Read the Progressive Dairy Canada digital edition


Find information about mastitis, transition cows, vaccination protocols, working with your veterinarian, hoof care and hoof trimming.


The dry cow, in my view, is the most important care element for the dairy herd. What happens to the dry cow in that period makes or breaks a fresh cow.

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Pre-fresh health in dairy cows is more than a feed ration adjustment and a pen move. It’s all the little things that prepare a cow for calving and lactation.

Pre-fresh health is similar to flipping on the power switch to a vacant building. You must maintain the health and wellness of pre-fresh cows so that once lactation is turned on, they are in peak physical condition for performance and production.

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Maintaining good udder health and low bulk tank somatic cell counts (SCC) is increasingly important to dairy profitability, particularly in light of the recent regulatory penalty change to limit bulk tank SCC to a maximum of 400,000 cells per ml.

Compliance with this new standard generally means that dairies must implement consistent and correct practices in a number of areas.

A focus on clean cows, dry environments, proper udder prep and milking machine function, along with prudent monitoring, treatment and culling decisions, is commonly emphasized by herds with perennially low SCC.

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Animal welfare is a front-and-center issue that requires careful communication of real procedures used on farms by hoof trimmers.

Many of my colleagues and I realize that public perception matters.

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The differences between environmental and contagious mastitis are now largely understood among researchers and dairy producers alike. But it took a great many studies over a number of years to make that distinction.

One project in particular that helped to point out the need for new mastitis control methods was developed in the 1960s by The National Institute for Research in Dairying in Britain in cooperation with Cornell University.

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Mastitis is among the most costly diseases of dairy cattle.

It is a complex disease with many causes, many presentations and many treatment options.

Prevention remains the most effective means of controlling this disease.

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