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Attendance Up at Annual Dairy Seminar

Approximately 60 dairy producers and local businessmen attended meetings in Mtn. Grove when they met to learn from industry experts about animal nutrition, healthcare, cow comfort and safeguards against drought at the annual dairy profit seminar held Feb. 26 at the MSU experiment station.

According to Wright County Extension specialist Ted Probert, attendance was up for the meetings that are designed to keep producers abreast of current legislation as well as research-based information on production and management.

For an update on legislation in the 2014 Farm Bill—including retroactive payments for drought losses back to 2011—MU economist Joe Horner led a session called “Insuring against drought.”  Some of the most widely-discussed legislation in recent years concerning price supports in the dairy industry, Horner highlighted methods for using the new Dairy Margin Protection Program and explained that the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) will interpret the 2014 Farm Bill, writing the regulations for implementation.  He also stressed that sign-up for producers at the local USDA FSA will begin April 15.

Dr. Mike Hutjens addressed the group in the sessions “Finding the next five pounds of milk” and “Economics of successful heifer feeding approaches.” A retired dairy specialist for the University of Illinois, Hutjens is one of the most-recognized experts in the industry.  In further discussion of animal nutrition, Dr. Dan Tracy led the session called “Trace minerals link to udder health.”  Tracy is the technical service veterinarian with the corporation Multimin USA.

Heat stress costs producers thousands of dollars in production every summer, and Dr. Joe Zulovich, an expert in agricultural engineering for the University of Missouri, addressed those losses in a session titled “Cow comfort and cooling.”

In a session highlighting changes in animal health care, MU veterinarian Dr. Scott Poock addressed the group in the session called “Bovine Healthcare: What’s different, what’s the same?”

Probert said the feeling among producers is trending toward the positive after many months of discouragement. “Milk prices are good,” said Probert. “Feed prices are finally down from post-drought highs, and that allows for more favorable margins.”

Area producers can contact the Wright County Extension at 417-741-6134 for more information on these and related topics or visit the University website: Missouri Dairy Resource Guide at

The University of Missouri partnered with the Missouri Dairy Association to sponsor the annual Missouri dairy profit seminars during the week of Feb. 24-28 at five separate locations around the state:  Sedalia, Springfield, Mtn. Grove, Jackson, and Union.