Technology Tuesdays: "Dairy Systems Planning and Building"

Posted: September 5, 2012

Free online workshops offer dairy producers, their employees and advisers opportunity to focus on the complete system for maximum efficiency and profitability.

Dairy producers, their employees and advisers are invited to participate in a year-long series of free online seminars aimed at increasing overall efficiency of the dairy, thereby enhancing the bottom line. Technology Tuesdays are held from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. (EDT/EST), and are available to anyone with a computer and a high speed internet connection with advance registration. The series is being sponsored by the Penn State Extension Dairy Team.

Twelve webinars are scheduled, beginning Tuesday, September 11 and concluding May 14, 2013. Each one will highlight an area of the complete dairy system, and, together, will cover the wide range of considerations to have a successful, profitable dairy operation.

Topics, dates and presenters are:

* September 11, 2012: Getting a Dairy System Plan in Place  Taking the long view for planning individual needs and management style of your operation is critical to success.  Focus will be on total area needed to site the dairy, group types and sizes to be housed and the impact of regulations on your plan. Presented by Dan McFarland and John Tyson, Penn State Extension engineers.

* October 9, 2012: What Housing Type(s) Suit Your Needs? Integrating housing type and style with milking and animal handling is critical for an efficient dairy system plan. Topics will include freestall, tie stall and bedded pack characteristics, grouping strategies, matching parlor size, animal handling and special needs animals Presented by Dan McFarland and John Tyson, Penn State Extension engineers.

* November 20, 2012: What Manure System Meets Your Needs? Developing manure handling, treatment and storage strategies are critical to the complete dairy system. Topics will include bedding type, methods for manure removal and storage, possible treatments systems and possible CAO/CAFO issues. Presented by Dr. Robert Graves, professor emeritus, Penn State Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, and Heather Smeltz, PE, Natural Resource Conservation Service agricultural engineer.

* December 11, 2012: Compost Bedded Pack Barns Learn what it takes to design and manage a successful compost bedded pack for milking cows. Topics will include area requirements, the need for aeration, and managing the composting process. Presented by Dr. Jeffrey Bewley and Dr. Joseph Taraba from the University of Kentucky.

* January 8, 2013: Youngstock Housing Needs A good youngstock raising program is essential to the continued success of any dairy operation. Topics include determining system size, group sizes, calf and heifer housing alternatives, animal treatment and management needs, designing a total system and evaluating usefulness of existing facilities.  Presented by Dr. Jud Heinrichs, professor, Penn State Department of Animal Science; Dan McFarland and John Tyson, Penn State Extension engineers.

* January 22, 2013: Using the "Team Design Approach" Learn how to put a team together to gain the best ideas from all your advisors. Also learn what the lender and others want to see in the planning process. Presented by Rob Goodling, Extension associate, Penn State Department of Animal Science.

* February 12, 2013: Milking Center Layout and Components Animal traffic and handling influences labor efficiency and milking time. Topics will include animal sorting, treatment; parlor/stall options and ventilation.  Presented by Dan McFarland and John Tyson, Penn State Extension engineers.

* February 26, 2013: Transition Cow Housing and Management  Transitioning cows from the dry period into and through early lactation has a huge impact on overall production. Learn why transition is needed, housing options, proper sizing of facilities and justifying the expense to your lender. Presented by Dr. Robert VanSaun, Penn State Extension veterinarian and John Tyson, Penn State Extension engineer.

* March 12, 2013: Animal Welfare and the Dairy Industry Learn the importance of third party evaluations and the relationship between the score, cow comfort and production. Presented by Dan McFarland and John Tyson, Penn State Extension engineers along with the Penn State Extension veterinarians.

* March 26, 2013: Feed Storage and Handling System Design  Feed is a large expense and storage and handling of that feed is critical to getting the most production out of that feed. Presenters will be announced.

* April 9, 2013: The Use of Existing Buildings  Do existing facilities fit into your dairy systems plan? What types of upgrades would be needed to make current facilities productive and how do you evaluate management and construction costs and benefits of remodeling? Presented by Dan McFarland and John Tyson, Penn State Extension engineers.

* May 14, 2013: Building Structures that Last  Building new dairy facilities is a huge investment, so what does it take to make that investment last? Discussion will include proper building loads, building material types and installation methods and suggestions. Impact of building construction on future modifications to accept changing management needs will be considered. Presented by Dan McFarland and John Tyson, Penn State Extension engineers.

Participants will need a computer with a high-speed internet connection and speakers in order to see and hear the presentations.

Registration is free, but advance registration is required. Your advance registration must be completed no later than noon of the day preceding the first session that you wish to attend. Upon registering, you will receive information about accessing the training site. You need only register for the series once to participate in as many sessions as you wish.

For those unable to participate in the live sessions, all webinars will be recorded and posted online for later viewing at

This program is eligible for the following SmartStart credits from AgChoice Farm Credit: 2-4 webinars, 1 credit; 5-6 webinars, 2 credits; 7-8 webinars, 3 credits; 9-10 webinars, 4 credits; 11-12 webinars, 5 credits.

Register online by noon the day prior to the webinar at: