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.
The group of animals that have recently been weaned and grouped together are often called the Transition Calf Group. But too often this group of animals becomes The Forgotten Group. We focus labor and capital on keeping calves healthy and growing and on catching heifers in heat and getting them bred, but if we lose a month of time between these two points we will never get it back.
Description of revisions and new additions to genetic evaluations as of December 2, 2014.
For most major renovations or expansions, a lender will want a business plan to outline the plans and goals for the farm’s future success. For that plan to be approved, a comprehensive financial plan must be included that proves the farm’s past profitability and justifies the expansion for further profits down the road.
A reminder that all Pennsylvania dairy and livestock operations must register with the Department of Agriculture for premise identification.
A reminder about animal identification required by the USDA Animal Disease Traceability program.
Cleanliness of teats as the cow enters the robot and the ability of the robot to clean teats prior to milking will impact teat cleanliness at attachment and ultimately cow health and milk quality.
A study of data from Penn State calf research suggests that calf hip height and body weight can be useful predictors of future milk yield, while calf growth rate and starter feed intake can impact mature cow body weight.
Managing feed refusals is a balance between providing enough to ensure that each cow has access to all the feed she wants and minimizing waste.
Automatic Milking Systems (AMS, also known as robotic milkers) are slowly gaining popularity on Pennsylvania dairy farms, with approximately 35 PA farms currently using the technology. This article outlines a recent study of AMS performance on PA farms.
Agriculture is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States. Take the time to use your number one piece of safety equipment - that one between your ears. Harvest time adds extra stress to already full days, but let's do all we can to avoid losing any farmers or future farmers this fall.
Use of a selection index, such as Net Merit, can help producers capture the most genetic gain and economic value when making breeding decisions. The Net Merit formula will be adjusted, a new Grazing Merit index will be calculated, and a base change will occur with the release of the December 2014 proofs.
As tie stall dairy producers think about herd expansion they often consider converting their existing building into a milking center. In many cases this is a reasonable idea. However, ‘low-cost’ should not be interpreted as ‘cheap.’
Fall is almost here and with that will come corn silage harvest. One common side effect of silage making is silage effluent. No matter our best efforts to harvest at the correct moisture and in a timely fashion, it happens. If you have a silo, upright or horizontal, you have some amount of silage effluent.
Synchronization protocols have become a great tool for many breeding programs, but most would probably abandon them in a heartbeat if there was another effective way to consistently predict ovulation and pinpoint the perfect time to breed cows. Activity monitors may provide a solution.
Scientists from around the globe presented the results of their most recent research at the joint annual meeting of the American Dairy Science Association and the American Society of Animal Science last month in Kansas City, Missouri. This article highlights some of the latest findings related to feeding and managing dairy calves.
It was good advice then, and it still rings true. An adventure in cleaning out old file cabinets yields record keeping advice that has stood the test of time.
Several microbiological parameters are used to screen for the overall quality of milk. These analyses are associated with milk quality. They also can provide direction for trouble-shooting sanitation and procedural issues on the farm.
What is the difference between a barn built in 2014 and one built in 2002? It is likely there are multiple opportunities to upgrade an older barn and improve cow comfort.
Inspections are an inevitable part of the routine on most dairy farms. The demand for a safe, high quality product is driven, in part, by consumers who put pressure on producers for transparency and adherence to safety standards. Processors also require a product that consistently meets their standards resulting in the production of a high quality, uniform product on a regular basis. Producers in turn, may be rewarded with premiums for meeting quality standards. But do these inspections correlate with the quality of milk that is being shipped?
Water makes up 87% of the milk given by a cow, and drinking water satisfies 80 to 90% of a cow’s total water needs. Consider how and when cows drink to create a watering system that ensures every cow gets as much water as she will drink.