Keeping Your Body and Wallet Healthy with Dairy

( Pexels )

It’s delicious, it’s nutritious and it’s cheap!

Frequently described as one of “nature’s most perfect foods,” milk and other dairy products are an excellent way to add high-quality nutrition into your diet, no matter what budget you may have.

At just 25 cents per glass, milk is a nutritional bargain. Providing nine essential nutrients to nourish your body, dairy products are an excellent source of protein. According to the Food and Drug Administration, the daily value for protein is 50 grams per day. One serving of milk contains 8 grams of protein. If one were to drink three servings of milk, the recommended serving of dairy, they would consume nearly half of their daily protein. All for only 75 cents!

Slide the dot to check out just how much daily protein milk provides!

Penny for penny, no other food offers as much nutritional return as milk does for America’s families, according to Dairy Management Inc.

The average American household spends about 10 percent of their budget on food — nearly $80 a week for groceries, according to Milk Life. If consumers purchased milk each week, they would spend an estimated $628 annually. This is much lower compared to the $1,222 that would be spent on purchasing almond milk. In comparison, dairy milk would save consumers nearly $600 each year!

Ranking just behind eggs, milk is one of the most economical ways for consumers to receive high-quality protein. Providing 32 grams of protein per dollar, milk out-ranks other popular forms of protein such as chicken, tuna and ground beef, according to Milk Life.

No matter how you serve it, dairy is a great way to keep not only your body healthy but your wallet healthy, too! Need more reasons to keep dairy in your diet? Try reading:

British Cows Get Own Tinder-Style App for Breeding

Farmers swipe right on Tudder mobile app to find matches for cows. ( Tudder )

Cows and bulls searching for “moo love” now have a mobile app to help their breeders.

A U.K. farming startup introduced a Tinder-style app, called Tudder, that lets farmers find breeding matches by viewing pictures of cattle with details of their age, location and owner. Users hear a mooing sound as they swipe — right to show they’re interested or left to reject possible matches.

Hectare, which designed the app, says it “seeks to unite sheepish farm animals with their soulmates.” Selling animals using social media can speed up a process that often involves transporting animals long distances for breeding.

“Tudder is a new swipe-led matchmaking app, helping farm animals across the U.K. find breeding partners in the quest for moo love,” according to the Apple app store description.

Farmers that swipe right on an image of a particular cow — or group of cows — are directed to Hectare’s livestock-buying website, with a chance to contact the owner or make an offer. The listing website includes information on the animal’s character and any health issues.

Working Bull

Profile descriptions range from “nice big strong sorts make nice suckler cows” to “quiet well grown young bull ready to work,” and farmers can also restrict their online search by whether the animal is organic, pedigree or on a farm where tuberculosis has been detected.

Marcus Lampard, a farmer in Carmarthenshire in southwest Wales, has one pedigree beef shorthorn breeding bull listed on the app and says it’s a lot easier to sell livestock online.

“Going to market is a nuisance,” he said by telephone. “If I go to an open market with a bull, and then maybe bring it back, it shuts everything down on the farm for at least two weeks.’’

Lampard, 76, said his daughter lists the cows online for him. “At my age we think we’re quite techy, but our grandchildren think we’re hopeless,” he said.

Hectare raised over 3 million pounds ($3.9 million) from investors including government programs, author Richard Koch and tennis player Andy Murray, according to its website.

About a third of U.K. farms use Hectare’s platforms to trade livestock and cereals, Chief Executive Officer Doug Bairner said by email, after the app was described in the Sunday Times.

“Matching breeding livestock online should be even easier than matching people,” Bairner said. “Sheep breeding is similarly data driven so maybe ‘ewe-Harmony’ should be next.”

Quick Test for TMR Dry Matter

Dan Severson

University of Delaware Extension


A total mixed ration (TMR) is defined as a method of feeding cows that combines feeds formulated to a specific nutrient content into a single feed mix which contains forages, grains, protein sources, minerals vitamins and feed additives. This method of feeding has been highly adopted since the 1950’s because it allows cows to consume a nutritionally balanced meal with every bite. Feeding a TMR has both advantages and disadvantages.


The main advantage of feeding a TMR is improved feed efficiency. Each mouthful contains a balanced ration that leads to higher milk production and less metabolic upsets. In addition, the ability to use a variety of products to meet the nutritional demands of the cow allows flexibility in food sources, allowing for savings in ration building. The purchase of commodities in bulk is also often less expensive, adding further savings. Furthermore, the use of less favorable feeds can be masked by mixing all the ingredients with no reduction in feed consumption. TMR also lends itself well to mechanization.


However, the cost of equipment to implement a TMR can be a major disadvantage. Also, all cows in the group get the same ration. Individual feeding is not possible, so cows in a group should be of similar milk production, stage of lactation and body condition. Moreover, a TMR may not be economical for all herds by reason of facility design or use of pasture.


Dairy rations are formulated on a dry matter (DM) basis and the amount of each feed fed is on an as is or as fed (AF) basis. Feeding feed ingredients according to weight is only accurate if the moisture content of the feed is accounted for. Small changes in DM will change the nutrient profile of the ration. For example, a ration that is formulated to provide 25 pounds of DM per cow with corn silage at 35 percent DM. However, the actual corn silage content is 32 percent DM. This would leave the cow short on feed, resulting in a reduction in milk production and potential health problems.


As luck would have it, the DM content of feeds can be measured on the farm. The most commonly used methods of measuring DM are the Koster moisture tester or a microwave oven. However, a new quick test using a kitchen air fryer was recently demonstrated at the 2018 World Dairy Expo. This is a preferred alternative as it does not have to be watched because there is no way to accidentally start a fire. This new method also traps the fines inside the fryer enabling a more accurate DM analysis. The specifics for determining the DM of your TMR are as follows:


  • Weigh 100 grams of representative sample
  • Place the sample in the Air Fryer
  • Set the fryer to 250⁰F
  • Set a timer for 30 minutes
  • Record the weight of the dry sample
  • Calculate the DM content


To find the DM you will need to do some math – don’t worry, it is simple math. To figure out the DM content you will use the following equation:


Final Dry Weight (grams) / Initial Wet Weight (grams) X 100 = %DM


Here are the steps in determining DM of a TMR sample:


Set up your scale – set it to grams and tare to zero. Then weigh out 100 grams.





Place the sample in the air fryer basket.  Turn on your air fryer: set the temperature to 250⁰F and the timer to 30 minutes.




Record your final weight.  For this example, it was 45 grams. Now do the math to figure out the DM content.




Do you remember the equation?


Final Dry Weight (grams) / Initial Wet Weight (grams) X100 = %DM


The final dry weight for this sample is 45 grams.  Divide the 45 grams by the initial weight of 100 grams and multiply by 100 and you get 45% DM.


It is important to measure the DM content to maintain a more consistent diet and meet the needs of the animals.  The determination of DM should be used to adjust rations on a routine basis. The air fryer method is an easy way to perform DM analysis on the farm. The air fryer that was used for the DM testing was bought for less than $100 at a local box store. If your scale does not have grams, you can use ounces. There are roughly 28.35 grams in an ounce – 3.5 ounces equals 100 grams. The math equation will still be the same just change the grams to ounces. We currently have an air fryer located in the New Castle County Extension office, if you would like to try this method or you can use the Koster moisture tester located in Kent County Extension office. Feel free to contact me if interested or with any questions.


References available upon request.

Super Bowl Chunky-Style Milk Commercial Revolts Many on Ag Twitter

A Super Bowl commercial featuring a fake product called “chunky-style milk” had many people on social media gagging, but there were some farmers who were asking people to calm down. ( Mint Mobile )

While the Super Bowl was seen as a bland game lacking offense this year, there were plenty of fireworks on social media where people voiced their displeasure with an advertisement about “chunky-style milk.”

In years past agriculture has been painted with a positive light by Super Bowl advertisements. In 2014, Chevrolet talked about “Romance on the Ranch” between a Hereford bull and some heifers. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) was taken down a notch or two in 2017 with an advertisement that pointed out its funding structure that doesn’t actually help animals directly. A recent commercial receiving the highest praise was Dodge Ram’s “So God Made a Farmer” spot in 2013 featuring narration by legendary radio broadcaster Paul Harvey.

During Super Bowl LIII, the “Chunky-Style Milk” from Mint Mobile might have caused some people to have a weak stomach after eating Super Bowl snacks. The commercial featured a product called “chunky-style milk” because as the animated fox narrator says “that’s not right.” A family is sitting down to breakfast drinking “chunky-style milk because it has the wholesome chunks kids need, unlike smooth style milk.” The mother then pours a glass of the chunk filled liquid into a glass and the whole family enjoys a “beverage.”

Fighting Frostbite: Producers Provide Tips to Keep Animals Warm

Sucking the breath from our lungs and leaving the signs of harsh, the icy sting of an arctic wind on our cheeks meant winter has officially made its presence known. Although dressing in layers can sometimes be a hassle (because nobody enjoys wearing 30 lbs. of clothing to work in in below zero temperatures) it’s a necessity!

As much as we hate adding layers upon layers of clothing to our bodies, freezing temperatures combined with decreased circulation to exposed parts of the body can result in direct damage to tissue cells, also known as frostbite. The same goes for animals during these stretches of colder temperatures.

Two dairy farmers experiencing some of the coldest temperatures in history offered these tips:

Katy Brown, Wisconsin:

“We have a calf heater to get newborn (calves) dry faster. All new calves go in our old tiestall barn instead of outside in the hutches.”

Some additional tips Brown provides include:

  • Adding extra, fresh bedding.
  • Heating milk to higher temperature to prevent it from cooling down too much before calves can finish it.
  • Providing extra milk during feedings.
  • Including electrolytes to warm water to encourage them to drink more.


Emily Zweber, Minnesota:

“We try not to breed (cows to calve in) January to mid-February. Our calving pens are inside, and we only have three calves now.”

Zweber also recommends:

  • Drying off teats completely after milking.
  • Use a teat dip formulated for colder weather.
  • Consider keeping calves with their dams a little longer to make sure they are dried off.


Keeping extra calf jackets available can also be handy. In extreme situations, it may be necessary to double-up on jackets and protect areas of tissue that receive less blood flow, such as the ears. Serving as ear muffs, a pair of socks could help protect the tips of a calf’s ears, similar to the photo above.

Unfortunately, once the signs of frostbite have been observed, it’s often too late to significantly save the damaged tissue. Therefore, prevention is key!

For more on this, read:

Dairy Farmers Star in Social Media Music Video, “Talk to Me”

( Spruce Row Farm – Facebook )

Racking up nearly 60,000 views and 1,200 shares on Facebook alone, two dairy farmers have taken social media by storm after creating a parody music video titled “Talk to Me.”

Based off of Bebe Rexha and Florida Georgia Line’s hit song “Meant to Be,” the video was created by dairy farmers Jessica Peters of Meadville, Pennsylvania, and Katie Dotterer-Pyle of Union Bridge, Maryland. Both of these advocates own and operate Jersey operations and share their farm’s stories on social media.

Working together, the pair encourages people to ask farmers where their food comes from instead of browsing the internet for an answer. Using the hashtags #TalkToMe and #AskFarmersNotGoogle, the dairy team is hoping to get the conversation rolling between farmers and consumers.

“I use [the hashtag] because listen, I use Google too. Google doesn’t know everything,” says Dotterer-Pyle in an interview with AgDay’s Betsy Jibben. “Google doesn’t milk cows. Google doesn’t take care of cows, we do.”

Showcasing the role social media plays in agricultural advocacy, the video also highlights other dairy farmers who actively share their story on different social media platforms. Throughout the clip, the pair repeatedly sings:

“Cause if you like to eat, then you’ll agree there should be dialogue between you and me. If you do confide, we wouldn’t hide what we do to bring your food to you. So, won’t you talk with me, talk with me. See where this thing goes. Cause if you do, maybe you would start to see the truth more clearly.”

Foot-and-Mouth Disease Found on South Korean Dairy Forces Quarantine

A health officer checks a cattle in a farm in Gimje as a preventive measure against foot-and-mouth disease after South Korea on Monday confirmed a case of food-and-mouth at a dairy farm elsewhere in the country, South Korea, February 6, 2017.

Areas of South Korea are on quarantine after a dairy farm was found to have foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in its cow herd.

The outbreak was identified on a 120 cow dairy near the city of Anseong, which is 67.6 km (42 miles) from the capitol city of Seoul. According to a statement from the South Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs released on Jan. 28, this is first FMD outbreak identified in the country since March of last year.

Cows from the farm are being culled and to help decrease the likelihood of the disease spreading movement of livestock, including cattle and pigs, is prohibited in certain areas of the country. These regions include Gyeonggi, Chungnam, Chungbuk, Daejeon and Sejong. The halt on movement of livestock will be conducted for at least a 24 hour period ending on Jan. 29 at 8:30 pm in South Korea.

The prohibition also limits movement for livestock-related workers and vehicles. Workers and vehicles are to remain at the farm or facility.

Access and movement from the following livestock-related workplaces is limited during that time, according to the Ministry:

  • Slaughterhouses
  • Feed mills
  • Collecting yards
  • Feed dumps
  • Feed dealers
  • Manure disposal yards
  • Communal composting yards
  • Livestock manure public treatment facilities
  • Joint recycling facilities
  • Livestock transportation companies
  • Livestock related service companies
  • Livestock consulting companies
  • Compost manufacturers
  • Veterinary drugs and livestock equipment suppliers

If livestock, workers vehicles or goods are moving during the time of the announcement they are to be moved to a safe place approved by the Director of the Livestock and Livestock Bureau of the city or province.

Violations are subject to a fine of 10 million won ($8,937 USD) or less, or could result in a punishment of one year in prison.

Other Recent Outbreaks and U.S. Status

South Korea has had other outbreaks in the past few years, including a FMD outbreak on a hog farm in March of 2018. A similar case on two dairies in 2017 resulted in South Korea vaccinating all cattle in the country for FMD.

FMD is classified as a “severe, highly contagious viral disease” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). The disease causes fever and blisters on the tongue and lips, in and around the mouth, on the mammary glands, and around the hooves. FMD is seen as being a major economic hindrance to livestock production because of its ability to spread quickly. The disease was eradicated from the U.S. in 1929.

In the U.S., programs have been put in place to help secure various segments of the livestock industry. The Secure Milk Supply Plan (SMS) for Continuity of Business has been implemented by some dairy farmers to bio-secure their farms.

Also, the 2018 Farm Bill contained funding for the National Animal Disease Preparedness Program and National Animal Vaccine Bank. The bill funds $300 million for programs like a FMD vaccine bank.

Government Shutdown to End, 3-Week Funding Agreement Reached

by Jim Wiesemeyer

President Donald Trump and congressional leaders have a deal to reopen government agencies through Feb. 15, providing a temporary reprieve to federal workers who haven’t been paid in nearly a month.

Trump made an announcement from the Rose Garden today. “In a short while I will sign a bill to reopen the government for three weeks, through Feb. 15,” Trump said, noting he will ask Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to put the proposal on the floor immediately.

Congressional votes are slated later today in both the Senate and House. The House convened for a pro forma session, where stopgap legislation could be approved by unanimous consent or voice vote later today after the Senate acts.

The deal does not include border wall funding but would include a commitment to go to conference on fiscal 2019 Homeland Security appropriations, where border security money will be negotiated during the next few weeks.

The short-term continuing resolution would also ensure furloughed workers will receive back pay for time off since the shutdown began Dec. 22.

The ongoing shutdown has closed nine Cabinet departments with the exception of services considered critical to protection of human life and property, including air traffic controllers and airport security screeners. Workers performing those “excepted” tasks, totaling more than 400,000, have missed two paychecks, as have a roughly equal number of federal employees who have been furloughed for the past 35 days.

This article may be updated as additional information becomes available.

Our Incredible Vanishing Farmland

. ( American Farmland Trust )

We lose three acres of farmland in the United States every minute. You read that right. Three acres every sixty seconds.

This wakeup call comes courtesy of John Piotti, President of American Farmland Trust (AFT), who spoke about conservation and Farmland at the 2019 Trust in Food Symposium Jan. 15 and 16 in Chicago.

“Over the last 20 years, we’ve lost 31 million acres of farmland—that’s equivalent to all the farmland in Iowa. That’s over 1.5 million acres a year, or three acres every minute,” Piotti says.

This loss of farmland is roughly twice what anyone thought it was, because previous estimates ignored low-density rural development. What’s even more frightening, Piotti says, is the fact that we’re losing our best land fastest.

Now Piotti knows that some will argue these losses aren’t a big deal. Maybe we don’t need as much land as we used to because we’re more productive on the land we have, they say. Maybe vertical farms can supply our vegetables, and we can turn to labs to produce our meat. Or maybe we can just stop eating meat, wasting food and making ethanol, and the current amount of farmland will sustain us.

If these options don’t sound like reasonable solutions to you, Piotti says we need to take action now.

“Here’s what I know,” Piotti says. “I know 1.5 million acres a year represents a greater percentage than it might suggest, because much of that land is our best land—land that is most versatile, resilient and productive.  And it adds up. Losing the equivalent of all of the farmland in Iowa in 20 years is a big deal.”

And more compelling, he says, is this message: He’s not sure America can afford to lose a single acre. In fact, he’s not sure we have enough farmland today.


“Because farmland is for far more than growing food,” Piotti says. “We all know that farmland provides many essential environmental services—such as providing a home for wildlife, storing and purifying water, and sequestering carbon. Yet we also know that farming, as currently practiced, causes some environmental degradation—notably water pollution and greenhouse gases emissions.”

What that means is that we are not yet managing farmland to produce sufficient environmental benefit.  Doing so will undoubtedly require that we not grow food as intensely on every parcel of farmland. Hence the question: do we have enough farmland today?

“We need farmland not just to grow food, but to help restore our planet,” explains Piotti.

To Piotti, conservation practices are essential, but so is profitability. These two factors form an intimate connection that must be balanced to create a future for the farmers of tomorrow. An important point: profit is not a dirty word. If farmers aren’t economically stable, they can’t be the stewards our land needs. Managing the land wisely, Piotti says, requires enough farmers and ranchers who know their land intimately and can afford to do what’s right by the land.

He encourages us to ask ourselves these questions:

• How much farmland would we need if we were going to grow our food in a manner that didn’t involve any environmental degradation? How much land of what types would be needed?

• How much more farmland would be needed, managed in which way, to go beyond carbon neutral to be a carbon sink?

• How much more land will be needed as demand for food increases, and as climate change reduces the suitability of other land to grow food?

• How do these equations change when we think about American agriculture as part of a global system?

If the goal of protecting farmland is to make sure that land will always be there in the future, Piotti says, you haven’t achieved that goal if your topsoil is washing down the Mississippi River. So from the beginning, AFT has been about saving farmland both by the acre and by the inch.

“What we also recognize from the beginning is that doesn’t happen in isolation,” Piotti, says. “That only happens if you have farmers and ranchers who have the tools they need to be good stewards of the land. So at AFT, we see an inseparable trinity. It’s about the land, it’s about the farming practices, and it’s about the people who do the work. And it’s all interconnected.”

Farmers and ranchers, Piotti says, are the eyes on the ground and hands in the dirt.

Twenty years ago, AFT pioneered a study called Farming on the Edge that documented the loss of farmland in the United States for the first time. They’re pushing that groundbreaking work further with a comprehensive collection of data called Farms Under Threat that will take a deeper dive to completely map federal grazing lands and examine forest land owned by farmers as well as assess the productivity and versatility of farmland.

“With national experts, we have developed a new system for assessing the productivity versatility and resilience of farmland, using criteria that go well beyond soil types,” Piotti says. “We will be able to look at changes over time and over various hypothetical scenarios. And because all this data is linked to a national climate change model, we will be able to assess how changes in temperature and precipitation and sea level will affect farmland.”

The bottom line, Piotti says, is that we must retain enough farmland and manage it using the right practices.

“But we cannot hope to retain all the farmland we need, nor manage it wisely, without enough farmers who have adequate know-how and financial resources,” he says.

By the time you’ve finished reading this article, we’ll have nine fewer acres of land dedicated to agriculture. Scary.

AFT is known for its iconic green bumper sticker, “No Farms, No Food.” And if the current trends continue, Piotti says, the bumper sticker might require this ominous update: “No Farms, No Food, No Future.”

Delaware Ag Week 2019

Plan to attend the 2019 Delaware Ag Week at the Fairgrounds in Harrington, DE starting on 1/14.  There is plenty to see and do.  Here is a link to the Web page:

The beef session is on 1/14 at 6:00  p.m.

MD/DE hay and pasture session is on 1/15 – all day

The small ruminant session is on 1/15 starting at 6:00 p.m.

Be sure to check out the web page for accurate schedules.