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Fernando Diaz

Antimicrobial resistance continues being a global concern for the World Health Organization because threatens the effective prevention and treatment of an ever-increasing range of infections caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi. In this publication, Dr. Garcia- Fernandez discusses in depth the origin, evolution, and strategies to combat the problem of resistance in the animal industry.

According to “Dairy 2014 Report 3: Health and Management Practices on U.S. Dairy Operations, 2014”, the percentage of dairy cows treated with antibiotics for mastitis, respiratory diseases, diarrhea or other digestive problems, reproductive disorders, mastitis, lameness, or other disease was 22.0, 2.6, 1.1, 7.7, 3.6, and 0.5%, respectively. Since the highest percentage of cows are treated for mastitis, reducing the use of antibiotics to combat this disease may reduce the total usage on farms. Dr. Garcia- Fernandez explains how selective treatment of clinical mastitis based on on-farm culture results can potentially reduce total antimicrobial use on dairies.

Ruminants play a key role in society by converting fiber-rich plant resources into high-quality food that humans can eat. However, this conversion causes unavoidable losses of nitrogen in feces and urine that have the potential to become an environmental burden. Applying protective treatments against ruminal fermentation in high quality proteins is attractive to avoid their microbial degradation, which is usually associated with high ruminal ammonia losses and with reduced efficiency of microbial protein synthesis. This approach is discussed in my article “Reducing nitrogen contamination by feeding protected protein”.

While unique at converting fiber into protein, the rumen degrades high-quality nutrients and active ingredients such as amino acids, vitamins, enzymes, drugs, and hormones. Microencapsulation is designed to increase the amount of a nutrient that passes through the rumen without degradation by the rumen microorganisms, thereby resulting in the delivery of a larger portion of that nutrient to the lower gastrointestinal tract. Dr. Sahraei-Belverdy describes how this technique protects nutrients from degradation in the rumen, making it possible to increase the bioavailability of the core ingredient in the small intestine.

The work in dairy farms is intensive with employees working every day of the year. This, coupled with the challenge of finding a qualified workforce, makes dairying one of the most difficult business in agriculture. In her publication “It’s a match: How to win the talent war” the expert in Employer Branding “Carolina Borrachia describes a new paradigm for hiring talent based in building relationships.

Heat stress decreases the productive ability of lactating cows. Heat stress occurs when the cow is incapable of dissipating enough heat to maintain its core body temperature below 38.5 °C. Several key areas of nutritional management should be considered for complementing environmental cooling during hot weather. Jeff Kaufman, a Graduate Research Assistant at the University of Tennessee, publishes part of his doctorate work focused on providing strategies to improve milk production and protein metabolism in heat-stressed dairy cows.

Finally, Dr. Garcia discusses in a thought-provoking way about starch requirement in dairy cows. The optimum non-fibrous-carbohydrate (NFC) concentration for dairy cow diets is not well defined in the latest Nutrient Requirements of Dairy Cattle book. The concentration range suggested varies between 36 and 44 percent on a dry basis. Total NFC includes starch, sugars, soluble fiber and organic acids. Because of NFC differences in degradation rate and chemical composition, different NFC sources have a different potential to reduce ruminal pH. Starch can ferment to lactic acid, which has greater effect in decreasing ruminal pH than acetic, propionic or butyric acid.

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