World Dairy Diary

The Hidden Killer Mycotoxin

global500-79-editedWhat do we do when two-thirds of all grains are contaminated with mycotoxins? This question was answered at Alltech’s recent Global 500. Dairy and beef producers from across the world came together to hear from experts and share advice with each other.

Andrew Linscott, ruminant specialist for Alltech United Kingdom, talked with dairy producers about the hidden killer hitting dairies across the globe. Andrew works with both beef and dairy farmers helping them achieve better performance and animal health, as well as look at ways to improve margins on their farms.

Mycotoxins may be the elephant in the room, but it can’t stay there. We know about the problem, but what are we going to do about it?

Alltech has recently launched it’s 37+ Program. The technique can identify 38 different mycotoxins specifically. This allows for a broader approach compared to other methods that can only get a glimpse of the contamination. For more information on the program contact your local Alltech office.

Listen to Andrew’s complete presentation here: Andrew Linscott - Global 500

You can find photos from this year’s Global 500 here: 2012 Global 500 Photo Album

Ingredients for Success on a Dairy Farm

To kickoff Global 500′s first dairy breakout session last week, Alltech brought to the stage Charlie Moore, a consulting nutritionist specializing in ruminants.

He probably traveled the farthest to get to Lexington, Ky. as he calls South Africa home. Graduating from Stellenbosch University with a B.S. in Animal Science and Agronomy, he is currently a registered professional animal scientist. He mainly works with large dairy and cow/calf producers, trying to maximize the use of home grown feeds.

Charlie discussed what he feels are 10 ingredients for a successful dairy farm. For the past 20 years he has visited dairy farms and is confident that if you follow his advice your level of production will increase.

In his closing remarks he summed up his take home message by saying:

Look to optimize rumen health.
Keep an eye on cow comfort. Screen feeds for quality.
Use data already generated on the farm.
Develop an organized monitoring program.

Listen to Charlie’s complete presentation here: Charlie Moore - Global 500

You can find photos from this year’s Global 500 here: 2012 Global 500 Photo Album

Alltech’s Dairy Heroes Featured at Global 500

During the opening remarks from Dr. Pease Lyons at the 2012 Global 500, he compared farmers and ranchers to heros. Such a true statement.

I took the opportunity to meet one of Alltech’s Dairy Heroes featured at this year’s Global 500. Meet Carl Chaney, dairy farmer and ice cream entrepreneur. Carl’s story is inspirational. Farming is in his blood and sharing his story is his passion.

Carl and his wife knew they had to come up with some way to pay the bills when they downsized their dairy herd and it just so happened that ice cream was the answer. They opened Chaney’s Dairy Barn after Carl learned how to make ice cream. They now have a full service restaurant and travel the state educating the consumer about milk and dairy products.

“The farm started in 1888 when my great great great grandfather starting farming. My dad started milking cows in 1940. He started with two Jersey cows. He paid $125 for the both of them. One was a grand champion cow and the other reserve. Well, I guarantee you times have changed.”

For more information about the Chaney family and their operation visit You can also like them on Facebook.

Listen to my complete interview with Carl here: Interview with Carl Chaney

2012 Global 500 Photo Album

Dairy Producers Unite For Alltech’s Global 500

It is just a week before Alltech’s 5th Annual Global 500 kicks off. Dairy and beef leaders from across the world will come together to share ideas and educate themselves on new and cutting edge technologies.

They are expecting over 500 dairy producers to attend this year’s event. Robert Brouwer, owner of a 2,800 cow diary in New Mexico, has attended the event every year since it’s beginning.

“This is a must attend event for me. Alltech continues to outdo themselves with timely and relevant topics, presented by great speakers,” Brouwer said. “It is also great to meet and interact with dairymen from across the world. The event gives me new ideas and provides an opportunity to see things from a global perspective.”

This year’s agenda will feature presentations on branding milk, social media, employee training, decreasing carbon footprints and mycotoxins as well as many presentations that will address the core theme for the event, the EPS principle: Efficiency, Profitability and Sustainability.

“As the global demand for dairy products continues to grow and our climate becomes less and less stable, the pressure to innovate is on the shoulders of today’s farmers. However, the question of how to remain profitable is a question that does not have a clear answer anymore,” said Dr. Pearse Lyons, president and founder of Alltech. “Branding is much more important now as consumers are developing strong loyalty to brands and are more concerned about the origin of their food. Our answers must address efficiency, profitability and sustainability.”

I am excited to attend this years event and during the National Association of Farm Broadcasting’s (NAFB) Trade Talk I had a chance to talk with David Butler, Web Marketing Manager for Alltech. He offered insite to the upcoming event and shared what hot topics will be discussed. Check my interview with David here.

Also during NAFB I spoke with Ann Kopecky, Alltech’s North America Field PR Coordinator, about Alltech’s recent launch of their 37+ Program. This new mass spectrometry technique investigates 38 different mycotoxins allowing for a broader analytical approach into the contamination.

Listen to my interview with Ann here: Ann Kopecky - Alltech

Dairy & Beef Issues Addressed At Upcoming Global 500

In just two and a half weeks Lexington, Kentucky will once again open it’s doors to dairy farmers and beef producers from across the world. These agriculturalists are coming together for Alltech’s Global 500. The Alltech community offers an opportunity to find answers to your questions.

What are the modern challenges of animal production?
Where to invest?
How to target performance and profitability?
What is the future of farming?
Can sustainability be achieved?

I am excited to attend this years event and during the National Association of Farm Broadcasting’s Trade Talk I had a chance to talk with David Butler, Web Marketing Manager for Alltech. He offered insite to the upcoming event and shared what hot topics will be discussed.

“Global 500 is unique because we have progressive dairy farmers and beef producers from all over the world that come to Lexington, KY to spend three days. They get to hear some great speakers, some real industry experts, but more than that we have discussion dinners where they can share ideas and share some challenges. An opportunity for US dairy farmers to find out how their colleagues in Europe are dealing with some of the environmental regulations there that we may see here eventually.”

“Cow comfort, of course is always a big thing. Mycotoxins are a big issue this year because of the drought in the US. We will be talking about ways to manage that. And things like mineral execration and other sorts of challenges that make it really tough for farmers, especially with large herds.”

Alltech is also holding a Farms In Focus photo contest to be judged during Global 500. Snap a photo of what dairy farming means to you and submit at Share via Facebook and Twitter, get all your friends to vote during the event for a chance to win $300.

Listen to my interview with David here: David Butler - Alltech

2012 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Alltech’s Global 500 Is Right Around The Corner

Ruminating on the future of beef and dairy farming will be the topic of discussion at Alltech’s 5th Annual Global 500. The event will feature industry experts who will address the changing future of the dairy and beef industries. Last year’s event was a success with 700 attendees and they are expecting over 1000 this December 4-6 in Lexington, Ky.

“Global 500 has gone from a powerful event to an astounding event,” said Dr. Pearse Lyons, president and founder of Alltech. “In a few short years we’ve managed to get some of the industry’s most successful producers to attend and get involved in discussions that are paving the way to a future of opportunity and profitability.”

Producers and industry leaders will have the opportunity to network, discuss and discover new opportunities and challenges for 2013. The program will feature presentations on branding, social media in agriculture and finding new opportunities in challenging times. In addition to an array of presentations, attendees will be invited to take part in discussion dinners, breakout sessions and a number of farm tours.

Dairy producers will explore topics including breakthroughs in nutrition, strategies to manage feed costs, and emerging markets.

Beef producers will delve into issues such as the future marketplace, consumer demands, meat quality, greenhouse gasses and feed yard management.

Registration for Global 500 is $325, but for all those early birds out there register by November 9 for only $200. This will include all sessions, organized functions, luncheons and dinners. Register today and use the invitation code G124.

Alltech Global 500 Kicks Off Next Week

Coming up next week in Lexington, Kentucky is an event that dairy and beef producers should not miss.

alltech global 500Since 2008, more than 800 of world’s most progressive dairy and beef producers have convened for the Alltech Global 500 to network and discuss the most relevant and challenging topics in the industry.

This year, the Global 500 explores the future landscape for the dairy and beef industries and provides a rare opportunity for global colleagues and friends to engage in open discussion on critical topics such as sustainable strategies and practices that can be implemented now and in the future.

I talked with Alltech Beef Division Manager Ty Yeast about the event, which will be held December 6-8. “Originally it started as a dairy event and with the success after the first two years in the dairy event, we expanded to the beef side as well,” Ty said. “Last year was our first ever addition of the beef event and we had over 125 participants from all over the world.” This year, Ty says they already have more than doubled last year’s registration.

Ty says the conference is really about looking at new ways of approaching a business that’s been around for a long time. “It’s innovation, it’s looking at new ways of doing things, and really breaking old paradigms on how to move forward and get to that next level of efficiency.

Interested producers can still register for the event by going to the Global 500 website. You can be sure it will be worth your while.

Listen to or download my interview with Ty here: Ty Yeast - Alltech Global 500

Alltech’s Brave New World

“A Brave New World” is the theme of the Alltech’s 2011 Global 500. The company will explore the dairy and beef industries’ future landscape and provide a rare opportunity for global colleagues and friends to engage in open discussion on critical topics such as sustainable strategies and practices that can be implemented now and in the future.

Join Alltech on December 6-8, 2011 in Lexington, Ky. Registration is by invitation only, so contact Alltech’s Global 500 registration team via phone: 1-859-887-3328 or email:

What challenges and opportunities await us in this Brave New World?
· A world in which demand for fuel, food and other commodities will only continue to spike as global population and wealth increase.
· A world in which the adoption of new technologies is not optional but a requirement if you want to stay competitive.
· Finally, it’s a world of transparency in which people develop strong personal impressions of companies and producers – and communicate their feelings through social media as well as with their neighbors.

Source: Alltech

Write Down What You Wish To Achieve

Proving once again that he’s following in the foot steps of that “other” Dr. Lyons, Dr. Mark Lyons made concluding remarks in grand fashion at the Alltech Global 500.

After providing an overview of Alltech innovations with Dr. Karl Dawson during the final session of the conference Mark encouraged the participants to “Think it, Ink it.” He said they should write down at least five things they were taking away from the event that could then take action on when they got home. How many times to you hear something and wish you’d made a note of it?

You can listen to Mark’s closing comment here: Dr. Mark Lyons Closing Comment

Alltech Global 500 Photo Album

Communicating Positives In A Crisis

Dairy farmers need to know about crisis communications just as much as any other business. Those attending the Alltech Global 500 Peter Kerr, KerrComm, address this topic and provide meaningful ideas for how to cope with it. Peter is a communications consultant and he presented a very positive message about turning a negative situation into an opportunity.

He discussed how the critics of agriculture who often present very misleading or inaccurate information are successful by having very well crafted messages. Farmers need to be equally prepared so they can use opportunities to teach and present truthful information. I like his idea of also being prepared to use new communications channels like social media as vehicles to deliver that positive and truthful message. He also suggests that farmer consider consulting with a communications professional. On a final note he made a point of being truthful even if the negative publicity you may be dealing with is because of a problem on your operation. Be prepared to tell your story and what you’re doing to change things. Good advice!

You can listen to my interview with Peter here: Interview with Peter Kerr

Alltech Global 500 Photo Album

Social Media Driving Dairy Business

At the beginning of the Alltech Global 500 I participated in a presentation on social media and I’ve been overhearing farmers talking about how to use it for their farm. During a discussion dinner last night I met a dairy farmer who has been using it to drive business on his farm. He’s a great example for all farmers. He’s Carl Chaney (left in photo) and you can find his farm online at Chaney’s Dairy Barn.

Carl has a great story which I recorded this morning. Basically, his family operation decided to take control of their own destiny and diversify into processing their own milk, making their own ice cream and creating an agri-tourism component of their farm. So over the last couple years they have been using a website and now Facebook and Twitter to promote their business and Carl says they have direct evidence of how it has helped. This use of social media has helped them stay in the dairy business after they were considering getting out.

Besides driving business Carl says they are also helping educate consumers about where their food comes from. Sounds like he could be on the board of the AgChat Foundation! The farm conducts tours with a growing number of area schools. You’ll hear the pride in his voice when he sees kids marvel over a new calf or seeing a milking parlor in action.

You can listen to my interview with Carl here: Interview with Carl Chaney

Alltech Global 500 Photo Album

Alltech Dinners Stimulate Discussion

One of the features of the Alltech Global 500 are a series of discussion dinners. Attendees can choose a topic of they are most interested in. During the dinners a moderator will stimulate conversation with everyone providing input. It’s a great opportunity to interact with other dairy and beef producers from around the world and hear their perspectives on these topics.

I attended a dinner with the topic of milk quality. I met Travis from Texas and Charles from New Zealand. We spoke after the dinner and you’ll hear them say that the ability to meet with and talk with other dairy farmers is one of the most important things they get out of the conference. They also realize how similar their challenges are regardless of what country they live in.

You can listen to my interview with Travis and Charles here: Discussion Dinner Interview

Alltech Global 500 Photo Album

Dairy Farm Sustainability

I’m borrowing from the Alltech blog, Innovations, here. They produced a short video to answer a question very important to dairy farmers. How would you answer the question?

What is the most important thing for a dairy farmer to consider with regard to economic sustainability?

Sustainability means many things to many people. Geoff Frank is CEO of Improcrop, an Alltech Regional Sales Manager and a dairy farmer. I asked Geoff to describe the most important issue for dairy farmers as the industry strives for economic sustainability.

Alltech Global 500 Photo Album

Meeting People From Around The World With Alltech

I think the comment I’ve heard most often at the Alltech Global 500 is how important and rewarding the interaction with other dairy and beef producers from around the world is. We’ve got 29 countries represented here. One of our international visitors that I met today was George Strang, Scotland.

George is a dairy farmer with 250 cows and it’s a family run farm. He actually won an Alltech competition and the prize was this trip. He’s loving his first visit to the USA. He admits that he hasn’t embraced technology as much as he should so he’s planning on getting a Facebook account to help keep in touch with other farmers he’s met here. He says he has found that farmers face the same kinds of challenges regardless of what country they are from. However, he says his country is one of the few that doesn’t grow corn so he’s hoping some varieties will be created that can be grown in Scotland.

You can listen to my interview with George here: Interview With George Strang

Alltech Global 500 Photo Album

Precision Feeding

At the Alltech Global 500 feeding efficiency was the subject of a presentation by Mike Hutjens, University of Illinois. He says that to survive we’re going to have to become more feed efficient and since feed can make up half the cost of producing milk it’s very important. He says that with corn getting to $6/bushel we’re going to have to look at more forage in the diet. That means a closer look at the nutrition plan to control variation. He uses a term, “precision feeding” which he says is “everyday delivering the same ration, if it’s higher in forages it means you have to take that variation out based on variety selections and types of forages you’re feeding.”

You can listen to my interview with Mike here: Interview With Mike Hutjens

Alltech Global 500 Photo Album

Social Media Vital To Industry

This year’s Alltech Global 500 includes a full program for beef producers. As we’ve said many times before, if you’re in the dairy business, you’re in the beef business. So, I spoke with one of the beef farmers here, Charles Miller. He’s a Kentucky cattleman so he didn’t have as far to go as many who are here from 29 different countries.

Charles says he’s an Alltech customer and he’s glad to see the company placing a greater emphasis on beef lately and here at this conference. He sees the interaction with international farmers as a great opportunity. He says that one of the most interesting things he has seen and learned so far is the importance and perspective on social media. He said, “As we go forward as an industry, if we fail to utilize that tool to our best advantage we’re going to be left behind.”

You can listen to my interview with Charles here: Interview With Charles Miller

Alltech Global 500 Photo Album

Alltech Global 500 Video Welcome

This video is what set the stage for the Alltech Global 500. We’re talking innovation, sustainability, risk management, feeding efficiency and much more.

Alltech Global 500 Photo Album

Looking At The Future For Dairy

A forward looking panel of experts spoke to the Alltech Global 500 today. Their topic, “Forecast 2025: A vision for the future.” Now that’s not an easy task!

I spoke with one of the panelists, Mandi McLeod, Dunvegan Farms, Ltd, New Zealand. Mandi says the future is about doing what you do well and focusing on the resources you have, in fact, “use them to the absolute maximum.” She says that you have to make sure your profits and people are sustainable and that profits come before production. She was very clear that by 2025 she hopes there will be no subsidies. I asked her what sustainability means to her. She provides a very common sense definition. Too bad there are so many that aren’t! She says farmers here are curious about prices and controls and how to become more profitable.

You can listen to my interview with Mandi here: Interview With Mandi Mcleod

Alltech Global 500 Photo Album

Working With Your Local Community

The first dairy breakout session at the Alltech Global 500 focused on “Value Added Dairying: The Future of Sustainability.” Our presenter was Jim Ostrom, Rosendale Dairy, USA. I missed the opportunity to interview Jim but spoke with session moderator, Steve Elliott, Alltech. Steve is the global director for the company’s organic minerals division. He says that Jim addressed sustainability in his dairy of about 16,000 cows taking into account his local community. After the presentation Steve moderated a question and answer session where the questions focused on how he relates to his community and his workers since half of them are multi-cultural.

Steve says the appeal of this conference is the ability to network with people from all over the world. It’s an opportunity to find out what is similar and not similar in other parts of the world. He says there are attendees here from more than 20 countries!

You can listen to my interview with Steve here: Interview With Steve Elliott

Alltech Global 500 Photo Album

Social Media Important To Dairy Farmers

Let’s just say that social media has been very, very good to ZimmComm New Media, publishers of World Dairy Diary. It is also the hottest topic in agricultural communications of the last year. At the Alltech Global 500 it was also a key topic during our morning general session.

I joined Alltech’s, Billy Frey, on stage to present what social media is and encourage and beef and dairy farmers to use these new channels of communications to help re-connect consumers with the farm and promote their own businesses. We used a series of slides and YouTube videos which I can’t show you but I did record our presentation. I said and will continue to say that dairy farmers seem to be some of the most engaged of any commodity group I know when it comes to social media.

Billy had some great quotes like the following:

Social media is the biggest revolution since the industrial revolution. It offers us new ways to stay informed and it can simplify information overload. It can fundamentally change agriculture if we use it.

We have a lot of great story tellers in our industry because we have the best story ever. Agriculture allowed civilization to develop. Before agriculture we were hunter gatherers. We have a great story to tell. We just have to tell it.

I can’t agree more. After our presentation a woman from France approached me to say that she “felt like I know you” since she is a regular visitor to World Dairy Diary. That kind of anecdotal evidence is great since it shows how truly connected we are globally thanks to social media.

You can listen to our presentation on social media here: Social Media Presentation

Follow Alltech on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and their blog, Innovations.

Alltech Global 500 Photo Album

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