Feed cost is one of the largest expenses on dairy farms. In addition to being a major cost, over feeding, under feeding or feeding an improperly balanced diet can impair cow health, decrease milk production, and result in negative environmental impacts. Regular dry matter (DM) testing of feeds and rebalancing the ration to compensate for DM changes ensures that dairy producers are feeding the ration formulated by their nutritionist. Where trade names appear, no discrimination is intended, and no endorsement by Penn State Extension or by the author is implied.
The Penn State Dairy Cattle Nutrition Workshop provides applied dairy nutrition information and training to feed industry professionals. Hands-on workshops and practical sessions offer information you can use to help your clients succeed. Plan to join us November 11-12 in Grantville, Pa., to expand your knowledge and network with the approximately 600 others who attend this event.
Lighting is often one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to reduce energy use on a farm. While lighting upgrades can be a great energy saving measure, there are a few pitfalls you have to avoid. We'll discuss some of the more common problems you can avoid without too much trouble.
There has been a lot of press recently about genetic selection for production efficiency. Research in this area has far reaching implications with climate change, nutrient management and economics. However, how can feed efficiency (FE) be used on the farm right now?
Pennsylvania summers are notorious for being hot and humid. People and animals are usually tolerant of the initial on-set of these conditions in June, but it becomes problematic when heat stress is prolonged.
At Ag Progress Days, a producer, an experienced industry representative, and members of the Penn State Dairy Extension Team will discuss their experiences with the Transformation process.
The Extension Dairy Team has been working with approximately 60 farms evaluating corn silage quality over time. Within farms, it is amazing how much change is occurring in fiber and starch content and digestibility.
In March 2015 the FDA released the results of the Bulk Milk Antibiotic survey that began in 2012. In a survey of milk from 1,912 herds, no samples contained residues from antibiotics that are routinely tested under the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance. However, 15 samples contained residues of other antibiotics that are not routinely measured. In light of the results of this survey, producers and veterinarians should review their treatment protocols and withholding times to further reduce the possibility of residues in milk leaving the farm.
Since its inception in the 1950s, the total mixed ration (TMR) is now the most adopted method for feeding high producing, indoor-housed dairy cows in the world. Feeding a TMR helps a dairy cow achieve maximum performance. This is accomplished by feeding a nutritionally balanced ration at all times, allowing cows to consume as close to their actual energy requirements as possible and maintaining the physical or roughage characteristics, which we now refer to as feed particle size, required for proper rumen function. Good feeding management practices must be followed to successfully implement a TMR system and achieve maximum performance from cows.
There is growing interest in the use of activity monitoring systems on dairy farms. This interest is driven by the desire to improve reproductive performance, reduce labor, and reduce the cost of production. This article will address some common questions about activity systems.
Understanding how ovarian follicles develop and the interplay between hormones and other health factors in a non-pregnant dairy cow can be both fascinating and frustrating. When it comes to the question of how to manage reproduction in an early postpartum cow, it pretty much boils down to one big thing: without ovulation of a follicle, reproduction is not possible. Ovulation is the critical event that must function correctly and be responded to in a timely manner in order to see a new pregnancy established.
Most farms used the high milk prices of 2014 to make repairs or to replace machinery and equipment that were past repair. However, some farms also used this year to prepare for 2015, a year that couldn’t realistically parallel the record prices of 2014. This article presents strategies to help your business weather milk price cycles.
There are six to seven months out of the year when pasture can figure into the feeding management strategy for all animal groups on Pennsylvania dairies. There are numerous benefits to the animal and producer who can incorporate pasture into the ration however there are also some challenges that go along with grazing.
Whether it's your farm business or a community organization, if you're looking to lead you have to be able to communicate.
Open cows that aren't cycling normally can hamper successful reproduction. This article, the first in a series on cyclicity, defines the terms anovulation and anestrous. Though similarly problematic, the causes and potential corrective actions for anovulation or anestrous conditions in a dairy cow are different.
Tips to help you get the most out of your financial records. Like any record keeping system, the quality and usefulness of the information you get out depends on attention to detail as data is entered and reports are designed.
Forage inventory, cropping strategies, and alternative energy sources are a few of the management areas where decisions can be made after monitoring cost of production.
As margins continue to slide in 2015, don't be afraid to evaluate rations. Always monitor the cows when making any change to confirm how animals respond and evaluate the financial benefit.
A newly published study supports findings from previous research. Calves grew faster before weaning on higher rates of milk or milk replacer, but size differences disappeared after weaning and milk production in first lactation was not affected.
Well, if you answered “NO” to that question then maybe you need to review – or create – job descriptions that you have for key positions. Job descriptions provide the foundation for building strong human resource management practices into the day-to-day management of a dairy farm business.