World Dairy Diary

Experts Talk Video Series Features Groundbreaking Research

Zinpro Corporation announces the debut episode of Experts Talk, an all-new online lameness prevention video series. The inaugural episode features Dr. Dörte Döpfer, associate professor at the University of Wisconsin – School of Veterinary Medicine, one of the world’s most recognized experts on digital dermatitis. This common infectious claw disease in cattle, also known as hairy heel warts, can produce painful (acute) skin lesions and lead to lameness.

In this episode, Dr. Döpfer discusses her team’s recent research on nutritional strategies for the prevention and control of digital dermatitis in pre-calving heifers. Dr. Döpfer’s interest in alternative methods to footbaths to help prevent and control digital dermatitis led her research group to evaluate the potential effectiveness of a nutritional strategy that provides protection against this highly prevalent and costly disease.

According to Dr. Döpfer, results of the first study (experimental infection trial) indicated a trend for decreased size of digital dermatitis lesions, as well as a trend toward fewer painful/acute lesions, which are classified as “M2” lesions. Results from the second study (large commercial Midwest dairy trial) showed a significant decrease in the prevalence of digital dermatitis lesions in dairy replacement heifers before first calving.

Dr. Döpfer said this new research may influence management philosophies in the future, and she highlighted the importance of getting dairy replacement heifers off to a healthy start. “I think we are drawing increasing attention to these pre-calving heifers that are currently really not watched over well when it comes to improving claw health. So if we could focus on their well-being and health as an investment for their first lactation, and make them come into the first lactation even healthier in terms of claw diseases, that would be beneficial for their productive lives.”

She prescribed an integrated prevention and control strategy for infectious claw diseases that comes as early as calf age and continues during all lifetime phases of a cow.

The new Experts Talk online video series, sponsored by Zinpro Corporation, features one-on-one discussions with leading authorities on foot health and lameness prevention in multiple species. Topics to be discussed will range from lameness detection, to treating claw lesions that cause lameness, to best management practices for lameness prevention. A different expert will be featured in each episode as the series unfolds. To learn more, visit the Experts Talk video library.

Registration Open for National Mastitis Council Meeting

NMC Logo_Tag JPEG_low resRegistration for the National Mastitis Council (NMC) Regional Meeting, August 4-6, 2014, is now open. This three day event will be held at Ghent University in Ghent, Belgium.

The regional meeting provides attendees with information and skills necessary to strengthen milk quality programs and increase dairy profitability. The conference also provides an excellent opportunity to network with individuals from around the world who share the common interest of quality milk production. The meeting is being organized jointly with the M-team at Ghent University.

“It is with great pleasure that we co-host the regional National Mastitis Council meeting,” says Sarne De Vliegher, the 2014 NMC regional meeting program chair and associate professor, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University. “Attendees will have a chance to learn about quality milk production and mastitis prevention while experiencing all that the beautiful city of Ghent has to offer.”

The three-day conference will begin on Monday, August 4 with a session on the use of antimicrobials in prevention and cure of mastitis, focusing on the responsibility of the industry, academia and regulators. An opening reception will be held that evening at the Assembly Hall of Ghent University (Aula) in Ghent, Belgium.

The main program will be held on Tuesday, August 5 and includes 11 speakers covering topics ranging from immunity and mastitis, genetics and mastitis, treatment programs, dry cow management, udder health programs around the world, and an update on milking and milking techniques. Other topics include a look at what has been learned over the years on mastitis and milk quality, as well as updates on contagious mastitis, emerging pathogens, environmental pathogens, and opportunistic pathogens. The conference dinner that evening will be held at the historic ‘Castle of the Counts’ (Gravensteen) in the center of Ghent.

Specialized short courses will be held on Wednesday, August 6. The short courses provide a smaller group setting for the participants, offering the opportunity to interact directly with the instructor and other registrants in the course.

Short course topics to choose from include:
· Failure of mastitis therapy – Is it the drugs, bugs, cows or us?
· Unlocking the potential of precision dairy farming mastitis detection technologies
· The role of the microbiology laboratory in mastitis control
· On-farm culture systems
· Pain and mastitis
· Heifer mastitis
· Mastitis – It’s all about communication and motivation

Rounding out the event will be a tour that includes an on-farm workshop and a visit to Milcobel cheese factory.

“This year’s regional meeting is shaping up to be an exciting event,” says Anne Saeman, executive director, National Mastitis Council. “The organizing committee has put together a strong program that offers both educational and networking opportunities. We are pleased to be working with the M-team at Ghent University to host the upcoming meeting.”

The early bird discount registration deadline is June 1 and the final day to pre-register is July 15. Registration will also be accepted on-site at the meeting, however please note that the short courses may fill up before the deadline. Registration for the short courses is based on a first-come, first-serve basis.

To learn more about the NMC regional meeting and to register, visit: For additional information contact the NMC office at; phone (608) 848-4615 or contact the M-team

GEA Adds Eating Time Analysis to CowScout™

GEA_CowScoutS_Neck Tag_Eating Time_PR_032414Electronically monitoring cows for activity helps to automate the heat detection process, and supply more accurate breeding information for increased pregnancy rates. Activity monitors can also alert producers to health challenges ahead of clinical signs being visually observed, allowing for earlier treatment and avoiding a potential drop in milk production. To increase monitoring capabilities, GEA Farm Technologies has added eating time to the CowScout™ activity monitoring system.

“CowScout™ provides instant activity updates on a herd and with the addition of eating time it uniquely monitors the amount of time a cow’s head is in the eating position,” said Chris Genal, U.S. national sales manager for milking equipment products at GEA Farm Technologies. “The CowScout™ neck tag continuously monitors movement patterns related to forage intake and records the total time each day an individual animal takes in feed. The system compares the daily total eating time with totals from the previous 10 days, alerting a producer to changes in a baseline.”

The CowScout™ activity monitoring system brings convenience and efficiency to herd management. When a cow or heifer has reduced average eating time, the CowScout™ herd database sends a message to a computer, a mobile device, or both – depending on pre-set preferences – alerting herd managers precisely when a cow has changed eating patterns. CowScout™ data is transmitted continuously from the tag, to the receiver, to the database, so dairy producers always have the latest information to monitor herd health.

“CowScout™ eating time monitoring is especially beneficial before and after calving, when monitoring intake is vital to a healthy transition period,” said Genal. “CowScout™ not only provides dairy producers a simple, accurate and flexible heat detection program, but the added eating time analysis also provides dairy producers the ability to monitor eating behaviors and intervene when health challenges arise, avoiding a potential drop in milk production.”

“The addition of eating time to CowScout™ increases an already robust system that fits any management style – and works with any brand of milking equipment or parlor configuration. It is also an excellent choice for heifer raising operations. Installation components are minimal and there is no complex software,” adds Genal. “No other system on the market compares.”

The CowScout™ activity monitoring system with eating time is fully-supported and installed by GEA Farm Technologies dealers, carrying the WestfaliaSurge product line; a professional network with unsurpassed dairy equipment experience – available to local dairy operations 24/7.

Dairy, Beef Producers Get Free Quality Certification

BIVIlogoDairy and beef producers can get free quality certifications. Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. is offering to producers who sign up by April 15 free Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certifications, funded by the checkoff and giving producers tools to provide the safest and highest quality beef to consumers.

BIVI will pick up the $25-50 certification fee for beef or dairy producers who are interested in becoming certified or recertified during this period. Visit to take advantage of the open certification period. BQA is important to the cattle industry as it gives producers a set of best practices for producing a safe and high-quality beef product. It also gives consumers the assurance that the beef they eat is both healthy and wholesome.

“Some of the challenges that beef producers face is having all of their employees become BQA certified,” says Dr. Jerry Woodruff, Professional Services Veterinarian with Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. “BIVI’s partnership with BQA helps offset some of those expenses, and we encourage producers and their employees to use the web-based training programs.”

The certification modules are customized for each segment of the cattle industry, including dairy operations. It covers best management practices, such as proper handling and administration of vaccinations and other products, eliminating injection site blemishes, and better cattle handling principles.

Last year, more than 3,500 producers signed up for and got the BQA certification through BIVI. More information is available at

Supporting Dairy Education & Research

Owen BewleyWhile I attended this week’s Penn State Dairy Cattle Nutrition Workshop I met many Prince Agri Products representatives including Owen Bewley (center) who is the eastern U.S. sales manager. Owen was one of the people who helped kick off the pre-conference symposium.

In his opening remarks he stressed how important customers are to his company. That’s one of the main reasons Prince has been such a big supporter of events like this one. As the pre-conference sponsor the company played a big part in selecting the speakers and focused on what their customers needed most in terms of topics that would help them in making business decisions for their dairies.

Listen to my interview with Owen to learn more about his love for the dairy industry and what Prince Agri Products is offering to dairy producers: Interview with Owen Bewley

Prince Agri Products Dairy Pre-Conference Symposium Photo Album

Getting to Know Prince Agri Products

Dave CalabottaPrince Agri Products sponsored this morning’s Penn State Dairy Cattle Nutrition Workshop pre-conference symposium. To learn more about the company I spoke with Dave Calabotta (right), VP of Marketing and Business Development.

Dave says that Prince Agri Products has been around for about 150 years and is part of Phibro Animal Health. Prince focuses on the marketing of minerals and value added products with the goal of helping maximize the bottom line of dairy producers as well as other primary animal species. The focus here at this conference is on their OmniGen-AF and Animate products.

When dairy producers think of Prince Agri Products Dave wants them to think, “Innovation. We want to be one of the most respected companies as it relates to bringing new technologies in nutrition but more importantly on the cutting edge of where the industry is moving.”

Listen to my interview with Dave to learn more about Prince Agri Products: Interview with Dave Calabotta

Prince Agri Products Dairy Pre-Conference Symposium Photo Album

Penn State Dairy Workshop Pre-Conf. Seminar

OmniGen-AFNext up on the AgriBlogging Highway for me is the pre-conference symposium at the Penn State Dairy Cattle Nutrition Workshop. The symposium is sponsored by Prince Agri Products and will focus on Mastitis Management and Transition Cow Health. Reducing the incidence of mastitis and enhancing transition cow health can have a significant impact on dairy cattle health, milk production and profitability.

Prince Agri ProductsI’ll be conducting interviews with the presenters during the morning on Tuesday, November 12. Here are the presentations being featured:

• “Management Practices for Enhanced Transition Cow Health and Production,” Robert Corbett, D.V.M., Dairy Health Consultation, Spring City, Utah.
• “Managing Mastitis in Dairy Heifers to Improve Overall Herd Health,” Steve Nickerson, Ph.D., professor of lactation physiology, Animal and Dairy Science Department, University of Georgia.
• “Revisiting Prepartum DCAD: Reducing Hypocalcemia of Transition Cows,” Dave Beede, Ph.D., professor of dairy nutrition and management, Department of Animal Science at Michigan State University.
• “Keys to a Good P&L: Strategies to Make Money,” Greg Bethard, Ph.D., G&R Dairy Consulting, Calmar, Iowa.

Prince Agri Products has created a new microsite for their OmniGen-AF product you will want to check out.

Feed-O-Meter Feeding Behavior Monitoring System

AnimartANIMART, Inc. announces the recent addition of Feed-O-Meter™ to the Track a))) Cow™ electronic heat detection system. Feed-O-Meter™ creates a 10-day behavior history measuring feeding behavior including visits to and total amount of time spent at the feed bunk. Deviation from the 10 day average can indicate health problems and animals that may need additional care. This system can also help identify mis-grouped animals on an operation. These reports are sent immediately to producers’ device of choice for analysis.

Feeding behavior monitoring is essential to providing a complete cow monitoring program for the producer. Indicating health concerns, detecting disease and predicting future rumination activity can help a producer lower costs on their dairy while keeping cows healthy.

Feed-O-Meter™ is included in ANIMART’s recently launched Calf to Calf™ program. The Calf to Calf™ program offers producers a 12 month 0% financing option which provides the complete Track a))) Cow™ electronic heat detection system along with two FREE blood pregnancy tests per animal.

BIVI Uses Prevention Logic

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.”

Listen to Chuck’s interview with Dr. Vande Steeg here: BIVI's Bruce Vande Steeg

2012 World Dairy Expo Photo Album

World Dairy Diary coverage of the World Dairy Expo is sponsored by New Holland

Preserving Beef Quality in Dairy Cows

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 For additional details about Prevention Works, contact your local veterinarian or Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. representative, or visit

BSE Confirmed in California Dairy Cow

The U.S. Department of Agriculture today confirmed the nation’s fourth case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in a dairy cow from central California.

“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.”

New Merck Survey Reveals Improvements

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.

Source: Merck Animal Health

PETA Takes on Dairy-Proposes “Standards”

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.

Source: Progressive Dairyman

National SCC Drops

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.

Source: Wisconsin Ag Connection

Novus C.O.W.S. Program Participants

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.

Novus COWSTwo 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.”

Listen to my interview with Steve here: Steve Harnish Interview

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.”

Listen to more from Mark about the C.O.W.S. program here: Mark Callan Interview

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.”

Listen to Corwin’s interview here: Corwin Holtz Interview

Find out more about the C.O.W.S. program at

See photos from the Novus International C.O.W.S. program launch here – Novus C.O.W.S. Program Photo Album

Novus Gives COWS New Meaning

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.

Novus COWS“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.”

Listen to Galo explain the COWS program here: Ed Galo Interview

Novus COWSTo 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.”

Listen to my interview with Nina here: Marina von Keyserlingk

Find out more about the C.O.W.S. program at

See photos from the Novus International C.O.W.S. program launch here – Novus C.O.W.S. Program Photo Album

Novus Introduces C.O.W.S. Program

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 –

Novus COWSC.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:

AgriLabs Announces ACHIEVE

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.

Source: AgriLabs

Temple Grandin to Keynote I-29 Dairy Conference

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 Launches ‘Best in Class’ Site

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.

Source: Merial

Listen to an interview with Merial’s Dr. Frank Hurtig about the Best in Class campaign here: Dr. Frank Hurtig

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