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Published January 09, 2009, 12:00 AM

University of Minnesota Dairy Days in McIntosh, Ottertail

University of Minnesota Extension Dairy Days Workshops will be held at multiple locations around the state. The local sites in central Minnesota include McIntosh and Ottertail.

By: Will Yliniemi, DL-Online

University of Minnesota Extension Dairy Days Workshops will be held at multiple locations around the state.

The local sites in central Minnesota include McIntosh and Ottertail.

These Minnesota Dairy Days Workshops are an opportunity for producers to participate in an interactive, hands-on program that will help them improve their operations. Cost is $15 per person, and registration opens a half hour before the program begins.

Dates, locations, times, topics and speakers for the two workshops in our area are as follows:

n Jan. 14: McIntosh, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Community Center (115 Broadway Street NW).

n Jan. 15: Ottertail, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Community Center (103 Lake Avenue S).

The program for both workshops will include presentations on “Calf Management” by Neil Broadwater, Extension dairy educator; and “Transition Cow Management” by Noah Litherland, Extension dairy nutritionist.

For more information about the Minnesota Dairy Days workshops, visit the Dairy

Extension website at

Beef crossbreeding with a purpose

Crossbreeding must be planned. Simply mixing beef breeds at random will not produce the benefits that a well organized, thoughtful crossbreeding system can provide.

Producers must avoid “mongrelization” of their cowherds. Uniformity of the cowherd is an often unappreciated trait. If a cowherd varies greatly in size and nutrient requirements, feed will be wasted since the cowherd will be fed to meet the needs of those with the greatest requirements. Otherwise, the nutritional needs of many cows will not be met.

Before designing a crossbreeding system, the production environment and goals (collectively called the production scenario) must be described. When the scenario is considered, high and low priority traits can be listed.

For instance, a producer who has an abundant feed supply and intends to sell his calves at weaning every year, will consider milk production a very high priority.

On the other hand, if a cattleman will feed his own calves to slaughter, lower milk production and the opportunity to take advantage of compensatory gain after his calves are weaned might be a better choice.

Furthermore, if labor is abundant, pulling a few calves might be only a minor nuisance and calving ease would be only a moderate priority (it is the authors view that calving ease is never a low priority, it is either moderate or high).

If, however, the cows will be observed only occasionally, while calving, calving ease (unassisted births) could be the highest priority.

When choosing priorities, a balance of traits is usually best. Remember that as the number of traits considered for selection increases, the amount of progress made in each trait will decrease. In other words, little progress will be made by a breeder who tries to select for everything at once.

Source: Pete Anderson, Extension Beef Cattle Specialist, University of Minnesota (excerpted from Anderson’s publication Crossbreeding Systems for Beef Cattle”)

Upcoming events

• 2009 Crop Update and Private Pesticide Applicator Recertification Workshop: Jan. 27, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with lunch break, at the Otter Tail County Office Building,118 North Main, New York Mills.

Attendance for the entire program is required to obtain recertification. The crops update session concludes with the lunch sponsored by the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association. Only applicators requiring recertification will be required to stay for the entire program.

• CMIC Irrigation clinic: Jan. 29, 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the VFW on Hwy 10, New York Mills. This year’s clinic will feature two presentations: “A Whole New World…The Economy Breakdown, Farm Bill, Input Buying & Market Update” by Joe Burgard, marketing specialist with Ag Country Farm Credit Services; and “A Review of the Bio-Fuels Industry in Minnesota…Gasification, Biomass, Residues and Crops needed for Bio-fuels,” by Bob Schafer, director, Central Lakes Ag Center in Staples.

Additional topics related to irrigation, agriculture, and informational resources and packets will also be presented during the day. A CMIC membership is $10 for the year.

• 2009 Private Pesticide Applicator Recertification Workshop: Jan. 30, 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., at Minnesota State Community & Technical College, Room C103, 900 Highway 34 East, Detroit Lakes. Attendance for the entire program is required to obtain recertification.

n 2009 Minnesota Forage Days: Feb. 11, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Club House Hotel (formerly the Holiday Inn), Highway 10 East, Detroit Lakes. The program focus is forage production, with topics on grasses, alfalfa, forage fertilization, forage insect pests and speaker panel for questions and answers.

Program presenters include Jerry Cherney from Cornell University and Paul Peterson, forage agronomist from the University of Minnesota in St. Paul. Regional and local U of M Extension personnel will also take part in the program. There is a $25 charge for the program that includes a program proceedings and the noon meal.