This treatment room at Heim’s Hillcrest Dairy in Algoma, Wis., has paid big dividends. It allows the farm’s personnel or veterinarian to get a closer look at cows that need special attention.

During the early part of 2005, a high percentage of cows left Heim’s Hillcrest Dairy during the first 60 days of lactation.

But that has since changed.

Thanks to new facilities for transition cows — including a steam-up area, birthing pens and a treatment room for cows having health problems — the percentage of cows that leave during the first 60 days of lactation has dropped from 42 percent to 13 percent.

Now, when a cow needs assistance, she is moved to a comfortable, environmentally controlled treatment room where people can diagnose her problem without any distractions, such as other cows or cold weather.  

“Our group lockup time has dropped,” says co-owner Jeremy Heim. Having special facilities makes it easy for farm personnel to temp-check the fresh cows, flag the ones that need a closer look, and then release the others.    

Medicines and specialized equipment are stored in an adjacent room, which makes it all the more convenient.