Significant changes 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 https://DairyMarkets.org/register/ The webinar will be recorded and made available as an online stream after it is presented live.
The Oregon State University Dairy Club is hosting its bi-annual
Beaver Dairy Youth Day
on Saturday, April 14, 2018
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.
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.
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?
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.
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 about 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.)
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.
In a Canadian study published in the July 2017 issue of Journal of Dairy Science, researchers compared a quaternary ammonium compound-based (QAC) footbath to a more conventional copper sulfate (CuSO4) footbath. Five farms used a standard 5% footbath concentration of CuSO4. Another five farms used a 1% footbath concentration of QAC (per the manufacturer’s recommendation). An additional five farms that did not alter their standard hoofcare routine were also included. These dairies averaged 143 cows and a prevalence of active digital dermatitis (DD) lesions (hairy warts) of 15%. The protocols for the CuSO4 and QAC interventions had cows walking through freshly prepared footbaths once a day after milking Monday–Friday for 12 consecutive weeks.
In the CuSO4 group, the prevalence of chronic DD lesions decreased over the 12 weeks of the study. For the QAC group, chronic DD lesion prevalence decreased at the same rate for weeks 0–6, but then leveled off between 6 and 12 weeks. The QAC treatment also did not decrease the proportion of cows with active DD lesions. The researchers concluded that QAC was inferior to CuSO4 for footbath control of hairy warts. This is unfortunate, as a viable alternative to CuSO4 would be useful to reduce the amount of copper that ends up in pastures and crop fields (via manure handling and application systems).