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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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Ask a few dozen agricultural managers what their largest human resource management issue is and chances are a good many of them are going to say, “Turnover!” However, it’s important to consider whether or not turnover is an issue in and of itself.

Doctors frequently run tests and perform lengthy examinations when patients present very common complaints, simply because symptoms and diseases are two very different things. That’s exactly the case with turnover. Turnover itself is not a diagnosis. To truly understand why a business is having difficulty retaining a qualified workforce one has to go deeper – beyond the symptom to the disease itself.

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Following the current increase in overall production costs, dairymen, nutritionists and feed industry professionals are actively looking for management alternatives to maximize dairy operation efficiency.

Since 30 percent of dairy cows in a herd leave the dairy roughly 90 days postpartum, proper nutrition – particularly through the dry and transition period – has a significant impact on the animal’s longevity and performance.

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High-performance dairies have great herdsmen that are not usually hired into that position. Rather, great herdsmen are grown by owners or managers who recognize core leadership skills within individuals. Great herdsmen know cows and lead workers. Their duties might include breeding, treating cows, milking, calving or moving animals; they must do these technical things well. But great herdsmen also lead and influence their fellow workers.

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With the arrival of winter weather, many producers recognize the need to re-think milking strategies by implementing revised operating procedures to maintain udder health and milk quality. During winter, especially in northern climates, extremely cold and windy conditions contribute to excessive drying of the teat skin, which normally leads to chapping and other skin irritations. Freezing wind chill temperatures can result in frostbite. Even in such harsh weather conditions there is hope; your selection of teat dips may help reduce the risks associated with these cold and windy conditions.

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We all have watched the dairy industry feel the pressure of increased input costs. Maintaining profitability is even more challenging in times of rapid changes. Producers need to continue to find areas where they can make improvements that increase their margins.

Disease control is critical to maintain optimal milk production and reduce added costs associated with treatments, loss of production, early culling and death loss.

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Out of sight, out of mind. Oftentimes this mentality costs producers great economic losses to their bottom line when it comes to controlling subclinical mastitis in their dairy herds. And although clinical mastitis is easier to detect with clear signs and symptoms present in the milk, it can cause problems if there are no milk-quality protocols in place.

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