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June is Dairy Month - Top 10 strategies to improve early lactation performance for higher peak milk yield


Fri, Jun 3rd, 2011
Posted in Agriculture

By Noah Litherland, Dairy Nutritionist, University of Minnesota Extension

Getting cows off to a good start and successful navigation through early lactation is critical to the health and performance of the cow and has significant impact on reproductive performance and cow profitability. Peak milk is defined as the highest recorded test day milk production in a cow's first 150 days in milk (DIM) and has historically been used as a benchmark to determine the success of dry period and early lactation nutrition and management. Peak milk production is an indication of how well the cow responded to feeding management during the dry period, calving, and early lactation periods.

Most cows achieve peak milk by 45 to 90 DIM and then slowly lose production over time. It is commonly cited that each pound of additional peak milk forecasts 200 to 250 pounds more milk for the entire lactation. Understanding how nutrition and management during the transition period impacts cow performance does not have to be complicated. Interactions of nutrition and metabolic and other health disorders in early lactation impact peak milk. For example, the Risk, Low Dietary Fiber diet/sorting, can lead to Rumen Acidosis, which can result in Lameness or Displaced Abomasum, either of which can cause Reduced Peak Milk.

Here are my "top 10" strategies for improved early lactation performance and higher peak milk yield:

Get cows off to a good start with a successful dry period. Research over the past ten years has clearly demonstrated the impact of dry period nutrition and management on postpartum health and performance. If you are dissatisfied with milk cow performance, then evaluate the dry cow program. Key goals for dry cows include: maintain dry matter intake (DMI) (28 to 32 lb per day), avoid overfeeding energy, prevent BCS gain, optimize comfort, and address hoof health.

Reduce the risk of subclinical milk fever (low blood calcium or hypocalcemia) during the first week of lactation. Low blood calcium (< 8.0 mg/dL) is correlated with ketosis, elevated somatic cell count, delayed uterine involution, metritis, depressed feed intake, and reduced milk yield.

Optimize feed intake immediately after calving. Provide: 10 to 15 gallons of warm water with drinkable drench, access to fresh TMR, 5 to 10 lb of alfalfa/grass hay, and maintain cleanliness and freshness at the feed bunk.

Optimize cow comfort. In the fresh cow group: stocking density .....
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My apologies to EAB

Fri, Jun 3rd, 2011
Posted in Agriculture

Extension Notes

By Jerrold Tesmer, Extension Educator for Fillmore/Houston counties

With the tornado related concerns last week, I slighted "Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week." I've been drawing some comparisons between EAB and tornados ..... 
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Feedlot Korner

Fri, May 27th, 2011
Posted in Agriculture

Due to the recent damage on area farms a question has come up for discussion. "What can or can't I bury on my farm?"

As of July 1st, 2011, Section 6, Minnesota Statute 2010, section 17.135 will be in effect:

A permit is not required ..... 
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Recovery after disaster: the family financial toolkit

Fri, May 27th, 2011
Posted in Agriculture

Extension Notes

By Jerrold Tesmer, Extension Educator for Fillmore/Houston counties

On Sunday evening I surveyed much of the tornado damage across Bristol and Harmony Township. When I arrived at the office Monday morning Phyllis Onstad ..... 
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Farm service agency news

Wed, May 25th, 2011
Posted in Agriculture

FSA Reminder:

June 1 Deadline for 2011

DCP/ACRE Sign Up

SAINT PAUL, MINN., May 17, 2011 - USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Minnesota Executive Director Linda Hennen reminds producers that June 1, 2011, is the enrollment deadline ..... 
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Summer hay pricing

Wed, May 25th, 2011
Posted in Agriculture

Extension Notes

With snow still on the ground I received my first inquiry on, "How to charge for standing hay?"

Merv Freeman was an Extension Farm Management Specialist when I first started working for Extension. A formula he often us ..... 
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Farm service agency news

Wed, May 25th, 2011
Posted in Agriculture

Hispanic and Women Farmers and Ranchers Claims Process

Linda Hennen, state executive director of USDA Farm Service Agency in Minnesota, announced the establishment of a process to resolve the claims of Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers ..... 
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Flourish summer programs bring ag and culture together

Mon, May 23rd, 2011
Posted in Agriculture

The Dreamery Rural Arts Initiative, a not-for-profit organization based in Fillmore County with a focus on arts in rural spaces, offers two intensive programs that invite participants to explore the arts on a working small-scale farm. Flourish Summe ..... 
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Farm safety day camp a success

Fri, May 20th, 2011
Posted in Agriculture

"Thank you for a great day! It was awesome!" That was the e-mail message waiting for me when I arrived at my office the morning after the Fourth Grade Farm Safety Day Camp.

I don't know how we continue to be so fortunate. We had beautiful wea ..... 
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