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 20. 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: Using Rapid Culture Systems to Guide Selective Treatment of Clinical Mastitis and at Dry‐off

Date and time: Wednesday, January 30, 8:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.

Class size limit: 30 • Fee: $125

Level: Intermediate

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

Instructors: Sandra Godden, Erin Royster and Jennifer Timmerman, University of Minnesota Laboratory for Udder Health, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

The adoption of on-farm culture as a management tool to rapidly diagnose clinical mastitis and inform treatment decisions is growing. Studies of lactating cows with mild or moderate clinical mastitis have shown that selective, culture-based therapy can result in a 40-50% reduction in use of intramammary antibiotics, while maintaining udder health and production. In addition, recent studies have found on-farm culture to be a viable option for detecting infection at dry-off as part of a selective dry cow therapy program. Furthermore, the same culture systems can be used in the vet clinic to provide rapid diagnostic results to dairy clients and increase revenue and consulting opportunities for veterinarians. However, experience has demonstrated that care must be taken throughout the process to ensure that results are accurate, timely and useful. Participants in this short course will learn how to set up and maintain a successful culture lab, either on-farm or in the clinic.


  • Understand how on-farm culture can be used to diagnose and guide selective therapy for clinical mastitis during lactation, or to guide selective dry cow therapy treatment decisions
  • Learn how to set up and operate an on-farm or in-clinic lab, including equipment, standard operating procedures, record keeping and reporting results, and quality assurance
  • Gain hands-on experience interpreting culture results, with lots of practical tips from a trained microbiologist
  • Understand the strengths and limitations of on-farm culture systems, using the Minnesota Easy® Culture System as an example

Course 2: Healthy Dairy Farming with Less Antimicrobial Use – Yes, We Can!

Date and time: Wednesday, January 30, 8:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.

Class size limit: 45 • Fee: $125 • Level: Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced

Intended audience: Dairy producers, veterinarians and other dairy industry professionals who want to make a difference in the prudent and judicious use of antimicrobials in dairy herds, with specific focus on udder health.

Instructors: Tine van Werven, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands; Ruth Zadoks, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK

Instructors will discuss the mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in relation to the use of antimicrobials in human and veterinary medicine. A short overview of international and national guidelines will be given. Insight will be provided in the classes of antimicrobials that are of greatest concern. Figures of the relative contribution of mastitis treatment and prevention to the overall antimicrobial use on dairy farms will be explained. Methods of selective treatment of clinical mastitis and selective dry cow therapy will be explained and effects of selective treatment on the reduction of antimicrobials and cure rates will be shown. Prerequisites in management that should be considered before starting to reduce the antimicrobial use will be discussed; prevention is better than cure.


  • Mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance
  • Induction of MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and ESBLs (extended spectrum beta lactamase)
  • Selective treatment of clinical mastitis (use of on-farm tests)
  • Selective dry cow therapy (thresholds and guidelines)
  • Management factors to optimize selective dry cow therapy

Course 3: An Organized Approach to Developing a Long‐term Action Plan for Herds with Poor Teat Ends

Date and time: Wednesday, January 30, 8:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.

Class size limit: 30 • Fee: $125 • Level: Intermediate/Advanced

Intended audience: Milk quality consultants, dairy producers, milking equipment personnel and veterinarians. A general understanding of milking routines, milking equipment function, the Teat Club International Scoring System and use of parlor reports from DairyComp 305 will help participants get the most out of this course.

Instructors: Rick Watters, Quality Milk Production Services (QMPS), Warsaw, New York, USA; Paul Virkler, QMPS, Ithaca, New York, USA

This course will focus on how to systematically approach the challenge of identifying and correcting an issue of poor teat ends on a dairy that you are working with. We will start with how to collect what we consider the 11 critical pieces of data needed to establish a baseline of information. Then we will use the data we have collected from individual farms to discuss how to analyze, interpret and develop an action plan. We will conclude with what has happened over time on these farms as a framework for outlining what type of follow-up we think is important. As anyone knows who has been involved in these investigations, there is no single solution to these problems; therefore, this course is designed to be interactive and discussion based, to pool together the collective wisdom of the audience for the benefit of all participants.


  • Influences on teat end scores
  • Milking routines
  • Milking Equipment
  • Parlor Reports

Course 4: Practical Mastitis Problem‐solving Workshop

Date and time: Wednesday, January 30, 8:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.

Class size limit: 20 • Fee: $125 • Level: Beginner/Intermediate

Intended audience: Those who provide mastitis solutions to farmers.

Instructor: Peter Edmondson, UdderWise Global Mastitis Solutions, Somerset, UK

This is an interactive workshop where participants will be solving mastitis problems. For example, the farmer has problems with a high herd somatic cell count (SCC) and clinical mastitis. Rather than take participants to the farm, the farm will come to the participants. Participants have farm data, records, bacteriology results and photos. Participants will work in small groups to carry out the following tasks:

  1. Establish the cause of the herd’s high SCC and clinical mastitis (bacteria and when infections are entering the udder).
  2. Quantify farm losses: How much is mastitis costing the dairy? How much could the farmer save if he gets this corrected?
  3. Provide practical solutions for the immediate, medium and long term, and prioritize each of these.
  4. Advise on follow-up action.


  • Diagnosis of clinical mastitis outbreaks – bacteria, stage of lactation, etc.
  • Mastitis economics
  • Practical mastitis problem-solving skills
  • Prioritization of mastitis solutions

Course 5: NMC Procedures for Evaluating Vacuum Levels and Air Flow I (Features the Teaching Parlor)

Date and time: Wednesday, January 30, 8:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.

Class size limit: 30 • Fee: $175 • Level: Beginner/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, 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; Paul Peetz, Lely, 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 work stations 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 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 6: Milk Bugs Like It Raw: Basic Milk Bacteriology for Professionals

Date and time: Wednesday, January 30, 12:30-3:30 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 7: Managing Large Dairies: The Consultant’s Role

Date and time: Wednesday, January 30, 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 8: How to Create a Culture of Excellence in Dairies (taught in Spanish)

Date and time: Wednesday, January 30, 12:30-3:30 p.m.

Class size limit: 30 • Fee: $125 Level: Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced

Intended audience: Owners, managers and professionals working in the dairy industry.

Instructors: Santiago Ledwith, Action Dairy LLC, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Juan Quezada, Milk Source LLC, Kaukauna, Wisconsin, USA

En estos tiempos difíciles donde no es fácil conseguir, entrenar y retener empleados, las operaciones lecheras deben desarrollar una cultura que genere un ambiente positivo y de la bienvenida para el recién contratado. En general, todos los productores de leche y profesionales de nuestra industria quieren resultados immediatos para el desempeño del empleado y que los cambios sean duraderos. Sin embargo, la mayoría de entrenamientos y programas de liderazgo producen un impacto a corto tiempo que se desvanecerá cuando el equipo de trabajo vuelva a sus viejos hábitos. Cuando se crea una “‘Cultura de Excelencia”, se crea una estructura organizativa que empodera, enfoca y compromete a los empleados de la operación.

En nuestra experiencia, la mayoría de recién contratados en un establo comienzan a trabajar en la sala de ordeño, la cual se ha convertido estos tiempos de la Generación del Milenio, en una puerta giratoria del talento de la empresa asi como a su vez en una fuente de estrés continuo para los líderes. Como personas influeyentes de la industria, nosotros debemos colaborar con las operaciones lecheras y sus dueños en desarrollar y poner en práctica una Cultura de Excelencia que pueda proporcionar al equipo de líderes del establo las herramientas que permitirán resultados sostenibles. Éste seminario se enfoca en los paso claves para crear, desarrollar y mantener una Cultura de Excelencia.



  • El Liderazgo es más que un enunciado sobre la Visión de la empresa
  • Conceptos básicos de los equipos de alto rendimiento: Confianza, Conflicto y Compromiso
  • Creando un impacto inmediato: Valores y Retroalimentación
  • Evalúe su cultura actual encuestando a sus empleados periódica y anónimamente

Course 9: Mastitis and Pain

Date and time: Wednesday, January 30, 12:30-3:30 p.m.

Class size limit: 50 • Fee: $125 • Level: Beginner

Intended audience: Producers, industry personnel and veterinarians.

Instructors: Christina S. Petersson‐Wolfe, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA; Ken Leslie, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada

Mastitis is a commonly occurring and economically important disease on dairy farms. It has been deemed the costliest infectious disease of cattle, due to treatment expenses, milk losses and the potential long-term damage to the mammary gland as a result of inflammation (Fetrow et al., 2000). It is estimated that 50% of lactating dairy cows have an intramammary infection, at least once each year, in at least one mammary quarter (Hillerton and Berry, 2005). With this background, it is understandable that intensive research has been conducted over several decades on the clinical, physiological, immunological and molecular changes associated with intramammary infection. As such, our understanding of the biology and epidemiology of mastitis in dairy cattle has increased exponentially. On the other hand, the effects of intramammary infection on cow behavior and well-being remain largely unexplored. It is contended that animals suffering from mastitis have compromised welfare and need supportive therapy.

Some authors have asserted that appropriate treatment of clinical mastitis should be mandatory, in order to provide the dairy cow relief from suffering caused by pain, discomfort, distress and disease (Hillerton, 1998). Certainly, supportive therapy for clinical mastitis through the administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is logical and available, even though documented evidence of efficacy and regulatory approvals in this area are limited. In addition, tools and techniques for animal behavior research have improved greatly and are now widely available. Yet, the implementation of these methods in mastitis research has been limited. This short course will review the state of our knowledge concerning the effects of mastitis on cow behavior and welfare. Specifically, changes in various indicators of pain will be described. Finally, the potential for increasing our knowledge in this area, through incorporation of the measures of cow behavior and welfare into mastitis research, will be discussed.


  • Pain
  • Mastitis
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Animal well-being

Course 10:  7 Point Plan for Mastitis Control

Date and time: Wednesday, January 30, 12:30 – 4:30 p.m

Class size limit: 45

Fee: $175

Level: Beginning to advanced

Intended audience: advisors, vets, researchers

Instructors: Thomas C. Hemling, PhD, President & CSO, TCH Animal Health LLP; Sofie Piepers, DVM, PhD, Co-founder M-team & Mastitis and Milk Quality Research Unit, co-founder and co-owner of MEX™; Paul Rapnicki, DVM MBA, Cattle Technical Consultant, Elanco Animal Health; Richard Hiley, Research & Development Manager, Ambic; Allan Britten, DVM, MPVM, Udder Health Systems; Marianna Gentilini, DeLaval; Keith Engel, Specialist: Dairy Farm Supplies, Milk Quality, Milking Equipment at GEA.


This course will cover practical aspects of mastitis control following the 7 Point Plan. This plan updates the successful 5 Point Plan by introducing elements to address the need reduction in dependence on antibiotics. In spite of the success of the 5 Point Plan, today mastitis remains the most costly disease on dairy farms globally, with a cost of $250 – 450 per clinical case and a cost estimate of over $2 billion in the US alone. We find today that contagious mastitis has been largely replaced with mastitis from environmental bacteria. We also find that because of concern about resistance and residue, antibiotic usage, especially prophylactic use at dry off, is, or will be severely limited. We have also seen over the past 40 years a greater understanding of the immune system, with numerous technologies developed to enhance immunity and reduce mastitis risk.  As a result of these developments, a 7 Point Plan for Mastitis Control is the outline for our training. This plan places increase focus on mastitis prevention via disinfection, hygiene, and immune enhancement. Decision making on use of antibiotics will focus on the importance of bacterial culture. Participants will leave with practical guidelines to implement the plan.

Course 11: Helping Clients Develop an Udder Health Management Strategy Using PCDART

Date and time: Wednesday, January 30, 12:30-4:30 p.m.

Class size limit: 20 • Fee: $175 • Level: Intermediate/Advanced (laptops required)

Intended audience: Udder health consultants and mastitis researchers.

Instructor: Kasim Ingawa, Dairy Records Management Systems and North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

This course will provide participants the opportunity to examine, analyze and interpret SCC data from groups of cows categorized by Infection Level. Participants will also have the opportunity to use a combination of PCDART Tools, such as Trackers and Reports, to understand the depth and breadth of each group’s infection level, then collaborate with the course instructor to develop a series of monitoring strategies using PCDART. Required knowledge includes an intermediate understanding level of PCDART, how to create user-defined reports and how to use PCDART Activity Tracker Feature. 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 PCDART SCC reports, including Activity Tracker
  • Management decisions based on udder health reports
  • PCDART case study herds

Course 12: NMC Procedures for Evaluating Vacuum Levels and Air Flow II (Features the Teaching Parlor)

Date and time: Wednesday, January 30, 12:30-3:30 p.m.

Class size limit: 24 • Fee: $175 • Level: Intermediate to advanced

Intended audience: Individuals who attend NMC Short Course 5 or who have attended other basic training in milking system analysis. Individuals who have performed some milking system evaluations but have never been trained on how to use the NMC “Milking System Evaluation Form” or who want to increase their confidence in preforming milking system evaluations. International attendees who are performing some milking system evaluations but want to confirm they are following ISO/NMC airflow analysis methods correctly and completely. If you consider yourself a “beginner,” this course will overwhelm you. It is advised that you take this course after some classroom training and some field experience on your own or with a mentor.

Instructors: Roger Thomson, MQ-IQ Consulting, Battle Creek, Michigan, USA; Paul Peetz, Lely, Kings Corner, Wisconsin, USA

Participants will have bench time to perform pulsator rebuilding, test port installation, examine a variety of rubber goods and milking system parts, conduct liner “touch point” measurements and measure over-pressures. The Teaching Parlor will allow you to perform hands-on measurements of system vacuum levels, claw vacuum levels, measure CFMs (liters/min.) with an air flow meter, graph pulsators and gain an understanding of the importance of “The Pathway of Milk” and the “Four Pulsation Phases.”

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.

Participants are encouraged to bring their own vacuum testing equipment to perform the required measurements described in the NMC Milking System Evaluation Form.


  • Pulsator rebuilding, test port installation, flow sensor/meter design
  • Liner “touch point” and over-pressure measurements
  • Falloff, effective and manual reserve tests
  • Hands-on measurements of vacuum levels, pulsators, unit falloff, etc.
  • Complete the NMC Milking System Evaluation form
  • Learn the goals for average claw vacuums and all four pulsation phases

Course 13: The Why, What, When and How of Mastitis Therapy

Date and time: Wednesday, January 30, 6:00-9:00 p.m.

Class size limit: 25 • Fee: $125 • Level: Beginner/Intermediate

Intended audience: Producers, industry personnel, veterinarians.

Instructors: Ron Erskine, Michigan State University; John Middleton, University of Missouri

This short course will cover why we treat mastitis, what we treat it with, when to treat and not to treat, and approaches to how treatment protocols are designed and implemented on the farm. Not all cases of mastitis need to be treated with antimicrobials. Instructors will discuss when antimicrobials are warranted and also when symptomatic and supportive care alone may be sufficient.


  • Mastitis syndromes and implications for therapy
  • Antimicrobial drug pharmacology
  • Symptomatic and supportive care
  • Treatment protocol design and implementation

Course 14: How to Create a Culture of Excellence in Dairies

Date and time: Wednesday, January 30, 6:00-9:00 p.m.

Class size limit: 30 • Fee: $125 Level: Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced

Intended audience: Owners, managers and professionals working in the dairy industry.

Instructors: Santiago Ledwith, Action Dairy LLC, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Juan Quezada, Milk Source LLC, Kaukauna, Wisconsin, USA

In these difficult times, where it is not easy to find, train and retain employees, operations must develop a culture that creates a positive and welcoming environment for the new hires. All dairy producers and industry professionals, in general, want immediate results for accelerated performance and lasting change. However, most leadership and training programs produce short-term gains that will fade away as teams go back to their old habits. When a culture of excellence is built, it then creates an organizational structure that empowers, focuses and engages employees.

In our experience, the milking parlor is the entry position level for most operations. In these millennial times, places of employment have become a revolving door of talent and source of continuous stress for leaders. As influencers of the industry, we must collaborate with dairy owners and operations to develop and put in play a culture of excellence, providing their leadership team with tools and best practices to execute them with sustainable results. This short course targets the key steps in creating, developing and maintaining this type of culture.


  • Leadership is more than a vision statement
  • Basics of high-performance teams: Trust, conflict and commitment
  • Creating an immediate impact: Values and feedback
  • Assess your present culture (survey employees anonymously)

Course 15: Clean in Place and Slug Analysis Monitoring and Analysis (Features the Teaching Parlor)

Date and time: Wednesday, January 30, 6:00-9:00 p.m.

Class size limit: 24 • Fee: $175 • Level: Intermediate/Advanced

Intended audience: Individuals who attended NMC Short Course 12 or who have attended other intermediate to advanced training in milking system analysis. Individuals who seek training on how to perform a clean-in-place evaluation, including a slug analysis. International attendees will find this training useful since the fundamentals for washing a milking system are similar worldwide.

Instructors: Roger Thomson, MQ-IQ Consulting, Battle Creek, Michigan, USA; Paul Peetz, Lely, Kings Corner, Wisconsin, USA

Participants will learn about standard plate counts (SPC), preliminary incubation counts (PI), lab pasteurized counts (LPC) and coliform counts, with instructors sharing the goal for each of these milk quality measurements, their definition and how to troubleshoot elevated levels of each. Other topics will include the importance of water quality and water temperature, as well as the “Four Square” method of washing a milking system. Additionally, participants will learn how to perform a chemical analysis of each wash cycle, and how to perform and analyze the slug necessary to wash the milk line.


  • Troubleshoot elevated bacteria counts in raw milk
  • Four Square method of washing a milking system
  • Slug analysis
  • Evaluate chemical concentration of each wash step