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.
After nutrition, labor is the second item in the production costs of a dairy operation. Therefore, it is very important to optimize the work force of a dairy farm in order to improve profitability.
Most of the metabolic problems of the dairy cow happen during the first two weeks of lactation. In a review of several experiments, researchers found that approximately one out of three fresh cows have at least one clinical disease during the first 3 weeks of lactation
Consumer preferences along with animal welfare concerns make pasture access for dairy cows an important issue in the dairy industry. Generally, access to pasture does not prove to be an effective option year-round due to environmental constraints.
Automatic milking is very popular in intensive dairy production systems. The adoption of robotic milking in grazing-based systems is uncommon; however, recent research from New Zealand, Australia, and Ireland is showing that this technology can be implemented in these countries where grazing is a critical part of the production system
Newborn calves are immunodeficient. Colostrum provides them immunity, but it also can be a potential source of pathogen microorganism such as Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis (Johne’s disease), Mycoplasma spp., Escherichia coli, and Salmonella spp.
In robotic dairies, cows can move through the pen freely or forced. With free cow traffic, cows decide when to enter the robot whereas with forced cow traffic, the producer set one-way traffic toward the robot by one-way gates or a sorting system in which cows are forced..
Extended lactation, the management practice in which the time of first insemination is delayed deliberately, increases calving interval and reduces the proportion of dry cows in the herd. This changes the lactation curve lengthening the descending phase. Therefore, average daily milk production is reduced in cows with extended lactations.
Traditionally, the methods used to detect estrus in dairy cows include visual observation, tail painting, tail chalking, rump-based pressure and scratch-off patches. In high-producing cows, the duration and intensity of estrus behavior is considerably lower than that in dairy cows of a few decades ago.
It has become a common practice to feed non-saleable milk to dairy calves. Non-saleable milk accounts for 1–4% of the total milk produced in the farm and this includes milk from antibiotic-treated cows along with colostrum from fresh cows and milk containing high somatic-cell-counts.
Insulin is an anabolic hormone that allows body cells to absorb glucose, amino acids, and fatty acids circulating in the blood and increases the synthesis of fat and protein. At the beginning of lactation insulin levels in blood are very low to support milk production.