Colored tape adds visual aid

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Properly monitoring stages of a cow's life can be difficult, but bright-colored tape can help grab attention that the right intervention is performed.

Bill Rowekamp, owner of Rowekamp Farms in Lewiston, Minn., uses several different colors of plastic tape to identify cows on his dairy. All of the tape is placed below the hock and above the dew claw of the back legs.

Red tape goes on cows that have been treated with antibiotics.

“Pink tape, she is a high somatic cell count cow. We use her milk, but it goes into a separate bucket when she comes into the parlor and we use it to feed the calves,” says Rowekamp.

Cows with somatic cell counts (SCC) at approximately 300,000 cells/mL or more will have their milk pasteurized and then utilized for calf feed. The average SCC for the 345 cow dairy is 180,000 cells/mL.

Orange tape is placed on cows that are fresh.

“It helps the milker; it helps people pay more attention to her because that is the most critical time in that cow’s life -- right after she calves,” says Rowekamp.

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