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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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How cows eat and ruminate is just as important as the nutritional composition of the feed in front of them. Make the most of every minute at the bunk by understanding dairy cow behavior and incorporating that into daily herd management.

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“If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”

—General George S. Patton Jr., one of the top U.S. commanders in World War II

Although not necessarily directly in combat, dairy producers can relate with the legend’s drive in trying times. Nicknamed “Old Blood and Guts,” the general got results as a masterful strategist. His ideas were frequently contrary to common thought processes.

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Like the stories of many Midwest dairy farm families, the Benthems’ history is one of steady growth and improvement, focused on quality while adopting technology, with family at the center of the circle and a vision of creating room in the business for future generations. Benthem Brothers Inc. of McBain, Michigan, was featured in a virtual tour during the 2018 World Dairy Expo.

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Part of a nutritionist’s job is to give recommendations for the target level of refusals needed for maximum profitability. A typical goal is 2 to 5 percent, but this varies a lot from farm to farm, with a few farms even having a goal of zero refusals.

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An opportunity for capturing higher profits may be hiding in a herd’s voluntary waiting period (VWP).

“With better control of when cows get pregnant, you can then control the timing of the pregnancies to when cows make you the most money.”

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Promoting a surface on which cows want to lie down is about more than just comfort. The bedding material a dairy chooses plays a critical role in preventing mastitis, reducing injury, regulating temperature and fitting into the overall management system.

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