Dairy News

The latest news from the Penn State Extension Dairy Team.
May 15, 2017

Utilizing pasture on dairy operations can benefit the animals and the cash flow in several ways. Maintaining forage quality and quantity has a significant effect on cash surplus. Grazing adult cattle and young stock can help extend stored forages. Maintaining carry over of ensiled forages benefits the bottom line and animal performance. Incorporating grazing for the dairy herd also gets them off concrete for a period of time. As with any management practice there are perks and drawbacks.

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.

April 17, 2017

On any sized dairy operation there are a multitude of events occurring from the time a calf is born until she leaves the herd. Software programs are available to help manage this task of recording events. The bottom line is no matter how good someone’s memory is it is no substitute for having historic information on animals of all ages that can be easily accessed. However, the information is only as good as the person entering the data and is useful only if someone is monitoring the events.

March 15, 2017

The benefits of corn silage kernel processing have been replicated many times in research and at the farm level. The main advantage is breaking the corn kernels into pieces, which should result in improved starch utilization and milk production. However, are producers observing the benefits of kernel processing? Is this management practice a sure thing? Unfortunately, the information collected from Extension’s “Crops to Cow” project does not entirely support this statement.

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.

February 16, 2017

Skills in detective work are sometimes more valuable than knowing the ins and outs of nutrition. Today’s computer models make ration formulation almost too easy. When troubleshooting “nutrition” problems many people start with the paper ration. However, in reality the problem many times is in the implementation. This is where science and art come into play.

January 16, 2017

Most dairy producers will welcome the end of 2016. The variability in weather, forage quality and quantity, and the low milk prices will not be missed. However, what will 2017 offer and what can be done to manage the ups and downs? The one constant is precision feeding as the lifeline for keeping margins in check throughout the year.

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.

December 16, 2016

Feeding cows is very similar to conducting a financial assessment in respect to “What is the return on investment?” For the cow it comes down to what is the return on milk volume and pounds of fat and protein for the price of feed fed. The approach taken by producers during difficult times is to make decisions based on the unit price of a particular feed. Usually this is coupled with not giving thought on what the feed contributes to the ration, how the animal responds, and the long term implications of replacing an “expensive” feed ingredient with a cheaper substitute. This strategy has led many nutritionists to avoid the least cost ration scenario and focus on the best cost ration because optimum performance is rarely achieved on the least cost approach.

November 15, 2016

Animal and agronomic research has provided many tools and practices over the past decades that have assisted producers in doing their job better and easier. A direct transfer of the results to real world does not always equate to the same positive results. It is easy to get caught up on the potential benefits conveyed from research in either increased milk production, improved health, higher crop yields, better fiber digestibility and the list could go on. There are several key factors that come into play when determining how much a farm may benefit from a new product or management practice.

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.