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.
IF YOU ARE A RADIO STATION WHICH AIRS THESE PIECES, please let us know so that we can add you to our affiliate list.
Milk Lines
Click on the title to listen...
It’s a common occurrence on dairy farms…scours disease in newborn calves.  The variable spring weather has a lot to do with that, according to K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk, as does sanitation in calf management.  This week, Mike talks about steps to follow in keeping incidences of calf scours to a minimum.

For a variety of reasons, good lighting around the dairy operation is important.  K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk suggests that producers re-evaluate their lighting systems now, before field work begins.  And he further recommends that replacing existing lighting with LED lighting would be more than worthwhile. 

- 3/14/2015
At the recent Western States Dairy Conference, a leading dairy management specialist talked up the idea of developing a deeper working relationship with one’s herd veterinarian.  K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk agrees…the veterinarian should be considered a full-fledged member of a dairy’s management team.  Here, he reviews some of the areas of emphasis that were discussed at that conference.    

K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk discusses Kansas dairy production in 2014, which showed a decrease in milk output per cow, compared to previous years.  One reason for that, he says, may be excessive culling from dairy herds. This week, he urges producers to review their culling management, to see if that is impeding per-cow production potential.

Newly released statistics show that the Kansas dairy industry is on the rise, in terms of size of the state’s milking herd and the amount of milk produced.  This week, K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk goes over the numbers, and tells how Kansas stacks up with other dairy states in several production categories.

- 2/20/2015
Before you dairy producers get tied up with spring fieldwork, you should take some time to reassess the mastitis control program for your herd.  Have your past efforts to thwart mastitis problems been effective?  And if not, what could be done differently this year to address the situation?  This week, K-State Research and Extension dairy specialist Mike Brouk offers some guidance on this.

- 2/13/2015
One upside of the winter is that fly activity in and around dairy operations is non-existent.  Spring is coming soon, however, and with it, emergence of those flies that can impede dairy herd performance in an assortment of ways.  That’s why K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk is encouraging dairy producers to start taking action soon to reduce that fly pressure.

Warmer weather will be back to stay soon.  This is a good time for dairy producers to size up their operations and plan for any improvements that might be necessary.  K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk encourages this, reminding producers at the same time that any such projects must contribute to improved milk productivity to solidify the bottom line.

- 1/30/2015
Virtually all dairy industry observers agree that milk prices are destined to fall some from their historically-lofty levels this year.  K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk is advising dairy producers to plan accordingly, assessing their operations for potential cost-cutting and using price management tools to maintain profit margins in 2015.  

Cold and damp winter conditions can quickly lead to problems with milk cow udders…which, in turn, can translate into higher somatic cell counts in the milk.  Selecting the right pre-and-post milking udder dipping products can help prevent that from occurring.  K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk talks about some dip product alternatives to consider.                            

It’s one of the finer points of dairy cow nutrition, and more directly, feeding corn silage to the milking herd.  That silage serves as an important source of starch, which relates directly to milk production.  And that starch needs to be readily available in the cow’s rumen to gain its benefits.  This week, K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk talks about assuring that one’s corn silage is meeting that objective.

The start of a new year is a great time for dairy producers to re-evaluate their working relationships with their employees.  Job satisfaction often goes well beyond the paycheck, according to K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk.  This week, he offers several items that managers should consider, toward promoting a content dairy workforce.

Most observers believe that profit margins for dairy producers will tighten considerably in 2015.  That in mind, K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk is coaxing producers to re-assess the three main phases of their operations: milk production, feed management and herd reproduction.  The idea, he says, is to seek greater efficiencies in each area, examples of which he shares this week.

- 12/12/2014
If one’s dairy calves are persistently suffering from respiratory ills or are otherwise unhealthy while indoors, the cause could be as simple as a lack of fresh air.  Many dairy producers overlook this, says K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk.  This week, he talks about taking steps to remedy that problem.

Dairy calves can quickly fall victim to a disease condition called salmonella Dublin, unless the dairy producer takes action to prevent its ill effects.  K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk (brook) talks the week about the nature of this strain of salmonella, how it afflicts calves, and the precautions that a producer should take against it. 

- 11/26/2014
Not always do dairy cows immediately take to new silage when it’s first fed to them.  And it behooves the producer to find out if that’s having a negative impact on production.  This week, K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk comments on inspecting the silage product and tracking how the cow herd is responding to it.

There is a new style of dairy milking device that producers might want to take a hard look at, according to K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk.  They feature transparent liners and shells, allowing the producer or milking operator to see directly what’s happening at the milking point of contact.  And that, says Brouk, can be advantageous in milk parlor management, as he outlines this week.

- 11/14/2014
K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk advises producers this week to practice good cow udder care during the harsh winter conditions that have arrived early. For preventing frozen teats, Brouk explains more about the appropriate use of teat dips. Providing comfortable bedding in barn facilities may also lessen the impact of the cold weather.                              

2015 could well be a more rugged year economically for dairy producers, according to K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk (brook).  He’s advising producers to take stock of all aspects of their operation, and plan for tighter economic margins in the year ahead.  There are a couple of areas in particular that he suggests producers re-assess.

- 10/31/2014
While not providing the lion’s share of returns to dairy production, fluid milk sales are nonetheless important to the dairy industry.  Recent numbers indicate that the decline in fluid milk consumption continues, although there’s a notable exception to that trend that the industry should be paying attention to, according to K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk.           

- 10/24/2014
Though the economics of milk production are in pretty good shape right now, dairy producers should always keep risk management at the forefront.   One thing to consider, according to dairy specialist Mike Brouk (brook) of K-State Research and Extension is a new farm program option called the Dairy Margin Protection Program.   He notes that K-State will be hosting a special webinar on this program for producers on Tuesday, October 28.

- 10/16/2014
Consistent milk flow at milking time is essential on every dairy.  And producers would do well to check their milk trafficking systems in their dairies, to assure that flow is sufficient.  K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk (brook) suggests several check points for milk flow, and cites the numerous reasons why this is important.                      

- 10/10/2014
It’s a concern virtually every fall, and this year is no exception…the potential build-up of prussic acid in planted forages.  By exercising caution, dairy producers can avoid toxicity issues when harvesting or grazing these forages.  K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk (Brook) covers those precautions this week. 

As summer fades into fall, K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk (brook) urges dairy producers to carefully evaluate their records and the cows that are still open in the herd. He thinks producers will find cows that are 200 days in milk and still open. Brouk offers several strategies to determine whether it’s better to keep these animals or to sell them.   

Safety should always be a top priority on the dairy, according to K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk. And as the pace ramps up even further in the fall, producers are advised to troubleshoot for potential hazards and correct them.  Brouk also talks this week about assuring that dairy employees are up to speed on safety practices.                                        

- 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.