Resources for Dairy Cattle

Title Available As Summary Date ID Author
On Farm Mortality Disposal Options for Livestock Producers
All livestock producers at some point are faced with decisions regarding how to dispose of livestock mortality from their farm. Each option has its own benefits and limitations based on accessibility, regulatory restrictions, expense, and biosecurity concerns. Livestock producers should also know that it is their responsibility to dispose of dead animals within 48 hours by one of the approved methods highlighted below. There are approved and preferred methods of animal mortality management according to the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Farmers should choose the option that best suits their farm’s mortality disposal needs.
Jul 31, 2013 2909-1412 (ANR-77NP)
Your Herd's Reproductive Status May 1, 2009 404-005
Mycoplasma in Dairy Cattle May 1, 2009 404-038
Inbreeding May 1, 2009 404-080
Using DHI records to make culling decisions: Lactation Ratings, ERPA's, and Predicted Producing Abilities May 1, 2009 404-083
Using Heritability for Genetic Improvement May 1, 2009 404-084
The All-Breed Animal Model May 1, 2009 404-086
Sire Evaluations for Health and Fitness Traits May 1, 2009 404-087
The Merit Indexes - 2006 May 1, 2009 404-088
Genetic Improvement Using Young Sires With Genomic Evaluations Apr 21, 2010 404-090
Dairy Crossbreeding: Why and How May 1, 2009 404-093
Dairy Crossbreeding Research: Results from Current Projects May 1, 2009 404-094
The Income Side of Seasonal vs. Year-Round Pasture-based Milk Production May 1, 2009 404-113
Limit These Feeds in Rations for Dairy Cattle May 1, 2009 404-119
Tests Available for Measuring Forage Quality May 1, 2009 404-124
Strategies to Reduce Amounts of Nitrogen and Phosphorus in Dairy Rations May 1, 2009 404-130
Paying Attention to Dietary Cation-Anion Balance Can Mean More Milk and Fewer Metabolic Problems May 1, 2009 404-131
Distiller's Grains for Dairy Cattle and Potential Environmental Impact May 1, 2009 404-135
Guidelines to Culling Cows with Mastitis May 1, 2009 404-204
Proper Dry Cow Management Critical for Mastitis Control May 1, 2009 404-212
Klebsiella spp.: A Practical Summary for Controlling Mastitis Jul 29, 2011 404-223
Escherichia coli: A Practical Summary for Controlling Mastitis Jul 29, 2011 404-224
Serratia spp.: A Practical Summary for Controlling Mastitis Jul 29, 2011 404-225
Staphylococcus aureus: A Practical Summary for Controlling Mastitis Jul 29, 2011 404-226
DHI Somatic Cell Count Program Guidelines May 1, 2009 404-228
Staphylococcus aureus Mastitis: Cause, Detection, and Control Jun 11, 2010 404-229
Reference Guide for Mastitis-Causing Bacteria Jun 10, 2010 404-230
Understanding the Basics of Mastitis May 1, 2009 404-233
Environmental Streptococcal and Coliform Mastitis May 1, 2009 404-234
Handling a Herd Mastitis Problem May 1, 2009 404-238
Early Heifer Development and Colostrum Management May 1, 2009 404-282
Nutrition For The Early Developing Heifer May 1, 2009 404-283
Dairy Heifer Health, Disease Control, and Vaccinations May 1, 2009 404-284
Milk Production Evaluation In First Lactation Heifers May 1, 2009 404-285
Monitoring Dairy Heifer Growth May 1, 2009 404-286
Heifer Inventory and the Economics of Replacement Rearing May 1, 2009 404-287
Abortions in Dairy Cattle - I: Common Causes of Abortions May 1, 2009 404-288
Abortions in Dairy Cattle - II: Diagnosing and Preventing Abortion Problems May 1, 2009 404-289
The Basics of Forage Testing May 1, 2009 404-300
Feeding Protein to Meet Dairy Cow Nutrient Requirements Can Result in Cheaper, Environmentally Friendly Rations May 1, 2009 404-354
Cleaning and Sanitizing Milking Equipment May 1, 2009 404-400
On-farm Tests for Drug Residues in Milk May 1, 2009 404-401
Preventing Drug Residues In Milk and Cull Dairy Cows May 1, 2009 404-403
Testing Bulk Tank Milk Samples May 1, 2009 404-405
The Role of Milking Equipment in Mastitis May 1, 2009 404-742
Addressing the Consequences of Predator Damage to Livestock and Poultry May 1, 2009 410-030
Site Selection for Dairy Housing Systems May 1, 2009 442-096
Ammonia Emissions and Animal Agriculture May 1, 2009 442-110
Bedded-pack Dairy Barns May 1, 2009 442-124
Fencing Materials For Livestock Systems May 1, 2009 442-131
Nutrient Management for Small Farms Oct 8, 2010 442-305
Selecting a Treatment Technology for Manure Management
Animal manure has been used for centuries as a fertilizer and a soil builder because it contains nutrients and organic matter. However, as animal production shifts toward fewer but larger operations, the number of confined animals has increased in some geographical locations, resulting in more manure produced than can be assimilated by the available farmland where the animals are raised.
May 11, 2009 442-306
Selection and Location of Poultry and Livestock Manure Storage Nov 19, 2009 442-307
Poultry and Livestock Manure Storage: Management and Safety Nov 19, 2009 442-308
Manure Management and Environmental Stewardship Apr 1, 2010 442-309
Catastrophic Livestock and Poultry Carcass Disposal
This guide is intended to assist Virginia’s farmers in understanding their mortality disposal options during natural disasters and non-infectious disease events. Blizzards, tornadoes, extreme heat, and floods are just a few examples of the severe weather events that may result in significant losses to farm animal populations. Animal losses often cause significant financial losses to the farmers who rely on the income from these animals. Compounding the financial impact of these animal losses is the burden of responsibly disposing of the resulting animal carcasses. Improperly managed, animal carcasses have the potential to spread disease and contaminate surface and groundwater supplies.
Nov 19, 2013 ANR-76NP (ANR-90NP)
Previniendo accidentes de trabajadores rurales ligados al manejo de silajes Jun 19, 2017 DASC-100s
Dairy Pipeline, June 2017 Jun 22, 2017 DASC-101NP
Previniendo accidentes de trabajadores rurales ligados al manejo de silajes Jul 24, 2017 DASC-102s
Preventing silage-related injuries and fatalitites among farm workers Jul 25, 2017 DASC-103NP
Dairy Pipeline, September 2017 Sep 4, 2017 DASC-104NP
Battling Resistance: Judicious Antibiotic Use in Beef and Dairy Cattle Nov 6, 2017 DASC-106NP
November/December 2017 Dairy Pipeline Nov 3, 2017 DASC-107NP
A Decision-Making Tool to Determine the Feasibility of Purchasing Virginia Milk Commission Base
Dairy farmers are usually subject to net income fluctuations due to volatility in both milk and feed prices. Risk management tools, such as hedging milk prices in the futures market, may be used to protect dairy farmers against milk price volatility. Alternatively, dairy farmers selling milk in Virginia can buy Virginia milk commission base (MCB) to obtain higher milk prices and, therefore, sustain or increase net cash flows.
Jan 10, 2014 DASC-30P
Silo Management, Learning From The Experts
This video intends to help stakeholders improve their silo face management practices, prevent spoilage and waste! Learn to properly face bunker silos.
Jul 9, 2014 DASC-39NP
Manejo del becerro recién nacido - Newborn calf management
This video intends to facilitate the learning process about newborn calf management by Hispanic employees. The video is narrated in Spanish and subtitled in English so that English-speaking employers can also improve communication with their labor force.
May 5, 2015 DASC-49S
Income Over Feed Costs in the Dairy Enterprise
Typically, feed costs are directly related to milk production, so the more you feed, the more you produce. However, milk production is not necessarily related to profitability. Production-oriented management, which focuses on maximizing outputs (i.e., milk yield) through increased utilization of inputs (i.e., feed), does not necessarily ensure the dairy business will be profitable.
Sep 10, 2015 DASC-51P
Global milk prices lower than in 2009
The price of milk in the global market has been decreasing substantially during the last year. The last bid from Global Dairy Trade resulted in a price for whole-milk powder equal to $1,590 per metric ton. This price is 13 percent lower than the minimum price for whole-milk powder reported by Global DairyTrade in 2009.
Aug 5, 2015 DASC-57NP
Streptococcus dysgalactiae: A Practical Summary for Controlling Mastitis Jul 12, 2012 DASC-5P
Streptococcus agalactiae: A Practical Summary for Controlling Mastitis Jul 19, 2012 DASC-6P
Raw Milk: Risk Or Reward?
The consumption of raw milk has gained considerable popularity in recent years, yet still remains a source of great debate regarding the potential health impacts. The Food and Drug Administration as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report the well-known risk for contracting foodborne disease from the presence of human pathogens in raw milk. A recent review article goes into great detail about the history of pasteurization, the prevalence of foodborne pathogens in milk and the claims associated with the consumption of raw milk (Lucey 2015). Pasteurization was developed over 100 years ago to reduce the transmission of disease through milk, in particular, tuberculosis. In 1938 it was reported that 25% of all disease outbreaks related to food/water were from milk, compared to less than 1% today and now tuberculosis is not of concern due to the implementation of pasteurization.
Nov 3, 2015
Plan Your Forage Utilization For The Coming Year
Now that most crops are in storage it’s time to plan the forage utilization for the coming year. It is tempting to rely on previous experience in determining forage needs. However, this can lead to some costly management mistakes.
Sep 30, 2015
Dairy Pipeline: Activities Nov 3, 2015
Aseptic Technique for Milk Sampling and Teat Infusions Apr 8, 2016 DASC-61P
Bacillus spp.: A Practical Summary for Controlling Mastitis Apr 11, 2016 DASC-62P
Coagulase-Negative Staphylococci and Staphylococcus hyicus: A Practical Summary for Controlling Mastitis Apr 11, 2016 DASC-63P
Corynebacterium bovis: A Practical Summary for Controlling Mastitis Apr 11, 2016 DASC-64P
Enterobacter spp.: A practical summary for controlling mastitis Apr 12, 2016 DASC-65P
Mycoplasma spp.: A Practical Summary for Controlling Mastitis Apr 12, 2016 DASC-66P
Pasteurella spp.: A Practical Summary for Controlling Mastitis Apr 12, 2016 DASC-67P
Proteus spp.: A Practical Summary for Controlling Mastitis Apr 13, 2016 DASC-68P
Prototheca spp.: A Practical Summary for Controlling Mastitis Apr 5, 2016 DASC-69P
Pseudomonas spp.: A Practical Summary for Controlling Mastitis Apr 5, 2016 DASC-70P
Trueperella pyogenes: A Practical Summary for Controlling Mastitis Apr 15, 2016 DASC-71P
Yeast and Molds: A Practical Summary for Controlling Mastitis Apr 15, 2016 DASC-72P
Are you Delivering A Homogeneous Ration To Your Cows?
Matching nutrient requirements with nutrient supply is essential for maximizing feed efficiency in dairy farming systems. To accomplish this, feeding a consistent and homogeneous ration is critical. In Summer 2015, the variation of the composition of total mixed rations (TMR) was monitored on 7 dairy farms in Franklin County, Virginia.
Nov 3, 2015
Watch Out For Bad Fat When Battling Milk Fat
Milk fat depression is one of the more complex nutritionrelated issues dairymen and their nutritionists face. Dr. Tom Jenkins of Clemson University is one of the foremost experts on this subject. He suggests that five main nutritional factors impact fat test results including: dietary fat amount and source; dietary starch level; amount of fiber, particularly from forages; yeast and mold contamination; and diet management.
Sep 30, 2015
Dairy Pipeline: Activities Jan 7, 2016
How Much, How Soon?
Traditional calf feeding programs have fed calves 2 quarts of milk or milk replacer twice daily with weaning sometime between 6 and 12 weeks of age. This is based upon the concept that limiting energy from milk stimulates early intake of dry feed which favors earlier weaning and lower cost. However, this practice is unique when compared to feeding behavior of all other mammals in which the young consume milk at will from their dam. More liberal milk or milk replacer feeding programs for preweaned dairy calves have gained favor with the adoption of acidified free choice and computer controlled autofeeders. With the acidified free choice milk feeding systems there is no limit to how much calves can consume. However, there is a tendency for other feeding systems to gradually increase the liquid diet over days or weeks. The concern is that allowing the calf to consume large quantities of milk or milk replacer will cause digestive stress and diarrhea.
Feb 26, 2016
No More Unnecessary Midnight Calving Pen Checks!
It’s 6:00 p.m. A farmer is finishing chores on the dairy and is about to head in for the night, when he/she notices 1157, a heifer that looks like she’s close to calving. The farmer decides to check on the heifer in a few hours to monitor her progress. At 9:00 p.m. the farmer checks 1157 again, but there are no new developments, so he/she decides to come back at midnight. But yet again, when the farmer checks 1157, there’s still no progress. Now, tired, sleep deprived, and frustrated, the farmer decides to head to bed and check her in the morning.
Feb 26, 2016
Dairy Pipeline: Activities Feb 26, 2016
Management of compost-bedded pack barns Mar 11, 2016 DASC-78NP
Environmental Streptococci and Enterococcus spp.: A Practical Summary for Controlling Mastitis Jul 12, 2012 DASC-7P
The Skinny on Mud: Why mud and dairy cows don't mix
Virginia has seen an abnormal winter with heavier than normal rain, blizzards, and even tornadoes. While your children may be enjoying puddle jumping parties on the farm, your cows do not fancy mud. Excessive rain on the farm can have serious effects on your cows affecting their health, milk production, and reproduction. Dairy cows are not like pigs they do not love bathing in mud! While rain is important for growing crops and greening-up pastures, the side effects of too much rain can lead to costly problems on the farm, some of which may be initially over-looked.
Feb 26, 2016
Corn for Silage: Planting density effects on dry matter yields and nutritional composition
Milk prices have shrunk substantially in the last year. Because forages are much cheaper than concentrates, increasing the inclusion of forages in rations for dairy cows can help sustain margins and profitability. On the flip side, forage stocks could decrease faster as the inclusion of forages in dairy rations is increased. As a consequence of the limited forage stocks observed after drought seasons, increasing interest has emerged to replenish forage stocks of corn silage faster through greater corn planting population rates. Previous studies have shown that under non-extreme weather conditions forage biomass of corn for silage increases or does not change when planting population increases.
Mar 31, 2016
Dairy Pipeline: Activities Mar 31, 2016
A Fresh Look at the Margin Protection Program (MPP) for Dairy
Virginia has seen an abnormal winter with heavier than normal rain, blizzards, and even tornadoes. While your children may be enjoying puddle jumping parties on the farm, your cows do not fancy mud. Excessive rain on the farm can have serious effects on your cows affecting their health, milk production, and reproduction. Dairy cows are not like pigs they do not love bathing in mud! While rain is important for growing crops and greening-up pastures, the side effects of too much rain can lead to costly problems on the farm, some of which may be initially over-looked.
May 2, 2016
Should We Be Looking at More than IgG Concentration in Colostrum?
It is known that providing high quality colostrum is important for ensuring a calf receives a solid foundation for building the immune system. How we usually check colostrum quality, as well as failure of passive transfer of immunity in calves, is by measuring IgG or protein of the serum or plasma concentration (either directly or indirectly). And while IgG (antibodies) are an important component of the immune system, they are only one part of the immune system, which means there may be other aspects of colostrum that are important for calf immunity that are being ignored. For example, researchers have identified immune cells in colostrum and have looked into their ability to help the calf fight disease as well.
May 2, 2016
Dairy Pipeline: Activities May 2, 2016
A Current Update On Baleage Technology
Last March, Dr. Wayne Coblentz, a forage scientist from the USDA-Dairy Forage Research Center (Marshville, WI), updated us about baleage technology during our 2016 Area Dairy Conference.
May 31, 2016
It Has Been A Great Ride!
As I reflect upon my career I find that the most important things have been the people during my 40+ years in Blacksburg. It seems like yesterday that I arrived at Virginia Tech to begin my graduate studies.
May 31, 2016
Dairy Pipeline: Activities May 31, 2016
Winter Crops as a Feed Source for Dairy Cattle Jun 27, 2016 DASC-85NP
Alternative Housing: Raising Calves In Pairs
Almost every farm has at least one heifer at the bottom of the pecking order and last to eat at the feed bunk. The sub-par performance of these heifers results in a delay to breeding weight, and in turn, an increase in age at first calving. Recent research has shown that changes in calf management may help improve feeding and social behaviors. You may have heard of this system before—the buddy system and it works for calves!
Jul 1, 2016
Opportunity For Improving Calf & Heifer Management: More Complete Records
The importance of getting calves off to a good start is not a new concept. Because calves are an investment in the herd for years to come and the heifer enterprise accounts for 15-20% of the cost of milk production, it is critical to allocate the time and resources for them to thrive.
Jul 1, 2016
Dairy Pipeline: Activities Jul 1, 2016
A Fine Line — Biosecurity: Part I
Like most things in life there is a fine line between protecting your farm from biosecurity risks and letting people know what you do. Should you gate the entrance of your farm to keep everyone one out or do you invite the general public onto the farm on a regular basis? In addition to the daily grind of dairy farming, every producer needs to ponder the ramifications of these decisions.
Sep 9, 2016
Equipment function affects milk quality
Milking equipment function can have a profound negative impact on teat end health and overall milk quality. On the flip side, if we properly maintain equipment function we can positively impact the bottom line, udder and teat health, bulk tank somatic cell count and ultimately milk quality. It is important to remember that the goal of milking is to harvest as much milk as possible as efficiently as possible. However, this is a careful balancing act between efficiency and teat end health. Vacuum improperly set may have a negative effect on udder and teat health, but when properly balanced with pulsation, we can optimize milk harvest while minimizing the damage.
Sep 9, 2016
Dairy Pipeline: Activities Sep 9, 2016
Comparative Nutritional Quality of Winter Crops for Silage
In a few past issues of the Dairy Pipeline, I reported the initial stages of a Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) project of the Department of Dairy Science, and funded by Natural Resources Conservation Services, in which we were comparing the nutritional quality of different winter crops for silage.
Sep 29, 2016
Biosecurity: Part II
Biosecurity on a dairy farm requires a plan to minimize the risk of disease outbreak. Some farms consider themselves to be “closed” herds, but even these herds need to take steps to reduce the risk of an outbreak. Unless no people, wildlife or vehicles ever enter the farm, it’s not truly a “closed” herd. Farms that do not regularly bring in outside animals are still at risk.
Sep 29, 2016
Dairy Pipeline: Activities Sep 29, 2016
Streptococcus uberis: A Practical Summary for Controlling Mastitis Jul 12, 2012 DASC-8P
Be careful when cutting corners
In a few past issues of the Dairy Pipeline, I reported the initial stages of a Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) project of the Department of Dairy Science, and funded by Natural Resources Conservation Services, in which we were comparing the nutritional quality of different winter crops for silage.
Oct 31, 2016
Making the Tough Call
The past year has seen some interesting, and frankly troubling, developments in the world of commodity pricing. Ordinarily, when one commodity is down another is trending upward to help soften the blow, but now it seems that most every Ag commodity is suffering a downturn.
Nov 1, 2016
Dairy Pipeline: Activities Nov 1, 2016
Comparative Nutritional Quality of Winter Crops for Silage Feb 23, 2017 DASC-93P
Your Dairy History: Tracking Dairy Management Decisions
Several years ago, another dairy extension specialist and I were conducting a DHI herdbook clinic for a dairy farmer in the state. During the records analysis, we noticed that somatic cell scores (SCS) at the beginning of the 12-month testing year were very desirable and that the herd was likely receiving milk quality premiums.
Dec 22, 2016
Dairy Management is a Continual Progression
A heart monitor that “flatlines” indicates impending death if something isn’t done quickly. Dairy managers may be tempted to stagnate in the status quo, and that can spell trouble for the dairy operation’s future. Don’t let your management benchmarks ‘flatline’!
Dec 22, 2016
Dairy Pipeline: Activities Dec 22, 2016
Monitoring Your Debt Status
Farm debt needs to be monitored closely so that it does not become an unmanageable snow ball. There are different ways for monitoring debt status. One of them is the debt to asset percentage. To calculate your debt to asset percentage, simply get your last balance sheet and divide your total debt (or total liabilities) by the total assets and multiply by 100. A debt to asset ratio of 35% implies that for every $100 of assets the farm owns, the farm still needs to pay $35 to a lending source. In general terms, a good debt status implies a debt to asset percentage below 30%, whereas a poor debt status implies a debt to asset percentage above 70%.
Feb 28, 2017
Management of Pathogens in manure—Is your liquid gold safe?
How can dairy producers protect their animals, businesses, and the surrounding community? By following best management practices (BMPs) for manure management! Animal waste can contain both pathogens and chemical contaminants that can cause sickness and even death. Not all pathogens are created equal. Survival is dependent on temperature, manure processing, and environmental conditions. How you handle and process the manure on your farm matters! Every day the average dairy cow produces approximately 120 lbs. of wet manure making manure management a critical aspect of dairy farming.
Feb 28, 2017
Dairy Pipeline: Activities Feb 28, 2017
Dairy Pipeline, April 2017
The Dairy Pipeline is published once per month by the Department of Dairy Science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech.
Mar 30, 2017 DASC-96NP
Inbreeding in the Genomic Era
Reflections on International Dairy Federation World Summit
In October 2016, I attended the International Dairy Federation World Dairy Summit held in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Over 1,200 participants from every continent attended including many heads of government agencies, research institutes and national dairy organizations… seven percent were dairy farmers…few were American. Presentations addressed a wide range of topics important to the dairy industry ranging from animal well welfare, food safety, economics, nutrition, marketing, environmental challenges and sustainability. Not surprisingly, the issue of environmental quality was a “hot” topic of great interest.
Apr 1, 2017
Dairy Pipeline: Activities Apr 1, 2017
Dairy Pipeline, May 2017
The Dairy Pipeline is published once per month by the Department of Dairy Science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech.
May 2, 2017 DASC-98NP
Have You Ever Watched Cows Eat? May 2, 2017
Gestational heat stress: considering the prolonged effects on dairy calves May 2, 2017
Dairy Pipeline: Activities May 2, 2017
Preventing silage-related injuries and fatalities among farm workers Jun 19, 2017 DASC-99