Dairy Days 2024 to help producers answer the question, “Is raising too many heifers diminishing your profits?”

Local Dairy Day is Jan. 30 at the Dordt University Ag Stewardship Center near Sioux Center

ORANGE CITY, Iowa – “How many heifers do I need and what are they costing to raise?” are two topics Iowa dairy producers will hear about during the 2024 Dairy Days in January.

Local producers can hear about this topic and more on Jan. 30 at the Northwest Iowa Dairy Day.

“Dr. Larry Tranel is the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach dairy specialist in Northeast Iowa,” said Fred Hall, local dairy specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach. “He is among the presenters for this year’s Dairy Days. Tranel will focus on three issues that can affect producer profitability and give producers tools that can help in their decision-making process.”

According to Hall, Tranel will discuss that the cost of raising heifers is higher than sale value so unless genetic value to farm compensates the difference, raising more than a small percentage extra probably decreases farm profits.

Tranel will share some helpful ISU Extension and Outreach dairy budgets that can be used to give a good indication of heifer raising costs. He will also discuss how creating value from predetermined breeding decisions can be beneficial – breeding genetically inferior cows to beef semen to increase calf value.

“With nearly 25 percent of a dairy’s production costs associated with raising heifer replacements, optimizing growth and health is important to every dairy operation,” Hall said. “We anticipate great discussion and learning during this year’s Dairy Days.”

Dairy Days will be offered Jan. 16 in Elma at Innovative Ag Service; Jan. 18 in Elkader at Johnson’s Restaurant; Jan. 23 in Kalona at the Kalona Chamber of Commerce; Jan. 25 in New Vienna at the New Vienna Community Center; and Jan. 30 at the Dordt University Ag Stewardship Center 3648 US-75, Sioux Center. Check-in for all events starts at 9:45 a.m. and the program will conclude by 2:30 p.m.

The day-long event has been developed to help dairy producers learn about current best practices supported by the latest research. All the topics will help producers make sound heifer management decisions.

In addition to Tranel, Dairy Days 2024 topics and presenters include:

  1. “Dairy Best Heifer: Lessons Learned and Path Forward” – Dr. Gail Carpenter, ISU
  2. “Decision Tools for Heifer Inventory Management” – Greg Palas, DRMS
  3. “Starting Your Calves on the Right Hoof” – Dr. Jardon/Jennifer Bentley, ISU

There is no cost to attend any of the Dairy Days. However, registration is encouraged to plan for noon meal and proceedings. Local sponsors will be recognized at each event.

Pre-registration is requested by the Friday before each event to reserve a meal. Register online at https://go.iastate.edu/2024DAIRYDAYS.

For more information, contact the ISU Extension and Outreach Dairy Field Specialist in your area: in Northwest Iowa, Fred M. Hall, 712-737-4230 or fredhall@iastate.edu; in Northeast Iowa, Jennifer Bentley, 563-382-2949 or jbentley@iastate.edu; in East Central Iowa, Larry Tranel, 563-583-6496 or tranel@iastate.edu; in Ames, Dr. Gail Carpenter, 515-294-9085 or ajcarpen@iastate.edu.

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