Winter Calf Feeding And Management Tips


The thermoneutral zone of a newborn calf is between 55-78° Fahrenheit. When the temperature drops below 55, a newborn calf is going to begin to experience some degree of cold stress. The first step in winter feeding is to create a comfortable environment.

  • BEDDING  Between week 1 and week 6 of life, a calf spends 73-81% of her time lying down. Due to the fact that she is spending close to ¾ of her time lying down, it is crucial that we provide her clean dry bedding. Keep in mind that the rate of heat transfer in wet bedding may be 3 to 10 times that of dry bedding. Ensure bedding is dry where calves are lying and supply straw allowing calves to nest. Check to make sure there is enough bedding underneath the calf so she is not losing heat through the ground.
  • CALF JACKETS  Putting a jacket on a calf can help decrease heat loss by up to 15%. With the combination of dry straw bedding and calf jackets we can reduce heat loss by up to 30%.
  • HOUSING  Whether calves are housed in a barn or outside we need to be sure they are well ventilated yet draft-free. You may need to close vents in hutches or raise curtains on condos to reduce draft. Ventilation in calf barns may need to be adjusted from what was working in the summer months to diminish drafts in the winter. Protect calves from lying against concrete walls which can absorb her heat.
  • NEWBORNS  Get newborn calves dried off quickly to prevent immediate cold stress. The use of a warming box or heat lamp can help (as long as they are kept clean). Give calves good quality colostrum quickly. Monitor temperature of the colostrum to ensure it is being fed at nothing below body temperature.
    • Go into a pen where you see a calf has been lying down.
    • Kneel down on one knee for at least a full minute.
    • If your knee gets warmer it is ok, if your knee gets colder the calf is losing heat down into the ground. In this case more bedding should be added.
    • Feel if there is any draft where you are kneeling.
    • Check to see how dry the bedding is in that exact spot where she has been lying.


As the temperature drops our calves require more energy for maintenance. Unlike older calves who can just eat more grain, young pre-ruminant calves do not have that option. Calves under three weeks of age are particularly stressed because they do not have much energy stored (3-4% body fat) and are eating very little calf starter. For every 1 degree drop in temperature below 50 F, a calf requires one percent more energy. By the time the temperature reaches zero, a calf should receive 50 percent more energy (calories) just for maintenance.

So what are the options for cold weather feeding?

    • If you would like to stay with the same mix, you can feed larger volumes to increase the calf’s caloric intake.
    • Feed at least 3 quarts or 3 ½ quarts per feeding of milk or milk replacer at recommended solid levels.
    • This also allows calves to get more water, decreasing chances of winter dehydration.
    • If you have the ability, adding an extra feeding has proven to be very successful.
    • To save time, you can target younger calves (~three weeks and younger).
    • Make sure you time feeding accordingly and stick to a routine once you start.
    • You can increase the solid level to 15-18% solids.
    • Ensure you have free choice water available because calves may be thirsty due to the increased dry matter content.

When feeding calves in winter be very aware of the temperature at which you are feeding the milk. Milk or milk replacer should be fed at 100°F- 102°F. If it is any colder calves will have to use energy to bring milk back up to body temperature. Often calves fed last will get much colder milk than calves fed first; In this case you may have to adjust your mixing temperature a little higher.

Watch for winter dehydration. It is very important that you still feed free choice water to calves in the winter months. We all know that it is crucial for grain intakes, but it also helps prevent calves from getting dehydrated in the winter, especially if you increase solid content.

Landmark Services Cooperative Hosts 87th Annual Meeting

COTTAGE GROVE, WI, January 24, 2020 – Landmark Services Cooperative held the 87th annual meeting on January 23, 2020, at the headquarters in Cottage Grove, WI.

The meeting was called to order by Board Chairman Jim Lange. Lange then welcomed guests and introduced the board of directors prior to giving his chairman’s report.

Secretary Kevin Klahn reported on the minutes from last year’s annual meeting and informed the group that these were available as members arrived and had been approved at the January 2019 board of directors meeting.

Chairman Lange gave the chairman’s report including topics addressing logistics issues with fertilizer, Landmark’s new Evansville fertilizer plant, Cottage Grove feed mill upgrades, securing energy supplies for our customers, board of directors’ training, and a recap on the donations made through the Landmark Gives Back program including scholarship recipients, summer lunch programs, breakfast on the farm, Lennox Feel the Love program, and the Second Harvest Foodbank contributions.

Jeff Brandenburg, independent auditor, stated that CliftonLarsonAllen found Landmark’s financial statements to be accurate and issued an unqualified opinion on the financial statements.

Chief Financial Officer Keith Arnold presented the financial report comprising of an overview of the 2019 statement of operations performance, consolidated balance sheet, financial analysis for fiscal years 2015-2019 of working capital, local net worth and cash returned to patrons. Arnold also touched on Landmark’s patron note program.

President and CEO Jim Dell provided the management report and opened by thanking Landmark’s members, board of directors and employees. Dell’s report provided a recap of the 2019 fiscal year and an overview of Landmark’s equity, section 199A deduction, capital expenditures, and $1.3 million in total patronage to be paid back in cash in 2020. Dell also discussed the focus of the 2020 fiscal year to be ‘2020 and Beyond,’ which includes evaluating and optimizing staffing needs and Landmark’s asset base, improving sales growth, growing Verity Financing, completing key capital expenditure projects within budget, and improving communications to our members.  Dell also recapped Landmark’s current fiscal year to date.

Director John Blaska announced his retirement from Landmark’s Board of Directors. John served on the board for 25 years. During his time, John helped spearhead steady growth of the Cooperative, mostly through various mergers and acquisitions.

Mike Hinz, nominating committee chair, reported that this year’s nominating committee worked very hard to recruit qualified board candidates for the expired term of retiring Landmark Director John Blaska. The candidates for the at-large director position were Brian Brown of Belleville and Josh Hiemstra of Brandon. Hinz shared the winning election results in which Brian Brown will serve a new three-year term on the board of directors. Hinz then announced the 2020 nominating committee: Jim Fahey, John Blaska, Rick Austin, Scott VanderVeen, and eastern and northern district positions to be determined.

After the meeting the board reconvened in a special session to elect board positions. The 2020 board is as follows: Jim Lange, Board Chairman; Jon Prochnow, Vice Chairman; Kevin Klahn, Secretary/Treasurer; Brian Brown, Director; Sandy Larson, Director; Keven Schultz, Director; Max Wenck, Director.

President and CEO Jim Dell concludes the management report and fields questions from Landmark members during the annual meeting held on January 23, 2020.

Grain Exchange

Last week’s trade agreements, including signing of Phase 1 with China and the USCMA (NAFTA 2.0) are positive news in the Ag front. So why are markets lower? China has agreed to purchase substantial amounts of Ag products, but purchases are based on market conditions. No significant crop issues in South America and a cheap Brazilian real (10 year lows to USDA) will likely impact market conditions. The US dollar while trading in low 96s at year-end have rebounded to mid 97s.

Another new developing fear is that China’s new mystery virus will impact global economics. Impeachment trial for Trump in Senate is also taking the stage.

US soybean exports are 9.7% below USDA estimates and 20.9% lower than the 5-year average and are 25% better than last year. US corn exports trail USDA estimates by 16% and are 38.1% below the 5-year average and are 50% below last year.

Weekly weather events here in the US have most areas in ample to excess moisture. After a brief cold spell, forecasts are for temperatures to return to above normal later this week.

Thank you for your business!

Grain Exchange

Once again, the market is disappointed.  All of the excitement leading up to the signing of Phase 1 China agreement yesterday seems to be a letdown for the market.  The traders are skeptical that China will follow through with the agreement.  The markets tumbled after the signing with soybeans down 13 cents and trading 5 cents lower today.  The signing of the trade deal is a step in the right direction for U.S. – China trade relations, but wasn’t enough to make a positive impact on the market.  The Chinese said that they will purchase U.S. goods on their needs and market conditions.  This one line is causing the traders to use caution on what to expect for sales to China.  Most of their tariffs remain in place, but can be adjusted on a need be basis.

Corn is also trading lower after the signing.  The export report that came out this morning was really strong for corn, but not enough to overcome the downward slide.  December corn futures continue to trade near the $4.00 level.  This could be a place to start making sales with big acres forecasted for corn.  The USDA requested the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program.  It seeks to gain input to “expand domestic ethanol availability” and opportunities to consider infrastructure projects to facilitate increased sales of higher biofuel blends”.  Maybe ethanol can get the market excited.

Wheat is lower this morning following the Phase 1 let down.  The market should find support with weekly US export sales over 23 mln bu which is larger than expected.  Global demand for wheat remains strong.

The U.S. Senate is expected to approve the USMCA trade deal today with bipartisan support.

The vagueness of Phase 1 has set the market back.  The market will be watching what exactly China buys, so uncertainty in the markets will continue.  Even as the market is reacting negatively at the moment we are in a better trade relationship with China.
Keep working with your Grain Marketing Specialist and get you Marketing Plans in order and offers in.  We are here for all your marketing needs.

Have a great day!

Go Pack Go!

Landmark scholarships invest in the future of agriculture

COTTAGE GROVE, WI, Jan. 15, 2020 – Landmark Services Cooperative (LSC) is pleased to announce the winners of its annual scholarships. The cooperative recently presented 15 scholarships of $750 each to a group of local high school seniors and collegiate students pursuing post-secondary education. Scholarships were awarded during Landmark’s annual scholarship recipient luncheon attended by recipients and their parents as well as Landmark staff and members of the board of directors, on January 9 at The Oaks Golf Course in Cottage Grove.

“We are proud to invest in the future of agriculture. It is a pleasure to help students along their academic journey. By awarding scholarships, we are able to set students on a path to success,” emphasized Jon Prochnow, vice-chairman of LSC.

The Landmark scholarship program encourages academic, professional and leadership development. Landmark is delighted to announce the 2019 winners:

Annika Bernstein – Brodhead, parents Peter & Theresa Bernstein; Madison Calvert – Cuba City, parents Bill and Kelle Calvert; McKenzie Calvert – Cuba City, parents Bill and Kelle Calvert; Katherine Eugster – Stoughton, parents Joe & Carol Eugster; Dylan Horstmeyer – Marshall, parents Dave & Shannon Horstmeyer; Karigan Hunter – Markesan, parents Corey & Kim Hunter; Hunter Huschitt – Monroe, parents Erik & Heather Huschitt; Allison Lund – Cambridge, parents Dennis & Judy Lund; Emma McNally – Milton, parents Jeff & Tonia McNally; Molly Olstad – Stoughton, parents Eric & Angie Olstad; Isaac Ripp – Waunakee, parents Jeff & Kari Ripp; Ashlyn Sarbacker – Edgerton, parents David & Candace Sarbacker; Simon Shelley – Deerfield, parents Kevin & Sandra Whitney; Aleya Stibbe – Richland Center, parents Kirk & Shelly Stibbe.

Landmark has awarded 380 scholarships totaling $257,100 to date to students since 1989 in support of building a strong future for its members, its communities and the world. “For many years, Landmark Services Cooperative has demonstrated a commitment to investing in the future of agriculture and the communities it serves. Providing scholarships for the children of co-op members is just one of the many ways Landmark delivers on that commitment. This year’s recipients are poised for a bright future. They have excelled not only in academics, but also in their personal, extra-curricular and employment endeavors,” said Ethan Giebel, executive director of Federated Youth Foundation.

Recipients were selected from a pool of applicants based on cumulative grade point average, leadership, scholastic achievement, extracurricular activities, personal motivation and academic and career goals. All members and employees of Landmark Services Cooperative and their children attending four-year universities, two-year technical programs or short courses and high school seniors planning for post-secondary education were eligible to apply for the awards.

LSC recently presented 15 scholarships of $750 each to a group of local high school seniors and collegiate students pursuing post-secondary education. Pictured from left to right (back row): Dylan Horstmeyer, Hunter Huschitt, Simon Shelley, Karigan Hunter, Katherine Eugster. Left to right (front row): Aleya Stibbe, Ashlyn Sarbacker, Emma McNally, Molly Olstad, Annika Bernstein. Not pictured: Isaac Ripp, Madison Calvert, McKenzie Calvert, Allison Lund.

2019 Annual Report

2019 Annual Report is now available.

Landmark Services Cooperative Annual Report FY2019 featuring construction site of the Evansville Fertilizer plant.

6# Plus Club

Are you a member of the 6# Plus Club? No, this isn’t made of people who gained 6 lbs. between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day—otherwise many of us would qualify! Rather, the # identifies an area of performance in the dairy world that I encourage all producers to think and talk about.

When you hear a rumor that someone is generating 95# milk, you may not be getting the whole picture until you add the butterfat and milk protein together. Are they 95# at 3.4% butterfat, or 95# at 4% butterfat?

The 6# Plus Club is calculated by adding your butterfat percentage plus milk protein percentage, then multiplying it by the pounds of milk. For example, a 4% butterfat plus 3.2% milk protein equals 7.2# times the herd milk average (let’s say 90#).

7.2 x 0.90 = 6.48#

This number is similar to a classification score on a registered cow. If she were a 92 point cow, many of us would have a pretty good idea what she looked like. The same holds true if your herd were performing at 6.48#. Those of us with this mindset can visualize a herd that’s doing a great job putting milk and components together in the tank.

I am continually surprised to meet producers who aren’t asking what it takes to get these types of results and if those results are worth obtaining. I’ll be bold and say that if you’re not at or above 6#, it’s going to be tough to stay in dairying for long.

In the past few months, the opportunity to optimize for milk protein has been appreciably greater than in recent years. By adjusting herd rations to stimulate higher solids output, producers can achieve up to a 5:1 return on certain input ingredients. When we’re all getting charged for hauling, we might as well try sending more solids every day for a greater return.

The return on investment for adding certain ingredients may vary, so it’s important that we stay aware of how our creameries are paying. For example, during most of the past year we couldn’t afford to chase milk protein because we weren’t getting paid enough for the added investment. That started to change late summer when milk protein value notably improved. Those who adjusted rations with the market enjoyed good basis returns.

Adisseo, an industry partner, has a handy app ( that allows you to calculate how changing milk, butterfat, or milk protein from one scenario to another will pay you back for your efforts.

If you’re not part of the 6# club, I believe you need to be. If you’re not sure if the ration you’re feeding is designed to best take advantage of the market, I encourage you to contact your Landmark nutritionist team for assistance. Your Landmark staff, along with our many industry partners, are committed to helping you profitably achieve 6# Plus.

Grain Exchange


The major theme from last Friday’s report is that the trade ignored the US corn yield increase and larger ending stocks for a couple of reasons.  The first is that the USDA stated that a re-survey of the slowest harvest states will be done but gave no indication when those results will be released.  The second was that the demand numbers did not include any projections from the Phase 1 trade agreement. The trade decided the demand numbers were too incomplete (particularly for corn) to be relevant. Wednesday will see the next big event with the signing and full disclosure of the Phase 1 trade deal and potential Chinese purchases.


Corn prices moved nearly 1% higher Monday despite a tepid round of export inspection data, fueled by some technical buying and short covering. March futures rose 3.75 cents to $3.89, with May futures adding 3.5 cents to $3.96.


Soybean prices lost about 0.5% Monday on some technical selling partly spurred by yield-boosting weather forecasts in South America. Lingering concerns over U.S.-China trade contributed additional headwinds. January futures dropped 5.75 cents to $9.29, with March futures down 3.75 cents to $9.42.


Wheat prices took a moderate spill Monday on a round of technical selling and profit-taking, although a decent round of export inspection data from USDA yesterday morning kept losses somewhat in check. March Chicago SRW futures dropped 2.25 cents to $5.62.


U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin assured America Sunday that the original commitments the Chinese agreed to in the Phase 1 trade deal would be upheld as the revisions to the agreement are being finalized. China agreed to purchases $40-$50 billion worth of U.S. agricultural products over the next two years and is expected to sign a formal agreement on Wednesday in spite of their refusal to change import quotas on grain last week.


Your Grain Marketing Specialists at Landmark have begun putting together grain marketing plans for this year for some of you already. The first step in marketing is to know your break evens! Your Landmark agronomist should be able to assist you in putting together the numbers you need to be successful and confident in your marketing plan. We have lots of marketing options to cater to your specific operation and needs for cash flow. Give us a call!

Grain Exchange

ALMOST, report day!  USDA is set to release quarterly stocks and final production numbers at 11am sharp.  Below are the estimated and last report numbers. 

Make sure to have offers working on old and new crop.  We might see quick spikes in the market.  Hold on for a wild ride in the market.  It is never too early to plan for Fall 2020.  We look forward to helping you with a grain marketing plan.

Melisa Schmidt

Grain Exchange

Markets are generally softer this Tuesday morning as the industry prepares for Friday’s USDA report. This much anticipated report will have the USDA’s annual crop production numbers, quarterly grain stocks report, and the WASDE supply and demand report. Along with that report, we are also waiting for the signing of Phase 1 of the trade agreement with PRC, which is set to happen in Washington DC on January 15th. Add that to a week of heightened world tensions after a US air strike killed Qassem Soleimani, an Iranian Quds Force Commander, and you could say we’ve had our share of market movers coming to the forefront.

Soybeans and meal are both lower this morning, but soyoil is higher. US Soybean processor bids are firm, as the end users are trying to get beans into the pipeline. Argentina’s government has decided that they will suspend their 3% hike in agriculture taxes, which still leaves the rate at 30% for soybeans. Soybean exports inspections are strong, about 201 million bushels ahead of schedule.

Corn is softer this morning ahead of the USDA reports on Friday. The Chinese government reported that it will not raise its annual low-tariff quotas for corn, wheat, and rice. These allow for imports of products at a 1% rather than the 65% tariff amount for imports over the quotas.

Weather is showing precipitation for the Eastern Corn Belt toward the end of the week and then some into the Plains in the 6-10 day forecast. Argentina is dry but showing some chances for rain today. 6-10 day forecast for Argentina is dry, while Brazil will see some moisture in the 11-15 day forecast.

As we all prepare for Friday’s report, be sure to get your orders in for old crop and 2020 crop.

Have a great day!

Katie Demrow