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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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As much as dairy producers and their advisers may try to eliminate the risks associated with dairy expansions, it cannot be done. The key to a successful dairy expansion is to anticipate, reduce and control those risks. Developing a strategic business plan can help producers and their advisers accomplish this. Careful planning reduces risk. However, any business plan is only as good as the information used to develop it. It is therefore important to have a systematic approach to evaluating an expansion plan to determine how effectively it has addressed the above issues. The areas to evaluate include:

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Take care when constructing concrete walking areas for animals. Concrete serves dairy producers well as a material that is durable and economical. It can conform to irregular places and be given a surface that provides cattle adequate traction. Unfortunately, concrete surfaces often end up being too rough, too slippery, too irregular or too level to provide adequate drainage.

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Relocating or expanding a dairy facility is a process that requires a tremendous amount of time and planning. Owners or managers of dairies will go through a number of steps including:

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When there’s any excuse to visit Hawaii, most people take it. Dairy cattle and herd genetics broker Marty Mickelson used his excuse to visit the island four times one summer.

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Forages are the foundation of sound, economical and animal-healthy rations. In most situations, home-produced forages are the most economical source of fiber, protein and energy in the dairy ration. A primary role of forages is to provide a source of effective fiber to stimulate chewing and rumination activity.

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Milk fever is a disorder affecting about 6 percent of dairy cows each year in the United States. Subclinical milk fever, defined as blood calcium (Ca) concentration falling below 8 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl), occurs in up to 50 percent of older cows during the days immediately following calving. The decline in blood calcium concentration near calving represents a breakdown in the calcium homeostatic mechanisms of the body. Blood Ca in the adult cow is maintained around 8.5 to 10 mg/dl. There are 3 grams Ca in the plasma pool and only 8 to 9 grams Ca in all the extracellular fluids (outside of bone) of a 1,300-pound cow. The fluid within the canaliculi of bone may contain another 6 to 15 grams Ca; the size of this Ca pool being dependent on the acid-base status of the animal (larger during acidosis and smaller during alkalosis).

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