Brought to you by UD Cooperative Extension, this webinar will prepare you for the coming baleage making season.  Learn about the practical aspects of making quality baleage for feeding ruminants.  The webinar will cover a bit on general silage fermentation and address what is baleage, the pros of baleage, challenges with baleage and tips for making good baleage.


This webinar is being conducted by Dr. Limin Kung, Jr., S. Hallock du Pont Professor of Animal Science, Dairy Nutrition and Silage Fermentation Laboratory, Department of Animal and Food Science at the University of Delaware.


This program is brought to you by the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension, a service of the UD College of Agriculture and Natural Resources – a land-grant institution.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider. If you have special needs that need to be accommodated, please contact the host two weeks prior to event.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020 at 2:00pm to 3:00pm

Virtual Event register at our website:

SBA Programs Could Become Critical for Dairy Farmers

By: Anna-Lisa Laca

President Trump signed Congress’ latest coronavirus aid package which replenishes new small business loan programs that were overwhelmed by demand when they were first offered earlier this month as part of the CARES Act.

The new package includes $250 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which allows qualified banks to offer low interest loans that later can be forgiven and $60 billion for economic injury disaster loans (EIDL). Importantly, this bills makes farmers eligible for the EIDL program.

“It’s projected that these funds are going to run out within 36 hours of them being released by the SBA which should happen relatively soon after this bill becomes law,” said Claudia Larson, government relations director at the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF). “The second part of why this bill is important to dairy is because this bill makes technical changes to both programs, which will hopefully help our dairy farmers overcome some of the obstacles that have been preventing them from accessing this important funding, up until this point.”

The bill passed this week includes special reserved funds for lending institutions that tend to be more prominent in rural areas like community banks and credit unions, she said in a podcast produced by NMPF.

How to apply for SBA programs:

  1. Talk to an existing lender to see if they have access to PPP funds, Larson says.
  2. If they don’t, Larson says you should identify a lender who has access to those funds.
  3. The next step is preparing your application which the lending institution can help with. Most of the documentation necessary revolves around showing payroll expenses. 2019 tax filings are ideal, Larson says.
  4. For the EIDL program you apply directly through SBA on their website. It’s expected to take less than two hours to complete the application.

Why Are There Still Limits On Dairy Products?

Jim Dickrell

The reason for the continued limits is primarily logistical, says Wisconsin Agriculture Interim Secretary Randy Romanski.

  1. Processing and storage capacity. Dairy processing plants can only produce a certain amount of product based on their plant layout and production lines, even if they run 24/7. Bottlenecks can be created if there are backups due to a reduced work force because of illness or line capacity limits.
  2. Availability of trucks. The number of trucks and truck drivers is finite, but there is an increase demand for products. Again, there can be bottlenecks as trucking firms try to meet the increase in demand.
  3. Hoarding. Milk and dairy products are normally high-demand products, and hoarding only worsens the problem. Milk is typically in 94% of households normally, and other dairy products are in 99% of households. If shoppers buy 5 to 10 gallons on weekend, it’s difficult for stores to quickly restock under normal delivery schedules.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has teamed up with Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin (DFW), the state’s dairy checkoff program, to address supply shortages in stores and remove limits on products where appropriate.

“DFW and DATCP are deeply engaged with the grocery network and supply chain across [Wisconsin],” says Chad Vincent, DFW CEO. “While we can’t lobby or influence the price of milk and dairy sold, we serve as the voice of farmers and have heard their requests. As a result, we have been on the phone asking individual retailers to lift purchasing limits for dairy.”

If you see limits being placed on milk and dairy products, Romanksi and Vincent urge dairy farmers to ask to speak to store or department managers to understand why the limits are still in place. If appropriate, respectfully ask they be removed, they say.

In Wisconsin, if speaking to the manager doesn’t resolve the issue, take a photo of the sign, along with the location of the store and the date along with your contact information and submit to the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin website at

Despite Occasionally Empty Shelves, There’s Not A Milk Shortage

Coady says DFA is still seeing retail customers increase fluid milk orders, and the cooperative is running extra shifts in their plants to help prevent a similar issue this week. Still, milk logistics are more complicated than most think.  ( Wyatt Bechtel )

Social media is full of photos of empty dairy cases in grocery stores. Maybe you’ve even seen stores sold out of milk yourself or have had members of your community ask about the problem. While it can be frustrating, it’s important to assure consumers there is not a milk shortage.

“Dairy supplies aren’t experiencing production interruptions at this time, and dairy farmers and processors will continue to do what they do best: produce safe, quality products every day for consumers in the U.S. and worldwide,” said the National Milk Producers Federation in a statement. “We will vigilantly work with all aspects of the dairy supply chain to ensure these products get to everyone who needs them and that — as has always been true — dairy will remain something consumers can count on.”

If there aren’t production interruptions, what’s causing the empty shelves and consumer frustration? The short answer: logistics.

A grocery store places their weekly order with the plant. The store might run out because of increased consumer demand as we’ve seen recently, explains Kristen Coady of Dairy Farmers of America. Once they run out, they place another order with the plant. Then the plant has to fill that order.

“There were isolated occasions when demand at stores was outpacing what the ability to process and deliver the product ,” she explains. “It’s almost like the snowstorm effect: Everyone goes out and buys milk or bread and then the store runs out for a short time.”

Coady says DFA is still seeing retail customers increase fluid milk orders, and the cooperative is running extra shifts in their plants to help prevent a similar issue this week. Still, milk logistics are more complicated than most think.

“To address the spike in demand, we’re having to shift raw milk supply that might have been going to a powder plant, for example, to a fluid milk plant,” she says.

Fluid milk and several varieties of cheese freeze well, says Lisa McComb with Dairy Management Inc. If your local grocery store keeps running low, it might be worth it to purchase extra and freeze it for later use.

Lift Limits on Saturated Fats in Health Guidelines, Urge Scientists

|  By: Jim Dickrell

The United States Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are being urged to lift limits on saturated fats in their upcoming 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

The request comes from 10 top nutrition scientists from the United States, Canada and Denmark. Three of these scientists include former members of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.

“We conclude there is no strong scientific evidence that the current population-wide upper limits on commonly consumed saturated fats in the United States will prevent cardiovascular disease or reduce mortality,” say the scientists. “A continued limit on these fats is therefore not justified.”

They also note that there is evidence that saturated-fat intake may be associated with a lower risk of experiencing a stroke.

Cary Frye, senior vice president of regulatory affairs for the International Dairy Foods Association also notes: “While [higher fat versions of dairy products] do have higher levels of saturated fat than low-fat versions, a growing body of evidence indicates that consumption of full-fat dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt is not associated with higher risk of negative health outcomes, including obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

“Moreover, a summary of multiple studies of full-fat dairy foods found that the evidence showed no association with high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes. Some of the studies reviewed showed full-fat dairy was associated with lower risk of obesity.”

Borden Becomes Second Big U.S. Milk Producer to File for Bankruptcy

A Borden truck bearing the updated logo featuring spokescow Elsie and the company’s motto “Glass half full since 1857.” ( Borden )

(Bloomberg) — Borden Dairy Co. filed for bankruptcy, becoming the second major U.S. milk seller to do so in two months as competitive pressures, declining consumption and falling profits made its debt load unsustainable.

Known for its mascot Elsie the Cow, the Dallas-based company listed assets and liabilities of between $100 million and $500 million in its Chapter 11 filing in Delaware. The company, founded more than 160 years ago, said in a statement that normal operations will continue while it works out a recovery plan.

A boom in dairy alternatives like soy, rice and nut milk, along with rising prices for raw milk have put the squeeze on Borden, Chief Financial Officer Jason Monaco said in court papers. Added pressure came from retailers investing in their own low-cost dairy products.

“While milk remains a household item in the United States, people are simply drinking less of it,” Monaco said. “In parallel, since the turn of the century, the number of U.S. dairy farms has rapidly declined.”
Higher Costs

That’s choking supply, with the price of raw milk up 27% since January 2019 and expected to rise more, even as retail prices and margins are dropping, court papers show. The same trends helped drive Borden’s larger rival, Dean Foods Co., to file for bankruptcy on Nov. 12.

Private equity firm ACON Investments LLC and affiliates acquired Borden in 2017 and the company received debt facilities from GSO Capital Partners and PNC Bank, according to a statement at the time.

Affiliates of KKR Credit Advisors US LLC and Franklin Square Holdings LP now hold $175 million of Borden debt in the form of a term loan, while PNC holds a $30 million term loan and a $75 million revolving loan.

“Borden is Ebitda-positive and growing, but we must achieve a more viable capital structure,” Chief Executive Officer Tony Sarsam said in a statement, referring to the widely followed profit measure of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. “This reorganization will strengthen our position for future prosperity.”
Liquidity Needed

Borden reported a net loss of $42.4 million for 2019 through Dec. 7, widening from 2018’s $14.6 million deficit on net sales of $1.18 billion.

To continue operating in bankruptcy, Borden needs to tap an account containing $26.6 million that it established in 2017 to pay for a settlement with two pension funds, Monaco said.

Borden has more than 3,200 employees, about 22% of whom are unionized, Monaco said. The firm retained Conway MacKenzie Inc. for financial advice.

The case is Borden Dairy Co., 20-10010-CSS, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware

New Website for REAL Seal Helps Consumers Sort Authentic from Fake

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) unveiled a completely redesigned website for its REAL Seal program, helping consumers find brands that feature the REAL Seal and use only authentic, real milk.

“NMPF continues to battle the misuse of dairy terms by plant-based products that seek to copy every aspect of real dairy, apart from nutrition,” says Jim Mulhern, NMPF president and CEO. “The REAL Seal allows us to work with food marketers to apply a simple, highly recognizable icon on their products to help consumers separate the real from the fake.”

The new website will educate consumers about how real dairy foods compare to imitators, and it will help find certified brands and products displaying the REAL Seal. And it will help companies using the REAL Seal to market their products.

“The dairy sector’s use of the REAL Seal , more than 40 years after it was created, is our ongoing commitment to help people define what’s real in the dairy case when they go shopping,” says Mulhern. “As people increasingly turn to online sources for their information about their shopping options, this new site is an important part of that mission.”

To go to the Real Seal’s new website, click here.

A Dairy Christmas

It was the night before Christmas Down on the farm

The farmer was checking the cows in the barn

Making sure they were warm and snug

And no one had the winter dysentery bug

The smell of silage was in the air

Soon a fresh TMR will be there

The farmer wearing his bibs and hat

The calves all taking their nightly nap

When in the milk house there arouse such a clatter

The farmer dashed through the parlor to see what was the matter

But what in his eyes did appear

The milk truck driver was just there

On the milk tank there was a letter

That simply read

May next year will be better

For without you there would be no milk for Santa

And that would be a tragic dilemma

Merry Christmas

Don’t Miss 2020 Dairy Margin Coverage Program Enrollment

In 2019, USDA has paid farmers more than $300 million in DMC payments. ( USDA )

Enrollment for the 2020 Dairy Margin Coverage program ends December 13.

While the prospects for higher milk prices next year appear promising, analysts agree anything can happen.

“Dairy producers should definitely consider coverage for 2020 as even the slightest drop in margin can trigger payments,” says Bill Northey, USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “Dairy producers should consider enrolling in DMC to guard against what has been, for several years, an extremely unforgiving market.”

In 2019, USDA has paid farmers more than $300 million in DMC payments.

The 2020 DMC enrollment reported by individual states as of November 25, 2019 shows 4,015 or 14.84% of the 27,059 dairy farms with established production history are enrolled in the program.

For those who haven’t enrolled, USDA’s DMC decision tool was designed in partnership with the university of Wisconsin to help producers determine the level of coverage under a variety of conditions that will provide them with the strongest financial safety net. Use the decision tool, here.

To learn more about the program and to enroll, visit your local FSA office or click here.

Baled Corn Stalks Offer Another Feed Option

As winter approaches, some producers are questioning if their hay inventories will last until spring. Cornstalks can extend hay inventories, but their use comes with some important considerations.

“Residual corn left in the field is not going to be captured in the bales, which lowers the feeding value compared to grazing the field,” notes Jeff Lehmkuhler, University of Kentucky extension beef specialist.

The best forage quality from the corn crop residues is in the leaves and husks, he says. The cobs and stalks are lower in digestibility with protein concentration ranging from only 3 to 6 percent, which is too low to meet the needs of cattle. The highest quality forage portions of corn crop residues are the leaves and husks.

Lehmkuhler explains that energy levels in cornstalk bales vary depending on the stalk to leaf ratio within the bale. Typical ranges are from 48 to 58 percent. Additionally, the high moisture levels of the stalks make baling and storing corn residue more difficult.

Feeding cornstalk bales can result in high levels of waste, according to Lehmkuhler. Cattle will pick through a bale, eating the leaves and husks while leaving behind the stalks. For this reason, the best way to utilize corn crop residues for feed is having the bales processed or by flail chopping the residue in the field to improve drying. Processed bales can be fed in a total mixed ration or along a feedbunk.

The extension specialist recommends feeding baled corn residues to dry, mid-gestation cows, remembering to supplement nutrients to meet diet requirements. Cattle fed cornstalks should be in good body condition and not be experiencing any environmental stresses, such as cold and mud. Environmental stresses on cattle will require additional supplementation.

Lehmkuhler offers an example diet for a mid-gestation cow of 15 pounds of cornstalks, 1.5 gallons of condensed distillers solubles (distillers syrup), and 2 pounds of soybean hulls plus minerals to meet requirements.

“Significant energy and protein supplementation are needed for lactating, fall-calving cows,” Lehmkuhler notes. “Producers should work with a nutritionist to ensure nutrient needs are being met.”

Lehmkuhler recommends hay for lactating cows, but he notes that cornstalks may be worked into the diet to stretch hay supplies with proper supplementation.

To extend hay inventories, feeding cornstalk bales is a reasonable option. Remember to work with a nutritionist to meet all nutritional requirements and supplement as needed. Lehmkuhler advises to not overpay for cornstalks since supplements, along with additional feed costs, will often be needed.