Implementing shorter, single-group dry cow programs
Consider Shorter, Single-Group Dry Periods for Managing Hypocalcemia. There’s been a trend on dairy farms to implement shorter, single-group dry cow programs. Benefits to shortening the dry period for may include: FULL STORY »
Expert Answers - May 16, 2014
Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of manure sampling, which translates into me turning around and running to every cow I hear starting to defecate. It also means that I’ve been spending a lot of time looking at manure, and realizing how different it can be. FULL STORY »
Expert Answers - April 18, 2014
Ensuring that a dry cow reaches the optimal body condition score (BCS) allows for a proper transition into lactation, as she uses body reserves during the transition period and early lactation to counteract the negative energy balance most lactating cows experience. FULL STORY »
Expert Answers - March 25, 2014
The owners of a Midwest dairy were puzzled. They invested in a rumination monitoring system and used the technology to successfully improve their management in a variety of areas. They faithfully tracked rumination time and used deviations from a cow’s “normal” rumination pattern to stage interventions as needed and were pleased with the results. FULL STORY »
Are there leading economic indicators for dairy herd performance?
Motivated dairy managers know that herd records are important. Monitoring the key indicators of individual cow or herd performance can shed light on emerging problems and better informs management decisions. But are we monitoring the right things? Economists for years have used the terminology of leading and lagging indicators to describe factors predicting the direction of the economy. "Leading indicators" are predictive of the future performance whereas "lagging indicators" are historical confirmation of past performance. Proactive dairy managers need to put more focus on monitoring "leading indicators" of performance. A focus on leading indicators positions you to take corrective action before, not after, problems occur. It's not that lagging indicators are bad, it's just that they are too slow. FULL STORY »
What are we learning about precision feeding of dairy heifers?
Much of the recent heifer nutrition research has evaluated precision feeding of highly digestible diets to dairy heifers for improving feed efficiency and reducing manure. Feed represents the largest component of the total cost of heifer production, and it clearly represents the major way to control heifer costs. Diet type and the amount fed can be large factors that affect feed efficiency and are the major aspects that we use in precision-feeding heifers. Ration digestibility is also obviously important. The more digestible the feedstuffs used in the ration, the more efficient the heifer will be. Based on published research for precision-fed dairy Holstein heifers, nutrient specifications as currently understood are as follows. FULL STORY »
Expert Answers - Oct. 18, 2013
Cows produce more milk in a comfortable environment ― it’s one of the things that nutritionists and other consultants have to convince their clients of when making facility changes. What are some of the recommendations for free-stalls? FULL STORY »
Expert Answers - Sept. 20, 2013
Housing factors are as important as the ration itself ― maybe even more so ― in explaining why some cows sail through the transition period and others struggle. Is there one factor that seems to stand out? FULL STORY »