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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.

June 17, 2013

Commodity feeding can be a money saving or money losing game, and each farm needs to look at their numbers and make that decision for their operation.

April 24, 2013

Research from the University of Florida shows that calves exposed to heat stress before birth have lower birth weights and compromised immunity.

April 24, 2013

Two real world examples of group housing and feeding systems for calves and a discussion of the challenges in each system.

April 24, 2013

Dairy producers are encouraged to design a parasite control program with their veterinarian. This article presents some elements that might be considered in crafting a more effective program.

February 22, 2013

There are several ways to economically evaluate better reproduction. Whatever economic indicator is used, research suggests that the more efficient our dairy producers become at getting their entire dairy herd pregnant, both first service cows and repeat breeders, the potential exists for increased profitability for the dairy enterprise.

February 22, 2013

Insight into world supply and demand factors that influence milk price.

February 22, 2013

Penn State research suggests that when low quality forage is added to the diet to achieve extra chewing or rumination, chopping it fine enough to minimize sorting will help cows to consume the amount of forage desired and still provide physically effective fiber.

February 22, 2013

Transitioning cows from the dry period into and through early lactation has a huge effect on the overall production and health of the entire herd. The way we house and manage the dry and prefresh cow ultimately determines the level of production she can achieve.

December 10, 2012

It’s that time of year again! Cold weather is approaching and keeping every newborn and young calf healthy might be challenging. Wind and snow can add stress to even the healthiest of calves.

December 10, 2012

Penn State research has determined that histidine can be a limiting amino acid in high-producing dairy cows fed corn silage and alfalfa haylage-based diets deficient in metabolizable protein (MP). This is primarily a result of the relatively low histidine concentration in microbial protein synthesized in the rumen. When formulating diets for high-producing dairy cows fed MP at or below NRC (2001) requirements, nutritionists should also balance for digestible histidine supply.

December 10, 2012

Internal parasites continue to plague the livestock industries. Economic costs due to parasitism vary with animal age, stage of growth, degree of exposure, and level of nutrition. Late fall or winter is a good time for dairy producers to strategize with their veterinarian and develop a parasite control program that fits with animal care and planning for crops and forages.

December 10, 2012

Penn State will be conducting a survey to identify causes of stillborn calves in dairy and beef herds in Pennsylvania. Calves must be submitted for testing within 6 hours of birth. Read on for more information on stillbirths and contact information for participating in this research project.

November 5, 2012

Since the deregulation of electricity generation there have been numerous changes in the price structures for electricity. Take the time to investigate your options and consider changes that could save you money.

Impact of key herd metrics on animal flow and herd size.
November 5, 2012

Controlling costs is just as important as ensuring the quality and quantity of heifers entering the dairy herd. Understanding a herd’s unique heifer need and availability based on key herd metrics can achieve insight into potential limitations or excess availability of heifers. Controlling these metrics to improve access to replacement opens the dairy business to greater control of quality of heifers becoming their next lactating herd participants.

November 5, 2012

Holstein herds in Pennsylvania have made progress in reducing the average age of heifers at first calving.

November 5, 2012

Federal funding is gone, but Johne's Disease isn’t. This article presents some relatively easy and inexpensive management practices that you can use to minimize the level of infection and the impact of this disease in your herd.

August 24, 2012

Perspectives on the dangers of keeping bulls on the farm and alternatives that can help keep you, your family, and your employees safe.

August 24, 2012

New research from the University of Minnesota confirms that colostrum pasteurization can be successful on commercial dairy farms.

August 24, 2012

In late summer and early fall, the talk of pricing standing corn for corn silage always seems to come up in conversation. Most look for a simple conversion from the current cost of grain corn to the value for corn silage. Unfortunately, in today’s economic environment, taking a little time to look at the factors involved with pricing corn silage from standing corn will help both the buyer and seller reach a fair price. Consider the price from each perspective, grain grower and forage buyer.

Freestall fans.
June 10, 2012

Poor maintenance can reduce efficiency of ventilation systems by as much as 40 percent.