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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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Dairy cows need water to turn feed into milk – a product that is already nearly 90 percent water.

Achieving ideal water intake comes down to two criteria: quantity and quality.

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Proposed changes announced for FARM 4.0

Proposed changes for Version 4.0 of the National Dairy FARM (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) program – dealing with animal care – were released on Feb. 25.

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Rumination, or a cow chewing her cud, is a vital part of a cow’s digestive system. If you examine a herd at any point in the day, you’re almost sure to find a majority of the cows ruminating. With advances in technology, rumination monitoring systems have become a popular way to measure rumination, which means they are also able to give us other information related to the cow’s nutrition, digestion and breeding.

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Early detection and prompt treatment of sick cows helps minimize the detrimental effects on milk production, reproduction and overall well-being. Unfortunately, by the time a cow goes off feed, spikes a fever or shows other disease symptoms, she’s already on the path to production losses. Diagnosing health problems earlier can help reduce treatment costs, improve the chances of treatment success and get sick cows back on the road to lactation and reproductive success.

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Mastitis has a large economic impact on a dairy producer’s bottom line. Research indicates the direct and indirect costs, which include veterinary, discarded milk, extra labor, cow mortality, repeat cases and milk losses, amount to $1.7 - $2 billion per year.1 Preventive protocols are the best option to curb 50-60% of all new cases that occur during the dry period.2 Dry cow antibiotic therapy has been the most widely used method until recently. With the movement to reduce antibiotic use and regulations preventing organic dairy farms to use dry cow antibiotic therapy, teat sealants have been added to protocols or even used exclusively.

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The best action plans for hoof health and digital dermatitis prevention call for consistent footbaths, and dairy farmers have the choice between manually filling and draining the bath or using an automated system to deliver protection.

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