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2008 Archives

December 2008

December 16, 2008

With all the talk about electricity prices increasing when the rate caps expire within the next year or two, you may be tempted to consider generating your own electricity. After all, you probably already have a back-up generation system to provide electricity during blackout periods.

December 16, 2008

On occasion we receive inquires about the effect of phytoestrogens on reproductive performance of cattle. There have been a few reports from nutrition consultants and veterinarians working with well managed herds which experienced a sudden decline in reproductive performance for no obvious reason but when forages suspected to have high concentrations of phytoestrogens were removed from the ration performance improved. It is difficult to find well controlled studies which document how widespread this condition might be. However there are some good review articles describing the effect of phytoestrogens on sheep and cattle.

December 9, 2008

The adoption and evolution of milking cows without regular intervention by humans (robotic milking, automatic milking, voluntary milking…) is progressing in the US. The Pennsylvania dairy industry, lead by innovative and courageous farmers is participating in this pioneering activity. The questions as to “will robots work?” or “can they reliably identify, prepare and milk cows without human intervention?” are regularly being answered and demonstrated on several farms in Pennsylvania.

December 9, 2008

At the recent Penn State Dairy Cattle Nutrition Workshop, Dr. Nigel Cook from the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin presented results of on-going research into the daily time budgets of cows. Their studies use video surveillance to determine how cows spend their time and how management practices and facility designs influence cow behavior. The findings are summarized in this article.

October 2008

October 14, 2008

Achieving a high accurate heat detection rate (HDR) is a major challenge to dairy producers.

October 13, 2008

Accounting is probably one of the most misunderstood concepts of our society, yet it affects the lives of virtually every person on a daily basis.

October 13, 2008

Over the past few years much has been written, talked about, or broadcast on TV regarding the care or at times the lack thereof of animals raised in production agriculture. This has caused many of us who have been working in animal agriculture for years, to stop and look around and try to understand what has caused some of the fuss.

August 2008

August 13, 2008

With the significant increase in adoption of resynchronization programs more routine determination of pregnancy status is being used.

August 12, 2008

For many producers across the state, it has been a struggle to maintain fat tests above a 3.4%. This has occurred on non-grazing herds and has been fairly consistent throughout the summer, regardless of temperature. This seems to be occurring more on herds feeding a high forage based ration and on an average milk production between 70 and 80 pounds. The one commonality is these herds are feeding corn silage. What are some issues that could be challenging butter fat percent?

June 2008

June 20, 2008

The Heifer-Plus™ kit has become commercially available for treating bovine semen immediately post-thaw to alter the sex ratio of offspring.

June 19, 2008

We are coming into the summer months when the incidence of mastitis and the bulk tank somatic cell count tend to rise.

June 18, 2008

Pennsylvania consultants who are working with dairy teams to improve farm profitability can take advantage of the new web-based version of the Penn State Profitability Assessment Dairy Tool

June 11, 2008

A new tool designed to help evaluate the decision to feed pasteurized waste milk is available. This spreadsheet developed by Penn State and Virginia Tech extension educators calculates the cost of owning and operating a calf milk pasteurizer as well as costs to feed milk replacer or whole, saleable milk.

June 11, 2008

There are conflicting reports on the contribution of ruminants to greenhouse gas emissions (GGE). In these environmentally sensitive times it will help to put things in prospective.

April 2008

April 21, 2008

Dr. Larry W. Specht, professor emeritus of dairy science, Penn State University, has compiled a history of polled Holsteins, naturally hornless cattle.

April 5, 2008

Your strategy should always be to optimize the use of energy to increase profitability and net cash flow.

April 4, 2008

Every dairy operation has its unique set of challenges; however there are a few management and nutrition options that can help maintain profit.

April 3, 2008

A properly designed and built tie stall barn can provide a comfortable and productive living and working environment for milking cows and their caretakers. There are several new resources available for those who are planning new or remodeled tie stall dairy barns.

April 2, 2008

There is little doubt that a major shift in the cost of producing milk has taken place and may continue for some time to come. Monitoring the COP for your dairy operation has always been important, but is even more so now.

February 2008

February 5, 2008

Dr. Alex Hristov, Associate Professor of Dairy Nutrition, and Dr. Joy Pate, Professor of Reproductive Physiology and the C. Lee Rumberger and Family Endowed Chair in Agricultural Sciences

February 3, 2008

The USDA’s National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) recently published part one of the results of the Dairy 2007 national survey. This periodic snapshot of current management practices provides insight into current trends and changes over time.

February 2, 2008

This is the second in a series that will explore the use as well as discuss some of the controversies concerning antibiotic therapy in dairy cattle.

February 1, 2008

In light of the recent tragic death of a Pennsylvania dairy producer by a herd bull I feel it is important to review once again the costs and risks of having a bull on the premises.