Are You One of the Savvy Social Media Peeps?

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “Do you consider yourself social media savvy?”

It’s exciting to see so many people out there that have grasped social media as way to communicate online and also use it as a marketing tool. Yet will had a few pollers who don’t see it as beneficial. It is hard to look into the future and not see social media. Changing and developing yes, but not leaving for good.

Here are the poll results:

  • Yes – I’ve got it – 55%
  • Yes – Still need training – 23%
  • No – Want to learn more – 6%
  • No – Not worth my time – 16%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, How are you connecting your precision equipment and data?

Drones, big data, new standards are all precision ag buzz words but connectivity was a common theme this year at the InfoAg Conference. More and more companies are developing stable wireless options to communicate back and forth from the cab. Let us know what method you are using and feel free to leave a comment.


American Horse Publications Survey Shows Growth

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

zoetisAccording to the American Horse Publications (AHP) survey sponsored by Zoetis, the equine industry has found stability and shows positive signs of growth. The survey included responses from over 10,662 horse owners.

Among the highlights, the third online nationwide equine industry survey shows:
· For 2016, 88.6% of respondents expect to own or manage the same number of horses or more horses.
· This year, 93% of respondents plan to enter the same or more competitions than last year, and 95.1% expect to compete in the same or more events in 2016.
· A high number of respondents (84.7%) rely on their veterinarians for vaccination advice, and respondents are increasingly relying on veterinarians for deworming advice.

“It appears the industry is beginning to recover from the Great Recession of 2008, as indicated by the percentage of respondents participating in the industry, either through owning/managing horses or competing with them, at the same or greater levels than three years ago,” said Jill Stowe, Ph.D., associate professor of agricultural economics at the University of Kentucky, who analyzed the data and consulted on the results.

The survey was conducted from Jan. 6 through April 1, 2015. It sought to gauge participation trends and management practices in the U.S. equine industry, to identify critical issues facing the equine industry as perceived by those who own or manage horses, and to better understand issues pertaining to horse health and nutrition.

Agribusiness, Equine, Video, Zoetis

Alltech Recognizes First Dairy Hero in China

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

alltech dairy heroAlltech recognized Robert Erhard, former general manager at the Nestlé Dairy Farming Institute, as the first recipient of the Alltech China Dairy Hero award. Alltech launched the program to recognize dairy farmers who go above and beyond the call of duty.

The Dairy Heroes program, which honors the important role dairy farmers have in feeding a growing global population, was launched in 2013. Alltech has brought the Dairy Hero campaign to China to salute dairy professionals across the country as well as increase the general public’s understanding of the dairy industry. The campaign will recognize ordinary people who make extraordinary contributions to China’s dairy industry, from farm managers to technical experts or young professionals.

“Long hours, inclement weather, rising feed costs, rollercoaster milk prices, labor management, environmental stewardship…the list goes on and on for the load a dairy farmer must carry each day,” said Dr. Pearse Lyons, president and founder of Alltech. “Yet even in this demanding line of work, we continue to see dairy farmers who go the extra mile and get the job done to put milk on our table.”

As general manager at Nestlé for more than 12 years, Erhard contributed to the rapid development of the China dairy industry. Erhard brought world-class facilities and the latest technology to Chinese farmers through the Dairy Farming Institute in Northeast China, one of the company’s biggest dairy investments. The Institute, located in Shuangcheng in Heilongjiang Province, is part of Nestlé’s long-running efforts to share its technical know-how and improve dairy farming around the world. It will help modernise Chinese dairy farming practices to enable farmers to meet the country’s fast-growing milk demand in a sustainable manner in the years ahead. Selected as a major partner in the project, Alltech brings its highly successful feed evaluation laboratory to the world’s fastest growing dairy market, participating in numerous educational initiatives and assistance in establishing best practices in Chinese agribusiness. The Alltech In Vitro Fermentation Model (IFM), a diagnostic tool that simulates rumen fermentation and evaluates the nutritive value of total mixed rations (TMR), is featured in the Institute and is one of the ways that Alltech helps to support the continued growth and transformation of the Chinese dairy industry.

Agribusiness, Alltech, Dairy Focuses on Genetic Improvements in Beef

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

ebeefA new website called was developed by beef cattle scientists to help producers to have to the latest beef cattle genetics and genomics information.

The website, showcased at the 2015 Beef Improvement Federation Conference in Biloxi, Mississippi, is part of the national extension program, an interactive program that delivers research-based information to the public from land-grant universities across the United States. The beef cattle scientists who developed the website’s resources represent six land-grant institutions.

One of the scientists was Bob Weaber, cow-calf specialist for K-State Research and Extension. He said a grant provided through eXtension supported the project.

“The focus is on genetics,” Weaber said. “We’ve put together a vast set of resources including short video clips, fact sheets, archived talks, webinars and other useful links all related to genetics of beef cattle and genetic improvement of beef cattle. We think it’s going to be a good resource for producers to interact with many extension educators.”

Weaber, who is also an associate professor of beef breeding and genetics at Kansas State University, said only includes selected researched and peer-reviewed information. Another goal of the website is to archive the information generated from current and future beef genetics integrated grants funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Ag Group, Beef, Genetics

New Website Helps Cattlemen Grow More Grass

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 10.06.31 AMDow AgroSciences has launched a new website to boost rangeland and pasture production. stems from the growth and expansion of cattle operations across the country.

“When grain prices skyrocketed, it reminded producers about the value of forages,” explains Whitney Murphy, Dow AgroSciences Range & Pasture product manager. “High grain prices also converted thousands of acres away from grazing. We’re working to help livestock producers make existing grazing acres more productive.” features resources and tools cattlemen and land managers can use to improve their rangeland and pastures:
– Weed and brush species identification
– How-to videos
– Product information, including recommendations, rates and specimen labels
– Mixing guides and other downloadable literature
– Success stories from cattlemen
– Information on restoring habitat and managing sensitive sites

The site functions across multiple platforms, including mobile. Users can access the site features from anywhere with a cell signal or wireless connection. That comes in handy when identifying weeds or confirming application methods in the pasture.

“Forages continue to be the cattlemen’s lowest-cost feed source,” Murphy says. “Low-value undesirable plants crowd out desirable forage species and decrease the carrying capacity of grazing land. Through sound grazing management and a good, integrated weed control program, we can help producers capitalize on market opportunities while keeping a sharp eye on costs.”

Agribusiness, Cattle, Grazing, Land

IDFA Praises Call for Canadian Dairy Expansion

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

idfaThe International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) is praising the call of Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) for Canada to finally engage on dairy market-access negotiations.  The request comes during high-level talks on TTP.

The letter urges Canadian Ambassador to the United States Gary Albert Doer to engage and commit to ‘significant and commercially meaningful market access for all remaining agricultural products,’ including dairy.

“We thank the Senators for their support on gaining the best deals for the U.S. dairy industry in this agreement,” said Connie Tipton, IDFA president and CEO. “Now is the time for Canada to come to the table with a commercially meaningful offer on dairy.”

Earlier this month, a group of 21 congressmen sent a letter to Doer citing Canada’s lack of engagement on dairy market-access negotiations in the TPP talks.

IDFA is encouraging market access for diary products across all tariff lines.


Ag Group, Dairy, Government

Vilsack Addresses Avian Flu Conference

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

avian-flu-vilsackAgriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack discussed future avian influenza preparations for the fall season at the Avian Influenza Outbreak…Lessons Learned Conference in Des Moines this week. The secretary’s speech focused on the incident command structure, vaccination and indemnification process, and better communications in collaboration with the poultry industry.

“I suspect and anticipate that we will learn from this particular conference a number of ways in which we can work more collaboratively together to ensure that we are doing everything we possibly can to prevent this from occurring and to mitigate its expansion,” said Vilsack. “One of the unfortunate circumstances of a tragedy like this is that it does spur creativity and innovation, so we are open to suggestions and we will be working with the industry to try to figure out what is indeed the quickest, most efficient and most humane way of dealing with this, should it reemerge.”

Vilsack also said during his address to the stakeholders meeting that discussions on the next farm bill should include a disaster assistance program for poultry producers.

“I would hope that one of the long term lessons from all of this is that we can convince our friends in Congress to understand that it isn’t just about dollars and cents as was the case in this last Farm Bill,” he said. “The reason why a disaster program wasn’t included was because it didn’t pan out in terms of budget. We really do need to take a look at a disaster program. Because at the end of the day, it’s going to be ultimately less expensive.”

The two-day conference this week included stakeholders such as th National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation, United Egg Producers, and U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, as well as elected officials in impacted states such as Iowa Governor Terry Branstad.

avian flu, Eggs, Poultry, Turkey, usda

Biodiesel Helps Livestock Producers Profitability

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

IBBBiodiesel is known for powering vehicles across the country, but it also helps power profitability for poultry and livestock farmers.

The United Soybean Board, Iowa Biodiesel Board and Iowa Soybean Association shared that message this week during an event at the Western Dubuque Biodiesel plant.

According to the groups, increased demand for biodiesel also increases the demand for domestic soybeans to crush, growing the supply of soybean meal. This greater supply lowers the meal’s price, which decreases the relative cost of it to poultry and livestock farmers.

“Animal agriculture is the soybean farmer’s No. 1 customer with 97 percent of soybean meal going to feed poultry and livestock,” said Delbert Christensen, a soybean farmer from Audubon, Iowa and director on USB. “Biodiesel helps animal agriculture by creating demand for soybean oil, which helps lower the cost of animal feed and creates an additional market for animal fats.”

More demand for biodiesel helps keep soybean meal prices competitive as demand for soybeans continues to rise globally, while biodiesel has also created demand for animal fats and tallow to be made into biodiesel. IBB says for Iowa farmers, these meal savings and increased fat and tallow values really add up. In 2013 alone, pork farmers saved $60,802,700 and dairy and beef farmers saved $25,511,700 respectively, strengthening animal agriculture in the state. Biodiesel by-product glycerin also can be an additional energy source in feed troughs.

biodiesel, Feed, Livestock, Poultry

Research Shows Stay Strong Helps Dairy Production

John Davis Leave a Comment

staystrong1Researchers at South Dakota State University have found Stay Strong for Dairy Cows from Strong Animals makes some great progress for dairy production. Ralco Animal Nutrition, which produces the product, says the scientists found Stay Strong improved fiber digestibility in dairy cows and increased milk fat content. Also, feed containing Stay Strong for Dairy Cows took longer than 7.7 hours before there was a 2° C rise in temperature at the feed bunk.

The university research showed that dry matter digestibility increased 2.3 percentage units and digestibility of neutral detergent fiber (NDF) was 3.8 percentage units greater for cows fed Stay Strong™ for Dairy Cows. Also, milk fat content improved 0.11 percentage units in cows fed Stay Strong™ for Dairy Cows.

Olivia Kuester, SDSU graduate research assistant conducted the research study with SDSU Assistant Professor Dr. David Casper. Kuester said the increase in milk fat content is likely the result of improved fiber digestibility.

“If we have greater fiber digestibility, which we observed with a higher NDF coefficient, it is possible that we produce greater acetate in the rumen, which is a precursor to milk fat production,” Kuester said. “Another factor we were looking at was improved nitrogen utilization, which we saw in the group fed Stay Strong™ which demonstrated a reduction in milk urea nitrogen and that would indicate an improve microbial protein synthesis in the rumen. What likely happened was that we improved nitrogen utilization, which increased microbial protein synthesis causing greater acetate production that improved fiber digestibility for greater milk fat.”

The findings of the research were presented at the ADSA-ASAS Joint Annual Meeting held July 12-16 in Orlando, Florida.

Agribusiness, Dairy

Biosecurity Key to Fighting Bird Flu

John Davis Leave a Comment

uspoultryThere are three general principles for a successful biosecurity program: go onto a farm clean, leave the farm clean, and if in doubt…clean and disinfect. That was the message from Shawn Carlton, technical service manager with Cobb-Vantress, at USPOULTRY’s 2015 Hatchery-Breeder Clinic held in Nashville, Tennessee.

In his presentation, Carlton provided best practices for “Sanitation at the Breeder Farm.” He emphasized the need for a biosecurity program that includes monitoring and control methods such as water sanitation, reduction of stressors that may cause bacterial infection in flocks, equipment disinfection and contamination monitoring. Carlton discussed how the highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak has highlighted the need for biosecurity procedures in and around the farm, remarking, “Biosecurity is a good investment to prevent viruses, bacteria and microbes from affecting the flocks.”

“I believe our single best hope is biosecurity, both for prevention and control of spreading. There is no way we can begin to plan for a worst-case scenario for the fall season unless we know site specific biosecurity, depopulation and disposal plans to combat this highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza,” warned Dr. Charles Hatcher, state veterinarian for Tennessee.

In his presentation, “Avian Influenza . . . What to Do Now to Prepare for the Fall Season,” Dr. Hatcher provided a brief overview of the key factors facing both domestic and international turkey and egg layers as related to biosecurity concerns and the economic impact of this far-reaching pandemic. He also outlined steps hatchery and breeder managers can take to reduce the risk of disease introduction to the flock.

Other presentations at the gathering included practical employee safety and hazard prevention programs, as well as animal welfare considerations, salmonella concerns, and effective hatching egg sanitation, among others.

avian flu, Poultry, US Poultry