Department of Animal Sciences
WHERE YOUR MILK CHECK-OFF DOLLARS
WHERE YOUR MILK CHECK-OFF DOLLARS
Mary Beth Hall
I was making farm visits last week and was asked
several times whether the Milk Check-Off monies paid
for what I do. First answer: Your tax dollars pay for the
extension work that UF faculty and field staff do.
Second answer: The part of your Check-Off dollars that
go to research pay to get us the information we use to
help you when we visit your dairies or work with the
consultants, veterinarians, and industry people who work
Your money supports getting information that
dairies need that otherwise would not be funded and
would not happen. For instance, the Check-Off has given
the Southeast information on
mastitis, cow comfort,
carbohydrate feeding, mineral
feeding, improved forages,
rumen acidosis, working with
our by-product feeds, timed AI,
heat stress, and more. It is
research that applies where you live. There is no flag or
sticker attached to the information that your money has
supported, but it is very much a part of what you receive
as we and your other advisors work with you.
IMPROVING FORAGE QUALITY WITH FIBER-
Milk Check-Off dollars funded an investigation that
examined the effect of fibrolytic enzyme treatment on
the fermentation of bermudagrass harvested for silage.
Four commercial enzyme products (Promote
Agribrand, Canada, Biocellulase X-20 LodeStar, IL,
USA, Cattle-Ase Loveland Industries Inc, Greeley,
CO, USA and Biocellulase A-20 LodeStar, IL, USA)
were compared. Five week regrowths of bermudagrass
were harvested, chopped and preserved in mini-silos
without treatment or after treatment with each of the
enzymes. The enzymes were applied at the rate
recommended by the enzyme manufacturer or at half or
twice the recommended rates.
Preliminary analysis of the data indicates that two of
the enzyme products seem promising for improving the
Fall (October) 2003
fermentation of bermudagrass. As the rate of application
of Promote and Biocellulase A20 increased, there were
linear decreases in pH and ammonia nitrogen
concentration and linear increases in dry matter
These results suggest that application of both of
these enzymes improved the fermentation and reduced
the loss of protein and dry matter during the ensiling
process. In addition, application of these enzymes
resulted in linear increases in the digestibility of the
silages after they were digested for 6 or 48 hours in a
laboratory-based simulation of the rumen environment.
This suggests that these enzymes will increase the intake
and digestibility of bermudagrass silage in dairy cows.
These results are probably because the enzymes
increased the digestion of the fibrous components in the
grass and converted them into sugars. The sugars are
required for the growth of lactic acid bacteria and the
production of lactic acid which inhibits the growth of
undesirable bacteria by lowering the pH.
This work is one of a few dependent studies that
compare the efficacy of different commercial enzyme
complexes. It indicates that some enzyme products are
effective for improving bermudagrass silage
fermentation while others may not be. In the next few
months, we will conduct further analysis to verify the
mode of action of the enzymes. This will be followed by
a production trial that will determine whether the
enzyme mediated improvements in fermentation will
also lead to increases in milk production in dairy cows.
YOUTH DAIRY HIGHLIGHTS
James Umphrey and Brent Broaddus
Do you know which compartment of the ruminant
stomach is affected by accidentally consumed metal,
puncturing the wall and resulting in Hardware disease?
Or the more common names for Brucellosis, the viral
infection called BVD, Parturient paresis or Acetonemia?
I am not going to give you the answers but I bet you
could ask any one of the 49 youth that attended the Quiz
Bowl Cow Camp and they would know. This is the type
of information that 4-Hers from all over the state learned
at the summer camp held in Gainesville, FL on the
University of Florida campus. Brent Broaddus and
others pulled this fun and exciting event together to help
youth interested in Quiz Bowl learn about the Dairy
Industry. The Quiz Bowl program is not all about
learning in some boring classroom. The youth
participate in field trips and sight seeing opportunities as
The most prepared 4-Hers are selected to travel as a
team to compete in several events. We had a junior team
and Holstein Jeopardy team travel to the Holstein
convention in Winston-Salem, NC. The Holstein juniors
placed 7th out of 16 teams. Austin Pluskott from
Okeechobee placed 4th in the Junior Holstein Dairy
Another team of eight youth made up a junior and
senior team and traveled to Dubuque, IA for the
Ayrshire convention. Both teams came in second place.
The teams this year where made up from 4-Hers in
Hillsborough and Okeechobee counties. Our members
this year were Adam Spann, Hannah Huggins, Lindsey
Rucks, Chanse Huggins, Hannah Bishop, Austin
Pluskott, Jamie Burnham, Kelly Buchanan, and Rachel
Rock We recently had our State Quiz Bowl event that
will be used to select teams for the upcoming year.
If you are interested in the Dairy Quiz Bowl
program, please contact Brent Broaddus in the
Hillsborough Extension office (813-744-5519) for more
details on how your group can get involved. The Dairy
Quiz Bowl program is supported through IFAS, the SMI
Milk Check-off and numerous industry supports.
PROBLEM: HIGH INTAKES BUT NO MILK
Mary Beth Hall
What is going on when cows are eating a lot of feed
but not producing the milk you think they should for the
amount that they are eating? Several things could be
happening, but the most common relate to the amount of
energy and fiber in the ration.
1) Too Little Fiber. When there is too little fiber in
the diet, cows may have high intakes, but you will often
see signs of ruminal acidosis: diarrhea, very little cud
chewing, and so on. When cows are not eating enough
fiber to keep the rumen working properly, they do not
digest the diet efficiently, they get less energy out of the
feed they eat, and some of it will be spent on dealing
with the acidosis. This is why cows can actually lose
weight on what looks like a high energy ration. Add
enough fiber to the ration in a form the cows will eat to
get them ruminating (4 or 5 cows out of 10), and the
situation should improve.
2) Too Much Fiber. Our tropical forages are high in
fiber that is often slowly digested, and is often relatively
low in energy compared to the cows' requirements. As
cows try to meet their energy needs on a low energy
ration, they may eat more feed. The lower digestibility
of the ration means they eat more, but get less out of it to
make milk. Rebalance the ration to provide enough
energy and other nutrients the cows need in a
smaller package, and intake will likely decrease.
3) Late Lactation Cows. They are using the feed for
growing a calf and putting on body weight. Not much to
be done but get more fresh cows in the herd.
4) Too Many Cottonseed Hulls. Cottonseed hulls
are essential to one-shot feeds, but intake tends to go up
as you feed more of them. Work with your nutritionist
to find the right balance of hulls to keep cows healthy
and support production.
SMI'S CALVIN COVINGTON RECOGNIZED AT
WORLD DAIRY EXPO
Calvin Covington received the Industry Person of
the Year Award presented by World Dairy Expo. The
award was presented at the 2003 Dinner With the Stars
on October 1 in Madison, Wisconsin. Covington was
cited for his efforts on behalf of dairymen for equity
pricing of milk based on nutrient composition. Having
led the American Jersey Association for 23 years, Calvin
traveled the world speaking about milk component
pricing in 33 states and 21 countries. He also presented
testimony before congressional committees. Currently,
the Chief Executive Officer of Southeast Milk, Inc., Mr.
Covington has provided leadership to Dairy Shrine, the
Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding and Holstein
Foundation. Calvin and his wife, Lorraine, live in Ocala.
Congratulations to Calvin Covington for his
contributions to the dairy industry and for this
BUSINESS COW COLLEGE
Albert de Vries and Russ Giesy
We often find that the people on our most successful
dairies have great cow sense. But it is also clear that they
use business principles to make the most profitable
Maybe you feel your dairy business analysis
knowledge and skills could use a boost. We are offering
an applied course in the fundamentals of dairy business
Topics covered include:
* Balance sheet, income statement, equity statement
(bankers like these)
* Investment decisions (buying cows, facilities, etc)
* Economics of maintaining the herd
* Capital and partial budgets
* Marginal costs and returns
* Use of spreadsheets
* Business plan
* Buy or lease
We will be using plenty of real world examples.
We'll also use case studies of profitable dairies.
Let us know if you or anybody you know would be
interested in a course m these topics. There is enough
material for a three day, full-time, course. Let us know
as well if you are interested in just a few topics and
would like a one day course only. We try to tailor to
Who should attend: anybody who would like to
know more about the fundamentals of dairy business
analysis and decision making. No prerequisites required.
Participation will be limited. First come-first served.
Why attend: Participants will become more familiar
with business concepts and understand how dairies can
improve business performance.
Where and when: in Gainesville or locations around
the state in May 2004, depending on interest.
To sign up or just indicate your interest, contact
Albert de Vries (email firstname.lastname@example.org, phone
352-392-7563) or Russ Giesy (email email@example.com,
FLORIDA DAIRY BUSINESS CONFERENCE and
P.D.H.G.A. ANNUAL FALL WORKSHOP
When: Wednesday, October 22, 9:30 am 4 pm.
Where: Marion County Extension Service Center, 2232
NE Jacksonville Road, Ocala. Phone: 352-620-3440.
The workshop and conference are sponsored by the
Central Florida Dairy Advisory Committee.
Morning: PDHGA Annual Fall Workshop
9:30 "PDHGA programs that help producers" Larry
Jordan, national PDHGA president. 9:45 "Producer
panel: managing calves" Francine Hancock (Hancock
Farms), Art Studley (Telfair Farm), Candy Williams
(Rucks Dairy Farms), Ken Batz (McArthur Farms).
10:15 Break provided by our sponsors thank you!
10:45 "Monitoring your dairy heifer program" Greg
Bethard, G&R Consulting, Inc., Virginia. 11:30
"Keeping 'em out of the Rough; Practical Solutions
for Reducing Losses from Hemorrhagic Bowel
Syndrome in Dairy Cows." Steve Putenney, Oregon
State University. Lunch sponsored by our agribusiness
supporters and provided by Sonny's BBQ thank you!
12:45 Gary Claxton, "Mouth of the South" sharing his
experiences while growing up on a Georgia farm and
anecdotes on trying to raise his family in the rural south
Afternoon: Florida Dairy Business Conference
1:30 Presentation of Dairy Community Award 1:40
"Herd Replacement practices of Florida dairy farms"
Ben Butler, University of Florida Animal Sciences 2:00
"Cost of replacing cows and its affect on profitability
of Dairy Farms" Albert De Vries, University of Florida
Animal Sciences. 2:30 Break sponsored by our
sponsors. 2:50 "Facility management considerations
that impact profit" Greg Bethard. 3:30 "Best
alternatives in manure management" Roger
Nordstedt, University of Florida Agricultural
Engineering. 4:00 Evaluation. 4:15 Adjourn.
GARY CLAXTON, aka "Mouth of the South" will
provide some down home on the farm humor.
Does your replacement management make you
money? We'll be honored to have LARRY JORDAN,
the national president of PDHGA on the agenda to
update us on the purpose and progress of PDHGA. We'll
be impressed, I am sure, by the knowledge of the folks
that will be participating in the panel discussion on calf
rearing management. These folks have raised a lot of
calves! FRANCINE HANCOCK (Hancock Farms),
ART STUDLEY (Telfair Farm), CANDY WILLIAMS
(Rucks Dairy Farms), KEN BATZ (McArthur Farms).
Improve your cow productivity and profitability -
Our own BEN BUTLER and ALBERT DE VRIES
will inform us about an issue of primary importance to
Florida dairy producers; i.e. opportunities to reduce our
high cost of maintaining our herd and increasing
profitability of our cows!
Getting the most profit from your facility? GREG
BETHARD of Virginia is a consultant working with
large dairies across the US. Greg is an excellent speaker
and coming to Ocala to talk about ways you can gear up
to make more milk this fall.
Do you have HBS? Hemorrhagic Bowel Syndrome
is an increasing problem. STEVE PUTENNEY, of
Oregon State University is flying in to help us diagnose,
prevent and treat this condition.
Need to update your manure management program?
- ROGER NORDSTEDT will update us on the newest
1. Exit interstate 75 at exit #70 onto route 27. 2. Proceed
east into Ocala, 27 becomes Blichton Street, then
NW10th Street 3. After 2.5 miles (from 75), turn left
(north) onto 301/441 4. After .5 mile, turn right (east)
onto route 200A or NE20th street (watch for signs for
the Livestock Pavilion. 5. After .5 mile, turn left (north)
into the Livestock Pavilion & Extension Complex
parking area. The meeting will be in the auditorium
located on your right as you enter the facility.
For more information, contact
Russ Giesy, University of Florida Extension Dairy
Science, Bushnell, Fl. 33513-0218. (352) 793-2728
Dave Bray, Roger Natzke, Jessica Belsito,
Brent Broaddus, and Dan Webb
There seems to be some confusion about our check-
off mastitis project. Previously we have indicated there
was to be a "research project" that was to be done in the
North Florida area. This project has nothing to do with
the check-off project. If it is ever done it will be a
company sponsored product
The purpose of the check-
off mastitis project is to help
dairymen lower their SCC
and mastitis levels. This is an
educational program along
with troubleshooting at your dairy by us.
If you remember from our article in the Winter
(January) 2003 Dairy Update we outlined how you can
reduce your SCC by various means; DHIA cell counting,
using bulk tank results, etc.
The DHIA cell counting program is the easiest way
to identify high SCC cows, but your mastitis control
program should not be just using "hot lists" to treat all
the high cows.
In order to help you get mastitis under control, you
must have some records such as number of times cows
are treated for mastitis, calving dates etc. DHIA records
are the easiest to work with because if you fill in health
codes we can teach you how to create reports or run the
reports we created on your dairy to make informed
decisions on culling, treatments, etc. With DHIA records
we can make reports that compare your dairy with others
on the project on mastitis, reproduction, culling etc. Our
reports will not contain the names of dairies.
You do not need to be on the DHIA cell count
program or PC-Dart to participate in this project, if you
do have some records or if you want us to make up some
record systems for you. Our goal is to help you lower
you SCC and mastitis losses and give you information
on how you can keep yourself from getting into this
The graph below is a summary of eight DHIA
dairies we have started on the project. It indicates the
present average SCC of animals who calved by month
and by lactation number.
ACTUAL SOMATIC CELL COUNTS BY MONTH OF CALVING FOR FLORIDA DAIRY FARMS
MA JUNE JULY AUGUST SEPTEMBER
-NTH -*FIRST LACTATION
-*-THIRD LACTATION ANDABOVE
There are two things that this data tells us. For
example look at the animals that calved in May. The first
calf heifer cell count is now about 500,000. Second and
third lactation animals are now at about 750,000.
If we look at September calvings, first calf heifers come
in at 1,800,000. Second and third lactation animals calve
in at 1,000,000. This is not a pretty sight. Second and
third lactation animal should calve below 350,000.
It is going to be a hard year when your fresh animals
are high at calving. Is this due to poor dry cow programs
or did you dry off chronic mastitis cows hoping that the
dry cow therapy will cure the cow you treated fifty times
during the lactation? If you would like us to help, let us
know. Call any of us. If you have previously contacted
us we are getting ready to confirm you are part of the
NEW UF/IFAS DAIRY EXTENSION WEBSITE
Albert de Vries
We have created a new website to serve as easy
access to all on-line UF/IFAS dairy extension news,
material, and contact information. The website aims to
combine dairy extension news and material from both
the faculty on campus in Gainesville and county
extension agents who do dairy work.
The easy to navigate site gives access to a calendar
of dairy events, current and past copies of newsletters,
proceedings of conferences, fact sheets, and links of
interest for the Florida dairy industry. The fact sheets
contain valuable information on 4-H and judging,
reproduction, nutrition, health, milking, facilities, and
business and management topics, all related to dairying
The website now also has the Proceedings of the
2002 Florida Dairy Production Conference on-line.
The address of the website is http://dairy.ifas.ufl.edu.
Take a look and let us know how we can improve it!
HERB HEAD RETIRED
Dr. Herb Head retired on June 30th of this year from
the University of Florida after 40 years of service. Herb
Head served in the Departments of Dairy Scence, Dairy
and Poultry Science, and Animal Sciences. He
maintained a successful teaching and research program
focusing on the physiology of lactation. Herb Head also
served as Director of Graduate Studies before he retired.
We wish him the best on his retirement.
WEST FLORIDA DAIRY
The West Florida Dairy Producers Conference is
held this year on October 30. Contact Andy Andreasen,
Washington County Extension, (850) 638-6180, for
The Florida Dairy Update newsletter is published on a quarterly basis by the University of Florida, Department of Animal Sciences as an educational and
informational service. Please address any questions comments or suggestions to Albert de Vries, Editor, Dairy Update, PO Box 110910, Gainesville, FL 32611-0910.
Phone: (352)392-7563. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. UF/IFAS Dairy Extension website: http://dairy.ifas.ufl.edu