WHAT OUR CUSTOMERS ARE SAYING
Balanced Rations Reduce Intake and Cost
Tom Nauman, Consulting Dairy Nutritionist
Providing quality feed for more than 450 dairy herds is not a task Tom Nauman takes lightly. As head nutritionist and co-owner of Hoober Feeds in Gordonville, Pennsylvania, there is a lot of milk riding on his recommendations. “The majority of our customers have 50-cow herds,” Nauman says. “Hoober Feeds representatives visit these farms regularly to assess their needs, evaluate herd health, and conduct forage testing. Based on their findings, a ration recommendation is developed and completed by our nutrition department.”
Feeding high quality ingredients is a top priority for Hoober Feeds customers and personnel. That is why Hoober Feeds utilizes Papillon Agricultural Company to supply them with consistent, high quality nutrition products. “Papillon’s Gemini bypass protein fits well when we’re trying to balance amino acids,” Nauman says. “When rations are balanced precisely, we can reduce total protein intake yet still observe improved milk production. “MIN-AD works great as an acid neutralizer,” he adds. “It increases rumen efficiency which improves both ration utilization and production efficiency.
“When rations include quality ingredients, customers can reduce the total amount they’re feeding, which reduces feed costs, and improve both milk production and components. Nauman further highlights that Hoober customers recognize the importance of quality ingredients when balancing rations. “They appreciate quality ingredients and understand that shopping for quality and price is not always feasible. In general, they trust us to make the right decisions on the kind of ingredients we use. “We, in turn, look to Papillon’s product research and strict quality control measures to assure our customers they’re receiving feed products of the highest quality and integrity.”
This quality quest is personal to Nauman. “Part of my job is to figure out what is happening with a dairyman’s cows,” he says. “Rations with questionable ingredients make my job harder. When I know ingredient quality is not an issue I have to be concerned about, my job is easier.”
It’s easier on dairy producers and their herds, too. A properly balanced ration supports healthy cows, keeping milk production up and costs down.
Improving Rations Improves Performance
Greg Zuver, Consulting Dairy Nutritionist
While forages are often characterized by variable quality, Greg Zuver strives to ensure his customers receive consistent, quality feedstuffs. As lead nutritionist and sales manager for Caledonia Farmers Elevator Company (CFE), he works with herds ranging from 50 to 6,000 cows throughout Southwest and Central Michigan.
Over the years, Zuver has observed a wide variety of nutritional conditions, with forage quality being a common denominator among them all. “We strive for good, quality forages on the farms we service because they’re easier to work with than poor quality forages,” Zuver says. “We spend a lot of time helping customers cut forage properly and, with corn silage, we test to make sure we get the moisture and maturities right.” Along with solid forages, Zuver and his team have been using Papillon Agricultural’s Dairymen’s Edge® PRO when formulating diets. “Using the best ingredients, while managing costs, helps improve cow performance, which helps producers,” he says. “We’ve definitely seen improved digestion with PRO and have been using it for about three years now.”
In addition to their own observations, over the last few months Zuver and the Caledonia team have enlisted the help of the Papillon Dairy Initiative (DI), a comprehensive on-farm nutritional efficiency program. The DI uses proven metrics to measure a herd’s energy, nitrogen, and phosphorous utilization. “We’ve conducted half-a-dozen on-farm audits,” Zuver says. “It really helps having a second set of eyes evaluate what we’re doing. The DI program has indicated we’re doing a good job in some areas, but can shine up in others. More importantly, it shows customers we are committed to helping them put dollars towards changes that will have the greatest on farm impact,” he adds. “Most producers want to see things they can improve and the DI helps do this constructively. It looks at the big picture of each dairy: cow comfort and management, starch digestibility, and the entire nutritional perspective.”
Zuver notes that Clayton Stoffel, the Dairy Initiative project manager, ensures dairy owners understand the results and presents the final report in a way that clearly shows customers how to improve one step at a time. “This program shows that you’re putting effort into a customer’s dairy,” Zuver says. “You want to make sure you’re using every tool to the best of its ability and get the most out of every ingredient. The DI helps us and our customers do just that.”
Dairy Initiative Helps Put Dairies Ahead of the Game
Craig Stearns, Consulting Dairy Nutritionist
New service from Papillon Agricultural Company works with nutritionists to use proven metrics to measure dairy herds’ energy, nitrogen and phosphorous utilization.
Craig Stearns owns Creative Dairy Solutions, a dairy nutrition consulting firm near Mansfield Center, Connecticut. He specializes in dairy nutrition and management, and services dairies ranging from 40 to 2,000 cows throughout the state. “Dairy cattle in Connecticut probably have some of the heaviest corn silage diets in the country,” Stearns says. “Because of this, nutrition programs are somewhat similar throughout the state. Most producers’ objectives are similar, as well. They want healthy cows, to produce a good product, maintain environmental quality and make a profit.” He recently enlisted the help of Clayton Stoffel, Papillon Agricultural Company’s Dairy Initiative project manager, to evaluate the efficiencies of two dairies.
Stoffel used Papillon’s Dairy Initiative (DI), a new, on-farm nutritional efficiency program that helps dairy nutritionists evaluate the nutritional efficiency of their clients’ operations. Many dairy producers currently monitor their “feed efficiency” by looking at average milk production/average dry matter intake. The DI uses proven metrics to take this one step further and evaluate a dairy herd’s energy, nitrogen, and phosphorous efficiency. The program provides sound data with which nutritionists and their clientele can make well-informed decisions regarding improving efficiency. Designed to support consulting nutritionists, the DI helps nutritionists deliver additional value to their producers by identifying opportunities to recapture dollars spent on nutrients that may be ending up on the barn floor.
The DI program was developed in conjunction with leading dairy nutritionists, dairy producers and university experts. It provides an objective, science-based assessment of a dairy’s nutritional efficiency strengths and opportunities. It also quantifies the economic benefits of improving efficiency on the dairy operation.
Stearns says one of the reasons the DI interested him was that it could help provide a baseline of measurements that indicate where nutrition and management improvements can occur. Once a baseline has been established, regular testing can help verify continued nutrition compliance including how well he characterizes ingredients and how well those ingredients are being delivered to the cows. “This will help me do a better job managing waste and nitrogen excretion and to be certain we are getting enough starch in the ration to be as efficient as possible,” he says. He adds that the DI helps put him and his clientele ahead of forthcoming regulatory actions in Connecticut. It helps dairy owners document sound management practices as regulations are put in place.
Brings something new, worthwhile
Stoffel met with Stearns before conducting audits. Stearns and his clients were part of the entire process.
The DI involves an initial consultation followed by an on-farm audit that includes:
• a producer interview
• sample collections
• observations of on-farm management
Papillon then analyzes the data collected and confers with the consulting nutritionist to ensure accuracy. The final report is then presented to the producers. “My clients were excited about this,” Stearns says. “One farm Clayton presented to has a 2,000-cow herd. After presenting the DI findings to the dairy managers, they wanted us to come back and present to the owners. The owners of one of the dairies are helping develop some new state environmental regulations,” he adds. “The manager of that dairy was involved when Clayton shared the report. His feedback has been positive. People have been excited about it.”
Stearns notes that Papillon’s DI allows him to:
• Bring valid information to producers
• Invest his clients’ time wisely
• Help producers get better at their jobs
• Help increase client profitability
• Help improve herd efficiency
“It really helps to learn what comes out of the cows after you’ve fed them,” Stearns says. “In a couple cases, we were under on starch and had a little excess protein. One of the farms used a higher-starch TMR and production jumped. The DI results gave us numbers that we could use and build a trend on. It comes down to how you properly identify ingredients,” he says. “Clayton determined my compliance was good, which gave me an idea of how I could use actual results instead of looking at the computer and trying to predict.” Measuring management protocols is a DI component that is important to Stearns. He says that DI ties management and nutrition together.
One of Stearns’ business philosophies is to actively seek collaboration with other dairy experts and resources. It helps him offer more than he can as a sole consultant. “Programs such as the DI help put me in more of a point position by pulling resources together. Feed efficiency is really important on dairies and Papillon helps me bring more tools to help dairies feed as efficiently as possible.”
Dairy Initiative Confirms Nutritionists’ Recommendations
Brian Beck, Consulting Dairy Nutritionist
New service from Papillon Agricultural Company works with nutritionists to use proven metrics to measure dairy herds’ energy, nitrogen and phosphorous utilization.
A new, on-farm nutritional efficiency program from Papillon Agricultural Company is providing a tool for dairy nutritionists to evaluate their clients’ dairy operations. Many dairy producers currently monitor their “feed efficiency” by looking at average milk production/average dry matter intake. The Dairy Initiative (DI) program uses proven metrics to take this one step further and evaluate a dairy herd’s energy, nitrogen and phosphorous efficiency. The program provides sound data with which nutritionists and their clientele can make well-informed decisions regarding improving efficiency. Designed to support consulting nutritionists, DI helps them deliver additional value to their producers by helping them identify opportunities to capture dollars that may be ending up on the barn floor. The DI program was developed in conjunction with leading dairy nutritionists, dairy producers and university experts. It provides an objective, science-based assessment of a dairy’s nutritional efficiencies and strengths. The program also quantifies the potential economic benefits of improving efficiency on the dairy operation.
Brian Beck is a nutritional consultant with Witmer’s Feed and Grain in Columbiana, Ohio. He was initially skeptical of DI when it was presented to him earlier this year. The 17-year Witmer’s veteran has seen plenty of programs come and go. “Papillon has had a longstanding relationship with Witmer’s,” Beck says. “I wasn’t so sure, but agreed to give it a try.”
Clayton Stoffel, Papillon’s DI project manager, met with Beck before conducting audits at two dairies. Beck and his customers were part of the entire process. They’ve now visited five dairies. The process involves an initial consultation followed by an on-farm audit that includes a producer interview, sample collections, measurements and observations of on-farm management. Papillon then analyzes the data collected and confers with the consulting nutritionist to ensure accuracy. The final report is then presented to the producer. “I was involved every step of the way and was there the entire time,” Beck says. “Clayton gathered samples and information from records and personnel alike. “When the final report was delivered, I was blown away. From the quality of the materials used to the way Clayton presented the report, it was first class all the way. And, to think, there was no obligation for the dairyman or us to buy anything from Papillon.”
Beck notes that the report contains a wealth of information. The DI uses industry standards backed by research to evaluate:
• Management influencers – practices that affect whole-herd feeding efficiency
• Ration compliance – deviations between the formulated ration and actual TMR nutrient analysis
• Feed utilization efficiency – comparison of feed inputs with production and maintenance outputs
• Economic impact of current efficiency scores and the potential additional return on investment for improving efficiency
Stoffel adds “DI helps nutritionists access third-party data to achieve farm goals and allows them to offer an additional valuable service to producers.”
Solidifies consultant nutritionists’ roles
“Tying the management side into the quantitative elements makes the DI reports even more valuable,” Beck says. “About 44 percent of everything that happens on a farm is related to management practices. One producer told me, ‘I guess I can’t blame you anymore for most of our problems.’” He adds that the DI serves as a double-check that what he’s recommending for a specific dairy is right. It also shows that he’s not just collecting samples to collect a paycheck and that he wants the dairy to be as profitable as possible for as long as possible. “DI brings another set of eyes and an outside source to dairymen,” Beck says. “It’s really solidifying our role as consultant nutritionists.” He notes as examples that one dairy will soon move the neck rail on its freestalls to eliminate perching. Another, while great on feed efficiency, can make some stall grooming improvements to increase production.
“Papillon is the first company I’ve seen to blend the management side into the nutrition side of things,” Beck says. “it’s a check for me to make sure I’m not missing anything nutritionally. It’s also a check for producers to make sure they’re feeding what I’m recommending; not more, not less. He points out that most recommended managerial changes don’t have to be implemented overnight. They can be completed over time. He’s made a list of some items than can be easily incorporated in a 30-day period, such as adding a new water trough, moving a neck rail or adding a fan or two. “I always put forage quality on my improvement list,” Beck says. “How do I help them get more digestibility, because the less feed they buy from me, the more profitable they’ll be and be in business longer.”
DI helps educate
“DI is an educational tool and that’s our focus at Witmer’s,” Beck adds. “We want to have educated producers so they know as much as we do and can make sound decisions with or without us on the farm. DI educates nutritionists, herdsmen, producers and workers. “It also helps make dairy improvement a team approach. One producer told me this.”
‘Dad and I talked and that’s probably one of the best hours we’ve spent with you. Dairy Initiative gave us more options than better quality forage.’ This team approach has been the way Witmer’s and Papillon have approached doing business from the start. It’s the way they’ll conduct business with dairy producers for generations to come.
Mycotoxin Management – Proven Results on the Farm
Charlie Kail, Certified Crop Advisor
“I perform nutrition work for a beef cow operation that is managing 180 brood cows and 200 steers. The producer had run into a situation in which he had 2, 3, and 4 year old corn silage in his bunk. The producer called me and explained that he had just lost 2 cows in 2 weeks. I asked him to explain to me what the cows looked liked. He replied that “the hair was standing up on their backs and they look gaunt.”
He continued to explain that he was feeding out of the back end of the pit and must be into the 4 year old corn silage. My assessment of the problem was that he had a mycotoxin or mold problem and that this was causing the sick/dead cows. The producer went on to say that he had one cow in particular that had just calved 2 weeks prior, whose appearance was bad and he felt that she wasn’t going to be alive much longer. I asked how the calf looked and he replied as bad, if not worse than her mother and the calf was no longer suckling from mom. I told him that cows under stress, such as fresh cows, will be affected in a more intense manner from the presence of toxins.
I recommended that we mix Zar‐Min® into his protein mix at the mill. When he mixes his protein mix into his TMR, then the entire herd would get a dose. Then I recommended he take a ½ lb. of Zar‐Min® and feed it directly to the visibly affected fresh cow. He told me that he would mix the Zar‐Min with a 4H mix and directly supplement the animal. A few days went by and the producer called me back and relayed that for the 1st two days of treatment he had no problem finding the fresh cow. On the 3rd day, he had to spend some time looking for her and the 4th day he had to identify her by her ear tag. After 4 days of treatment on Zar‐Min®, the effect of toxins on her outward appearance had completely disappeared.”