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.
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.
A 2013 study suggested that US EPA estimates of methane production underestimated true emissions. Penn State scientists collaborated with other experts to examine that claim. Using a method of calculating emissions based on feed consumption, these researchers concluded that the EPA estimates are accurate.
Most of the time when we think about sorting and dairy cows, we focus on the negative consequences of cows selectively eating the finer particles in a diet. But there is growing evidence that cows facing an acidosis challenge will select feeds with high ruminal buffering capacity if given the opportunity.
When it comes to risk management it seems like things are never simple. The new approach in the farm bill appears complicated. However, farms that have developed cash flow plans on their own or with the Extension Dairy Team, already have the tools available to implement the program effectively.
Designed, installed, and operated properly, tunnel ventilation systems can play a major role in keeping cows comfortable and productive during hot weather. Providing enough fan capacity is important, but properly sized inlets – located to supply uniform distribution throughout the animal space – are essential to provide a more comfortable space for the cows.
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?