Dairy producers and industry from across the country converged in Las Vegas on Dec. 8-10 for the first-ever Global Dairy Expo.

Progressive Dairy was a founding partner in this inaugural event, hosted by Cowsultants, with the purpose of featuring the latest technology and industry best practices, presented by top producers, speakers and sponsors.

The event kicked off with an evening welcome reception and then got down to business. Emcee Wyatt Smith facilitated the following two days of high-level speakers, beginning with Matt Havens. Havens’ expertise in workplace generational differences helped break down the barriers between multiple age segments and their tendencies.

From academia, Dr. Trevor DeVries, professor at the University of Guelph and Canada research chair in dairy cattle behavior and welfare, shared his research on automation in dairy cattle feeding, while Dr. Jose Santos from University of Florida discussed the implications of nutrition on reproduction. And from Michigan State University, Dr. Pamela Ruegg enlightened listeners with her prediction on the processor demands for milk quality. “This is where I see our future going: more and more pressure to produce market-ready milk,” she said.

Ruegg outlined the following goals for market-ready milk:

  • Consistent low somatic cell count (SCC) less than 150,000
  • Consistent low bacteria counts (TBC less than 5,000; LPC less than 100; coliform count less than 50; PI less than 10,000)
  • Low-risk farm practices, including limited use of antimicrobials

Industry experts also took the stage to share their on-farm findings. Among them were Dr. Blaine Nicks, The Dairy Authority; Dr. Michael DeGroot, EDGE Dairy Consulting; Dr. Mitch Hockett, STGenetics; Dr. Chris Holderman, Central Life Sciences; and Nick Jacobson, CLAAS.

Don DeJong

Some of the most powerful messages came from dairy farmers themselves, including Donald DeJong of Natural Prairie Dairy Farms. He unveiled the Varcor system, which successfully transforms cow manure into clean water and dry, organic fertilizer in order to reduce greenhouse emissions and creating a closed-loop farm system.

And the Progressive Dairy producer panels featured four more dairy producers who shared their secrets to success in specific areas of dairy management:

  • Don Bennink, North Florida Holsteins – Adaptability in an Adverse Climate
  • Jared Yousey, Sunnyside Farms, New York – Empowering People
  • Scott Blevins, Wiese Bros. Farms, Wisconsin – Managing Dried Manure Solids Bedding and Milk Quality
  • Lyle Grimm, Riverview LLP, Minnesota – Dairy Building and Construction

To hear what these top-level producers shared, subscribe to the Progressive Dairy podcast.

Progressive Dairy Editor Peggy Coffeen served as the panel moderator.

Held at Harrah’s Convention Center, attendees enjoyed the atmosphere of the city during the National Finals Rodeo. The event is planned to be Dec. 6-8, 2022, under a new name: Global Dairy Experience. end mark

PHOTO 1: Progressive Dairy hosted two panels featuring top-level dairy producers, including (from left to right) Jared Yousey, Sunnyside Farms; Lyle Grimm, Riverview LLP; and Scott Blevins, Wiese Bros. Farms. Missing from photo: Don Bennink, North Florida Holsteins. Editor Peggy Coffeen facilitated the panels.

PHOTO 2: Dairy farmer Don DeJong unveiled the system he is using at Natural Prairie Dairy Farms to turn cow manure into clean water and fertilizer. Photos courtesy of Global Dairy Expo