K-State Research and Extension News
"Milk Lines" is co-produced by the K-State College of Agriculture and the K-State Radio Network. Each week, Mike Brouk provides the latest information for today's dairy producers.
Milk Lines
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- 9/19/2014
Here in the fall is a good time for dairy operators to consider what they’ll do about any open cows they have in the herd.  Should they keep those cows around for another breeding cycle, or bring in heifers as replacements?  The economics of that are worth considering, as K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk (Brook) outlines this week.                                                     

- 9/12/2014
Many dairies utilize total mixed rations, or T-M-Rs, as their herd nutrition approach of choice.  Research has shown that often, those rations are mixed unevenly, resulting in uneven nutritional distribution throughout the herd.  And, as K-State diary specialist Mike Brouk outlines this week, corn silage is frequently at the root of that problem.   

Late summer will soon give way to the cool of fall, and shortly thereafter, the cold of winter.  Dairy producers would be wise to start preparing for the change, in terms of facilities and cow health management.  K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk covers several of those items this week.   

- 8/28/2014
With corn silage harvest time here, this reminder comes from K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk: precision is a necessity when packing silage in a bunker or pile.  It starts with harvesting at the proper moisture content.  From there, the goal is assuring that the silage is packed tight.  Brouk talks this week about achieving that goal.                                            

K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk is receiving quite a few inquiries now about automated dairy calf feeding systems.  And with good reason, says Mike…these systems definitely save labor, and are beneficial in a variety of other ways.   But they also require a certain level of management…all of which Mike covers this week.                                        

- 8/15/2014
There’s some new thinking in diet formulation for feeding dairy cows in the weeks ahead of calving.  The accent is on feeding lower-energy feedstuffs during this period, and this week, K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk summarizes what new research in this area is saying to dairy producers.
 

Many dairy producers first think of nutrition as the key component of their transition cow management program.  However, research out of the University of Wisconsin suggests that other factors are just as important, if not more so.  This week, K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk remarks on those findings, as guidelines for managing freshening cows.

Previous research trials have compared the dairy herd milking performance of three-times-a-day milking to two-times-a-day.  New research finds that, when changing from a “2X” schedule to a “3X” schedule, the feeding programs for dairy cows and heifers need to change as well.  This week, K-State Research and Extension dairy specialist Mike Brouk reports on those findings.
 

The annual Kansas Junior Dairy Show takes place August 14-16 in Salina. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk outlines the schedule of events offered for the exhibitors at the show. To get registered or for more information, visit www.asi.k-state.edu.
 

Constant worker turnover can be a real hindrance for a dairy operation.  K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk (Brook) advises dairy producers facing this problem to step back and analyze why their employees leave the operation.   That might lead to some ideas that promote worker longevity on an operation.

In the summer months, dairy cattle tend to stand longer, and often on moist ground. Therefore, producers should take time to evaluate their herd’s standing structure, to keep cattle hooves in healthy condition.  K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk (Brook) comments on what producers can do to prevent hoof afflictions.

- 7/3/2014
Comparing the milk production of 2013 to that of five years ago, it’s apparent that the milk supply is growing in the United States.  And this is leading to changes in dairy product demand that dairy producers should know about.  This week, K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk (Brook) gives a breakdown of the demand trends for dairy products.

- 6/26/2014
As the corn silage harvest season approaches, dairy producers should note of preparations that need to be taken care of beforehand. By doing so, it will make the harvest season run more smoothly. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk (Brook) provides a series of suggestions for producers.

Kansas dairy producers should consider talking with consumers and sellers of dairy products about the great lengths producers go to, to assure the safety and wholesomeness of the products being sold. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk (Brook) reminds producers of the importance of sharing information of how dairy products are produced at their operation and are trustworthy for a healthy diet.

Dairy producers often arrange herds in different combinations of pens, depending on cow size. This week, K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk explains the benefits of reducing the need to rearrange herds. In doing so, this would reduce stress and therefore generate more milk production.

Because of dry weather, dairy forage supplies could end up being a little tight again this year….that includes a shortage of wheat straw after harvest, because of short stands.  This week, K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk urges dairy producers to plan thoroughly for their herd forage needs, in light of potential limited supplies.

- 5/30/2014
As dairy cows calve in the summer heat, the chances of an adverse condition called metritis can settle into the herd, can cause multiple complications, not the least of which, a reduction in lactation performance.  This week, K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk talks about ways of minimizing the risk of metritis becoming a summertime problem.

Researchers estimate stable flies may have cost the dairy industry over $360,000,000 in 2012. In addition, they estimate animals lost over 300 pounds of milk production – or about $75 per cow under current prices. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk discusses how to defend cows, heifers and calves from the summer onslaught of flies.
 

Vaccine-resistant pinkeye strains can cause quite a stir with rapidly approaching summer weather.  K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk (brook) explains how to help prevent such outbreaks through strategic vaccine management.
 

Like most cleaning and disinfecting products used on the dairy farm, teat disinfectants – which include dips, sprays or foam applications – are chemical products. As with all chemicals, knowledge of the product is essential for achieving the desired end results. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk discusses how to safely handle, store and use teat dips on the dairy farm.
 

As we approach spring forage harvest, K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk encourages dairy producers to pay attention to the moisture content of their silage. The ideal moisture content is 62-68% or a dry matter content of 32-38%. According to Brouk, forage that’s put up too wet can have a damaging effect on cow health and milk production.
 

Kansas dairy producers often wonder whether it pays to keep dry cows cool? According to a three-year study in Florida, K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk says the answer is Yes! Mike details the findings of the study and explains how heat stress abatement during the dry period can pay huge dividends for dairy producers.
 

Research indicates that about two-thirds of the infections seen in fresh animals in the dairy herd actually develop during the dry period. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk offers several tips dairy producers can follow to prevent new infections during the dry cow period.

As we move into spring, winter annuals are starting to develop out in the fields and alfalfa is starting to break dormancy. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk says producers should be taking an inventory now of the stored forages they have available for the summer months. This week, he discusses several forage options and alternatives for producers who think they’ll need additional forage.
 

A dairy near Garden City – with approximately 6,400 cows and 7,000 replacement animals – has been named the 2014 Kansas Distinguished Dairy. According to K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk,  the dairy emphasizes taking care of its animals and its employees. The dairy has also been recognized for its conservation efforts and is involved in community activities, including starting a 4-H program for their employees’ children.
 

In looking at efficiency, dairy producers often consider the milk produced versus the amount of feed the cows consume. However, producers are trying to produce pounds of fat and pounds of protein – the nutrients that humans need. So, K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk says producers should consider implementing a method called energy corrected milk. He says this may be more accurate in determining the efficiency of the herd.
 

The national dairy industry set a record for total pounds of milk produced in 2013. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk looks at some of the national dairy numbers and talks about the improvement in the Kansas dairy industry – where total production was up 7.3% from 2012.
 

The extreme cold this winter forced many dairy producers to stop using foot baths. However, now that spring is nearly here, it’s time to resume this treatment program. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk explains the benefits of foot baths and why producers should consider using a longer, narrower foot bath.
 

This winter has been especially challenging for dairy producers and there are probably a lot of teat ends that have been damaged either by the cold weather or by milking equipment. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk encourages dairy producers to review their milking process and make changes to speed the milking time, reduce stress on the herd, improve cleanliness, and increase milk quality.
 

As dairy producers check their herds, K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk recommends visiting with their veterinarian to discuss the overall health of the herd and identify any steps that can be taken to improve the future health of the herd.
 
 

In this week’s Milk Lines, K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk reflects on the changes he’s seen in the dairy industry over the past 30 years to improve animal well-being. Some of the changes include improvements to facilities, nutrition programs, management practices and health programs. Brouk says these changes were not due to regulations, but rather to the commitment of dairymen to improve animal health.
 
 

The timing of the first milking after calving will have a dramatic impact on the immunoglobulin content of the colostrum. Research shows that delaying the first milking by six hours can cause a 17% reduction in the immunoglobulin content of the colostrum – and there’s a 28% reduction after 10 hours and a 33% reduction after 14 hours. To get the highest quality colostrum, K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk, says fresh cows should be milked within two hours after calving.
 
 

To get the most accurate results, testing for passive immunity transfer in dairy calves should be performed between 24 and 48 hours. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk explains why it’s important to check a calves’ blood serum total protein during this relatively small window.
 
 

If you’ve noticed changes in the health of the dairy herd during the recent cold snaps, increasing the amount of milk replacers and whole milk can make a difference. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk says the nutritional needs of the herd increase by about 10% in cold weather. As a result, making some adjustments to the nutritional program in cold weather will keep the herd healthier.

Kansas dairy producers are invited to attend one of two Dairy Days being held Thursday in Whiteside and Friday in Seneca. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk provides a preview of the upcoming Dairy Days – which feature several K-State Research and Extension specialists.
 
 

A study conducted in Wisconsin that looked at reproductive efficiency in dairy herds across the state includes several findings that Kansas dairy producers can implement to help improve reproductive performance in their own herds. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk discusses the findings that Kansas producers should consider implementing in their dairy herds.
 
 

Maintaining detailed records can help dairy producers identify some of the breeding problems within their herd. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk says retained placentas or metritis can cause re-breeding issues that can negatively impact the overall dairy operation.
 

Tracking the pregnancy rate of heifers is vital for maintaining the efficiency of the dairy herd. If you’re going to have efficient dairy production on your farm, you need to make sure your heifer-rearing program is keeping pace with the rest of the dairy. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk says that means evaluating the growth side of heifers and their reproductive performance.
 

For most Kansas dairies, this year’s corn silage contains more grain and a lot more moisture. However, the fat test may have slipped just a bit and it might be time to re-evaluate the carbohydrate portion of the diet you’re feeding your cows. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk also encourages dairy producers to check their inoculants. He discusses some of the benefits of adding inoculants to silage.
 

A dairy is a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week, 365-day-a-year operation. Larger dairies are typically able to offer their employees greater flexibility than smaller dairies. In an effort to keep younger employees on the farm, K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk says small dairies – those with 150 to 700 cows – could offer employees more flexibility by adding some automation to their operation.
 

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