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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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Death is one of the major reasons cows leave dairy herds. The National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) 2002 survey reported a death rate in the national herd of 4.8 percent. This rate has increased since bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) was found in the United States in 2003, and it subsequently became illegal to sell down and disabled cattle in 2004.

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In today’s world, we often feel like we have more to do than we can ever get done. This is definitely true when it comes to managing a dairy farm business as you try to manage all the different aspects of the operation. To prevent one from becoming overwhelmed, it is important to sort out the tasks that need to be done and complete those with the highest priority first. As it relates to the dairy nutrition program, the following five areas need to receive the highest priorities. These include:

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After breeding heifers one by one through a working chute in Iowa’s frequent windstorms for several months, David Porterfield often thought there had to be a better, more efficient way to manage Koenen Dairy’s breeding-age heifers.

Porterfield, then an A.I. technician for Semex, knew his stops to breed heifers at the dairy in Hawarden, Iowa, were taking up too much time – both his own and the dairy producer’s.

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Research on dairy calves is paving the way for methods of managing and housing these animals that will facilitate calf care and improve living conditions for these young animals. In this [article], I will review research from three areas I think are important:

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Efficient heifer growth that leads to bigger heifers at an earlier age can maximize profitability on your dairy operation. The key is making sure your heifers don’t just gain weight, but achieve their genetic potential for ideal height, weight and girth so they reach breeding age earlier and enter the milking string sooner. This leads to substantial profit potential in a variety of ways.

Most progressive dairy producers already strive to calve heifers between 22 and 24 months to pay back heifer rearing costs earlier. The economics explain why.

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During last year’s heat wave in California, dairyman Greg Anema of Ontario, California discovered the two coolest places on his dairy – the breezeway in his parlor and a kiddie pool under a shade tree close to the milk barn. He also found out how his cows try to cool off.

“I’ve got young children and while they were playing in the hose I jumped in,” Anema says. “It was a way to just try to cool off.”

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