Researchers from Oregon State University investigated the blood serum profiles of Holstein cows before and after calving and compared those that developed clinical mastitis with those that did not. To do so, they used ultra-performance liquid chromatography high resolution mass spectrometry plus statistics to identify differences in concentration of metabolites, lipids, minerals, and inflammatory markers in blood serum. It’s OK if you read that last sentence and went, “Huh?”  The short version is that they ran blood serum samples from dry cows through some fancy laboratory equipment to see if there were any indicators associated with developing clinical mastitis after calving. And yes, there are!

For example, alpha-tocopherol (a form of vitamin E) levels were significantly higher in the blood of cows that did not develop clinical mastitis compared to those that did (Figure 1). Another difference was in the overall profile of metabolites (molecules that participate in or are produced during metabolism); they were quite different for cows that remained healthy and those with post-calving mastitis (Figure 2).

Figure 1. Control animals (no mastitis; open bars) had significantly more alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) in their blood than cows that developed mastitis (shaded bars). From Figure 4 from Zandkarimi et al. 2018.
The figure shows self-organizing map of metabolomic data.
Figure 2. See the starkly different profiles in serum metabolite concentration between cows that developed mastitis post-calving (CMP) and those that did not (Control)? The metabolites are grouped by metabolite family, e.g., carnitines. The more red colors indicate higher concentrations, while blue indicates lower. From Figure 5 from Zandkarimi et al. 2018.















While no dairies have liquid chromatography mass spec technology in their on-farm lab, these results may lead the way to identifying one or two highly reliable blood markers that could be easily measured on the dairy. And forewarned is forearmed, right? Knowing which cows were likely to develop mastitis could allow proactive treatment to prevent the more expensive and damaging clinical mastitis.

The paper: F. Zandkarimi, J. Vanegas, X. Fern, C.S. Maier, G. Bobe. Metabotypes with elevated protein and lipid catabolism and inflammation precede clinical mastitis in prepartal transition dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science, June 2018, 101:5531–5548

Significant chanImage of the logo for the Margin Protection Programges to the Margin Protection Program for dairy producers were made in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.  The Farm Service Agency has recently announced new implementation rules to accommodate the changes.  Mark Stephenson and Andrew Novakovic, from the University of Wisconsin and Cornell University, will conduct a webinar to walk you through these changes and to assess impacts on producers who participate.

The webinar will be hosted by Farm Credit East at 10:00 AM PDT on Monday, April 9. It will be limited to the first 500 registered attendees.  You can register for the webinar at  The webinar will be recorded and made available as an online stream after it is presented live.

Oregon Junior Holstein Sale


5 Holstein heifers & 1 Brown Swiss heifer selling.

Open to all interested 4H & FFA members.

The Sale Catalog is available on Facebook (, in pdf form here: Junior Holstein Sale Catalog 2018, or can be mailed upon request.

The sale is April 7, 2018, starting at noon, at

Meadowood Dairy

4900 Cook RD SE

Turner, OR 97392

Any questions: 503-559-7222 Megan; 503-932-7129 Brian

***No pets

The Oregon State University Dairy Club is hosting its bi-annual

Beaver Dairy Youth Day

on Saturday, April 14, 2018

from 9:00-4:00,

at the OSU Dairy,

for kids in grades 4-12.

Dairy club members, along with industry experts, will be teaching youth about dairy judging and pedigree reading. After lunch, there will be a dairy judging competition for all levels of experience. Cattle for the event will be provided by the OSU Dairy. Lunch and snacks will be provided. However, if a student requires a special diet, please bring it from home. Event t-shirts, lunch, and awards are all included in the cost. Please preregister by March 28. Click on the link below for the registration form and additional information.

Beaver Dairy Youth Day form 2018

Join the Polk SWCD staff as they host forage seed growers from our region to learn about the many seed resources grown in our region.  Livestock and horse owners will learn about the many grass, legume, and other kinds of seed available for high quality forage production.  Factors such as suitability to soil type and moisture, hardiness, and livestock dietary need will be discussed by our panel of growers and seed company representatives. Bring a tag from a pasture seed mix bag or other list for discussion.

RSVP  by February 20  to or 503-623-9680 ext. 101 to ensure your light dinner at 5pm.

February 22, 2018       5-7pm

Polk County Fairgrounds, Building B

520 S Pacific Hwy W, Rickreall, OR 97371

A cow in an automated milking unit.
All teat cups still on so far.

Swedish researchers shaved one minute off milking times in an automated milking system (robot) when they increased the setting for milk flow at take-off from 0.06 kg/min (0.13 lb/min) to 0.48 kg/min (1.06 lb/min). Well yeah, you’re thinking, of course it would. These researchers also measured milk composition, harvested milk yield, and the amount of residual milk left in the udder. And none of those things was significantly different between the take-off milk flow rates. (They also looked at a take-off flow level of 0.3 kg/min [0.66 lb/min]).

A similar study was conducted in New Zealand, where researchers looked at 0.2, 0.4, 0.6, and 0.8 kg/min (0.44, 0.88, 1.3, and 1.8 lb/min, respectively) milk flow rates for determining take-off. Here, the cows were milked in a rotary parlor, and take-off flow rates were for the unit rather than by quarter. They, too, found no differences in milk yield or milk composition.

So, you may want to check the minimum milk flow settings on your automatic takeoffs. Bumping that number up should decrease individual milking times without sacrificing milk production or altering composition. Getting cows through the robot faster is good for pounds of milk per robot. And who’s going to complain if (parlor) milking finishes a little earlier?

the articles:

Krawczel et al. 2017. Milking time and risk of over-milking can be decreased with early teat cup removal based on udder quarter milk flow without loss in milk yield. Journal of Dairy Science 100:6640–6647.

Edwards et al. 2013. Milking efficiency for grazing dairy cows can be improved by increasing automatic cluster remover thresholds without applying premilking stimulation. Journal of Dairy Science 96:3766–3773.

Artificial Insemination in Dairy Cattle

This three-day program includes both indoor and outdoor instruction and practice on the skill of artificial inseminating cows. The class also provides instruction on cow and herd management for efficient, successful reproduction. A certificate of achievement is given upon successful completion of the course.

Young Calf Health Workshops

Best Management Practices for Young Calves  (December 1, 2017, 1-4 pm)

Interventions for Sick Calves  (December 8, 2017, 1-4 pm)

Classroom and hands-on instruction at OSU in Corvallis.

For more detailed information, click to open the flier:

young calf health workshop flier 2017.12

To register, go to

When heifers calve very young, there is a greater risk of stillbirth and lower first-lactation milk production. When heifers are old at calving, their fertility may be negatively affected and it raises their culling risk. Plus, there is the cost of feeding them to that age before you get any return. So what is the sweet age for first calving to maximize average lifetime production? To answer that question, researchers at USDA analyzed production, reproduction, and lifetime data along with genetic (relationship) data from 13.9 million Holstein, 1.2 million Jersey, and 90,400 Brown Swiss cows. (Isn’t the national dairy database great? That’s just cows who first calved from 1997 through 2015!) Genomic data from aba Jersey cow andnewborn calfout 205,000 of those animals were also used.

One of the first interesting results of this study was documentation of the significant trend toward younger ages at first calving (see Table 1). It’s been most pronounced for Jerseys.

Table 1. Percentages falling into each age-at-first-calving (AFC) category in 1997 and 2012. (Data condensed from Hutchison et al. 2017.)

AFC (months) Holstein

1997           2012


1997        2012

Brown Swiss

1997        2012

18–22     7.9   33.5   18.5   65.2     3.0   12.8
23–27   66.8   58.3   64.2   31.1   53.5   59.2
28–35   25.3     8.2   17.3     3.7   43.5   28.0

Age at first calving may serve as an indirect indicator of general productivity and survivability, as lower ages at first calving correlate with higher lifetime production and fertility. That is, heifers capable of getting pregnant at younger ages may just be more robust animals in general. In order to capitalize on those individuals, one shouldn’t start breeding too late. The data support a target age of 21-22 months for Holsteins and Brown Swiss to deliver their first calves and 20-21 months for Jerseys. However, breeding at ages younger than 11-13 months is not recommended because younger heifers are more likely to have stillborn calves. The authors of the study suggest that AFC be incorporated in bull selection indexes, which would enable population-level selection for an AFC that increases profitability.

the article: Hutchison et al. Genomic evaluation of age at first calving. Journal of Dairy Science. August 2017. 100:6853–6861.