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


One month into the new 400,000 somatic cell count (SCC) limit for milk. So, what have you done differently on your operation?

While some of us may dislike the added regulation, producing a higher-quality product benefits customers and cows. Lower somatic cell counts mean increased production for our cows and increased shelf life for consumers.

On the path to achieving better milk quality, it is our responsibility to use antibiotics judiciously. It’s simply the right thing to do.

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Managing Salmonella disease is all about reducing risk. No dairy will ever be exempt from disease exposure, because Salmonella is sneaky and can enter a dairy herd through a number of ways.

Recent cattle purchases or heifers that have returned from a grower can carry disease. The boots or clothing of visitors or workers from a neighbouring farm also presents a risk.

Even rodents and birds nesting throughout the barn or hovering around feed bring the possibility of the spread of Salmonella bacteria to an operation.

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080612 cooling 1Our fields aren’t the only ones battling the dry conditions and increased temperatures.

Our livestock have also been suffering which poses a threat to many producers who are concerned about the consequences of economic losses.

As a general rule of thumb, producers need to keep in mind the Temperature-Humidity Index (THI).

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A May 8 webinar offered dairy producers advice and reminders about preventing lameness. The hour-and-a-half presentation featured Penn State Extension Veterinarian Ernest Hovingh and Extension Dairy Team member Dan McFarland, an engineer, and explored the relationship between flooring, footing and lameness.

“It’s not quite as simple as saying there’s one individual thing that determines whether or not a cow becomes lame,” Hovingh says. “It’s almost always an interaction between a number of different factors.”

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“You cannot get out of trouble using the same thought process that got you into trouble.”
—Albert Einstein

Over my 28 years as a hoof trimmer, 23 have been dealing with digital dermatitis and its effects on my clients’ cows.

For the international dairy industry, digital dermatitis (DD), more commonly known as strawberry foot, is one of these disease problems that has gone from a nuisance on a few cows in the late 1950s and 1960s to becoming the leading cause of lameness in dairy cattle in the world.

The average cost of DD per cow case is more than $105. However, when I do a farm analysis for a producer and we review the number of cows infected to examine herd costs, nearly all producers say that financial figure is too low.

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Editor’s note: The following commentary is in response to the article “Use an index to help you rethink lameness prevention,” written by Vic Daniel and published in the March 21, 2012 issue of Progressive Dairyman. Click here to read more about this topic.

In the 1980s Karen Mortensen, a Danish researcher, introduced the concept of lameness being a “multifactorial problem.” That theme, I suggest, is the same as the recently published article by Vic Daniel, which was thought-provoking and timely.

Daniel’s article reminds us that lameness does not have just one cause, but is initiated by a number of different interrelated factors.

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