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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 20, 2009

Dr. Kevin Harvatine was recently hired as an Assistant Professor of Nutritional Physiology by the Department of Dairy and Animal Science.

April 20, 2009

Progress is be made to understand more about this condition and treatment strategies have improved but diagnosis of the type of cysts is still a challenge. However, culling chronically cystic cows, developing a strategy to avoid over conditioned dry cows and providing balanced transition cow ration will certainly help minimize periparturient problems so that the incidence of cystic ovaries remains low.

April 20, 2009

Penn State Dairy Extension is offering a new online tool to help dairy producers better manage feed costs during the current economic downturn.

February 16, 2009

That old saying, “What goes up must come down,” has been proven to be true yet again.

February 16, 2009

The time is right to review the concerns with ammonia emissions and the particular role of livestock in the global context of anthropogenic air pollution.

February 16, 2009

Genomic sire evaluations were released for the first time in January. Many people believe this will have the largest impact on genetic improvement programs since the advent of frozen semen.

February 16, 2009

The energy site has undergone massive reconstruction over the past several months with the new theme of "Coping with High Energy Prices."

February 16, 2009

Penn State Dairy Alliance is currently forming discussion groups for dairy producers in southcentral and southwestern Pennsylvania who want an opportunity to meet regularly so they may network and learn from each other.

December 16, 2008

With all the talk about electricity prices increasing when the rate caps expire within the next year or two, you may be tempted to consider generating your own electricity. After all, you probably already have a back-up generation system to provide electricity during blackout periods.

December 16, 2008

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.

December 9, 2008

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.

December 9, 2008

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.

October 14, 2008

Achieving a high accurate heat detection rate (HDR) is a major challenge to dairy producers.

October 13, 2008

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.

October 13, 2008

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.

August 13, 2008

With the significant increase in adoption of resynchronization programs more routine determination of pregnancy status is being used.

August 12, 2008

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?

June 20, 2008

The Heifer-Plus™ kit has become commercially available for treating bovine semen immediately post-thaw to alter the sex ratio of offspring.

June 19, 2008

We are coming into the summer months when the incidence of mastitis and the bulk tank somatic cell count tend to rise.