Dairy Days --- A “MUST ATTEND” Extension Program

Dale Thoreson, Field Specialist-Dairy/Beef/Forages; Larry Tranel, Field Specialist- Dairy/Forages; Robert Tigner, Field Specialist-Farm Management; Brian Lang, Field Agronomist -- Northeast Area; Chris Mondak, Field Specialist-Dairy -- Northwest Area

Problem Statement:

The dairy industry is constantly changing with new technologies and management practices being discovered and researched every year. Dairy farmers are looking for reliable evaluations of these concepts so that they can determine if they should adopt some of these practices in their dairy. Dairy farmers put more reliance on Extensions evaluation of technology than industries.

Programmatic Response:

We have conducted ten years of Dairy Days in from 5 to 8 locations in Northeast Iowa. At least 68 separate topics have been addressed in one-day formats. New issues such as shorter dry cow periods, kernel processing, 4 or 6 times a day milking post calving, cow friendly tie-stall dimensions, accelerated lighting in cow barns new manure handling systems, sufphur deficiency in alfalfa and Magnesium toxicity in forages were presented ahead of industry adoption.

Local and Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine veterinarians assist in the program delivery and in providing vouchers to clients that cover registration. A complete proceeding is prepared of all topics. Localized sites are found to accommodate those with transportation difficulties (non-car driving Menonite farmers) as well as expose clients to further additional dairy educational opportunities (Northeast Iowa Dairy Foundation Center).


The comprehensive 2006 program evaluation showed Dairy Days reached 21% penetration of the potential dairy audience. The survey of 3 sites in 2006 showed 65% had attended more than one Dairy Day; 10%had rebuilt frees stalls or tie stalls for more cow comfort; 10% had renovated or built a milking parlor; 20% had installed accelerated lighting in cow barns; 17.5% had implemented shorter dry periods; and 91.3% responded that they had gotten at least one idea from the years program. Roughly 15 ideas were identified.

There have been as many as 37 agri-business booths involved and as high as 137 veterinarian/agri-business vouchers turned in. Attendance has ranged from 180 to over 400 annually. Some clients have driven over 100 miles one-way to attend.

July 11, 2007
110 - Dairy

Page last updated: August 2, 2007
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu