Water for Cows
Water quality can limit productivity and health due to characteristics which affect the rumen environment, immune function or availability of trace minerals. Knowing only what minerals are in your water supply provides a very incomplete story. Water for Cows is a free, online water-evaluation tool provided by Vi-COR, Inc., that focuses on identifying any mineral interactions, antagonisms or acid-base issues arising from water. The modeling tool includes:

• Prediction of water intake.

• Calculation of total mineral intake from feed and water.

• Comparison of total mineral intake to National Research Council (NRC) requirements.

• Visual and narrative description of the safety or potential problems from total mineral intake.

• Calculation of the dietary cation-anion differences (DCAD), strong ion difference (SID) in water and total intake cation-anion difference integrated DCAD and SID from both the diet and water source.

This tool gives the dairy producer, consultant or veterinarian a better handle on just how much mineral the cows are getting and how that relates to NRC-based mineral requirements. It details the mineral interactions, antagonisms or potentially detrimental effects, all in an easy-to-read one-page report. Access the tool at waterforcows. com.

FDA rules on arsenic petition
On Sept. 30, 2013, FDA denied a petition from the Center for Food Safety and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy that asked the agency to take steps to revoke the approvals of four arsenic-based animal drugs. The petitioners’ requests with respect to three of the four drugs at issue became moot after the sponsors of those drugs requested that FDA withdraw the approvals for those products. With respect to the only remaining approved arsenic-based animal drug, FDA denied the petitioners’ request because the agency is in the process of completing several scientific studies and reviewing and evaluating information to help the agency more fully evaluate any potential concerns related to the safety of arsenic-based animal drugs. The agency has decided to review this information before reaching any conclusions about whether there may be grounds to initiate proceedings to withdraw approval of nitarsone, the only currently marketed arsenic-based animal drug in the United States. The full petition response is available on the veterinary section of the FDA website at FDA.gov.

Reminders for colostrum pasteurization
The process of pasteurizing colostrum is gaining popularity among calf raisers. Kansas State dairy specialist Mike Brouk, PhD, says there are several things you should keep in mind when collecting, processing and storing colostrum.

1. Clean collection equipment — The first thing you need to think about is the collection equipment. “No. 1, it needs to be clean,” Brouk said in a recent “Milk Lines” audio segment, co-produced by the Department of Communications at Kansas State University and the K-State Radio Network. Making sure equipment is not contaminated with bacteria will help prevent contamination of the colostrum that you collect into it. After collection, process the colostrum immediately or start it into a cooling process.

2. Quality counts — The importance of colostrum quality can’t be stressed enough. Remember to check the level of antibodies in the colostrum to make sure the quality is excellent.

3. Processing — Cleanliness and proper use of colostrum processing equipment is vital to calf health and performance. “The pasteurization unit needs to be clean, just like the rest of our milking equipment to control the amount of bacteria that might grow on that surface,” Brouk says.

4. Storage — Once pasteurization is complete, the colostrum needs to be fed or cooled, or possibly even frozen. Remember, just because you pasteurize colostrum, it does not replace good animal-husbandry techniques. “We still need to do an excellent job of managing our calves and watching for signs of disease and treating them quickly,” Brouk says. “Just because we’ve pasteurized colostrum does not take away that responsibility we have to the calves.”

World Dairy Expo honors Dr. Ken Nordlund
Early in October, the massive World Dairy Expo made its 47th annual appearance in Wisconsin’s capital city of Madison. The University of Wisconsin-Madison has played a large role in the state’s dairy leadership, and two highly regarded dairy veterinarians from the UW School of Veterinary Medicine, Kenneth Nordlund, DVM, and Sheila McGuirk, DVM, MS, PhD, ACVIM, have earned recent accolades that drive home this point.

The World Dairy Expo named Nordlund the 2013 “Industry Person of the Year.” Each year, the Expo recognizes one individual for excellence in any of a number of fields that provide goods or services to the dairy industry. Nordlund, a clinical professor of food-animal production medicine, has racked up almost 37 years’ worth of educational and research contributions over the course of his career.

Nordlund is best known for his role in developing dairy housing innovations that improve the health and well-being of cattle, including improved ventilation systems and retrofitted barns. He has conducted a significant amount of research on the connections between freestall design and cow lameness as well as optimal housing for cows in transition from dry to milking periods. Nordlund came to the UW School of Veterinary Medicine in 1989 and helped found the Food Animal Production Medicine section in the Department of Medical Sciences.

“If anyone deserves this award, it’s my great colleagues in the food-animal group here at the school; the Wisconsin veterinarians who refer herds to us and help with our teaching programs; and the wonderful farm families who open their dairies to us for field research projects and clinical investigations,” he says.

This is the second year in a row the Expo award has gone to a member of the School of Veterinary Medicine faculty. McGuirk, a professor of large-animal internal medicine and food-animal production medicine, received the honor in 2012. This year she and Nordlund share another award. Bovine Veterinarian magazine has named both of them to their list of 20 influential beef and dairy veterinarians in North America.


Kansas enacts new trichomoniasis regulation
After more than 18 months and more than 36 public meetings with at least 2,000 stakeholders, the Kansas Department of Agriculture Division of Animal Health’s final regulation regarding trichomoniasis (trich) in cattle became effective Oct. 4, 2013.

Trich is a highly contagious venereal disease in cattle that is carried by a bull and transmitted to a cow during breeding. It causes pregnancy loss or abortion in the cow, prolonged calving intervals and high open rates in infected herds, which costs livestock farmers and ranchers valuable income.

The final regulation addresses the change of ownership of bulls within Kansas and import requirements for both bulls and females. The department reviewed public comments and addressed stakeholder concerns in the final rule.

Under the final rule, non-virgin bulls, bulls of unknown virginity status and bulls older than 18 months of age must test negative for trich prior to change of ownership in Kansas. The final rule exempts from testing requirements virgin bulls 24 months of age or younger coming from a herd with an approved trich management plan and bulls moving directly to slaughter or for feeding purposes. Virgin bulls 18 months of age or younger may be imported into Kansas with an owner’s statement that the bulls have not been sexually exposed to breeding-aged females.

The final rule also requires that cows and heifers moving into Kansas must go directly to slaughter or an approved livestock market unless accompanied by a certificate of veterinary inspection (CVI). The CVI must show imported females meet one of seven criteria set out in the revised regulation: have a calf at side, and since parturition, have only been exposed to bulls that are certified negative for trich; are at least 120 days pregnant; are virgin heifers with no sexual exposure to bulls since weaning; have had at least 120 days of sexual isolation; are heifers or cows exposed only to bulls that are certified negative for trich; are purchased for feeding purposes only with no exposure to bulls after entering Kansas; or are moving for the purpose of embryo transfer or other artificial reproduction procedure with no exposure to bulls after entering Kansas.

TAH C adopts traceability, brucellosis rules
The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) adopted rules during the September commission meeting, which went into effect on Oct. 7, 2013.

A new rule on animal-disease traceability intends to establish standards for facilities which must be approved by the TAHC to identify livestock as part of the federal disease-traceability program. The rule specifically establishes the requirements for approved tagging sites. All facilities such as livestock markets receiving certain classes of livestock without official identification must be designated as approved tagging sites or be affiliated with one. Feedyards and slaughter plants receiving adult cattle must also be designated as approved tagging sites if the cattle are not harvested within three days of arrival at the establishment. TAHC and USDA-VS personnel will be meeting with proprietors in the coming weeks to further explain the requirements.

A new rule on brucellosis adds post-entry test requirements for sexually intact cattle entering Texas from the Brucellosis Designated Surveillance Area (DSA) within the states of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, because brucellosis is prevalent in bison and elk in those areas. All sexually intact cattle entering Texas that reside in the DSA must obtain an entry permit and a post-entry test 60 to 120 days after entry, or 30 days after first-calving for heifers. TAHC personnel will perform the testing at no charge to producers.

Breeding cattle that previously resided in the DSA must meet the same entry requirements as those moving directly from the DSA, unless the cattle tested negative at least 60 days after leaving the DSA or 30 days after first-calving for heifers. Breeding bulls and post-parturient female cattle entering Texas from these states are exempt from the post-entry test requirement if the accredited veterinarian issuing the certificate of veterinary inspection (CVI) verifies and includes a statement on the CVI that the cattle never resided in the DSA or have been tested at least 60 days after leaving the DSA. Heifers are exempt from the post-entry test requirement if the accredited veterinarian verifies and states on the CVI that the heifer never resided in the DSA.

“The DSA rule is necessary because Texas fought and ultimately won the long and difficult battle against this disease to gain brucellosis ‘free’ status. Texas must remain vigilant in monitoring for new incursions of brucellosis and protecting our state’s animal agriculture industry from possible threats,” Dr. Dee Ellis, Texas’ state veterinarian, says. “I would also like to clarify that animals from the DSA will not be placed under a rigid quarantine upon arrival to Texas. The rule allows the TAHC to work with Texas producers on an individual basis to accommodate unique management practices. This includes practices that may require cattle to be moved prior to testing or testing at timeframes outside those specified.”


Heifer study sheds light on dry-matter intakes
Predicting the dry-matter intake of dairy heifers is an important part of heifer nutrition programs, but it can be challenging to estimate for a number of reasons.

Recently, University of Wisconsin (UW) researchers collected more than 9,000 heifer-pen dry-matter intakes. The data, collected at the Integrated Dairy Research Facility at UW, shed new light on the dry-matter intakes of heifers under commercial-rearing conditions.

The study involved Holstein and Holstein x Jersey crossbred heifers. The researchers present their findings in a new publication titled “Estimating Dry Matter Intake of Dairy Heifers,” available from UW Extension.

Two notable findings from the study include:

• Heifer dry-matter intake as a percent of bodyweight decreases as bodyweight increases, but the relationship is not a straight line. The researchers illustrate this finding in this two-page publication. They also provide an equation that can be used to estimate the dry-matter intake of dairy heifers as a percent of bodyweight.

• Dry-matter intake is influenced by dietary fiber. During the study, dairy heifers consumed a near-constant 1.0 percent of their bodyweight as neutral detergent fiber (NDF). This finding is important, say the researchers, because heifers consuming low-NDF diets (i.e., corn silage) will eat more feed than heifers consuming high-NDF diets like straw and mature forages.

The publication was authored by Patrick Hoffman and Kimberly Kester of the UW-Madison Department of Dairy Science. Find “Estimating Dry Matter Intake of Dairy Heifers” online at tinyurl.com/l9ycozf.

Cornell professor selected as 2013 winner of Zoetis Cattle Call
Rodrigo Bicalho, DVM, PhD, assistant professor of dairy production medicine at Cornell University, is the recipient of the 2013 Cattle Call grant from Zoetis.

With the $150,000 grant, Dr. Bicalho will evaluate ways to prevent retained placenta and ultimately improve overall uterine health in cattle. “It’s a widespread issue across the industry,” he said. “Retained placenta has a link to immune suppression, can cause a significant amount of economic loss and is an animal-welfare concern, too.”

The Cattle Call research grant program, in its second year, awards funding to support the development of new products and services that help improve the health and productivity of beef and dairy cattle. In 2013, Zoetis asked researchers to submit proposals to address ways to improve cattle reproduction or develop models for managing cattle pain.

Dairy Herd
Network announces Innovation Awards
Ten exciting products recently received recognition in the Dairy Herd Management 2013 Innovation Awards competition.

The 10 winners were chosen from among 47 entries. An independent panel of dairy farmers, agribusiness representatives and university experts evaluated the products for originality, usefulness and value to dairy producers.

In separate voting, readers were asked to pick their favorite in a People’s Choice competition.

“Innovation drives productivity in agriculture and every other business,” says Tom Quaife, editor and associate publisher of Dairy Herd Management. “Innovation in agriculture is more important than ever with the growing world population. In fact, food production will need to increase by 70 percent by the year 2050 in order to keep up.”

This is the third year that Dairy Herd Management has sponsored the Innovation Awards.

In no particular order, the top 10 honorees are:

• Heatime HR-LD from SCR Dairy.

• Apollo Milk System from GEA Farm Technologies.

• MIone Multi-Box Automatic Milking System from GEA Farm Technologies.

• AX51 with Munters Drive from Munters Corporation.

• Immunity+ from Semex.

• Dairy Care365 Training Series from Merck Animal Health. farmBolus from eCow Ltd.

• IDEXX Milk Pregnancy Test from IDEXX.

• Breeding to Feeding from Genex Cooperative and Wulf Cattle.

• Igenity Dairy Heifer Program from Neogen Corporation.

The People’s Choice winner is the IDEXX Milk Pregnancy Test. This inaugural award garnered well over 3,000 votes.

Winners were announced Oct. 1 at the Dairy Herd Management reception at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis.