Cows perform best when they can be kept on a consistent ration and forage quality is excellent. Is it an achievable goal to maintain lactating cows on the same forage ration for 12 months? Most people would automatically respond no to this question. Based on my experience as a dairy producer, dairy manager and nutritionist it can be a realistic goal; however it requires a very committed and focused approach to achieve that end result.
On a cool day in late October, nineteen workshop participants were treated to a full program about hoof health in dairy cattle. A portion of the workshop was held at a Marion Center dairy farm, where everyone had an opportunity to get "hands on" practice.
PCR can be a useful diagnostic aid when combined with other currently available tools and herd data. With advances in research and improvements in the interpretation of assay results, PCR and other molecular biology techniques are likely to gain a more prominent place in mastitis diagnostics in the future. Producers should weigh their options and expectations along with consideration of the means by which the results will be utilized when determining whether to opt for PCR as a diagnostic tool for mastitis on their farm.
Understanding the importance of physically effective fiber and knowing how to measure it accurately can be very helpful in managing high producing cows to avoid sub-acute ruminal acidosis and its negative impact on health and performance.
Forage quality plays a significant role in animal performance and profitability. Producers and nutritionists should be evaluating quality parameters. Ultimately it is the dairy producer who will implement changes to correct any problems.
The dairy industry in 2015 is experiencing a similar down cycle to 2009 and 2012. These volatile market swings are not new or unexpected. There are management practices that can be implemented to help sustain the dairy operation.
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.
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.