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Herd Health

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

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It has been painfully obvious to everyone involved the dairy economy has been in one of the longest financial droughts most of us can remember.

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As dairy producers seek more ways to sharpen the pencil on profitability, they are examining each area of the farm budget for cost-saving opportunities. This leads some to ponder the pros and cons of contracting with a professional hoof trimmer versus training an employee to do the job.

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As temperatures in parts of the country dip below freezing, and moisture is prevalent, bovine hoof care demands some extra attention. Additionally, winter temperatures can affect common practices such as blocking, impacting the effectiveness and durability of adhesives.

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Drafting and updating standard operating procedures (SOPs) may not be a favorite task on the dairy farm, but it is critical for a well-run operation. According to a survey of large dairy farms conducted by Michigan State University, communication is a common weakness across farms.

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Programs to address dairy cattle welfare come in different shapes and sizes. They range from those that serve niche markets are relatively small and aim to differentiate their product with an animal welfare label, to others like FARM, which represents over 95 percent of U.S. dairy farms.

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“Implementation of best management practices for transition cows will plausibly improve metabolic health, immune function and regulation of inflammation,” says Luciano Caixeta, DVM, Ph.D., and associate professor at the University of Minnesota.

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