Plenary Sessions

Jeffrey Bewley, University of Kentucky

Dr. Jeffrey Bewley is from Rineyville, Kentucky where he grew up working on his grandfather’s dairy farm. He received his B.S. degree in Animal Sciences from the University of Kentucky in 1998, his M.S. in Dairy Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2000, and his Ph.D. from Purdue University in 2008. Jeffrey’s primary interests are the application of precision dairy farming technologies, economics of decisions on dairy farms, milk quality management, dairy cow comfort and well-being, records management and benchmarking, systems troubleshooting, and strategic dairy business management. Jeffrey’s team of graduate and undergraduate research assistants manage multiple precision dairy research projects. Jeffrey will provide an overview of parlor-based, wearable, and internal precision dairy monitoring systems around the world. This presentation will provide an overview of questions that farmers should ask before purchasing these sensor systems and how to set realistic goals for how they can help with dairy management.

Marcia Endres, University of Minnesota

Dr. Marcia Endres is a professor and extension dairy scientist in the Department of Animal Science at the University of Minnesota. Her research interests include dairy management, welfare and behavior. She has investigated how various types of housing and management systems can influence health, welfare and performance of dairy cattle. She currently leads a USDA-funded project investigating the welfare of dairy calves when using automated calf feeders and is co-investigator on a large on-farm survey of robotic milking systems in the upper Midwest U.S. Marcia received her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, M.Sc. from Iowa State University, and a Veterinary Medicine degree from University Federal of Parana, Brazil. Marcia will discuss factors that are associated with effective use of precision technologies based on results of on farm studies conducted at the University of Minnesota.

Henk Hogeveen, Utrecht University

Dr. Henk Hogeveen graduated with a M.Sc. from Wageningen Agricultural University in 1989. His M.Sc. thesis was on the field of epidemiology (cystic ovarian disease) and animal health economics (economics of herd health programs). From 1989 until 1994 he worked as associated researcher at the Department of Herd Health and Reproduction of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Utrecht University, where he received a Ph.D. in the field of mastitis diagnosis. After a short employment at the former Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Engineering in Wageningen, he began working as a scientific researcher in the field of herd health and management at the Applied Cattle Research Institute in Lelystad (nowadays part of the Animal Sciences Group of Wageningen UR), followed by a position as cluster manager welfare, health and milk quality at that institute. Since 2001, Henk has been working in academia, currently as associate professor at the chair group Business Economics of Wageningen University and the Department of Farm Animal Health of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Utrecht University. His teaching activities are mainly directed at economics of animal health, agricultural business and veterinary business in B.Sc., M.Sc. and Ph.D. courses. His research activities are focused on economics of animal health, focusing mainly on endemic diseases. Within that field, he has developed a special interest in the use of sensors and detection models to support decisions on animal health and animal welfare. Besides other memberships of national and international committees, he is chairman of the IDF Standing Committee of Animal Health. Henk has more than 100 scientific publications (peer reviewed journals and books) as well as many publications in scientific proceedings and trade journals.

Industry Updates

Conor Beirne, Dairymaster
Sponsored by Dairymaster

Conor Beirne, MVB MBA DHHC, is an Irish dairy vet with nearly 20 years of experience in practice in Ireland, UK and Saudi Arabia. His main interests include the development and implementation of advanced technologies onto farms to assist in the day-to-day management with a goal of improving overall herd health, production and welfare. He’s now senior veterinarian for Dairymaster. His responsibilities for Dairymaster include technical support for sales and marketing as well as research and development. He also trains Dairymaster’s staff and clients on new products and new developments within the dairy industry. Before joining Dairymaster he was Senior Veterinarian for a herd of 80,000 high yielding Holsteins for Almarai Company in Saudi Arabia. That meant establishing performance targets, monitoring them continuously, and intervening immediately when performance started to deviate while supervising a team of 9 veterinarians and over 60 trained health and breeding staff. Conor will discuss improving health, welfare and fertility using the latest in cow monitoring technologies.

Mark Futcher, DeLaval, Inc.
Sponsored by DeLaval

Mark Futcher is the North American Market Development Manager-Capital Goods for DeLaval Inc. Mark was raised on a mixed farm, including a dairy herd, in Southwestern Ontario. He is a graduate of the University of Guelph and Oenkerk Practical School for Dairy and Grassland Management (Friesland, Holland). Mark has been involved with DeLaval in varied roles and alliances for over 25 years and in the dairy industry his entire life. Mark has played a role in a number of innovations related to dairy equipment and dairy facility design which continue to be utilized throughout the world today. With experience working on projects and supporting dairy herds of all sizes in more than 26 countries around the world, he has been witness to the increased adoption of automation within the dairy industry at the farm level for a wide array of tasks.

Brent Hershey, Hershey Ag
Sponsored by CowKühlerZ

Brent Hershey of Hershey Ag, Marietta, PA, resides in Lancaster County, PA, with his wife and three children. He grew up on beef and chicken (layer) operation, which was turned into a small dairy concentrates feed mill in 1980. In addition to owning the mill, Brent owns a swine production business that he has operated since 1984. In his latest venture, Brent is a principle in CowKühlerZ, specializing in dairy barn ventilation and cooling. Brent has a passion for animal production systems and will share his insights into what’s coming in automation for dairy barns.

Fernando Mazeris, DeLaval International AB, and Carissa Truman, University of Kentucky
Sponsored by DeLaval

Fernando Mazeris is the Vice President Farm Management Support Systems at DeLaval International AB. Having a Veterinary degree background (National University of Buenos Aires, Argentina), Fernando has been working for more than 20 years in the dairy industry. From researcher at the Argentinean National Research Institute in Agriculture, as an udder health private advisor, to different positions at DeLaval Argentina and DeLaval International. During the last 15 years at DeLaval International, Fernando has been leading teams always connected to herd management and feeding related solutions, from product development to marketing and sales.

Carissa Truman is originally from Lynchburg, Ohio, and a graduate of Lynchburg-Clay High School. While in high school she was actively involved in FFA receiving her state degree and becoming chapter president. Carissa currently attends the University of Kentucky and is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Sciences with a minor in Agricultral Economics. During her sophomore year Carissa became interested in the dairy field when she began assisting with graduate research projects within the dairy department. In her junior year she started working at UKY’s Poultry Research Facility and later that year began dairy undergraduate research. Carissa is currently on track to obtain her degree in May of 2016.

Ray Nebel, Select Sires
Sponsored by Select Sires

Dr. Ray Nebel is Vice President of Technical Services for Select Sires Inc. in Plain City, Ohio. He received a B.S. in Animal Science from Northeast Louisiana University, a M.S. from University of Maryland, and a Ph.D. from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Between his M.S. and Ph.D. he was a Research Associate at Louisiana Animal Breeders Cooperative where he gained experience in various aspects of the A.I. industry from semen collection and evaluation to insemination training. His current major responsibility is to coordinate the Select Reproductive Solutions™ program for Select Sires Inc. and its nine-member organizations. Activities range from conducting training seminars covering the entire gamut from basic bovine reproduction and A.I. to advanced reproductive management. He was a Professor and a Dairy Extension Specialist in the Department of Dairy Science at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University from 1985 to 2005 and received Professor Emeritus status in 2006. Ray’s presentation will cover data driven decisions to maximize herd health and profits.

Keith Sather, K.S. Dairy Consulting, Inc.
Sponsored by Feed Supervisor

Keith Sather is President of K.S. Dairy Consulting, Inc., a diversified corporation that works with consultants, dairy farmers and hoof trimmers around the world. Keith is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin River Falls and has served the dairy industry as a nutrition consultant for over thirty years. Keith developed Feed Supervisor®, Hoof Supervisor™, and Truck Supervisor™ software products which he markets under the brand Supervisor Systems. Keith will address effectively managing the profit centers within a precision feeding system.

Ben Smink, Lely North America
Sponsored by Lely North America

Ben Smink is the manager of farm support for Lely North America. Ben was raised on a dairy farm in the Netherlands. He worked for 26 years at various dairy equipment positions in Europe. In 2008, Ben moved to Madison, WI, with Lely to bring the experience regarding herd management systems and robotic systems management to North America. Ben currently trains Lely dealers and independent consultants to improve the management Lely milking systems. Ben will discuss factors associated with increased production per cow per day, and production per robot per day for Robotic Milking.

Dana Kathrin Tomic, FTW
Sponsored by MKW Electronics

Dr. Dana Kathrin Tomic, PhD, is a Senior Researcher at FTW, a Competence Centre for Information and Communication Technology in Vienna, Austria, and is a coordinator of the project agriOpenLink (Adaptive Agricultural Processes via Linked Data and Services, www.agriopenlink.com) focusing information management in the precision agriculture. Dana studied electrical engineering and computer science, and received her PhD in 2007 from the Vienna University of Technology. Her recent research includes methods and technologies for data management, data analysis and integration in knowledge-based decision and recommendation systems, focusing on semantic, service-oriented and context based solutions for the Internet of Things scenarios in general, and precision dairy farming in particular. Dana has acquired industrial and academic experience in her previous working affiliations, and has (co-) authored more than 50 refereed papers in international journals, conference and workshop proceedings.

Marlene Tremblay, University of Wisconsin
Sponsored by Lely

Dr. Marlene Tremblay, DVM, received her BS degree in Animal Sciences from the University of Kentucky in 2009 and her DVM from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2013. She is currently an epidemiology and public health research intern in the Food Animal Production Medicine Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her interests range from applied mathematical models of infectious diseases and bioinformatics to techniques for large data analytics. Current projects focus on digital dermatitis, malaria, and foodborne diseases such as STEC 0157 and Campylobacter.

Aurora Villarroel, Americas West, Afimilk, Ltd.
Sponsored by Afimilk, Ltd.

Aurora Villarroel, DVM, MVPM, PhD, DACVPM, CVA, CTP Application Support Manager for Americas West, Afimilk, Ltd. Dr. V (as most people call her) grew up on a small Holstein dairy in Leon, Spain. She received her DVM from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain) in 1996. After graduation she was Director of Animal Operations at Tauste Ganadera, S.A. in Zaragoza (Spain), an integrated farm with its own cheese production plant that still milks 1,500 cows today. There she first worked with the Afimilk system using activity, production and conductivity information to diagnose individual cow health problems as well as monitoring herd health. From 2000 to 2003 she completed a residency in Food Animal Reproduction and Herd Health at UC Davis, California, where she also obtained a Master’s in Preventive Veterinary Medicine (MPVM). After receiving her PhD in Epidemiology at Colorado State University, she joined the College of Veterinary Medicine at Oregon State University in 2006 as Assistant Professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences, and as Extension Veterinarian in the Department of Animal Sciences. As a complement to her long-lasting medical education, Dr. V became a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist and Tui-Na practitioner. In 2013 she joined the industry as Global Director for Dairy and Udder Health for Merck, Inc. Since October 2014 she has worked at Afimilk, Ltd., where her main focus is training farmers, veterinarians, nutritionists and other industry partners to use the Afimilk solutions to make the best management decisions for a health dairy herd..

Producer Showcases

John Balbian, Ashwood Dairy, Amsterdam, NY
Sponsored by Medria

John Balbian uses precision technology on his freestall dairy to monitor 200 cows. Currently, John uses Medria HeatPhone, FeedPhone, Vel’Phone and San’Phone, and a Förster-Technik automatic calf feeder. John feels that the technology is a good way for him to stay on top of things. In addition, day-to-day operations are much easier, and decisions are much more transparent and objective. Although they are still in the implementation phase of some of the technology, it has already brought about consistently better results. The technology is cost-neutral based on labor saving or reduced inputs.

Chad Carlson, Carlson Dairy, LLP, Pennock, MN
Sponsored by Purina

Carlson Dairy, LLP, a 1250-cow dairy farm near Willmar, MN (approximately 100 miles west of Minneapolis), is run by 3 Carlson families: Curtney and Louise Carlson with their two sons and wives, Chad and Kindra Carlson, and Carl and Kellie Carlson. They have been dairying in partnership as Carlson Dairy, LLP since 1999. Their milking herd is housed in a 10-row, cross-ventilated, sand-bedded freestall facility, and their sand is continuously recycled through sand settling lanes. The Carlsons recently built a cross-ventilated automated calf feeder (Urban calf feeders). These feeders can provide a milk meal to four calves simultaneously.

Nate Elzinga, Daybreak Dairy LLC, Zeeland, MI
Sponsored by Afimilk

Nate Elizinga and his wife along with their 4 children live and work on the farm he grew up on as a child. Nate graduated high school in 2004 and then attended Michigan State University completing the 2-year dairy program. After college he returned home and became a partner with his father (Dan Elzinga) and his brother (Paul Elzinga). Nate’s responsibilities include animal health, repro management, nutrition, genetics and employee management. Daybreak Dairy was started by Dan Elzinga in 1976 milking 60 cows in tie-stalls. In 1994 they expanded to 150 cows and moved to a parlor and free-stalls. Afimilk equipment was installed in 2009 and last year they started using Afimilk as their primary herd management software. Today Daybreak Dairy is milking 220 registered Holsteins and raising all their replacements. Some of their herd stats include 31,000 lb RHA, 20-month age at first calving, 25-30 pregnancy rate, and 40-60 fresh cows marketed annually for dairy. They use AfiFarm herd management software, milk meters, and a combination of AfiAct and AfiAct II heat detection system.

Craig Finke, Finke Farm, Nashville, IL
Sponsored by AMS-Galaxy-USA

Craig Finke is a producer from Nashville, Illinois. His dairy farm features a 5-row free flow barn with dry cow and heifer rows, GreenStalls (dividers), 133-stalls for milk cows, and 45 stalls for dry cows. They also use the Galaxy Astrea 20.20 Robotic Milking system with one robot arm and two milking boxes; a Trioliet TMR robot feeder; a flush system with sand-bedding; three 24′ Big Ass Fans, two grooming brushes, and thermostat sensor-controlled sidewall curtains.

Brian Houin, Homestead Dairy, Plymouth, IN
Sponsored by Afimilk Ltd.

Brian Houin was born and raised on the dairy farm in north central Indiana. He attended Purdue University for 3 years to study meteorology with a minor in Spanish. During his senior year, he realized he was more interested in dairy management and soon he was back on the farm. Today Brian is co-owner of Homestead Dairy, Plymouth, Indiana, with his brother-in-law, cousin, and his cousin’s brother-in-law. They milk 3,500 cows in four locations and have a grower unit about 30 miles away from the main farm. Brian heads the heifers operation and manages the milkers.The farm monitors and tracks calf weight and performance history using computers including three hand-held systems which allows them to monitor the performance of every animal in real time and manage every animal individually. Genomic net merit scores allows them to focus on the traits they want with much greater reliability and enables them to improve herd performance much faster than using traditional systems. In addition, Brian has developed several of his own monthly management Excel reports that he follows closely.Brian is very active in the industry; he is on the Indiana Dairy Producers Board and active in Farm Bureau.

Chad Kieffer, Kiefland Holsteins, Utica, MN
Sponsored by Grandview Concrete Grooving Inc.

Chad Kieffer is part owner of their family 300-cow robotic dairy in Utica, MN. They have 5 Lely A3 robots and use all the information from the software such as rumination, daily activity, daily weights, milk fat, protein, and conductivity to help optimize milk production on the farm. They complement their use of Lely software with Dairy Comp 305 and DHIA monthly test. They also have a Lely Juno feed pusher and a concentrate feeder. Chad graduated with a dairy science degree from UW-River Falls in 2002 and for the last 13 years has worked as a dairy nutritionist for a cooperative in Lewiston, MN. He consults with robotic milking dairies throughout the U.S.

Tony Louters, T&C Louters Dairy, Merced, CA
Sponsored by SCR Dairy

T&C Louters Dairy is a family owned and operated Holstein dairy herd located in Merced, CA, managed by Tony Louters since 2003, and owned by him and his wife Colina Louters. They are currently milking 600 Holstein cows averaging 90 pounds of milk per per day. Louters changed the way they manage the dairy after acquiring the SCR Heatime® activity and rumination monitoring system. With insights during the dry period and early lactation performance, they were able to improve fresh cow management by diagnosing diseases before clinical signs and by monitoring closely the evolution of veterinary treatments. The improvement during the transition period – driven by better animal care and well-being, less lockup times, and accuracy of treatments – along with a solid tool used to identify animals in estrus also boosted the herd’s reproductive performance.

Sander Penterman, Dutch Dairy, LLC, Thorp, WI
Sponsored by AgStar

Dutch Dairy, LLC is a family owned and operated dairy farm in Thorp, WI, owned by Sander and Amy Penterman. Dutch Dairy started as a 300-cow operation in 2002 and has grown to 850 cows currently. They have implemented CowManager which is a web application utilizing SensOor monitoring ear tags. In early 2015, they finished the construction of their automatic calf feeding barn.

Gerhard Ritzema, Ritzema Dairy, Seaforth, ON
Sponsored by DeLaval

For Heather and Gerhard Ritzema of Seaforth, Ontario, caring for their robotic milking herd is just like training athletes. They want their herd to operate at peak performance and just like elite athletes, they need to be at the top of their game, stay focused and be able to reduce illness and achieve optimum health. For the Ritzemas, DeLaval’s automated on-farm lab, Herd Navigator, is fundamental to their ability to manage their herd to realize these goals. Prior to installing Herd Navigator in July, 2014, Heather and Gerhard drew the analogy of functioning in life without proper prescription glasses, unable to see clearly, without the data and tools to be decisive. Now by incorporating Herd Navigator in their business model, their training program is extraordinary. The innovative proactive tool allows the couple to understand key indicators for potential biological imbalances within the cow’s uterus, understand her heat cycle and when she is pregnant. They also know whether she is developing mastitis before she shows clinical signs and can evaluate her energy balance status by knowing her level of ketosis. Herd Navigator does this by measuring milk constituents automatically and providing the Ritzemas with agreed-upon standard recommendations for dealing with the test results. The result is that with Herd Navigator they are able to achieve successful pregnancies and make suitable cow longevity decisions relating to production and reproduction.

Carlyle Westendorp, Westvale View Dairy LLC, Nashville, MI
Sponsored by Lely

Westavale View Dairy LLC is a family operation run by Doug Westendorp, his wife Louisa and their sons, Carlyle, Troy, Eric and Levi. The Westendorps changed the way they milk when they transitioned from a parlor to a robotic system anchored by four Lely Astronaut A4 robotic milking machines in September of 2012. The change allowed the family to double their herd of registered Holsteins to 220 without additional labor and freed them from milking three times a day. The Westendorps appreciate the information the robots provide on their herd. With more than 120 points of information provided for each cow every time she visits the robots, Doug and his family are able to identify sick cows more quickly and make more informed decisions about their herd. They also appreciate the flexibility their Lely robots provide. Located in Nashville, MI, the Westendorps also operate a creamery, Mooville Creamery.


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