January 3, 2008

Use before January 23, 2008
Contact: Ron Kuck, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County, 315-788-8450

January 25 Heifer Raising Program Features Local Dairy

Ellisburg, NY, Southern Jefferson County - Dan and Sharon Rossiter milk 700 cows on this DoubleDale Farm in Ellisburg in Southern Jefferson County. They start approximately 350 heifers annually, and will speak about the adaptations they have made to their heifer raising program � including a new project now underway - as part of the January 25 Winter Dairy Management: Raising Fiscally Responsible Replacements program to be held at the Carthage Elks Club from 10 am to 3 pm.

�We expanded our heifer barn and are now in the process of adding an AFI system (a dairy management software system that helps producers know when cows are in heat and ready to be bred and tracks fertility, breeding success, health, and such data as daily milk weights for milking cows) that will allow us to breed the heifers by heat activity. This system has worked well for our cows and we expect it will for the heifers as well,� Dan says.

Carthage program co-host, Dairy and Livestock Educator Ron Kuck of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County, says, �The Rossiter farms are very well-managed with a workforce that accepts responsibility and works well together. The information the Rossiters will share as part of the Fiscally Responsible Replacements program will be valuable for other dairies.�

Program topics will include a discussion of manager responsibilities and how to assess whether your enterprise is profitable, newborn calf management and how a calf grows, housing options, nutrition, health, disease prevention and reproduction.

Kuck notes that the farmers attending the program will receive reference including the newly revised Raising Quality Dairy Replacement Heifers best management practices checklist from the Dairy Quality Assurance Center, Calf Manager CD, and heifer raising benchmarks for average daily weight gain and projected mature weight.

John Conway of the Cornell University PRO-Dairy Program says, �The Raising Fiscally Responsible Replacements program is designed to help farmers develop strategies for heifer replacement programs that in turn will improve herd health and growth and the lifetime profitability of the cows and your farms.�

Carthage program co-host and Dairy Educator Frans Vokey of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Lewis County adds, �The value gained by investing in a quality heifer program is often underestimated. The economics, however, clearly show there is tremendous value in meeting the growth and health targets that this workshop focuses on and this year, given high milk prices, is a great time to work on improvements. This workshop will help producers identify their own opportunity areas for heifer-rearing and ways to reach their goals."

The Heifer Replacement program will also be held in Richfield Springs on January 21, Saratoga Springs on January 22, Randolph Center, VT, on January 23, and at William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute in Chazy, NY, on January 24. Call your local Cooperative Extension office for more details and program cost. Register by January 23rd for the Carthage program on January 25 by contacting Frans Vokey at 315-376-5270, or Ron Kuck at 315-788-8450.

The heifer replacement program development and presentation team includes Conway, Vokey, Dr. Mike Van Amburgh with the Cornell Animal Science Program; Jenny Mills with Elanco Animal Health; Cornell Cooperative Extension dairy specialist Dr. Jerry Bertoldo, D.V.M.; University of Vermont dairy nutritionist Dr. Julie Smith, D.V.M.; Cornell University Farm Management Specialist Jason Karszes; Farm Management Educator Cathy Wickswat of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Renssalaer County; and Curt Gooch of the Cornell University Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering and the PRO-Dairy Program. # # #