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MAY 2020

Northeast Dairy Management Webinar Series During June Dairy Month

Hosted by PRO-DAIRY and NEDPA, the Northeast Dairy Management Webinar Series is a five-part presentation series to re-energize businesses and improve performance, even in challenging times, and includes presentations and speakers that would have been featured at the Northeast Dairy Management Conference in March. The series will include one-hour webinars held each Wednesday at 1:00 PM EDT, June 3 through July 1. Registration is required, but free, and participants will receive links to all five live, weekly presentations. In addition to the live feed, registrants will have access to the recorded sessions.

  Managing Employees in Challenging Times (Because They're Always Challenging Times)
Tom Wall, The Dairy CoachTM
  Evolutions and Revolutions: A New Normal
Phil Plourd, Blimling and Associates
  Good Times, Bad Times - Lean and Flexibility
Cheryl Jones, University of Kentucky
  2020 Financial Check-Up
Steve Bodart, Compeer Financial
  Producer Panel Discussion
Moderator: Rich Stup, Cornell Ag Workforce Development

Dairy Profit Monitor Relaunch
PRO-DAIRY has launched a new Dairy Profit Monitor (DPM) website, with an updated look, more features, and improved reports. Dairy Profit Monitor Program is a business management tool that allows dairy producers and consultants to enter herd, feed, and financial data online on a monthly basis to track their farm’s operational progress. Users receive an immediate report on their business’ specific dairy benchmarks, as well as financial and efficiency parameters. An option is available to generate a comparison report that allows you to track how your business compares to similar business structures and herd sizes. This program targets key production factors focused on operating efficiencies with high correlations to farm profitability and helps producers make operational management decisions and track the results of those changes over time.

Existing users of the DPM can create an account on the new website with the same email they used in the old system to access their data. New users receive three months of free access to the program. Simply create an account for your farm and start entering data today.
For more information visit or contact Lauren Hill at

COVID-19 Safety Plans Required for All Businesses in “New York Forward”
New York Forward is the state’s plan to begin re-opening in phases as regions of the state achieve certain COVID-19 management metrics. An important part of New York Forward is for all businesses to have a customized, written safety plan that details specifically how each business will prevent and manage COVID-19. Richard Stup, Cornell Agricultural Workforce Development, outlines the guidance and requirements for farmers, including a link to the safety plan template, in a new website NY Forward Business Safety Plan that will continue to have resources for farmers added. Visit Cornell Agricultural Workforce Development to view or sign up for regular blog posts with current information. Dr. Stup urges farmers to remain vigilant and continue to provide leadership and safety to farm employees, especially as seasonal employees begin work and network with other farm employees throughout the state.

First Cutting Approaches

Many county and regional extension specialists monitor alfalfa growth in the spring. Alfalfa height is a good predictor of first cut timing, for both alfalfa and grass. With the cold spring weather there are a few caveats to this method to keep in mind when making harvest decisions.

Grasses continue to grow at cooler temperatures (base 32 growing degree days) than alfalfa (base 41 growing degree days), so while alfalfa stood still (around much of the state) the week of May 4th, grasses continued to slowly progress. These conditions are a bit of a double-edged sword. This could indicate that grass quality will be at its optimum when alfalfa is slightly shorter than the alfalfa height chart indicates; however, we also know that forages tend to be higher quality under cooler growing conditions which may help counter the impact of the stunted alfalfa growth in this relationship with alfalfa height. Either way, it is important to recognize that this year a producer may have to accept slightly lower yields if they wish to optimize quality of first cutting.

Furthermore, Jerry H. Cherney, E.V. Baker Professor of Agriculture, reminds us that one problem with harvesting grass too early is that heads may be too far down in the stem to be mowed off. This means that grass would almost immediately head out in regrowth, with a low quality regrowth. You can cut open the stem to determine the current position of the seed head as it progresses up the stem. Consult with your local extension specialist on progress in your area.

New York Farm Bureau Creates “Farm Relief Worker Database”
New York Farm Bureau is launching a Farm Relief Worker Database to connect farms in need of labor during the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time of uncertainty, farms may temporarily be down some employees who may have to quarantine due to the virus or to take care of a sick family member. This could potentially create issues on the farm, especially when livestock need to be cared for or during a critical time of the growing season.

USDA Announces Details of Direct Assistance to Farmers through the CFAP

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced details of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which will provide up to $16 billion in direct payments to deliver relief to America’s farmers and ranchers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Beginning May 26 through August 28, 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), through the Farm Service Agency (FSA), will accept applications from agricultural producers who have suffered losses.

For dairy, the total payment will be calculated based on a producer’s certification of milk production for the first quarter of calendar year 2020 multiplied by a national price decline during the same quarter. The second part of the payment is based a national adjustment to each producer’s production in the first quarter. Additional information and application forms are at

COVID-19 Impact on Dairy Farms in the U.S.
A team of researchers from WSU, U Idaho, UC-Davis, and SD State have developed a set of surveys to better understand the impact of COVID-19 and the coronavirus pandemic on U.S. dairy farms. The results will be used in a grant proposal being submitted to the USDA’s “Rapid Response to Novel Coronavirus” program due in two weeks that will help obtain funds to benefit the dairy industry. Even if the grant isn’t funded the results will allow us to identify critical areas for outreach activities with the objective of mitigating potential risks to dairy farmers’ and workers’ health, further labor disruptions, milk supply shortages, and economic risks to the sector. All responses are anonymous and input from all stakeholders is critical.


Disruption to Key Management Personnel on the Farm
What happens if one of middle or senior management personnel on the farm can’t come to the farm for two weeks, is out of contact with the business for two weeks, or will be no longer available to the farm for a longer period than that? Will feed get ordered? Will payroll get generated? Will checks get signed? Will paper work get properly filed? Will orders get filled? What gets planted where? Water system is down, where are all the valves? What decisions are not made?

Outside of agriculture, Succession Planning is heavily focused on transfer of knowledge and skill – how does the business continue if a key person is gone for whatever reason: retirement, job change, illness, death. Often every manager, right down to the first line supervisor, has a designated successor. Contingency planning for the loss of key personnel is more than transfer of knowledge and skill, it is what to do if something unusual happens to ensure continued operations of the business. Jason Karszes, PRO-DAIRY, and Richard Stup, Cornell Agricultural Workforce Development, offer insight on developing contingency plans in a written article and a recorded webinar.

Farm Credit East Spring 2020 Webinar Series
Information, registration, and recordings of webinars are available at:

COVID-19 Impact and Outlook for the U.S. and Northeast General Economy
May 27, 2020 | 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM EDT

USDA COVID-19 Relief Programs and Impacts to the U.S. Food System
June 4, 2020 | 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM EDT

Feed and Grain Markets and Dairy Outlook
June 11, 2020 | 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM EDT

U.S. and Northeast Animal Protein Market Outlook
June 18, 2020 | 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM EDT

Virtual Advanced Dairy Nutrition Shortcourse

June 1 to 4, 2020 | 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM EDT daily

$250 per person

In addition to the live feed, all registrants will have access to electronic course materials and recorded sessions (after the live event). Join us live during the week of June 1 to 4 or watch sessions on-demand later.


  • Physical effectiveness, undigested fiber, and rumen fermentable starch - Dr. Rick Grant, Miner Insitute
  • Feeds and feeding environment: Current concepts - Dr. Rick Grant, Miner Insitute
  • Milk fatty acid analysis application – Dr. Heather Dann, Miner Institute
  • Advances in dairy systems modeling – Dr. Kristan Reed, Cornell University
  • Energy and amino acid relationships – Dr. Mike Van Amburgh, Cornell University
  • Update on mineral and vitamin nutrition – Dr. Bill Weiss, The Ohio State University
  • Calcium metabolism in the cow – Dr. Laura Hernandez, University of Wisconsin
  • Strategies to manage hypocalcemia - Dr. Tom Overton, Cornell University
  • Economics and environmental impact of precision feeding - Dr. Larry Chase, Cornell University
  • Managing feed variability for improved diet delivery – Dr. Kristan Reed, Cornell University
  • Feeding calves for requirements and environmental conditions– Dr. Sarah Morrison, Miner Institute

PRO-DAIRY Managing During COVID-19 Publications:

Contact Us:

For more information about PRO-DAIRY, visit

Julie Berry, Editor | Tom Overton, Director | Facebook

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