World Dairy Diary

House Bill Blocking Changes in FDA Feed Regulation

NMPFLogoPMS281BlueWords44KBAccording to Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), the organization supports the legislation introduced to stop the FDA from making it harder to use beer by-products in animal feed.

“We need to keep the brew in the moo on our farms, and this legislation is a signal that the FDA needs to rethink the regulation that it is pursuing.”

He said there is no public heath risk associated with the long-standing practice of using brewers’ grains as animal feed.

This proposed FDA regulations would increase costs to dairy farmers. Mulhern said farmers have been using high-protein brewers’ grains in livestock feed for hundreds of years.

“Last fall, the FDA suggested imposing stricter requirements for handling spent grains sold or donated to farmers as part of new feed regulations proposed under the 2010 Food Safety Modernization Act. The changes would require spent grains to be dried and packaged, before being passed on to farmers. Typically, farmers now receive wet grains, which help hydrate livestock.”

“Both the beer industry and agricultural groups, including NMPF, object to the planned changes, and we are encouraged that the FDA has said recently it will review its draft language. In the meantime, we support the legislative approach offered by Reps. Steve Womack (R-AR), Reps. Peter Welch (D-VT), Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) to highlight the importance of this issue.”

Alltech Feed Survey Reports Slight Increase

logo-alltechResults from the 2014 Global Feed Tonnage Survey released by Alltech revealed a one percent increase in feed production, with global feed tonnage reporting in at 963 million metric tons, up from 954 million metric tons last year. Alltech assessed the compound feed production of 130 countries in Dec. 2013 through information obtained in partnership with local feed associations and Alltech’s sales team, who visit more than 28,000 feed mills annually.

Among the 130 countries assessed in Alltech’s survey, China was once again the number one country producing feed at 189 million metric tons and an estimated 9,500 feed mills. The United States and Brazil ranked second and third respectively, with the U.S. producing 169 million metric tons from 5,236 feed mills and Brazil generating 67 million metric tons from 1,237 feed mills. There was an observed decline in the number of feed mills in China, likely driven by government policy, which favors a smaller number of larger feedmills to facilitate traceability and improvements in quality, and the continued demand by urban consumers for further processed proteins from larger farms.

In terms of percent growth in comparison to the Dec. 2012 figures, Africa was reaffirmed as the fastest growing region. Countries such as South Africa, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Mauritius and Namibia all experienced production increases, boosting Africa’s combined tonnage seven percent to just short of 31 million metric tons in 2013. Asia, of the six regions surveyed, is once again the leading overall region in terms of production of animal feed, with 348 million metric tons or more than one-third of global feed, but did not grow in 2013. The Middle East is estimated to have the largest feed mills by average tons per year. Globally, feedmills produced an average of 34,000 metric tons.

When analyzed by species:

  • Poultry: 46 percent share of global production at 444 million tons.
  • Pig feed: increased by 11 percent, moving to 243 million metric tons globally.
  • The ruminant feed market: decreased in tonnage demand between late 2012 and December 2013.
  • Equine feed: tonnage increased 14 percent to 12.4 million metric tons.
  • Aquaculture: 17 percent increase in 2013 to 34.4 million metric tons.
  • Pet food: tonnage increased just slightly from 20.5 to 20.7 million tons.

The Survey found that the total value of the feed industry exceeds $500 billion, higher than the previous estimate of $350 billion. This has been fueled by high feed prices but also the more accurate information collected by this survey. With an expected fall in feed prices in 2014, this value of the feed industry will likely not be as high in 2014.Alltech Feed Survey Reports Slight Increase

Feed-O-Meter Feeding Behavior Monitoring System

AnimartANIMART, Inc. announces the recent addition of Feed-O-Meter™ to the Track a))) Cow™ electronic heat detection system. Feed-O-Meter™ creates a 10-day behavior history measuring feeding behavior including visits to and total amount of time spent at the feed bunk. Deviation from the 10 day average can indicate health problems and animals that may need additional care. This system can also help identify mis-grouped animals on an operation. These reports are sent immediately to producers’ device of choice for analysis.

Feeding behavior monitoring is essential to providing a complete cow monitoring program for the producer. Indicating health concerns, detecting disease and predicting future rumination activity can help a producer lower costs on their dairy while keeping cows healthy.

Feed-O-Meter™ is included in ANIMART’s recently launched Calf to Calf™ program. The Calf to Calf™ program offers producers a 12 month 0% financing option which provides the complete Track a))) Cow™ electronic heat detection system along with two FREE blood pregnancy tests per animal.

Rally Dairy Feed Results

PurinaCOW_Rally Logo_032013Purina Animal Nutrition introduces new research data on Rally® Dairy Feed that shows milk production benefits during heat stress.

As a nutritional heat stress abatement measure, patented Rally® feed technology allows the delivery of more glucose and energy to cows than a typical diet when intakes are challenged and she needs it the most. Research highlights that Rally® Dairy Feed, a cost-effective feed technology, provides benefits for transition and lactating cows during times of heat stress to:
· Address energy needs
· Maintain feed intake
· Deliver more milk during times of heat stress

Research results, including two field demonstrations, shows that incorporating Rally® Dairy Feed into transition and lactating cow rations has benefits that may protect profitability potential, feed intake and milk production.

In field Demonstration A, cows fed Rally® Dairy Feed during heat stress showed:
· 3.5 pound increase in dry matter intake
· 7 percent improvement in feed efficiency

In field Demonstration B, Rally® Dairy Feed delivered a milk production benefit of 8 pounds per day during the first 15 weeks of lactation during heat stress conditions.

Transition cow studies conducted at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center have also shown that when this group was fed Rally®, it delivered[3]:
· Higher peaks in milk production
· Higher total milk yield over lactation
· Reduced non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) levels by 15 percent
· 27.6 percent reduction in beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA)

At the farm level, heat stress and an associated 10 percent to 35 percent milk production loss[4] may cost $1.60 to $5.60 per cow per day[5]. But the overview of all research conducted by Purina Animal Nutrition shows that feeding Rally® Dairy Feed before and during warm weather can lessen the impact of heat stress on productivity and herd performance.

Source: Purina Animal

Because of factors outside of Purina Animal Nutrition LLC’s control, individual results to be obtained, including but not limited to: financial performance, animal condition, health or performance cannot be predicted or guaranteed by Purina Animal Nutrition LLC.

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

Thanksgiving Meal Cost Flat, But Dairy Portion Drops

It might cost you about the same to gobble up your Thanksgiving Day turkey dinner this year as it did last year, but while shoppers will be happy, dairy producers might not be so thankful.

“Our meal for 10 people that includes a 16-pound turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberries, relish tray, pumpkin pie… the whole nine yards… this year we think is going to cost us $49.48. And that’s only about 28 cents more than we were last year,” explained Bob Young, economist for the American Farm Bureau Federation during an interview at Trade Talk at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting convention. That translates to less than a 1-percent price increase… not too bad when you consider how some commodity prices spiked due to the drought. But Young pointed out that some of holding those costs steady included a drop in what the dairy items on the table brought at the supermarket. “Milk prices are lower today than they were last year, so a lot of the dairy products… the butter, the whipped cream on the pumpkin pie… went down.”

Young went on to point out that overall, the value of the U.S. crop this year increased from this summer’s estimates from about $63-65 billion to today’s $85 billion, because of the high prices when estimates pushed prices for the commodities up and then harvests turned out better than expected. He said while some sectors really took a hit from the drought, such as dairy because of the higher feed prices, obviously, some areas that got good corn crops enjoyed quite a windfall.

Read more about AFBF’s Thanksgiving dinner estimates here.

Listen to Cindy’s interview with Bob here: Interview with Bob Young, AFBF economist

John Deere Introduces New Round Balers

Building on the reliability and popularity of its 8 Series Round Balers, John Deere introduced 12 new models of its 9 Series Round Balers for 2013 during the recent Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa.

Laura Cobb, senior marketing representative at John Deere Ottumwa Works, said producers liked what they saw at the show. “They’re really liking the new technology that we’re adding to our balers,” she said. “They’ve really come to adopt to the new technology with row crop items and now on the hay side we’re able to offer them that as well.”

Technology on the new balers includes ISOBus electronics for responsive baler/tractor operation, including GreenStar 3 integration and monitoring and control with 1800, 2600, 2630, and CommandCenter displays. This new ISOBus system enables an industry-exclusive Tractor Baler Automation to make baling easier and allow customers to cover more acres in less time.

“Bigger and beefier” is how Cobb describes some of the components and features of the new balers. “The gull wing doors is one of the first ones – a very differentiated styling. When customers come up that’s the first thing they notice,” she said. “We went with bigger, beefier components to make sure it lasts longer for customers so they can be in the field being productive instead of sitting in the shop trying to get parts fixed.” That includes stronger chains, larger shafts and bearings, and more robust pickups.

Perhaps best of all is easy hook up. “We have an adjustable hitch, but on top of that, with our driveline we made it much easy to put together, so for any customer that’s ever had to put a driveline together, we just saved them a lot of headache,” Laura said.

Listen to an interview with about the new balers here: John Deere's Laura Cobb

Soy Bean Pearl Could Increase Profits

For the first time in history, bypass soybean meal has been successfully fortified with a rumen-protected amino acid (lysine).

This historic formulation can improve a dairy producer’s income over feed cost and efficiency and improve milk production because lysine is a limiting amino acid for milk production in high-producing dairy cows.

As a result of this formulation, Grain States Soya has created Soy Best® PEARL™ and introduced it to the dairy market.

This breakthrough is the result of five years of research including trials at South Dakota State University and Sapienza Analytica LLC. The research was sponsored by Grain States Soya, Inc., and Kemin, the manufacturer of LysiPEARL™ rumen protected lysine.

Soy Best PEARL is a combination of traditional Soy Best and an amino acid product called LysiPEARL™, using Soy Best’s patented technology for applying fresh soy gums onto a feedstuff. The “pearls” carry the lysine through the rumen to the intestine where the lysine is digested.

Soy Best is now available in two formulations, the original Soy Best with fresh soy gums, and Soy Best PEARL, with added lysine.

Source: Grain States Soya, Inc.

Milking Parlor: Comments on RFS Waiver Start

The high cost of feed, especially corn with its skyrocketing prices because of this year’s drought, is in the forefront of many dairy producers’ minds. The EPA has opened the comment period for a waiver of the Renewable Fuels Standard… a waiver that is hoped to reduce the demand for corn and thus reduce the price for corn. The process is seen as so important that the National Corn Growers Association has asked for another 30 days of comments on top of the month-long process already going on now.

In this edition of the Milking Parlor, we talk to Joel Brandenberger, who while representing the interests of the National Turkey Federation, makes a case similar to what dairy folks are facing. Plus, we’ll also hear from Paragon Economics’ Steve Meyer, Purdue University’s Chris Hurt, the University of Minnesota’s Vernon Eidman, and Tom Buis with Growth Energy, who represents the ethanol industry. They’ll discuss why they think the waiver should or should not be granted and what impact it could have for livestock producers.

Listen to the Milking Parlor here: Milking Parlor Podcast on RFS Waiver Request

To subscribe to the Milking Parlor podcast, click here.

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.

High Feed Prices Prompt SDSU Strategy Meeting

The high cost of feed compared to what producers are getting for their milk prompts the South Dakota State University Science Department to offer a a public “Options and Ideas” meeting on Tuesday, July 31st, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at the SDSU Alfred Dairy Science Hall on the campus in Brookings, SD.

“Market globalization has resulted in higher price volatility for inputs and outputs,” said Alvaro Garcia, SDSU Extension Dairy Specialist. “With today’s prices dairy producers cannot afford to contract their milk price and allow corn, corn silage, and soybean meal prices to float freely. Producers must consider how to manage current and future production economics.”

“Our goal is to invite producers to brainstorm, and offer input on future research priorities,” Garcia said. “With producer input, we can better understand these challenges based on producer experiences, and allocate resources where they will have the greatest positive impact on dairy producers.”

With no formal presentation planned, the meeting is expected to give attendees plenty of time to brainstorm solutions. Contact Garcia at 605-688-5488 for more information.

Price of Distillers Grains is Up

Tight corn supplies, higher corn prices, low ethanol processing margins, export demand and high soybean meal prices are among the factors contributing to higher prices for dried distillers grains plus solubles (DDGS), the ethanol co-product used as livestock feed.

South Dakota State University economics professor Darrell Mark says price for distillers grains usually declines going into summer as cattle feedlot inventories decline and more cow herds and stockers are turned out to pasture. This year, however, distillers grains prices have been increasing going into summer.

“The average price for dried distillers grains plus solubles (DDGS) in South Dakota increased about $3/ton during each week of May although it did moderate some in the first two weeks of June. While domestic demand from the cattle industry is not substantially deviating from normal seasonal trends, several other supply and demand factors have driven the price increases in recent weeks and are likely to continue through the summer months,” said Mark, a market analyst for

“With high corn prices, ethanol producers have struggled to maintain margins, and are finding incentive to run at reduced capacity and shut down plants for longer periods of time for maintenance, etc.,” Mark said. “Doing so can lessen their losses, but it does reduce the amount of distillers grain produced as well. Thus, with lower supply of distillers grains, prices tend to rise, as have been seen throughout 2012.”

Mark encourages producers to discuss this issue with their current distillers grain suppliers and understand their plant production schedule. He also suggests they purchase product from two or more plants to help offset risk associated with losing distillers grain from one particular plant.

New Streamlines Feed Ingredient Purchases

A new website,, is now available for feed manufacturers and livestock producers to save time and reduce costs when buying bulk feed ingredients.

Dairy, beef, swine and poultry producers, as well as other bulk feed buyers, now have direct access to the feed ingredients they need through the free site. The free service allows users to see prices and availability of more than 50 bulk feed ingredients such as fats and oils, animal proteins, grain byproducts, minerals and more.

Feedpail was developed by Ryan Cooney, who wanted to create a quicker, easier and more enjoyable way to buy and sell feed ingredients. He says people involved in feeding livestock are considering a larger number of ingredient options today than ever before. But more and more these same people are limited by their available time and network of sellers they know.

Feedpail streamlines the price discovery and purchasing process of buying and selling feed ingredients. Anyone who buys or sells bulk feed ingredients, or is involved in the feed industry, can use the site to stay current on bulk feed ingredient costs and make purchasing decisions.

Feedpail is easy to use. Once an account is set up, sellers post available tons and buyers have the option to buy outright or bid on the tons. Users can search by feed ingredient and geography to find prices and availability. Once a quantity and price are agreed to, the contact information of the buyer and seller is shared so they can complete the transaction. All sales are kept confidential and are subject to each party’s terms, conditions and policies.

Price discovery is an added benefit of the new feed ingredient exchange. Feedpail makes it easy to spot check prices and users can use the service to monitor price changes, which will allow them to make more accurate buying and selling decisions.

Feedpail has also developed an email newsletter to distribute regular updates on bulk feed ingredient prices. Everyone who signs up for a free account on FeedPail can receive the newsletter to help them stay up-to-date on price changes and trends.


Research Finds Distillers Grains Effective Energy Source

Research by a South Dakota State University dairy science student shows the energy value of the ethanol co-product distillers grains (DDGS) in dairy feed.

Sanjeewa Ranathunga was recognized for his research at the recent annual meeting of the Midwest American Dairy Science Association meetings with the Young Dairy Scholars Award.

Ranathunga is in the final stages of his Ph.D. program in dairy cattle nutrition at South Dakota State University under the guidance of Dr. Kenneth Kalscheur, Associate Professor in Dairy Science. During his time at SDSU, Ranathunga has conducted valuable research looking at DDGS and their impact on dairy cattle diets.

Ranathunga began his Master’s program at SDSU in dairy cattle nutrition under Kalscheur after completing an M.S. in Biochemistry at Pukyong National University in Busan, South Korea.

His Master’s research demonstrated that the non-forage fiber provided from DDGS and soyhulls can effectively replace starch provided by corn in dairy cow diets without negatively affecting the performance of dairy cows.

This research revealed that DDGS can be used as an effective energy source to replace high priced corn, and can decrease the feed cost of the diet. According to income over feed cost analysis, an economic advantage if $1.42 per cow per day was observed in this study when feeding the 21 percent DDGS diet compared with 0 percent DDGS diet.

Read more from

POET Offers Low-Fat Distillers Grains for Dairy Cows

South Dakota-based ethanol producer POET is targeting dairy producers with the introduction of a new low-fat distillers grains product.

POET notes that research indicates its new Dakota Gold Low Fat dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) can be fed to dairy cattle at a higher inclusion rate than traditional DDGS.

According to Kip Karges, PhD, Technical Services and Research Director at POET Nutrition, the product has just a 5 percent fat content, which offers a new opportunity for dairy operations that have had to limit DDGS use in the past because DDGS fat content can cause milk fat depression issues. “Dairy operations can feed more low fat DDGS to their livestock by using Dakota Gold Low Fat,” Karges said. “That will allow for optimum milk production while lowering ration cost.”

General research into the subject has shown that increasing concentrations of low-fat distillers grains have correlated to increasing efficiency of milk production. “When feeding regular DDGS you really have to limit feeds with high levels of unsaturated fatty acids and may cause limitations in formulation procedures,” said Paul Kononoff, Associate Professor of Dairy Nutrition/Dairy Nutrition Specialist at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. “The reduction in fat in low fat DDGS allows for higher inclusion of the co-product without the worries of milk fat depression.” Kononoff and others as the University of Nebraska have performed trials for POET and will be releasing their data to the public this summer.

A deliberate research and development process was followed in bringing Dakota Gold Low Fat DDGS to market. The new Dakota Gold LF DDGS option is possible because of POET’s Voila™ Corn Oil production, which removes oil from DDGS. The resulting low fat DDGS have been researched and will continued to be researched to find new ways in which distillers grains, the second-largest traded feed ingredient on the market, can be used to produce protein for human consumption. Nutritionists at POET are providing animal research data to nutritionists and the feed industry in general regarding Dakota Gold LF DDGS. Research and nutrition details are available at the Dakota Gold website.

Three New Feed Innovations Introduced

This fall, the Livestock Marketing Group launched three innovations for dairy animals: the enhanced calf milk replacers, the AMPLI-Calf® grower feed and the updated MetaPro® Nutrition program for dairy cows.

In partnership with Animal Milk Products, a division of Land O’Lakes, Inc., Livestock Marketing introduced a new plant-based ingredient in all Full Potential and Performance milk replacers. When fed in milk replacer, digestarom® is designed to drive greater weight gain and milk replacer and calf starter intakes. In addition, a new product line extension was launched for the Full Potential milk replacers. ColdFront™ milk replacer formulation uniquely and effectively helps dairy calves face nutrition and health challenges during cold weather stress.

The new calf grower feed was developed for calves raised on AMPLI-Calf® starter feed. When fed AMPLI-Calf® grower feed vs. traditional grower feed during weeks 12-24, calves gained 70 lbs more, grew longer and taller, and had better average daily gains and feed efficiency. The Young Animal team led by Dr. Dari Brown ensured that the product feeding amounts and inclusion of hay are optimal for rumen development in calves. Land O’Lakes Purina Feed patented its breakthrough system and method for feeding ruminants based on rumen morphology.

Launched in 2006, MetaPro® Nutrition program has been the highest-selling program in the Dairy Feed portfolio. It is a great tool to optimize the amount of protein fed to dairy cows while optimizing the herd’s milk production and pounds of milk protein potential. MetaPro® Nutrition program now includes USA Lysine, the most bio-available lysine product in the industry marketed exclusively by Land O’Lakes Purina Feed.

Source: Land O’Lakes Purina Feed

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.”

New Feed Supplement For Newborn Calves

Here’s a new product we just received an announcement for from Van Beek Natural Science. It’s a feed supplement that “protects newborn calves from stress induced scours with its unique mode of action,” called Tri-Pectate® Capsules.

Tri-Pectate Capsules are formulated with Axaphen®, a patented combination of essential oils and enhancers. Axaphen has powerful antimicrobial properties that eliminate bacteria on contact.

Pectin is dietary fiber in Tri-Pectate that swells up to hold fluid and normalizes gut flow. It also helps remove toxins while coating the intestinal wall, thus proactively working against GI problems before they start. The right balance of mineral bio-complexes help bind and inactivate harmful pathogens. They eliminate toxins from the body, stimulate the immune system, and soothe the intestinal tract.

All the power of the Tri-Pectate syringe formula has been packed into this convenient capsule. Tri-Pectate Capsules are available in 20ct and 100ct jars and 450ct pails. The product is sold through all major livestock & dairy distributors. Please visit for more information.

House Hearing Focuses on Feed Availability

Dairy, livestock and poultry producers were represented during a hearing this week before a House Agriculture subcommittee on concerns about feed availability and the main theme of all the witnesses was the impact of ethanol policy on feed availability.

Testifying on behalf of the dairy industry was Dr. Eric Erba with California Dairies. “From our point of view, the problem is not feed availability, it is the price of feed,” Erba said. “Feed has been and continues to be available, but not at prices at prices that make good financial sense for dairy producers” since feed costs represent almost 65% of the cost of producing milk.

Erba noted that California dairy producers are particularly vulnerable to feed price increases because they buy most of their corn for feed, rather than grow it on their own operations. “Dairy producers are critical of the federal policy that favors fuel over food because of the evidence that policies put animal agriculture at tremendous risk for higher production costs with no guarantee of higher prices for product produced,” he said.

Idaho Increasing Corn Production for Dairy Industry

Idaho is synonymous with potatoes, but there is more corn in the ground there these days to support a growing dairy industry.

USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists have found that some Pacific Northwest farmers can increase corn yields by using strip tillage and banding fertilizer instead of conventional tilling. Strip tillage and banding involves excavating a single row for planting about 6 to 12 inches wide and 6 to 8 inches deep with a knife-like shank that can also inject fertilizer directly below the seed.

The scientists found that using these practices increased corn grain yields on severely eroded soils st higher elevations by 12 percent the first year and 26 percent the second year. This translated into yield increases between 11 and 26 bushels per acre.

Read more from ARS here.

Photo courtesy of David Tarkalson, ARS.

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