Data is everywhere on your dairy. Your challenge is knowing how to use it and finding time to compile and analyze it so you can make better decisions for your cows. Enlight™ is a new, online management tool designed to help Holstein dairy producers more efficiently manage herd genetics.
A significant drop in colostrum yield is a commonly reported challenge in the fall, according to Noah Litherland, dairy youngstock technical specialist with Vita Plus Corporation.
Litherland said researchers have not yet been able to pinpoint the reason why colostrum yields tend to drop in late October into November. When he studied the issue as a researcher at the University of Minnesota, he concluded that the phenomenon is not affected by changing dietary starch levels, protein levels or negative-DCAD transition diets.
Nearly half of all dairy calves raised in the United States are fed a diet of whole milk in the pre-weaned stage. The source of this nutrition is primarily hospital waste milk, salable milk, or a combination of the two.
While milk has been deemed “nature’s most perfect food,” and calves have been shown to perform very well on it, we are learning that there are ways we can optimize the consistency and nutritive value of milk fed to calves.
Less-expensive alternatives for milk proteins in calf milk replacer have long been sought. In many cases these proteins have been found to have lower nutritional value for the calf and a typical recommendation is that only products containing all-milk proteins be fed to calves less than three weeks of age. Alternative proteins have been seen as a cost-effective option for older calves, with the expectation that performance may be somewhat less than that possible with an all-milk protein milk replacer.
At birth, calves are essentially monogastric animals, according to Penn State University professor Jud Heinrichs. Their initial, liquid diets bypass the undeveloped reticulum and rumen, and flow directly into the omasum followed quickly by the abomasum.
Only when calves start consuming dry feed can rumen development begin. Starter grain intake promotes important bacterial growth and amino acid conversion that allow the rumen to grow and become functional.
For more than a year, researchers in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Oklahoma State University have conducted a monthly Food Demand Survey, called “FooDS.”
The purpose of the project is to track the preferences of at least 1,000 U.S. consumers regarding their sentiments on the safety, quality, and price of food consumed at home and away from home. The survey also tracks and indexes consumer demand for several retail meat products.
I spend considerable time troubleshooting health challenges on dairies and heifer-growing operations. I’ve seen a common challenge: gaps in vaccination programs. These gaps occur for many reasons, from forgetting to vaccinate a group, to using the right vaccine the wrong way, to overlooking the critical step of revaccination.