In today’s world, dairy leaders are facing difficult challenges. Industry consolidation along with changes in consumer perception of dairy products makes the dairy industry very competitive. Understanding and responding to the main trends is paramount to the dairy operation’s success.
The DKC’s multidisciplinary team researches and brings insights and strategies that help dairy leaders to drive better business decisions. The DKC’s insights provide valuable knowledge in critical business areas such as nutrition and feeding, reproduction, housing, replacement, and management practices.
During the last 3 weeks of gestation, cow’s requirements for energy increase due to fetal development and colostrum production. At the same time, dry matter (DM) intake drops significantly during this period. This mismatch between nutrient intake and demand generates a negative energy balance towards the end of the pregnancy that is prolonged for several weeks after calving. Additionally, health problems during the transition period have a negative impact on the profitability of the operation due to increased veterinary expenses, reduced production, reduced reproduction performance, early culls, and deaths.
Methionine and lysine are the main limiting amino acids in lactating dairy cow diets. However, recent research shows histidine may be a limiting amino acid as well. A series of three studies (2015, 2016, 2017) conducted at The Pennsylvania State University’s Dairy Teaching and Research Center reported greater intake and milk protein yield in high-production cows fed low-protein diets supplemented with rumen-protected (RP) histidine.
Folic acid or folate is a B-complex vitamin that works as a donor and acceptor of one‐carbon units. Thus, it is involved in the synthesis of nucleic acids (DNA) and amino acids (methionine). The name folic acid is deduced from folium (leaf in Latin), because this vitamin was originally isolated from spinach leaves.
Aflatoxins are metabolites produced by mold fungi such as Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus under certain conditions. The most abundant aflatoxin, aflatoxin B1, is a potent carcinogen and it is considered the most toxic naturally occurring toxin. After ingestion, aflatoxin B1 is bio-transformed into the secondary metabolite aflatoxin M1 and excreted in milk, urine and feces.
Essentials oils are volatile aromatic compounds with an oily appearance extracted from plant materials typically by steam distillation. Traditionally, they have been used in dairy diets to modify ruminal microflora and alter rumen fermentation. Recent research; however, shows the implication of some essential oils on physiologic functions in the cows…
Methane is the main greenhouse gas generated by ruminants and represents a significant loss of gross energy (2–12%) for the animals. Therefore, mitigating enteric methane emissions from ruminants is beneficial from the point of environmental conservation and energy efficiency.
Silage was defined as the product formed when grass or other material of sufficiently high moisture content, liable to spoilage by aerobic microorganism, is stored aerobiologically. Belgian researchers assessed the potential of four additives to improve fermentability and nutrient composition during the ensiling process of silages.
Synthetic flavors are additives used in the animal feed industry to enhance the smell and taste of feeds. The sense of taste in dairy cattle is well developed. They can recognize the five basic tastes of sweet, bitter, salty, sour, and umami. Therefore, identifying flavor preferences of dairy calves may help to stimulate and improve the consumption of calf starter.
Selenium is an essential trace mineral that is an indispensable component of the antioxidant system. Selenium is an essential element of antioxidant enzymes such as glutathione peroxidase, and its deficiency may result in an imbalance of redox homeostasis and ultimately oxidative stress.
The raising demand for butterfat in the US along with higher milk fat price has increased the usage of fat supplements enriched (80 – 98%) with palmitic acid in the dairy industry. Recent studies have shown that feeding palmitic acid to lactating cows increases milk fat production.