Sally Flis, Ph.D. – Feed and Crop Support Specialist – Dairy One

Well, it has been a while since the last blog post, and I’ve attended many conferences and picked up lots of new information.

First was the University of Vermont No-Till meeting on the 19th at the Burlington Sheraton. The Keynote Speaker, John Koepke of Koepke Farms in Wisconsin, was a great speaker, talking about how they have implemented soil-based farming. He was careful to caution that they took their time implementing the new practices and tested to find what worked best for them. For more details, the Conference Proceedings are available on the Champlain Valley Crop, Soil, & Pasture Blog site.

February ended with the NWNY Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops Team Pasture 2015 Step It Up Winter Grazing Conference: Improving Management. This was a nice meeting that covered facility design, farm management, and how to manage different feeding scenarios, from 100% grass-fed cows to animals that get pasture as a supplemental feed source. There was also a great group discussion with four grazing producers about what has worked well for them.

March started with the Western Dairy Management Conference in Reno, NV. In a pre-meeting session, Dairy One teamed up with Dr. Tom Tyluki of AMTS to host a meeting to cover the changes in the CNCPS 6.5 ration balancing program. We had 18 people attend and some great discussion. An interesting fact brought up at this conference is that it has been found that cows maintain a constant amount of undigestible NDF (uNDF) in their rumens, 8.8 to 11 lbs. There were many useful presentations, including  Silage Management to Control Emissions and Shrink, How is Shredlage Working?, Managing Variation in Dairy Rations – Forages & Concentrates, and Dairy Forages – What’s New in Genetics and Management. There was a lot of diversity in the sessions at the conference and these ones had some great information.


Dr. Tyluki talking about uNDFom during our CNCPS 6.5 training.

At the Tully Ag customer meeting, I spoke about tile drainage, nutrient transportation, and using cover crops. During the second customer meeting we attended in March, I talked about the new forage analysis for fiber, uNDF and fiber digestibility.

Congressional Visit Days with the American Society of Agronomy Science Policy Office in Washington D.C. was to talk to House and Senate members and staff about supporting the increased level of funding for the USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). Our group included Harold Van Es, Jeanette Marvin, a Penn State grad student, and myself. We met with the office of Tom Reed (R, NY-23), Richard Hanna (R, NY-22), Chris Gibson (R, NY-19), Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), Sen. Patrick Toomey (R-PA), John Katko (R, NY-24), and Glen Thompson (R, PA-5). All of the staffers we met with were supportive. We did not get to meet any of the members, as they were all in votes or committee meetings, and a few either signed a letter of support or were considering writing a letter of support for the funding.


A visit to Senator Gillibrand’s office during Congressional Visit Days.

At the Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance meeting in Essex, VT, Dr. Mike Allen of Michigan State and Dr. Mike Van Amburgh of Cornell covered starch and fiber digestibility and feeding. Dr. Allen reviewed starch feeding and analysis. Dr. Van Amburgh reviewed new fiber digestibilities and uNDF. Dr. Van Amburgh talked about how they discovered the constant uNDF in the rumen during some feeding trials at the William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute.

The Mid-Atlantic Animal Nutrition Conference in Baltimore, MD had topics for equine, dairy, and poultry production. Dr. Joe Pagan from Kentucky Equine Research talked about how they are looking at the relationships of diet and behavior. Additionally, they are developing some apps for using your horses behavior and diet to balance energy needs from fiber and sugar.


Dr. Pagan at the Mid-Atlantic Nutrition Conference presenting about equine nutrition.

To finish up March, John Tauzel and I went to the Local Beer Supply Chain Meeting hosted by the NWNY Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops Team Pasture. The Forage Lab and Agro-One Lab are working towards offering analysis for malting barley growers, malt houses, and brewers in NY.

Over the next few months, I will further discuss these topics on the blog.