Q and A

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 »

Expert Answers - Aug. 16, 2013

What are some strategies for increasing on-farm profitability? FULL STORY »

Expert Answers - July 19, 2013

Given tight forage supplies in many parts of the country, what is the potential of using forage substitutes in low starch/high byproduct diets? FULL STORY »

Expert Answers - June 21, 2013

How can milk urea nitrogen be used to improve nitrogen efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of dairy cows? FULL STORY »

Expert Answers - May 17, 2013

What are the updated recommendations for vitamins? FULL STORY »

Expert Answers - April 19, 2013

What are the important dairy feeding and management considerations during heat stress? FULL STORY »

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