World Dairy Diary

ISU Seeks Input on DDGs

cattle eating distillers grainsIowa State University is conducting a survey of livestock producers use of feed-related co-products from ethanol production (distillers grains). The survey is focused on the beef, dairy, swine and poultry sectors. It is being funded by a coalition consisting of the Renewable Fuels Association, the Distillers Grains Technology Council and the Corn Utilization Councils from Iowa, Illinois and Nebraska.

“The feedback gained from the survey will be used to help improve co-product quality, which can help livestock producers with their feed costs and livestock performance,” said Kurt Rosentrater, a professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering, who is leading the effort.

Livestock producers are invited to take the survey online until June 19, 2013.

Generational Differences Among Dairy Producers

New research shows how the management style of younger dairy producers and corn growers compares and contrasts with that of their older counterparts. The survey, commissioned by McCormick Company, considered management practices, ownership structures, decision-making processes, business and transition planning, and the role of information — including digital media — in running respondents’ operations.

What the study found was that younger managers embrace the same values and reasons for farming, but they often consider new ways to get information and manage their operations.

McCormick’s goal is to share proprietary insights from this research with select companies seeking innovation as they connect with key customers.

An independent research firm interviewed more than 600 corn farmers and dairy producers, half of which were younger than 45 years of age. The vast majority of their farms were owned by two or more family generations; but one in four of the younger dairy producers were first-generation owners.

The survey also showed that industry trends and issues transcend age differences. For corn growers of all ages, interest in the environment and sustainability is what affects their management most. Dairy producers are influenced most by interest in animal welfare and the environment.

Expiration of the 2008 Farm Bill

Several major agricultural organizations issued a joint statement today on the official expiration of the 2008 farm bill.

The 2008 law governing many of our nation’s farm policies expired on Sunday, September 30th, and the 2012 Farm Bill needed to replace it is bottled up in Congress. While the Senate and the House Agriculture Committees were both able to pass their versions of the new farm bill, the full House was unable to do so. While expiration of farm bill program authorities has little or no effect on some important programs, it has terminated a number of important programs and will very adversely affect many farmers and ranchers, as well as ongoing market development and conservation efforts.

Congress will return in mid-November for a lame-duck session prior to final adjournment in December. We will work to have the first order of business for the House of Representatives be to consider a new Farm Bill. We are urging our members to seek out their House members between now and the elections and remind them of the consequences of not having a new bill in place prior to adjournment at the end of the year.

Among the organizations issuing the joint statement is the National Milk Producers Federation, since one of the programs that is now expired is the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program. “Dairy producers will face considerable challenges,” said the groups’ statement. “That program compensated dairy producers when domestic milk prices fall below a specified level. Without a new farm bill, dairy farmers are left with uncertainty and inadequate assistance. While milk prices are high enough that the price support program doesn’t kick in; unfortunately, there is no other safety net to help battle the highest feed costs on record.”

Read more here.

Webinar to Address Nutrition Issues Raised by Drought

This year’s severe drought in corn country, and the subsequent high prices and lowered availability of corn, has prompted a lot of questions from dairy producers about whether they can substitute fats for cereal grains. Virtus Nutrition will try to answer some of those questions during a webinar entitled “Fat vs. Corn: Time to Re-evaluate” hosted by Dr. Tom Jenkins of Clemson University this Thursday, September 13th at 4 pm EDT:

The webinar is appropriate for dairy producers and nutrition professionals and will feature an interactive session with Dr. Jenkins on the following topics:

1) Methods for evaluating fat vs. corn for your ration.
2) Strategies for improving ration ROI with fat.
3) Corn vs. Fat comparisons of energy density and availability for milk production.

Dr. Jenkins, a highly regarded animal nutrition researcher and a consummate teacher, has devoted the last 30 years to exploring important areas of lipid metabolism in dairy cattle.

The free, 20-minute webinar will be followed with questions and answers. You can send your questions in advance to thefattyacidforum@virtusnutrition.com. Sign up for the webinar at the Virtus Nutrition website at www.virtusnutrition.com/thefattyacidforum.

Iowa Begins Testing Milk for Aflatoxins

Concerns over drought-induced aflatoxin in milk has prompted the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey to call for state screening and testing of milk starting today and running indefinitely. This Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship news release says the order requires milk processors to screen all Grade A and Grade B farm bulk milk pickup tankers and farm can milk loads for aflatoxin on a weekly basis.

“We were well aware that aflatoxin could be an issue this year due to the historic drought conditions,” Northey said. “Now that farmers are starting to harvest silage, and corn in some cases, it is appropriate to begin this screening process to make sure our milk supply remains safe.”

A statewide corn sampling program has also been instituted in Iowa. Federal Food and Drug Administration guidelines for acceptable aflatoxin levels in corn say concentrations of greater than 20 ppb cannot be used for human consumption and cannot be used for feed for dairy animals or for immature livestock of others species. Corn containing aflatoxin at 100 ppb or less can be used in breeding cattle and swine and mature poultry. Corn with 200 ppb or less can be used with finishing swine greater than 100 lbs. in weight and corn with 300 ppb or less can be used in finishing beef cattle. Iowa officials are asking the FDA to allow for corn with more than 20 ppb of aflatoxin to be blended with non-aflatoxin containing corn for animal feed. Similar requests have been granted in the past.

Coalition Seeks Waiver of Ethanol Requirements

Dairy groups are among a coalition of livestock and poultry producers filing a petition with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seeking a waiver from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) in light of the current drought situation likely to cause feed shortages.

In a petition delivered to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, the coalition asked for a waiver “in whole or in substantial part” of the amount of renewable fuel that must be produced under the RFS for the remainder of this year and for the portion of 2013 that is one year from the time the waiver becomes effective. The RFS requires 13.2 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol to be produced in 2012 and 13.8 billion gallons in 2013, amounts that will use about 4.7 billion and 4.9 billion bushels, respectively, of the nation’s corn.

The RFS has “directly affected the supply and cost of feed in major agricultural sectors of this country, causing the type of economic harm that justifies issuance of an RFS waiver,” said the coalition in its petition.

“I, and NCBA, support American ethanol,” said National Cattlemen’s Beef Association president J.D. Alexander of Nebraska. “I’m not asking for a handout. I’m asking for the federal government to let the market work.”

“Relief from the Renewable Fuel Standard is extremely urgent,” said Past National Chicken Council chairman Michael Welch, President & CEO of Harrison Poultry in Bethlehem, Georgia.

Alexander and Welch were joined at a morning press conference by Randy Spronk of Minnesota, National Pork Producers Council president-elect and John Burkel, Minnesota turkey grower and National Turkey Federation vice chairman.

Listen to opening comments at a press conference this morning from the four organization leaders here: Livestock and Poultry groups

Other members of the coalition that signed the petition include the American Feed Industry Association, American Meat Institute, American Sheep Industries Association, California Dairy Campaign, Dairy Producers of New Mexico, Dairy Producers of Utah, Idaho Dairymen’s Association, Milk Producers Council, Nevada State Dairy Commission, North American Meat Association, Northwest Dairy Association, Oregon Dairy Farmers Association, Southeast Milk Inc., United Dairymen of Arizona and the Washington State Dairy Federation.

Forage Forum on Kernel Processing in Northeast

Pioneer Hi-Bred Forage Forum PodcastHere is another in our series of Pioneer Hi-Bred Forage Forum podcasts about the importance of proper kernel processing in different areas of the country.

This interview focuses on the New York and New England with Pioneer dairy specialist Kevin Putnam. Kevin talks about the major benefits to dairy producers of proper kernel processing, the recommended parameters for settings, testing for quality.

Listen to the podcast here:

Forage Forum on Kernel Processing - Northeast

To see all archived Pioneer Forage Forum podcasts, click here.

Forage Forum on Kernel Processing in Midwest

Pioneer Hi-Bred Forage Forum PodcastPioneer Hi-Bred‘s Forage Forum has done a series of interviews about the importance of proper kernel processing in different areas of the country.

Our first podcast focuses on the Midwest with Tim Hageman, Pioneer livestock specialist in northeast Iowa. Tim talks about the major benefits to dairy producers of proper kernel processing, the recommended parameters for settings, testing for quality.

Listen to the podcast here:

Forage Forum on Kernel Processing - Midwest

To see all archived Pioneer Forage Forum podcasts, click here.

Growing Corn and Raw Milk

No, these don’t go together except that they are the subjects of our last and new weekly polls.

Our latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “With all of the discussion on projected corn acres this year, how many acres of corn do you expect to plant this year?” A full third of respondents said More than 2,000 acres. That was followed by less than 200 acres at 27%; 200-500 acres at 23%; 1,501-2,000 at 7%; 1,001-1,500 at 7% and 501-1,000 at 3%. Looks like we have a wide cross section of corn growers in the ZimmComm News Network community!

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, “Should raw milk be allowed for sale?” This week’s question is prompted by one of the panelists here at the 2012 Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholders Summit. She is a reporter with a food safety publication who says that this issue is the one that gets the most comments and response of any other. Seems people get pretty passionate about their beliefs when it comes to milk. Raw milk is still the suspect in an E. Coli breakout with 14 confirmed cases in central Missouri that put a couple of people in the hospital. What do you think?

Let your friends and neighbors know they can participate by sharing this link.

ZimmPoll is sponsored by Rhea+Kaiser, a full-service advertising/public relations agency.

BASF Introduces Production Poll

BASFWith the 2012 crop year now underway, we’re introducing the BASF Production Poll. This new poll will be conducted twice each month during the season with timely questions that we think both farmers and non-farmers alike will find interesting. We’d love to hear from you. So let’s get started with our first one.

Please let us know if you have any questions about the poll.

Rising Milk Production Boosts Corn Sales

Milk production is on the rise according to the latest report from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Milk production in the 23 major States during November totaled 14.7 billion pounds, up 2.2 percent from November 2010. October revised production at 15.2 billion pounds, was up 2.5 percent from October 2010.

milk graph

The report indicates that production increases came from both a per cow production increase of 16 pounds and a herd expansion of 108,000 head since this time in 2010. Notably, California continues to lead the nation in milk production outpacing second place Wisconsin by more than 1.2 billion pounds last month.

As the U.S. dairy industry is a major market for feed corn, distillers dried grains and corn silage, the National Corn Growers Association noted that this trend benefits not only dairy but also grain farmers across the country.

“It is important to value our relationship with dairy farmers, a constant and valued customer for our product,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer. “In 2011 alone, it is estimated that the U.S. dairy herd will consume more than 800 million bushels of corn. As they grow, so do we thus reemphasizing the importance of cooperation throughout the agricultural community.”