When it comes to keeping cows in their herds, successful dairy producers have one thing in common: they spend a lot of management time and energy on the little things. And the members of a producer panel at the Midwest Dairy Herd Health Conference last fall were no exception.

Representing a variety of herd sizes, the panelists said they pay special attention to cow comfort, reproduction and udder health to achieve cull rates as low as 24 percent annually. They cited specifics like cow cleanliness, proper milking procedure and the use of breeding protocols to achieve their goals. Additionally, all mentioned that their breeding programs emphasize feet, leg and udder conformation. Said one panelist, “If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never succeed at the big stuff.”