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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 many dairy operations, consultants are an integral part of the decision-making process. Their advice can significantly improve the profitability of your dairy. Getting the most from a consultant’s advice depends on adhering to this three-step process:

1) Build a relationship with the person to establish trust and get the services you desire.

2) Do what they say. Follow through with consultant’s recommendations to solve problem areas.

3) Push the consultant to help identify the next problem areas to solve.

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Editor’s note: This article is the first of a two-part series entitled “Marginal Thinking.”

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Time is a resource. Your time is valuable, your employees’ time is money and good time management results in increased productivity and self-esteem. Good time management is a major component of business success. On dairy farms, time management influences labor efficiency, employee attitude and performance, which in turn influence cow performance. So improving time management skills can result in greater success for you, your employees and your business.

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Visiting other dairies, I’ve noticed that oftentimes, the heifer program gets overlooked. Sure, the silage looks great, the office is spotless and the cows are eating a nice ration. But the heifers fend for themselves in overcrowded pens eating throwbacks from the cows (that is, if the dairyman doesn’t consider this “wasting” it). When confronted with this issue, the usual response is, “Well, they’ll get the good stuff when they start making money.” Granted, especially during times of low milk prices, cutbacks have to start somewhere.

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When dairy producers have a record of the mastitis pathogen profile for their herds, control measures and treatment decisions are improved. While elevations in bulk tank somatic cell count (SCC) can be an indication of herd mastitis problems, the personnel milking the cows are typically the initial component in the decision-making process for clinical mastitis treatment. Strategic milk culture programs are the only mechanisms to determine which microbial agents are causing mastitis problems.

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A recent economic analysis estimated each clinically lame cow costs the dairy producer approximately $300. Costs associated with lameness include decreased milk production, reduced fertility and increased culling risk, treatment costs and labor requirements. Surveys indicate incidence of lameness on dairies varies between four and 55 cases per 100 cows per year and is dependent upon farm, location and time of year. Clearly, lameness is a costly disease and reducing its incidence will have a very favorable impact on dairy profitability.

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