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6 Springtime Defensive Driving Tips

Spring planting is just beginning in many areas, and that means a lot more farm equipment is about to be out and about on our nation’s roads. Farm equipment operators have a few ways to ensure they stay safe during this busy time of the year, but regular drivers need to be extra diligent, too.

“Drivers are urged to exercise caution and drive defensively, especially when agricultural equipment is present,” according to Eric Vanasdale, senior loss control representative of Country Financial. “Farmers are under an intense amount of pressure during planting season. Caution and patience are key.”

Many crashes with farm equipment involve sideswipes and angle crashes, Vanasdale says. The most common accidents occur when a driver either attempts to pass a slow-moving vehicle, or when a driver doesn’t realize a farmer is turning or stopping.

Country Financial shares the following six best practices for drivers sharing the road with farm equipment this spring.

1. Follow state driving laws.

2. Decrease speed and approach farm equipment carefully.

3. Don’t pass farm equipment in no-passing zones.

4. Farm equipment is sometimes wider than what is visible from behind. That makes it difficult to see if there is traffic approaching from the opposite direction.

5. Follow farm equipment at a safe distance.

6. Look into alternative routes during peak commuting times (often, sunrise and sunset).

“We all share the responsibility of making our roads safe,” Vanasdale says. “We can do our part by driving defensively and avoiding dangerous situations as much as possible.”

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Increase Vitamin E to Older Cows During Heat Stress




By Charlie Staples, Gabriel Gomes and Jose Santos, University of Florida

Changes in life events and environment, such as parturition, milk production, and heat stress, substantially increase demands on the cow including her oxygen requirements. These increased requirements for oxygen usually result in increased production of troublesome reactive oxygen compounds. These must be neutralized with an anti-oxidant such as vitamin E.

At the University of Florida, we increased the daily intake of supplemental vitamin E from 1000 to 3000 international units (IU) during the close-up nonlactating period and from 500 to 2000 IU after calving. The 1000 and 500 IU amounts are what is recommended by the National Research Council. In addition, the cows were kept in shade only or with shade, fans, and sprinklers during the last 4 weeks of pregnancy. After calving, all cows were provided with shade, fans, and sprinklers. Milk yield and feed intake were measured for the first 15 weeks.

The older cows responded differently than the firstcalf heifers. If older cows were offered shade before calving, 3.5% fat-corrected milk production increased from 79.4 lb per day to 87.9 lb per day. Yet feeding additional vitamin E to the older cows without fans and sprinklers had the same effect as cooling the cows before calving; that is, 3.5% fat-corrected milk increased from 79.4 lb per day up to 87.0 lb per day. No benefit of feeding extra vitamin E was detected if older cows were evaporatively cooled before calving. Therefore milk yield by older cows was the same if 1) they were evaporatively cooled without increased supplementation of vitamin E or 2) they only had shade before calving but were fed extra vitamin E. These increased amounts of milk yield were supported by increased amounts of feed intake.

The story was much different for first-calf heifers. Production of 3.5% fat-corrected milk was reduced if they were fed vitamin E above NRC recommendations regardless of prepartum cooling method. Milk yield dropped from 61.1 to 49.7 lb per day by feeding extra vitamin E to heifers only given shade. But milk also dropped from 59.5 to 54.4 pounds per day if extra vitamin E was fed to heifers cooled with fans and sprinklers before calving.

Why such a difference in response between heifers and cows? Based upon lower plasma concentrations of nonesterifed fatty acids (NEFA), less loss of body weight, and less negative energy balance, first calf heifers were under less stress postpartum than were older cows. Feeding 3 to 4 times the recommended amount of the antioxidant vitamin E to these lowerstressed heifers may have caused vitamin E to form many tocopherol radicals that damaged cell membranes and hurt performance rather than act as an antioxidant and help performance as it did with the older cows. The combination of increased heat stress before calving and greater metabolic stress due to greater milk production postpartum may have created a situation in which the requirement for an antioxid.

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Bird Flu

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama officials have confirmed bird flu in two poultry flocks, just a week after three commercial breeders had to kill their chickens across the state line in Tennessee.

The state veterinarian announced that chickens are under quarantine after testing positive for the disease at a commercial breeding operation in Pickens County near the Mississippi line.

Dr. Tony Frazier’s statement says the disease also was found in a backyard flock in Madison County, near the Tennessee line.

Agriculture officials say this strain of avian flu poses no risk to humans and has not entered the food chain.

The Alabama Poultry and Egg Association says poultry is Alabama’s largest agriculture sector, generating about $15 billion in annual revenues and employing more than 86,000 people.

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Canadian Press.

For more articles concerning bird flu, click here.

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U.S. bird flu cases have local farmers on guard

Delaware poultry farmers are on alert after a recent outbreak of bird flu devastated a Tennessee farm.

More than 73,000 birds on a southern Tennessee farm that supplies chickens for Tyson Foods were killed after federal officials identified a case of deadly bird flu in the flock.

For Delaware poultry farmers, this is a wake up call that the virus could be nearby.

“The Delaware Department of Agriculture has really been preparing for Avian Influenza since the last time we had it back in 2004 and we haven’t stopped preparing because the chicken industry is such a large part of our economic impact in Delaware,” said Stacey Hofmann, a spokeswoman for the department.

Hofmann said the path migratory birds take through Tennessee is not the same as the one birds use in Delaware, but they eventually meet at their Arctic breeding grounds. Once they leave during the fall, that’s when it’s possible the virus might spread down the Mid-Atlantic.

State officials and industry groups say farmers should remember to wear disposable clothing inside chicken houses to prevent the spread of the virus. Hofmann said farmers should also limit the amount of visitors to the chicken houses.

A turkey farm in Wisconsin also reported a less serious case of bird flu, but it didn’t require the culling of an entire flock.

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Early lactation Sub-Clinical Mastitis

Test for Early Lactation Sub-Clinical Mastitis

Testing for subclinical mastitis should be part of your fresh-cow protocol, says Gary Neubauer, a veterinarian and senior manager of Dairy Technical Services for Zoetis.

“Besides monitoring fresh cows for signs of metritis, ketosis and other disorders, it also is the best time to test for high somatic cell counts (SCC),” he says. “Cows with individual SCC in excess of 200,000 cells/mL may indicate a subclinical mastitis infection.”

Somatic cell counts above 200,000 cells/mL can lead to clinical mastitis, and recent research with thousands of cows shows milk losses from higher cell counts can be substantial.

“Cows with a high SCC at first test (greater than 200,000) can experience an increased loss of 576 pounds of milk, when compared with cows having clinical mastitis in the first 60 days of lactation,” says Mark Kirkpatrick, also a managing veterinarian with Zoetis. Other research also shows cows with mastitis take longer to conceive, have days open, and often face other health issues.

That’s why Neubauer and Kirkpatrick recommend systemically testing every cow for subclinical mastitis shortly after calving. They suggest:

  • Test all fresh cows for SCC on Day 2 or 3 after freshening (or at the earliest opportunity based on management). Options include the California Mastitis Test (CMT) or a digital SCC counter for fast and accurate results.
  • Culture milk samples to identify mastitis-causing pathogens and to develop a herd profile to establish prevention and treatment protocols with your veterinarian.
  • Consider treating cows with SCC greater than 200,000 cells/mL (CMT score of 2 or higher) plus a positive culture. “Ask your veterinarian about mastitis therapies specifically labeled to treat subclinical mastitis infections. Keep in mind that not every cow that tests positive for subclinical mastitis is a candidate for treatment,” says Kirkpatrick.
  • Examine the cow’s health history before treatment and consider:
  • Culture results
  • Parity of the cow
  • Number of previous clinical mastitis cases and what quarter was previously affected
  • Previous SCC test data history, if available
  • Chronicity of mastitis cases
  • Other persistent health issues, such as pneumonia or lameness
  • Production and reproductive records

Read more about Zoetis’ testing protocols, part of Zoetis’ Healthy Start Program,

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Delmarva Dairy Day

2017 Delmarva Dairy Day

Thursday Feb 16, 2017

Hartly Fire Hall, Hartly, DE


9:30 to 10:15 AM     Visit with Exhibitors, Coffee and Pastries


10:15 to 11:45 AM   Milk Quality and Udder Health Workshop – Understanding Udder Physiology

Julio Correal, Animal Productivity Specialist, Arm & Hammer Animal Nutrition


11:45 to 12:45 PM   Lunch (with UD ice cream) and visit with Exhibitors


12:45 to 1:30 PM      Low Lignin Alfalfa and Alfalfa Management

Ev Thomas, Oak Point Agronomics, Ltd


1:30 to 2:00 PM       Fertility Management for Corn Silage Crops

                               Ev Thomas, Oak Point Agronomics, Ltd


2:00 to 2:30 PM       Transitioning to Organic Dairying

Nicole Lawrence McNeil, Membership and Development Specialist, Pennsylvania Certified Organic



Contact Info: Dan Severson: (302) 831-2506 ( or Limin Kung, Jr. (302 831-2522 (


Cooperative Extension Education in Agriculture and Home Economics, University of Delaware, Delaware State University and the United States Department of Agriculture cooperating. Distributed in furtherance of Acts of congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914. It is the policy of the Delaware Cooperative Extension System that no person shall be subjected to discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex, disability, age, or national origin.

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Farm Bureau Working on New Milk Price Insurance

By Jim Dickrell January 31, 2017

A new type of dairy revenue insurance, that would offer regional protection against both milk price and production declines, is being worked on by the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Farm Bureau Insurance Services (AFBIS) and academic collaborators including dairy economist Marin Bozic.

The product, known as Dairy-Revenue Protection (Dairy-RP), protects revenue instead of the milk-feed margin.  It is based on the same concepts as crop insurance, and will be submitted for review to USDA’s Risk Management Agency this spring.

To gauge interest, AFBIS is hosting an on-line survey for dairy farmers.  The survey is just 12 questions in length, and takes less than a minute or two to complete. Farmer input will be used to improve the design of the product and for market research. Go here to take the survey.

“Additionally, Farm Bureau believes livestock insurance funding should be enhanced,” says John Newton, AFBF director of market intelligence. “Livestock insurance funding is currently limited to $20 million per fiscal year despite the $130 billion annual value of the livestock sector.”

As currently designed, Dairy-RP insurance contracts would be quarterly, and could be purchased up to 15 months out. Dairy farmers would have three choices to make:

• A milk price blend between Class III and Class IV

• Number of cows to cover

• Coverage level (up to 90%)

To keep things somewhat simple, production per cow would be based on state-level milk production as reported by USDA. Indemnities would increase if production per cow at the state level decreases during the coverage period, or would decrease if state level production per cow increases during the period. “Indemnities would be paid to the dairy farmer if actual revenue falls below the revenue guarantee,” says Newton.

Dairy-RP premiums would be designed to be actuarially sound pre-subsidy. Based on milk prices from 2008 to 2016 and assuming subsidies similar to those in crop insurance, research by Marin Bozic suggests that the average premiums would be 9¢/cwt three months out, 21¢/cwt six months out, 28¢/cwt nine months out and 36¢/cwt 12 months out.

Bozic’s research shows a variety of hedging strategies with Dairy-RP could provide considerable risk management opportunities. One strategy would have resulted in Dairy-RP indemnities in eight of the 32 three-month quarters since the beginning of 2008, including three quarters in 2009, three quarters in 2015, and twice in 2016. In 2009, those indemnities could have approached $5/cwt; in 2016, about $1/cwt. If a farm had Dairy-RP coverage for the entire eight years, its milk revenue would have averaged $16.67/cwt versus $16.27 without it.

“When the market moves milk prices higher, the availability of a tool like Dairy-RP would provide farmers an opportunity to manage risk and lock-in that higher milk revenue,” says Newton.

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Crop Insurance FAQ

Date: January 26, 2017
Location: Delaware Department of Agriculture
2320 South DuPont Hwy, Dover, DE 19901
Time: 1:00 – 3:30 pm
This session will feature a panel of local, licensed crop insurance agents
and claims adjusters who will share answers to frequently asked
questions regarding crop insurance on all covered crops in Delaware.
The crop insurance signup deadline is March 15th for most crops. This
session is the perfect opportunity to begin sorting out your policy
Admittance to the session is free. Parking is available in DDA parking
For more information, please contact Laurie Wolinski at
or Farmers First Services at
Sponsored by Delaware Cooperative Extension along with the USDA
Targeted States Partnership Crop Insurance Grant and its collaborators.

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UD Extension names new poultry agent

NEWARK, Del. — University of Delaware Cooperative Extension has announced its hire of Georgie Cartanza as the new poultry Extension agent.

The statewide position will be based from UD’s Elbert N. and Ann V. Carvel’s Research and Education Center in Georgetown, and the hire was effective Dec. 1.

“This opportunity at the University of Delaware puts me in a different position to really serve the industry that has served me so well and provided for my family,” Cartanza said.

“I am very excited to have Georgie Cartanza join the UD Extension team as Extension agent in poultry,” said Michelle Rodgers, UD associate dean and director of Cooperative Extension “Georgie brings personal and professional knowledge and expertise to the position enhanced with passion and commitment for the poultry industry in Delmarva, making her an excellent fit for this position.”

Cartanza’s experience in the industry is extensive. A graduate of Delaware State University with a bachelor of science degree in general agriculture, Cartanza was recruited straight out of college by Perdue Farms, where she enjoyed an eight and a half year career — three and a half years as a flock supervisor and five as a regional supervisor.

Later Cartanza joined Mountaire Farms, serving three years in their housing department.

Ten years ago, while working at Mountaire, Cartanza invested in her own poultry farm, and built four houses on family property in Dover. In April 2015, she made the decision to convert conventionally grown poultry and become a certified organic poultry farmer.

Poultry is the mainstay of Delaware agriculture and the Delmarva region. As Delaware Cooperative Extension’s state poultry agent, Cartanza will deliver the latest university research and best management practices to approximately 1,500 family farms in the region.

Cartanza’s Extension responsibilities include providing numerous educational workshops and webinars on topics such as poultry housing, energy and ventilation management, poultry health, animal welfare, and mortality and litter management.

Her efforts will cross state lines, often working in partnership with industry professionals and Maryland Extension poultry experts, particularly with outreach and matters concerning environmental innovation and nutrient management best practices.

Her experiences as a poultry farmer also motivates Cartanza to educate the public about her profession.

“My hopes are through research and Extension outreach I’ll be able to help people change their perceptions about our industry, but also help the people working in our industry to be more productive and competitive,” she said.

From her earliest college days, Cartanza’s goal was to help farmers. “The poultry industry has taught me so much. I have had tremendous mentors and people who helped me so much, so it’s prepared me to be a good candidate for this position and help as many people as I can,” she said.

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