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Herd Health

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

LATEST

The problem

Flies can be costly to dairy farmers due to disease transmission and irritation. Whether feeding upon animals or simply being a nuisance, flies can reduce milk production and decrease weight gains.

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In recent years, several research groups have started to prioritize studies on cow behavior to determine the benefits herd management can have on milk production. Early studies have shown the basic needs of a cow will consume 20 to 21 hours per day, which leaves little room for mismanagement. 

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Within fat cells, fatty acids are stored as triglyceride molecules and constitute one of the main energy reserves that are mobilized during times of negative energy balance, such as the transition period. Fat mobilization is the metabolic process that cows use to either release or store fatty acids within fat cells.

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Whether moving weaned calves into a new group or bringing springing heifers into the transition barn, many dairy producers have come to accept that a pen move will likely result in temporarily decreased feed intake, reduced gains or production, and the potential for a few sick or “off” animals.

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Advances in genetics, nutrition and management have led to larger increases in milk production per cow over the past 40 years. These production increases have also led to growing heat stress problems for lactating and close-up cows in warm weather.

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In his fifth edition of Dairy Cattle and Milk Production published in 1939, Dr. Clarence Eckles reported that the “ratio between the human population and the number of cows in the United States had remained essentially the same since 1850.” At that time, there were 36 million dairy cows in the U.S. producing an average of 8,700 pounds of milk per lactation.

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