Despite lower feed costs in recent months, declining farm-gate prices for milk will have dairy farm managers sharpening their feed-planning pencils in search of cost-effective rations for 2015. Well-balanced rations are critical to the health and well-being of the cow and the dairy enterprise.
By John B. Cole, Ph.D. Research Geneticist (Animal), Animal Genomics and Improvement Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service, USDA
Dairy Herd Management recently published a pair of articles (Get a handle on dystocia data and Every delivery is special) that discussed the need for record-keeping as part of a calving management program. I agree very strongly with the importance of data collection. Without accurate information about calving performance it is difficult to identify and address problems.
What type of sample bag should be used for silage to be analyzed for yeasts and molds — paper or plastic?
Some forage testing laboratories recommend submitting these samples in paper bags. However, no research supports this recommendation. It may be labs might be recommending paper bags because that’s what they read somewhere or “because we’ve always done it that way.”
Calf scours, the diarrhea seen during the first 30 days of a calf’s life, is caused by a variety of bacteria, viruses and parasites. But the exact cause is less important than prompt treatment, says a University of Missouri professor of food-animal medicine.
Good forage crops place a high demand for potassium on the soil’s nutrient supplying power. Potassium is critical for growing high yield, high quality alfalfa, helping maximize animal performance and profitability.
Corn and soybeans garner nearly all the attention, but USDA’s early-January Crop Production, Grain Stocks and World Ag Supply & Demand Estimates reports also contain other numbers important to dairy farmers, especially when it comes to forages. Among the highlights, 2014 corn silage production set a record high; dry hay production increased over 2013, providing additional stocks heading into winter; total 2014 forage production was also up; and new seedings of alfalfa and alfalfa mixtures were higher for a third consecutive year.