Spores and the Impact on Milk Quality

November 19, 2019

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Maximizing Income over Feed Cost webinar

November 12, 2019

Summary by Hanna Cronk, UNL undergraduate student

For the second webinar in the Increasing Profitability series, Dr. Victor Cabrera from the University of Wisconsin-Madison spoke about tools available to assist dairy producers in maximizing income over feed costs (IOFC). Dr. Cabrera shared how to utilize different tools from the dairymgt.info website.

The dairy management website offers various tools within feeding, heifers, reproduction, production, replacement, health, financial, price risk, and environment. Each tool in these categories have been made by Dr. Cabrera and his group in collaboration with various dairy industry professionals, students, extension agents, and companies. This website is open to everyone to use by simply signing up with an email. Signing up your email gives feedback on which tools are most commonly used.

The most popular tool on the dairy management website is the FeedVal tool which evaluates the actual value of feed ingredients to make optimal decisions for purchasing and using feed ingredients for dairy farm feed rations. This tool allows producers to manipulate ingredients, prices, and nutrient requirements to analyze which ingredients have the best cost per unit. After analyzing the price and predicted value of dollars per unit, the tool tells you if an ingredient is a good purchase.

The Premium Beef on Dairy Program tool is used as a tool to maximize revenue and profit from the total calves born on the dairy. This is based on income from calves and the cost of sperm to inseminate the cows. This allows you to see how much potential genetic changes would cost and demonstrates how much money they can make by using different semen.

The final tool demonstrated by Dr. Cabrera was the Milk Curve Fitter tool. This tool measures the lactation curve by measuring the days postpartum and amount of milk produced per day. The producer can choose to use either the Milkbot model or the Wood’s model when using this tool. The MilkBot lactation curve model is a nonlinear lactation model that allows the producer to impose different parameters (like the effects of disease and management decisions) to see the impact on lactation. The Wood’s model is used to measure milk yield, fat, protein, and lactose is lactation curves in milk and also allows for prediction of lactation curves.  It also allows the user to manipulate the graph to estimate production over time.  For example, production from 100 days to 200 days postpartum can be estimated. Another function of this tool is to explore the pregnancy timing impact. This aspect of the tool finds the best pregnancy time to maximize income over feed costs according to a specific lactation curve.

            The dairy management tools are helpful to producers. They can help maximize profit and allow producers to explore different costs of production. 

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After viewing the webinar, click here to complete a short survey. 

Economic Impact of Lameness webinar

November 5, 2019

Summary by Hanna Cronk, UNL undergraduate student

To kick off the Increasing Profitability webinar series, Dr. Jan Shearer of Iowa State University spoke about the economic impact of lameness. Dr. Shearer covered different types of lameness, the impact of lameness on a dairy’s bottom line, and prevention of lameness.

Early detection is important for reducing economic loss.  Claw lesions, digital dermatitis, and foot rot are all concerns for causes of lameness. Digital dermatitis, also known as hairy heel warts, is very debilitating, and research is ongoing to find better ways to manage it. Footbaths are usually used to treat digital dermatitis. Their effectiveness for control of foot rot is unknown. When using footbaths as treatment for digital dermatitis, it is important to remember that they are most effective for treatment and control of early lesions. Mature and chronic lesions don’t tend to respond as well to footbath treatment. The frequency of use of a footbath depends in part on the disease incidence.  For herds suffering a high incidence of digital dermatitis, daily use of a footbath may be advised.    

 Lameness is the costliest clinical disease of dairy cattle. The average cost of lameness is $500 or more per cow, according to Dr. Shearer’s presentation. This cost is greater than mastitis, displaced abomasum, and other common dairy cattle diseases. Economic losses are primarily due to reduced milk yield, decreased reproductive performance, premature culling, treatment costs and death.  A Florida study found that foot rot may decrease milk yield by as much as 10 percent over a lactation.  In that study, milk yield was reduced by an average of 1,885 lb./cow representing a loss of $301/cow. When lameness progresses beyond treatment and the animal is unfit for transport to slaughter, euthanasia may be the only choice for producers. Dr. Shearer stated that lameness is often the number one reason for euthanasia on the dairy farms and feedlots.

 When dealing with widespread lameness on a dairy operation, it is important to identify the specific conditions and possible causes. For example, if herd lameness is primarily due to sole ulcers or white line disease, issues related to transition cow management and cow comfort should be carefully evaluated.  If the problem is predominantly due to digital dermatitis, attention to the details of proper footbath management would be a higher priority. Here is where the services of a foot trimmer and veterinarian can be especially helpful. Early detection and prompt treatment are the key to minimizing economic losses from lameness.  

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After viewing the webinar, click here to complete a short survey. 

Nuts and Bolts of Corn Silage Quality

Dr. Hugo Ramirez, Assistant Professor at Iowa State University, discusses silage fermentation, factors affecting silage quality and animal response to improved corn silage quality.  Below are the 5 C's of corn silage quality recommended by Dr. Ramirez.

    1. Content of Dry Matter - Maturity
    2. Chop length and kernel processing - chopping length should be 19 mm or 3/4 inches; kernel processing should be 2 mm or tighter
    3. Compaction - packing; the goal is at least 15 pounds dry matter per cubic foot
    4. Covering and sealing - cover and seal as soon as possible, use oxygen barrier and black and white plastic cover
    5. Care and management at feed-out

Click here for the recorded webinar.

Click here for the Power Point slides.

Click here for the bunker density calculator (Excel file). (University of Wisconsin-Madison bunker density webpage)

 

Photoperiod Management for Dairy Cattle

Nebraska Dairy Extension recently hosted a dairy barn lighting webinar.  Dr. Geoffrey Dahl, Professor in the Animal Science department of the University of Florida, Gainesville discusses the implementation of photoperiod management throughout the life cycle of dairy cows to improve productivity and health for growing heifers, dry cows, and lactating cows, and some of the biology behind those recommendations.

Click here for the Power Point slides. 

Click here to access the recorded webinar.

Cover Crops: Soil Health, Grazing and Incorporating in Dairy Rations
Cover crops webinar









Water Use and Quality for Dairy Production


Water Use and Quality Webinar


March 8, 2016 Veterinary Feed Directive webinar

Vet Feed Directive webinar picture