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Animal welfare

Cow welfare and farm size – opportunities and challenges

Published: 4/15/2014

The public is showing an increasing concern for the welfare of the cows on modern large dairy farms. Are the new technologies harmful? Is there a lower standard of care and a lack of beneficial practices like pasture on these large farms? The Animal Welfare group at the University of British Columbia studied barn design and management, and their results show that farm size is not primarily what matters, but rather the use of technology to detect illness and professional management with Standard Operation Procedures to ensure consistency. And deep bedding. That is the single most important feature that can reduce lameness on your farm. From Hoard's Dairyman webinar with Dan Weary, University of British Columbia.

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Dairy policy

The new farm bill represents a large shift in U.S. dairy policy

Published: 4/9/2014

The passage of the farm bill in February marks the largest shift in U.S. dairy policy in the last 70 years. The legislation represents a radical departure from dairy price supports and reliance on government.

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Calf management

Heifer mastitis: prevention is the key!

Published: 3/14/2014 Written by: Milkproduction.com staff

Prevention of mastitis requires reducing exposure to mastitis pathogens and enhancing the ability of the heifers’ immune system to respond.

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Calf management

Precision is key to consistency in calf feeding

Published: 2/14/2014 Written by: Milkproduction.com staff

Consistency is one of the biggest goals when feeding calves. Whatever the liquid feed (milk or milk replacer), the temperature, total solids percentage, and nutrient level should be reasonably consistent from feeding to feeding. Large changes in any of these parameters can lead to unwillingness of calves to drink or scours in calves that do drink.

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Dairy World

Milk quality in China

Published: 1/31/2014 Written by: Lior Yaron

There are solid foundations in the China dairy industry: with a growing consumer demand for high quality dairy products, the highest milk prices in the world, and low labour costs, it is almost the perfect market for investors. However the dairy industry’s long term successful development will depend on the ability to improve the quality of products and raise consumer confidence in domestic processors and their products. In order to develop production and grow in both quantity and quality there is a need to focus on management capability; disease control; cow comfort and welfare; practical capability of labour; and to align the industry’s economic incentives with the required results.

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Nutrition

Water: the often forgotten nutrient

Published: 1/24/2014

With temperatures starting to consistently drop below freezing it is important to make sure the water sources in your barn are in proper working order and not frozen. Water is essential for milk production, growth, and health, while also being needed for proper rumen function, nutrient digestion and absorption.

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Calf Management

Research finds that calves experience emotions like depression and anxiety

Published: 1/17/2014

Calves can experience depression and anxiety, suggests new research from the University of British Columbia, raising ethical concerns over cattle dehorning procedures.

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Calf Management

Low temperatures and negative energy balance in calves

Published: 1/15/2014

The Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, WVDL, is seeing an exceptional number of dairy calves (≤ 6 weeks of age) with no white fat in the coronary groove of the heart, mesentery, and perirenal tissues which is consistent with the calves not receiving enough feed.

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Dairy farms

La Conchita - Mexico

Published: 1/2/2014

Efficiency and individual control of the cows give great results

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Animal welfare

The working day of a dairy cow

Published: 12/9/2013 Written by: Lene Munksgaard

Although cows are social animals, they compete for access to resources, such as food. This competition can lead to stress responses, and dairy cows, especially high producing cows, may find themselves in a trade-off situation between lying and eating if they are under time constraints. They will eat less when pressed for time, and consequently produce less milk. It is important to try and limit waiting time before milking for high producing cows. With increased milk yield cows have less spare time. To provide the high producing dairy cow with proper working conditions she should have free access to feed and resting areas. If the total lying time is below 10 hours per day the cow might be in lack of lying time There is a relationship between lameness and long lying bouts, where lame cows tend to lie longer. Farmers have very little knowledge of the cows’ time budgets, as it can be difficult to make an assessment. However, there are tools available, e.g devices for recording of lying behavior.

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Animal welfare

The importance of improving cow longevity

Published: 11/7/2013 Written by: Jeffrey Rushen

There is now considerable research that has identified the main risk factors for the underling illnesses that lead to involuntary culling, and mathematical models have been developed to show the negative economic impact of these problems. Despite this, there are continued challenges with ensuring uptake of this knowledge by producers and implementation of best management practices known to improve cow health and welfare. We argue that having clear animal welfare standards that have been developed by the dairy industry itself, combined with greater use of benchmarking to allow producers to compare themselves with their peers, will help overcome these challenges.

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Automatic milking

Thinking about buying robots? Talk money and strategies first

Published: 11/6/2013 Written by: Francisco Rodriguez

There have been many discussions about the economics of robotic milking systems, many of them even questioning their profitability and viability. Today, more than two decades after the first commercial automatic milking systems (AMS) started in Europe, the technology has proven to be equal or more efficient than conventional milking systems (CMS), not only in terms of productivity but also profitability. In addition, AMS have proven to be a sustainable solution to improve the socio-economic conditions of modern dairy farming.

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Dairy world

IFCN report 2013: Overview on milk prices and production costs world wide

Published: 11/6/2013 Written by: Milkproduction.com staff

Short summary of IFCN dairy report 2013: 122 million dairy farms on this planet keep on average 3 cows per farm. Very volatile milk and feed prices present a challenge for dairy farming. Costs to produce milk differs significantly – the range is from 4 to 128 US-$ per 100 kg milk. From 2000 – 2012, cost of milk production increased in all countries analysed. Cost of milk production in China is estimated 50% above the level in US and Germany. Annual benchmarking a part for strategic dairy development and milk sourcing.

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Dairy world

Rabobank Dairy Quarterly Q1: International prices to ease through 2014

Published: 3/31/2014

Rabobank expects an easing of global milk pricing from mid to late Q2 2014, according to its Q1 Dairy Quarterly report.

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Calf management

Feeding calves: it takes more than just milk

Published: 3/5/2014 Written by: Milkproduction.com staff

When thinking of calves and what it takes to grow them properly the main component of their diet is milk or milk replacer. However, it’s important to think about the other components of their diets as well. Milk is fed to calves for only a limited time, and the transition to a solid diet is relatively quick. To create a smoother weaning period and maintain growth post-weaning it’s important to encourage intake of more than just milk, even in the pre-weaning period.

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Dairy report

FAO Food Outlook Nov 2013 - Milk and Milk products

Published: 2/28/2014

International dairy products prices have declined from their April peak, but still remain at historically high levels. Although milk production continues to increase steadily in many countries, especially in Asia, output in some of the main exporting countries has been constrained.

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Reproduction

Achieving a high pregnancy rate for higher profitability

Published: 2/24/2014 Written by: Milkproduction.com staff

Excellent herd reproductive performance is one of the most important factors to maximizing herd profit.

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Animal health

Using success factors to address lameness

Published: 2/12/2014 Written by: Milkproduction.com staff

Lameness is a common, painful and costly disease, and a major animal welfare concern. A holistic management approach is required to prevent and reduce the impact of lameness. This approach starts with a foot health program that combines the farm's foot lesion data with four success factors to create a system that minimizes lameness.

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Dairy World

Milk quality in India

Published: 1/31/2014 Written by: Lior Yaron

India is changing rapidly in aspects of life. The effect of westernization is one of the main factors responsible for societal changes, mostly related to living standards, changing diets, and accordingly a change of product lines in the retailers. There are about 1.22 billion people in India, with around 120 million cows & buffalos. There is a long tradition of milk production and consumption (based on small units), cooperative structures, and a tradition of selling milk over the counter in the street, milk that consumed fresh. 70% of the population lives in the countryside with only 30% based in cities; however with the trend of urbanization this is changing. The dairy market is very much fragmented and the government involvement is limited. In the near future as a result of all the changes the dairy chain itself will change. The pace of the change is a multi factorial issue mostly depending on the government, government rules and their implantation. Food safety and food security are very much on top of the agenda in India and it will remain in the near future as food and feeding this huge population is crucial for sustainable growth of this ancient culture.

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Sustainability

The case for low methane-emitting cattle

Published: 1/22/2014

A new research project looks into the possibilities of adapting every aspect of cattle husbandry and selection processes to lower their greenhouse gas emissions

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Dairy world

Dairy pricing set to continue at high levels in 2014 due to Chinese demand

Published: 1/14/2014

International dairy commodity prices strengthened from already high levels in the three months to mid-December and are expected to remain high at least for the first half of 2014. The increase of export supply since September, as producers have responded to improved margins, has been largely soaked up by continuing vigorous buying from China. - Rabobank Dairy Quarterly Q4 2013

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Management

Cow longevity economics: The cost benefit of keeping the cow in the herd

Published: 11/30/2013 Written by: Albert de Vries

It has been shown that a large number of cows leave the herd early in lactation largely due to metabolic health reasons, and the risk of death is greatest early in lactation. Involuntary culling of cows early in lactation is expensive, in the order of $500 to $1000 (380 to 760 EURO) per cow (US data) not including losses in milk yield due to disease and delayed replacement etc. Efforts to reduce death rates and improve early lactation health can therefore be profitable.

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Sustainability

Simple energy conservation steps can save money

Published: 11/15/2013 Written by: Milkproduction.com staff

Families worried about winter heating bills can take some simple, low-cost steps to conserve energy. “No one thing will magically cut energy expenses a lot, but attention to many little things can all help add up to greatly reduced costs,” says Bob Schultheis, natural resource engineering specialist with University of Missouri Extension in Webster County.

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Management

Winter preparedness on dairy farms

Published: 11/13/2013 Written by: Milkproduction.com staff

Portions of South Dakota have unfortunately already experienced the first blizzard of the season. Following Winter Storm Atlas, SDSU Extension Dairy Field Specialist, Tracey Renelt urges dairy producers to prepare sooner than later for winter. Renelt provides dairy producers with a winter check list to help them prepare for winter.

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Milking

Milk smarter - not just harder

Published: 11/11/2013 Written by: Milkproduction.com staff

Over the past year I have taught a lot of safety programs for dairy farmers in Minnesota. One of the topics included is injury as a result of repetitive motions. One usually thinks of this type injury in a factory setting where someone is doing the same task time after time, hour after hour, day after day. Well, what is the most repetitive task found on every dairy farm that doesn't have robotic milkers? Milking the cows!

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Cow longevity

Finding the tools to achieve longevity in Canadian dairy cows

Published: 10/21/2013 Written by: Blair Murray

Greater longevity usually means higher profit per cow as the cash flow of production pays off the investment made in raising replacements. Ideally we maintain a herd of healthy productive cows, and culling is due to economic reasons, not so-called involuntary culling, although we need to recognize that market issues also affect herd turnover rates. Opportunities to better manage cow culling lie in transition cows and health issues in early lactation, reproduction and hoof health, through better use of individual cow information in these areas. Evaluate performance against existing benchmarks or if benchmarks don’t exist, against reasonable goals.

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Automatic milking

Is robotic milking a suitable solution for large dairy herds?

Published: 8/19/2013 Written by: Francisco Rodriguez

There is no doubt that robotic milking is a suitable solution for large dairies, as there are several examples of successful dairies working under different conditions around the world. I say this not only because of my experience working with them and seeing how well they perform but because of robotic milking’s basic principle: scalability

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Latest articles on milkproduction.com

  1. Cow welfare and farm size - opportunities and challenges

    Written by:Monica Wadsworth Published: 4/14/2014
  2. The new farm bill represents a large shift in U.S. dairy policy

    Written by:Milkproduction.com staff Published: 4/9/2014
  3. Rest assured: Bedding options for robotic milking facilities

    Written by:Francisco Rodriguez Published: 4/4/2014
  4. Rabobank Dairy Quarterly Q1: International prices to ease through 2014

    Written by:Milkproduction.com staff Published: 3/31/2014
  5. The research behind on-off grazing

    Written by:Milkproduction.com staff Published: 3/21/2014
  6. Spring thaw can contribute to feed waste

    Written by:Milkproduction.com staff Published: 3/19/2014
  7. Cows are smarter when raised in pairs

    Written by:Milkproduction.com staff Published: 3/17/2014
  8. Heifer mastitis: prevention is the key!

    Written by:Milkproduction.com staff Published: 3/14/2014
  9. Increasing the likelihood of success without blanket dry cow treatment

    Written by:Phil Durst Published: 3/12/2014
  10. Selective dry cow treatment research results

    Written by:Phil Durst Published: 3/10/2014
  11. Is it time to reconsider blanket dry cow treatment programs?

    Written by:Phil Durst Published: 3/7/2014
  12. Feeding calves: it takes more than just milk

    Written by:Milkproduction.com staff Published: 3/5/2014
  13. FAO Food Outlook Nov 2013 - Milk and Milk products

    Written by:Milkproduction.com staff Published: 2/28/2014
  14. IDF Guide to Prudent Use of Antimicrobial Agents in Dairy Production

    Written by:Milkproduction.com staff Published: 2/28/2014
  15. Bridging the Gap between Animal Health and Human Health - White paper

    Written by:Milkproduction.com staff Published: 2/28/2014
  16. Increase bedding use for calves in cold weather

    Written by:Milkproduction.com staff Published: 2/26/2014
  17. Achieving a high pregnancy rate for higher profitability

    Written by:Milkproduction.com staff Published: 2/24/2014
  18. Precision is key to consistency in calf feeding

    Written by:Milkproduction.com staff Published: 2/14/2014
  19. Using success factors to address lameness

    Written by:Milkproduction.com staff Published: 2/12/2014
  20. Breeding more profitable cows

    Written by:Milkproduction.com staff Published: 2/10/2014

See all

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Cow Longevity Conference Summary video

Watch a summary video from the Cow Longevity Conference in Sweden 27-28 August, 2013

Increasing lifetime - why bother?

Watch a filmed interview with Jeffrey Rushen and Albert DeVries, speakers at the Cow Longevity Conference in Sweden in August, 2013

A cow's eye view on barn design

Watch interviews of speakers from the Cow Longevity Conference in Sweden in August, 2013, talking about how to design barns for best cow comfort and improved cow longevity.

Health management to reduce involuntary culling

Interviews with speakers from the Cow Longevity Conference in Sweden in August, 2013. Here Steven Berry, Geert Opsomer and Eric Hillerton speak on health management.

 

Critical periods during the cows life

Interviews with speakers from the Cow Longevity Conference in Sweden in August, 2013.

Ken Nordlund, Mike Van Amburgh, scientists who participated in the Cow Longevity Conference in 2013, speak about critical periods during acow's life. These sensitive periods will affect cow health, milk production and involuntary culling rates. 

Automatic Milking Rotary - videos from DeLaval

AMR research summary by Dr Kendra Kerrisk, Future Dairy project leader

Gala - The world's first commercial AMR. The story of Chris and Nick Dornauf, owners of Gala

Dairy Australia's perspective on robotic technology

DeLaval AMR - Ron Mulder, AMR System Specialist

Future dairy project and industry involvement in AMR. Shirley Harlock, dairyfarmer and future Dairy Chairman

More DeLaval videos here

DeLaval web site