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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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The following is the second of a two-part series about design specifications for feed and water spaces in freestall barns.

Water plays an important role in milk production, temperature control and body functions for dairy cattle. Cows may consume 4.5 to 5 pounds of water from drinking and feed per pound of milk produced. Providing the opportunity for cows to consume a relatively large quantity of clean, fresh water is essential.

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Sand-laden manure may be handled using a scrape or flush system. The handling systems should allow for the sand and solids to separate from the effluent. The abrasiveness of sand may create problems when mechanically handling sand-laden manure. Manure weighs about 60 pounds per cubic foot (lbs/cf), whereas sand has a density of 120 lbs/cf.

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We believe most dairy producers have become increasingly aware of the importance of replacement heifer health. Not only can disease episodes become a major financial problem, but these animals represent the future producing herd. Calves that require treatment for disease tend to be less productive in the long run, and production efficiency is negatively impacted if heifers fail to grow and begin milk production by 2 years old.

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In reality, each country or even regions of countries have very different dairy industries. The emphasis on mastitis prevention and control vary greatly as does the economic value of the milk products. Public health concerns also vary as does the interest in milk quality. Therefore, principle-based mastitis prevention should be applied to accommodate for these geographic and regional differences rather than specific recommendations.

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Crossbreeding is an old technology; however, when used in today’s dairy systems, crossbreeding can produce profitable results for dairy producers. Interest in crossbreeding of dairy cattle has become a topic of great interest in the last five years and has developed in response to concerns dairy producers have about fertility, calving difficulty and stillbirths in today’s genetically improved Holstein cows.

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[Today’s] distillers grains (DGS) tend to contain more protein, energy and available phosphorus than DGS from older ethanol plants, which likely reflects increased fermentation efficiency. Ethanol coproducts contain relatively high amounts of phosphorus, which can be a plus if additional phosphorus is needed in diets or a minus if excess phosphorus in manure needs to be disposed.

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