Show Summary: Thursday, Oct. 2, 2009

  • Make sure your county and state emergency-management officials know about agricultural issues. Most county emergency managers do not have an agricultural background, points out Matt Mathison, vice president of technical services for the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. They are better versed in how to handle floods and natural disasters than they are in ag issues such as foot-and-mouth disease. So, it's important that ag people be at the table and make their issues known.

  • Dry cow feeding management trumps diet formulation every time, Garrett Oetzel, University of Wisconsin veterinarian says. Fanatically consistent feed mixing and delivery is critical. Also, you must keep feed in front of dry cows, he adds. Furthermore, Oetzel recommends that you feed dry cows for 5 to 10 percent feed refusals, feed quality ingredients and use optimal grouping strategies.

  • Compost bedded pack barns are an alternative loose housing system that appear to offer very good cow comfort for lactating, dry and specials needs cows, says Marcia Endres, University of Minnesota dairy scientist. To improve success in these systems, she suggests that you allow at least 80 to 85 square feet per cow of space for Holsteins and similar size breeds. Jersey cows require about 65 square feet per cow. She also recommends that it’s time to add more bedding when it begins to stick to cows. Keep a bedding supply readily available so you can add as soon as needed and you aren’t waiting for bedding and the cows get too dirty, Endres adds.

  • Todd Bilby, extension dairy specialist at Texas A&M University, offers these tips to improve reproduction:
    • Consult and communicate with your team.
    • Ensure proper semen handling, storage and AI techniques.
    • Strengthen your estrus detection program and compare notes from the last heat — has a 21-day cycle elapsed or was she bred the day before?
    • Resynchronize non-pregnant cow

Show Summary: Friday, Oct. 3, 2009

  • The final principles and guidelines for the National Dairy Animal Well-Being Initiative were released today at World Dairy Expo. "We are concerned that consumers are losing confidence in the food chain," says Logan Bower, a dairy producer from Pennsylvania. "With a program like this we can restore consumer confidence and maintain our market access."

  • Dairy manure is an increasingly valuable resource and it’s economic worth has risen along with the price of alternative fertilizer sources, says Paul Kivlin, University of Wisconsin extension nutrient management specialist. The meaning of manure has changed, he adds. "Once valued as a fertilizer, it is now often viewed more as a byproduct of dairy production. In truth, manure is not a liability, it is an asset."

  • According to research at Cornell University, modern dairy production and dairy technology have reduced the carbon footprint of a gallon of milk significantly since 1944. The study, "The Environmental Impact of rbST Use in Dairy Production," demonstrates that rbST use reduces resource inputs and outputs from dairy farms. For example, Jude Capper, Cornell University post-doctoral research associate, notes that a 150-cow dairy producing 10 more pounds of milk per cow, would be equivalent to removing 38 cars from the road or planting 28,000 trees. "The volume of additional milk produced with rbST dilutes the ‘fixed costs’ associated with feeding and caring for a dairy animal (maintenance), allowing us to produce the same amount of milk with fewer cows, which generates environmental benefits," explains Capper