By: Izabella Toledo
The conference brought together dairy industry leaders to present and discuss a variety of current relevant topics to an audience of about 100 participants, which included dairy producers, faculty, students, and dairy industry partners. Dr. Dale Woerner, Professor from Texas Tech University, started the day off with a presentation titled “Beef on Dairy: A New Look on Beef.” Dr. Woerner’s presentation focused on carcass characteristics and quality, as well as a comparison between the performance of conventional beef cattle, crossbred beef and dairy cattle, and Holstein cattle. The presentation generated a lot of great discussion among participants and gave a better understanding of carcass quality and performance when breeding dairy cows with beef semen.
Next on the agenda was Dr. Sha Tao, from the University of Georgia. Dr. Tao emphasized how heat stress impacts dairy cows throughout the lactation cycle and the importance of having cooling systems that are effective and efficient during all the phases of lactation to optimize the performance of dairy cows.
The afternoon started off with a talk from Dr. Robert Hagevort, from New Mexico State University, who spoke about employee training and development. Dr. Hagevort’s presentation touched on many important points regarding the importance of understanding dairy employees’ backgrounds, personalities, cultural differences, and needs. Dr. Hagevort spoke about improving training strategies and effectiveness to optimize labor performance, introduce labor specialization, and improve human-to-human interactions at dairy operations. His presentation generated substantial discussion among participants and opened new possibilities to develop effective techniques for employee training at dairy operations.
Dr. Klibs Galvão from the University of Florida Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, talked about the economics of uterine diseases. Dr. Galvão showed data on metritis and endometritis prevalence and treatment costs of uterine diseases for dairy operations. In addition to the costs, he emphasized the importance of antibiotic resistance and welfare when making uterine disease treatment decisions.
After the afternoon break, the conference concluded with three speakers from the University of Florida, who showed data on projects funded by the Milk Check-Off program. Dr. Diwakar Vyas talked about the potential use of nitrogen efficiency as a performance indicator for dairy farms. Dr. Geoffrey Dahl presented data on the use of “smart soakers” to reduce water usage to cool dairy cows. Lastly, Dr. Dubeux from the Agronomy Department emphasized the environmental importance of measuring soil organic carbon stocks in Florida dairies. All three presentations generated important discussion among participants and brought up potential ideas for further expansion of the topics presented. Presentations were followed by a reception.
Throughout the day, participants had the opportunity to interact and network with producers, faculty, students, and dairy industry representatives. The organizers thank all the speakers and sponsors. Silver sponsors: Florida Dairy Farmers (Avery LeFils), and RD Life Sciences (Kevin Hayes). Bronze sponsors: Zoetis (Jorge Fulleda), Diamond V (John Gilliand), Suwannee Valley Feeds, and Alliance Dairies (Will Lloyd).
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Florida Dairy Production Conference are available online at https://animal.ifas.ufl.edu/media/animalifasufledu/dairy-website/Proceedings.pdf
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