Department of Animal Sciences
Quarterly Newsletter Vol. 5 No. 3 Summer 2005
MURPHY WHITE FAMILY NAMED DAIRY FARM
FAMILY OF THE YEAR 2005
A highlight of the 42nd Florida Dairy Production
Conference, held in Gainesville on May 3rd, 2005, was the
recognition of the Paul "Murphy" White Family as the Florida
Farm Bureau Dairy Farm Family of the Year. Murphy White
was born to Louis and Nonie Melear White on May 27, 1938
in the small rural town of Addison, AL. Louis and Nonie
moved their family to Boynton Beach, FL in 1947. At this
time Murphy, even as a youngster, was very involved in the
dairy business. He worked for his father who had established
a dairy called White's Dairy in Boynton Beach. Murphy
developed a love of 4-H and he carried this appreciation
throughout his life. As a kid he showed registered Guernsey
cattle and was very active in judging.
In 1958 at the age of 20, Murphy married Dawn Kelly.
Murphy and Dawn started a family shortly thereafter. They
had three children, Leslie Beth White, Janet Bishop and Paul
Murphy White II.
In 1964 Murphy and Bob Curly formed Palm Beach
Cattle Company. A year later Murphy had an opportunity to
rent a small farm from one of his uncles in Boynton Beach
known as Murphy White Dairy. In 1967, Murphy opened a
second Murphy White Dairy in Okeechobee County on
highway 710. In 1977, Murphy married his second wife,
Sharon. Sharon and her two children, Ted and Kris were
welcomed into Murphy's heart. Sharon and Murphy had one
son, Steven. In 1979, Murphy and Sharon purchased a second
farm named White Farms. In 1991, having closed both farms
in Okeechobee County, the operations were moved to Sumter
County. Murphy White Dairy was located in Center Hill and
White Farms was located in Webster. In 1993, the Center Hill
farm was closed due to hurricane floods and all cows were
moved to the Webster location.
Murphy was very active with his milk cooperatives. He
served as a member of the Board of Directors for every coop
he sold milk through. He was a member of IDFA, FDFA and
SMI. He served 30 years as a trucking committee member for
these coops. In addition, he served as a board member with
DFI and attended the NMPF Annual meetings on a regular
basis. Murphy was also active in his local community.
The State of Florida lost a founding member of the dairy
community when Murphy passed away on February 4, 2004.
The rich tradition he established is being carried on through
his children. Janet and her husband Perry own and operate
P.W. Bishop Dairy in Okeechobee along with their four
children. Kris is married to Sutton Rucks. They own and
operate the former Dry Lake II dairy now known as Milking
R, Inc. All of Janet and Kris's children are heavily involved
in the dairy industry and very active in 4-H, the love for which
they no doubt got from their grandfather. There is no question
that Murphy White had the ability and willingness to give of
himself to others. He gave to his family, the dairy industry,
and to anyone that he came in contact with.
Carolee Howe presented the 2005 Florida Farm Bureau Dairy Farm
Family Award to the Paul murphyhy" White Family
READING THE BODY LANGUAGE OF COWS -
When given the choice of lying down or eating when they
had been deprived of both for 3 hours, cows chose to lie down.
Cows that spend more time lying down in free stalls are less
likely to develop claw problems because standing on concrete
is thought to predispose cows to lameness and claw lesions.
Lactating cows managed in freestalls filled with 7.8 inches of
sand spent more time lying down (about 1.2 hours per day
more) than those with only 5.3 inches of sand in their
freestalls (Journal of Dairy Science 88:2381). Closeup cows
that spend more time standing also are making a statement.
An unusual amount of standing by closeup dry cows can be a
sign that calving is not far away. Cows that were within 1 day
of calving spent an extra 2 hours a day standing on her feet
compared to closeup cows not near parturition (14.4 compared
to 12.3 hours per day). In addition, cows within 1 day of
calving lied down and got up 17.3 times per day compared to
only 11.7 times per day for the average closeup dry cow
(Journal of Dairy Science 88:2454).
1990 2005 FLORIDA DAIRY PRODUCTION
CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS NOW ON-LINE
Albert de Vries and Jose Aparicio
The 42nd annual Florida Dairy Production Conference was
held in Gainesville on May 3rd, 2005. Over 100 attendees
received updates on frequent milking in early lactation,
crossbreeding, how to make the most of a multicultural
workforce, reducing variability in your breeding program
using a systematic approach, photoperiod management of
cows for production and health, and barn cooling. The
proceedings are now on-line at the UF/IFAS Florida Dairy
Extension website http://dairy.ifas.ufl.edu.
We also put on http://dairy.ifas.ufl.edu all proceedings of
the Florida Dairy Production Conferences held since 1990.
These older proceedings also contain a wealth of still relevant
information for today's dairy industry. Questions? Contact
Albert de Vries (firstname.lastname@example.org, (352) 392-7563).
ARE OUR COWS EATING ENOUGH MANGANESE?
Manganese (abbreviated "Mn") is a mineral required in
small amounts daily and is, therefore, classified as a "trace"
mineral. Work published this summer from The Ohio State
University (Journal of Dairy Science 88:2517) suggests that
the current feeding recommendations for Mn may be too low.
A deficiency of Mn in the diet can cause skeletal
abnormalities and depressed reproduction. Using information
from 160 dairy cows assigned to 39 different dietary
treatments in the past, they determined that the amount of Mn
required is 580 mg per day both in the dry period and during
lactation. This translates to a minimum dietary concentration
for Mn of 49 parts per million (ppm) for a dry cow eating 26
pounds of dry matter daily or of 28 ppm of Mn for a lactating
cow eating 46 pounds of dry matter daily. These dietary Mn
concentrations are at least 1.6 times greater than the currently
recommended daily allowance. Supplemental Mn fed as
manganese sulfate or as manganese-methionine was equally
available to the animals.
SPANISH HERDSMAN SEMINAR ON OBSTECTRICS
AND CALVING PROBLEMS: AUGUST 17 & 18,2005
A Spanish language training program in Management of
Obstetrics and Problems Associated with Calving will be held
on August 17-18, 2005 at the Cabot Lodge and the College of
Veterinary Medicine in Gainesville, FL. The purpose of this
training program is to enable dairy health technicians to
review the principles of appropriate care and management of
calving-related disorders. A directed approach to the
intervention of dystocia will be presented. Monitoring
strategies of periparturient cows to insure timely intervention
will also be presented.
Internationally recognized speakers include Carlos Risco,
DVM (University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine),
Pedro Melendez, DVM (University of Florida, College of
Veterinary Medicine) and Jan K. Shearer, DVM (University of
Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine).
Interested persons will have the option to receive a
"Certificate of Attendance" following their participation in the
course and laboratory on obstetrics.
For further information about the program, please visit
http://www.vetmed.ufl.edu/lacs/SpanishHerdsman/ or contact
Dr. Jan K. Shearer, (Dairy Extension Veterinarian) or Leslie
Shearer (Veterinary Extension Dairy Program Coordinator) at
(352) 392-4700 ext. 4112 or at email@example.com. For
registration information, please contact Gail Crawford at (352)
392-4700 ext. 4064 or at crawfordgtimail.vetmed.ufl.edu.
2005 FLORIDA RUMINANT NUTRITION
SYMPOSIUM PROCEEDINGS ON-LINE
The proceedings of the 16th Florida Ruminant Nutrition
Symposium, held on February 1+2, 2005 in Gainesville, are
now available at http://dairv.ifas.ufl.edu. We are currently
working to make all previous proceedings (back to the first
symposium in 1990) available on this website. There is a
wealth of relevant nutrition information in these proceedings
so check it out! (Albert de Vries, firstname.lastname@example.org)
FLORIDA DAIRY STUDENTS PARTICIPATED IN
THE 4th NORTH AMERICAN INTERCOLLEGIATE
Albert de Vries
A team of UF dairy science students participated in the 4th
North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge (NAIDC) in
State College, PA, on April 8 and 9, 2005. The NAIDC was
established as a management contest to incorporate all phases
of a specific dairy business. It strives to incorporate a higher-
learning atmosphere with practical application to help prepare
students for careers in the dairy industry.
This year's contest was hosted by Penn State University.
The UF team consisted of Ilana Stover, Jessica Murphy, Sanita
Bromfield, and Josh Churchwell. Coach was Albert de Vries.
The event attracted 27 teams from the United States and
Canada, challenging them to put their textbook and practical
knowledge to the ultimate test analyzing dairies. Day One
of NAIDC began with each team receiving information about
a working dairy, including production and farm management
data. After an in-person inspection of one of three designated
dairies, participants interviewed the herd managers. Then
each team developed a farm analysis and presentation
materials, including recommendations for nutrition,
reproduction, milking procedures, animal health, housing and
financial management. Day Two was presentation day. Team
members presented recommendations to a panel of judges and
then fielded questions from the judges. Presentations were
evaluated, based on the analysis and recommendations. The
evening concluded with a reception and awards banquet. The
Florida team did fine and obtained a silver award.
In addition to the learning experience, the NAIDC gives
students and sponsors plenty of opportunity to interact and
many students are recruited for internships orjobs. It is also a
great way to see how our UF undergraduate dairy program
compares with all the major dairy programs in North America.
Experiences from the NAIDC are used to improve the UF
undergraduate dairy program to help prepare our students as
well as we can for a career in the dairy industry.
Generous support from corporate sponsors makes NAIDC
possible. This year's Platinum sponsors include ABS Global
Inc., Ag Enhance Program of NE Farm Credit, Agway
Foundation Inc., Alltech, Arm & Hammer Animal Nutrition
Group, Bioproducts Inc., Cargill Animal Nutrition, Dairy Herd
Management, Dairy One, Dairy Records Management
Systems, DairyBusiness Communications, Diamond V Mills,
Elanco Animal Health, Farm Credit System Foundation,
Genex Cooperative Inc., Monsanto Dairy Business, Northeast
Dairy Producers Association, Pfizer Animal Health, Select
Sires Inc., Soy Best and West Central Soy. Southeast Milk,
Inc., supported the Florida team by a check-off grant to help
with travel costs. Thank you all for your support!
In 2006, the NAIDC will be held April 7 + 8 in the Twin
Falls, Idaho area. The University of Idaho and Washington
State University are co-hosting the event. For more
information about NAIDC, log on to www.dairvchallenge.org.
ALL WASHED UP
David R. Bray
We're in the summer season with an abundance of heat,
humidity and rainfall. Which also means mastitis season?
Milking clean, dry udders is a major way to reduce mastitis
and lower your cell count. Those of you without well bedded
free stall barns can't control the weather. Those of you with
poorly bedded free stall barns can't control your labor and are
paying a big price for these management practices. You not
only enjoy the higher mastitis losses of cows that are out in the
mud, but you also get to pay for the barns.
One of the easiest ways to milk clean dry udders from
whatever you started with is a good cow wash pen, designed
with enough wash space for each group (14 sq. ft. per cow)
and the same sized drip-dry area for each group. Have enough
water available to wash the cows, booster pump(s), and rain
bird type sprinklers on 4'-5' centers. A timer is needed to
regulate the length and number of wash cycles; this saves
water and does a better job of cleaning teats, udders and
underside of the cow. You can inject "a sanitizing Quat" type
product with a surfactant that helps clean and dry the cows.
Also you can inject a mild soap into the wash cycle(s) that will
also speed up the cleaning and drying of the cows.
These products are available at all dairy suppliers; they are not
cheap but save time and labor.
If your wash pen is too small, water pressure too low, and
half of the sprinklers don't work, you will waste water and
milk wet dirty teats. This scenario leads to your milkers
having to pre-dip, strip and wipe filthy udders and teats,
reaching through filthy legs and tails. Your mastitis rate and
somatic cell count is now out of your control.
In summary, whatever management can do to prevent
mastitis before the cows come into the parlor will make you
money and prevent mastitis. If you expect your milkers to try
to clean and dry wet filthy udders, apply milking machines
with malfunctioning pulsators and ATOs that haven't worked
in three years to control mastitis it's going to be a 1-o-n-g hot
summer. Dave Bray, (352) 392-5594.
COMPLIANCE THE ACHILLES HEEL OF
Peter J. Hansen
"You Americans have replaced the hypothalamus with the
syringe ", European veterinarian to an American veterinarian
at a recent conference on dairy cattle reproduction.
Not surprisingly, as the fertility of dairy cows has
declined, there has been a corresponding increase in the
interventions that the dairy farmer is willing to engage in to
get the cow pregnant. The ultimate intervention is timed
artificial insemination the use of hormones to program when
the cow ovulates so that breeding can take place at a fixed
time without the need for heat detection.
There is a need for these programs the modem dairy
cow is only in heat for 8-9 hours every 21 to 23 days and the
total amount of time the cows spends actually being mounted
is only 24 seconds or so. Heat detection is highly dependent
on the amount of labor, which is often a limiting factor on
In the long run, we need to replace the infertile dairy cow
of today with a cow having different genetics that supports
fertility. In the meantime, programs like OvSynch, PreSynch-
OvSynch, and other timed artificial insemination protocols can
make it possible to inseminate cows that would otherwise not
be detected in heat in a timely manner.
The simplest timed AI system is the OvSynch protocol.
For OvSynch to work, four things need to happen. All the
cows beginning OvSynch receive an intramuscular injection of
100 micrograms (typically 2 cc) of GnRH. Then seven days
later, cows receive an injection of 25 milligrams of
prostaglandin F2a, which represents an injection volume of 5
cc. Cows then receive another 2 cc injection of GnRH at 48
hours after the prostaglandin and all cows are then bred the
next day. The optimal time of insemination is 16 hours after
the GnRH injection but good fertility is obtained when
insemination is done anytime on the day after the second
While this protocol sounds simple, there are many
opportunities for errors. Some cows may not be found on the
day that a shot is scheduled. This is especially true on large
dairies with hundreds or thousands of cows. The ability to
find a cow probably depends upon who is doing the looking -
while the owner might be very motivated to find a cow
scheduled to receive an injection for OvSynch, a hired hand
might not be so willing to look for a missing cow. Secondly,
ear tags are often misread maybe Cow # 3357 gets the
GnRH injection that cow #8357 was scheduled to receive.
Another problem is that dairy personnel might be busy and
delay injections because of other tasks. Also, not everyone on
the dairy is necessarily concerned that the job gets done right.
Maybe the person assigned to give prostaglandin injections
will decide he doesn't want to do it but he isn't planning on
Paul Fricke at the University of Wisconsin has made
some calculations to illustrate the effect of poor compliance on
the success of timed AI protocols. Let's consider OvSynch,
the simplest of the timed AI protocols. A 90% compliance for
each injection sounds pretty impressive. Consider, however,
that cows need three injections to complete the OvSynch
program. So, if 90% of the cows on any given day receive the
correct injection at the correct time and at the correct dose, the
percentage of cows that receive all three injections correctly is
only 73% (0.9 x 0.9 x 0.9). As a result, 27% of cows that
receive a timed AI breeding have a poor chance to get
pregnant (the actual effect of a missed injection depends on
which injection is missed). Such poor compliance severely
reduces the pregnancy rate that can be achieved with
The take home message is that a successful timed AI
program requires a very high level of management. Although
90% compliance sounds good, a lot of semen is being thrown
away under this scenario. Attention to detail, good record
keeping and data management, and involvement of dedicated
personnel are keys to a successful timed artificial insemination
program. (Peter Hansen's columns are at www.farms.com/dairv/)
COW REPLACEMENT IN THE SUMMER
SHOULD YOU DELAY?
Albert de Vries
Summer is here again and we already had plenty of hot
and humid days. Dairy cattle are not particularly fond of this
weather. The cows show that by producing less milk and it is
more difficult to get open cows pregnant. Seasonal effects on
cow performance are a fact of life in the Southeast, even when
we provide plenty of shade and cooling to alleviate the worst
Most Florida dairy producers recognize these problems
and many manage their herds to be somewhat seasonal. This
typically means that more heifers and cows are planned to
calve in the fall so their peak milk production and breeding
takes place in the cooler season. This makes sense and in
general improves profit per slot per year (a "slot" is potential
place for a cow on the dairy, like a stall in a tie-stall).
Cows are culled throughout the year, however. When
culling occurs in the summer, the dairy producer who is
willing to purchase heifers needs to decide when to replace
those culled cows. He/she can either fill the open slots as
quickly as possible, with heifers that calve in the summer, or
leave the slots open for a while and wait until the fall to bring
in new heifers.
Heifers that calve in the summer will peak lower and will
take longer to get pregnant than those that calve in the fall.
This reduces the expected profit from these heifers compared
to heifers that calve in the fall. On the other hand, waiting
until the fall to replace animals culled in the summer causes
the open slots not to generate any revenue for the dairy for
some time. So should you delay purchasing heifers or not?
The best decision is found by comparing the predicted
discounted future cash flows for both scenarios and choosing
the one that maximizes profit per slot per year.
Although milk prices are above average this year, profit
per cow remains marginal on many dairies (less than $1/cwt
while total costs may be $17/cwt). At first sight, it appears
that an open slot is not that costly and waiting to purchase
heifers until the fall may seem attractive.
However, it is important to keep in mind which revenues
and costs are variable (= depend on having a cow in the slot)
and which are fixed (= independent on having a cow in the
slot). Virtually all revenues on dairies are variable; milk
production, calf sales, and ultimately cow cull sales. An open
slot means no revenues at all. On the other hand, many costs
are fixed, at least in the short run, such as loan payments, labor
cost, depreciation, and most utilities. Feed cost is the only
major cost that is variable. Analysis of DBAP data suggests
that anywhere between 30% and 50% of the cost to produce
milk in Florida are fixed, at least during the time a delay in
heifer replacement is considered. This means that each
additional cow is very profitable for the dairy. For example,
the profit from one extra cwt milk produced on the dairy may
be around $9.50 (assuming $18/cwt milk price 50% of
$17/cwt total cost).
The bottom line is that it generally does not pay to leave a
slot open until the fall when a cow is culled in the summer. So
as a rule, replace those culled cows as quickly as possible.
This is especially the case when milk prices are average or
higher than average, seasonality of cow performance is low,
and a fair number of production costs are fixed. Under
average assumptions for Florida, milk prices need to drop
below $14/cwt before delay may become advantageous. (Note
that cow culling strategy affects when slots become open but
that is a topic for another time).
Although immediate replacement is almost always
economically advantageous, this does not mean that seasonal
production is not a good idea. Seasonal production implies
that the number of milking/dry and pregnant/open cows (the
"cow flow") changes throughout the year. Just how seasonal a
dairy should be depends on constraints such as the available
housing facilities, parlor capacity, availability of labor and
forages, and whether replacement heifers are home-raised or
(also) purchased. Every dairy has different constraints.
I have recently completed some programs that can be
used to help dairy producers plan the optimal "cow flow"
throughout the year. A paper in Journal of Dairy Science 87:
2947, and other talks and papers about these topics can be
found on my website at
This on-going work is supported
by a grant from the Southeast Milk,
Inc. dairy check off. Let me know if
you like to learn more: Albert de Vries
(devriestianimal.ufl.edu, (352) 392-
Sotheat mlk, Inc.
A new Southeast Milk Inc Dairy Check-Off logo was approved at the
proposals review committee meeting on March 23, 2005. Its purpose
is to help idleintiti projects supported by the SMIDairy Check-Off.
2005 FLORIDA DAIRY BUSINESS CONFERENCE:
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14
The 2005 Florida Dairy Business Conference will be
held at the Marion County Extension Office in Ocala, FL, on
Wednesday, September 14. Keynote speaker will be Pete
Blodgett who was recognized at the 2004 World Dairy Expo
in Madison as Industry Person of the Year. He'll be discussing
opportunities to breed dairy cattle that may stay in our herds
longer, thereby reducing herd replacement costs. For more
information, contact Russ Giesy, email giesvriiaol.com, or
phone (352) 793-2728.
The Florida Dairy Update newsletter is published quarterly 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: email@example.com. UF/IFAS Dairy Extension website: http:/dairv.ifas.ufl.edu. This issue was printed on July 11, 2005.