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.
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.
Besides reducing erosion and improving soil health, double cropping winter annuals as forage crops in combination with corn is a common practice for increasing total forage yield per unit area of land in locations with long growing season. This strategy; however, is riskier in short seasons areas in which yield of one or both crops may be negatively affected.
Milk production is often wrongly considered to be a major source of the greenhouse gases (mainly methane) affecting climate change. Researchers from Switzerland evaluated whether increasing the productive life of cows reduces greenhouse gas emissions as it reduces emissions from the rearing of replacement heifers.
Milk ejection occurs when the myoepithelial cells that surround the mammary alveoli contract and milk is transported through the milk ducts into the cisternal compartment.
Using sex-sorted semen has become a common reproductive practice in the dairy industry. However, it has been shown that using sex-sorted semen reduces fertility which can be caused by the sorting process of the sperm altering the fertilizing capacity and viability of spermatozoa and/or the lower number of spermatozoa per straw.
Over the past decades, the Holstein breed has undergone the process of extreme selection which emphasized production and conformation rather than fertility and health. This, along with an increasing average inbreeding of Holstein cows, has promoted the use of crossbreeding in U.S. dairy farms.