The Manager - July 2020

Treating the ketotic dairy cow – Does intravenous dextrose improve health and production over oral propylene glycol alone?

Kathryn Bach, Michael Capel, Sabine Mann, and Jessica McArt

Our findings in four herds suggest that intravenous dextrose for one or three days in addition to oral PG for treatment of early postpartum ketosis did not improve recovery, reduce the risk of adverse health events, or improve average daily milk yield over treatment with PG alone. Ketosis risk, treatment preferences, and occurrence of negative health events vary between herds. Therefore, we suggest that producers discuss the results of this and other studies with their veterinarian to determine the optimal ketosis treatment plan for each individual herd.

Circadian pattern of blood energy metabolites – Timing matters!

Claira Seely, Kathryn Bach, Dave Barbano, and Jessica McArt

Our study shows blood NEFA and BHB have consistent daily patterns. Time relative to feeding should be considered when analyzing blood for energy metabolites, specifically NEFA and BHB, as concentrations vary significantly throughout the day. Additionally, blood sampling for ketosis diagnosis should be performed at a consistent time of day to more accurately capture the energy status of early lactation cows.

Survey on colostrum management practices in New York State

Trent Westhoff, Tom Overton, and Sabine Mann

Our results show that a successful colostrum feeding program and adequate transfer of passive immunity can be accomplished through various management practices. Quantifying transfer of passive immunity in calves is one measurement that can be used to evaluate transfer of passive immunity to calves. Based on this metric, dairies can work with their trusted advisers to improve protocols for colostrum harvest, storage, and feeding

Effect of manual forestripping on teat tissue condition and milking performance in Holstein dairy cows milked three times daily

Matthias Wieland, Rob Lynch, and Daryl Nydam

The most efficient way to increase profitability of dairy operations is to control costs while maximizing milk production. Recent research has focused on improving genetic potential and increasing feed efficiency. By contrast, data on the most efficient milk harvesting process to fully benefit from recent accomplishments in animal genetics and nutrition is scarce. Specifically, there is a lack of information about the most efficient technique of premilking stimulation (i.e., forestripping). Consequently, more and more dairy producers reduce or eliminate the time spent on forestripping in an attempt to increase parlor throughput.

Fatty acid feeding for fresh cows

Joe McFadden and J. Eduardo Rico

Enhancing the fat content of lactation diets is a convenient means to raise dietary energy-density and intake, which in turn helps support the heightened energy demands of modern high-producing dairy cows. Fat-feeding is a useful strategy to limit excessive feeding of highly fermentable carbohydrates (i.e., high-starch feeds), thus reducing the risk of sub-acute acidosis and milk fat depression (MFD). Although fat feeding can be advantageous for the above-mentioned reasons, its use in lactation diets is constrained by adverse effects on dry matter intake at high feeding levels (≥7 percent of ration dry matter), limits associated with feeding rumen-degradable unsaturated fat (i.e., oils that contribute to MFD), and cost of commercial fats. Producers and nutritionists need to carefully consider the type, composition, and feeding level of fat to leverage the advantages of this source of dietary energy, while maximizing their cost-effectiveness in changing market conditions.

Help dairy cows beat the heat: Diet matters

Joe McFadden and Ananda Fontoura

The American dairy industry has the challenge to supply consumers with accessible, affordable, and nutritious milk. To meet the growing demand for dairy over the last century, the industry has made long strides to improve the efficiency of growth and milk production (i.e., increased body weight gain and milk produced per unit of feed consumed). Advancements in genetic selection, nutrition and management have elevated productive performance per animal, and reduced animal waste, water and land use, and carbon footprint per unit of milk. However, a daunting threat to dairy productivity moving forward is climate change. Science has demonstrated that our climate has changed over the past century. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect that our climate will continue to change in the future and the dairy industry will adapt

Next-generation whole-farm dairy sustainability analysis: The ruminant farm systems model

Kristan Reed, Victor Cabrera, Ermias Kebreab, Kevin Panke-Buisse, Greg Thoma, Juan Tricarico, and Peter Vadas

We are building a next-generation dairy systems simulation model that has the flexibility to represent the diversity of management practices on U.S. dairies and is adaptable to our continually growing knowledge of dairy systems. Our Ruminant Farm Systems (RuFaS) model combines knowledge of management, soils, crops, animal nutrition and husbandry, and weather to predict farm productivity, nutrient cycling and loss, energy and water use, GHG emissions, and production costs. By predicting both production and environmental impact under diverse management and climate conditions, RuFaS provides a platform to assess whole system impacts of management strategies and new technologies under current and future climate conditions.