Session I. Reproductive Management

Keynote Speaker:

Title: The Key to a Successful Reproductive Management Program
Author: Ray L. Nebel
Summary: A calving interval of 13.5 months is an achievable goal that will produce higher daily milk yield and higher milk yield over the length of the lactation. Management must set standard operating procedures for all aspects of the reproduction program such as, heat detection, artificial insemination techniques, hormone injection protocol for synchronization program, and treatment of problem cows and policy established by management must be followed by all. Intensive management of the nutrition, feeding system, and environment of the periparturient  dairy cow during the transition period reduces the odds of disease and increases the odds of pregnancy in a timely manner.

Title: Effects of Nutrition on Fertility in Dairy Cows
Author: Maurice P. Boland
Summary: Fertility has declined significantly in lactating dairy cows. There are some effects of nutrition at the endocrine level; these are variable. Nutrition can influence follicular dynamics,  which in turn can alter fertility. Nutrition influences early embryo development and hence the potential to establish fertility. Treatments such as bST have both positive and negative effects on several aspects of fertility. Methods to manipulate follicular growth and oocyte quality may provide some guidance to improve in fertility in the long-term.

Title: Dietary Fatty Acids and Dairy Cow Fertility
Author: Divakar J. Ambrose
Summary: Polyunsaturated fatty acids such as linoleic (C18:2n-6), -linolenic (C18:3n3), eicosapentaenoic (C20:5n-3) and docosahexaenoic (C22:6n-3) acids can affect reproductive function and fertility. Linoleic acid is found mainly in oilseeds, whereas -linolenic acid is found predominantly in forages and in some oilseeds (e.g. flaxseed); Eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic  acids are high in fish oils. Dairy cows fed diets high in eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids (supplementation with menhaden fish meal) or -linolenic acid (supplementation with  flaxseed) during early pregnancy had reduced PGF2 production and increased pregnancy rates.

Title: Controlled Breeding Programs for Reproductive Management
Author: José Eduardo P. Santos
Summary: Manipulation of the estrous cycle to improve service rate and fertility usually impacts positively on PR. Pharmacological control of the estrous cycle involves synchronization of follicular development, control of corpus luteum (CL) regression, and synchronization of ovulation to improve conception and pregnancy rate. The ability to control the time of ovulation precisely with synchronization of ovulation protocols that combine recruitment of follicle growth associated with CL regression, and ultimately induction of a synchronized ovulation has allowed
for successful timed artificial insemination with adequate pregnancy rate.

Session II. Housing and Cow Comfort

Keynote Speaker:

Title: Nutritional Interactions Related to Dairy Shelter Design & Management
Author: Dan F. McFarland
Summary: The design and management of each animal shelter component (feeding, resting, drinking, floor surface, ventilation) can influence the willingness and ability for dairy cows to consume an adequate amount of dry matter. The design of the feeding area should provide a comfortable feeding experience for cows and convenient management for the caretaker. Good animal shelter and feeding area design can not make up for poor (or varying) feed quality or poor management. Even an engineer can feed a hungry cow!

Title: Interrelationships between Housing and Herd Health
Author: Ken Nordlund
Summary: There are myriad interactions between housing and health, some well understood and others that we likely have not yet recognized. In this paper, discussion will be limited to lameness and udder health.

Title: Auditing Cow Comfort – Video behind Barn Doors
Author: Neil G. Anderson
Summary: Astute producers are leading the way in cow comfort. Cows have feelings. Injury, pain, and fear affect cow behaviour, health, and performance. Cows respond to choices of systems, barn features, and management. Lameness, hock sores, and cleanliness are cow responses. Cows audit their care. Reading their report can be a challenge. Cow responses can be audited. Audits include assessments of cows, barn features, and management. Cow comfort scoring is a risk management tool. Cows have rights.

Title: A System to Evaluate Freestalls
Author: Ken Nordlund
Summary: Freestalls can be evaluated using four critical points of adequate surface cushion, adequate body resting space, lunge room for head thrust and an unobstructed “bob-zone”, and adequate height below and behind the neck rail. Surface cushion is the most important factor in determining stall usage. If the stall allows a full forward lunge, the configuration of the stall  divider has little importance. If side lunge is required, the exact height of the divider rails is critical.

Session III. Dairy Farm Policy

Keynote Speaker:

Title: New Zealand, Canada and the Future of the International Dairy Industry
Author: Wade Armstrong
Summary: Fundamental reforms have led to an increasingly efficient and innovative New Zealand dairy industry with the ability to supply consumers with quality products at low cost. While New Zealand (like Canada) is only a mediumsized producer of milk by world standards, 95% of New Zealand milk production is exported. New Zealand trades more dairy products internationally than any other country.

Title: Farm Level Management in Dairy: Does Policy Affect?
Author: Terry Betker
Summary: Policy impacts on dairies directly and indirectly, formally and informally. The pace of trade reform and related policy change is very gradual. However, change is underway,  evidenced domestically and internationally within the WTO. Shifting from day-to-day or operational planning to more formalized strategic planning will provide the best forum to deal with ongoing policy impacts. Past success is no guarantee of future success. There are numerous strategies that can be used to mitigate the risk that is related to changes in dairy policy. “We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.” Bertha Calloway

Title: Milk Protein Concentrate Imports: Implications for the North American Dairy Industry
Author: Kenneth W. Bailey
Summary: The TRQ system under the World Trade Agreement has some flaws. Despite the agreement among trading partners to the WTO, the food industry in North America has found creative ways to circumvent tariffs under the TRQ system. The new WTO round should deal with this problem of circumvention by accounting for all trade in milkfat and nonfat solids, and should move away from a product-based TRQ system. In other words, tariffs and quotas should be based on milk components, not tons of finished dairy products.

Title: Future Dairy Policy in Canada
Author: Rick Phillips
Summary: Canadian dairy policy has been relatively successful in obtaining its objectives with respect to producer returns and consumer outcomes. The Canadian domestic market is closer to the long run equilibrium situation economists predict will prevail than the current world market is. Deregulation where it has occurred has resulted in poorer policy outcomes for both producers and consumers. Canadian dairy policies will continue if it is the case that good and practical agricultural policies prevail over misguided economic thinking that doesn’t apply to dairy markets as we know them.

Session IV. Secrets to Success

Keynote Speaker:

Title: Grouping Strategies for Dry and Lactating Dairy Cows – The Southwest Experience
Author: Peter Robinson
Summary: Dairies in the southwest US are highly profitable, at least partly due to their grouping management decisions. Mature cows after dry-off, and heifers within 60 d of calving, are  commonly grouped separately and, within parity groups, are divided into far-off dry and transition dry groups, with the real break commonly found at about 14 days prepartum.

Title: New York versus Western Canadian Dairy Industry: A Personal Experience
Author: Steve Mason
Summary: With over 7,100 milk shippers and 700,000 cows, New York state produces approximately three times as much milk as the four provinces of western Canada. The productivity of New York Holsteins is similar to those in western Canada. At approximately 90 cows per farm, New York state dairies are, on average, larger than those in western Canada although farm sizes range from less than 10 cows to more than 3,000.

Title: Components of a Successful Heat Detection Program
Author: Ray L. Nebel
Summary: Visual heat detection programs have failed to identify the majority of cows in heat. The obvious difficulty in successfully identifying all periods of estrus is their brevity and obscurity. The expression of estrus in cycling cows requires good nutrition, excellent cow comfort, the best hoof health possible, consistency of procedures by all involved, and attention to details. The equal distribution of the onset of standing activity during the day combined with the average estrus duration of 7 hours dictate that observations should occur three to four times daily, approximately six to eight hours apart.

Title: Biosecurity: What Does it Mean?
Author: Gerald W. Ollis
Summary: Biosecurity can apply to many different levels, for example a single premise, a geographical region, an entire country, or parts of several neighboring countries. This presentation will focus on the need for biosecurity in the broadest sense and will not be restricted to a specific farm or business.

Title: Practical Ration Evaluation: Things to Look For To Determine If Your Nutritionist Is Doing a Good Job
Author: Gabriella A. Varga
Summary: Observation of the dairy facility and the cows is a necessary prerequisite prior to ration formulation. Records and benchmarks have to be determined by the nutritionist as part of the pre-work needed for ration balancing. Evaluation of the management abilities and human resources available is critical to determining if the nutritionist’s rations will be implemented
correctly. The expectations of the nutritionist and the goals for the farm need to be agreed upon prior to implementation of a nutritional program.

Session V. Forage Management

Keynote Speaker:

Title: How to Maintain Forage Quality during Harvest and Storage
Author: C. Alan Rotz
Summary: Rapid field curing is important and a good conditioner can help. Spread hay in wide swaths to further speed drying, but avoid very thin swaths to reduce raking loss. Bale hay at about 18% moisture in low-density bales, but use a lower moisture content for high-density large bales. Use good silo management (rapid filling, good packing and a tight cover) to maintain ensiled forage quality. When using silage bags or bale silage, check for punctures periodically to assure that a tight seal is maintained.

Title: Does Crop Health Management Improve Cereal Silage Production in Alberta?
Author: George Clayton
Summary: Integrated Crop Management (ICM) concepts focus on integrating all approaches to crop health, which are driven by the economic and ecological limits of the system. Higher seeding rates result in plant populations that create competitive barley stands and higher silage yield. Diversify crop rotations, either through barley variety or use of other crop types, to meet the production and management needs of the farmer. Normal date of silage harvest with low rates of herbicide can enhance wild oat management, but early-harvested silage can be a very effective wild oat management tool without herbicides.

Title: Corn Silage and Whole Sunflowers – Energy from the Prairie Sun to Your Cows
Author: Douglas Yungblut
Summary: Modern high producing dairy cows face a potentially serious energy deficit in early lactation. There are several ways of addressing this deficit, one of the best being to increase the energy density of the ration. Corn silage has the potential to be a high energy forage, but grain development is important to maximize the energy content of corn silage. The best way to ensure grain development is to select hybrids with the correct maturity. Proper storage and feed-out are critical in ensuring that the cows get the full value from a silage crop. Feeding fat is an excellent way to increase the energy density of dairy rations.

Title: Forage: How Much do Dairy Cows need in a Time of Scarcity?
Author: Karen Beauchemin
Summary: Lack of available good quality forages may prompt some producers to reduce the proportion of forage in the diet. It is possible to maintain high levels of production and animal health with low forage diets, however a higher level of management is required to be successful. Much more care must be taken in formulating low forage diets, particularly with barley diets. To prevent ruminal acidosis, starch content of the diet should not exceed 33%. In most cases, this corresponds to 21 to 23% forage NDF. Lower levels of forage fiber can be fed, but starch content must also be adjusted downward. Maintaining adequate forage particle size is critical in low forage diets.

Session VI. Managing Metabolic Disorders

Keynote Speaker:

Title: Herd-Based Biological Testing for Metabolic Disorders
Author: Garrett R. Oetzel
Summary: Herd-based testing can be used as part of an overall diagnostic scheme for solving herd problems. Biological test results do not stand alone, but must be corroborated by other herd data. Tests must be interpreted in light of the biology they evaluate; some are interpreted as the proportion of cows above or below a threshold, and others are interpreted as means. Minimum sample sizes are about 12 cows for proportional outcomes and 8 cows for mean outcomes.

Title: Transition Cow Management to Reduce Metabolic Diseases and Improve Reproductive Management
Author: José Eduardo P. Santos
Summary: Improvements in fertility in lactating dairy cows can be achieved by feeding management during the transition period aimed at reducing the incidence of metabolic disorder that might directly or indirectly impact reproductive function.

Title: Subacute Ruminal Acidosis in Dairy Cattle
Author: Garrett R. Oetzel
Summary: Ruminal acidosis is as much an important economic and health issue for dairy herds as it is for beef feedlots. Ruminal acidosis is the result of total intake of fermentable  carbohydrate and cannot be predicted by low fiber density alone. Cows possess a number of complex mechanisms to keep their ruminal pH above the biologic threshold of about 5.5. Cows self-correct low ruminal pH by eating less; lower production results. The clinical effects of subacute ruminal acidosis are delayed from the time of the acidotic insult. Milk fat depression is not a consistent feature of ruminal acidosis. Forage particle length and grain particle size are important determinants of the risk for subacute ruminal acidosis. High dry matter intake and over-eating following periods of feed deprivation are often over-looked as important causes of subacute ruminal acidosis.

Title: Trace Minerals in Production and Reproduction in Dairy Cows
Author: Maurice P. Boland
Summary: Fertility in dairy cows has declined significantly in the past 30-50 years. Factors that control the health of the follicle and oocyte are poorly understood. Trace minerals have a significant role to play in many aspects of production including fertility. Improvement in reproductive activity in males and females has been associated with supplementation of minerals, particularly when given in the organic state.

Session VIII. Managing for Profitability

Keynote Speaker:

Title: Do We Need Two Close Up Dry Cow Groups?
Author: Gabriella A. Varga
Summary: Nutrition and management during the transition period are essential in determining the profitability of the cow for the rest of her lactation. Dry cows need to be fed high quality consistent sources of feed. Feeding a one group TMR reduces labor input, allows easier management of feed delivery. The cost associated with feeding one ration throughout the entire dry period is easily offset when considering the costs associated with the treatment and lost production for one case of ketosis. Cow comfort and exercise are critical in assuring an excellent transition program for the high producing dairy cow

Title: Photoperiod Management of Dairy Cattle for Performance and Health
Author: Geoffrey E. Dahl
Summary: Lactating cows should be under long day photoperiod of 16 to 18 hours of light to increase milk production. In late pregnancy expose cows to short day photoperiod of less than 10
hours of light to maximize production and improve health status in the transition period.

Title: Whole Farm Impacts of Automatic Milking Systems
Author: C. Alan Rotz
Summary: A comprehensive assessment is needed when considering the purchase of an automatic milking system because many aspects of the farm are impacted beyond the obvious effects on milking equipment and labor requirements. An automatic milking system normally cannot be justified on an economic basis, but the long-term costs and returns can be similar to  conventional parlor systems when herd size is well matched to milking capacity. The decision to adopt automatic milking is normally driven by noneconomic issues such as the producer’s interest in new technology and the desire or need to alleviate the daily milking routine.

Title: Robotic Milking: The Future?
Author: Bart Geleynse
Summary: Some of the challenges that users of the technology face are capital cost, technical support, lifestyle, regulations, cull rates, milk quality and udder health. The benefits include lifestyle, low stress cow environment, labour issues, milk production, quality, and udder health. Robotics in one form or another will define dairies of the future.

Title: Milking Frequency Effects in Early Lactation
Author: Geoffrey E. Dahl
Summary: As little as 21 days of 4X milking early in lactation can increase yield throughout lactation. Prolactin increases at milking may be the mechanism to enhance mammary cell growth and thus milk yield. Frequent milking early in lactation can improve yields throughout that lactation with little additional cost.


Title: Conception Rates to Timed A.I. and to A.I. at Detected Estrus
Author: Divakar J. Ambrose, Pavol Zalkovic and Phyllis Day

Title: Effect of Dietary Energy and Protein Density on Body Composition in Dairy Heifers during the Peripubertal Period
Author: Chelikani, P. K., J. D. Ambrose, and J. J. Kennelly

Title: Effect of Canola Oil Supplementation on Nutrient Digestion and Milk Composition
Author: Chelikani, P. K., J. A. Bell, and J. J. Kennelly

Title: Leptin: A Multifunctional Signal from Fat
Author: Chelikani, P. K., D. R. Glimm, and J. J. Kennelly



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.