Forages continue to the backbone of most dairy rations. But, the 2015 growing year was not favorable with drought in the western states, wet spring and early summer phase in the Midwest and Eastern region, and a dry late summer and fall in the Midwest. Data from Dr. Mike Rankin provide useful guidelines and considerations when looking ahead to 2016.
In 2014 the price of butterfat averaged $2.38/lb and protein averaged $3.79/lb in marketing orders based on components. At these component prices, amino acid balancing routinely resulted in a 2:1 to 3:1 return on investment due to increased milk volume and milk protein and fat content and yield.
During the discussion, researcher Christian Scherpenzeel noted that blanket dry cow therapy no longer works in some regions due to policy, although it is a pillar of NMC’s mastitis control recommendations. In the Netherlands where he lives, said Scherpenzeel, an employee of GD Animal Health, blanket dry cow therapy is no longer possible.
By Betsy Karle, University of California Cooperative Extension Dairy Advisor, Northern Sacramento Valley
University of California researchers recently conducted a study to evaluate pneumonia in preweaned calves. They looked at various breeds and housing systems, and found that average bovine respiratory disease incidence was 10.25%. Jerseys were more than twice as likely to acquire BRD as all other breeds, and group housing was correlated with a higher incidence of BRD. There was not statistical significance in BRD incidence between calves raised in organic versus conventional settings.
By Jud Heinrichs and Coleen Jones, Pennsylvania State University; and Xavier Suárez, Provimi North America
When, how much and what type of forage should be introduced to calves is a subject of ongoing industry debate. A group of Pennsylvania researchers explain there is not a cut-and-dried answer to this issue. Both the starter grain formulation, and the type and form of forage fed, will influence the best timing and outcomes of introducing forages to calves. The key factor is to prevent development of ruminal acidosis, which can occur in young calves just like cows.
A team of animal science researchers recently published a study in the Journal of Dairy Science, evaluating how social housing affects pre- and postweaning feeding behavior, and social feeding preferences of dairy calves. Their findings provide more evidence that calves reared in pairs display more frequent and aggressive eating habits, and that eating habits established early in life may impact feeding behaviors into adulthood. The authors also suggest that early socialization is beneficial in easing the transition of weaning.
When financial times are good, businesses have the tendency to operate on economic autopilot. This is simply a human characteristic. When things seem to be working well and there are no visible problems, we get comfortable.