Frustration to … Optimism!

Volume 39 Newsletter


Charlie & Carrie Sachs, Towerview Dairy
75 cows, 2 years with Priority IAC products

Eric Vander Kooy, Harmony Dairy
1250 cows, 9 years with Priority IAC products

Jay and Jake Hein, Nor-J Farms
120 cows, 10 years with Priority IAC products

Doug Harre, Wilra Farms, Inc.
350 cows, 12 years with Priority IAC products

Eric Breunig, KJRT Dairy
300 cows, 19 years with Priority IAC products

Charlie & Denise Bean, Rolling Spring Farm
100 cows, 5 years with Priority IAC products

Nevin L’Amoreaux, Paradise Valley Farms
400 cows, 8 years with Priority IAC products

Frustration to … Optimism!

They come Fed Up! Searching for a different way. Backed into a corner, looking for a way out.  

Producers across the country have found Priority IAC. With Smart bacteria and a simple approach to nutrition based on microbiology, Priority shifts the power back to the producer to guide their dairy.

As a proven tool, microbiology is the key component to animal health and effective nutrition. Priority has revealed Smart bacteria with specific functions that benefit nutrition and streamline nutrition.

Here are a few insights from producers using the P-One ProgramTM on MUNs, making quality feed, and the changes

they have observed. These are the direct comments/quotes from the producers.

Ration work with Priority

Charlie Sachs: Priority’s approach to me is that it’s very simple, it’s very easy. It’s not some nutritionist trying to make things difficult... I had been watching the changes from the cows since adding the P-One™ and DCP™. I had changes I wanted to make with the ration, but my nutritionist and the nutrition company didn’t want to listen to me. I’d ask to remove an expensive ingredient out of the protein, but the protein level never changed as they added more urea back in.

Eric Vander Kooy: We haven’t made a lot of changes to the ration, but we’ve seen the cows improve. The cows transition better, we have eliminated almost all of our off-feed issues, eliminated the bloody guts – P-One™ helps stabilize the rumen for us. We’re always changing feeds and we don’t see it in the cows.

Jake Hein: When we switched from a straw diet to the Priority ration, there was 23 different ingredients just in the old mineral mix. Today the Priority diet is six mineral ingredients with corn silage and hay. It’s amazing how simple it is.

Doug Harre: Since we’ve been on the P-One Program™ we’ve actually been able to lower the protein more… I see how simple it is for us that if I watch the MUNs, milk and components reports from the dairy, I can get what I want. If I need to get a little more milk, I feed a little more starch. If the butterfat is a little too low, I need a more digestible fiber source...If the MUNs are too high, I change the ratio by increasing the starch or back off the protein.

Eric Breunig: Our feed efficiency is much better on the P-One Program™ than the other nutrition approaches we tried… Nutritionists are so afraid of acidosis so they try to get the cow to make milk by feeding her protein. Whereas with the P-One™ diet, I’m not concerned about acidosis, I know we don’t have it.

Charlie Bean: On our old ration, it was very labor intense. The mix was difficult to get out of our bin. It was too much hassle and the only way to fix it was to change entirely. It was a relief in a way, I wanted to be able to work with our local mill and make things less complicated... We’ve been on it a good while now. Everything is running very smoothly now. I’m happy with it…everything just clicks. We can go with more corn silage if we are running low on hay, or more hay…it’s easy to just make a few adjustments. It’s not that complicated and it comes naturally.

Nevin L’Amoreaux: We kept seeing and hearing stories about others who were doing their rations a lot simpler…Our P-One™ philosophy is we want to make as much milk as we can, with healthy cows, and with forages we raise ourselves. We’re really eliminating many extra purchased proteins and things you don’t need to have in your ration. We are big fans of keeping it simple...Our mineral bills kept getting higher and higher. We pulled out the yeast, we pulled out the Rumensin®, we took out the urea, and we greatly reduced the bypass fat. It’s amazing how along the way, we had added so much into the ration...We used to be very dependent on a nutritionist to come in and tell us what changes to make. Now, we are asking the questions and making the decisions.

Priority impacts feed costs

Charlie Sachs: When I compared my old ration to the Priority ration, there was some savings with the P-One Program™. It wasn’t as much at the time, but as I see us moving forward with the ration changes and into new crops and forages, I know it will change even more.

Eric Vander Kooy: If people ever give me a hard time for spending the money for P-One™, I ask them what their vet costs are, let’s compare costs. I know what it costs me to make milk. For as many cows as we have, it’s a low vet bill... You can spend almost a dollar per cow on bypass fat. What is your return? I spend 17 cents a cow a day on the P-One Program™. It’s an investment, but it’s giving me a return with healthier cows.

Jay Hein: For us, using the P-One Program™ the feed cost savings is there…We know we are saving money on the P-One Program™. But everything is so much better, has progressed so dramatically, that it’s hard to believe.

Doug Harre: I see some people’s rations that have so many different ingredients their nutritionist is putting in. It’s so complicated; they are putting a little dab of this and a little dab of that. I see that and I wonder why it has to be so difficult. We are feeding half the ingredients and our ration cost is a lot less, yet we still get the production we want.

Eric Breunig: When we switched over to the Priority ration, it made our ration a lot cheaper because it fit our milk production – It was a lot easier to cash flow…The ration is pretty cheap and we’re getting a lot of milk.

Charlie Bean: The main incentive to try the Priority Ration was financially, the P-One Program™ worked in our favor. The economics on paper worked, even though in reality I questioned if it would…it’s about 50 cents a cow each day better for us. That includes the cost of P-One™, DCP™, and the TracePac Gold™ Smart Release Crystals™. When the price of milk went down, it was another reason to give this a try because the margins got tight and I felt we needed to do everything we could possibly do.

Milk production with Priority  

Charlie Sachs: Shortly after we got started, we had a warm spell, but the cows never backed off, they just kept on eating and milking. I was very impressed.

Eric Vander Kooy: Our production is really good right now. We’re really happy with all the results.

Jake Hein: We made some huge changes and it’s been a climb. I remember when I used to think a 70 lb. tank was ‘holy smokes’ I didn’t think we could do that…As we started this process with Priority, I used to think 80 lbs. a day was unachievable. Well now, I’m saying that about 90 lbs. because we are progressing so much.

Charlie Bean: I’ve always been accustomed to a 3.5-3.7% butterfat, but our daily tests in the last six months have averaged 3.9% with some occasions being as high as 4.3% - That is unreal with that level of milk!

Milk MUNs

Eric Vander Kooy: We kind of do our own thing, but they work with us. I use the nutritionist to get the protein levels right, as we shoot for a 9-10 MUN.

Jake Hein: The MUNs are 5-8, never over 8. I just don’t like them being over that knowing that’s an expense we don’t need. We ran an MUN of 5 for the longest time.

Jay Hein: It used to frustrate me so badly, when the nutritionist would come around and tell me that MUNs cannot be that low because you’ll lose pregnancies, you’ll lose milk. They’d recommend levels of 12, 15, even 18. I’ve even had a vet say an 18 MUN is healthy. But they are wrong. Its money wasted. We know it now, but it’s really hard to convince someone of that when it has been their normal for so long. But we were there, we remember.

Doug Harre: Right now our MUNs are at 8.5%, but I’m not feeding any bean meal or other protein. I’m able to work with what I have.

Charlie Bean: I’ve had the MUNs as low as four and still making good milk. We are normally around a seven to eight, but before Priority we were in the teens.

High Quality Forages

Eric Vander Kooy: We never want headed out grass. We want high digestible and high protein in it, that’s the best feed. It is the most dangerous to the cow, but it also provides the right ingredients to make milk. Our feed is getting more digestible all the time. It’s really easy to mess up the rumen with them, but we can keep them eating without those problems with P-One™.

Jake Hein: Corn silage has to be 70% moisture or above. We make our forages wetter. When we used to chop corn silage we wanted to get as much stalk as possible, now we leave 12-14 inches in the field. We’re making our hay in tighter windows, trying to get more quality out of it. We’re chopping our hay, we used to do all baleage. That’s been huge for us.

Jay Hein: Make it wet. It’s so much more fermentable when you have that kind of moisture. It’s ironic that nutritionists will tell us not to make it over 70% moisture. Yet, they cannot figure out why they have so much mold in the bags and bunkers. It’s because they are not getting a good fermentation of the crop because they don’t have the moisture.

Doug Harre: All the things made sense to me as far as needing the fiber [in the ration] to be digestible. The more moisture in it, the more digestible it’s going to be. We were already feeding that type of ration, so we didn’t have a lot of ration changes to make to reap the benefits.

Eric Breunig: We used to grow a lot of alfalfa, but the cost per ton when you factor in custom chopping at four cuttings a year comes out to be a lot. We can buy hay a lot cheaper than we can grow it ourselves. We’ve shifted towards growing forage corn and oats, double cropping a lot with oats, to get away from having to feed all the alfalfa as we once did. It would have been tough to milk as many cows as we do, with the land base growing alfalfa. It takes a lot of land with limited yields compared to the grasses we can grow now.

Charlie Bean: We’ve always tried to do the right thing, we cut the hay sooner. Cut and bale on the same day, but it doesn’t always work. We always try to put our corn silage up the best we can. They try and encourage us to get out there early to harvest, which fits into the Priority program even better to have a little wetter silage. It’s been a good thing.

Nevin L’Amoreaux: Now we can use the thought process of ‘the wetter, the better.’ With the Smart bacteria working through the fermentation process, we can take advantage of the wetter feed, versus letting it upset the gut like it did before the P-One Program™. It really does help.

Smart bacteria & rumen health

Charlie Sachs: If the cow’s rumen is healthy, she’s going to be a whole lot more productive.

Eric Vander Kooy: We were already familiar with the concept of good rumen bugs and had seen how they could make a big difference, especially in a sick cow…Pulling the rumen fluid wasn’t a preventative measure, it was reactionary as we were fixing a problem all the time. We were constantly fixing problems.

Now (with the P-One Program™) we are ahead of the game. We are preventing the problems.

Eric Breunig: In order to maximize the rumen, you have to feed the rumen bugs. With the proper feed in there, things go a lot better. We’re confident in the P-One Program™ so we can feed a lot denser diet – They’re eating less and are more efficient so they can produce more milk on less inputs.

Nevin L’Amoreaux: It’s a lot easier to give a StartUp™ Gel tube than to drench a cow. It’s amazing how you give them a StartUp™ Gel and they are quicker to get up and eat, they are quicker to get to their peak milk production, quicker to get over their problem – It’s amazing how it gets the rumen fired up. If the cow has an appetite, you can really get through issues quickly. The StartUp™ Gel really does stimulate that.

No Straw

Jake Hein: Everyone is so accustomed to straw in the diet, we’d been doing it for so many years. I’m really happy we got away from it. The Priority ration improved our herd health overall... Our old nutritionist told us we needed to add straw in the milk cow diet because we were making too good of forages…When I asked to take bean meal out instead, the response was always no.

Jay Hein: We were making really good forages. Our nutritionist had used the solution to add straw into the TMR. That was their feel good solution because we made such good forages, they didn’t know how to handle it…I think nutritionists love the straw diets because it makes them a lot of money. They can sell a lot of ingredients.

Charlie Bean: I was very hesitant because it was so much different (not feeding straw) than what anyone does and what we had been accustomed to. What we were doing before Priority wasn’t the same thinking…I’m not college-educated and I’m not into the real fine details of digestion, but Priority’s approach certainly makes sense. I had to take a leap of faith.

President’s Perspective - The Great Energy Exchange

By Richard V. Breunig, President and Founder

Nutrition is about the exchange of energy. The more energy provided, the larger the return. This is also true in relationships or even simply giving and receiving.  

My beginnings were on the family farm. From there, I was called to develop and manage one of the most recognized purebred dairies in the country, Clover Mist Farms. My focus then was on genetics where the renowned D-R-A August lineage was brought forth. A mineral mix error changed my life forever. The wreck I experienced decimated the herd, left me abandoned by trusted consultants, and mislead by others – It was a lonely position. This was one of my greatest challenges, but has turned to be the greatest part of life’s learning - A premier breeding establishment at the time, forced to save the dairy, study nutrition, and microbiology.

This background has proved to be Priority IAC’s greatest asset. As a changing paradigm, Priority is redistributing the power back to producers. It is important to Priority to give the education back as nutrition is not as complicated as it has been made to appear. Once one realizes this, there is a great comfort to running the dairy knowing the word acidosis is not the cause. The principles Priority brings forward are built on the foundation of microbiology. That there are specific strains that perform a vital role in nutrition.

the P-One Program™ is truly a grassroots movement to empower the producer. With simple nutrition concepts, Priority’s nutrition work is about simplifying the ration to make feeding cows efficient while using the best home-grown forages that help the cow flourish, bolstering cow health and production. Priority is the only company bringing the fields of microbiology and novel nutrition together for animal health; as well as providing a more cost-effective and easier approach to nutrition, now in our 20th year of service.

These simple concepts start with understanding that Smart bacteria stabilize and maintain rumen pH. Life is in the balance of pH. The ability to maintain pH has a significant impact on all performance factors of the body.  The rumen is where life for the cow flourishes; in fact, her health and wellbeing is held within the balance of a narrow pH window. Knowing the rumen pH is stable allows one to manage without the fear of acidosis. For example loose manure is typically attributed to acidosis, but if acidosis is covered or accounted for, there are other areas to consider: Is there moldy feed? Butyric acid in the forage? Fermented clover? Are the protein and MUNs too high?

Many have a difficult time evaluating the dairy correctly, putting all the blame on acidosis, a simple microbiological disorder. Feeding the P-One Program™ and the simple nutrition concepts help take the guesswork out of nutrition. This creates a simple approach to nutrition, allowing the producer to respond appropriately to the cows.

In the more than 20 years I have spent studying the role of microbiology in the World and its impacts on nutrition and wellness, I have found microbiology to be the basis of life, validated by producers who find great comfort with stability and power back in their hand to effectively manage their dairy. Priority IAC is proud to share that we do nutrition, the first to do simple nutrition through microbiology.  Priority rations are making an impact herd by herd as a farm-developed concept, family-owned company bringing this technology directly to producers.

the P-One Program™ provides Smart bacteria to stabilize and maintain pH by optimizing energy transport through efficient carbohydrate metabolism – There is a tremendous energy to it. These Smart bacteria enhance the rumen by helping with the breakdown of feed and providing nutrients that the cows need not only to survive, but to thrive.

the P-One Program™, truly remarkable products

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