Over the last couple weeks I’ve attended several continuing education meetings and there is a lot of updated information and new things going on in the industry. This newsletter article will highlight some of the things I learned.
Dry Cow Mastitis
Fifty percent of cows do not have a keratin plug 10 days post dry off. Dry period cure rates should be approximately 90% if the primary bacteria present are environmental streps. There is still a lot of opportunity to improve udder health over the dry period.
Calf Equipment Cleanliness
One thing to remember when cleaning calf equipment, is that bleach is not effective at a pH of greater than 7.0. Water pH can vary so if a bleach solution is being used, the pH of the solution should be monitored. Another thing to remember is you are killing bacteria that stuck in biofilm. The average disinfectant cannot penetrate that biofilm without aggressive scrubbing or using a cleaner specific for penetrating biofilm.
Salmonella dublin is starting to appear in adult dairy cattle. This has historically been a calf disease, but they are seeing septic cows and sudden death in adult cows (especially fresh cows).
There is lameness manager component within DairyComp that I’m excited to start using. This feature will make it easier to record and track routine foot trimming as well as lameness and hoof diseases.
Trail cameras are being used to monitor feed bunk management. They are finding that 60% of dairies do not push up feed frequently enough. There are also some dairies changing feeding time to the afternoon so there is plenty of feed overnight when feed is difficult to get pushed up because of labor constraints. If cows are eating hard and aggressive for 45 to 60 minutes after the main feeding that indicates they were out of feed too long.
Remember cows eat territorially along the feed bunk, so if there is always a part of the bunk that doesn’t get pushed up or always has mud tracked in from the wagon tires, the same cows are eating in the area and are at a higher risk for intestinal/rumen diseases. When it’s raining and the TMR is getting extra water because of the rain, cows are often out of feed. In wet conditions, add bulky wet ingredients by volume, not by weight.
Do not reuse CIDRs because progesterone levels in the blood do not get high enough with a used CIDR.
The severity of the digital dermatitis (hairy heel wart) is not well correlated with the degree of lameness. Topical tetracycline applied to a heel wart will end up in the milk, but the level is below legal limits. Also, when cows lay down after having tetracycline applied to their foot, the foot can touch the teats and tetracycline will be present on the teat skin.
Calf Auto Feeders
Researchers are looking at what feeding parameters are the best predictors of sick calves. Total milk volume per day, unrewarded visits to the feeder, and drinking speed look like the best predictors at this time.
Elanco has a new product called Imrestor. It is an injectable protein that stimulates neutrophil (a white blood cell) release from the bone marrow and increases their functionality. This targeted to be used on fresh cows to offset the natural immune suppression they experience.
Zoetis has a new Dairy Wellness Profit Index as part of the Clarifide genomic testing. They have established 50% reliability on these health traits; mastitis, lameness, metritis, RPs, DAs, and ketosis. This index, along with traditional genomic information, allows producers to make better replacement and breeding decisions with their heifers.
In summary, there’s a lot of ongoing research with dairy and dairy calf management and health. We are really excited to be able to implement these ideas and products with you on your farm. We look forward to continuing to grow with you!