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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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On some dairy operations dry cows are “out of sight, out of mind.” While it’s important to keep the dry period as uneventful as possible, we still need to monitor dry cow activity to ensure cows have every opportunity to calve successfully and begin profitable lactations.

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Preventative and low-level (feed) use of antibiotics in food animals have been incriminated as causes for antibiotic resistance in human pathogens. As a result of this concern, the European Commission has banned low-level feeding of antibiotics to cattle for growth promotion or disease prevention.

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It is now recognized that defining and meeting the nutritional requirements of the dry cow can greatly impact animal health, production in the ensuing lactation, overall longevity and animal well-being. Nutrition and management during the dry period are essential in determining the profitability of the cow for the rest of her lactation.

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Replacements are an investment in the future of a dairy, and they are significant, often representing 15 to 20 percent of the total cost of milk production, which is second only to dairy feed costs. The likelihood of a positive payoff on those investments is dramatically improved when the management team has a system in place that generates quality heifers.

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When I met with Ted Carpenter and Paul Kelly more than 18 months ago, they had an idea that seemed almost too good to be true. I remember leaving the conversation thinking: “If they can prove what they are saying, then what they have to say would really be worth saying!” I am here to make good on my thoughts, because Bio-Environmental Solutions for Today (BEST) has lived up to its end of the conversation.

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Change is accelerating to an incredible pace in the dairy industry. In just the past few years we’ve had to deal with issues like: BSE, rBST, organic, high grain prices, volatile milk prices, feed grains for fuel production, high demand for milk components, cloning, sexed semen, consolidation, immigration, etc. It makes me think of Billy Joel’s song, “We didn’t start the fire.”

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