Feb. 20 2024 08:42 AM

Renowned Researchers Present at Conference Sessions, Preview Stage

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Dairy producers have the opportunity to hear firsthand from some of the country’s leading dairy researchers about the work that could impact their industry and farms in the future. The 2024 Business Conference presented by the Professional Dairy Producers® (PDP) features several sessions focused on delivering the latest university research results to help producers improve animal care, production, sustainability and financial performance on their farms. In addition, the Preview Stage provides a sneak-peek at cutting edge research and the chance for producers to interact with the university faculty and graduate students.

Known as dairy’s premier educational event, the PDP Business Conference is scheduled for March 13-14, 2024, at the Kalahari Resorts in Wisconsin Dells, Wis.

One of the great things about being a dairy producer in the Midwest is our proximity to top agricultural research universities,” said JJ Pagel, dairy producer from Kewaunee, Wis., and PDP board member. “Not only does it put us in touch with some of the world’s top researchers and experts, it often affords us early access to new innovations and technologies. Like many other dairies, ours has always appreciated being able to implement new ideas to keep advancing our management protocols.”

Located inside the Hall of Ideas Equipment and Trade Show, the Preview Stage is a unique platform for dairy producers to interact with leading faculty and graduate students. With several presentations funded through the Dairy Innovation Hub, these sessions give attendees an opportunity to learn about ongoing research and projects. These 30-minute sessions include:

  • “Environmental drivers and management of agricultural water quality,” presented by Dr. Margaret Kalcic, PhD, associate professor, biological systems engineering at University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Andrew Hillman, graduate student in biological systems engineering at UW-Madison. Water quality impairment from agriculture is often disproportionate in nature, meaning a small acreage may be responsible for an outsized environmental impact due to both heterogeneity in the physical environment, such as certain soils being more susceptible to erosion, as well as the particular agricultural operations employed on a farm. This research connects hydrologic modeling with social science and policy analysis to better understand and address the disproportionate sources of elevated nutrient export from farms in the Wisconsin Driftless Area. Presented at 10:15 a.m., Wed., Mar. 13.
  • “Cover crops and manure: a partnership in conservation,” presented by Dr. Matt Ruark, PhD, professor and extension soil scientist at UW-Madison, and Tanner Judd, graduate student in soil science at UW-Madison. Manure represents a resource for crop production and soil, but also creates challenges to achieving water quality goals. Cover crops can provide solutions to these challenges, but there can be trade-offs with production. Presented at 1:30 p.m., Wed., Mar. 13.
  • “Reducing enteric methane emissions from dairy cattle,” presented by Dr. Francisco Peñagaricano, PhD, assistant professor in quantitative genomics at UW-Madison, and Dr. Guillermo Martinez Boggio, PhD, research assistant at UW-Madison. There is a critical need to develop new practices and technologies that enable a sustainable decrease in enteric methane emissions from dairy cattle. Peñagaricano and Martinez Boggio will present some of the challenges and opportunities in this field, including phenotyping, trait definition, the development of a reference population, the use of milk mid-infrared spectra as a non-invasive approach, and the manipulation of the rumen microbiome. Presented at 10:15 a.m., Thurs., Mar. 14.
  • “Unlocking the ketosis secret: leveraging rumination to enhance dairy cow health,” presented by Dr. Luciano Caixeta, DVM, PhD, associate professor of dairy production medicine at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, and Dr. Cainan Florentino, DVM, and research student in animal science at University of Minnesota. Ketosis is a common disorder that occurs in early lactation in dairy cows and has been associated with decreased milk production and cow performance, but it is apparent that some cows suffer more than others do. Rumination behavior has long been a proxy measure of cow health, and, thus, may be useful in improving our understanding of the consequences of ketosis in dairy cows and allow for more targeted treatment options. Presented at 1:00 p.m., Thurs., Mar. 14.

The two-day Business Conference will feature something for everyone on a dairy team. The 54 learning sessions in the conference are delivered in several formats, including general sessions, breakout and specialty sessions, Learning Lounges and Hands-on Hub interactive sessions. Several panel discussions will provide unique insights on timely topics from forward-thinking dairy producers from around the country. The Nexus® stage will showcase companies whose novel ideas, products and services offer innovative solutions to producers and agri-business professionals.

Simultaneous translation is available for attendees who prefer to learn in Spanish, and continuing-education unit (CEU) credits are available for select sessions through Dairy AdvanCE® (DACE), American Registry of Professional Scientists (ARPAS) and Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) Program.

Premier dairy suppliers from around the world will network and share the latest technologies and innovations in the Hall of Ideas Equipment and Trade Show. The Hall of Ideas also features space and amenities for connecting with speakers, vendors and other dairy producers during breaks, meals and other times throughout the conference.

Register today by visiting the 2024 PDP Business Conference website. Also available are the English-language flier, the Spanish-language flier, information on exhibiting and details on lodging.

Professional Dairy Producers (PDP) is the nation's largest dairy producer-led organization of its kind, focusing on producer professionalism, stakeholder engagement and unified outreach to share ideas, solutions, resources and experiences that help dairy producers succeed.