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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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In domesticated cattle production systems, animals rely on people to provide them with sufficient food, water and shelter to promote growth, productivity, health and welfare. Past research in dairy cattle nutrition has focused almost exclusively on the nutrient aspects of the diet and has led to many discoveries and improvements in dairy cattle health and production. However, despite many advances in the field of ruminant nutrition, we are still faced with the challenge of ensuring adequate dry matter intake (DMI) to maximize production and prevent disease, particularly with lactating dairy cows. As feeding behavior likely influences feed intake, it is important to understand the factors that influence this behavior. To date there has been limited work on how an increased understanding of animal behavior may provide valuable insights leading to improvements in feeding management practices.

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An important concept in dairy herd health is early diagnosis and treatment of sick cows. It may even be more important than the type of treatment administered. In lactating dairy cows, this concept cannot be overemphasized. A delay in treating a sick cow not only reduces her chances for a full recovery but results in milk production loss and may impair reproductive performance, especially if the disease occurs early postpartum.

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Mastitis is an inflammation of the mammary gland or udder tissue. Inflammation is the response of the body to injury. In cows, this response (i.e., mastitis) is usually provoked by infection with bacteria. Mastitis can also be the result of noninfectious causes, such as mechanical damage. A poorly adjusted milking machine or narrow stalls and poorly trimmed claws may cause mechanical injuries to the teats and the udder.

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Instead of viewing cultural differences as an obstacle to communication and productivity, successful employers draw upon differences to enhance their businesses and improve their workplace. In order to do this, employers must understand how culture influences an individual’s job performance and his or her ideas about work.

The more employers know about the cultures of their employees, the more equipped they will be to develop and implement successful management strategies. The following are important issues to consider when managing Hispanic employees, particularly when designing and carrying out training activities.

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Editor’s note: This article is the second of a two-part series entitled “Marginal Thinking.”

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Meeting fresh cow nutritional needs is critical to increased milk production and profitability. How cows are fed and cared for during the transition period – the three weeks before and three weeks after calving – sets the stage for milk production in the entire subsequent lactation.

If dairy managers can prevent a decrease in dry matter intake (DMI) and the onset of metabolic disorders (the issues that negatively impact cows during the transition period) the entire lactation falls into place, asserts Michael DeGroot, a dairy nutrition and management consultant near Fresno, California. Prevention of these issues translates into improved production and reproduction in the next lactation, he believes, adding real dollars to a dairy operation’s profit potential.

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