Title: Dairy Cattle Breeding – Are We Heading in the Right Direction?
Author: Ted Burnside
Summary: Young dairy sires being entered into progeny test programs in 1997 will set the standards for dairy improvement by the year 2000 as they achieve their first progeny tests. AI centres are maturing and consolidating into breeding companies today. Can we expect them to be as aware of the needs of the dairy farmer as they have been in the past, and will they be able to cater to individual concerns as well as they have in the past?

1. Feeding and Management

Title: Management of Dairy Replacement Calves from Weaning to Calving
Author: James D. Quigley
Summary: Raising heifers from weaning to calving involves proper planning, nutrition, and management. Rates of body weight (BW) gain are important to ensure that heifers are large enough to breed by 13 to 14 months of age at 340 to 380 kg. However, excess rates of BW gain – especially prior to puberty – can permanently reduce milk production. Heifers should be managed and fed to maintain 0.77 to 0.82 kg of BW gain daily. Body condition near calving should be 3.5 to 4.0. Ration quality – especially forage quality – is key to ensuring adequate rates of BW gain and achieving calving goals.

Title: Feeding and Managing High-Yielding Dairy Cows
Author: Carl E. Coppock
Summary: In mild to cold weather, nutrition is likely the most widely limiting constraint to higher milk production. By-products/co-products provide a major source of feed nutrients for dairy cattle, though there are few free lunches. The majority of high-yielding cows are fed via the TMR system because of its inherent advantages. Milking 3X is successful where managers recognize the need for additional feed and rapid flow through the milking operation.

Title: The Effects of Forage Quality on Performance and Cost of Feeding Lactating Dairy Cows
Authors: Jim Linn and Carla Kuehn
Summary: Forage quality can impact dairy producers through their effects on milk production, feed costs, and cow health. High quality legume/grass forages of 125 relative feed value (RFV) or higher with over 20% of their weight in particle lengths of 3.8 cm or greater are needed in lactating cow diets. Forages of lower quality are consumed slower and in less quantity, and thus provide less nutrients to the animal. Diets containing 21% NDF from high quality forages will return more milk production and reduce off-farm feed costs.

Title: Managing Dairy Feed, Manure, and Fertilizer in Nutrient Cycles
Author: Douglas Beegle
Summary: Nutrient management is not a once and done activity, it is an on-going cyclical process of assessment, management option selection, planning, implementation, and then back to assessment. Nutrient Management plans are not one size fits all plans. They must be tailored to the individual situation on each farm. Dairy farms with low animal density need to manage manure for maximum efficiency to reduce fertilizer purchases. Dairy farms with high animal density need to manage manure for maximum on-farm utilization of manure in an environmentally safe manner.

Title: Using Composted Dairy Manure
Author: Douglas Beegle
Summary: Composting is the aerobic, or oxygen requiring, decomposition of organic materials by microorganisms. In the composting process microorganisms use the organic matter containing carbon compounds, nutrients, and water as a source of energy and nutrition for growth thus breaking down the organic matter. In the process water vapor, heat from microbial respiration, and carbon dioxide gas are given off and the finished compost is a more stable product made up of microbial residues and the more resistant organic compounds from the raw materials.

2. Basic Nutrition

Title: Balancing Carbohydrates for Optimal Rumen Function and Animal Health
Author: Sandra R. Stokes
Summary: Carbohydrates are the primary sources of energy in the diet of dairy cows, consisting of both structural (fiber) and non-structural (starch) components. Inadequacies of either carbohydrate component (fiber or starch) can instigate severe metabolic problems (displaced abomasum, ketosis) causing long-term consequences (laminitis). Factors influencing rate and extent of ruminal carbohydrate digestion include both nutrition and feeding management. Balance rations to achieve uniform rumen fermentation and minimize acidotic conditions.

Title: Balancing Dietary Protein to Maximize Protein Recovery in Milk
Authors: Helene Lapierre, Doris Pellerin and Jean-Francois Bernier
Summary: To improve dietary nitrogen utilization we want to: reduce ammonia absorption with an adequate balance of the degradable vs undegradable portion of the protein in the feedstuff, in relation to the degradability of the energy (carbohydrates), and increase amino acid utilization towards protein synthesis to the detriment of oxidation of amino acids: this can be maximized with an adequate balance of amino acids being absorbed. To reach an adequate balance of amino acids being absorbed, the utilization of rumen protected amino acids might be economically interesting, but only after sources of lysine and methionine have been utilized to the fullest extent.

Title: B-Vitamins: Current Recommendations are Inadequate for Optimal Production
Author: Christine L. Girard
Summary: The dairy cows requirements for B-complex vitamins is greater than that needed to prevent deficiency symptoms. Early-lactation dairy cows in negative energy balance can benefit from niacin supplementation. Herds with a high incidence of hoof lesions could benefit from long-term biotin supplementation. Folic acid supplementation can increase milk production and, under some dietary conditions, may also increase milk protein content.

3. Applied Nutrition

Title: Balancing Rations for Forage Quality
Author: Carl E. Coppock
Summary: For dairy cattle, ample effective fiber is a physiological imperative for good health and longevity. To formulate energy dense rations necessary for high yields requires minimal effective fiber which places one on the edge of the canyon of acidosis. The two best forage subsitutes are whole cottonseed and cottonseed hulls. Both alfalfa and corn silage are forages with very special nutritional properties, but high production can be achieved with neither of them, though it is much easier with either or both of them.

Title: Alternative Fiber Sources for Dairy Cattle: Uses and Limitations
Author: Rick Grant
Summary: Fibrous co-products can be used to successfully replace either dietary concentrate or forage. Fibrous co-products reduce the incidence of ruminal acidosis when they replace starchy concentrates. When fibrous coproducts replace dietary forage, the effective fiber content of the total ration must remain adequate to prevent acidosis-related problems that may reduce performance. Guidelines are suggested for optimal feeding of alternative fiber sources for lactating dairy cows.

Title: Johne’s Disease: A Cloud on the Horizon?
Author: Gerald W. Ollis
Summary: Johne’s disease is a progressive, debilitating disease of all ruminant animals for which there is no treatment. It is caused by Mycobacterium paratuberculosis, which has been implicated as a cause of Crohn’s disease in humans. Like all infectious microorganisms, the rate of spread of M. paratuberculosis is directly related to the number of infected animals in a herd. Johne’s disease is a disease of adult animals that was contracted in the first few months of life. This disease can be controlled, but it requires commitment and persistence over a period of time.

4. Managing Breeding and Reproduction for Profit

Title: Techniques to Maximize Conception Rates
Author: Jeffrey S. Stevenson
Summary: Factors governing reduced reproductive performance in dairy cattle are numerous and often difficult to diagnose. In general, those factors resulting from fertilization failure (e.g., semen handling and AI techniques) are more easily resolved by technician retraining than those related to early embryonic death. Although it may be difficult to diagnose various causes of embryonic death; they are usually related to some source of stress experienced by the lactating cows. Artificial insemination breeding programs are successful when high rates of heat detection and conception are achieved.

Title: Breeding Cows from Hormonal Scheduling Programs
Authors: Zola “Bud” Keister, Sue DeNise, Dennis Armstrong, Myron Brown and Roy Ax

Title: Management of Dairy Cows to Minimize Reproductive Problems after Parturition
Author: Jeffrey S. Stevenson

Title: Successful Embryo Transfers from Heifers Near Puberty: Opportunities for the Future
Authors: Janice Oyarzo, Ross Tappan, David Selner, Mary Bellin, and Roy Ax
Summary: Young Holstein dairy heifers just a few months prior to puberty (peripuberal) can be used as embryo transfer (ET) donors. The hormonal therapy and ET did not adversely affect milk production, reproductive performance, or udder conformational traits. This enables their first sons and daughters to be reaching puberty when the donor heifers acquire their production phenotypes as 2-year-olds. These animals can serve as an additional resource for attaining genetic gain within a dairy herd.

Title: Sire Selection to Maximize Profits. The Total Economic Value Index
Author: E.B. “Ted” Burnside
Summary: Canadian dairy farmers are very fortunate to have substantial sire progeny proving systems in Canada that are well supervised and executed. Canada also has excellent milk recording and conformation evaluation systems, along with effective and expanding farmer-recorded evaluations on utility traits, and very accurate sire and cow evaluation systems that are built on top of the accurate record systems. This has not happened by chance nor over a very short period of time. As one who has spent a lifetime working on this system, helping breeders derive more accuracy and profitability from their selection decisions, I am very pleased with what has evolved in Canada.

5. Nutrition and Health

Title: Dietary Cation-Anion Balance in Dairy Cow Nutrition
Author: Elliot Block
Summary: Dietary cation-anion difference (DCAD) is a relatively new topic in dairy cattle nutrition and is making its way into many ration formulations as another specification, just as degradable protein has. The value of DCAD is easy to calculate as only two cations (sodium Na+ and potassium, K+) and two anions (chloride, Cl – and sulfate, SO4- are used. The equation is milliequivalents (Na+ and K+) – (Cl-+ SO4=) per kilogram of dry matter.

Title: Peas as a Protein and Energy Source for Ruminants
Author: Rick R. Corbett
Summary: Peas contain high levels of protein and starch and are a good source of protein and energy for ruminant animals. Cattle find peas very palatable. The protein in peas is rapidly degraded in the rumen. Peas do not require processing as they do not survive chewing intact. There does not appear to be an upper limit on the amount of peas that can be included in rations that are balanced for undegradable intake (by-pass) protein.

Title: Optimizing Cereal Silage Quality
Authors: G. Reza Khorasani and John J. Kennelly
Summary: The economic value of cereal silage is dependent on the level of animal production it will support. The nutritive value of cereal silage depends on its contribution to the energy and protein needs of the animal. Crude protein and NDF are good indicators of the stage of maturity of cereal forage at harvest. Acid detergent fiber may not be a good indicator of the net energy in cereal silages. Diets should be formulated to contain the highest possible concentration of NDF from forage, but still meet the requirement for energy density.

Title: Particle Size and Ration Uniformity: Is it Important to the Cow?
Author: Sandra R. Stokes
Summary: Adequate particle length is necessary for sustaining stable rumen conditions. Ration uniformity is important to ensure that all cows receive a balanced ration, especially when multiple independent groups are fed from one mix source. Feeding management can alter ration potential and influence animal performance. A primary goal of any dairy feed program should be a uniform mix with minimal physical destruction of feedstuffs. Field factors affecting the final ration characteristics include mixer design and mixing management.

Title: Raising Replacement Heifers from Birth to Weaning
Author: James D Quigley, III
Summary: Raising calves from birth to weaning requires considerable management and attention to detail. Four critical areas are most important to successful calf raising: colostrum management, liquid feeding, calf starter and ruminal development, and housing. Colostrum quality, quantity fed, and timing of colostrum feeding determine the acquisition of passive immunity and resistance to disease prior to weaning. Liquid feeding (milk, milk replacer, or alternative liquid sources) provides nutrients for maintenance and limited body weight gain prior to weaning.

6. Maintaining Healthy Cows

Title: Economics of Mastitis Control
Author: Wayne H. Howard
Summary: Somatic cell count (SCC) scores for individual cows are more accurate than bulk tank SCC scores for monitoring udder health and milk loss due to mastitis. Comparing the costs and benefits of recommended mastitis control practices indicates that teat dipping after milking, washing, and drying udders before milking, and regular milking machine maintenance are economical. Using a sanitizer in the washing solution and having a service company change inflations is not economical. Dry cow treatment has mixed results: treating all quarters of all cows is economical, but the difference between benefits and costs is even greater when treating selected cows only. However, the selection criteria is not known.

Title: Can Somatic Cell Counts Get Too Low?
Author: Leo L. Timms
Summary: Somatic cells are white blood cells which function to fight infection and repair tissue damage. Somatic cell levels or numbers in the mammary gland do not reflect the pool of cells which can be recruited from the blood to fight infections. Therefore, a low somatic cell count does not mean that cow’s are more susceptible to mastitis. The key to mastitis prevention is healthy cows with healthy cells that can be recruited quickly to fight mastitis battles in the udder when needed.

Title: Understanding Herd Lameness – A Worthwhile Investment. Recognizing the Problem and its Cause
Author: Paul R. Greenough
Summary: The incidence of lameness in dairy cows is increasing, the underlying cause being the introduction of new technologies related to nutrition and management. The hidden cost of lameness is considerable. Producers must learn to recognize the various disease problems and understand the many different factors that contribute to the appearance of these diseases.

7. Creating the Right Environment

Title: Custom Rearing of Replacement Heifers
Author: Jack Rodenburg
Summary: Custom heifer raising is not common in Ontario. There are only a handful of commercial custom heifer feeding operations and even fewer that have been established long enough to qualify as successful businesses. Most agreements involve small numbers and part time labor utilizing otherwise empty facilities. Many are seasonal and based on nonworkable pasture land on a neighboring cash crop operation. Despite its unpopularity, custom agreements for heifer raising can have major benefits for both the dairy producer and the custom feeder.

Title: Cow Comfort and Herd Health: A Nutritionist’s Perspective
Author: Rick Grant
Summary: Critical components of the cow’s environment determine cow comfort. These include such factors as free stalls, floors, ventilation, self-locking stanchions, and bedding. Cow comfort can directly impact herd health and thus directly and indirectly affect the cow’s ability to express intense feeding behavior. From a nutritionist’s perspective, achieving maximum feed intake is critical to a successful feeding program and optimal productivity. Therefore, ensuring cow comfort and herd health must be considered in any completely effective feeding management program.

Title: Getting the Management Information You Need – When You Need It
Authors: Steve Mason and John J. Kennelly
Summary: The development of the World Wide Web has made it possible for anyone with a modem-equipped computer to access information anywhere in the world on demand. The key to unlocking the potential of the Web is the development of fully-indexed and hyperlinked information systems which will allow the user to find the specific information required with a minimum of time and effort. DairyNet will provide dairy managers and advisors with a comprehensive, authoritative, and accurate source of dairy management information.

Title: Adapting Bovine Behavior to Improve Performance
Author: Temple Grandin

Title: Harvesting More Milk by Fine Tuning Your Milking Equipment
Author: Leo Timms

8. Managing Expansion for Profit

Title: Setting the Stage for Expansion – An Environmental Assessment
Author: Scott R. Jeffrey
Summary: Dairy expansion should be considered within the context of achieving business goals; that is, will expansion allow the producer to achieve his/her goals. This requires rigorous analysis of environmental and organizational factors. There are many ways to expand, some of which include further specialization in combination with dairy herd expansion. There is no single answer as to the best type of expansion or the optimal herd size for every producer. Successful dairy expansion requires good management. Expansion is not a substitute for good management in terms of improved performance.

Title: Dairy Expansion and Human Resource Management
Authors: Wayne H. Howard and Lorne Owen
Summary: Expanding dairy operations requires additional labour, which in turn requires a human resource management plan. Components of a good HRM plan include an organization chart for the operation, job descriptions, and compensation plans with pay grids. Most of all, an expanding operation requires leadership and supervisory skills.

Title: Keeping Expansion Costs under Control 
Author: Jack Rodenburg
Summary: In the next decade, the profile of the Canadian dairy industry and of the rural community it supports will change dramatically. For many individuals, these changes will result in the retirement of both the operator and the farmstead from the industry. For others, the challenges represent a call to use their entrepreneurial skills to respond to opportunities and secure a place in the future.

Title: Financial Structure, Firm-Growth, and Survival
Authors: Frank Novak and Scott Jeffrey
Summary: Expansion decisions must consider the combined effects of business risk and financial risk on growth and survival. Leverage can enhance growth, but it will also enhance variability in returns to equity owners of the business. Debt financed expansion designed to increase profitability through economies of size may actually destabilize returns enough to increase the risk of failure. Choice of financial structure (financial risk) is at least as important a decision as subsequent management opportunities to improve returns or reduce business risk.

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