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Herd Health

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

LATEST

Harvesting high-quality milk involves interactions among humans, cows, milking equipment and the environment. Implementing and training staff on milking routine standard operating procedures can influence the outcome, but efforts in the parlor shouldn’t end there.

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The lactation curve of milk production on some farms can be complicated. The question of how we get more production from cows comes up in many conversations between nutritionists and their producer customers. A “normal” lactation curve can be broken down to some simple basic principles.

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On May 22, 2015, Walmart, one of the largest grocery retailers in the U.S., publicly stated their position on antibiotic use in farm animals. The company stated that “antibiotics should be used responsibly in farm animals” and outlined a specific set of instructions for its producers to accomplish this. Despite the concern about usage of antimicrobials in agriculture, very few studies have described antimicrobial usage in U.S. dairy herds:

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When it comes to dry cow vaccinations, I like to think of them as a two-for-one. You’re vaccinating for the health of the cow, but you’re also providing passive immunity for the calf during those first few months of life.

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The postpartum dairy cow is at high risk of disease and requires ample access to feed and rest. Despite this, a newly fresh cow faces many management and housing changes after calving. In a study we recently conducted at Aarhus University’s cattle facility in Foulum, Denmark, we asked if keeping the group size small in the fresh pen reduces competition for feed and freestalls, and improves dairy cow welfare during this sensitive time.

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When making culling decisions on a dairy, four things should be considered: animal welfare, food safety, public perception and economics. With each individual situation, one of these items may slightly outweigh another, but all four are important before deciding to treat, cull from the herd or humanely euthanize an animal. Treatment and animal care protocols and records are crucial to make informed, responsible decisions.

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