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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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A well-designed manure storage facility must also be well managed to prevent environmental concerns from developing. Probably the single most important requirement in operating and maintaining a manure storage facility is to ensure that the facility does not overflow or discharge. Discharges from manure storage facilities may violate local, state or federal regulations, result in large fines or penalties and, at the very least, represent a potential environmental hazard.

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For the management team at Top Deck Holsteins, the idea of putting in a digester with the help of Alliant Energy, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Iowa State University Extension ended up being a no-brainer. It provided a way to reduce odors, and now waste heat from the system has been used to maintain the mesophilic temperatures of the digester while a heat loop to the milking parlor preheats water and heats the inside of the parlor in the winter. From the outset it seemed like a winning situation, and in every respect it was. What has happened since has become the icing on an ever-growing big brown cake to the side of the digester . . .

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Owners and managers should have a job description, and there are differences in what should be in that job description. The first item should be putting a title on your job and getting key elements included in the description. For many dairy operators, this may involve making a significant attitude change in their thinking. Most consider themselves “farmers.” Historically, farmers think of themselves as “doers.” Farmers do things. The change needs to include the idea that farmers also manage.

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Traditionally, veterinarians working with milk quality and mastitis control programs have used records to some extent but have relied mostly on farm and milking time observation for evaluation and diagnosis and problem solving. However, in recent years, developments in computer handling of data along with newer techniques for bacterial culturing have provided a set of tools that allows diagnosis and monitoring to be done more easily and accurately.

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By now you may have seen that preliminary incubation count (PIC) for raw milk is not just a laboratory recreational activity, but it is a number that affects your milk price. The fluid milk processing industry has recently taken a big interest in this number because it believes two things:

1. PIC is a good predictor of shelf life, and extending shelf life reduces the milk dumped from store shelves.

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Milk quality is dependent on three key areas: milking routine; cows and their environment; milking equipment.

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