2016 Carver County Dairy Expo recap
The Carver County Dairy Core Team is pleased to have hosted its 24th Annual Carver County Dairy Expo on Monday, February 15th. As an Extension Educator, I rely on the Core Team to provide assistance in planning and implementing an event such as this. The Core Team is comprised of 18 local dairy farmers, dairy and agriculture professionals, and other Extension educators. Each member of the committee provides a key component of the event, making it one of the most enjoyable educational opportunities in Minnesota.
If you missed this year's event, handouts from the educational sessions are available online.
Gary Sipiorski led the schedule of speakers. His keynote address titled "Global Observations of the Dairy Business and What to do About It" was an informative reminder that what-goes-up, must-come-down. He discussed many aspects of foreign dairy production and their imports and how it relates to our industry and dairy economy in the U.S. The handouts available on the webpage listed above are filled with graphs and charts illustrating trends and changes happening around the world. From his time as an agricultural lender and bank president, Gary gave the audience input to what lenders are looking at when approached for loans. When it comes down to it, the banker wants to know that you are managing your dairy farm the best possible way. You keep your risk low. You keep production high.
We strive to offer our break-out sessions in tracks, or themes, and this year was no different. This year’s forage track was presented by Dr. Dan Undersander, Forage and Research Extension Specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dairy Star writer, Missy Mussman, covered Dr. Undersander’s presentation in the February 27th edition (2nd section, pg. 5-6).
Our calf health and management track was presented by Dr. Max Thornsberry, Dairy Technical Specialist for Milk Specialties Global. His morning session was a discussion of calf immunology and the importance and practicalities of giving a calf the best start to life. His afternoon presentation consisted of dissecting a calf as an educational tool. Complete with a pep-talk about feeling light-headed, the session was a lesson in anatomy and biology, and concluded with Dr. Thornsberry naming the cause of death for the bull calf.
The final track offered at this year's Expo focused on business, covering the topics of genomics and today’s economics. In the morning session, attendees were able to learn the basics of genomic testing from Dr. Matt Boyle of Zoetis. He presented real life application of genomic data using some herd examples. His intentions were for attendees to be able to walk away having learned how the technology works and how it can be applied to more rapidly improve their herds' genetic progress. Those who had an understanding of the technology beforehand were able to have their questions answered.
"Although feed costs have decreased, milk prices have decreased more", says Jim Salfer, Dairy Extension Educator with the University of Minnesota. Jim gave producers tips and strategies for "Keeping Your Herd Profitable in Today’s Economic Environment." He sent producers home with six take-home messages: 1) Maximize income over feed cost; 2) Maximize milk sold by filling the barn with productive, profitable cows; 3) Focus on getting cows pregnant fast; 4) Focus on quality milk; 5) Evaluate ALL costs; and 6) Be prepared for the next period of low profitability. More detail on his proposed strategies can be found in a factsheet.
Mark your calendars now for next year's conference when we will celebrate our 25th year! We will see you in Carver County on President’s Day 2017! (Monday, February 20, 2017)