Session I: Breeding for Profit in the New Millennium

Title: Increased Inbreeding and Relationships of Holsteins – How Much Further Should We Go?
Author: Les Hansen

Title: Effect of Inbreeding on Lifetime Performance of Dairy Cows
Author: Bennet Cassell
Summary: Inbreeding should be managed in a herd breeding programs rather than avoided. Outstanding bulls should be used if the benefits of genetic improvement exceed losses from any possible inbreeding depression. Inbreeding in offspring differs for each sire-dam combination, making mate assignments important if inbreeding is to be managed properly. Blanket
recommendations of a bull as an “outcross” to groups of cows may not be effective in reducing the impact of inbreeding.

Title: Relationship of Production and Conformation to Lifetime Profit
Author: Bennet Cassell
Summary: Type traits are useful for improving lifetime profit, but are less useful than most producers believe. Production traits, productive life, and SCS are much more valuable traits to change through selection. Just because somebody recorded data on 14 type traits and calculated genetic evaluations on them doesn’t mean that all those traits should affect sire selection. Closer front teat placement has some value. Deep udders are harmful but shallow udders that don’t milk are even worse. Genetic differences between bulls in foot angle doesn’t affect lifetime profit very

Title: Longevity of Holstein Cows Bred to be Large versus Small for Body Size
Author: Les Hansen
Summary: Two lines of Holstein cows that have been bred for over 25 years to differ for body size did not differ for production or calving ease. Cows in the large line had greater body weight, body dimensions, and birth weight of calves, and required more A.I. services to conception during first lactation.

Session II: Management and Health

Title: Optimizing Milk Production and Reproductive Efficiency by Controlling Metabolic Disease
Author: David Byers
Summary: A healthy cow will give more milk and have better reproduction. Controlling metabolic diseases is necessary for optimum performance. Metabolic diseases are complexes (e.g., one condition leads to another, and to another, etc.). Fatty liver, hypocalcemia, and acidosis-laminitis are major metabolic complexes that adversely affect dairy cattle performance.

Title: Dry Cow Nutrition and Metabolic Disease in Parturient Cows
Author: Jesse Goff
Summary: Stimulate the growth of “lactate metabolizing” bacterial species in the rumen. Stimulate growth of the rumen wall so absorption of nutrients is maximized. Payoff – less ketosis, fewer displaced abomasums, less rumen acidosis and less lameness due to laminitis in early lactation.

Title: Retained Placenta: Causes and Treatment
Author: Chuck Guard
Summary: Retained placenta is defined as the failure to pass all or part of the placenta from the uterus within 24 hours of calving. There are several potential causes for placental retention but the effects on the general health of the cow and her subsequent reproductive performance are costly events to the dairyman.

Session III: Managing Reproduction and Health for Profit

Title: An Overview of Strategies to Improve Reproductive Efficiency
Author: Divakar Ambrose
Summary: Inefficient heat detection is the single largest reason for infertility. Spend more time detecting heat and do it more frequently. Take advantage of estrus synchronization. Inducing estrus in groups of three or more cows helps in enhancing estrus behaviour and heat detection rate. Choose a simple, effective protocol and use it aggressively. Revisit semen handling procedures and insemination techniques. Reconsider managerial factors. Set voluntary waiting period at 60 days. Cows in poor body condition at breeding are less likely to conceive. Use body condition scores for reproductive management.

Title: Management Strategies for Improving Reproductive Efficiency in Lactating Dairy Cows
Author: Paul Fricke
Summary: Dairy producers should strive to improve pregnancy rate by improving the AI service rate in their herd. Estrus detection is poor on most dairy farms not only because of inadequate estrus detection protocols, but because expression of estrus behavior is poor in lactating dairy cows. Estrus detection aids are useful tools for improving estrus detection efficiency and AI service rates.

Title: New Information on Timed Breeding Protocols for Lactating Dairy Cows
Author: Paul Fricke
Summary:  Synchronization of ovulation and timed AI improves pregnancy rate in a dairy herd by increasing AI service rate. Timed AI to synchronization of ovulation results in conception rates similar to that of AI to a standing estrus. Timed AI after synchronization of ovulation can be conducted any time from 8 to 24 hours after the second GnRH injection of the protocol. Ovsynch is a cost-effective tool for managing reproduction in lactating dairy cows.

Title: Humane Marketing and Transportation of Cull Dairy Cows
Authors: Margaret Fisher and Byrnne Rothwell
Summary: Cull dairy cows have characteristics which can make them difficult to humanely market. Dairy producers should be making marketing decisions which will ensure humane salvage of their animals. Compromised dairy cows should not be marketed through auction markets.

Session IV: Nutrition and Management

Title: Critical Evaluation of Feeding Options for Replacement Calves
Author: Jim Drackley
Summary: Milk replacers have advantages where concern exists about spread of infectious diseases (Johne’s, BVD, leukosis) to calves. Excess colostrum and transition milk produce the lowest-cost gain, while quota-priced milk produces the most costly gain. Milk replacer results in lower-cost gain than quota-priced milk when fed at equal nutrient intakes, but is more costly than over-quota milk.

Title: Practical On-Farm Suggestions for Managing Body Condition, Dry Matter Intake for Optimum Production, Reproduction and Health
Author: David Byers
Summary: Objectives of body condition management include 1) preventing excessive body condition loss in early lactation, 2) restoration of body condition during lactation, and 3) maintenance of body condition during the dry period. The key to preventing excessive body condition loss in early lactation is to optimize dry matter intake (DMI). Restoring body condition during lactation requires strategic planning.

Title: New Perspectives on Energy Values and Supplementation Levels of Supplemental Fats
Author: Jim Drackley
Summary: Use of supplemental fat is a proven method to improve energy balance of cows, which may result in increased milk yield, better body condition, and improved reproductive performance. Energy values of fats are difficult to determine and are highly dependent on digestibility of the supplemental fat. Providing the optimal amount of supplemental fat will result in the greatest profits to dairy producers. Evidence is provided that the optimal amount of supplemental fat likely is about 3% of total dietary dry matter

Title: Mastitis and Retained Placenta – Relationship to Bovine Immunology and Nutrition
Author: Jesse Goff

Title: Nutrient Recycling – What Happens to the Excreted Nutrients?
Author: John Paul
Summary: Most of the nutrients that are fed to dairy cattle end up in the manure. Much of the nitrogen in manure can be lost to the air during storage and after application to land. Other nutrients accumulate in soil because they have no other loss pathways. Excess potassium accumulation is a potential herd health risk. Accumulation of other nutrients including nitrogen may pose increased risk of ground or surface water pollution.

Session V: Health

Title: The Role of Vaccination in a Good Herd Health Program
Author: John Ellis
Summary: Routine vaccination is an integral part of an effective herd health and biosecurity program. Immunity is a complex interaction between non-specific and specific host defense mechanisms. Vaccination is impacted by genetics, age, nutrition, and physiological status of the cow or calf. “Vaccine failure” is most often associated with a faulty vaccination program
rather than a faulty vaccine

Title: Recommended Vaccination and Management Practices for a Successful Herd Health Program
Author: Gordon Atkins
Summary: Successful vaccination programs must be planned to meet the needs of a specific farm. There is a difference between vaccination and immunization. The most successful vaccination programs utilize both modified live and killed vaccines. A calf’s first vaccination is critical to activate the immune system. A good vaccination program must be scientifically correct and still be
compatible with the management practices on the farm. Vaccination is the insurance policy for a healthy herd.

Title: Strategic Parasite Control – A Door Opens
Author: Doug Colwell
Summary: The parasites of most concern in western Canadian dairies appear to be ice and mange. Good diagnosis should precede parasite control decisions. Economics of parasite control vary, but the aesthetic factors may be very important in making treatment decisions.

Title: Control Programs for Digital Dermatitis
Author: Chuck Guard
Summary: Lameness in cattle is a common condition that can result in significant economic loss to a producer through a variety of mechanisms. Lame cows do not eat as much as healthy cows and thus produce less milk or less gain. They may have poor demonstration of estrus or become anestrous. Furthermore, they may be prematurely culled due to low milk production, delayed conception or emergency slaughter.

Session VI: Human Resources and Business Management

Title: The Competitiveness of Alberta’s Dairy Industry
Author: Carlyle Ross
Summary: Timing of regulatory changes and industry adjustment in Alberta and Canada is very critical to future industry sustainability and growth. Domestic regulatory changes should precede border changes to give the local industry sufficient time to adjust. Alberta’s dairy industry seems to be in the best position to compete against other provinces and the USA. There is need for increased public and private investment in research to rapidly increase milk production per cow and reduce milk production costs.

Title: Successful Succession in a Multi-Generation Business with a Team Approach
Author: Gary Bradshaw
Summary: Step 1 Discover People’s Expectations; Step 2 Explore the Options; Step 3 Build a Succession Plan; Step 4 Check With the Experts

Title: Estate and Tax Planning for Succession
Author: Russell Flint
Summary: There are numerous personal and family issues confronting family farms. relating to inter-generational farm transfers. There are complex planning, tax and accounting issues relating to farm succession conveyance. There are solutions, and there are rewards for confronting these difficult issues

Title: Managing the Multi-Generation Business with a Team Approach
Author: Gary Bradshaw
Summary: By recognizing your management strengths, as well as those areas which could be strengthened, your farm business will be a more complete picture for everyone including the employer and employees.

Title: Business Management Skills for the New Millennium
Authors: Len Bauer and Bob Burden
Summary: As dairy farms, along with other farm businesses move into the 3rd millennium they face the challenge of developing and enhancing managerial skills in ten important areas: Negotiating skills and legal awareness, Family and business dynamics skills, Economic and investment analytical skills, Employee relationship skills, People transition management, Information technology and information management skills, Communication and leadership skills, Environmental management skills, Food safety management skills, and Agricultural technology management skills.

Session VII: Creating a Positive Environment for Humans and Animals

Title: Environmental Design for Healthier and More Profitable Cows
Author: Jeff Rushen
Summary: Environments for dairy cattle should be designed so as to reduce stress on the animals. Resting time is important for dairy cattle. Poorly designed stalls for cattle, such as those that are too short or with inadequate flooring, lead to reduced occupancy of free-stalls, reduce the time the cattle spend resting and increase the chance of injury and lameness. High producing cows are more susceptible to stress so increases in production level need to go hand-in-hand with improvements in cow care and comfort.

Title: Building and Remodeling Freestall Housing for Cow Comfort
Author: Bill Bickert
Summary: Freestall design is a compromise between comfort and cleanliness. Of all the factors that discourage cow’s from using freestalls, the condition of the bed is likely the most important. The only logical reason for not using sand as a base and bedding has little to do with cow comfort and udder health, but with the difficulty it adds to the manure system or the availability of high quality sand.

Title: Are you a Source of Stress or Comfort for your Cows?
Author: Anne Marie de Passille
Summary: Cattle’s fear of people can be a major source of stress. This stress causes lost production and reduced milking efficiency. Stressed cattle are difficult to handle and there are increased risks of accidents for handlers and animals. Much of this fear results from the way the cattle are handled, which raise concerns about animal welfare. Cattle quickly learn to recognize individual people and to distinguish those who treat them gently from those who don’t.

Title: Affordable Calf and Heifer Housing
Author: Bill Bickert
Summary: Housing facilities serve as tools for carrying out the essential tasks prescribed by a heifer management program and provide an environment for the animals that is vital to calves, heifers and cows as they grow, mature, reproduce and produce milk. The calf hutch is the gold standard for calf housing in terms of the environment it provides. Special consideration to housing for calves from weaning to 5 or 6 months of age makes the transition at weaning less stressful and reduces a setback that may be equivalent to two weeks or more of growth.

Title: Manure Management – Have You Considered Composting?
Author: John Paul
Summary: Composting may be an option on large farms with a small land base or where an opportunity exists to market the product. The type of composting system depends on the nature of the manure being composted, the end use of the material, the resources available on farm, and the environmental constraints. We are working to develop composting systems that reduce the amount of bulking agent required to allow us to compost liquid manure. Composting with worms may be a good option for some farms.


Keynote Speaker

Title: The Fundamentals of Profitable Milk Production
Author: Randy Shaver
Summary: Consistency of feeding and management practices is extremely important in dairy production. Pay attention to detail and do the little things right to optimize milk production. Sticking to the proven basics of breeding, feeding, and management is the key to profitable milk production.

I: Priming for Production.

Title: Building A Better Cow – Aggressive Heifer Growing Approaches
Author: Mike Hutjens
Summary: Heifer groups are critical for optimal growth and proper management and may require facility additions and/or modifications. Aggressive heifer growth requires higher nutrient levels than in NRC (9). Heifers must be measured quarterly to determine if growth targets are achieved.

Title: Feeding Management during the Transition Phase
Author: Charles C. Stallings
Summary: For successful transition from the dry period to lactation it is important to maintain nutrient intake pre- and post-calving by using digestible rations that are palatable and nutritionally balanced. Control of potassium and sodium intake is important in preventing metabolic disorders. Use feed additives selectively to stimulate intake and/or digestion, prevent fall of blood calcium, and maintain a strong immune system.

Title: Anion, Vitamin E, and Se Supplementation of Diets for Close-Up Dairy Cows
Authors: David K. Beede and Thomas E. Pilbeam
Summary: Supplementation of anions (Cl- and SO4-2 ) in diets of close-up dairy cows has become more common in recent years to aid in control of hypocalcemia and related peripartum health disorders. These anions are helpful to counteract the deleterious effects of high dietary K on Ca status in the peripartum period. Anions are used to decrease the dietary cation-anion difference (DCAD) which in turn results in mild systemic metabolic acidosis. This is efficacious to increase blood Ca in response to hypocalcemia. Recent research suggests that SO4-2 is a less powerful acidifier than Cl-. This suggests that perhaps we should re-think which is the most appropriate DCAD equation.

II: Feeding and Management Strategies.

Title: Strategies to Maximize Feed Intake and Milk Yield in Early Lactation
Author: Mike Allen
Summary: Energy intake in early lactation is affected by many different environmental, management, animal, and dietary factors. Maximizing energy intake requires appropriate management through all phases of lactation. Diets must be formulated to balance fermentation acid production.

Title: Reproductive Management – A Nutritionist’s Perspective
Author: Jim Spain
Summary: Nutrition management influences reproduction in the dairy cow. Dry cow nutrition must be carefully managed to prevent metabolic diseases that can adversely affect reproductive performance of the dairy herd. Energy balance during early lactation is the second key nutritional factor that affects reproduction. Protein, vitamins and minerals must also be balanced to support optimal reproductive function of the lactating dairy cow.

Title: Ionophores – Mode of Action and Effects on Milk Yield and Milk Composition
Authors: J.J. Kennelly, L. Doepel, and K. Lien
Summary: Ionophores function primarily in the rumen and positively influence energy and protein metabolism. Ionophore supplementation can have a positive influence on post-partum metabolic disorders. In general, ionophore supplementation results in milk fat depression but has little effect on lactose yield or protein content. Increases in milk yield and/or protein content in some studies demonstrate the potential of ionophore supplementation to positively influence milk yield and composition.

Title: Influence of Monensin on Post-Partum Health and Production
Author: Todd Duffield
Summary: Monensin CRC treatment three weeks prior to calving reduced the incidence and duration of subclinical ketosis in early lactation. Precalving monensin treatment improved cow health by reducing the incidence of abomasal displacement and multiple illnesses. Monensin CRC treatment increased milk production in cows having good and fat body condition prior to calving but had no impact in thin cows. Milk components (milk fat percent and milk protein percent) and reproductive performance were unaffected by monensin CRC treatment.

III: Risk Management.

Title: Environmental Risk and Dairy Farming
Authors: Keith Wilson and Jason Krips
Summary: Unincorporated dairy operations are bound by and must follow environmental statutes.Directors and officers of incorporated dairy farming operations owe a fiduciary duty to the corporation and they must take all Areasonable care@ applicable in the circumstances in regards to environmental matters; Directors and officers of dairy farming corporations can be liable under the Alberta Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act and the federal Fisheries Act for the release of substances harmful to the environment or into water frequented by fish

Title: Legal Issues of Risk Management in Agriculture
Author: Russell A. Flint
Summary: Farmers must be aware of legal risks involving the use of agricultural property, and farm business risks. Farmers who fail to properly control their cattle can face liability. A farmer can be held liable for damages caused by substances which are used in accordance with common farming principles that escape from his property. There are several advantages for a dairy producer to operate his farm as a corporation.

Title: Policy Risk: Implications for Dairy Farm Management
Author: Scott R. Jeffrey
Summary: Given recent and potential future changes in the policy environment, policy risk is an important consideration for dairy producers in western Canada. In general, risk may be considered as an additional Acost@ associated with milk production, and should be treated as such in farm management decision making. Dairy producers in western Canada may have to consider alternative risk management strategies in the future, if there are changes in the current supply management system.

IV: Nutrition.

Title: Digestibility of Forage Fiber – Variation, Measurement, and Relationship to Animal Performance
Authors: Mike Allen and Masahito Oba
Summary: Fiber digestibility may be a key factor for maximizing milk production. Increasing fiber digestibility will increase the energy density of diets, will provide more energy to ruminal microbes which may increase microbial protein synthesis, and result in higher DMI. Although higher fiber digestibility can be expected to benefit all ruminants, it may be particularly beneficial to dairy cows in early lactation. These animals usually cannot consume sufficient energy to support requirements and they mobilize body reserves to sustain milk production.

Title: Factors Which Influence Forage Quality and Effectiveness in Dairy Rations
Author: Joe W. West
Summary: Different forage species vary greatly in their digestibility and intake potential. Compared with legumes, grasses often have greater fiber digestibility, but are slower to digest and may limit intake. Increasing maturity reduces digestibility and intake potential for forages, and the effect is greater for grasses than for legumes. Environment affects forage quality, and forages grown under high temperatures are usually of lower digestibility than those grown in cool conditions. Poor quality forage can not be overcome by simply adding more grain (energy) to the diet. Good quality forage provides the basics for sound ration formulation.

Title: Effective Fiber in Barley-Based Diets
Authors: Karen A. Beauchemin and Lyle M. Rode
Summary: Maintaining high ruminal digestion is critical for barley grain to maximize total tract digestion of feed. However, extensive processing also increases the degree of acidity in the rumen. It is important to maintain a balance between over-processing (acidosis, metabolic diseases) and under-processing (reduced digestibility and animal performance). The concentration of neutral detergent fiber from forage sources necessary to maintain 3.5% milk fat in diets based on barley is higher than that for diets based on corn. Extensive processing of barley grain and fine chopping of forages increases the need for forage fiber in the diet to avoid milk fat depression.

Title: Enzymes to Enhance Utilization of Feed in Dairy Cows
Authors: Lyle M. Rode and Karen A. Beauchemin
Summary: Fibrolytic enzymes can be a highly effective means of increasing milk production and diet digestibility in dairy cows consuming a wide range of feedstuffs. Enzymes with similar in vitro activity can differ greatly in their effectiveness when fed to cattle. Method of application is critical to successful use of enzyme technology.  Feed enzymes are more effective when a liquid preparation is sprayed on feed than when included in the diet in a dry formulation. Feed enzymes are more effective when applied to dry forage or concentrates than when applied to wet feeds.

Title: Balancing Minerals and Vitamins for Production, Reproduction and Health
Author: Tim Brown
Summary: Laboratory analyses of feedstuffs for mineral content are essential for balancing minerals in the diet. When selecting sources of supplemental minerals, only those of high bioavailability should be considered. The feeding of minerals in excess of established requirements should be avoided except in certain situations where more of a particular element has proven to provide benefits to the animal.

V: Getting the Most out of Feed Resources.

Title: Calf Management – Birth to Weaning
Author: Tim Brown
Summary: Minimizing calving difficulty provides calves that are more vigorous and easier to raise. Four liters of high quality colostrum within the first 12 hours of life are essential to survival.
Powdered milk replacers differ with regard to ingredient quality. Only those made of high quality ingredients should be fed. Providing clean water and high quality dry starter feed every day will increase growth rates and make weaning less traumatic.

Title: Profitable Forage Management Strategies
Author: Jim Spain

Title: Cost Effectiveness of Feed Additives
Author: Mike Hutjens
Summary: Additives must be cost effective before being included in dairy rations. The role of an additive must be defined and evaluated on individual farms. The additive must be included in the ration at an optimal level.

Title: Buffers – What and When to Use
Author: Joe W. West
Summary: Buffers are effective in maintaining rumen pH and elevating milk fat percentage. In early lactation, buffers can improve dry matter intake and milk yield. Buffers are most effective in diets based on corn silage and which are high in very fermentable carbohydrates. Diets based on alfalfa benefit little from buffering. Low content of forage, small forage particle size, very wet diets, diets high in fermented forages, and diets high in by-products with small particle size favor the use of buffers.

Title: Making Effective Use of Production Management Records
Author: Jim Spain
Summary: Complete and accurate production records should be used to make management decisions. A weak link analysis allows farm managers to prioritize management attention on those most critical weaknesses. Establish Management Action Plans (M.A.P.S.) to implement change. Management lists can be used to isolate cows into management groups that require special attention.

VI: Health and Production.

Title: Fine-Tuning Mastitis Control Programs
Author: Ken E. Leslie
Summary: Implementation of commonly recommended mastitis control practices will dramatically decrease the prevalence of contagious pathogens, but not necessarily reduce clinical mastitis caused by infections with environmental organisms. Udder health management that fulfills the three basic principles of eliminating existing infections, preventing new infections and monitoring udder health status are highly successful. A new udder health management program involving ten steps is now recommended as a comprehensive approach to mastitis control.

Title: Body Energy Management
Author: Dave K. Beede
Summary: Dairy cows must have adequate body energy reserves at the beginning of lactation to maximize milk production and become pregnant. Proper management of body energy begins in the previous lactation, through the dry period. Under-conditioned cows at dry-off must deposit body reserves during the dry period and should be provided the dietary energy to accomplish this via higher energy density diets and (or) by higher dry matter intake. Over-conditioned cows at dry-off and at parturition are more prone to metabolic disorders and suboptimal subsequent lactational performance.

Title: Preventing Abomasal Displacements
Author: Randy Shaver
Summary: Because of intake depression prior to calving and slow intake ascent post-calving, the transition period is the major risk period for abomasal displacements. Feeding and management practices that prevent other calving-related disorders reduce the risk of abomasal displacements. Cows that have excess body condition at calving are at increased risk of ketosis and abomasal displacements. Both excessive and minimal feeding of concentrates pre-calving may increase the risk of abomasal displacements.

Title: Manure Scoring as a Management Tool
Author: Charles C. Stallings
Summary: Manure scoring is not likely to become as popular as body condition scoring as a management tool. There are many factors that can impact on manure visual appearance, not all of which are nutritional. However, there are some things that can be said about observing changes in manure. Cows fed for production are likely to have feces that are more fluid in appearance than feces from cows fed higher fiber rations, although, fecal dry matter may be greater. High levels of ruminally degradable protein supplements can result in feces appearing more fluid, probably a result of increased water consumption in an effort to excrete excess nitrogen via the urine.