Nutritionist e-Network - March 2013

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March 15, 2013
Diamond V
Welcome to the Nutritionist e-Network, published by Dairy Herd Management® magazine. This issue is sponsored by Danisco, Diamond V, Lallemand Animal Nutrition, Milk Specialties Global Animal Nutrition, Novus International, Soy Best and Zinpro Corp.
  Sponsored by Lallemand Animal Nutrition

Canola meal affirmed
Canola meal may be a better deal than people think. According to researchers from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the amount of metabolizable protein supplied by canola meal appears to be higher than estimated by the National Research Council (NRC) model. The researchers based their findings on a meta-analysis involving 49 research studies. Milk yield and milk protein yield responded positively to the substitution of a protein source by canola meal, the researchers wrote in the March edition of the Journal of Dairy Science. “The positive responses in milk production and milk protein percentage and yield suggest a more efficient N metabolism, which might be related to a greater supply of (essential amino acids) or an improvement in the duodenal profile of supplied (essential amino acids),” they wrote. Canola meal contains relatively high concentrations of essential amino acids, such as methionine and lysine, compared with other common protein sources, such as corn gluten meal or distillers products, the researchers said. Positive responses were especially prevalent when canola meal replaced protein sources other than soybean meal. And, the researchers reiterated their belief that metabolizable protein supply in canola meal diets appears to be underestimated by the NRC model. Read the abstract.

Keto-Test appropriate under a range of temperatures
The Keto-Test is an important tool for diagnosing ketosis in dairy cows. The manufacturer recommends that the test be performed with test strips and milk at room temperature. So, researchers from Michigan State University and the University of Guelph set out to determine if variations in milk temperature could affect the results, since the most practical place for dairy producers to use the strip is in the milking parlor where there is limited time for milk to cool to room temperature. They performed a study on 118 fresh cows at a commercial dairy in central Michigan. Keto-Test strips were used to detect BHBA concentrations in milk samples collected in a parlor setting. Based on the results, the authors concluded that the reliability of the Keto-Test is not dependent on the temperature of the milk or test strips. “Satisfactory subclinical ketosis testing can still be carried out when test strips are used at cold temperature (51.4 degrees F) or when fresh milk immediately from the cow is used,” they wrote in the March edition of the Journal of Dairy Science. Yet, they did hedge their bets against really extreme parlor temperatures. Read the abstract.

Heat-stressed cows spend more time standing
A new study by researchers at the University of Arizona and Northwest Missouri State University shows that standing and lying behavior can predict heat stress in cows. In a presentation this week at the 2013 ADSA Midwest Branch/ASAS Midwestern Section Meeting, the University of Arizona’s Jamison Allen said cows prefer standing to lying on hot days. Cows stand to allow more of their surface area to disperse heat into the air. Allen and his colleagues were curious to see if standing behavior could be used to predict core body temperature. After comparing data from cows in Arizona, California and Minnesota, the researchers concluded that standing behavior and core body temperature are strongly correlated. Allen said cows stood for longer bouts of time as their core body temperatures rose from 101 degrees Fahrenheit to above 102 degrees. “We can predict the animal’s behavior to stand according to their core temperature,” Allen said. According to Allen, dairy producers could use standing behavior to improve well-being and efficiency in their herds. He said producers could use coolers and misters to target a specific core body temperature. By encouraging cows to lie down, producers will also help their cows conserve energy.


 Sponsored by Milk Specialties Global Animal Nutrition

Q: What is a good nutritional checklist for improving reproductive efficiency?

The following answer is provided by Maurice Eastridge, dairy scientist at The Ohio State University.

A: Almost all dairy farmers would like to improve the reproductive efficiency of their dairy herd, but they must manage many aspects to achieve this goal, including the nutritional program. The feeding program during the dry period, for the fresh cows, and throughout the breeding period is very important for optimizing reproductive efficiency in a herd. Although the voluntary waiting period (VWP) for first insemination following calving is typically 60 days, feeding the herd must be on target before and during this time period.

√ Energy balance: Greatest nutritional impact on reproduction
Energy balance has the greatest effect on reproduction. Intake of cows can begin to drop within one week before calving, and feeding practices today focus on trying to minimize the drop in dry matter (DM) intake before calving to minimize the extent and magnitude of a negative energy balance. Negative energy balance after calving caused by low DM intake and increasing milk yield can be affected by the transition diets fed. Stable DM intake before and high DM intake after calving usually minimize metabolic problems after calving, which, in turn, minimize the impact on energy balance.

(Continue by clicking below)
[To read the rest of Dr. Eastridge's answer or leave a comment, click here.]
Milk Specialties Global Animal Nutrition
 Sponsored by Soy Best

Soy Best

Prices reported the week of March 11-14 by professional dairy nutritionists
or commodity brokers in five key dairy regions.

fine ground or

Soybean meal


alfalfa hay
(170-185 RFV)

  Truckload quantities delivered to the dairy ($/ton)

Eastern Wisconsin

$271a $440c $335-$345 $270

SE Pennsylvania

$309a $495d $290 $220

Texas Panhandle

NA NA $345 NA

Southern Idaho

$319a $491 $375 $240

Central California

$319b $486 $380-$391 $255-$265
a Fine ground shelled corn
b Steam-rolled or steam-flaked corn
c 46 percent to 48 percent soybean meal
d 47.5 percent soybean meal

PRACTICE BUILDER: Create engagement among farm employees
Sponsored by Zinpro Corp.


Engaged nutritionists — those who have a passion for what they do — want to work with farms that have engaged feeding crews.
     While it’s mainly the responsibility of the farm’s owners and managers to keep employees motivated, the nutritionist can have an influence.
     Five key manager behaviors to building employee engagement, as outlined by leadership coach Jorge Estrada at this week’s Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin business conference, are:
  • Building trust.
  • Setting goals that are SMART (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely).
  • Being communicative and providing feedback.”People need to know if they are doing great, but also need to know when they are screwing up,” Estrada said.
  • Holding employees accountable.
  • Providing recognition.
Employee behavior is often influenced by how effective their supervisors are in recognizing and rewarding achievement, Estrada pointed out.
     In the same presentation, Minnesota dairy producer Bob Hennen said his father created passion and engagement by teaching and leading by example.
     “We need to build relationships and trust with employees,” he said.
     Relationship-building and leading by example are certainly within the realm of the nutritionists who work with feeders and other farm personnel.
FEED UPDATE: Whole cottonseed supplies for dairy expected to tighten
Sponsored by Novus International


Cotton acres are expected to drop nearly 27 percent in 2013 as U.S. cotton producers respond to market signals and plant more corn and soybeans, according to the National Cotton Council’s annual planting intentions survey.
     For dairy producers, this means potentially tighter supplies of new crop cottonseed. Total U.S. cottonseed production in 2013 is forecast to reach 4.38 million tons, compared to 5.27 million tons in 2012.
     Cottonseed merchant Larry Johnson of Cottonseed LLC, La Crosse, Wis., says that even with the shorter supplies, he expects that dairies will continue to have ready access to cottonseed, and that cottonseed prices will adjust with other commodities.
     “Cottonseed is not a collectible,” he says. “Just because there is less of it does not necessarily mean it’s worth more. It still needs to sit in the ration alongside other ingredients. We routinely run the nutritive values, and cottonseed remains a strong fit.”
     Tom Smith, a cottonseed merchant with Cape & Sons, Abilene, Texas, anticipates slightly higher prices for cottonseed, relative to other feed ingredients. “The numbers may come down in the fall, but cottonseed may not come off nearly as much as other feed ingredients.”
     Currently, new crop is trading at a discount to old crop, Johnson notes.
     Experts agree that cottonseed production will vary greatly from region to region, and that both dairies and crushers will be looking to access available supplies.
     “Some crushers are located in areas anticipating the biggest losses, such as the Mid-South, which is losing more than 50 percent of its cotton acres,” Smith says. “Despite this, I expect the crush to remain fairly constant. Crushers will figure out a way to get seed to the mill. They will have to originate from nontraditional sources.”
     Other factors potentially offsetting the anticipated shortfall are imports and exports, Johnson says. “We may see more seed from Australia going into California, and less being exported.”

CASE STUDY: 'We have just been kicking butt'
Sponsored by Danisco
This is an update to a case study in the June 15, 2012 edition of this newsletter, involving Jason Brixey, partner at Pine Creek Nutrition Services in Turlock, Calif.

The farm was in big financial trouble when Jason Brixey was called in to help.
     Nearly a year later, things have improved considerably. “We have just been kicking butt,” he says.
     It’s hard to say that a ration change alone saved the farm, but it played a role. For years, the central California dairy worked with a feed mill to have all of its feed pre-mixed and delivered on a daily basis.
     But that changed when Brixey came on board. The dairy began mixing its own feed ingredients, which saved about 50 cents per cow per day.
     Some serious ration adjustments were made, as well. The ration that the dairy had been feeding had “some pretty big holes” in the formulation, according to Brixey. “Cows were being starved from a nutritional standpoint.”
     Once the ration changes were made, the cows responded almost instantly.
     In early April (2012), the farm was shipping an average of 68 pounds of milk per cow per day (on three-times-a-day milking). By early June, that number had increased to 89 pounds.
     “I have never in my career seen that kind of response in a Holstein herd so fast,” Brixey says. Read the full story.


Dairy Herd

Mid-South Ruminant Nutrition Conference
April 10-11 at the Embassy Suites at DFW International Airport in Grapevine, Texas. More information.

Tri-State Dairy Nutrition Conference
April 23-24 at the Grand Wayne Center in Ft. Wayne, Ind. More information.

Four-State Dairy Nutrition and Management Conference
June 12-13, Dubuque, Iowa.

Submit an upcoming event (all events listing subject to approval).

WHAT'S NEW IN THE LAB: The DHI-245 | Making easy work of MUN analysis
By Erinn Evangelista

Manure Management Innovations

Does this scenario sound familiar? You are driving away from a dairy and have a sneaking suspicion that things aren’t quite right. After walking the herd, you were wondering if protein deficiency may be to blame due to recent cost-saving measures. On their next DHIA test day, you asked your customer to have milk urea nitrogen (MUN) testing done in addition to fat, protein and SCC. The results come back and your suspicions are confirmed. But how do you show your customer how the results break down in a simple, easy-to-analyze way?
     The DHI-245 MUN Profile provides a solution, with a simple layout that is easy to interpret. The MUN Profile breaks results down by days in milk and lactation number, zeroing in on the number of cows in each category with MUN levels from 1-7, 8- 12, 13-15, and 16+. Recent updates to the report show MUN averages for each group (days in milk x lactation number) as both a rolling weighted average and a six month average. Another new feature shows the percentage of cows with a fat to protein ratio less than one (FPR<1).
     This report is available to all DRMS customers and an extra copy can be created for consultants. There is also the opportunity to run the report using Reports on Demand as long as the customer has run MUN samples. As a reminder, the first five Reports on Demand are free to all DRMS consultants each month, after which point a small fee is charged. Contact DRMS with questions or support requests (919) 661-3120 or (515) 294-2526;,

Dairy Herd


Copyright 2013

Vance Publishing Corporation, 400 Knightsbridge Pkwy.,
Lincolnshire, IL 60069.
All Rights Reserved.

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