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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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Editor’s note: The following material is sourced from writings by Dr. Nigel Cook. An extended version of this information is called “Footbath alternatives” and is available at www.vetmed.wisc.edu/dms/fapm/fapmtools/lameness.htm

Footbaths are used as a tool to assist in control of infectious diseases of the claw and interdigital area of the foot. Foot rot and hairy heel warts are the main infectious diseases of the foot, and each respond only partially to footbath use. Both diseases are directly related to the level of environmental hygiene. Footbaths are generally viewed as helpful when disease is present at a low (less than 10 percent) level. When more animals are affected with disease, such as hairy heel wart, other methods must be employed for treatment.

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Operating a dairy milking center involves managing a number of issues so a satisfactory end result is accomplished. It involves labor management, work routine organization, mastitis control, cow physiology, Grade A milk production regulations and agricultural economics. The involved parties may have different views of objectives and satisfactory results, so that has to be discussed and agreed upon. Once determined, the overall effort of running the milking operation must be aimed at meeting those objectives. The objectives need to be communicated to all involved from shift managers to milkers so everyone knows the procedures and goals.

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Have you tipped any cows lately? Cow tipping has become quite the rage. Yes, I said cow tipping! If you type “cow tipping” into Google.com, you will find at least 200,000 different websites that deal directly with cow tipping. Unfortunately, after sifting through all 200,000 sites, I did not find one site that referred to cow tipping as a way to reward a cow for a job well done. I’m sure you’ve tipped a waitress for a job well done. Right? But are you rewarding your cows for a job well done?

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Editor’s note: The following is the first of a three-part series of articles – “Estate and Farm Transition Planning for Agricultural Producers”

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Observation 1: Two hours before milking, are less than 20 percent of your cows standing in their stalls?

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Lameness is recognized as a problem in most dairy herds throughout the world. Producers and herd managers agree it is an ever-present challenge and that with modern dairy management practices, lameness rates continue to rise. A recent University of Minnesota study observed 5,626 cows housed in 50 freestall barns. The average lameness rate was 24.6 percent. Surprisingly, this rate averaged 3.1 times greater than estimated by the herd managers.

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