, it is not without its challenges and considerations. It is essential for farmers and industry professionals to be aware of these factors in order to make informed decisions.

One significant challenge is maintaining genetic diversity. As certain traits are selected for, there is a risk of reducing genetic variation within the population. This can lead to decreased resilience against diseases and environmental changes. Therefore, it is crucial for breeders to carefully manage their breeding programs to preserve genetic diversity while still achieving desired traits.

Another consideration is the potential for unintended consequences. Genetic advancement focuses on specific traits, but sometimes unexpected side effects may occur. For example, breeding for high milk production may inadvertently lead to cows with weaker bone structures. It is important to monitor and address such unintended consequences to ensure the overall health and wellbeing of the cows.

Additionally, ethical considerations come into play when it comes to genetic advancement. Some people argue that manipulating genes for desired traits raises ethical questions about the welfare and naturalness of the animals. Balancing these concerns with the benefits of genetic advancement is an ongoing discussion within the industry.

In the next section, we will explore the latest advancements in genetic technologies that are revolutionizing the dairy industry. Stay tuned to discover how these technologies are shaping the future of dairy farming.

The latest advancements in genetic technologies

In recent years, the dairy industry has witnessed tremendous advancements in genetic technologies that are driving the rate of genetic advancement in dairy cows to new heights. These innovations have the potential to revolutionize dairy farming by accelerating genetic progress and improving the overall productivity and profitability of dairy herds.

One of the most significant advancements is the utilization of genomic selection. Genomic selection involves the analysis of an animal’s DNA to predict its genetic potential. This technology allows breeders to identify animals with desirable traits at a young age, enabling faster genetic progress within a shorter period of time. By selecting animals with a higher genetic merit for characteristics such as milk production, fertility, and disease resistance, farmers can breed a more efficient and productive herd.

Another groundbreaking technology is gene editing. This technique allows scientists to precisely modify an animal’s DNA and introduce specific genetic changes. Gene editing holds tremendous potential for the dairy industry as it enables breeders to introduce desired traits more rapidly and efficiently than conventional breeding methods. However, it is important to note that gene editing is a highly regulated field and must be conducted ethically and responsibly.

Furthermore, advances in reproductive technologies, such as embryo transfer and in-vitro fertilization, have contributed to the rate of genetic advancement in dairy cows. These techniques allow breeders to propagate superior genetics from elite animals more rapidly, increasing the rate of genetic progress within the herd.

In conclusion, the latest advancements in genetic technologies offer immense opportunities for the dairy industry to enhance the genetic potential of dairy cows. By harnessing these technologies and effectively managing genetic diversity and unintended consequences, dairy farmers can continue to improve the health, productivity, and sustainability of their herds. Stay tuned to the next section, where we will discuss the potential implications of these advancements on the future of dairy farming.

Potential implications of genetic advancements in dairy cows

The rapid rate of genetic advancement in dairy cows has the potential to bring about significant changes and implications for the future of dairy farming. One of the key implications is the ability to breed cows that are more efficient in converting feed into milk production. By selecting animals with higher genetic merit for milk production, farmers can enhance the productivity and profitability of their herds.

Moreover, genetic advancements also offer the opportunity to breed cows with improved fertility traits. This can lead to better reproductive performance, resulting in shorter calving intervals and increased herd sizes. Additionally, breeding for increased disease resistance can reduce the reliance on antibiotics and improve animal welfare.

However, it is essential to consider the potential ethical and social implications of these advancements. As genetic technologies become more sophisticated, there may be concerns about the unintended consequences of manipulating the genetic makeup of animals. It is important to ensure that breeding practices are conducted responsibly, taking into account animal welfare and sustainability.

The future of dairy farming and potential challenges

As the rate of genetic advancement in dairy cows continues to accelerate, the future of dairy farming holds great promise. With the ability to breed cows that are more efficient in converting feed into milk production, farmers can expect increased productivity and profitability. The potential to breed cows with improved fertility traits also offers the opportunity for shorter calving intervals and increased herd sizes.

However, as with any advancement, there are also potential challenges that must be considered. One challenge is ensuring that the genetic modifications made to the cows do not compromise their overall health and well-being. While genetic advancements can improve disease resistance, it is crucial to monitor for any unintended consequences or negative impacts on the cows’ health.

Another challenge is the ethical and social implications associated with genetic manipulation. We must carefully weigh the benefits of these advancements against the potential risks and ensure that breeding practices are conducted responsibly and with careful consideration for animal welfare.

The Bottom Line

In recent years, there have been remarkable advancements in genetic technology that are revolutionizing the dairy farming industry. These breakthroughs hold immense potential in improving the overall productivity and efficiency of dairy cows.

One significant advancement is the utilization of genomic selection in breeding programs. By analyzing the DNA of young calves, farmers can identify their genetic potential for desirable traits such as milk production, fertility, and disease resistance. This allows for more accurate selection of breeding stock and faster genetic progress in the herd.

Additionally, the development of gene editing tools, such as CRISPR-Cas9, opens up new possibilities for precise and targeted genetic modifications. This technology has the potential to enhance traits like heat tolerance, feed efficiency, and milk quality.

Moreover, advancements in reproductive technologies, such as embryo transfer and artificial insemination, contribute to the rapid dissemination of superior genetics throughout the industry. These techniques enable farmers to multiply the impact of genetically superior animals, leading to faster herd improvement.


The dairy industry took a hit this year.

The exceptional dairy boom of 2022 was followed by the unavoidable slump of 2023. Although no one anticipated such high milk prices to continue into this year, the pace and severity of the reversal caught dairy farmers off guard. In July, Class III milk fell to $13.77 per hundredweight (cwt.).

Unrelenting development in the Midwest dairy states, as well as additional cheese processing equipment, came at a high price. In the first half of the year, US Cheddar production increased 3.8% above 2022 amounts, but cheese prices fell. Excess milk sloshed across the Midwest, and farmers paid the price with discarded milk, heavily discounted tanker loads, and higher freight expenses.

Simultaneously, global commerce stagnated. Sharp drops in Chinese milk output and a large stockpile of whole milk powder (WMP) enabled Chinese customers to take a step back. Chinese WMP imports fell to their lowest level since 2016 between January and July. With their key consumer absent, other Zealand exporters sought other markets and lowered prices to keep goods moving, replacing milk powder from Europe, South America, and the United States. WMP prices plummeted to a seven-year low in August at the Global Dairy Trade auction. Kiwi processors diverted milk away from WMP and towards skim milk powder and butter, lowering costs for both products.

Fortunately, Mexico’s hunger for American dairy products remained strong. The United States transported 25% more dairy products south of the border in the first half of the year than it did in the same time in 2022.

Domestic demand was also strong. Americans consumed 0.9% more cheese, 7.1% more milk powder, 8.7% more butter, and 10.6% more whey in the first half of 2023 than they did the previous year. Class IV prices were shielded from the brunt of the losses observed elsewhere by robust demand for milk powder in North America and a persistently strong butter market, but they did not escape undamaged. Class IV fell to $17.95 in April after reaching an all-time high of $25.83 in June 2022.

The futures are now trading in the $18-$19 area. That’s better than it might have been, but it doesn’t portend a quick return to agricultural profitability. Further improvement is possible in 2024, but it will be contingent on a combination of slower US milk production and improved export prospects.

Concerns regarding dairy exports

The future of global dairy exports is uncertain. Consumers in Europe are feeling the squeeze of rising costs. Europeans are spending 14% more on food this year than they did last year at this time. They are also paying more for other things, and family finances are being stretched. Some customers may be obliged to purchase less cheese and butter than they would want. If European dairy demand falls short, European exporters will explore other markets aggressively.

South American dairy exporters, such as Argentina and Uruguay, have benefited as a result of high demand from Brazil. However, Brazilian milk supply is increasing, and imports are likely to decline. Argentina and Uruguay have already reduced their milk powder costs in order to attract new customers.

Everything in New Zealand — and the dairy sector in general — is dependent on China. China’s population is aging and declining, implying that dairy consumption would fall gradually. The economy seems to be in poor shape, with high family debt, worrying levels of young unemployment, and low consumer confidence. In the near run, this is expected to curtail Chinese dairy imports.

Chinese milk production, on the other hand, is expanding at a slower rate than it did from 2020 to 2022, and China has most certainly depleted its WMP stocks. Chinese dairy consumption per capita has a lot of space to expand. Long term, Chinese dairy demand is predicted to rise faster than Chinese milk output, offering potential for exporters.

There are less cows in the United States.

The forecast for milk production in the United States is more obvious. The dairy sector is bleeding money, and the herd is dwindling. Milk production dropped short of year-ago levels in July and is expected to do so again in August.

Dairy profit margins fell to their lowest levels in more than a decade this summer. Many farmers incurred higher losses than in 2009 in areas where feed prices were very high or where regional surpluses cut deeply into milk checks. The markets yelled at dairy farmers to increase cull rates, and record-high meat prices emphasized the message. The beef business is cattle short, which will enhance dairy heifer, cull cow, and calf values in 2024 and 2025.

High meat prices are reducing the dairy herd on both ends. When seasonal tendencies are taken into account, dairy farmers are routinely slaughtering more cows than they have since 1986, when the government paid producers to cull their cows and depart the sector. Rising beef prices have also prompted dairy farmers to produce more crossbred beef calves and fewer dairy heifers. Dairy heifer head counts in the United States have declined for seven years in a row, and they will fall again in 2024.

The milk cow herd is contracting and will continue to shrink unless on-farm profits improve. It will be a long time before dairy farmers in the United States have the will — or the cash — to grow. Even yet, a scarcity of heifers will restrict expansion.

There are difficult times all throughout the globe.

Foreign dairy farmers are also feeling the pinch of rising costs and declining earnings. European milk production is higher than a year ago, but pay prices are falling and milk collections exceed last year’s quantities by increasingly narrow margins. While milk production is increasing, cow numbers are decreasing year after year. It is too early to make judgments regarding the 2023-24 season in New Zealand, but growers are disheartened by multiple reductions in predicted pay prices and more stringent environmental rules.

Farm pain has laid the ground for modest growth – or perhaps decreases – in milk output among the world’s biggest dairy exporters. last means that milk and dairy product prices will remain much higher than the agonizingly low levels that afflicted the sector last summer.

If Chinese demand falls short of the market’s already low expectations, milk prices will certainly fall further from their current depressing levels. However, if Chinese imports begin to rise, or if other importers keep up the pace, both Class III and Class IV prices may rise.

Dairy farmers have had a long and difficult year. The next one promises to be much better.

Top cheese exporting nations in the world

Until 2013, Germany was considered to be the nation that shipped the most cheese, but which country now exports the most? 

1) France: France is well-known for its cheese manufacturing and exports a broad range of cheeses, including Camembert, Roquefort, and Brie.

2) The Netherlands: The Netherlands is a big cheese exporter, particularly of Gouda and Edam cheeses.

3) Germany: Germany exports a variety of cheeses, including Emmental and Limburger.

4) Italy: Italy is well-known for its Parmesan, Mozzarella, and other cheeses, and it is a significant exporter of these dairy products.

5) United States: The United States has a developing cheese export industry, with popular goods including cheddar, mozzarella, and processed cheese.

6) New Zealand: New Zealand is well-known for exporting high-quality dairy products such as cheese.

7) Denmark: Denmark is a big cheese exporter, particularly Danablu (Danish blue cheese) and Havarti.

8) Switzerland: Switzerland is well-known for its cheese, particularly Swiss cheese (Emmental and Gruyère), which it sells to a number of nations.

Which countries consume the most?

1) France: France is recognized for its strong cheese culture, with one of the highest per capita cheese consumption rates in the world. Several varieties of cheese are used in French cuisine.

2) Greece: Feta cheese and other dairy products are common in Greek cuisine, contributing to the country’s comparatively high cheese consumption.

3) Denmark: Cheese consumption in Denmark is rich, with a broad range of cheeses popular in Danish cuisine.

4) Italy: Famous for its cheese-based foods such as pizza and pasta, Italy has a high per capita cheese consumption.

5) Germany: Germany is renowned for its cheese obsession, with several varieties of cheese utilized in traditional recipes such as sausages and pretzels.

6) United States: The United States has a high cheese consumption rate, with cheese being a regular element in many recipes as well as a popular snack.

7) The Netherlands: Cheese consumption in the Netherlands is astonishingly high, with famous Dutch cheeses such as Gouda and Edam being popular both domestically and globally.

8) Switzerland: Swiss cheese, notably Emmental and Gruyère, is an essential component of Swiss cuisine, contributing to the country’s high cheese consumption.

9) Australia: Cheese consumption has increased in Australia, where it is popular in sandwiches, burgers, and other foods.

Should you raise replacement heifers yourself?

The success of a dairy operation relies heavily on the quality and health of its herd. Replacement heifers, young female cows that will eventually join the milking herd, play a crucial role in maintaining and improving the herd’s productivity. The question of who should be raising replacement heifers is a vital one for dairy farmers. This article explores the various options and considerations for raising replacement heifers effectively.

  1. On-Farm Rearing


    • Control: Rearing replacement heifers on your own farm provides full control over their management, nutrition, and healthcare.
    • Cost Management: You can manage costs more effectively by utilizing existing infrastructure and labor resources.
    • Genetic Selection: On-farm rearing allows you to select heifers based on the specific traits and genetics you desire in your herd.


    • Space and Resources: Rearing heifers requires space, feed, and labor, which may strain your farm’s resources.
    • Expertise: You need the expertise to manage young stock, including nutrition, health, and reproduction.
    • Biosecurity: Maintaining proper biosecurity measures to prevent disease transmission can be challenging.
  2. Custom Heifer Rearing Services


    • Expertise: These services are often staffed with experts in heifer rearing, ensuring that your replacements receive the best care.
    • Cost Management: Costs may be more predictable, as they often include fixed fees for rearing.
    • Biosecurity: Custom rearing services may have better biosecurity protocols in place.


    • Loss of Control: You relinquish some control over heifer management and genetics.
    • Cost: While cost management can be more predictable, these services may have higher upfront costs.
    • Transportation: Moving heifers to and from custom rearing facilities can be stressful for the animals.
  3. Cooperative or Neighbor Arrangements


    • Shared Resources: Collaborating with neighbors or other dairy farms can allow you to share costs and resources.
    • Expertise: You can tap into collective knowledge and experience.
    • Biosecurity: Collective efforts can lead to better biosecurity practices.


    • Coordination: Cooperative arrangements require careful coordination and communication among parties involved.
    • Conflict Resolution: Differences in management philosophies can lead to conflicts.
    • Responsibility: Determining responsibilities and decision-making can be challenging.
  4. Purchase of Replacement Heifers


    • Immediate Availability: Purchasing replacements can quickly boost your milking herd’s size.
    • Reduced Rearing Costs: You avoid the costs associated with rearing young heifers.
    • Genetic Diversity: You can introduce new genetics to your herd.


    • Quality Control: The health and genetic quality of purchased heifers may vary.
    • Biosecurity: Introducing new animals can pose biosecurity risks if proper protocols aren’t followed.
    • Cost: Initial purchase costs can be substantial.

The decision of who should be raising replacement heifers depends on your farm’s specific circumstances, goals, and resources. Each option has its advantages and challenges. Many successful dairy operations combine strategies, using on-farm rearing for some heifers and custom rearing or purchasing for others. Regardless of the approach, the key to success is diligent management, a focus on animal health and genetics, and maintaining a long-term vision for the sustainability of your dairy operation.

Dairy exports have been slowed by China’s falling demand.

According to the US Dairy Export Council, there are three major obstacles preventing exports this year.

Will Loux, Vice President of Global Economic Affairs, notes that the majority of July’s losses were due to a 40% decline in low-protein whey exports.

“We’re basically facing every headwind you can think of right now on the international market, with an absent China, a global economic crisis, and extreme competition from our major export competitors, and yet the US is only down 6%,” he adds.

For the first seven months of the year, dairy exports were down 12% in value. Loux expects China’s demand to increase, but the import mix will shift in the future.

“I believe you’ll see more skim milk powder imported for bakery and the like, or imported for ice cream,” he predicts. “I believe there will be more cheese going—we’ve seen that a lot this year.”

Cheese exports were unchanged (-1%) in July, with a resurgence in Japanese sales helping to overcome decreased demand. Nonfat dry milk/skim milk powder sales climbed significantly (+3%) due to increasing sales to Mexico.

Legislators Target “Dairy” Alternatives Produced in a Lab

Legislators Target Lab-Grown “Dairy” Products. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho) are speaking out against what they see to be unjust mislabeling of non-dairy goods using dairy names. The two sent an open letter to FDA Commissioner FDS Commissioner Rober Califf on Tuesday. They express “strong concerns” about emerging cell-based copycat dairy products on the market.

“For decades, FDA has allowed non-dairy products to illegally use dairy terms to label their imitation products, most of which are nutritionally inferior to the real dairy foods they purport to emulate,” according to the letter. “A new, additional perpetrator is now threatening public health: cell-based dairy imitation products.” These are man-made alternatives masquerading as natural foods, many of which are nutritionally inferior to the dairy products they mimic.”

They go on to state that new breakthroughs in food science should lead to the production of new and creative goods rather than causing “deeper harm to public health.” Finally, the Senators requested Califf to enforce dairy identification requirements and to prohibit synthetic knockoff goods from utilizing dairy names.

Senators Angus King (I-Maine), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tina Smith (D-MN), Susan Collins (R-ME), Roger Marshall (R-KS), and Mike Crapo (R-ID) all signed the letter.

Unsurprisingly, the National Milk Producers Federation praised the Senators’ actions. After years of what he calls failed enforcement of dairy labeling rules, NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern believes it is time for the FDA to intervene.

“The FDA must do its job to ensure that consumers have access to food labeling that allows them to make informed decisions about what they feed themselves and their families,” Mulhern said. “Now more than ever, Americans require marketplace transparency, integrity, and protection, as new products and processes transform what consumers find on grocery shelves at an increasing rate.”

Reduced worldwide milk output is in line with slowing demand.

According to the bank’s Q3 Global Dairy Quarterly, lower milk prices in most main global dairy-producing countries have started to result in decreased supply in recent months.

“However, in our opinion, a possible whiplash effect is becoming more likely,” said Lucas Fuess, senior dairy analyst at Rabobank in the United States.

“We may see a resurgence in demand emerging months before global milk output can recover,” he warned.

According to the data, milk output in Australia increased in May, marking the first month-on-month increase since mid-2021.

Growth continued in June, growing by 1.2%, bringing national output for the 2022-23 season to 8.129 billion litres, a 5% decrease year on year.

Rabobank forecasts a 2% increase in milk output in the 2023-24 season, owing to good on-farm profit margins and generally abundant feed and irrigation water availability.

According to the analysis, price signals for Australian dairy farmers are highly encouraging against a difficult global background, but larger price moves are unlikely until local and export market circumstances improve dramatically.

In 2022-23, Australian dairy export volumes fell. Total export volumes were down 15% for the season (up to May), with significant tonnage losses in skim milk powder (SMP), cheese, and liquid milk.

According to Rabobank, Australia’s exportable surplus will stabilize in 2023-24 owing to a modest milk pool recovery and slow domestic demand growth.

Rabobank has reduced its worldwide milk production prediction for 2023.

According to the analysis, milk production in the ‘Big 7’ export areas — New Zealand, Australia, the European Union, the United States, Uruguay, Brazil, and Argentina — is expected to increase by 0.3% year on year in 2023.

This decrease from the previous quarter’s forecast of 0.5% is due to output cuts in most significant worldwide areas, including the United States, the European Union, and New Zealand.

Global dairy production is anticipated to rise by 0.4% by 2024, significantly less than the 1.6% annual average increase witnessed from 2010 to 2020.

According to the research, attention is also focused on both supply and demand in China, where the severity of economic headwinds and the length of the halt in economic development are lowering the chances of a robust demand rebound.

Leading dairy processors indicate some market recovery, but this has yet to balance robust Chinese domestic milk production increase, according to Rabobank.

Milk production growth in the nation will decline in the second half of 2023 and early 2024, but no significant market rebalancing is predicted in the short future, and positive year-on-year imports are not forecast until late 2024 or early 2025.

USDA Announces Milk Loss Assistance for Dairy Operations Impacted by 2020, 2021 and 2022 Disaster Events

The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced Milk Loss Program (MLP) assistance for eligible dairy operations for milk that was dumped or removed, without compensation, from the commercial milk market due to qualifying weather events and the consequences of those weather events that inhibited delivery or storage of milk (e.g., power outages, impassable roads, infrastructure losses, etc.) during calendar years 2020, 2021 and 2022. Administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA), signup for MLP begins Sept. 11 and runs through Oct. 16, 2023.

“Frequent and widespread weather-related disasters over the past three years have impacted U.S. dairy. These producers continue to face supply chain issues, high feed and input costs, labor shortages, and market volatilities,” said FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. “The reality for dairy producers is that cattle are milked at least twice a day, producing on average, six to seven gallons of milk per cow, per day. That milk must go somewhere, and when it can’t get where it needs to go and can’t be stored due to circumstances beyond a producer’s control we need to help. The Milk Loss Program will help offset the economic loss by producers left with no other choice but dumping their milk during disasters.”


On Dec. 29, 2022, President Biden signed into law the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act (P.L. 117-43), providing $10 billion for crop losses, including milk losses due to qualifying disaster events that occurred in calendar years 2020 and 2021.  Additionally, the Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2023 (Pub. L. 117-328) provides approximately $3 billion for disaster assistance for similar losses that occurred in calendar year 2022.


MLP compensates dairy operations for milk dumped or removed without compensation from the commercial milk market due to qualifying disaster events, including droughts, wildfires, hurricanes, floods, derechos, excessive heat, winter storms, freeze (including a polar vortex), and smoke exposure that occurred in the 2020, 2021 and 2022 calendar years. Tornadoes are considered a qualifying disaster event for calendar year 2022 only.

The milk loss claim period is each calendar month that milk was dumped or removed from the commercial market. Each MLP application covers the loss in a single calendar month.  Milk loss that occurs in more than one calendar month due to the same qualifying weather event requires a separate application for each month.

The days that are eligible for assistance begin on the date the milk was removed or dumped and for concurrent days milk was removed or dumped. Once the dairy operation restarts milk marketing, the dairy operation is ineligible for assistance unless after restarting commercial milk marketing, additional milk is dumped due to the same qualifying disaster event. The duration of yearly claims is limited to 30 days per year for 2020, 2021 and 2022.

How to Apply

To apply for MLP, producers must submit:

  • FSA-376, Milk Loss Program Application
  • Milk marketing statement from the:
    • o Month prior to the month milk was removed or dumped.
    • o Affected month.
  • Detailed written statement of milk removal circumstances, including the weather event type and geographic scope, what transportation limitations occurred and any information on what was done with the removed milk.
  • Any other information required by the regulation.

If not previously filed with FSA, applicants must also submit all the following items within 60 days of the MLP application deadline:

  • Form AD-2047, Customer Data Worksheet.
  • Form CCC-902, Farm Operating Plan for an individual or legal entity.
  • Form CCC-901, Member Information for Legal Entities (if applicable).
  • Form FSA-510, Request for an Exception to the $125,000 Payment Limitation for Certain Programs (if applicable).
  • Form CCC-860, Socially Disadvantaged, Limited Resource, Beginning and Veteran Farmer or Rancher Certification, (if applicable).
  • A highly erodible land conservation (sometimes referred to as HELC) and wetland conservation certification (Form AD-1026 Highly Erodible Land Conservation (HELC) and Wetland Conservation (WC) Certification) for the MLP producer and applicable affiliates.

Most producers, especially those who have previously participated in FSA programs, will likely have these required forms already on file. However, those who are uncertain or want to confirm the status of their forms can contact their local FSA county office.

MLP Payment Calculation

The final MLP payment is determined by factoring the MLP payment calculation by the applicable MLP payment percentage.

The calculation for determining MLP payment is:

  • ((Base period per cow average daily milk production x the number of milking cows in a claim period x the number of days milk was removed or dumped in a claim period) ÷ 100) x pay price per hundredweight (cwt.).

For MLP payment calculations, the milk loss base period is the first full month of production before the dumping or removal occurred.

The MLP payment percentage will be 90% for underserved producers, including socially disadvantaged, beginning, limited resource, and veteran farmers and ranchers and 75% for all other producers.

To qualify for the higher payment percentage, eligible producers must have a CCC-860, Socially Disadvantaged, Limited Resource, Beginning and Veteran Farmer or Rancher Certification, form on file with FSA for the 2022 program year.

Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) limitations do not apply to MLP, however the payment limitation for MLP is determined by the person’s or legal entity’s average adjusted gross farm income (income derived from farming, ranching and forestry operations). Specifically, a person or legal entity, other than a joint venture or general partnership, cannot receive, directly or indirectly, more than $125,000 in payments under MLP if their average adjusted gross farm income is less than 75% of their average AGI or more than $250,000 if their adjusted gross farm income is at least 75% of their average AGI.

More Information

In other FSA dairy safety-net support, Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program payments have triggered every month, January through July, for producers who obtained coverage for the 2023 program year. July 2023’s income over feed margin of $3.52 per hundredweight (cwt.) is the lowest margin since DMC program benefits to dairy producers started in 2019. To date, FSA has paid more than $1 billion in DMC benefits to covered dairy producers for the 2023 program year.

Additionally, FSA closed the Organic Dairy Marketing Assistance Program (ODMAP) application period on Aug. 11.

On, the Disaster Assistance Discovery ToolDisaster Assistance-at-a-Glance fact sheet and Loan Assistance Tool can help producers and landowners determine program or loan options. For assistance with a crop insurance claim, producers and landowners should contact their crop insurance agent. For FSA and NRCS programs, they should contact their local USDA Service Center.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.

NAAB Announces Recipient of 2023 Member Director Award Mrs. Dorothy Harms

 The National Association of Animal Breeders is pleased to announce that Mrs. Dorothy Harms is the 2023 recipient of the NAAB Member Director Award. During Dorothy Harms’ 21-year commitment to CentralStar and 12-year commitment to Select Sires Inc., both organizations have experienced unprecedented growth and success. Her amazing length of service does not totally describe the contributions she has made to her bovine breeding cooperative. Dorothy served as Secretary/Treasurer for the East Central Select Sires board from 2004-2015 (12 years); then Vice-President from 2016-2019 (4 years); then Secretary for CentralStar board from 2020 until her retirement in 2023 (3 years). In her 12 years on the Select Sires Inc. board, she served 3 years as 2nd Vice Chair, 3 years as 1st Vice Chair, and 3 years as the Chairwoman of Select Sires Inc. 

Dorothy Harms graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1977 with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture. She and husband, Don, owned and operated Vally Spring Farms in Reedsburg, Wisconsin from 1982 to 2018 milking 70 Holstein cows while farming 255 acres. In 2013, they opened Vally Spring Farm Market/Bed and Breakfast. With a Pasture to Plate vision, they maintain a 60 head herd of Red Angus beef cows and produce other products alongside managing the Bed and Breakfast. 

Harms’ strong financial aptitude, coupled with her forward-looking demeanor, are two major characteristics that brought strong leadership to the boards of both organizations that allowed record growth and expansion. The result was financial stability which has allowed Select Sires to become a global leader in the industry. 

Her leadership and financial acuity helped guide and champion the ideas for East Central Cooperative to merge with Northstar Cooperative, forming CentralStar Cooperative, serving all of Wisconsin and Michigan. This led to the development of a more efficient and resilient cooperative that provides A.I. Service as well as DHI Services throughout their membership area in those two states. In her 21 years, CentralStar Cooperative achieved record growth in membership while the organization’s business volume tripled the size of both cooperative areas. 

It was these same characteristics that she brought to the Select Sires Board of Directors working with the Aggressive Reproductive Technologies (ART) committee, the Audit committee, and on the Strategic Planning committee. On the ART committee, she worked to protect the company’s genetic leadership through investing in new technologies, expanding the breeding program, and assuring astute management of these assets. She also served many years on the audit committee, to make sure the finances of the cooperative were transparent and sound. Select Sires achieved record growth but also financial success that was constantly monitored by the audit committee and its processes. Dorothy served on the strategic planning committee for the years of 2013, 2016-2020. Her forward-thinking attitude, along with the other board members, led to a mission to focus 

on producer owners, expand the role of research and optimize the Select Sires federation. Under her leadership as Chairwoman, the Board encouraged research in activity-based health and heat monitoring that led to the first successful ear mounted system and supported the expansion of doubling the size of Select Sires production facilities. Partnering with Accelerated Genetics, acquiring GenerVations in Canada and Semeia in Brazil, purchasing Diebernardi A.I. service and Reproductores in Argentina were also accomplished while Harms served in leadership roles on the Select Sires Inc. Board. As Chairwoman, she has represented Select Sires in Brazil, France, Spain, Canada, and received many guests from all parts of the world. She has championed U.S. breeding programs as the best in the world and is a great representative and ambassador for Select Sires Inc., NAAB, and the breed associations of the United States. 

Dorothy has served as a Wisconsin 4-H advisor from 1982 through 2021 and was a 4-H Hall of Fame recipient. She served on the Sauk County Senior leadership board for 10 years and served on the Farmer Angel Network along with the Farmer Suicide Prevention Organization. 

Dorothy’s significant contributions through her service to the dairy industry, CentralStar (East Central/Northstar merger), Select Sires Inc., and NAAB make her a very worthy recipient of the NAAB Member Director Award. 

Are You AI and Chat GPT Ready for Your Dairy?

The world of agriculture is no stranger to technological advancements. From automated tractors to precision agriculture, farmers have always embraced innovation to increase efficiency and productivity. In recent years, artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots like GPT-3 have emerged as powerful tools with the potential to revolutionize the industry. This article explores how AI and chatbots can benefit dairy farms and what it takes to prepare for their integration.

The Promise of AI in Dairy Farming

AI holds enormous promise for dairy farming. It can streamline operations, improve decision-making, and enhance overall farm management. Here are some ways AI can benefit your dairy farm:

  1. Automated Monitoring: AI can continuously monitor your herd’s health and behavior, alerting you to any signs of illness or distress. This early detection can help prevent disease outbreaks and reduce veterinary costs.
  2. Optimized Feeding: AI can analyze data on each cow’s diet and adjust it in real-time to ensure they receive the right nutrients. This can lead to healthier cows and increased milk production.
  3. Predictive Maintenance: AI can predict when equipment like milking machines or cooling systems is likely to fail, allowing for proactive maintenance and minimizing downtime.
  4. Data-driven Decision Making: By analyzing vast amounts of data, AI can provide insights into breeding strategies, milk production, and resource allocation, enabling more informed decisions.
  5. Crop Management: For dairy farms that also grow their own feed crops, AI can optimize planting and harvesting schedules, leading to higher yields and cost savings.

Chat GPT for Dairy Farms

In addition to AI, chatbots like GPT-3 can be valuable assets for dairy farms. Here’s how:

  1. Customer Support: GPT-powered chatbots can assist customers with inquiries about your dairy products, providing quick and accurate responses around the clock.
  2. Employee Training: Use chatbots to create interactive training materials for your farmworkers. They can learn about animal care, equipment operation, and safety procedures at their own pace.
  3. Market Research: Chatbots can scour the internet for market trends and customer preferences, helping you stay competitive in the dairy market.
  4. Record Keeping: Chatbots can help you maintain detailed records of your dairy operations, from breeding records to inventory management.

Preparing Your Dairy Farm for AI and Chat GPT

While the potential benefits of AI and chatbots for dairy farming are evident, preparing your farm for their integration is crucial. Here are some steps to consider:

  1. Assess Your Data Infrastructure: AI and chatbots rely on data. Ensure that you have robust data collection and storage systems in place. This includes data on herd health, production, and equipment performance.
  2. Connectivity: Ensure that your farm has reliable internet connectivity. AI and chatbots require constant communication with cloud servers for data analysis and updates.
  3. Invest in Training: Familiarize your team with AI and chatbot technology. Provide training on how to use these tools effectively and integrate them into daily operations.
  4. Data Security: Dairy farms handle sensitive data. Implement strong cybersecurity measures to protect your data and prevent unauthorized access.
  5. Start Small: Consider starting with a pilot project to test the technology’s effectiveness on a smaller scale before implementing it across the entire farm.

AI and chatbots like GPT-3 offer dairy farms the potential to enhance productivity, improve animal welfare, and streamline operations. While the integration of these technologies may seem daunting, careful planning, investment in infrastructure, and training can pave the way for a successful transition. As the agricultural industry continues to evolve, embracing AI and chatbots may become a necessity to stay competitive and sustainable in the dairy farming sector.

NAAB Announces Recipient of 2023 Distinguished Service Award Mr. Paul Larmer

 The National Association of Animal Breeders is pleased to announce Mr. Paul Larmer as the 2023 NAAB Distinguished Service awardee. When reflecting on Paul’s 42-year career, his contributions span the globe, influence so many and are immensely multi-faceted. This includes Paul’s impact on global cattle genetic improvement, his business leadership and vision, a positive voice for global agriculture, and a supporter of youth programs. 

Paul graduated from the University of Guelph’s Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) with a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in 1981. This educational foundation provided Paul with the business acumen to become a worldwide respected leader in the agriculture and research industries. Upon graduation, he worked in the feed industry then initiated his career in the genetics industry in 1984 and began his first of many roles at United Breeders, Guelph, Ontario. In 1990, he was named Director of Marketing and was promoted to General Manager in 1995. 

A successful leader and promoter of efficient change, Paul worked closely with the United Breeders Board of Directors and the Western Ontario Breeders to facilitate and oversee the merger and formation of Gencor (EastGen as it is known today) where he served as General Manager. 

Paul was instrumental in the formation of the Semex Alliance in 1997 (an amalgamation of four farmer-owned cooperatives), which he joined as Senior Sales and Marketing Manager. In this role, Paul motivated and led his team to record sales and greatly contributed to Semex’s status as a global leader in genetics worldwide. Paul has also led Sales and Business Development within North and South America as Director of the Americas for Alta Genetics Inc. before rejoining the Semex Alliance in 2007 as Chief Executive Officer. 

As CEO of Semex Alliance, Paul introduced strategic planning with a global focus to the company’s owners with a commitment for sustainable growth. This change resulted in 15 consecutive years of sales and revenue growth while expanding Semex’s global footprint through strategic global investment in key growth markets. 

Paul’s leadership and impact is felt by many. With sales to 80 diverse countries, Paul’s vision and challenge to “demand the best” has motivated his worldwide staff of 1,800 to record sales during his tenure as CEO. Since 2007, revenues for the company have grown from $60 million annually to $160 million in consolidated revenue in 2022. Despite unexpected market challenges and export barriers, Paul’s positive attitude and fortitude continually motivates sales and marketing teams to accomplish milestones they never thought possible. He lives and breathes the company’s mission, “We demand the best of ourselves, our company and what we do for our customers.” 

At Semex, Paul is committed to innovation through research and development and is responsible for continuous investment year after year. He oversees and champions the company’s commitment to R&D projects and their commercial applications benefiting dairy and beef operations globally. Projects have included improved semen fertility, in vitro fertilization, genomic selection tools, immune genetic and sustainability traits, to name a few. 

Paul’s involvement and commitment to agriculture and youth programs is shown with his involvement in his professional and volunteer contributions demonstrating leadership and vision. To name a few, Paul is the Past President of University of Guelph Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) Alumni Association dedicated to fostering life-long connections amongst alumni, and between alumni, OAC, and the University of Guelph. Paul serves as the Past President and Chair of the Board of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and is a past Vice-Chairman. He is a Former Member of the Board of Trustees and Silver Sponsor of the Ontario Dairy Youth Trust Fund, and he is a former Committee Member of Scotiabank Hays Classic 4-H Show, now known as the Canadian Classic 4-H. Paul is a strong supporter of this exhibition with over 350 Canadian dairy youth competing. 

Professional affiliations include the Canadian Livestock Genetics Association (CLGA), Canadian Association of Animal Breeders (CAAB), NAAB Manager’s Committee, the Canadian Dairy Network (CDN) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). 

Paul and his wife Margaret have been married for 31 years and have resided in Guelph since attending University of Guelph. Margaret is also a graduate of the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in 1990. They are the proud parents of two daughters –Catherine, an Honors Kinesiology graduate from Western University and Hannah, a graduate of Queen’s University with a Bachelor of Arts degree specializing in Linguistics. 

Congratulations to Paul Larmer – NAAB’s 2023 Distinguished Service awardee. 

NAAB Announces Recipient of 2023 Pioneer Award Dr. Ramakrishnan (Vish) Vishwanath

 The National Association of Animal Breeders is pleased to announce Dr. Ramakrishnan (Vish) Vishwanath as the 2023 recipient of the NAAB Pioneer Award. Dr. Ramakrishnan Vishwanath, or as he was known to his family and friends “Vish”, established, and conducted highly influential research in several key areas that helped shape the AI industry worldwide. From developing and managing innovative R&D programs, to implementing new technologies that created value for the AI industry, Vish was always searching for new opportunities for the expansion of the use of best practices for conventional and sex sorted, fresh and frozen semen. 

Through his work at Livestock Improvement Corporation, a cooperative that serves most dairy farmers in New Zealand, Vish played a key role supporting the dairy industry at a pivotal time during the 1990’s and 2000’s, when New Zealand established itself as a major global milk producer and exporter. Most New Zealand dairy farms operate seasonal production systems that require an intensive, limited breeding season and Vish’s contributions were essential to the rapid expansion of artificial insemination programs tailored to seasonal production systems. His research on liquid semen extenders allowed the use of insemination doses of 1.25 to 2 million sperm, allowing 10 times as many fresh semen doses as frozen semen doses to be produced. Thus, semen production during the limited breeding season could be maximized and demand could be met by using only bulls with the highest genetic merit. The logistical challenges associated with implementation of large-scale fresh semen programs were addressed by Vish through his role as executive leader at LIC. Some of the initiatives he was involved with included development of communication systems to estimate, track and document semen demand and utilization; tailoring semen dose to the expected time of utilization after production; development of optimal fresh semen storage and dispatch practices; and education of producers on best reproductive management practices when using fresh semen. These initiatives ensured that the percentage of cows submitted to artificial insemination increased from just over 60% in 1985 peaking at approximately 85% in 1998, at the same time New Zealand experienced a dramatic increase in overall cow population. 

Vish also exercised his industry executive leadership at AgResearch, one of New Zealand’s largest Crown Research Institutes, where he managed a dynamic team of approximately 60 staff comprising scientists, technicians, post-doctoral fellows, and PhD students. At AgResearch, Vish established a semen and embryo media manufacturing business with licenses issued to animal breeding companies and established an assisted-reproductive technologies joint venture company among AgResearch, Geron Corporation (USA) and Animal Reproduction Company (Australia). 

Upon joining Sexing Technologies in 2011, Vish led R&D efforts to better understand the physiology of sex-sorted sperm, and to develop strategies to preserve cell function during the sorting process. These efforts were instrumental in the optimization of sex-sorted semen that resulted in improved conception rates and the global launch of SexedULTRATM semen in 2013 and SexedULTRA4MTM in 2017. The increase in conception rates enhanced the acceptance and utilization of sex-sorted semen, which together with genomic selection, opened a vast array of opportunities for animal breeding and selection, and unleashed a new era of cattle genetic improvement. Some estimates indicate that sex-sorted semen is now utilized in over 50% of Holstein heifers in the US and the percentage of cows inseminated with sex-sorted semen is rapidly increasing. In Jersey cattle, some estimates indicate that over 85% of all females in the US are now inseminated with sex- sorted semen. 

Vish’s research was always at the forefront of science. His contributions extend over several decades, with many accomplishments that exemplify his knowledge in reproductive biology across multiple species. His research has been published in many leading peer review journals, and he is the author of 85 scientific manuscripts, reviews, conference proceedings, and abstracts. He has a h-index of 18 and 33 of his publications accumulate a total of 1,270 citations. Eleven of his publications have over 30 citations, while the top four have over 100 citations. Vish is the principal or co-inventor of 13 patents, which include the development of extenders for fresh semen, systems of semen bulk freezing, sensor apparatus to detect the reproductive status of livestock animals, and methods of sex-sorting that improve sperm quality and fertility, which are indications of his innovation in the field of semen research in bovine. 

Vish was always searching for new opportunities for the expansion of the use of best practices for conventional and sex-sorted, fresh, and frozen semen. Vish also provided invaluable leadership and support to many scientific teams throughout his career. He was a very well-respected and unassuming individual, that led by example, gaining the respect, trust and love of his colleagues and peers. 

Sadly, Vish passed in January 2021. His life motto was “Why have less, when you can have more”. Vish lived a full life with many passions and is missed by family, friends, and this industry. 

NAAB Announces Recipient of 2023 Research Award Dr. Kent Weigel

 The National Association of Animal Breeders is pleased to announce Dr. Kent Weigel as the 2023 NAAB Research awardee. Dr. Weigel is the Judge John J. Crown Chair of Dairy Genetics and Department Chair, Department of Animal & Dairy Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition to teaching undergraduate students and mentoring graduate students in the animal genetics program, he also manages the academic departments that include 30 faculty, 60 academic and university staff, 80 graduate students, 250 undergraduate students and 10 animal units. Dr. Weigel earned a B.S. in Animal Science in 1987 and a B.S. in Biology that same year at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, a M.S. in Animal Science from Iowa State University in 1989, M.S in Biometry and a Ph.D. in Dairy Science in 1992 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

Dr. Kent Weigel’s independent and collaborative research program, which has spanned thirty years, focuses on translational research and impactful outreach that will improve the lives of dairy farmers and their cattle in Wisconsin, North America, and beyond. The topics have evolved over the years as new needs have emerged and new technologies have become available. A primary focus has been the study of novel traits that cannot be measured in traditional milk recording or type appraisal programs. For example, his group published the first studies in North America involving the estimation of breeding values for common health disorders in dairy cattle, such as mastitis, lameness, ketosis, and displaced abomasum, using health event data from on-farm herd management software programs. This work, coupled with subsequent studies by other groups, eventually led to the implementation of national genetic evaluations for health traits in U.S. dairy cattle. 

More recently, and in collaboration with partners at several other leading land-grant universities, his group has invested tremendous resources in establishing a genomic reference population for dry matter intake, residual feed intake, and its component energy sinks. This project led to the recent implementation of national genetic evaluations for Feed Saved, an index comprised of residual feed intake and maintenance energy requirements, in U.S. dairy cattle. A second focus has been the development and evaluation of novel tools and strategies related to the genetic improvement of dairy cattle. For example, his group was the first to apply genotype imputation methods in the context of genome-enabled selection in dairy cattle. 

These studies, coupled with those of external collaborators, led to the design and implementation of low-density single nucleotide polymorphism arrays that reduced the cost of genomic testing by nearly ten-fold. As a result, more than 100,000 dairy calves are genotyped per month in North America, and the Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding database now contains genomic data of more than 8 million animals. Other examples include the first published analysis of founder contributions to inbreeding depression in Jersey cattle, as well as one of the earliest studies to utilize runs of homozygosity to assess inbreeding at the genome level. A third focus has been the coupling of genome-enhanced management strategies with precision dairy management tools. This has included, for example, the use of machine learning algorithms to predict insemination outcomes and the use of lift chart analysis to develop economical breeding strategies. It has also included studies on the prediction of whole genome risk for hyperketonemia, as well as the prediction of daily dry matter intake from sensor and metabolite data. 

Going forward, Dr. Weigel is focused on several novel and exciting topics. The first is continued expansion of the genomic reference population for feed efficiency, with emphasis on understanding feeding behaviors, social competition, and their relationships with residual feed intake. The second is extension of this multi-state effort into the realm of methane emissions, in which Dr. Weigel and his collaborators will develop a genomic reference population to enable selection for reduced enteric methane production and study the interplay between host genetics and the rumen microbiome. The third topic is resilience, in which he will use high-frequency phenotypes for milk yield, dry matter intake, and behavior to identify animals that can perform consistently in the presence of environmental/management perturbations. 

Previous honors and awards include the Robert G.F. and Hazel T. Spitze Land Grant Faculty Award for Excellence, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UW-Madison in 2020, the Lush Award in Animal Breeding and Genetics in 2010 as well as a two-time recipient of the Pound Extension Award from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UW-Madison in 2005 and 2008. Dr. Weigel has generated approximately 225 publications in leading peer-reviewed journals to date with over 14,000 citations. 

Dr. Weigel, his wife, Mindy, and their dogs live on a small acreage near Lodi, Wisconsin. Their son, Brady, is a mechanical engineer, and their daughter, Darby, is a substance abuse counselor, both live and work in the Madison area. 

Robotic Milking: Technology, farm layout, and labor flow considerations

Cows in conventional herds follow a structured routine and receive all their nutrients from a total mixed ration, while cows in herds with robotic milking systems have the opportunity to be milked more frequently and fed more precisely, but there are challenges in maintaining a consistent milking frequency and finding the right balance of feed ingredients.

  • Since the first commercial systems appeared in 1992, automatic milking systems (AMS) have been installed at an increasing rate
  • In most cases, cows obtain all their nutrients from a TMR; in herds equipped with robotic or AMS, a fraction of their nutrients is provided during milking, mainly as a means to attract cows to the milking system, whereas the remaining fraction is supplied in the feed bunk through a partial mixed ration (PMR)
  • Opportunity from AMS resides in the possibility of milking more frequently, assigning different milking frequencies to different cows, and feeding cows more precisely or closely to their nutrient needs, potentially resulting in improved feed efficiency and economic returns rendering a more profitable production system than when using a single TMR
  • From a behavioral standpoint, free traffic conditions coupled with frequent deliveries of the PMR at the feed bunk and limiting concentrate allowance in the AMS to 3 to 4 kg/d seem more beneficial for milking cows in a AMS
  • Tremblay et al (2016) found a negative association between concentrate allowance in the AMS and milk yield, the same study reported a positive association between the percentage of feed allowance that was not consumed and milk production. This emphasizes that the potential advantages of feeding cows more closely to their nutrient needs are only achieved if the precision at which these nutrients are offered is high
  • Restricting concentrate allowance to <3 to 4 kg/d is recommended to maximize economic returns and minimize variation in nutrient intake
Table 1Feeding and milking behavior and milk production and composition of cows with free traffic versus guided traffic systems (Bach et al., 2009)
Item (per cow per day) Free traffic Guided traffic SE P-value
Total milkings (no.) 2.2 2.5 0.04 <0.001
Fetched milkings (no.) 0.5 0.1 0.03 <0.001
PMR1 intake (kg) 18.6 17.6 1.34 0.24
PMR1 meals (no.) 10.1 6.6 0.30 <0.001
Concentrate intake (kg) 2.5 2.5 0.09 0.99
Milk production (kg) 29.8 30.9 1.74 0.32
Milk fat (%) 3.65 3.44 0.078 0.06
Milk protein (%) 3.38 3.31 0.022 0.05
1 Partial mixed ration formulated for 7 kg less milk than the average production of the group.

Bach et al (2008) reported that key management aspects, such as age at first calving, amount of feed refusals, number of feed pushups, and stocking density, explained more than 55% of the variation in milk production in 47 herds that were feeding exactly the same TMR Bach, A., & Cabrera, V. (2017). Robotic milking: Feeding strategies and economic returns. Journal of Dairy Science, 100(9), 7720–7728.

Current state and future prospects of genetic selection for dairy cow fertility

Fertility in dairy cows is determined by the establishment of pregnancy, which involves a series of events such as uterus involution, estrous cycle re-establishment, ovulation, fertilization, and progesterone production. Genetic selection for fertility is based on reducing the time from calving to pregnancy, but the importance of individual components may vary depending on the reproductive management system used. A better understanding of the genetics of these components is needed for consistent performance across different systems.

  • Dairy cow selection indices have changed markedly in the past 25 yr
  • This situation is not unlike that found in the swine industry, where selection for litter size resulted in the creation of the “highly prolific sow” where 40% of litters have more live born than teats available for nursing (Kraeling and Webel, 2015)
  • Genetic selection for fertility as practiced today is leading to the rapid improvement in reproductive performance of dairy cattle
  • Refined phenotypes may lead to the creation, evaluation, and implementation of new traits that place selection pressure on estrous cyclicity, estrus expression, and absence of silent ovulation
  • These new traits will need to be evaluated relative to existing traits to determine whether they provide additional value beyond direct selection for Days open (DO)
  • Timed artificial insemination (AI) programs do not invalidate DO but it is necessary to understand the effect of timed AI (TAI) on the components of DO

Daily BCS measured on 2 individual cows, A and B, using an automated BCS camera (DeLaval, Tumba, Sweden). Two cows with identical beginning BCS are shown (scale 1 to 5; thin to obese). Cow A lost >0.5 points during the first 120 d, whereas cow B lost approximately 0.1 point. Selecting against excessive BCS loss early postpartum improves fertility (

M.C. Lucy (2019) reports that dairy cow selection indices have changed in the past 25 years, with a focus on improving fertility. Genetic selection for fertility has led to improvements in reproductive performance. The text discusses various factors that can affect fertility, including health, hormone levels, and immune function. Genetic selection for disease resistance and body condition score can improve fertility. The interval from calving to conception, known as “days open,” is an important fertility trait. Timed artificial insemination programs can control the timing of insemination but may introduce noise into fertility evaluations. Genetic selection based on data from timed artificial insemination cows can improve fertility. The text also discusses the advantages and disadvantages of genetic selection for fertility, as well as the challenges in measuring and phenotyping estrus. Further research is needed to understand the correlation between activity increases and mounting behavior during estrus. The text concludes by mentioning the challenges faced in the swine industry when selecting for litter size.

The authors suggest that this review discusses the components of dairy cow fertility, how fertility traits are addressed, the impact of management systems on genetic selection for fertility, potential new fertility traits for genetic selection, and future research directions.

Lucy, M. C. (2019). Symposium review: Selection for fertility in the modern dairy cow—Current status and future direction for genetic selection. Journal of Dairy Science, 102(4), 3706–3721. 

Unpacking Bias in Genomic Predictions for Dairy Cattle: Challenges and Solutions

Genomic predictions have revolutionized the dairy cattle industry by allowing for more accurate selection of breeding candidates and faster genetic progress. These predictions leverage genomic information, such as DNA markers, to estimate an animal’s genetic potential for various traits, such as milk production, fertility, and disease resistance. However, like any predictive model, genomic predictions for dairy cattle are susceptible to biases that can impact their reliability and effectiveness. In this article, we delve into the specific challenges and potential solutions related to bias in genomic predictions for dairy cattle.

Sources of Bias in Genomic Predictions for Dairy Cattle

  1. Population Structure: Dairy cattle populations often exhibit complex genetic structures due to differences in breeds, lines, and geographical regions. When genomic prediction models are trained on data that does not adequately represent the target population, it can lead to bias. For instance, if a model is primarily developed using data from Holstein cattle and applied to Jersey cattle, it may produce biased predictions.
  2. Marker Density and Quality: The quality and density of the genetic markers used in genomic predictions can introduce bias. Missing or erroneous marker data, as well as variations in genotyping platforms, can affect the accuracy of predictions.
  3. Selective Breeding: In dairy cattle breeding, elite animals are often selected for reproduction based on their superior traits. If the training dataset primarily comprises these elite individuals, it may not accurately represent the broader population, leading to biased predictions.
  4. Environmental Effects: Genomic prediction models typically assume that genetic effects are consistent across different environments. However, variations in management practices, nutrition, and climate can lead to genotype-environment interactions, resulting in biased predictions when cattle are transferred to different environments.
  5. Sex-Biased Data: In some cases, data collection may be skewed towards one sex, such as focusing predominantly on cows while neglecting bulls. This sex bias can influence predictions for traits that exhibit sexual dimorphism.

Genetic trends of body or structural traits and dairy form for Holstein bulls. STA = standardized PTA; GPTA14 = genomic PTA in 2014; GPTA18 = genomic PTA in 2018; YOB = year of birth.

Mitigating Bias in Genomic Predictions for Dairy Cattle

Addressing bias in genomic predictions for dairy cattle is crucial for improving the accuracy of breeding decisions. Here are some strategies to mitigate bias:

  1. Account for Population Structure: Employ statistical methods that account for population structure, such as principal component analysis (PCA) or genomic relationship matrices. These methods can correct for genetic stratification and reduce bias.
  2. Marker Quality Control: Implement strict quality control measures to filter out low-quality markers and correct for genotyping errors. Consistency in marker data quality across datasets is essential.
  3. Diverse Training Data: Aim to include a diverse set of animals in the training dataset, representing various breeds, lines, and geographical regions. This diversity can help improve prediction accuracy for a broader range of cattle.
  4. Crossbred Animals: When possible, include crossbred animals in the training dataset to account for genetic differences between purebred populations. Crossbred animals can provide valuable information about heterosis and breed complementarity.
  5. Environment-Specific Models: Develop environment-specific prediction models when relevant. Accounting for genotype-environment interactions can improve the accuracy of predictions when animals are moved to different management or climate conditions.

Genomic predictions have reshaped the dairy cattle industry by enhancing breeding decisions and genetic progress. However, the bias in these predictions remains a significant challenge. Dairy cattle breeders and researchers must be vigilant in addressing bias by considering population structure, marker quality, and environmental effects. By implementing these strategies, the dairy industry can harness the full potential of genomic predictions to enhance the genetic merit of their cattle, ultimately leading to improved productivity and sustainability.

Genetic parameters for feed efficiency traits in dairy cattle

This research estimated dairy cow feed efficiency genetic characteristics using random regression models. The study collected DMI, ECM, and MBW data from 7,440 first-lactation Holstein cows in six countries from January 2003 to February 2022. A multiple-trait random regression model using a fourth-order Legendre polynomial for all characteristics determined genetic parameters. Genomic residual feed intake (gRFI) was calculated from weekly DMI phenotypes using linear regressions on ECM and MBW to quantify feed efficiency genetically adjusted for these factors. Heritability estimates for DMI, ECM, MBW, and gRFI ranged from 0.15 (0.03) to 0.29 (0.02), 0.24 (0.01) to 0.29 (0.03), 0.55 (0.03) to 0.83 (0.05), and 0.12 (0.03) to 0.22 (0.06)

The findings improve knowledge of genetic parameter change during the first lactation and provide feed efficiency selection techniques for breeding programs. As feed prices rise, dairy cows may be able to improve feed efficiency during ideal lactation phases. The genetic link between feed efficiency indicator features must be understood to determine the best selection program attributes.

This research used random regression to estimate variance components and genetic factors across days in milk (DIM) of first-lactation Holstein cows for DMI, ECM, MBW, and genomic residual feed intake (gRFI). The research employed Resilient Dairy Genome Project data from pre-existing databases. The data on 7,440 first-lactation Holstein cows from six nations included 121,226 DMI, 120,500 ECM, and 98,975 MBW records. The amount of recordings from each source varied throughout a 305-day lactation. The pedigree file for phenotyped cows comprised up to 10 generations, totaling 30,776 animals. WOL daily measurements were averaged to generate weekly phenotypes. Due to biological limits, milk production less than 4kg, fat and protein yield larger than zero, MBW and DMI calculations, and at least 3 WOL records for a characteristic were removed during data editing. The data were adjusted to the Canadian mean and standard deviation owing to country heterogeneity.

The research estimated additive genetic, permanent environmental (PE), and residual variances for dairy milk yield (DMI), early calving months (ECM), and milk yield using a multiple-trait random regression animal model. Average Information Restricted Maximum Likelihood (AIREML) in WOMBAT computed variance components. All studies employed a fourth-order Legendre polynomial since it suited orders one through four best. The data analysis showed significance for all model parameters. All characteristics utilize the generic model:

y = Xb + Za + Wpe + e, where y is the vector of phenotypic records, X, Z, and W are the incidence matrices for fixed (b), additive genetic (a), and PE (pe) effects, and e is the vector of random residuals. Heritability estimates for several WOLs were determined using diagonal elements of G and P, as well as the homogeneous σ of each trait. If traits had correlated residuals, the residual covariance structure for multiple trait analysis was as follows.

The research estimated additive genetic, PE, and phenotypic WOL correlation standard errors using Robertson’s technique. The heritabilities, PE ratio, and phenotypic variance calculated the correlations. Genetic covariance components from multiple-trait random regression computed feed efficiency. ECM and MBW partial regression coefficients for each WOL were determined using the genetic covariance matrix (GCOVj). The equations were:

P.C.E.C.M=(G.C.O.V.12×G.C.O.V.23) – (G.C.O.V.13×G.C.O.V.22) – (12×G.C.O.V.12) – (11×G.C.O.V.22)
P, C, M, B, W = (G, C, O, V, 12 x 13) – (G, C, O, V, 11 x 23).
P(C:O:V:12 × G:C:O:V:12) − (G:C:O:V:11 × G:C:O:V:22) P(C:O:V:12 × G:C:O:V:13) −(G:C:O:V:11 × G:C:O:V:22) P(C:O:V:12 × G:C:O:V:12)

The research examined the heredity of dry matter intake, energy adjusted milk, metabolic body weight, and feed efficiency in first-lactation cows. The partial regression coefficients were utilized to linearly translate DMI phenotypes, which were corrected for energy sinks based on genetic connection. Adjusted DMI (gRFI) accounts for energy sinks’ genetic relationships.

Moderate heritability estimates for DMI, ECM, MBW, and gRFI. Similar DMI heritability estimates were published by Byskov et al., 2017, Li et al., 2018, and Krattenmacher et al., 2019. They evaluated ECM heritability within the range previously predicted. Heritability estimations for MBW were comparable to this research.

The heritability estimates for gRFI were 0.12 (0.02) to 0.23 (0.07). Previous research estimated gRFI heritabilities between 0.10 and 0.25. This research employed change in body weight, body weight, fat-protein adjusted milk, and milk energy, while prior investigations used somewhat different energy sinks.

Trait correlations were examined to find biological trends throughout lactation phases. It has been claimed that feed intake varies genetically during lactation. Changes in genetic and phenotypic correlations within a characteristic were examined through lactation to find these biological patterns.

DMI, ECM, MBW, and gRFI varied throughout early, mid, and late lactaction. Stronger additive genetic connections for DMI were seen when WOL was near together, with correlations ranging from 0.31 (0.17) to 0.99 (<0.01) for weeks far apart. However, correlations diminished with lactaction, notably significantly low DMI correlations between early and late lactation.

Like DMI, gRFI showed association with lactation phases from 0.04 (0.16) to 0.99 (0.01). Early and mid-lactation had the lowest associations, whereas later lactation had substantial relationships. ECM exhibited stronger lactation-wide correlations than DMI, but still showed lactation-specific variance. Timing of trait evaluation throughout lactation may affect selection to increase milk production and gRFI, therefore ECM alterations should be considered.

For all variables, WOL phenotypic correlations varied over lactation, with highest correlations between WOL closest together and lowest between WOL furthest away. Phenotypic associations were highest between WOL near together and lowest between WOL far apart. DMI has low to moderate associations during lactaction, suggesting that it should be regarded a characteristic at different periods. DMI’s dynamic behavior affects gRFI’s phenotype, hence this dynamic behavior may be extended to gRFI.

This research investigates genetic links between cows’ feed intake (DMI) and milk production (ECM) during lactation. DMI and ECM showed minor connections in early lactation but moderate to strong correlations by mid to late lactation. The change to higher favorable connections occurred when lactation intake met output needs. However, an increase in production without an increase in DMI, particularly in early lactaction, may prolong negative energy balance, which may harm health and fertility.

The genetic connection between metabolic body weight (MBW) and ECM changes from low positive to low negative during lactaction. This shows that bigger cows produce more milk early in lactation. The fast shift in correlations to weak negative correlations may indicate that livestock metabolism alters to gain weight as milk output drops and pregnancy progresses.

All characteristics had minimal phenotypic associations across lactation, with DMI and ECM in early lactation and MBW in late lactation. All WOLs had minimal phenotypic correlations between gRFI and MBW and ECM. However, DMI and gRFI displayed high positive correlations in comparable WOLs, indicating DMI’s dynamic phenotypic behavior and effect on gRFI.

In conclusion, breeding for gRFI requires knowing the link between DMI, MBW, ECM, and characteristics like energy balance and body condition score.

Early Onset Muscle Weakness Syndrome (HMW) in Dairy Cows: Causes, Symptoms, and Management Introduction

Early Onset Muscle Weakness Syndrome (HMW) is a significant concern in dairy farming, impacting the health and productivity of dairy cows. HMW is characterized by muscle weakness and trembling, leading to decreased milk production and potentially severe welfare issues for affected cows. This article discusses the causes, symptoms, and management of HMW in dairy cows.

Causes of HMW in Dairy Cows

  1. Nutritional Imbalance: One of the primary causes of HMW in dairy cows is an imbalance in their nutritional intake. This includes deficiencies in essential minerals and vitamins, such as selenium, vitamin E, and vitamin A. Insufficient intake or poor absorption of these nutrients can lead to muscle weakness.
  2. Mycotoxins: Contamination of feed with mycotoxins, such as aflatoxins and ergot alkaloids, can contribute to the development of HMW in dairy cows. Mycotoxins can impair muscle function and cause neurological issues.
  3. Genetic Predisposition: Certain dairy cattle breeds may be genetically predisposed to HMW, making them more susceptible to this condition. Breeding practices can influence the prevalence of HMW in a herd.
  4. Management Practices: Poor management practices, such as overcrowding, inadequate ventilation, and unsanitary living conditions, can create stress and increase the risk of HMW in dairy cows.

Symptoms of HMW in Dairy Cows

  1. Muscle Weakness: The hallmark symptom of HMW is muscle weakness. Affected cows may have difficulty standing or walking, leading to a wobbly gait and trembling muscles.
  2. Reduced Milk Production: HMW significantly reduces milk production in affected cows. This decline in milk yield can have economic implications for dairy farmers.
  3. Weight Loss: Cows with HMW may lose weight due to reduced feed intake and metabolic changes associated with muscle weakness.
  4. Difficulty Rising: HMW can make it challenging for cows to rise from a lying position, increasing the risk of injury and stress.
  5. Decreased Fertility: HMW can also impact fertility in dairy cows, leading to reduced conception rates and longer calving intervals.

Management and Prevention

  1. Nutritional Management: Ensuring a well-balanced diet for dairy cows is crucial. Regularly monitor and adjust feed formulations to meet the nutritional requirements of the herd. Supplement with selenium, vitamin E, and vitamin A as needed.
  2. Mycotoxin Control: Implement measures to prevent mycotoxin contamination in feed and forage. This includes proper storage, monitoring, and the use of mycotoxin binders when necessary.
  3. Genetic Selection: Consider breeding practices that minimize the risk of HMW by selecting cows less susceptible to this condition. Consult with veterinarians and geneticists to make informed breeding decisions.
  4. Environmental Conditions: Maintain clean and well-ventilated housing for dairy cows. Adequate space, hygiene, and comfort can reduce stress and the risk of HMW.
  5. Early Detection and Treatment: Regularly observe the herd for signs of HMW and seek veterinary assistance promptly if symptoms arise. Early diagnosis and treatment can improve the chances of recovery.

Early Onset Muscle Weakness Syndrome (HMW) in dairy cows is a multifactorial condition that can have detrimental effects on milk production, animal welfare, and farm economics. Dairy farmers should prioritize proper nutrition, mycotoxin control, and good management practices to reduce the risk of HMW in their herds. Genetic selection and early detection are also essential tools in managing this condition effectively. By addressing the causes and symptoms of HMW, dairy farmers can ensure the health and productivity of their cattle while maintaining a sustainable and profitable operation.

USDA Releases Disaster Aid for Milk Producers Who Had to Dump Their Product

Dairy producers who were compelled to discard milk without pay during specified catastrophes in 2020, 2021, or 2022 are now eligible for USDA’s Milk Loss Program.

The USDA announced the launch of the Milk Loss Program (MLP), which will run from Monday until October 16. The program compensates dairy farmers for up to 30 days of lost output each year for milk producers and processors required to discard or remove milk in 2020, 2021, and 2022.

The MLP compensates producers who dumped milk or had their milk removed from the commercial market due to disasters such as “droughts, wildfires, hurricanes, floods, derechos, excessive heat, winter storms, freeze (including a polar vortex), and smoke exposure that occurred in the calendar years 2020, 2021, and 2022.” Tornadoes are only deemed a qualified catastrophe occurrence for calendar year 2022, according to the USDA.

“Over the last three years, the United States’ dairy industry has been impacted by frequent and widespread weather-related disasters.” “These farmers are still dealing with supply chain issues, high feed and input costs, labor shortages, and market volatility,” said FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux.â?¯”For dairy producers, the reality is that cattle are milked at least twice a day, producing six to seven gallons of milk per cow per day on average.” That milk has to go someplace, and when it can’t get there or can’t be kept due to situations beyond a producer’s control, we have to step in. The Milk Loss Program would assist compensate farmers who are forced to discharge their milk due to natural calamities.”

According to the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), dairy producers produce a perishable product every day of the year. Dairy producers are “uniquely challenged by disaster events.” Given the Oct. 16 registration deadline, NMPF advised farmers to join in the program as soon as feasible.

“On top of the challenges posed by wild price swings and the COVID-19 pandemic, dairy farmers have faced an insufficient federal mechanism for dealing with unforeseen weather disasters since 2020, further straining finances at a time when strains have been difficult to bear,” said Jim Mulhern, NMPF president and CEO. “NMPF never accepted that situation, and we’re grateful for USDA’s months of hard work to finalize the compensation plan that will address this backlog of disaster assistance.”

The Milk Loss Program is funded by the federal funding legislation enacted by Congress in December and signed into law by the president. The law granted $10 billion in catastrophe losses for 2020 and 2021, as well as extra disaster funds for agricultural disaster losses in 2022.

Each calendar month when milk is discarded or withdrawn from the commercial market, the milk loss claim period begins. Each MLP application covers a one calendar month’s loss. If milk loss occurs in more than one calendar month as a result of the same qualifying weather event, each month needs a new application. According to the USDA, the length of annual claims is similarly restricted to 30 days every year.

The FDA has been urged to ban the words “milk” and “cheese” for lab-grown dairy substitutes.

For years, proponents of the dairy industry have argued that plant-based goods should not be permitted to use names like “milk” or “cheese” on their labels.

This controversy is now expanding to encompass items that are supposed to resemble milk but are created in a lab rather than by a cow.

Fermentation is used in lab-grown or cell-based dairy products to produce proteins that resemble whey protein. These proteins are then ground into powders that may be used to create milk, cream cheese, and other goods.

On Tuesday, Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and seven other senators wrote to the Food and Drug Administration, urging the government to prohibit these goods from using dairy names. Baldwin and other politicians have made a similar case for plant-based alternatives.

In a recent letter, Baldwin and the other senators criticize the FDA for “decades of inaction” on dairy labeling, claiming that many cell-based products are nutritionally inferior to normal dairy products in ways comparable to plant-based goods. According to the MPs, consumer uncertainty about the nutritional value of dairy replacements has resulted in public health issues.

Baldwin told Wisconsin Public Radio that the FDA has failed to safeguard consumers and dairy farmers for years because other goods “have profited off of dairy’s good name.”

“I’m calling on the Biden administration to step up and enforce dairy labeling rules, especially as new synthetic imitators enter the market,” she added.

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A faster ketosis detection technique

Ketosis is a metabolic state in which the body utilizes fat for energy rather than carbs. Individuals following low-carb diets, such as the ketogenic diet, typically seek this state, and it is occasionally employed as a therapeutic method for addressing specific health concerns. Those who want to attain and sustain ketosis must be able to detect it. Traditionally, this included time-consuming and inconvenient techniques such as urine test strips or blood tests. However, technological and scientific advancements have opened the way for a more easy and effective method of identifying ketosis.

The Importance of Ketosis Detection

Before getting into the new time-saving strategy for diagnosing ketosis, it’s critical to understand why this metabolic condition is important to monitor. Ketosis has various advantages, including:

  1. Weight Loss: Ketosis may help you lose weight by pushing your body to burn stored fat for energy.
  2. Enhanced Mental Clarity: While in ketosis, several people experience increased attention and mental clarity.
  3. Blood Sugar Stability: Ketosis may help stabilize blood sugar levels, which is especially advantageous for those with type 2 diabetes.
  4. Ketosis may lower hunger and desires, making it simpler to stick to a calorie-restricted diet.
  5. Improved Physical Performance: Ketosis may assist athletes and fitness enthusiasts by increasing endurance and fat utilization during activity.

Methods for Detecting Ketosis in the Past

Historically, the following procedures were used to identify ketosis:

  1. Urine Test Strips: The color of these strips changes depending on the concentration of ketones in the urine. While they are affordable and widely accessible, they are not always reliable and may not represent current ketone levels.
  2. Blood Ketone Meters: These instruments monitor ketone levels in the blood and provide more reliable findings than urine test strips. They do, however, need regular blood draws, which may be painful and inconvenient.
  3. Breath Ketone Analyzers: These gadgets detect the presence of acetone in your breath, which corresponds with ketone production. They are non-invasive, although they may be costly.

The New Time-Saving Technique

Continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) have been developed as a time-saving way for diagnosing ketosis as a result of emerging technology and study. CGMs, which were originally meant to monitor blood glucose levels in diabetics, have expanded to incorporate ketone monitoring capabilities. This approach works as follows:

  1. A CGM is a wearable device that comprises of a tiny sensor that you connect to your skin, usually on your belly. This sensor continually monitors the levels of glucose in the interstitial fluid under your skin.
  2. Dual Monitoring: Some CGMs can now monitor glucose and ketone levels at the same time. This dual monitoring provides a complete picture of your metabolic condition.
  3. CGMs give real-time data, which may be accessed through a smartphone app or other compatible devices. This enables you to keep track of your ketone levels throughout the day without having to do manual testing.

The Benefits of CGMs for Ketosis Detection

Using CGMs to detect ketosis has various advantages:

  1. Convenience: Because CGMs enable continuous monitoring, there is no need for repeated daily tests.
  2. CGMs provide reliable and real-time ketone measurements, lowering the possibility of erroneous results.
  3. Insights: Using continuous monitoring, you can see how your food, activity, and other things impact your ketone levels.
  4. CGMs, unlike blood ketone meters, do not need you to prick your finger.

Detecting ketosis is critical for those who follow a low-carb or ketogenic diet and want to get the related health advantages. While conventional approaches such as urine test strips and blood ketone meters were previously used, the introduction of continuous glucose monitors with ketone monitoring capability marks a major development in this sector. These gadgets provide a practical, time-saving, and precise approach for monitoring ketosis, offering vital insights into one’s metabolic condition. As technology advances, the use of CGMs for ketosis monitoring is anticipated to become more accessible and user-friendly, allowing people to maximize their dietary choices and general health.

Everything is ready for 43º Spanish Holstein Show CONAFE 2023

252 animals from 52 farms  have been registered for the great annual meeting of the Friesian breed in Spain

On Saturday morning will be held the classes of calves and heifers and lactating cows will take place in the afternoon

XXII National Showmanship will be held on Sunday morning

Everything is ready for the great annual meeting of the Friesian breed in Spain, once the animal registration period has closed. So next Saturday 23th of September will be celebrated a new edition of the Spanish Holstein Show organized by CONAFE (Spanish Holstein Confederation) with the collaboration of Asturiana de Control Lechero-Asociación Frisona (ASCOLAF) and under the sponsorship of the Ministry of Rural Development and Natural Resources of the Government of the Principality of Asturias, the City Council of Gijón, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the Chamber of Commerce of Gijón, CLAS, Caja Rural de Gijón and Caja Rural de Asturias.

For this edition, 252 animals from 52 farms of 7 different regions have been registered, with Asturias, with 23 farms, being the community with the greatest representation, followed by Cantabria (10) and Galicia (7).

Among the registered animals is Llinde Ariel Jordan (S.A.T. Ceceño, Cantabria), CONAFE National Grand Champion of the last three editions held in 2019, 2021 and 2022.

Likewise, the out-of-competition recognition section that premiered last year will continue. This time five animals from five farms from Galicia, Asturias and Cantabria that are characterized by their excellent morphological and productive qualities will be exhibited on the track.

As usual since 2002, the Monographic Fair of the Field and the Agricultural, Livestock, Forestry and Fishing Industries of Asturias, AGROPEC, will be the framework of the 43º edition of the Spanish Holstein Show.

Together with the Spanish Holstein Show, it celebrates the XXII National Showmanship, where the expertises value how the handlers present the animals on the ring. It will be held on Sunday 24th.


Saturday, September 23th:

From 10 am:

            Judging of calves and heifers classes

From 3 pm:

            Judging of lactating cows classes

            Recognition section (out of competition)

Sunday, September 24th:

From 10.30 am:

            XXII Spanish Cow Handler Championship

Paulino Badiola, Judge of the Competition

The Spanish judge Paulino Badiola has been appointed to judge the 43rd National Contest of the Friesian Breed of CONAFE 2023.

Born in Candás (Asturias), Paulino Badiola is a Veterinarian, has a Master’s Degree in Integral Livestock from UNESCO and Technical Director of the Badiola Holstein Livestock (Condres, Gozón, Asturias), which he owns together with his father, José Ramón. Badiola Holstein has its beginnings in the 70s and since the 80s it has been regularly participating in national competitions. Among the numerous prizes won, the title of “Vaca Gran Campeona Nacional” stands out, achieved eleven times: 1988 (Osa); 1994 Spring edition (Trespandio Aguilucha); 1995 (Badiola Inspiration Lesly); 2004 (Badiola Leduc Megate); 2010 (Badiola Goldwyn Kournikova); 2011 and 2013 (Pacho Goldwyn Telva); 2014 (Badiola Mordoc Lubasca); 2016 (Pacho Goldwyn Telva); 2017 and 2018 (Badiola Atwood Koketa) to which they added in 2022 the first National Red Cow Championship with the triumph of Badiola Jordi-Red Mega Red.

Badiola Holstein, elite of the Friesian breed from the heart of Asturias

Added to this dazzling list of awards in the National Contest have been 26 times Best National Breeder; 25 times Best National Herd; have 6 Reserve Champions and 3 Grand Champion Heifers through four different decades; get 4 triple crowns (Champion Young Cow, Champion Intermediate Cow and Champion Adult Cow in the same edition of a National); and to be included in 2019 among the 100 best Friesian breed farms in the world by Holstein International magazine.

The farm also has the title of “Master Breeder” obtained in 2006 and 2016.

Experience as Judge

As a judge, Paulino Badiola has extensive national and international experience. He has judged all the most important regional competitions at the national level in recent years in Asturias, Cantabria, Galicia, Catalonia, Andalusia, Guipúzcoa, Talavera de la Reina (Toledo) or the Balearic Islands.

In addition, at an international level, he has also judged Friesian cattle competitions in different countries such as Mexico (National Holstein Forum of Querétaro 2019); Italy (2010 Cremona European Championship); Portugal (Agroleite 2004 and 2012, Gándara 2005, and San Miguel (Azores) 2007 and 2014); or Colombia (Chiquinquirá 2002).

As a member of the International Panel of European Judges he has participated in the European Judge Harmonizations held in Germany and Ireland, as well as in the European Schools of Judges in Denmark (2004) and Switzerland (2006).

He was also the Technical Director of the 34th National School of Livestock Judges held in Catalonia in 2005 and the Technical Director of the School of Livestock Judges held in San Miguel (Azores, Portugal) in 2008.

History of the CONAFE Spanish Holstein Show

In 1991, CONAFE took charge of the Spanish Holstein Show, which was organised by ANFE since 1974. Throughout 41 editions, three animals have achieved the highest award three times: Argomota Infanta Inspiration, as Grand Champion Heifer in 1989 and 1990 and as Grand Champion Cow in 1991; Pachecas James Gretta, Spring Grand Champion Cow in 2005 and Autumn Grand Champion Cow in 2005 and 2006; and Pacho Goldwyn Telva, Grand Champion Cow of CONAFE for the years 2011, 2013 and 2016.

Llinde Ariel Jordan, from the Cantabrian farm S.A.T. Ceceño, currently holds the triple title of CONAFE Grand National Cow Champion by winning the last three Friesian breed events held in 2019, 2021 and 2022.

Asturias and Cantabria are the regions which more times have won the Spanish Holstein Championship, with nineteen victories and seventeen triumphs respectively. By farms, the Asturian farm Badiola Holstein is the one that has won the most awards, with eleven titles of National Grand Champion Cow and three titles of National Grand Champion Heifer.

Futures Fall as Cash Markets Mixed in Chicago Mid Week.

Milk futures continued to fall, while cash dairy markets on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange were mixed Tuesday. September Class III milk was $18.29, a $0.10 decrease. October was down $0.46 at $18.04, representing a loss of $1.17 per hundredweight over the previous three trading sessions. November’s price went down $0.26 to $18.24. December’s price went down $0.13 to $18.25. Contracts for January through August varied from one cent higher in May to nineteen cents lower in June.

Dry whey was trading at $0.30, up $0.0050. Two sales of $0.2975 and $0.30 were reported. Cheese cubes weighing forty pounds were down $0.0550 to $1.87. At that price, one sale was made. Cheese barrels down $0.0225 to $1.8050. At that price, three sales were recorded. Butter was trading at $2.7225, up $0.0425. Four transactions were registered, with prices ranging from $2.69 to $2.72. Nonfat dried milk stayed steady at $1.10, although five transactions were reported at that price, in contrast to Monday’s absence of purchasing activity.

Register Now for the World Dairy Expo Dairy Symposium

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) reminds those interested to register now for the Dairy Symposium at World Dairy Expo. The Dairy Symposium will be held on Tuesday, October 3, 2023 from 8:00 – 11:30 a.m. in The Tanbark.

The Dairy Symposium will feature the four Dairy Business Innovation (DBI) Initiatives from across the country. The regional DBI Initiatives provide direct technical assistance and sub-awards to dairy businesses to develop, produce, market, and distribute dairy products.

During the Dairy Symposium, each of the four DBI Initiatives will share a presentation about their regional work. The Dairy Symposium will also feature a panel discussion highlighting how the DBI Initiatives are utilizing the funding to promote dairy business development and diversify dairy products.

The Dairy Symposium will include questions and answers with the presenters and panelists, as well as time for networking. The four DBI Initiatives are the Pacific Coast Coalition Dairy Business Innovation Initiative (California), Southeast Dairy Business Innovation Initiative (Tennessee), Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center (Vermont), and Dairy Business Innovation Alliance (Wisconsin).

The Dairy Symposium is free to attend with paid admission to World Dairy Expo. For event registration, full schedule, and speaker profiles, visit

Online Entries Are Open For The Royal

Online entries are open for The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair here

Entry closing date for the 4-H TD Dairy Classic is Wednesday, October 11th and closing date for the dairy cattle shows is Friday, October 13th. After that, a $250 late entry fee applies.

There are some changes and improvements at The Royal this year! New cattle stalls and some changes in move-in times – please refer to your breed specific competition book for more information. Find the exhibitor page with competition books here.

Holstein America Broadcasts September 28 on RFD-TV

Holstein Association USA’s award-winning documentary, Holstein America, is back with a new episode on Thursday, September 28.

Inspired by the stories of Registered Holstein breeders from across the country, Holstein Americacelebrates modern-day dairy farming and those responsible for providing delicious and nutritious dairy products to consumers around the world.

Make plans to tune in for Holstein America at 9 p.m. CST/10 p.m. EST, Thursday, September 28, on RFD-TV.

Holstein America is the only nationally televised program devoted exclusively to the dairy community,” says John Meyer, CEO of Holstein Association USA. “Our September episode shows how Registered Holsteins help family farms build a brighter future, generation after generation.”

Holstein America was named best documentary by the Livestock Publications Council during the 2023 Ag Media Summit. Since 2018, the series has paid tribute to U.S. Registered Holsteins, the world’s perfect cow — and the people who raise them.

In the September 28 episode, Holstein America travels from the shores of scenic Door County, Wisconsin to the Pacific Northwest to visit family farms making their mark with U.S. Registered Holsteins. Throughout the country, Registered Holsteins point a clear path forward for herd selection, productivity, and profitability.

The Registered Holstein cow today is the picture of efficiency, and she provides so much for so many. In this episode of Holstein America, you will meet a farm family using beef-on-Holstein crosses to market high-quality beef to their neighbors. Another farm in the Heart of America’s Dairyland employees sophisticated engineering to digest methane gas and turn it into sustainable energy sources.

The hour-long program, sponsored by Merck Animal Health, also explores programs and services offered by Holstein Association USA, including the organization’s recently expanded multi-breed classification program.

Join us for Holstein America at 9 p.m. CST, Thursday, September 28, on RFD-TV.

RFD-TV is a leading independent cable channel available on DISH Network, DIRECTV®, AT&T U-Verse, Charter Spectrum, Cox, Comcast, Mediacom, Suddenlink and many other rural cable systems. Reference local listings for more information.

After the show, visit to find a complete collection of the Holstein America series. Also stay tuned to Holstein Association USA on Facebook and Instagram for more information.



Holstein Association USA, Inc., provides programs, products and services to dairy producers to enhance genetics and improve profitability — including animal identification and ear tags, genomic testing, mating programs, dairy records processing, classification, communication, consulting services, and Holstein semen.

The Association, headquartered in Brattleboro, VT., represents approximately 25,000 members throughout the United States. To learn more about Registered Holsteins® and the other exciting programs offered by the Holstein Association, visit, and follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Miller Joins World Dairy Expo as Cattle Show & Contests Coordinator

World Dairy Expo® is delighted to introduce Lexa Miller, of Black Earth, Wis., as the organization’s new Cattle Show & Contests Coordinator. In this role, Miller will assist with all operations of Expo’s premier dairy cattle show and youth contest events, in addition to working closely with Expo’s dairy cattle exhibitors, the Dairy Cattle Exhibitor Committee and Breed Superintendents.

Miller is no stranger to Expo, having exhibited her own animals in the Dairy Cattle Show in addition to helping countless exhibitors prepare their animals for the Showring over the years. Aside from participating at Expo as an exhibitor, Miller has worked for numerous cattle sales across the Midwest.

“I’m honored to join the World Dairy Expo team and be a part of coordinating one of the largest and finest dairy cattle shows in the world,” says Miller. “I look forward to building relationships with Expo’s dairy cattle exhibitors and ensuring the Dairy Cattle Show continues to be the world-class show it is!”

“We are excited to have Lexa as part of the World Dairy Expo team,” shares Laurie Breuch, WDE Dairy Systems Manager. “Her familiarity with Expo’s Dairy Cattle Show and connections with our exhibitors will allow her to hit the ground running. We can’t wait to see what she will do in this role to better the Dairy Cattle Show and youth contests!”

Serving as the meeting place of the global dairy industry, World Dairy Expo brings together the latest in dairy innovation and the best cattle in North America. The global dairy industry will return to Madison, Wis. for the 56th event, October 1-6, 2023, when the world’s largest dairy-focused trade show, dairy and forage seminars, a world-class dairy cattle show and more will be on display. Download the World Dairy Expo mobile event app, visit or follow WDE on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Spotify, Instagram or YouTube for more information.

Dairy prices, volumes rise at auction -GDT events

International milk prices and volumes rose at this month’s first Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auction on Tuesday.

The GDT Price Index was up 2.7%, with an average selling price of $2,888 per tonne. The index fell 7.4% at the previous auction on Aug 15, with an average selling price of $2,875, according to GDT Events.

A total of 37,729 tonnes of dairy products were sold at the latest auction, up about 12.4% from the previous sale, the auction platform said.

The auction results could affect the New Zealand dollar as the dairy sector generates more than 7% of the nation’s gross domestic product.

The New Zealand milk co-operative, which is owned by about 10,500 farmers, controls nearly a third of the world dairy trade.

GDT Events is owned by New Zealand’s Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd, but operates independently from the dairy giant.

Dairy Defined: The State of the Labels, FDA Comment Edition (a Photo Essay)

July marked the end of the comment period for FDA’s draft guidance on the labeling of plant-based beverages. The guidance, offered in February, is filled with flaws and still doesn’t do what FDA actually needs to do — enforce its own Standard of Identity for milk, which is clearly defined as an animal product.

But that doesn’t mean the guidance is all bad. By advising plant-based beverage-makers to add disclosures on their packaging noting their nutritional differences (read: inferiority) with true dairy milk, FDA is acknowledging an important point: That mislabeled beverages are creating confusion over the nutritional value of plant-based beverages in the marketplace. Such guidance is significant, and food manufacturers tend to follow it so as not to get on FDA’s — or a judge’s — bad side.

No final guidance has been adopted. Now that the comment period is over, FDA can create a final guidance, or do nothing. But since its advice has been public since February, we thought it was worth checking in on the State of Plant-Based Beverage Labeling, ca. summer of 2023. Has the guidance had any effect? Is there any hope for positive change? Let’s check in now, so we can check in later, as labeling evolves to however FDA, consumers and manufacturers shape it. A new era is dawning. Here’s what it looks like today.


The most common approach to dairy terms in plant-based beverages (at least the more mainstream ones that seem more interested in sales than misplaced virtue-signaling) seems to be to hedge their bets. Silk is a good example. Note the “Oat” in large letters, with a one-word “oatmilk” in small type up in the corner. This is the keep-the-getaway-car-idling-outside approach to labeling: Keep the offending term on the box to protect your options, but don’t make it essential. If FDA gave Silk a shove and said that “oatmilk” had to go, would anyone really be confused if it disappeared? No — and that alone says plenty.

Overall, Silk’s approach seems a little muddled. But in a weird way, it’s progress. They’re not there yet, but Silk seems capable of doing the right thing and stop calling their product “milk.” We’ll be the first to praise them when they do. (Assuming we notice — that’s some small type they’re using.)


Pretending that FDA never offered guidelines at all is Oatly,  purveyors of “Oat-milk” (the significance of the hyphen known only to their marketing department) that’s “100% vegan.” They misuse “milk” loudly and proudly, adding cries of “No dairy,” “No nuts,” and “No gluten,” along with some carbon footprint stat that might be understandable to an environmental scientist, but hey, it sounds good — I guess we’re supposed to take their word for it.

So OK, no dairy, no nuts, and no gluten. How about the 13 essential nutrients that dairy provides? Here, Oatly goes silent. In fact, Oatly actively discourages would-be purchasers from looking at its own beverage’s Nutrition Facts panel, with a message above the facts saying, “If this side bores you, please read no further, flip the carton around and have a wonderful day.” Ignorance, apparently, is bliss at Oatly.

But we do applaud one thing: That arrow on the front makes for a powerful, easy-to-understand representation of its historical stock market performance.


Not to be outdone by Oatly, Ripple sends cynicism to new heights by only disclosing comparisons with dairy that serves its own interests, making a mockery of FDA guidance with “1/2 the sugar of dairy milk” and “50% more calcium than dairy milk” but ignoring the guidance on the 13 essential nutrients. (Silk features a similar claim, though less prominently, on its packaging as well.)

Ripple’s selective approach toward disclosure illustrates just how out of hand unchecked marketing claims have become — and why FDA shouldn’t hesitate in bringing it under control. Consumers deserve balanced information about the products they’re buying. Ripple doesn’t do that — and why should they, when they can do so without any repercussions? It’s par for the course for a company that’s set itself apart by marketing its nutritionally inferior flavored water to children.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.


No one would accuse Trader Joe’s of not knowing how to run a business. Its stock price is up about 40 percent this year. It’s arguably done more than any other business to make quality wine affordable to mass audiences, so it knows a thing or two about beverages. And somehow, it manages to sell plant-based beverages in an attractive package that never pretends to be anything it isn’t. “Non-dairy”? That’s undeniable. “Soy free”? Good to know! “Rich and creamy”? That’s subjective, but I guess if someone wanted to try, it’s their money and their taste buds.

We’ll stick with milk, thank you, but if someone decided to buy some Trader Joe’s Almond Beverage — and apparently Trader Joe’s must sell some, even though the company correctly declines to call it milk — we respect their decision. A critical thing to remember about FDA’s proposed labeling guidance is that if a company wants to avoid disclosures it would prefer not to make, all it has to do is not use a dairy term. “Beverage,” “drink,” juice,” or nothing but the name of the plant that’s the basis of the drink, all are acceptable.

The fact that Trader Joe’s does it right shows how unacceptable it is for the other beverage-makers to do it wrong. This isn’t an impossible task: If Silk eliminated its already-fine print, if Oatly got over itself, if Ripple decided to stop its petulance, the marketplace would be fairer, labeling would be clearer, and consumers would be shown more respect. So there’s hope that plant-based beverage labeling will continue to improve in the marketplace.

But FDA could make things a lot better, a lot more quickly, if it simply enforced its Standard of Identity for milk — or at the very (though still unacceptable) least, begin actively encouraging manufacturers to follow its proposed guidance. Because in most cases, transparency isn’t happening, and the current Wild West approach isn’t serving consumers.

NMPF Applauds Long-Awaited Assistance for Dairy Farmers Hard-Hit by Natural Disasters

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) applauded today’s announcement that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide critical, long-awaited financial assistance for dairy farmers affected by natural disasters. 

The Milk Loss Assistance program administered by the Farm Service Agency will compensate eligible dairy farms and processors for milk dumped due to qualifying disaster events in 2020, 2021 and 2022, including droughts, wildfires, hurricanes, floods, derechos, excessive heat, winter storms and smoke exposure.

“On top of the challenges created by wild price gyrations and the COVID-19 pandemic, dairy farmers since 2020 have also faced an inadequate federal mechanism for addressing unforeseen weather catastrophes, further straining finances at a time when strains have been hard to bear,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “NMPF never accepted that situation, and we’re very appreciative of USDA’s diligent work over several months to finalize the compensation plan that will address this backlog of disaster assistance. We thank Congress for providing this necessary funding, and we encourage both Congress and USDA to find ways to address future natural disasters more quickly. We also urge farmers affected by these disasters to sign up, and we stand ready to assist them as they go through this process.” 

As producers of a highly perishable product that’s created 24/7, 365 days a year, dairy farmers have been—and continue to be—uniquely challenged by disaster events. The Milk Loss Program will help farmers and, in certain cases, cooperatives, recover losses previously overlooked by disaster assistance.

Dairy farmers and cooperatives can sign up for the Milk Loss Program beginning Sept. 11 and running through Oct. 16, 2023. Affected producers are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible. For eligibility and application information, as well as details about how payments will be calculated, visit USDA’s Milk Loss Assistance program announcement.

Comestar Legacy Sale – It takes a team!

The Comtois family hosted their legacy sale yesterday.  After winning the Canadian Cow of the Year last year with COMESTAR LAMADONA DOORMAN the decendent of the original winner COMESTAR LAURIE SHEIK the Comtois family felt the time was right to give back, by organizing a sale of the best offspring from this prestigious family.
On offer was a choice of the best animals from their herd, more than 40 years of passionate breeding with show winners, bull mothers, and exceptional genetic potential heifers from their best cow families. Topping of the sale was Jacobs Havenofear Sasha $44,000, she is the SHAKIRA X HAVENOFEAR red factor daughter. The 2nd highest seller was Comestar Latinet Parfect VG-87 2Yr 42 000$.  The sale averaged $8575 on 84 lots.

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