Nutritionist e-Network - September 2012

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Sept. 21, 2012
Welcome to the Nutritionist e-Network, published by Dairy Herd Management® magazine. This issue is sponsored by Arm & Hammer Animal Nutrition, Danisco, Elanco Animal Health, Kemin Industries, Lallemand Animal Nutrition, Land O'Lakes Purina Feed, Milk Specialties Global Animal Nutrition, Novus International, Nutrition Physiology Company and Soy Best.

  Sponsored by Lallemand Animal Nutrition


Hot topic: Organic matter digestibility and how to measure it
New lab techniques are making it easier (and more accurate) to predict ration quality and dairy cow performance. Now, in the September edition of the Journal of Dairy Science, researchers discuss the positive relationship between organic matter digestibility and milk production — likely related to increased diet energy available for maintenance, pregnancy and milk production. Read the abstract. And, Rock River Laboratory has a new TMR-D analytical tool to assist in this effort. A webinar on TMR-D will be presented Sept. 26. More information.

Pasteurized waste milk and gut bacteria
While research has documented conclusively that pasteurizing waste milk significantly reduces bacterial levels in the liquid calf feed source, USDA researchers have taken an interesting look at how the feeding practice affects long-term gut flora in the animals. Researcher Tom Edrington and his colleagues at the USDA Food and Feed Safety Research Unit, Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center near College Station, Texas, conducted the 180-calf study. Calves were raised with similar practices on two different farms; the main difference being that one group was fed a diet of non-pasteurized waste milk, while the other group received pasteurized waste milk. Both farm sites were large, commercial dairies with more than 3,000 cows. Fecal samples were taken on both farms from 15 calves in each of six age groups — 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 and 24 weeks of age. Samples were evaluated for bacterial presence using DNA testing. Among the findings were:

  • Bacteria numbers were lower in the pasteurized group at only one evaluation point — the first week of life. After that, the populations were higher in the pasteurized group, and grew steadily with age in both groups. This figure shows this progression, with “P” representing the pasteurized group and “NP” representing the non-pasteurized group. The researchers speculate that this surprising result may have been due to recolonization of pasteurized waste milk between pasteurization and feeding.
  • Treponema, an important, beneficial bacterium in cattle rumen, was more prevalent in the pasteurized group, and became higher in the older animals from this group. This finding allayed the researchers’ concerns that pasteurization might have a negative effect on the establishment of “good” bacteria in the digestive tract.
  • Salmonella, a harmful, scours-causing bacterium, was found at significant levels only in the non-pasteurized group at week 1. After that, it was not significant in either group. The researchers conclude that this finding coincides with clinical findings on dairy farms — that Salmonella is of greatest consequence in very young calves, and is of less consequence as calves age. They also suggest that the overall results suggest that milk-borne transmission of Salmonella is not as significant as fecal transfer, and, in this case, the presence of higher Salmonella numbers in young calves may have been due to fecal exposure on the dairy. “The somewhat surprising results of this study suggest that the recontamination of waste milk following pasteurization may provide a better source of bacteria for gut establishment,” concludes Edrington. He adds that in future research, two additional factors would help deliver more conclusive results:
    • Using animals that all are raised on the same farm.
    • Testing pasteurized milk for bacterial levels just prior to feeding.

 Sponsored by Milk Specialties Global Animal Nutrition

Q: How can nutrition improve milk protein yields?

The following answer was presented by Adam Lock, of Michigan State University, and Mike Van Amburgh, of Cornell University, at the Western Canadian Dairy Seminar last March.

A: Of all constituents, protein typically has the highest value within milk payment schemes, sometimes receiving a 50 percent higher premium compared with milk fat. This has led to considerable interest in increasing milk protein yields. In contrast with milk fat, the impact of nutrition on milk protein content is poorly defined. In general, milk protein content tends to increase with increases in energy intake from carbohydrates, but decrease when relatively high levels of fatty acids are included in the diet. Dietary protein supplements typically increase milk protein secretion but have variable effects on milk protein content.
    The general consensus in the literature is that increases in milk protein content can be realized by replacing grass silage with corn or whole crop silage, and greater use of high starch concentrates, and to a lesser extent with protein supplements. However, the scope to alter milk protein content is rather limited and much lower than that of milk fat. In most cases, a significant increase in the protein to fat ratio is only realized through feeding diets stimulating a reduction in milk fat content which in itself is often counter-productive.
     The limitation to milk protein synthesis tends to follow a priority of nutrient supply.

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

Soy Best

Prices reported the week of Sept. 17-20 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

$288a $509c $329-$365 $240

SE Pennsylvania

$334a $602d $300 $245 (very scarce)

Texas Panhandle

$315-$320a NA $385 $300

Southern Idaho

$333a $562 $395 $240

Central California

$323b $556 $405 $270-$275
a Fine ground shelled corn
Steam-rolled or steam-flaked corn

c 46 percent to 48 percent soybean meal
47.5 percent soybean meal

PRACTICE BUILDER: Build a successful veterinarian/nutritionist relationship
Sponsored by Arm & Hammer Animal Nutrition

Arm & Hammer

Editor’s note: The following Practice Builder ran in the March 18, 2011, edition of this newsletter and is being repeated here.

Veterinarians and nutritionists tend to have overlapping roles on dairy farms. As a nutritionist, you may have complained a time or two that a veterinarian has encroached on your territory. Veterinarians may complain, as well, about you encroaching into the area of cow health, disease diagnosis and disease prevention. But, in order to be successful and for your clients to thrive, it’s important to develop a working relationship with the veterinarians who service your client herds. This happens through communication. And communication is a two-way street. Keith Sterner, veterinarian with Sterner Veterinary Clinic in Ionia, Mich., and Bob Krieger, dairy specialist with Land O’Lakes Purina Feeds in Remus, Mich., have developed what they feel to be a successful working relationship. Sterner and Krieger have worked together on one herd for more than 11 years. Sterner and Krieger offer the following advice to build a good relationship with your herd veterinarians:
  • Call the herd veterinarian not only when things are going wrong, but also when things are going right, too. We’re all busy; every one of us has information overload, but it’s as simple as a phone call just to check in on your client’s herd.
  • When there is an issue with a client’s herd, at a minimum have a phone conversation with the veterinarian, if not a face-to-face meeting. This ensures that nothing is misunderstood and the client gets an opportunity to hear from both the nutritionist and the veterinarian.
  • You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. There has to be a reality check on the part of the veterinarian and nutritionist. You can’t control the weather conditions the crops were harvested under. And once the forages are ensiled, there is almost nothing to be done.
  • Don’t blame each other. Everyone is quick to blame the nutritionist, but everything happens through people and you have to work together to solve problems, not blame each other.
  • Do a walk-through together. If you see a problem with too many displaced abomasums, ketosis or other metabolic problems, call the veterinarian and meet at the farm and do a walk-through. Multiple sets of eyes may find things that one set of eyes may not.
  • Have face-to-face meetings. A lot of problems can be solved over the phone, but face-to-face meetings between the nutritionist and veterinarian can pay dividends.
  • Teamwork. Recognize the skill-set the other party can bring to the table. View veterinarians as a resource to reach out to and discuss nutrition and herd-health issues with them.
  • Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion. Neither the veterinarian nor the nutritionist can be afraid to voice an opinion if he or she feels something is coming up short on the dairy. Share information. Share not only your notes on the herd with the veterinarian, but also share any new research that you receive with him or her.
  • At the end of the day, it all comes back to communication. “It’s as simple as that, and it’s as complicated as that,” says Sterner.
FEED UPDATE: New drought-hardy corn testing well in U.S.
Sponsored by Novus International

Editor's note: The following Feed Update was written by Carey Gillam, Reuters News Service.

Corn seed developers who have been racing to build better varieties for low rainfall and high heat say results have been encouraging despite the worst U.S. drought in half a century.
     Triple-digit temperatures (Fahrenheit) coupled with historically dry conditions ravaged farm fields across the nation, with some of the most severe conditions gripping the top U.S. corn growing states in the Midwest and Plains states.
     In some of the driest growing areas, virtually all of the corn crops failed, drought-tolerant or not. Still, those companies rolling out corn designed specifically to grow well in drought have been reporting better-than-expected results.
     “This is a really great year to validate that research work," said Jeff Schussler, senior research manager in maize stress product development at Pioneer Hi-Bred International, a unit of DuPont and a top global corn seed producer.
     He said Pioneer's "Optimum Aquamax" corn was "inhibited" by the extent of this year's drought, but confirmed expectations.
     Read the full story.

CASE STUDY: Taste of success has generated positive momentum at this dairy
Sponsored by Danisco
Editor's note: Luciana Jonkman, nutrition and management consultant with Progressive Dairy Solutions Inc., shares some of the success experienced at one of her client dairies in California.

When I started working for the dairy, it was winter. We had just gone through a split in partnership and now needed to regroup. There was a lot of pressure emotionally and financially to succeed. When I looked at what I was taking on, I searched for the weakest link and what would get the biggest bang (fastest return on investment) for the buck. We listed the top three areas and started checking off. We started with transition cow movements, feed management, and then cow comfort. You could argue the order we went in, but with three very talented and eager guys managing the work on this 1,500-milk-cow operation, I needed to find a place for each of them to succeed.
     Prior to hiring me as their nutritionist and management consultant, the dairy had been moving close-up cows four to six times in the three weeks leading up to calving. I can’t speak to why this was happening, but when I discussed the change with the new management it was a no-brainer that we would stop the moves. Today, we move cows from a far-off dry pen to a close-up pen, and the day she is calving (or as close to calving as possible to that day) we move her again to the calving pen.
    Read the full story.

 Sponsored by Land O'Lakes Purina Feed

Land O'Lakes Purina Feed

PDPW Dairy Feed and Nutrition Conference (Alternatives, Strategies, Decisions)
Sept. 25 in Stevens Point, Wis., and Sept. 26 in Madison, Wis. More information.

World Dairy Expo
Oct. 2-6 at the Alliant Energy Center campus, Madison, Wis. More information.

Arizona Dairy Production Conference
Oct. 11 at The Waterfront in Tempe. Ariz.

Cornell Nutrition Conference for Feed Manufacturers

Oct. 16-18 at the Doubletree Hotel Syracuse in East Syracuse, N.Y. More information.

Penn State Dairy Nutrition Workshop
Nov. 12-14 at the Holiday Inn in Grantville, Pa. More information.

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

WHAT'S NEW IN THE LAB: Alfatoxin definitely on the radar screen
 Sponsored by Kemin Industries

Editor’s note: The following information was provided by Dairyland Laboratories in Arcadia, Wis.

When multiple farms had to dump milk over the last week due to aflatoxin contamination, the impact of this year’s drought reached a new level. Speculation about the potential aflatoxin contamination in this year’s crop has been ongoing and was rightfully stimulated by the high temperatures and drought conditions experienced throughout the Midwest. Now, with 26 percent of the U.S. corn crop harvested as of Sunday, the magnitude of aflatoxin contamination is just beginning to be quantified.
     They key number to remember when quantifying aflatoxin contamination is 20 ppb. This is both the FDA Action Level for feeds whose intended use is unknown, and the low end of the range in which a total mixed ration will cause milk contamination to be greater than the FDA allowable level. The chart below shows the feed products and states from which Dairyland Laboratories has found samples to contain greater than 20 ppb aflatoxin. At this early stage in the harvest season, it’s not surprising to see that the majority of feeds with significant contamination were corn and corn silage from states that experienced severe drought. It’s not unreasonable to expect that contamination will eventually filter into corn byproducts and other states as commodities are bought and sold.
     As with most years, the majority of samples that are tested for aflatoxin contain only very low levels. However, as we move forward with this crop year, being aware of potential aflatoxin sources and monitoring contamination levels will become increasingly important. Particular caution should be applied to corn and corn silage stored in bags or vertical silos, since these feeds can make up a large portion of the diet and these storage structures will have as much variation in contamination as the fields from which they were harvested from.
     More information about aflatoxin, including proper sampling instructions, interpretation of results, special pricing, and up-to-date mold and toxin summaries are available at

Samples confirmed to have Aflatoxin >20 ppb
Dairyland Laboratories Inc. | July-September 2012

Corn Silage x   x x x       x  
Corn Grain x x x   x x x x    
Distillers x                  
Grain Mix x   x              
Malt Sprouts   x                
Corn Gluten Feed                   x


Vance Publishing Corp.

Copyright 2012 Vance Publishing Corporation, 400 Knightsbridge Pkwy., Lincolnshire, IL 60069.
All Rights Reserved.

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