NAHMS shows where we’ve improved
Jason Lombard, DVM, MS, USDA-VS, shares NAHMS data from the last three dairy studies, the latest which was Dairy 2007, and indicates the biggest areas of improvement which lead to lower BTSCC scores. A similar decrease in BTSCC has been observed over the course of the three NAHMS studies as was observed for the Federal Milk Marketing Orders. The majority of operations had an average BTSCC between 100,000 and 299,000 cells/ml during each of the three study years.
4 More operations are using automatic takeoffs in 2007 compared with 2002. Although there were no changes by herd size from 2002 to 2007 in the percentage of operations that used automatic takeoffs, the percentage of all operations increased from 36% in 2002 to 45.4% in 2007.
5 More operations (and more cows) are using (being milked in) parlors compared with 1996. The percentage of operations that used a parlor as a primary milking facility increased from 28.8% in 1996 to 39.5% in 2007, while the percentage of operations that used a tiestall or stanchion decreased from 69.5 to 60.3% during the same period. A larger shift was observed in the percentage of cows, as 54.9% of cows were milked in parlors in 1996 compared with 78.2% in 2007.
6 Although housing types don’t appear to have changed much as a percent of operations, a small increase in freestall operations and a decrease in tie stall stanchion operations could account for a large number of cows.
7 The percent of cows on sand bedding has doubled since 1996 – from 15.3% to 30.3%. The ideal bedding for lactating cows is dry and clean, provides cushion, and does not support bacterial growth. Of the bedding types listed in the table below, only the use of straw and/or hay decreased from 1996 to 2007, on operations and for cows. The percentage of cows bedded on corn cobs and stalks decreased by about one-half from 1996 to 2007. The percentage of operations that used sand or mattresses increased, with mattresses showing the largest increase from 4.7% in 1996 to 23.7% in 2007. Composted manure use increased, as 9% of cows were bedded on composted manure in 1996 compared with 24.2% in 2007.