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: The Human Side of Milk Quality: Taking Your Parlor Team to the Next Level (taught in Spanish)

Date and time: Tuesday, January 28, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Class size limit: 20 • Fee: $195 (includes lunch) • Level: Beginner/Intermediate

Intended audience: Parlor managers, parlor supervisors and/or parlor trainers, or individuals interested in improving their parlor training skills.

Instructors: Carolina Pinzón, FORTE Dairy Consulting, Middleton, Wisconsin, USA; Jorge Delgado, Alltech, Andover, Minnesota, USA

Building a team of hard-working, efficient and engaged employees is critical to the success of any dairy operation. It takes continuous management commitment and the right skills, tools and technical knowledge to take teams to the next level. During this course, taught exclusively in Spanish, participants will learn the key components necessary to inspire, train and develop employees – using an efficient, organized and consistent process. When everyone understands their contribution and impact on milk quality, it leads to committed teams and profitable dairies. The program will include hands-on activities, peer interaction and an opportunity to put concepts into practice.

Construir un equipo con empleados trabajadores, eficientes y comprometidos, es fundamental para el éxito de cualquier operación lechera. Se necesita un compromiso continuo de la gerencia, y habilidades, herramientas y conocimientos técnicos adecuados para llevar a los equipos a un nivel superior. Durante este curso, impartido exclusivamente en español, los participantes aprenderán los componentes claves necesarios para inspirar, capacitar y desarrollar empleados mediante un proceso eficiente, organizado y coherente. Cuando todos entienden su contribución e impacto en la calidad de la leche, conlleva a tener equipos comprometidos y lecherías rentables. El programa incluirá actividades prácticas, interacción entre colegas y la oportunidad de poner conceptos en práctica.


Course 2: Why and How to Perform a Complete NMC Airflow AnalysisDate and time:

Date and time: Tuesday, January 28, 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.

Class size limit: 24 • Fee: $125 • Level: Beginner/Intermediate

Intended audience: 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 about how a milking system is designed and works.

Instructors: Roger Thomson, MQ-IQ Consulting, Battle Creek, Michigan, USA; Andy Johnson, Grande Cheese Company, Seymour, Wisconsin, USA; David Reid, Rocky Ridge Dairy Consulting LLC, Hazel Green, Wisconsin, USA

This course will teach the when, how and why you should perform a complete ISO/NMC airflow analysis on a milking system by two of the pioneers who helped draft the foundation of modern milking system analysis. It will trace the early days of milking system analysis through current testing protocols for all size parlors. Instructors will explain each step in sections of the “Procedures for Evaluating Vacuum Levels and Air Flow in Milking Systems” and why they are important. Students will learn how to interpret the data collected during a milking system analysis. This course is a prerequisite for the Wednesday morning hands-on training using The Teaching Parlor.


Course 3a and 3b: Creating Cow Champions (Enrollment in both sessions is required.) CANCELED

Date and time: Tuesday, January 28, 6:00-9:00 p.m. (classroom) and Wednesday 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. (on farm; Wednesday schedule is tentative)

Class size limit: 15 • Fee: $275 • Level: Beginner/Intermediate

Intended audience: Dairy farm employees currently in or looking to enter management roles at the shift, specific area or farm level.

Instructors: Jennifer Walker, Danone, Dallas, Texas, USA; Valerie Smith, Dean Foods, Glasgow, Kentucky, USA

The two-part course aims to provide attendees foundational learning on the basic tenets of dairy cattle welfare and provide the opportunity to develop the perspective and skills necessary to become a leader in promoting animal welfare on the farm. The evening course (part 1) will focus on understanding concepts of animal welfare and how animal welfare is impacted by decisions made at the farm level every day – from milking management to the maternity pen. Attendees will learn to see beyond the audit and undercover videos to understand how we impact animal welfare every shift, every day. The following day (part 2) will be spent at a local dairy to practice how we examine the dairy environment through this new lens and how we can develop the cow champion within us and our fellow workers.


Course 4: The Bugs that Bug us (Lactococcus/Prototheca/Mycoplasma)

Date and time: Tuesday, January 28, 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.

Class size limit: 35 • Fee: $125 • Level: Intermediate

Intended audience: Veterinarians, consultants, academia and milk quality lab personnel.

Instructors: Anja Sipka, Cornell University and Quality Milk Production Services, Ithaca, New York, USA; Allan Britten, Udder Health Systems, Meridian, Idaho, USA: Justine Britten, Udder Health Systems, Meridian, Idaho

Over the past few years, Lactococcus species have been identified as emergent mastitis pathogens. They are part of a large group of closely related, environmental Streptococci and Streptococci-like bacteria that share many phenotypic and biochemical characteristics. This has made the identification of Lactococci difficult. With the advent of more refined microbiological and molecular techniques, Lactococcus species have become important mastitis pathogens. What makes them especially troublesome is their high tendency to cause chronic infections. They also appear to be a farm-specific problem, with a high incidence and outbreak-like scenarios on affected farms. The goal of this course is to get a good understanding of the pathogen, infection dynamics within the herd and develop troubleshooting and management strategies.

When it comes to discussing contagious mastitis pathogens, Mycoplasma is no stranger to the conversation. With the advancement of molecular technologies that allow speciation of Mycoplasma colonies, the conversation has changed from 50 years ago. The focus of this course is to provide an overview and understanding of Mycoplasma mastitis and how differentiating Mycoplasma species is changing the picture. 

Prototheca is an environmental pathogen that has been recognized as a cause of bovine mastitis since the 1960s. Historically, the organism has been regarded as rare and a minor cause of infection. However, this form of mastitis is now occurring more often in commercial dairy herds. Even more significant is the alarming realization that this pathogen can cause extensive spread of infection throughout as a contagious pathogen. The Prototheca discussion will focus on pathogenesis and control. 


Course 5: Investigating Teat Condition Health 

Date and time: Tuesday, January 28, 6:00-9:00 p.m.

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

Intended audience: Anyone working with teat health on farms, including dairy owners, dairy employees, milk quality specialists, veterinarians, dairy plant field representatives and university researchers.

Instructors: Keith Engel, GEA, Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Paul Virkler, Quality Milk Production Services (QMPS) and Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA; Rick Watters, QMPS, Warsaw, New York, USA; Ian Ohnstad, The Dairy Group,
Somerset, UK

This course will focus on using the NMC Teat Condition Portfolio (TCP) to help participants with advisory work regarding bovine teat health on dairies, evaluation of teat conditioning and addressing teat condition issues. TCP
allows dairy specialists and personnel to quickly obtain images of various teat conditions. Searchable by key word, TCP helps users find teat symptoms that match what they are seeing.


Course 6: Practical Mastitis Problem-solving Workshop

Date and time: Wednesday, January 29, 8:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.

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

Intended audience: Anyone troubleshooting mastitis problems.

Instructor: Peter Edmondson, UdderWise, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, UK

This is an interactive workshop where students will solve mastitis problems. Here’s the scenario: A farmer has problems with a high herd somatic cell count (SCC) and clinical mastitis. Rather than going to the farm, the farm will come to you. Students will have data, records, bacteriology results and photos. When working in small groups, students will:

  1. Establish the cause of high SCC and clinical mastitis (bacteria and when infections are entering the udder).
  2. Provide practical solutions for immediate, medium and long-term actions.
  3. Prioritize each of these.
  4. Advise on follow-up action and set future targets.

Course 7: Perform a Complete NMC Airflow Analysis (Features The Teaching Parlor)  (Course 2 is a prerequisite for Course 7.)

Date and time: Wednesday, January 29, 8:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.

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

Intended audience: 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 about how a milking system is designed and works.

Instructors: Roger Thomson, MQ-IQ Consulting, Battle Creek, Michigan, USA; Andy Johnson, Grande Cheese Company, Seymour, Wisconsin; David Reid, Rocky Ridge Dairy Consulting LLC, Hazel Green, Wisconsin

Course participants will perform each step of the ISO/NMC airflow analysis, using a portable, functioning milking system called The Teaching Parlor. It is the hands-on, follow-up course to the Tuesday night class led by the same instructors. Students will be divided into small groups, based on experience level and everyone will perform the actual testing necessary to complete a milking system airflow analysis. Each student will be guided and encouraged to complete his/her own NMC Milking System Evaluation Form found in the back of the “Procedures for Evaluating Vacuum Levels and Air Flow in Milking Systems.” 


Course 8: How to Implement LEAN Thinking to Motivate Employees Using Parlor Data

Date and time: Wednesday, January 29, 8:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.

Class size limit: 20 • Fee: $160 (includes the best-seller book “Lean in Agriculture – Create More Value with Less Work on the Farm”) • Level: Intermediate

Intended audience: Farmers, consultants and other professionals working with parlor training.

Instructors: Michael Farre and Vibeke Fladkjaer, SEGES, Aarhus N, Denmark

Milking parlor employees are not just “working donkeys.” They are people – people who are very motivated to do a good job. However, we often don’t introduce them to the results/data created in the parlor, because we don’t have the educational psychology tools to explain and use the data in the milking parlor for this purpose. Therefore, parlor data are not used proactively to improve output or as a tool to create awareness and motivation. To obtain better parlor results, we must introduce employees to data’s influence, meaning and possible outcome. To overcome these obstacles, tools like LEAN can be implemented. This model works with continuous improvement, the improvement board, motivation and employee involvement. Learn how to motivate staff and inspire them to get a better understanding of their daily work and how to achieve even better results. 


Course 9: Going Beyond the Costs of Mastitis: Assessing Cost-effective Mastitis Control 

Date and time: Wednesday, January 29, 8:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.

Class size limit: 40 • Fee: $125 • Level: Beginner

Intended audience: Veterinarians and udder health advisers

Instructors: Tariq Halasa, University of Copenhagen; Henk Hogeveen, Wageningen University

Udder health advisers often make recommendations, such as culling of cows with contagious mastitis, changing treatment (antimicrobial) of cows with clinical mastitis, improving hygiene and feeding, to farmers to prevent and control mastitis. Although we know quite a lot about the costs of mastitis, the cost effectiveness of these measures is rarely studied and hardly known. This is due to several challenges related to the availability of data regarding the effectiveness of these measures. In this interactive course, participants will learn about:

    • How to assess the cost effectiveness of mastitis control and prevention        measures.
    • The challenges that are faced when assessing the cost effectiveness of mastitis control measures.
    • The potential variability in the assessment due to lack of field data and uncertainties.
  • Impact of pathogen type (environmental vs. contagious) on the assessment.

Course 10: Using Rapid Culture Systems to Guide Selective Treatment of Clinical Mastitis and at Dry‐off

Date and time: Wednesday, January 29, 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 veterinary 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. 


Course 11: Fear of Failure:  What to Expect and How to Know When Treatment Doesn’t Work

Date and time: Wednesday, January 29, 12:30-3:30 p.m.

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

Intended audience: Veterinarians and dairy professionals who administer and evaluate mastitis treatments.

Instructors: Pamela Ruegg, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA

After mastitis occurs, expectations are for the cow to return to health, the milk to be restored to a saleable condition, milk to have a low SCC and return to normal yield, and for the cow not to experience recurrences. To achieve these goals, bacteriological clearance is necessary and can occur either spontaneously or as a result of antibiotic therapy. While our expectations for outcomes are easy to describe, evaluation of mastitis treatments is difficult and confusing. Many of the outcomes vary among mastitis pathogens and the duration to monitor outcomes may be unclear. When treatment failure is evident, options for alternative treatments or interventions may be limited. In this seminar, we will review how to evaluate and define treatment failure and how to determine the next steps. The first part of the short course will be an interactive lecture to present science-based evidence about therapy outcomes and the second part will be interactive decision making – using data from real cases.


Course 12: Dynamic Measurements – I have Gathered the Data… What Does it Tell me? (Features the Teaching Parlor)

Sponsored by:

Date and time: Wednesday, January 29, 12:30-3:30 p.m.

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

Intended audience: Milking equipment professionals and consultants who routinely perform milking system evaluations.

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

This is a new NMC short course. Machine harvesting of milk is a compromise between speed, comfort, completeness and consistency. The current dairy industry trend is to milk more cows through the same parlor. To accomplish this, the milking system needs additional evaluation beyond the foundation of a milking system airflow analysis. The goal of “what is best for the cow” must be balanced with the goal of parlor throughput. This course will drill into current trends of milking system performance evaluation beyond the basic airflow analysis. It will probe both conventional milking systems and automatic (robotic) milking systems. The Teaching Parlor will be used as the centerpiece for collecting dynamic testing data and explore the good and bad results from pushing the limits of performance in a milking system.


Course 13: How to Improve Employee Engagement and Enhance Your Culture of Excellence

Date and time: Wednesday, January 29, 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/Talentum4, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Juan Quezada Milk Source LLC, Kaukauna, Wisconsin, USA

In these difficult times where is not easy to find, train and retain employees, businesses must develop a culture that creates a positive and welcoming environment for new hires. We believe highly engaged employees, when they perform at their best, have the greatest impact on a dairy’s bottom line. 

In our experience, the milking parlor is the entry position level for most dairies and in the age of millennials, entry-level positions have become a revolving door of talent and source of continuous stress for leaders. As industry influencers, we must collaborate with dairy owners to design and implement a system that appeals, develops and rewards high-performing employees from day one. Our seminar targets some key aspects that help increase employee engagement, such as training strategies, supportive environment and recognition programs.


Course 14: Helping Clients Develop an Udder Health Management Strategies Using PCDART

Date and time: Wednesday, January 29, 12:30-3:30 p.m.

Class size limit: 20 • Fee: $125 • Level: Intermediate/Advanced (laptop computers required)

Intended audience: Udder health consultants, dairy producers and mastitis researchers.

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

This course will provide participants the opportunity to examine, analyze and interpret SCC data from groups of cows categorized by lactation, stage of lactation, infection level and new/chronic/cured. Participants will also have the opportunity to use a combination of PCDART Tools, such as Trackers, User-Defined and Standard Reports, to understand the depth and breadth of each group’s infection level. Then, students will collaborate with course instructors to develop a series of monitoring strategies using PCDART. Required knowledge includes a minimum of intermediate understanding of PCDART, how to create User-Defined reports and how to use PCDART Activity Tracker Features. Please install all Windows Operating System updates before arriving to class. If bringing a Mac PC, Parallel Software must be installed and configured on the Laptop. The latest PCDART program version and case study herd data will be installed in class.


Course 15: AMS Evaluation, Testing and KPI Factors for Automated Milking Systems

Date and time: Wednesday, January 29, 12:30-3:30 p.m.

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

Intended audience: Anyone doing consulting or evaluation of automated milking systems (AMS), including veterinarians, milk plant field reps and consultants, or anyone wanting a more detailed explanation of how AMS should perform and be tested.

Instructors: David Reid, Rocky Ridge Consulting Dairy Consulting, Hazel Green, Wisconsin, USA; Brandon Treichler, Select Milk Producers, Canyon, Texas, USA. Also, representatives from major AMS manufacturers will provide input and support.

This course will cover the goals of automated milking systems as they relate to milking cows efficiently. Classroom discussions will include overall milkability factors related to AMS, as well as recommended key performance indicators (KPI). Testing and evaluation recommendations will also be discussed.


Course 16: Cleaning the Milking System (Features The Teaching Parlor)

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

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

Intended audience: Milking equipment professionals.

Instructors: David Reid, Rocky Ridge Dairy Consulting LLC, Hazel Green, Wisconsin, USA; Scott Hughes, Full Range Consulting, Dublin, Texas, USA

This course will teach how a milking system is cleaned internally. Students will learn the steps to perform a CIP (clean-in-place) evaluation, including a slug analysis. Information will be provided about standard plate counts (SPC), preliminary incubation counts (PI), lab pasteurized counts (LPC) and coliform counts, and include goals for each of these milk quality measurements, their definitions and how to troubleshoot elevated counts. Other topics include the importance of water quality and water temperature, as well as the “Four Square” method of analyzing the wash protocol for a milking system. Additionally, participants will learn how to perform the standard chemical analysis of each wash cycle.


Course 17: Milk Bugs Like It Raw: Basic Milk Bacteriology for Professionals

Date and time: Thursday, January 30, 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 discussed in detail. Lab quality test methods will be presented, 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 content will be provided.


Course 18: The Veterinarian’s/Consultant’s Role in Milk Quality

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

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

Intended audience: Veterinarians, Extension educators, co-op representatives and milk quality consultants.

Instructor: Ron Erskine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA; Ashley Swan, Team Management Concepts, LLC, Hudsonville, Michigan, USA

This interactive session involves discussion of case studies and applied research regarding milk quality. Participants will have opportunities to help veterinary practitioners and consultants engage in milk quality evaluations on client dairy farms. The primary learning goals are to evaluate milking efficiency, track change in milk quality and plan and identify employee training opportunities.