Dairy News

The latest news from the Penn State Extension Dairy Team.
May 2, 2016

These photos provide examples of cows with body condition scores across the range of the 5-point scale used for dairy cattle. Each photo includes description of the key observations at that score.

April 25, 2016

In 2015, over half of the milk produced in the U.S. came from five states: California, Wisconsin, Idaho, New York, and Pennsylvania.

April 25, 2016

Structures that house cattle are vital to the success of a dairy business.

April 25, 2016

Shredlage has been a hot topic in recent years, but studies have demonstrated it has the same overall dry matter and fiber digestibility as conventional silage.

April 25, 2016

It is increasingly common for dairy managers to use tools that allow for pregnancy diagnosis earlier than the traditional 35 to 45 days after insemination. Diagnosing pregnancy early is beneficial for identifying open cows and allowing for reinsemination strategies that will help minimize days open and increase profitability, but losing confirmed pregnancies can be very frustrating.

April 25, 2016

The Penn State Extension Dairy Business Management Team summarizes Pennsylvania dairy cash flow plans annually to assess the factors that lead to farm profitability. In 2015, the 105 farms in the summary were divided by farm size to determine if there are any benefits to larger-scaled farms.

April 15, 2016

Regardless of high or low profit margins the investment in health care for calves, heifers and cows should not waver.

March 17, 2016

When margins are tight the conversation usually focuses on the lactating cows and how to improve performance. This makes sense as they are the major driver of income. However, there are other groups of animals that generate expenses and unless they are sold do not contribute to the income stream. Dry cows and heifers take up on average 20 percent of the farm’s total feed costs (home raised and purchased). This number is generated from the cash flow plans conducted by the Extension Dairy Team.

February 18, 2016

An examination of 2015 cash flow and breakeven production costs for 107 Pennsylvania farms shows that breakeven ranged from less than $16/cwt to over $22/cwt. Not surprisingly, feed costs are a big contributor to differences between farms.

Food is a central part of life in every culture. And eating with others is meaningful. The foods may be different, such as this ugali (corn porridge) and dried fish from Tanzania, but the significance of eating together isn’t.
February 18, 2016

Understanding differences between cultures can provide helpful insight for situations encountered everywhere in our increasingly global society, including common encounters on U.S. farms.

February 16, 2016

It should be no surprise when the dairy industry comes off a year like 2014 with exceptional milk prices that the other extreme will come around. The carryover of income from 2014 softened the blow of 2015’s lower milk price. Moving into 2016 the milk price is expected to be even lower. The same issues affecting cash flow in 2009 are impacting producers in 2016. Have we learned from past experience?

January 14, 2016

The definition of audit is an official inspection of an individual's or organization's accounts, typically by an independent body. Audit is usually associated with financials however it applies very well to a total mixed ration (TMR). The premise of precision feeding is that the same ration is consistently mixed and fed to animals every day. In the real world there are elements influencing how well this practice is implemented. A TMR audit is something every producer should consider.

December 22, 2015

Penn State Extension Dairy Team has created an online farm margin monitoring tool to help farm managers track their milk margins more effectively and make more informed daily and long-term decisions.

December 22, 2015

Feeding forage to calves has been the subject of much debate over the years, in part because even though we know that fermentation of grain is essential for rumen development, sometimes in research and on farms calves fed hay have shown improved performance.

December 22, 2015

It's been said, "If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there." The same can be true for the information highway, and with the maze of data available today it is easy to get lost. Here are a few key questions to help you focus on the road ahead.

December 22, 2015

Some of the latest, greatest timed artificial insemination (AI) protocols have become pretty complex, but not without valid reasons.

December 22, 2015

Farm employees are relied upon to handle tasks so that the farm owners' time can be focused on management. If employees are to excel, they must know how to handle day-to-day situations. This requires proper training on the protocols and practices for their job. But how do managers accomplish this when a language barrier makes communication difficult? Penn State Extension can help bridge the gap with customized training.

December 17, 2015

As 2015 comes to an end, the next year appears to be more of the same: tight margins due to low milk prices and feed costs still relatively high. Producers have dealt with both scenarios the past six years, however, a new wrinkle has developed: a cap on the volume of milk shipped.

November 16, 2015

Cows perform best when they can be kept on a consistent ration and forage quality is excellent.

Dr. Ernest Hovingh teaches hoof trimming techniques
November 2, 2015

On a cool day in late October, nineteen workshop participants were treated to a full program about hoof health in dairy cattle. A portion of the workshop was held at a Marion Center dairy farm, where everyone had an opportunity to get "hands on" practice.