Annual Cow College features forage, feeding strategies for area dairies

By David Wilhelms Correspondent

CLINTONVILLE — Registration is open for the 58th annual Cow College, presented by the UW-Extension and held at the Fox Valley Technical College regional center, 525 S. Main St., Clintonville.

Cow College is an annual educational program to connect dairy farmers and industry representatives with resources from the UW System. It will be held the first three Tuesdays in January. The first two sessions will take place at FVTC. The final program includes a farm tour.

The first session, 1-3 p.m. Jan. 7, will feature Dr. Matt Akins, a UW-Madison Extension dairy nutrition specialist. Akins will talk about how to use alternative forages, such as small grains, sorghum and Sudan grass, to replace alfalfa as a primary feed source. Clintonville native Dr. Zach Sawall, a Vita Plus dairy nutrition specialist, will also talk about how to maximize milk components using dairy nutrition and feeding strategies to boost profitability.

On Jan. 14, Dr. Paul Fricke, a dairy reproductive specialist with the UW-Madison Extension, will discuss his research on ways to get high-producing cows bred back on time. Jim Livingston, Diamond-V dairy team regional manager, and Kimberly Schmidt, UW-Madison Extension agricultural educator for Shawano County, will also review how on-farm real-time TMR mixer evaluations along with monitoring dairy cow feeding behaviors can improve production while saving money. That day’s session will also run 1-3 p.m.

The final session will run from 10:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan 21 and will include a tour of Fietzers Dairy Farm, E8276 County Highway N, Manawa, followed by a tour of Clinton Farms, E8351 State Hwy 22, Bear Creek.

Fietzers features a 2016 Lely robotic milking system in a six-row natural ventilated barn with 360 cows. Clinton Farms features a 50-cow Waikato rotary parlor with holding area for 250 cows and a six-row tunnel ventilated barn.

GreenStone Farm Credit Service will sponsor a lunch at FVTC center. Robert Netrefa from GreenStone will discuss opportunities for using Dairy Revenue Protection Insurance to help protect improved milk prices.

The cost is $5 per session or $10 for all three sessions. Advance registration is required by contacting Schmidt at 715-526-6136 or