SouthCentral MN – Winter Dairy Series planned

University of Minnesota Extension

Series will consist of six conversations on a variety of topics relevant to dairy farmers

University of Minnesota Extension, in collaboration with the Minnesota Dairy Initiative- SouthCentral Region, have announced the upcoming Winter Dairy Series. This series will consist of six informal conversations on a variety of topics relevant to MN dairy farmers.  Each Zoom discussion will be held from 12:30pm-1:00pm on the 2nd and 4th Fridays, starting January 8 through March 26.

Discussions are as follows:

January 8th – “Feeding for Components vs. Production – What makes sense for your farm?

  • Barry Visser – Vita Plus will lead our discussion by introducing the value of each approach to feeding dairy cows for maximum profit.  Following the presentation, participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and further discuss approaches that can be incorporated on their farms.

January 22nd – “Am I Ready for Robotic Milkers?

  • What’s the craze with robotic milkers? Learn from dairy farmers Ashley Swenson and Jim Dieball about the reasons they installed robotic milkers and keys to making them successful.

February 12th – “Bessy’s Bottom Line: How much is that cow actually making you?”

  • Joleen Hadrich will discuss feed cost per cow and opportunity cost of labor and management. We will also touch on how profit isn’t just about input management, but revenue management as well. In light of government funding this year, we will talk about which profit we should use to make decisions–the one which includes government payments or not?  

February 26th – “Finding (and keeping!) Farm Employees”

  • Dairy farms big and small sometimes struggle finding and keeping quality employees. In this discussion, UMN Extension educators and Phil Durst, Michigan State University, will talk with a couple MN farmers that have had success hiring employees.

March 12th – “Best Practices for Productive Farm Meetings”

  • Whether you’re meeting with your farm employees or holding meetings with ag professionals to create strategies for your farm, it’s important that your meetings are effective.  In this discussion, Jim Salfer and Jill Zieroth will discuss how to prepare for those meetings, how to engage everyone at the table, and how to ensure you’re accomplishing the goals you’ve set for the meeting.

March 26th – “Pre-Weaned Calf Rearing Systems and Raising Healthy Dairy Calves”

  • Dr. Brad Heins and Karen Johnson will discuss options for raising healthy dairy calves with different rearing systems. Examples from several rearing systems including automatic feeders, individual and pair-housing and raising calves with cows will be shared.

These educational discussions are free to attend. Registration is required by noon on the day before the event at All sessions will be recorded and emailed out to participants to watch at their own convenience. The event brochure is available at Please contact Adam Austing at, 320-249-5929 or Karen Johnson at, 320-484-4303 or Jill Zieroth at, 952-240-9993 for questions.

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