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APRIL 2020

2020 NY VT Corn Silage Hybrid Evaluation Program

The corn silage team and their collaborators are pleased to be able to move forward with implementation of the 2020 Corn Silage Hybrid Evaluation Trials, with due caution, for everyone's safety. With strong support by the seed industry in hybrid submissions into the 2020 program we are pleased to provide continuity in delivering this information to the industry.

Robots Show Value in Feed Efficiency, Reduced Labor
Timothy Terry, who has recently joined PRO-DAIRY staff as a Farm Strategic Planning Specialist, is publishing a series on Evaluating Robotics: Consistently feeding and milking in a robotic system can improve cow performance in American Agriculturalist. If you’re thinking of switching to a robotic dairying system, think about the benefits in feed efficiency, cow management and labor, and whether those outweigh the costs of putting a system in.

Absorption Chilling: Turning Biogas-Fueled Engine Waste Heat into Chilled Water
New article series by Lauren Ray and Curt Gooch


Finger Lakes Dairy Farm Receives National Award for Successful Sustainability Practices
The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, established under the leadership of dairy farmers and leading companies, announced its annual U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award winners during the Dairy Sustainability Alliance® Virtual Spring Meeting on April 22, 2020.

Twin Birch Dairy in Skaneateles, N.Y., was named a winner in the “Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability” category for overall environmental stewardship in the Finger Lakes region. The awards recognize dairy farms, businesses and partnerships whose practices improve the well-being of people, animals and the planet. Winners in the Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability category are leaders in socially responsible, economically viable, and environmentally sound dairy production and exemplify a longstanding commitment to continuous improvement.

Feed Manufacturers are an Important Countercyclical Lender for the Northeast Dairy Producers
By: Chad Fiechter and Jenny Ifft, Dyson Cornell SC Johnson School of Business

Many dairy farms report difficult accessing credit when milk prices are low and use of accounts payable with feed mills as management strategy for low margin periods. Through cooperation with NEAFA, we conducted a survey of feed manufacturers, ultimately collecting details of 5 years of accounts receivable data from firms that represent over 70% of the industry by volume. We found that average delinquencies (share of accounts receivable that are overdue) held by NE feed manufacturers have more than doubled since 2014 to over 10%. The magnitude of this "effective credit" is similar to a large regional community bank. This corresponds with a long period of negative profit margins for many dairy farms. We confirm this countercyclical relationship with Cornell Dairy Farm Business Summary data from 1993. We found that dairy farms have a large increase in accounts payable when profit margins are low, especially during the recent/ongoing downturn. Use of accounts payable as "effective credit" is much more common among highly leveraged farms, suggesting higher than average risk for feed manufacturers.

COVID-19 Resources
Cornell Agricultural Workforce Development has regular blog posts with current information.

From the PRO-DAIRY COVID-19 Management Resources webpage:
Dairy Responding to COVID-19
A Limited Podcast Series​ hosted by Rob Lynch, DVM, Dairy Herd Health and Management Specialist, PRO-DAIRY, and Kathy Barrett, Dairy Education, PRO-DAIRY, with interviews of key dairy industry professionals.

Webinar Recording: COVID-19 and Your Dairy
Steps that Dairy Managers Should Consider to Protect their Workforce, their Business and their Markets
Presenters: Richard Stup, PhD, Cornell Agricultural Workforce Development, and Rob Lynch, DVM, Cornell CALS PRO-DAIRY

Webinar Recording: Disruption to Key Personnel on the Farm
Developing Contingency Plans
Presenters: Richard Stup, PhD, Cornell Agricultural Workforce Development, and Jason Karszes, Cornell CALS PRO-DAIRY

On many farms, multiple people might be able to do, or train others on, many day-to-day tasks, but fewer can take care of management tasks that occur daily, weekly, or monthly. This webinar focuses on developing plans to backup people who perform key management tasks, from middle to senior management roles, if they are unable to work.

PRO-DAIRY Managing During COVID-19 Publications:

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For more information about PRO-DAIRY, visit

Julie Berry, Editor | Tom Overton, Director | Facebook

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