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.
On occasion we receive inquires about the effect of phytoestrogens on reproductive performance of cattle. There have been a few reports from nutrition consultants and veterinarians working with well managed herds which experienced a sudden decline in reproductive performance for no obvious reason but when forages suspected to have high concentrations of phytoestrogens were removed from the ration performance improved. It is difficult to find well controlled studies which document how widespread this condition might be. However there are some good review articles describing the effect of phytoestrogens on sheep and cattle.
The adoption and evolution of milking cows without regular intervention by humans (robotic milking, automatic milking, voluntary milking…) is progressing in the US. The Pennsylvania dairy industry, lead by innovative and courageous farmers is participating in this pioneering activity. The questions as to “will robots work?” or “can they reliably identify, prepare and milk cows without human intervention?” are regularly being answered and demonstrated on several farms in Pennsylvania.
At the recent Penn State Dairy Cattle Nutrition Workshop, Dr. Nigel Cook from the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin presented results of on-going research into the daily time budgets of cows. Their studies use video surveillance to determine how cows spend their time and how management practices and facility designs influence cow behavior. The findings are summarized in this article.
Achieving a high accurate heat detection rate (HDR) is a major challenge to dairy producers.
Accounting is probably one of the most misunderstood concepts of our society, yet it affects the lives of virtually every person on a daily basis.
Over the past few years much has been written, talked about, or broadcast on TV regarding the care or at times the lack thereof of animals raised in production agriculture. This has caused many of us who have been working in animal agriculture for years, to stop and look around and try to understand what has caused some of the fuss.
With the significant increase in adoption of resynchronization programs more routine determination of pregnancy status is being used.
For many producers across the state, it has been a struggle to maintain fat tests above a 3.4%. This has occurred on non-grazing herds and has been fairly consistent throughout the summer, regardless of temperature. This seems to be occurring more on herds feeding a high forage based ration and on an average milk production between 70 and 80 pounds. The one commonality is these herds are feeding corn silage. What are some issues that could be challenging butter fat percent?
The Heifer-Plus™ kit has become commercially available for treating bovine semen immediately post-thaw to alter the sex ratio of offspring.
We are coming into the summer months when the incidence of mastitis and the bulk tank somatic cell count tend to rise.
Pennsylvania consultants who are working with dairy teams to improve farm profitability can take advantage of the new web-based version of the Penn State Profitability Assessment Dairy Tool
A new tool designed to help evaluate the decision to feed pasteurized waste milk is available. This spreadsheet developed by Penn State and Virginia Tech extension educators calculates the cost of owning and operating a calf milk pasteurizer as well as costs to feed milk replacer or whole, saleable milk.
There are conflicting reports on the contribution of ruminants to greenhouse gas emissions (GGE). In these environmentally sensitive times it will help to put things in prospective.
Dr. Larry W. Specht, professor emeritus of dairy science, Penn State University, has compiled a history of polled Holsteins, naturally hornless cattle.
Your strategy should always be to optimize the use of energy to increase profitability and net cash flow.
Every dairy operation has its unique set of challenges; however there are a few management and nutrition options that can help maintain profit.
A properly designed and built tie stall barn can provide a comfortable and productive living and working environment for milking cows and their caretakers. There are several new resources available for those who are planning new or remodeled tie stall dairy barns.
There is little doubt that a major shift in the cost of producing milk has taken place and may continue for some time to come. Monitoring the COP for your dairy operation has always been important, but is even more so now.
Dr. Alex Hristov, Associate Professor of Dairy Nutrition, and Dr. Joy Pate, Professor of Reproductive Physiology and the C. Lee Rumberger and Family Endowed Chair in Agricultural Sciences