Purina Animal Nutrition and Land O’ Lakes welcomed more than 475 dairy producers, family members and industry representatives to the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells, Wis., earlier this year for the Leading Dairy Producer Conference. Now in its twelfth year, it is one of the largest dairy producer conferences held annually in the Upper Midwest.
This year’s attendees represented 212 dairy farms and more than 145,000 cows. Guests had the chance to learn about a range of topics from heat stress abatement in dry cows, managing dairies environmental footprint to automated calf feeders.
"Each year our goal is to deliver the most innovative dairy nutrition and management insights to the most progressive dairy producers, as well as provide a discussion forum," says Elena Lindemann, lactating livestock marketing director with Purina Animal Nutrition. "Dr. David LaCount, one of our dairy nutritionists based in Wisconsin, leads the selection of topics that are of key relevance for dairy producers."
Dr. Bruno Amaral, dairy nutritionist with Purina Animal Nutrition, discussed the importance of heat stress abatement in dry cows. Amaral shared results from three University of Florida research studies showing cows cooled during the dry period produced an average of 14 pounds more milk in the first 30 weeks post-calving than heat stressed cows.
Insights on how to improve feed efficiency and lower crude protein levels in rations was shared by Dr. Andy Mueller, manager of dairy nutrition and technical support with Purina Animal Nutrition. Mueller shared strategies towards achieving high levels of production with low crude protein diets, noting that selection of ingredients is critical to achieving this goal.
Attendees also had the opportunity to hear first-hand from a producer panel engaged by Purina Animal Nutrition for their unique and hands-on experience with automated calf feeders. Pete Graff, Rambling Acres in Stetsonville, Wis., Linda Diederichs, 3D Dairy in Malone, Wis., and Chad Gullicksrud, Hamlin Valley Farms in Eleva, Wis., discussed management advantages they have found feeding with automated calf feeders, points of consideration while building and installing the feeders and noticeable effects on their calves’ development.
In addition to the educational seminars, attendees also had a chance to see first-hand the growth differences between two Holstein calves raised on separate feeding programs. Calf one was raised on a conventional feeding program while calf two was raised on a full potential feeding program. The calf raised on a full potential program weighed 59 pounds more and was 2.5 inches taller at 4 months of age. The calf raised on a full potential feeding program had an average daily gain of 1.57 pounds versus 0.71 pounds for the conventional. Calves were provided by Hanke Farms in Sheboygan Falls, Wis.
Purina Animal Nutrition partners with several industry leading companies to host the Leading Dairy Producer Conference each year and bring the most innovative research and information to attendees.