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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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Selenium (Se), like the other trace minerals, is necessary to sustain life and is essential for basic physiological functions in both animals and humans. While the daily requirement for these minerals is obviously small, their importance to and impact on the health and well-being of livestock and humans are well documented in research. Fortunately, the difference between deficiency and toxicity with most of these trace minerals is believed to be fairly broad, allowing for the wide range of supplemental regimes used around the world.

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With drought and heat-stressed corn [...], mycotoxin levels could be elevated leading to animal health risks. Corn grain may exhibit signs of fungi growth and kernel damage.

Mycotoxins are toxic byproducts produced by fungi that infect feed crops due to insect damage or stressed plants. These fungi produce mycotoxins that can include aflatoxin, zearalenone, T-2 and DON (deoxynivalenol) that can impact dairy cattle performance for several reasons, including:

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Sub-acute rumen acidosis (SARA) is a prevalent problem for dairy herds as characterized by having more than 25 percent of cows sampled via rumenocentesis four to eight hours after a total mixed ration (TMR) meal with ruminal pH less than 5.5. Ruminal pH is largely a function of the balance between the production of volatile fatty acids from the fermentation of carbohydrates, their neutralization by salivary and dietary buffers and their removal by absorption across the rumen wall or passage from the rumen, and SARA is caused by the consumption of high amounts of ruminally-available carbohydrate, low amounts of effective fiber or both.

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Many minerals have been proven in research studies to be essential for optimal growth, physiologic function and productivity in ruminants. Historically, testing for these minerals has been performed on diets or dietary components to ensure adequate concentrations of specific minerals in the diet. However, general mineral analysis does not identify the chemical forms of these minerals, which can dramatically alter their bioavailability and utilization.

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We live in changing times. Farming like your grandparents, your parents or even like your older siblings did may not be possible anymore. Agriculture still has not completely come to grips with the vast changes environmental concerns will thrust on the industry. We can’t even predict which environmental issue will overwhelm us next. There are so many possibilities: sediment, nutrients, biological oxygen demand (BOD), pathogens, antibiotics, hormones, heavy metals and others. Then there are the air issues: ammonia, PM2.5 (particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns), VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and any kind of odor.

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Today the spotlight in the United States is on the increasing world demand for energy and the high cost of oil and natural gas. This has heightened interest in alternative and renewable energy sources such as biofuels, forests, wind, solar and animal manure.

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