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Dairy Digest

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.

April 28, 2017

Too much time away from their pen can cause a deficit in cows' daily time budget.

April 28, 2017

The pursuit of lower somatic cell counts to achieve milk quality goals leads some to wonder if the cow's immune response is compromised.

April 28, 2017

Feeding more milk replacer to calves can increase average daily gain, but can reduce starter intake and lower nitrogen efficiency and postweaning digestion.

April 28, 2017

Pain management makes dehorning less dreadful for you and your calves.

February 28, 2017

Get ready for summer heat before it gets here, because we know it is coming.

February 28, 2017

Factors to consider before shifting voluntary waiting period or dry period length.

February 28, 2017

Increasing heifer growth rates, regardless of the feeding strategy, will increase the possibility of decreasing age at calving, which can dramatically decrease heifer costs.

December 19, 2016

Five steps to monitoring the financial health of a dairy business.

Overmilking can lead to hyperkeratosis, putting cows at greater risk for infection.
December 19, 2016

Overmilking can damage teat ends and compromise udder health. A simple test can help you determine if you are over or under milking.

December 19, 2016

Description of in-feed medications and how they fit into the new Veterinary Feed Directive rules taking effect January 1, 2017.

Cow with an activity tag on her collar
December 19, 2016

An example of how one farmer is using data from an activity monitoring system to identify the optimum breeding time for his farm.

Figure 1. Dairy cows begin to experience heat stress when the Temperature Humidity Index (THI) exceeds 68.
October 20, 2016

Results of monitoring THI, rumination, and milk production on a Southeastern Pennsylvania farm.

August 30, 2016

Feed costs tend to be the largest expense on a dairy operation and managing those costs contributes to a dairy’s ability to be profitable.

August 30, 2016

Precision feeding is a strategy for productive heifers and a healthy bottom line. The Penn State Dairy Heifer Diet Formulator (PSU-HDF) program encourages an approach to heifer feeding that is driven by the desire to precisely meet metabolizable energy and nitrogen needs of growing dairy heifers while still allowing farmers to meet their desired goals for growth, age at first breeding, age at first calving, and first lactation production.

June 21, 2016

Future milk prices are looking (somewhat) better, but it seems like since 2008 no one has felt completely secure in the stability of the dairy industry. Being more cautious can be a good thing, but letting the milk prices and low milk margins get you down is not healthy for you, your family, or your farm in the long run. There is plenty of advice on how to manage your margins and your herd. Now, it is time to talk about how to manage your stress.

June 21, 2016

When data is available, managers can look at mortality numbers, feed shrink (tons harvested or purchased compared to as fed), and inventories of supplies to determine what changes if any are needed to reduce these sometimes steady drains on profitability.

June 21, 2016

A typical discussion of farm safety may focus on equipment operation principles, the use of personal protective equipment, or safe animal handling, but there are other aspects of farm safety that we sometimes neglect to include in our discussions.

June 21, 2016

We have recently updated an article about trends in age at first calving using records obtained from DRMS for all first-lactation Holsteins in Pennsylvania during 2015.