Posted: October 26, 2012 at 1:59 pm
By Cindy Zimmerman
Because dairy producers can’t afford to leave dollars on the table, especially in today’s competitive market, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (BIVI) believes helping to prevent disease is a more effective way to maintain animal health than simply treating diseases as they arise.
“We’ve come up with a model called Prevention Logic,” said Dr. Bruce Vande Steeg, BIVI Technical Services Veterinarian, at the World Dairy Expo. “We look at four levels. There’s the healthy herd, where most animals live, then you have a sub-clinical area of disease – be that sub-clinical hypocalcemia, underlying BVD, PI animal.” Beyond that, level three is clinical disease where animals are clearly sick and need to be treated and finally level four where an animal needs to be culled. “The idea is, no matter where we’re at – 4, 3 or 2 – we want to move those animals back to one.”
Vande Steeg says this strategy is particularly important with the sub-clinical level. “Those animals not mixing feed, not transporting feed through its body, not absorbing the nutrients,” he said. “We fix those issues, then that cow can really perform to her utmost.”
Posted: October 11, 2012 at 7:17 am
By Cindy Zimmerman
Dairy producers are beef producers too and they should always keep that in mind with their production practices.
“At this point, most dairy producers do not think of themselves as beef producers,” says Dr. Linda Tikofsky, Professional Services Veterinarian with Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc (BIVI). “Dairymen know they ship cull cows for beef, but I don’t think they recognize the impact some of their dairy practices have on beef quality in the long run.”
Many common practices, while effective for milk quality and production, can cause a reduction in beef quality once a cull cow arrives at a packinghouse. The long-term effects of some of these practices cause the dairy cull cows to be flagged for further examination at the packinghouse, leading to fines and loss in value for dairy producers.
“If we’re marketing them later, after we’ve treated them a number of times or after they’ve lost a significant amount of body condition, the cows are much more likely to be flagged for additional review and receive more scrutiny,” says Dr. Tikofsky.
Watch this video with Dr. Tikofsky where she outlines steps to help preserve beef quality throughout a dairy cow’s life:
For additional information on handling guidelines and vaccine administration protocols, visit www.BQA.org. For additional details about Prevention Works, contact your local veterinarian or Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. representative, or visit www.BIVIPreventionWorks.com.
“The carcass of the animal is being held under State authority at a rendering facility in California and will be destroyed. It was never presented for slaughter for human consumption, so at no time presented a risk to the food supply or human health. Additionally, milk does not transmit BSE,” said USDA Chief Veterinary Officer John Clifford. “Samples from the animal in question were tested at USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa. Confirmatory results using immunohistochemistry and western blot tests confirmed the animal was positive for atypical BSE, a very rare form of the disease not generally associated with an animal consuming infected feed.”
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Cattle Health and Well-being Committee Chairman Tom Talbot noted that BSE is fast approaching eradication worldwide. “According to USDA, there were only 29 cases of BSE worldwide in 2011, which is a 99 percent reduction since the peak in 1992 of more than 37,300 cases,” he said. “We commend USDA and animal health experts for effectively identifying and eliminating the potential risks associated with BSE.”
“American beef and dairy products are safe,” stressed American Farm Bureau Federation president Bob Stallman. “The safeguards our government has in place to detect any incidence of this disease are clearly working. The report of a cow with bovine spongiform encephalopathy, discovered during the pre-rendering process, is proof that our detection system works.”
USDA officials remain confident in the health of the national herd and the safety of beef and dairy products and will “continue to communicate findings in a timely and transparent manner.”
A new survey released by Merck Animal Health reveals that the dairy industry has made significant progress since 2007 in the implementation and improvement of dairy-calf respiratory-management practices. The study reveals advances in diagnostic testing, colostrum management and calf nutrition.
The survey represents the management of more than 775,000 dairy calves and heifers across 23 states. The last survey to include dairy-calf care and management was conducted in 2007 by the National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS). Of the 174 dairy producers surveyed by Merck Animal Health, 83 raise fewer than 1,000 calves, 70 raise 1,000-9,999 calves and 21 raise more than 10,000 calves each year.
One of the most notable findings of the survey is the increased use of diagnostic testing on calves both before and after weaning. Twenty-two percent of operations surveyed use tissue sample testing on at least one calf that died of respiratory disease each year, and 72 percent have at least one necropsy performed. The 2007 NAHMS study, by comparison, reports that eight percent of herds have had necropsies performed on calves before weaning and 7.1 percent on calves after weaning, for all causes of death, including respiratory disease.
Producers now do a much better job monitoring their calves for failure of passive transfer (FPT) of immunoglobulins than they did four years ago. According to the survey, the number of calf raisers who routinely check for FPT grew to 45 percent from just two percent in 2007.
The survey also shows that producers have responded to the message that calves need to be fed at a higher plane of nutrition and more frequently. Nutrition programs where calves are fed at least 1.5 pounds of milk replacer or five quarts of non-saleable milk or a combination of non-saleable milk and milk replacer are used in two-thirds of small- and medium-sized herds and one-fourth in large herds.
The percentage of producers who pasteurize non-saleable milk fed to calves has grown from 8.4 percent to 72 percent since 2007. Additionally, eight percent of calves are being fed at least three times per day year round, and 14 percent are fed three times per day in the winter.
The study calls attention to the need for standardization of vaccination and treatment protocols. Although 80 percent of producers surveyed have been trained by their veterinarians to identify and treat respiratory disease, less than half have veterinary assistance in designing treatment protocols. Additionally, while 96 percent of producers surveyed vaccinate their calves for respiratory disease, there is no consistency in vaccination protocols.
Almost half of the producers surveyed report respiratory disease in their calves before 30 days of age. Sixty-six percent cull calves prematurely because of respiratory disease. The survey also shows that 9.9 percent of preweaned and weaned calves are treated for respiratory disease. In the NAHMS survey, 12.4 percent of preweaned and 5.9 percent of weaned calves were treated for respiratory disease.
Another reason for our dairy farmers to take 10 minutes each day to tell your story – there are many ways to accomplish this, whether it be social media, farm tours, talking to neighbors or giving presentations. Protect your right to farm!
Last month PETA took aim at the dairy industry. On the heels of Mercy for Animals’ footage of animal abuse on a Texas calf ranch, the activist group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) released its own set of standards of care for animals raised on dairy farms.
In an interview with Progressive Dairyman, PETA’s Corporate Liaison Amber Driscoll said the standards are aimed at the dairy industry from farms to processors to end users.
The organization has already developed similar standards for poultry and pork; and it has been successful in finding well-known companies and restaurants to adopt the standards and call for their suppliers to adhere to them.
PETA’s new standards of care for dairy animals include:
• Keeping facilities clean and providing adequate flooring, hoof care, and bedding.
• Immediately euthanizing “downed” cows.
• Ending the practice of de-horning and tail-docking.
• Banning the use of bovine growth hormone, which contributes to lameness and a painful inflammation.
• Providing group housing for female calves, without tethering.
According to Driscoll, these standards were developed with input from animal welfare experts and the dairy industry itself, namely the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP). PD
Look for the “3 open minutes” interview with Driscoll in the May 21 issue of Progressive Dairyman.
New results out show that the average somatic cell count (SCC) in the U.S. dairy herd has dropped. Each year, test-day data from all herds enrolled in Dairy Herd Improvement somatic cell count testing in the United States are examined to assess milk quality on a national basis.
During 2010, the SCC in DHI herds averaged 228,000. This compares to 233,000 in 2009; 262,000 in 2008; 276,000 in 2007; 288,000 in 2006; and 296,000 in 2005. Thirty-two states and Puerto Rico had lower average SCC than the previous year; 14 states had higher averages. A few Mexican herds tested through the U.S. system were included for the first time.
Variation among states remains large, ranging from 170,000 (Idaho) to 421,000 (Arkansas). State average SCC was lower than the national average for mountain and western states, and often higher for southeastern states. Differences between adjacent states were substantial, which suggests that herd size and mastitis control practices, including genetic selection, are impacting state differences as well.
The current federal SCC regulatory limit in the U.S. is 750,000, except in California where it is 600,000. In many other major dairy countries, the SCC limit is 400,000.
Posted: March 15, 2011 at 8:19 am
By Cindy Zimmerman
Before it was officially launched last week during the Western Dairy Management Conference in Reno, the new Novus International C.O.W.S. program measured approximately 140 dairies across California, Texas, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Vermont and New York.
Two producers and a dairy consultant who took part in the pilot program explained how measuring cow Comfort, Oxidative Balance, Well-being and Sustainability gave them some new insight into herd management. Left to right, they are Steve Harnish, co-owner of Central Manor Dairy in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Mark Callan, a dairy producer from upstate New York; and Corwin Holtz, president of Holtz-Nelson Dairy Consulting.
Steve says he appreciated the objective measurement provided by the C.O.W.S. program. “Until you see the numbers and compare yourself to others, you really can’t evaluate what your farm is like,” Steve said. “We hope to continue evaluating through the C.O.W.S. program in the future. We can see if the changes that we made make a difference – it’s measurable.”
Mark says that when his operation was evaluated he learned that some of his cows were not happy. “We learned that the cows had what appeared to be a case of arthritis in the front legs, just because of a simple stall design that needed to be corrected,” he said. The change was easy to make and Mark says not only are his cows happier but “it will have a significant impact on our bottom line.”
Corwin had two clients participate in the C.O.W.S. project which provided them with objective information to help them improve the comfort of their animals. “I’ve been a huge believer in the whole cow comfort arena,” he said, noting it is important not just for increasing productivity of the animals, but also for dealing with the issue of animal welfare. “We’ve got activists out there, going to extremes in some cases,” he noted. “If we can be more pro-active in this area with our clients, hopefully we can stay a step ahead in the animal welfare arena.”
Posted: March 9, 2011 at 12:17 am
By Cindy Zimmerman
Take a C for Comfort, an O for Oxidative Balance, a W for Well-being and an S for Sustainability, add them together and you have C.O.W.S., a new program from Novus International to help dairy producers have happier and more productive animals.
“The COWS program is our effort to benchmark and understand cow comfort and lameness and lying time and how that ties into stress and the ability to improve those variables at the dairy level,” says Ed Galo, with Novus’ Dairy Business Unit.
Galo says oxidative balance is really a linchpin for the other three pillars of the C.O.W.S. program. “Oxidative balance captures all stress at a dairy,” he explained. “You have heat stress, you have lameness, the animal deals with that by expending energy, which drives oxidation in a cow.”
To create this one-of-a-kind program, Novus partnered with the University of British Columbia Animal Welfare Program to develop a nationwide benchmarking study. Marina (Nina) von Keyserlingk says they did a pilot program on 43 farms with a couple of graduate students that caught the attention of Novus. “We did 43 farms. By the time we were three quarters of the way through this project, we had more farmers wanting to participate than we had time for,” she explains.
Nina says the program allows dairy producers to objectively see how they can make changes to improve the environment for their herd. “They can get the data and they can implement changes but they’re in control,” she said. “Ultimately they want to create the best environment for their cows.”
Posted: March 8, 2011 at 4:21 pm
By Cindy Zimmerman
Today in Reno, Novus International introduced an innovative program to help dairy producers enhance the comfort and well-being of their herds so they can better maximize productivity and enrich dairy industry sustainability. The Novus C.O.W.S. program launched with a new website – www.novuscows.com.
C.O.W.S. stands for Comfort, Oxidative Balance, Well-Being and Sustainability. Each of these four key pillars of the program play an integral role in the objective, systematic approach Novus takes in helping dairy producers evaluate the major factors that impact productive efficiency.
The C.O.W.S. program will be offered to individual key Novus customers as a complementary, value-added service. Confidential farm evaluations will be performed by Novus specialists and include:
• Cow lying time measured with electronic data loggers;
• Gait scores and hock health;
• Facility design and management measures that affect cow comfort
A customized report is provided to each farm, along with benchmarks of other operations in the region, so producers can gauge whether they have problems that should be addressed.
U.S. program benchmarks are currently being established through the evaluation of 140 dairy operations in California, New Mexico, New York, Vermont, Pennsylvania and Texas. The program is based on a recently completed study by the University of British Columbia Animal Welfare Program that analyzed on-farm cow comfort assessment with 43 free-stall dairies in that province.
Find out more in this introductory video from Novus:
Posted: February 15, 2011 at 8:36 pm
By News Editor
ACHIEVE is the newest in the AgriLabs line of products designed specifically to support the natural immunity of calves.
“ACHIEVE with Cryptex is an all-natural formula developed to bolster the ability of newborns to withstand disease stressors like scours, the leading cause of neonatal loss accounting for up to 46% of calf deaths. ACHIEVE bolsters their immunity to scours pathogens so that they start strong and stay strong,” reported Adam Yankowsky, AgriLabs Business Unit Manager.
ACHIEVE is a highly palatable, easy-to-use and extremely digestible paste that is scientifically formulated for newborns with:
• Targeted egg-yolk proteins, combating common pathogens that cause malnutrition and scours.
• Lactic acid-producing bacteria, glutamine and inulin, combining to crowd out harmful bacteria in the gut, support intestinal health and foster the growth of beneficial bacteria.
• Cryptex, a precisely formulated polysaccharide and thermally-activated carbon mixture, gives ACHIEVE its characteristic black color. It removes pathogenic toxins from the intestine and creates a hostile environment for pathogens such as Cryptosporidium, a major cause of protozoal diarrhea.
“Although calves are born with sterile intestinal tracts, within a few hours disease-causing bacteria from the environment begin colonizing their digestive systems, ” remarked Dr. Joel Ehrenzweig, head of the AgriLabs Technical Services team. “Colostrum can provide the maternal antibodies needed to produce immunity through passive transfer, but the newborn’s ability to absorb these large immunoglobulin proteins drops to almost zero within 24 hours of birth. Since it takes weeks for a neonate to develop a functional immune system, an immunity gap can result, making it difficult to fight disease if adequate, high-quality colostrum is not received within the first 24 hours,” he further explained.
Because not every newborn is provided with the best quality colostrum in a timely way, providing ACHIEVE 24 hours after birth and longer is a significant benefit to the calf’s sustained growth and health.
ACHIEVE with Cryptex is available from AgriLabs distributors and local dealers.
Posted: February 7, 2011 at 6:42 pm
By Cindy Zimmerman
Dr. Temple Grandin will give the keynote address at the I-29 Dairy Conference in Sioux Falls, SD this week.
Grandin is a doctor of animal science and professor at Colorado State University, bestselling author, and consultant to the livestock industry on animal behavior and was the topic of an Emmy-award winning HBO movie. She will speak at the conference on Wednesday evening, followed by a full slate of industry speakers focused on animal well-being and sustainability on Thursday.
The theme of the 6th annual I-29 Dairy Conference is “Sustaining our Dairy Families, Farms, and Rural Communities: A Focus on Animal Well-being.”
Merial has launched a new website as part of their “Best in Class” initiative, a campaign focused on providing dairies access to valuable information and educational tools.
“Through ‘Best in Class,’ we hope to be able to partner with dairies – small to large – to promote the importance and value of education and how it can significantly impact productivity, profitability and milk quality,” says Steve Vandeberg, Director, Cattle Endectocides, Merial. “We believe milk quality begins with well-trained milking staff, and our goal is to see workers expand their knowledge base, implement what they have learned and witness firsthand the dramatic difference that even the smallest of changes can make. It’s truly a win-win-win for everyone involved.”
The creation of the “Best in Class” program by Merial stemmed from the company’s commitment to the dairy industry and an identified need in the industry – a need to put information into action through a practical, user-friendly and cost-effective training program. This program will leverage all of the research and data that exists to help dairies function more efficiently. While there are a number of sites that offer information, few provide training that can be monitored and measured, and ways to integrate training with real-life implementation of strategies and protocols.
In addition to training modules, the website offers: the option of creating a personalized site for a dairy, complete with a unique and secure URL, which allows managers to track and monitor worker training progress and performance; online quizzes to test worker knowledge on a broad range of topics; access to reference papers from third-party sources; instructional videos demonstrating proper milking techniques; and materials in both English and Spanish.
During the next year, Merial will introduce additional elements of the “Best of Class” initiative, all with a focus on education and enhancing productivity, profitability and milk quality. In support of the dairy industry, Merial has also partnered with the National Mastitis Council (NMC) and Hoard’s Dairyman to sponsor the 2011 National Dairy Quality Awards.
Posted: December 22, 2010 at 10:35 am
By News Editor
Even dairy farmers need to set resolutions for the new year – make your resolutions help to improve cow health and profitability on the dairy. Milk quality resolutions that can help you capture greater return from your milking herd.
“There is always room for improvement when it comes to milk quality, and small steps taken today can reap rewards tomorrow through increased production, higher premiums and reduced labor and treatment costs,” says Dr. Bradley Mills, DVM, senior veterinarian, Pfizer Animal Health Dairy Veterinary Operations. “In addition, progressing your mastitis management is part of doing what’s best for the health of your cattle and dairy operation.”
Like any resolution, milk quality improvement efforts must become a way of life for everyone on the dairy. Dr. Mills offers these milk quality resolutions to help advance your mastitis management programs and produce higher-quality milk.
Keep better culture records.
Strive for complete cure.
Pay more attention to your dry cows
Increase parlor routine consistency
Work more closely with your veterinarian
By establishing milk quality goals now, you can set yourself up for successful mastitis management throughout the coming year. Visit our website for more milk quality resolution ideas and ways to improve your milk quality in the new year.
Novus’ Beef Sales Manager Marty Andersen says when they acquired the Albion animal nutrition group in February it helped them expand their portfolio of chelated trace mineral products for livestock. “Chelated trace minerals are a highly bioavailable source of animal nutrition,” he explained. “So if producers are needing to get nutrients into their cow herd to combat antagonists, shortages, dietary changes such as high distillers grains – it’s a fast way of getting trace minerals into the diet.”
“Trace minerals are important in reproduction, growth, animal health and immunity, those are the big areas where nutritionists are looking for a boost from Novus products,” Marty added.
The Novus product line for dairy includes ALBION® MAAC® chelated trace minerals for production and health benefits, AGRADO® Plus antioxidant for use in the final total mixed ration of lactating dairy cows and ALIMET® methionine supplement to optimize milk yield and component levels.
The 2011 Milk and Dairy Beef Drug Residue Prevention Manual is a revision of the Milk and Dairy Beef Residue Avoidance manual that was previously published by the Dairy Quality Assurance Center that NMPF purchased in 2008. As a new area of focus for the National Dairy FARM Program, the manual can be found online under the Residue Prevention tab of the site. The manual is only available free through the website.
The Milk and Dairy Beef Drug Residue Prevention Manual is a concise review of appropriate antibiotic use in dairy animals. The manual is a quick resource to review those antibiotics approved for dairy animals, and can also be used as an educational tool for farm managers as they develop their best management practices necessary to avoid milk and meat residues.
“I encourage all dairy farmers to sit down with their veterinarian and all employees to review this manual because I think they will find the information useful, practical, and easily applied to their farms,” said Karen Jordan, DVM, Chair of the NMPF Animal Health and Welfare Committee and a dairy producer from Siler City, NC.
“The dairy industry is committed to producing safe, abundant, and affordable milk and dairy beef of the highest quality. Healthy animals help make for safe food and disease prevention is the key to keeping cows healthy,” Jordan said.
The National Dairy FARM Program was created by NMPF to demonstrate and verify that U.S. milk producers are committed to providing the highest levels of quality assurance including animal care, residue prevention, and other on-farm practices.
The Residue Prevention manual was sponsored by Charm Sciences, IDEXX, Neogen Corporation, and Pfizer Animal Health. No dairy check-off finds were used in the development and distribution of this manual.
One of the features of the Alltech Global 500 are a series of discussion dinners. Attendees can choose a topic of they are most interested in. During the dinners a moderator will stimulate conversation with everyone providing input. It’s a great opportunity to interact with other dairy and beef producers from around the world and hear their perspectives on these topics.
I attended a dinner with the topic of milk quality. I met Travis from Texas and Charles from New Zealand. We spoke after the dinner and you’ll hear them say that the ability to meet with and talk with other dairy farmers is one of the most important things they get out of the conference. They also realize how similar their challenges are regardless of what country they live in.
I think the comment I’ve heard most often at the Alltech Global 500 is how important and rewarding the interaction with other dairy and beef producers from around the world is. We’ve got 29 countries represented here. One of our international visitors that I met today was George Strang, Scotland.
George is a dairy farmer with 250 cows and it’s a family run farm. He actually won an Alltech competition and the prize was this trip. He’s loving his first visit to the USA. He admits that he hasn’t embraced technology as much as he should so he’s planning on getting a Facebook account to help keep in touch with other farmers he’s met here. He says he has found that farmers face the same kinds of challenges regardless of what country they are from. However, he says his country is one of the few that doesn’t grow corn so he’s hoping some varieties will be created that can be grown in Scotland.
At the Alltech Global 500 feeding efficiency was the subject of a presentation by Mike Hutjens, University of Illinois. He says that to survive we’re going to have to become more feed efficient and since feed can make up half the cost of producing milk it’s very important. He says that with corn getting to $6/bushel we’re going to have to look at more forage in the diet. That means a closer look at the nutrition plan to control variation. He uses a term, “precision feeding” which he says is “everyday delivering the same ration, if it’s higher in forages it means you have to take that variation out based on variety selections and types of forages you’re feeding.”
This year’s Alltech Global 500 includes a full program for beef producers. As we’ve said many times before, if you’re in the dairy business, you’re in the beef business. So, I spoke with one of the beef farmers here, Charles Miller. He’s a Kentucky cattleman so he didn’t have as far to go as many who are here from 29 different countries.
Charles says he’s an Alltech customer and he’s glad to see the company placing a greater emphasis on beef lately and here at this conference. He sees the interaction with international farmers as a great opportunity. He says that one of the most interesting things he has seen and learned so far is the importance and perspective on social media. He said, “As we go forward as an industry, if we fail to utilize that tool to our best advantage we’re going to be left behind.”
Dr. Karl Dawson, Alltech, says he’s got the greatest job in the world since he heads up research for the company. That research, which now includes, nutrigenomics, is finding ways to improve animal and human health through nutrition. It’s fascinating to hear him discuss not only how the company is finding that its products improve animal health but from that work they’re now seeing applications in humans which will have an impact in the future on diseases like alzheimer’s and cancer!
During his presentation Dr. Dawson looks back on some of the accomplishments of Alltech and then takes a look forward so we get a glimpse of what the future will hold. I recorded Dr. Dawson’s Global 500 opening general session comments for you. Dr. Karl Dawson Presentation