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Peruse practical information for the dairy producer on essential topics including management, A.I. and breeding, new technology, and feed and nutrition.

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We’ve been trying a different protocol on dairy heifers for the final month pre-calving. Here is a personal rendition of why we tried this new approach, how social media responded and what we’ve been learning.

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The “transition period” is the point in time when a dairy cow transitions from pregnant and not milking to milking and not pregnant. It is somewhat akin to launching a rocket from a standstill to orbit in a matter of weeks.

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Even with dramatic increases in productivity in the past 50 years, every dairy farm still has opportunities to improve efficiency and profitability. One way to do this is to harness and make sense of your farm’s data. Many dairies already collect much of this data, but never use it to the extent it could be used.

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In a time filled with new ways to look at data, it’s easy to fall into a space of data overload. On dairy farms, there are several data management software programs to choose from, with multiple ways to look at hundreds of metrics on your farm.

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Early in my career, I had a feed store manager tell me, “Only the rich can afford cheap feed.” While he was partially correct, feeding dairy cows does allow us the opportunity to feed a variety of byproducts, based upon their nutrient value. There are a variety of software options that can describe the relative value of byproducts compared to more traditional feedstuffs, such as alfalfa hay, corn silage, corn and soybean meal.

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Any nutritionist will tell you that optimizing dry matter intake (DMI) is one of the most important factors in achieving target milk production.

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