Short Courses

The short courses have limited enrollment and require an additional fee.

Registration is based on a first-come-first-served basis. The deadline for short course registration is January 19. Registrations may be accepted after the deadline (at the meeting) – only if space is available. Courses may fill up before the deadline, so early registration is recommended. To sign up for a short course, you must also register for the general session. Payment must accompany registration.

Registering online will give you the best chance of being enrolled in a short course.

Course 1: Behold the Powers of Observation: Expanding Your Milk Quality Toolbox with ‘Boots on the Ground’ Observational Skills

Date and time: Wednesday, January 31, 11:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Class size limit: 20 • Fee: $250 (includes box lunch)
Level: All skill levels are welcome, but those participants with intermediate to advanced skill levels may get more out of the course.

Intended audience: Anyone with a role in the global dairy business can benefit from the training

Instructors: Brandon Treichler, Select Milk Producers, Canyon, Texas, USA; and David Reid, Rocky Ridge Dairy Consulting LLC, Hazel Green, Wisconsin, USA

This course is designed to provide participants with a real-life milk quality consulting experience. Course participants will be split into two consulting teams. Each team will be provided with background history of the dairy, current milk quality scenario, as well as management’s goals. Each team will determine and prioritize what tests or diagnostics they want to run, what observations they need to make on the dairy and then analyze these results. Each team will also be allotted time to talk with the dairy management to ask specific questions. The teams will then develop an action plan for the dairy and make a group presentation to the dairy manager. Both teams will debrief with the instructors and walk through the case scenario together.

This course will focus on practical consulting concepts that can go beyond milk quality. Areas such as planning and prioritizing your visit, developing a strategy, understanding and analyzing milk quality data, troubleshooting concepts, structuring an interview and presentation skills will be emphasized. The course will not focus on any equipment testing or facility observation, as much as it will on determining and selecting which tests to run and observations to make.


  • Diagnostic interview skills
  • Prioritization
  • Critical thinking
  • Planning and strategizing
  • Collaborative teamwork

Course 2: NMC Procedures for Evaluating Vacuum Levels and Air Flow I

Date and time: Wednesday, January 31, 12:30-4:30 p.m.
Class size limit: 30 • Fee: $175 • Level: Beginner to intermediate

Intended audience: New employees of milking equipment dealers, college students, international attendees, dairy producers, milking parlor managers, allied industry professionals (extension specialists, pharmaceutical representatives and genetic specialists, dairy chemical/cleaning suppliers), and any individual wanting to learn the basics of how a milking system is designed and works

Instructors: Roger Thomson, MQ-IQ Consulting, Battle Creek, Michigan, USA; and Paul Peetz, Milk-Rite Interpuls, Kings Corner, Wisconsin, USA

This course is designed to explain how a milking system works and learn the names of milking system parts. A video will provide a walk-through of a modern milking parlor, helping to reinforce part names and system design. Participants will gain hands-on experience through a variety of workstations that feature basic milking system parts (claws, shells, liners, pulsators, milk hoses, flow sensors, meters) and installation of vacuum test ports. Participants will be put in small groups based on their experience level, each with their own coach. Each group will be guided through the basics of how to use vacuum testing equipment, how to perform system and claw vacuum analysis, and how to graph pulsators; and as an entire class, how to perform an NMC Unit Falloff Test. The Teaching Parlor will be used for all of the hands-on testing. At the end of this session, the Teaching Parlor will be placed in wash mode and participants will observe slug formation and travel through the clear PVC milk line.


  • Milking systems parts and functions
  • Testing vacuum equipment
  • Claw vacuum analysis
  • Graph pulsators

Course 3: Analyzing Individual Cow and Herd SCC Data Using DHIA and PCDART Tools to Determine Udder Health Levels

Date and time: Wednesday, January 31, 12:30-4:30 p.m.
Class size limit: 20 (laptops required) • Fee: $175 • Level: Intermediate/Advanced

Intended audience: Udder health consultants who work with dairy producers and mastitis researchers interested in large volumes of SCC data analysis

Instructors: Kasim Ingawa, Dairy Records Management Systems and North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; and Richard Wallace, Zoetis, McFarland, Wisconsin, USA

This course will provide participants the opportunity to examine, analyze and interpret several DHI (Dairy Herd Improvement) reports generated from large volumes of SCC data that are typically used by consultants and dairy producers to make daily decisions on udder health of individual cows, groups of cows or the whole herd. Participants will also work with SCC data from PCDART case study herds and create reports and graphs to determine udder health condition of cows in different stages of lactation, groups of cows or the entire herd. Required knowledge includes basic understanding of PCDART, how to create user-defined reports and how to generate PCDART graphs. Please install all Windows Operating System updates before arriving to class. The latest PCDART program version and case study herd data will be installed during class.


  • Analyze DHI reports generated from SCC data
  • Management decisions based on udder health reports
  • PCDART case study herds

Course 4: Managing Large Dairies: The Consultant’s Role

Date and time: Wednesday, January 31, 12:30-3:30 p.m.
Class size limit: 30 • Fee: $125 • Level: Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced

Intended audience: Those advising and consulting on milk quality and health-related issues on large dairy enterprises

Instructor: Tom Fuhrmann, DairyWorks, Tempe, Arizona, USA

Dairy consultants can provide invaluable information for large dairy owners and managers. Possessing technical expertise doesn’t guarantee success for the client or the consultant. First, the consultant needs to be positioned and available to the client. Second, the consultant’s recommendations should be appropriate and specific to the dairy manager’s needs. Finally, the recommendations need to be practically implementable. Management strategy implementation may also be a limiting factor; many dairy owners/managers struggle to modify their approach when new concepts are recommended.

This interactive seminar will clarify the three-point definition of management and describe a five-step implementation plan. Practical examples of management strategy implementation for dairies will be used throughout the seminar with special emphasis on the consultant’s role to improve milking parlor management. This seminar will not focus on technical aspects of milk quality; rather, it will build on the presenter’s experience regarding how consultants impact management through their recommendations. By the end of the seminar, participants will be able to better evaluate management deficiencies that exist on clients’/customers’ dairy operations and re-evaluate the roles they or their companies can play by providing service or products to dairy managers.


  • Management principles specific for large dairy enterprises
  • Challenges dairy owners/managers experience when implementing management strategies
  • Role and opportunities for consultants regarding management improvement for their clients/customers

Course 5: Fun with Math: Economic Decision Support for Mastitis Management

Date and time: Wednesday, January 31, 12:30-3:30 p.m.
Class size limit: 30 • Fee: $125 • Level: Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced

Intended audience: Dairy farm advisors and consultants

Instructors: Jeffrey Bewley; Derek Nolan, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA; and Henk Hogeveen and Tariq Halasa, Wageningen University, Wageningen, the Netherlands

Instructors will discuss how to calculate the costs of mastitis and how to help dairy producers make more economically based decisions relative to mastitis prevention, treatment and management.


  • Mastitis cost calculations
  • Mastitis management decisions based on economics
  • Economics regarding mastitis prevention, treatment and control

Course 6: Food Armor: Judicious Antibiotic Use, It’s Easier Than You Think

Date and time: Wednesday, January 31, 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Class size limit: 30 • Fee: $125 Level: Intermediate

Intended audience: Dairy producers or managers, veterinarians and other dairy industry professionals who consult on clinical mastitis management programs for dairy farms

Instructor: Katie Mrdutt, Food Armor Foundation, Madison, Wisconsin, USA

The Food Armor® HACCP for Proper Drug Use Program is a nationally recognized, voluntary, verifiable food safety program for the U.S. dairy industry. Proper implementation of a HACCP plan for proper drug use will ensure food safety, as well as transparency and accountability for judicious drug use customized for individual dairy farms. This comprehensive program is action plan oriented, defining VCPR responsibilities, drugs used specific to the individual farm, treatment protocols used, SOPs followed, records kept and oversight of drug usage.

The program concepts apply for all drugs used on dairies, regardless of disease condition, but this short course will focus on how to apply Food Armor concepts specific to clinical mastitis.

With stewardship of antibiotics being a front-and-center topic in the dairy industry, everyone who has a role or interest in residue prevention and appropriate drug use needs to be involved in these discussions.


  • Food safety
  • Responsible and judicious drug use
  • VCPR
  • Clinical mastitis

Course 7: NMC Procedures for Evaluating Vacuum Levels and Air Flow II

Date and time: Wednesday, January 31, 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Class size limit: 24 • Fee: $125 • Level: Intermediate to advanced

Intended audience: Individuals who are regularly performing milking system evaluations but have never been trained on how to use the NMC Procedures for Evaluating Vacuum Levels and Air Flow. International attendees who want to perform the NMC airflow analysis correctly and completely. Those participating in Short Course 2 held Wednesday afternoon can register for this short course to take their knowledge and skills to the next level. If you considered yourself a “Beginner” in Short Course 2, this course will overwhelm you. It is advised that you take this course after some field experience on your own or with a mentor.

Instructors: Roger Thomson, MQ-IQ Consulting, Battle Creek, Michigan, USA; David Reid, Rocky Ridge Dairy Consulting LLC, Hazel Green, Wisconsin, USA; and Paul Peetz, Milk-Rite Interpuls, Kings Corner, Wisconsin, USA

Participants will have bench time to perform pulsator rebuilding, test port installation, flow sensor/meter design and rebuilding, conduct liner “touch point” measurements and measure over pressures. The Teaching Parlor allows participants to perform hands-on measurements of vacuum levels, pulsators, unit falloff, over pressures and claw vacuums during milking, and gain an understanding regarding the importance of milk’s pathway. Participants will completely fill out the NMC Milking System Evaluation Form in small teams, with an instructor/mentor for each team. The entire class will perform Effective and Manual Reserve Tests using an airflow meter. Additionally, participants will evaluate a milking system for washing and the measurement and analysis of water quantity, circulation and a slug.


  • Pulsator rebuilding, test port installation, flow sensor/meter design
  • Liner “touch point” measurements
  • Effective and manual reserve tests
  • Hands-on measurements of vacuum levels, pulsators, unit falloff, etc.
  • NMC Milking System Evaluation form

Course 8: Teat Condition: Identifying a Problem by Examining the Symptoms

Date and time: Wednesday, January 31, 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Class size limit: 50 • Fee: $125 • Level: Intermediate

Intended audience: Veterinarians, consultants, dairy professionals, dairy farmers and anyone with a burning interest in teat health

Instructors: Ian Ohnstad, The Dairy Group, Taunton, Somerset, United Kingdom; John Penry, Anexa FVC, Cognosco; Tom Hemling, TCH Animal Health, Belton, Missouri, USA; Eric Hillerton, Massey University, Cambridge, New Zealand; and Mario Lopez, DeLaval, Kansas City, Missouri, USA

This course provides a comprehensive outline of the relationship between teat health and mastitis management. The course will show a range of teat conditions, their causes and importance, allow identification, suggest rectification and provide guidance on the practicalities of assessing various teat conditions.

The relationship between teat condition and machine milking will also be examined, with a comprehensive summary of some of the latest research on liners and teat health.


  • Teat health and mastitis management
  • Teat conditions, assessment and suggested rectification
  • Milk liner research

Course 9: Why Heat Stress is Still Such a Hot Topic

Date and time: Wednesday, January 31, 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Class size limit: 50 • Fee: $125
Level: Beginner

Intended audience: Dairy producers, veterinarians and industry representatives

Instructors: Amanda Stone and Mauricio Xavier, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, Mississippi, USA

Heat stress is not a new topic of discussion within the dairy industry, but it remains a common and important one. Heat stress decreases feed intake and milk production, decreases milk components, such as fat, lowers breeding success and compromises the immune system, which can increase the risk of multiple diseases, including mastitis.

Although dairy producers forced to deal with extreme heat and humidity for prolonged periods sometimes perceive heat stress as uncontrollable, that is not actually the case. This short course will examine ways for producers to improve heat stress management to improve milk and solids production, animal welfare and milk quality. This will be done by: 1) understanding how, when and why heat stress occurs; and 2) exploring ways to mitigate the problem, regardless of how many cows are on the farm and how they are housed.

This course will describe current research on the physiology and behavioral aspects of heat stress, heat stress abatement techniques and ongoing research from Mississippi State University involving the use of center pivots as heat stress abatement in pasture herds. At the end of the course, participants should better understand what we already know about heat stress and how we can minimize it – but participants should also come away with the understanding that there is still so much to learn in this area as we discuss the gaps in scientific knowledge and differences in experiences.


  • Heat stress abatement techniques
  • Benefits of mitigating heat stress
  • Animal welfare and milk quality

Course 10: Milk Bugs Like It Raw: Basic Milk Bacteriology for Professionals

Date and time: Friday, February 2, 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Class size limit: 50 • Fee: $125 • Level: Beginner/Intermediate

Intended audience: Dairy producers, herd managers, quality assurance technicians and anyone interested in understanding basic milk microflora and how microbes affect milk quality from farm to plant

Instructor: Raquel R. Vigueria, Arizona DHIA, Tempe, Arizona, USA

The course provides a straightforward approach to the scientific language of raw milk quality from a microbiological perspective. This course’s purpose is to bridge plant administrative quality requirements and farm quality demands. The course brings to light the synergistic relationship between science fundamentals and real-life dairy experiences.

Course material covers the scientific vocabulary of biology and microbiology that apply to quality standards. Information includes a fundamental background of microbial groups and how these groups are linked to troubleshooting directives. Next, the course covers how to use quality lab tools to achieve cost-efficient and profitable data points.

Sampling method strategies and lab quality diagnostics are mentioned in detail. Lab quality test methods are discussed with a section highlighting emerging technologies and testing trends. This course confers fluency of the language, how to use this fluency for productive management and understanding of lab tools, and use of lab tools to minimize quality troubleshooting costs. Worksheets and a spiral bound book that outlines course material will be provided.


  • Raw milk quality scientific language
  • Microbial groups
  • Sampling method strategies
  • Lab quality test methods

Course 11: What Do You Need to Know About Tracking Milk Quality from a DairyComp Record System?

Date and time: Friday, February 2, 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Class size limit: 25 • Fee: $125 • Level: Intermediate

Intended audience: All dairy industry sectors

Instructors: Mark Kirkpatrick, Zoetis, Kuna, Idaho, USA; and Tyler Stratman, Zoetis, Kimberly, Idaho, USA

The course is designed to be an open demonstration and discussion of using and understanding milk quality metrics that are generated through routine herd testing. What are the commands that will allow you to monitor change in milk quality on a dairy operation? More importantly, what does this stream of information mean? The metrics will be discussed through the tandem use of DairyCOMP 305 and a custom Excel presentation sheet. Beyond routine herd testing, the U.S. dairy industry is moving toward individual cow treatment and culture result capture. Evaluation of these areas will also be discussed, with an emphasis on recording quality data.


  • Evaluation of subclinical mastitis with a focus on herd metrics and the changes that can be encountered
  • Evaluation of clinical mastitis and how it ties into the subclinical metrics

Course 12: Engaged Employees: The Connection between Protocols and Performances

Date and time: Friday, February 2, 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Class size limit: 24 • Fee: $125 • Level: Intermediate

Intended audience: Veterinarians, dairy producers/managers, other allied professionals

Instructors: Ron Erskine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA; and Rhyannon Moore-Foster and Michelle Borek-Stine, Thumb Veterinary Services, Sandusky, Michigan, USA

Milk quality protocols should be based on the science of mastitis prevention, diagnostic and therapeutic tools, and milking equipment function. However, dairy managers must balance ideal protocols against practical constraints of facilities, climate and economic factors. Increasingly, protocols are also skewed by the realities of employee management.

What are potential opportunities for dairy producers and allied professionals to better engage employees to participate in milk quality? This short course will explore how to link a science-based farm evaluation to employee training and teaching to attain high milk quality and employee performance. The format will be interactive and case examples from farms will be included, as well as breakout group discussions.


  • Mastitis protocols
  • Employees
  • Evaluation system

Course 13: Building Your Dairy Advocacy Skills, Step by Step

Date and time: Wednesday, January 31, 12:30-3:30 p.m.  Please note this class has been moved to Wednesday afternoon.
Class size limit: 40 • Fee: $125 • Level: Beginner to advanced

Intended audience: All dairy industry representatives

Instructor: Stan Erwine, Dairy Management Inc., Rosemont, Illinois, USA

Participants will learn why they need to acquire/enhance their skills in communicating dairy’s story to consumer audiences in today’s marketplace and how to use the new tools available to them, such as The Dairy Hub and Amplification Center. They will also be grounded in the dairy industry’s new and highly successful Consumer Confidence campaign – Undeniably Dairy.

Participants will be given tools to construct consumer-focused messages and develop their personal dairy story, with an emphasis on their values and commitment. Participants will also learn proven techniques on handling and addressing difficult consumer questions dealing with animal care, responsible use of antibiotics and milk safety, through a framework of “Listen-Ask-Share.” The training will help participants add their expert voice to the dairy industry’s efforts to inform consumers, answer their questions and foster understanding and confidence in dairy.


  • Why a new way of communicating with consumers is needed
  • Constructing and practicing your personal dairy story
  • Responding to difficult consumer questions
  • Making best use of consumer communications techniques, tools and materials