What a great kick-off to the 2011 Hoard's Dairyman Webinar Series. Yesterday's program was presented by host Mike Hutjens of the University of Illinois. Over 140 people for the inaugural live presentation, and they represented 26 U.S. States, 4 Canadian provinces, and 6 additional foreign countries. Nearly 60 percent of the attendees were dairy producers or were employed on a dairy operation, ranging in herd size from 50 to 1,800 cows.

The webinar began with introductions of Steve Larson, Hoard's Dairyman managing editor, and Mike Hutjens, University of Illinois who serves as host and presenter of "Living with today's corn costs and milk prices". Take-home messages included evaluating performance of cracked and ground corn, addition of Rumensin in the ration, and energy differences between shelled corn particle sizes. Also discussed were other feedstuffs to replace higher-cost corn and the break-even costs to make the ration switch. Corn gluten feed, wet brewers grain and distillers grain were popular choices with economic advantages. Producers were advised to check the fecal starch levels, as adjustments could lead to increased milk production. The 50-minute webinar concluded with an additional 10 minutes for questions and answers.