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Herd Health

Find information about mastitis, transition cows, vaccination protocols, working with your veterinarian, hoof care and hoof trimming.

LATEST

I’m not sure who sent the stray voltage to the groundhog in February, but I think he was a little off-target this year. While spring yielded to summer early in the South, Old Man Winter clung to some parts of the country when the May flowers were supposed to arrive.

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Heat stress and the problems associated with it can be costly to your dairy operation. Not only are there losses in milk production, but studies are also linking heat stress to lower reproduction rates, changes in dry matter and water intake as well as increased rates of lameness.

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Dairy cows are very susceptible to heat stress and will adapt by reducing their milk production. Only half of that milk reduction is explained by a lower dry matter intake; other metabolic changes are involved, including a shift in the use of glucose by the mammary gland to other tissues, reducing its availability for milk production, a reduction in rumination and nutrient absorption, and an increase in maintenance needs to dissipate heat.

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Compost-bedded pack barns are an alternative to traditional freestall barns, typically offering additional space for roaming and lying down for lactating, dry and special-needs cows.

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Today’s technology is offering ways to enhance cow comfort using labor-saving robots, automated equipment and computerized health monitoring systems. With such a wide array of options available, selecting those that fit the individual needs of your dairy can be challenging.

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Producers should consider maternity care, dry cow health, overstocking and social stressors when looking for ways to improve cow comfort.

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