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Dairy News

The latest news from the Penn State Extension Dairy Team.
November 3, 2014

Agriculture is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States. Take the time to use your number one piece of safety equipment - that one between your ears. Harvest time adds extra stress to already full days, but let's do all we can to avoid losing any farmers or future farmers this fall.

November 3, 2014

Use of a selection index, such as Net Merit, can help producers capture the most genetic gain and economic value when making breeding decisions. The Net Merit formula will be adjusted, a new Grazing Merit index will be calculated, and a base change will occur with the release of the December 2014 proofs.

October 29, 2014

Penn State Extension Dairy Team and Center for Dairy Excellence Team Up to Answer Producers' Questions with Sessions through November 6.

Acceptable body condition for dry cows (3.25-3.75)
October 20, 2014

Ideal dairy cow body condition scores can not be achieved overnight. A good foundation in precision feeding and monitoring body scores are essential on any dairy farm.

An electronic bench scale operating off of a 9-volt battery and weighing feeds up to 250 pounds. This scale can be purchased on-line with a price range of $75-$135.
September 17, 2014

The precision of what cows consume can be questionable. However, component fed herds can still apply precision feeding as successfully as herds feeding a total mixed ration. Dry matter intake can be monitored for cows and the weight of a grain scoop can be calibrated with each new delivery.

September 11, 2014

A timely reminder of simple practices that can help keep cows milking during the transition to new silage.

August 26, 2014

It was good advice then, and it still rings true. An adventure in cleaning out old file cabinets yields record keeping advice that has stood the test of time.

August 26, 2014

Fall is almost here and with that will come corn silage harvest. One common side effect of silage making is silage effluent. No matter our best efforts to harvest at the correct moisture and in a timely fashion, it happens. If you have a silo, upright or horizontal, you have some amount of silage effluent.

August 26, 2014

Synchronization protocols have become a great tool for many breeding programs, but most would probably abandon them in a heartbeat if there was another effective way to consistently predict ovulation and pinpoint the perfect time to breed cows. Activity monitors may provide a solution.

August 26, 2014

Several microbiological parameters are used to screen for the overall quality of milk. These analyses are associated with milk quality. They also can provide direction for trouble-shooting sanitation and procedural issues on the farm.

August 26, 2014

As tie stall dairy producers think about herd expansion they often consider converting their existing building into a milking center. In many cases this is a reasonable idea. However, ‘low-cost’ should not be interpreted as ‘cheap.’

August 26, 2014

Scientists from around the globe presented the results of their most recent research at the joint annual meeting of the American Dairy Science Association and the American Society of Animal Science last month in Kansas City, Missouri. This article highlights some of the latest findings related to feeding and managing dairy calves.

Know your cows by monitoring dry matter intake
August 15, 2014

The goal of monitoring dry matter intake is getting to know your cows. This is extremely important for understanding what is normal and what is abnormal for the operation. It can also help explain how the cows may be responding to forage quality changes, ration changes, or labor’s implementation of the feeding program.

June 17, 2014

What is the difference between a barn built in 2014 and one built in 2002? It is likely there are multiple opportunities to upgrade an older barn and improve cow comfort.

Figure 1. Water intake at various levels of milk production.
June 17, 2014

Water makes up 87% of the milk given by a cow, and drinking water satisfies 80 to 90% of a cow’s total water needs. Consider how and when cows drink to create a watering system that ensures every cow gets as much water as she will drink.

April 15, 2014

A 2013 study suggested that US EPA estimates of methane production underestimated true emissions. Penn State scientists collaborated with other experts to examine that claim. Using a method of calculating emissions based on feed consumption, these researchers concluded that the EPA estimates are accurate.

April 15, 2014

Most of the time when we think about sorting and dairy cows, we focus on the negative consequences of cows selectively eating the finer particles in a diet. But there is growing evidence that cows facing an acidosis challenge will select feeds with high ruminal buffering capacity if given the opportunity.

April 15, 2014

When it comes to risk management it seems like things are never simple. The new approach in the farm bill appears complicated. However, farms that have developed cash flow plans on their own or with the Extension Dairy Team, already have the tools available to implement the program effectively.

April 15, 2014

Designed, installed, and operated properly, tunnel ventilation systems can play a major role in keeping cows comfortable and productive during hot weather. Providing enough fan capacity is important, but properly sized inlets – located to supply uniform distribution throughout the animal space – are essential to provide a more comfortable space for the cows.