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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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When you travel through Vermont, tree-lined farms and hills dominate the landscape. Throughout this patchwork lies hundreds of producers that, until now, have been cut off from the advancing world of manure digestion, simply because people have said their operations are just too small. With the backing of a renewable energy company, Avatar, and a desire to prove everyone wrong, Dr. Guy Roberts is about to change the face of anaerobic digestion and its implications for smaller operations.

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Agricultural practices have become more intensive to provide for the nutritional needs of an increasing human population and as a response to economic pressures on individual farms. Higher production levels are possible on farms through the use of chemically fixed fertilizer and feeds imported to farms from other regions. However, such practices also may increase the potential for losses of reactive nitrogen to air and water.

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The saying goes, “You can’t have your cake and eat it, too.” Sometimes we’re faced with the tough decision of choosing one action or the other rather than getting everything we want. Fortunately, when it comes to making money and keeping cows healthy on your dairy, things aren’t as complicated. You can have your tasty treat, by reaping more profits in your milk check, and savor it too, by ensuring rumen health and good protein nutrition for your herd.

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A universal goal of progressive dairy producers is to maximize milk production from healthy cows. But when you ask these same producers what and how they feed their cows to produce that milk, the diversity becomes clear. Producers choose strategies that fit their dairy conditions and their management style.

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Now is the time to capitalize on high milk prices and make up for the low milk prices of 2006. By developing a marketing strategy to lock in long-term cash flows, producers can offset low milk prices that are certain to return following the effects of high prices, which include improved profitability, herd expansion and milk supply growth.

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Research and practical on-farm experience over the years has shown us that grouping cows according to age, nutritional needs and milk production at specific stages of the lactation can provide an economic benefit to many dairy farms. The dairy farmer who’s able and willing to group cows can do a more efficient and effective job of managing his herd. It opens the door for fine-tuning of feed rations, which has the potential to increase overall lactational performance and maximize income-over-feed-costs (IOFC) for individual groups. Properly formulated feed rations targeted for specific stages of lactation will result in a more productive and healthy cow.

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