Edited by Dr. Jud Heinrichs, Professor of Dairy and Animal Science, Dairy Digest features articles by Penn State's experts in dairy management, engineering, herd health, and related areas. Dairy Digest has been published by the Department of Dairy and Animal Science and Penn State Cooperative Extension since 1963.
Successful culling strategies are based on economics and utilize accurate production data. This article discusses metrics that incorporate information from a current test day and for the current lactation.
As group housing systems for calves have gained popularity in recent years, interest in acidified milk systems has also been renewed. This article describes reasons for acidifying milk or milk replacer and examines research on acidified milk feeding systems.
Consistency is one of the biggest goals when feeding calves. Whatever the liquid feed (milk or milk replacer), the temperature, total solids percentage, and nutrient level should be reasonably consistent from feeding to feeding. Large changes in any of these parameters can lead to unwillingness of calves to drink or scours in calves that do drink.
Is the dairy industry ready to move from the past 75 years of artificial insemination (AI) as the primary way of advancing genetic progress, to using genomics, ovum pick-up (OPU), and in vitro fertilization (IVF) as another combination of technologies that could be used routinely to help take the dairy industry to the “next level” of genetic progress?
Prevention of mastitis requires reducing exposure to mastitis pathogens and enhancing the ability of the heifers’ immune system to respond.
The variety of production systems make it difficult for any one farm to truly know the cost to feed its herd when basing prices solely on the prevailing market. Though analysts do a reasonable job approximating the market costs for feedstuffs like corn silage and alfalfa haylage, actual producer costs can vary greatly within the same state. For this reason, it pays to know the true costs to produce the crops fed on the dairy farm.
Preliminary research from Purdue found that on average, farms could spend an additional $7.50 for polled genetics and break even with the average costs of dehorning.
Look for those “grey areas” that may be costing you money and workers. Taking steps to eliminate the grey – creating SOPs that are used and having good conversations daily – can be two steps forward towards a better environment for you and your workforce.
Approximately half of U.S. and one-third of Pennsylvania ag businesses use technology to assist in business management. If you have not yet made the switch to computerized financial records, Penn State Extension provides a comparison of features in the major software packages.
What makes good housing for cows with a robotic milking system? The simple answer is, the rules haven’t changed! Every dairy shelter, no matter the style, needs to provide good ventilation, ready access to high-quality water and feed, a clean, dry, comfortable resting area, and confident footing. It doesn't matter how she is milked, the measures of what makes good housing and husbandry don't change.
The Penn State Particle Separator (PSPS) provides a tool to quantitatively determine the particle size of forages and total mixed rations (TMR). The updated 2013 version of the PSPS adds the ability to estimate physically effective fiber (peNDF) to this tool.
Achieving ideal levels of fecal phosphorus requires attention to several factors. The good news is ideal levels are possible, but they certainly are not the easiest to achieve.
Genetic technologies offer new opportunities to develop precise management plans that will help a farmer capitalize on the genetic merit of each animal in his or her herd.
Delegating management of a process or technology we aren’t familiar with to someone else based on their personal strengths can be a way to develop our human resources on the farm. We can rely on the younger generation to help bridge the information and technology gap while providing them with experiences and opportunities to progress our farms at a quicker rate.
A few manure piles at the rear of the stalls doesn’t necessarily mean a poorly managed stall, but rather a well-used stall, which is a good thing. Rather than just look at how clean the stalls are, watch and evaluate how the cows use the stalls. In the end a clean, well-used stall is the real goal.
The annual Nutrition Workshop offers continuing education for feed industry professionals. New this year are a members-only session for ARPAS members and a one-day Producer Sessions event especially designed for dairy farmers.
Knowing what it costs you to grow corn or beans can allow you to determine what yield levels will be profitable and how much you can afford to pay to rent crop ground.
Precision dairy management involves the use of technology to measure indicators on individual animals and the use of automation to perform tasks. These technologies are intended to increase efficiency and improve cow management; ultimately improving farm productivity and profitability. Many of these technologies can be applied to both small and large farms.
A new growth spreadsheet that generates a customized growth curve for an individual herd based on that herd’s goal for age at first calving and the mature size of animals in the herd. Using this tool, you will be able to tell at every step of the way whether heifers are on track to calve at the right size and age, eliminating the delay that comes with not measuring heifer performance until first calving.
We can't control the weather, but we can make management changes to improve calf comfort and performance as the mercury rises.