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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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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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Of all the performance indicators you can monitor on the dairy, fresh cow performance ranks near the top, since the start of the lactation really determines the rest of the lactation.

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Ask any producer who consistently feeds close-up dry cows a negative-DCAD diet if it makes a difference for transition cows, and the answer will be yes. Producers routinely report that when cows are metabolically acidified, they have strong labor and calve quickly with fewer problems.

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Nutritional management during the transition period is very important, as it affects health, milk production and reproductive performance of dairy cows.

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