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Ice Water to Revive a Calf

An Icy Tip to Revive a Cold Newborn Calf

Calving doesn’t stop in the winter months. It’s extra important to make sure newborn calves have good vitality during the winter’s frigid temperatures. Shivering, shaking and making standing attempts are how newborn calves maintain body heat, but they don’t always want to do that right away. According to Dr. Sheila McGuirk, ice water is a handy way to get a struggling calf on the road to warmth.

McGuirk says a calf with good vitality score will meet the following criteria:

·       The calf should start moving its head within minutes of birth

·       The calf should be able to sit up sternal within five minutes

·       The calf should start attempting to stand within 15 minutes

·       The calf should be standing within an hour.

If those vitality marks aren’t met, the calf is at risk for hypothermia, she says. Most farmers have trained their employees to rub newborn calves down with a clean dry towel to stimulate body temperature regulation, but have you ever considered dousing the calf with ice water?

According to McGuirk, ice water is a tremendous tool to stimulate a calf that isn’t breathing. To use this European technique on your farm, you will need ice cubes, access to clean water, a clean bucket and a syringe.

There are two ways to use this technique. The first is to pour 250 ccs of ice water on the head of the struggling calf. Alternately, McGuirk says squirting some ice water into the calf’s ear works even better. She recommends producers use a 60-cc syringe to squirt just that much ice water in the ear of the calf.

“It’s a very abrupt stimulus,” she says. “They shake their head and when they shake their head they want to breathe.”

McGuirk says this technique won’t drop the calf’s body temperature, but it will start to breathe. Once a calf is breathing, it will start shivering – shaking and bringing its body temperature back up to normal.

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Farm Family

CLAYTON — The Dulin family farm in Clayton got its start back in the early 1920s when their landlord came down from Philadelphia with an offer. The landlord approached Elwood and Gladys Dulin, who had been sharecropping on his land and said “I want you to buy this farm.”

Elwood considered the prospect of buying the then-683-acre operation and told him that there was no way he could afford it. But the man insisted and told Elwood that he could afford it and he was going to make sure of it.

“So my grandparents agreed to buy the farm as owner-financed,” said Lee Dulin Jr., a current partner in Dulin Brothers, LLC. “My grandma used to say that Grandpa would stay up nights wondering how he’d come up with the money to pay for it.”

 

Despite those sleepless nights, Elwood and Gladys, through hard work and dedication, successfully ran the farm and raised a small family on it. They had three sons — Donald, Lee and Norman — who they passed the farm on to when they retired in 1960. Then their kids had kids of their own who had kids of their own, all of whom play a part in running the family farm. The rest, as they say, is history.

Recently, the Dulin Brothers, LLC was recognized at the Kent County Farm Bureau’s banquet held on Sept. 26 in Felton as the 2016 Kent County Farm Family of the Year. U.S. Sen. Thomas Carper and Rep. John Carney turned up at the event and spoke briefly to thank the Kent County farmers for their hard work every day. The family farm is comprised of about 350 head of cattle, 150 of which are milked while the rest are kept as stock and replacement, a poultry house with a capacity of 150,000 pullets and 2,200 tillable acres of grain.

“We grow corn, soybeans, wheat and barley,” said Lee Jr. “We get pullets at one-day old and keep them until they are 17 weeks old when we ship them off to other farms as layer hens. Also, we milk twice per day.”

The family way

The farm has come a long way from its humble beginnings.

“The 683 acres back in the 20s sold for about $11,000 — that’s quite a bit of difference in land prices from then until now,” said Lee Jr.

“When my dad and my uncles took over in the 60s the were still working almost 700 acres and they only milked about 30 to 40 cows. But as we added partners. equipment, got bigger and our families all helped out. We were able to do more so we started growing.”

The family was selected as Farm Family of the Year because it is a family-oriented farm with every member playing a vital part of the operation from picking beans and selling sweet corn to the delivery day of chickens.

“My son Lee III, who works at Delaware State University, comes by every night to help breed cows. My daughter helps with the taxes, my son-in-law runs our grain cart. I can’t go down the list because there are so many family members helping that I don’t want to leave anyone out,” Mr. Dulin said. “All of our kids and grandkids contribute in one way or another. It’s just a family thing.”

When it comes to making big decisions, a process that bedevils many family-held businesses, Lee Jr. says things go pretty smoothly.

“If someone has an idea, we’ll start talking about it. Some ideas work, and some don’t, but we decide what to do as a group,” said Lee Jr. “My dad, Lee Sr., passed away back in 1967, but my uncles Donald and Norman, who are older now, did what I think is a remarkable job of letting the next generation take over. Some people have trouble letting younger people make decisions — they didn’t.”

Norman, who’s 85, and Donald, who’s 80, still keep themselves busy on the farm though.

“Uncle Norman is kind of like our parts guy. He will always run in to town and get parts for whatever we are working on and Uncle Donald walks the chicken house every morning and helps milk in the afternoon,” Mr. Dulin said.

“He’s usually out working at 5 a.m. He’ll head home for a bit during the middle of the day and come back out and stay out until 7 p.m. I actually think helping us is what helps keep them going.”

After Lee Sr. died, Lee Jr.’s mother stayed on the farm with him and his siblings. In 1980, Lee Jr., his brother and his cousin were taken in to the partnership and in 2014 they turned the partnership into Dulin Brothers, LLC.

Mr. Dulin hopes one day the farm will pass down to the next generation in line as well, but he says keeping kids interested in farming can be tricky at times.

“We try to keep our kids and grandkids interested by just including them in everything we do,” he said. “There are so many things out there these days for kids to do, it’s harder to keep them interested in farming.”

A gamble

He says this is partly because the uncertain financial nature of farming can be difficult to navigate at times and because the work makes for a heavy schedule.

“Farming is really a gamble. You plant the seed, spend the money and just hope it rains,” he said. “In the fall when your kids are playing football and hockey, if you’re a dairy farmer, you’re milking at that time so you don’t get to go to their games. That’s part of it too.”

He is confident about the future though, because there are many young grandkids that still have plenty of time to decide whether they’d like to take and active role in managing the farm. Also, it seems as though heading out into the world and trying their hand at a different profession before returning to the family farm is a well-established tradition with the Dulins.

“Both my brother and cousin worked away from the farm for a few years and ended up deciding to come back,” Mr. Dulin said.

“I have a grandson in junior high school who is really interested in the farm and my brothers’ grandchildren are like 5 and 8 so they’re still too young to know yet.”

Whatever happens, he says that the farm will stay a family operation and they will continue to carry on the legacy started by Elwood and Gladys almost 100 years ago.

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Estate Planning

Farm Succession Planning Education Series
Farm Succession Planning is a business and risk management practice that is critical to the
agricultural industry and to the health of families and farm businesses. These sessions will
present farmers with the knowledge to begin or continue the process of succession planning.
Families are encouraged to attend the workshop together.
Tuesday, November 29, 2016 – 7pm Farm Transfer Communication Webinar The Farm Whisperer by David
Specht
University of Delaware Paradee Center 69 Transportation Circle, Dover, DE 19901
Please arrive 15 minutes early.
For more information and to pre‐register, contact Extension agents:
Dan Severson ‐ severson@udel.edu or (302) 831-2506
Laurie Wolinski ‐ lgw@udel.edu or (302) 831-2538

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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Antibiotic Use

Putting Antibiotic Use in Perspective

By JoAnn Alumbaugh, Editor, PORK Network 

It’s gratifying to find a beacon of reality among the rhetoric about antibiotic resistance, but you (and consumers) really have to search for it.

The Center for Accountability in Science explains, “Though farms use a lot of antibiotics, many are never or rarely prescribed to humans. Thirty percent of antibiotics used on farms are from a class called ionophores, which can be deadly to humans and some animals… There’s no firm evidence that antibiotic resistance in humans is linked to antibiotic use in farm animals.”

Though Denmark has very strict limits on antibiotic use in livestock, the Center says “consumption of meat may currently be considered an insignificant source for the human infections” of food-borne illnesses like E. coli. Three recent studies show that only .27% of antibiotic-resistant E.coli infections can be linked to meat, while 99.73% of those infections are associated with antibiotic use in humans.”

Failure to Finish Prescriptions is a Problem

Dr. Joseph Perrone, who served as an adviser to the World Health Organization, says, “It’s not just over-prescription that poses a problem. Even when antibiotics are prescribed appropriately, too often patients fail to finish the full course of antibiotics once they begin to feel better—or when they’re sick of dealing with the drugs’ side effects such as nausea and vomiting. Failure to finish the full dose means that some of the bacteria may survive. In some cases, the body’s natural defenses will kick in and fight the remaining bacteria. For others, the remaining bacteria can develop resistance to the antibiotic prescribed.”

Examples published in Emerging Infectious Disease, illustrate patient perceptions about antibiotics in patient care: 27% believed taking antibiotics during a cold made them better; and 48% expected antibiotics when seeking medical care associated with a cold. Rather than risk having a patient go to a different doctor, some doctors will go ahead a prescribe an antibiotic, even when they know that’s not what the patient needs.

“Antibiotics are important for an animal’s health and well-being,” says Dr. Justin Bergeron with the University of Minnesota Center for Animal Health and Food Safety. “When humans are sick, we need to take the appropriate medication to get better. Animals have the same need.”

Truthful Information Needed

Both animal and human health experts are diligent in helping disseminate a balanced understanding of the antibiotics issue to consumers.

But it’s not enough.

Every time you talk with your non-farming friends, health-care providers, children’s teachers, or anyone else, share the facts about antibiotic resistance. Begin a dialogue. Help them realize it’s everyone’s obligation to use antibiotics responsibly to protect and maintain the health of both human and animal populations.

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MPP Dairy

Dairy Industry Frustrated, Wanting Change with MPP

A glut of dairy product is weighing on the market and the effects are trickling down to the producer.

“The price of milk we’re receiving right now is at or below the cost of production—I would say the majority of people—certainly a downward trend in prices since 2014,” said Gordon Speirs, a Wisconsin dairy producer.

Dairy producers across the Midwest say their insurance is not relieving prices either. Producers may use the Margin Protection Program under the current farm bill. However, industry leaders say MPP isn’t made the way that was proposed and isn’t as effective as hoped.

“Last year we took the baseline insurance,” said Speirs. “We haven’t taken a penny out of it and all we have done is feed it. I believe the program is broken.”

Industry leaders say the feed formula was changed 10 percent due to budget constraints. It took off $1/cwt and changed the coverage.

“If we had stuck with the original numbers of the formula before they were changed, because of cost concerns, we would have seen a lot more payouts,” said John Holevoet of the Wisconsin Dairy Business Association.

“Under the original proposal, farmers could have received payments up to four dollars in some regions,” said Jim Dickrell, managing editor with Dairy Herd Management. “We were close to catastrophic levels back then.”

That’s why the industry believes the insurance portion of the bill needs to be changed for the next one. The National Milk Producers Federation is exploring options for improving MPP, and that could involve attaching it to a bill prior to the new farm bill. Representatives say they hope to agree on a course of action when the board of directors meets next in March.

“We want to look at getting back to the original rates proposed,” said Randy Mooney, chairman of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF). “We want to look to see if the premiums are right. We want to look at different tiers in the program.”

While it is wishful thinking, some say trying to make the change before the next farm bill will be difficult.

“I don’t know if politically they can go back and fix it or not or adjust who will be eligible or how they will be eligible or like that,” said Dickrell. “However, we’re always fighting the federal budget with the deficit so large, it’s going to be an ongoing battle to get a fix which will help everyone.”

California producers are sour towards the MPP program too. Some California producers feel their location makes a difference with their Margin Protection Program insurance coverage as well.

“Most of these government programs aren’t geared for Californians,” said Greg Hooker, a California dairy producer. “We get little benefit out of those things. The way they value milk and feed, it’s a Midwestern calculation, which is different from California.”

Policy the dairy industry needs as they deal with an excess product.

“We go through good times and bad times and absorb some of those times with losses,” said Hooker. “That’s the nature of the business.”

NMPF representatives says they don’t expect any changes at this time which will include regional adjustments in pricing, feed costs or milk prices.

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Farm Succession

The Farm CPA: Top 10 farm succession-planning roadblocks

Many farm owners expect to pass on their pride and joy to their children, another family member or an employee. This change in ownership can fund the owner’s retirement and carry on the farm down through the generations.

Yet all farmers face roadblocks that threaten to thwart their dreams. Here is a checklist of hazards you’ll want to avoid during this process.

1. Start planning too late. Many farmers leave succession planning until the last moment—if they plan at all. Yet an ideal succession plan requires laying the groundwork over many years. How you want to leave the farm tomorrow strongly influences how you structure and operate the farm today.

2. Assume a family member will take over the business. Although many children want to farm, not all do. Talk to your children. Encourage them to work in the farm business but don’t pressure them. Know every family member’s desires as soon as practical so you can pursue other avenues, if necessary.

3. Divide the farm equally among heirs. Equal ownership among heirs is usually a recipe for disaster. Different skills and visions inevitably lead to conflict. Decide who among your heirs has the talent, desire and skills to run the farm. If an heir does not want to be involved in the farm, plan to gift that person other assets.

4. Wait too long to transfer real authority. Many farmers don’t relinquish authority until the day they retire. Then they make the painful realization their successor isn’t up to the task. Involve heirs in your relationships with vendors, employees and customers.

5. Distrust your successor. This goes along with failure to give your heir genuine authority. Although you don’t want to trust someone blindly, you shouldn’t be so suspicious that you’re constantly peering over his or her shoulder. Whether you are working with a family member or an outside party, there is always a level of risk to leadership transitions. A nonvoting advisory board is a productive way to establish a framework for communication and accountability.

6. Fail to have potential successors gain experience at another business. It is a good idea to encourage an heir to work for someone else before committing to the family farm. This can be valuable training and provide a clearer sense of whether that person ultimately wants to run the show.

7. Be secretive about your plans. Farmers often play succession plans close to their chest. This is a disservice to heirs and potentially a disaster for the farm. The sooner you can reveal your plans, the sooner everyone can get on board. It also gives you time to modify the plan, if necessary.

8. Dread your retirement years. Retirement can be difficult for farmers. Without a clear plan for retirement, you will almost inevitably drift back to the farm, meddling in how it’s being run—often to the detriment of the farm and family relations.

9. Plan on your own. Succession planning is complicated (we haven’t even discussed tax issues). Employ outside advice for an objective perspective.

10. Avoid the journey and look for a cookie-cutter process. There are no shortcuts to a successful farm transition plan. As with many journeys in life, it can be fun and fruitful for those who go with you.

 

Unique To You. From a distance, many farms might look similar. Yet like snowflakes, no two farms are alike. That’s why it’s important to create a customized plan that addresses your unique needs. Start now!

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New National FFA President is from Delaware

The year was 1969 and it proved to be an important one at the National FFA Convention in Kansas City. The delegates had voted to provide full membership privileges to women. It was also the year that Charles Postles was elected as the Eastern Region Vice President. Only two others from Delaware had ever earned the honor of serving as a National FFA Officer: S. Pennewill Isaacs (Secretary, 1941-1942) and John W. Webb, Jr. (Eastern Region Vice President, 1947-1948). Over the past 47 years, there have been many deserving candidates that have worked hard in hopes of being elected, but no one from Delaware had succeeded in being one of the top 6 selected by the National FFA Nominating Committee to serve.

Delaware’s dry spell came to an end this afternoon, when David Townsend was elected to the 2016-2017 National FFA Officer team as President at the 89th National FFA Convention & Expo. As a National Officer, David will travel more than 100,000 miles, nationally and internationally, to interact with business and industry leaders, thousands of FFA members and teachers, corporate sponsors, government and education officials, state FFA leaders, the general public and more. The team will lead personal growth and leadership training seminars for FFA members throughout the country and help set policies that will guide the future of FFA and promote agricultural literacy.

David is a 2014 graduate of Middletown High School. He was very active in their FFA chapter and Agriscience program, led by Jeff Billings and Cheryl Vest. In March 2014, David was elected as the 2014-2015 Delaware FFA State Treasurer, serving a membership of more than 10,000 students. He is currently attending University of Delaware studying Agriculture & Natural Resources and Plant Sciences.

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Farm Succession

Farm Succession Planning Education Series

Farm Succession Planning is a business and risk management practice that is critical to the
agricultural industry and to the health of families and farm businesses. These sessions will
present farmers with the knowledge to begin or continue the process of succession planning.
Families are encouraged to attend the workshop together.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 – 7pm

Farm Transfer Communication Webinar The Farm Whisperer by David
Specht
University of Delaware Paradee Center 69 Transportation Circle, Dover, DE 19901
Please arrive 15 minutes early.

For more information and to pre‐register, contact Extension agents:
Dan Severson ‐ severson@udel.edu or (302) 831-2506
Laurie Wolinski ‐ lgw@udel.edu or (302) 831-2538

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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Pre-calving immunity affects transition health and reproduction

Experiencing any one of the metabolic diseases of dairy cows, such as milk fever, ketosis, and displacement of the abomasum, is strongly associated with decreased fertility in the cow. These metabolic problems in the transition dairy cow can have a tremendous negative effect on the immune system of the cow, increasing her susceptibility to retained placenta (RP), metritis and endometritis. A strong immune system is also required if immune recognition of a conceptus is to occur so that implantation can proceed.

Research on the nature of these diseases has shown:

  • Cows with hypocalcemia (milk fever) are 3.2 times more likely to also have RP, compared to cows with no hypocalcemia. Hypocalcemia also has been linked to a higher incidence of mastitis and endometritis in postpartum cows.
  • RP has been shown as a risk factor for developing ketosis, and ketosis is a highly correlated risk factor for the development of metritis and mastitis.
  • Cows with RP, metritis and endometritis have been shown to have impaired neutrophil (white blood cell) function up to two weeks prior to calving, before lactation starts and before any bacteria can enter the uterus.
  • Similarly, levels of non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) have been shown to be elevated in cows that eventually developed metritis at least two weeks before they calved. This suggests they were mobilizing fat even before calving.

Negative energy and protein balance in the late dry period likely impairs immune function and leaves cows less equipped to manage the stress, bacterial invasion and metabolic changes that occur during calving. For example, it is likely that RP does not necessarily “cause” mastitis or metritis, but is symptomatic of a depressed immune system overall.

If we are going to reduce uterine disease, we must look back to the dry cow. To improve feed intake in the critical period around the time of calving, we must offer palatable rations in a cool, uncrowded environment with plenty of bunk space (28″ to 30″ per cow) to encourage intake. Clean maternity pens, clean obstetrical equipment when assisting calving and clean stalls can reduce exposure to bacteria; even a strong immune system can be overwhelmed by a large bacterial load in the uterus.

Feed to avoid metabolic disorders. Reducing dietary potassium in the dry cow ration and adding chloride or sulfate to the diet in a palatable form to reduce hypocalcemia improves feed intake in early lactation and helps keep white blood cells functioning. Maintain adequate fiber in dry and fresh cow diets to avoid displaced abomasum. Keep cows from getting too fat, as fat cows seem to suffer the greatest decline in feed intake prior to calving.

To read a more comprehensive summary of the author’s insights on the relationship between immunity, transition-cow immunity and reproductive performance, follow this link.

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Conservation Assistance

Delaware farmers may apply for conservation assistance

First application cutoff date date is Oct. 21
September 25, 2016

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service is now accepting applications from Delaware farmers and forest landowners who want to further enhance the sustainability of their land. Farmers can apply now for financial assistance to address natural resource concerns through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program  and Agricultural Management Assistance program. The first application cutoff date for fiscal year 2017 is Friday, Oct. 21, for both EQIP and AMA.

Assistance is available through EQIP to help farmers plan and implement conservation practices to improve soil, water, plant, animal, air and related resources on agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland. Popular practices include waste storage structures, heavy use area pads, energy, cover crops, irrigation water management and more. Delaware has also placed an emphasis on several EQIP initiatives including the Organic Initiative and High Tunnel in FY 2017 by setting aside separate funding pools for each.

In FY 2016, Delaware approved 189 EQIP contracts for a total of $7.9 million. AMA provides assistance to agricultural producers to voluntarily address issues such as water quality, water management and erosion control through identified conservation practices. These include, but are not limited to, nutrient management, cover crops, poultry windbreaks, proper manure storage, composters and conservation cover. NRCS accepts applications year-round but makes funding selections at application cut-off deadlines.

Producers with applications in before Oct. 21 will have a higher chance of application approval as funding is limited. Additional application cutoff dates are scheduled for the third Friday of each month until May 19, 2017. Eligible producers with a conservation plan for their operation receive priority for financial assistance. NRCS staff is available to help producers create conservation plans. For more information for Sussex County farmers, call 302-856-3990, Ext 3 or go to www.de.nrcs.usda.gov.

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