More than 250 farmers, nutritionists and industry professionals gathered at Lambeau Field, home field of the Green Bay Packers, on Dec. 15 to discuss dairy metrics and determine “What’s Your Score” at the Alltech Wisconsin Dairy School.

The day kicked off with a pre-conference breakfast, during which three dairy producers from around the U.S. shared their personal experiences:

  • Brent Copenhaver, owner of Villa Dale LLC, spoke on the factors that are key to successful partnerships, from getting your start in dairying to eventually owning the farm without inheriting it.

  • Karl Funk, owner of Funk’s Midway Dairy, presented on maximizing profits through herd health.

  • Steve Whitesides, owner of Whitesides Dairy in Rupert, Idaho, and Big Island Dairy in Ookala, Hawaii, compared dairy farming in the two states and the importance of focusing on feed efficiency.

Three dairyment shared insights on how they found success in dairying, Brent Copenhaver, Karl Funk and Steve Whitesides

Dr. Silvio Miranda, dairy specialist for Alltech Canada, opened the main conference, speaking on how to ensure a good start for fresh cows. He explained how ketosis, metritis, fatty liver, retained placentas and other factors can prevent fast starts and noted that producers need to identify these problems as early as possible.

“The goal is to not have a cow under 60 pounds from seven to 150 days in milk,” Miranda said.

Tom Breunig, general manager of SCR, held a discussion on the timely identification of sick cows, for example in rumination, in order to gain more confidence and greater peace of mind.


“Lack of information hurts, or what you don’t know can hurt you,” Breunig said. “Rumination is the result of what the cow has eaten and how well she has been able to rest and stay on a normal schedule.”

The afternoon kicked off with Paul Fricke from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, who spoke on the integration of reproductive programs and technology to increase fertility.

He explained that reproductive performance in a dairy herd is determined by how rapidly the reproductive management program turns open cows into pregnant cows, and that producers need to establish a reproductive program that fits their farm.

Greg Bethard, CFO of Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy and Dairy Dreams, presented on the topic “Measuring and Determining Financial Success.” He said that to remain relevant and competitive in the global dairy industry, the cost of milk production needs to continually be reduced. Metrics and data collection are therefore necessary to make decisions.

Former Green Bay Packer Nick collins talked about building a plan to achieve success

The program’s keynote speaker, former Green Bay Packers player Nick Collins, concluded the event with his presentation “Building and Revealing a Plan to Achieve Success.”  end mark

—Excerpts from Alltech press release

PHOTO 1: Paul Fricke addressed attendees on the subject of reproduction management and programs to boost fertility. Photo courtesy of Alltech.

PHOTO 2: Three dairymen from across the country shared insights on how they have found success in dairying. From left to right are Brent Copenhaver from Pennsylvania, Karl Funk from Minnesota, and Steve Whitesides from Idaho. Photo by Peggy Coffeen.

PHOTO 3: Former Green Bay Packer Nick Collins talked about building a plan to achieve success. Photo courtesy of Alltech.