Latest News From Dairy Nutrition

Could Feeding Bile Acids Provide a Better Pathway for Transition Success?

Supplementing early lactation dairy cow diets with bile acids could provide a pathway to suppressing fatty liver and ketosis, and ultimately boosting milk production and profitability.

NASEM Addresses Dairy Feed Additives

Feed additives can be included in dairy cattle diets for a variety of reasons. However, feed additives should not be considered a cornerstone to any farm feeding program.

Probiotics Improve Early Weight Gain in an Automated Milk Feeder Study

Could probiotics improve early calf growth? Researchers think so.

Here’s Why Cows Produce Less Colostrum During the Fall and Winter

Have you ever noticed that cows who calve during the fall and winter months tend to produce less colostrum than their herd mates who calved during the spring and summer? Here's why.

More Milk Could Mean Faster Healing for Young Calves

It has been well-documented that feeding preweaned calves on a higher plane of nutrition improves calf health and performance. However, providing calves more nutrients may also promote wound healing.

HBS Avoidance Strategies

Sometimes called “sudden death syndrome” or “bloody gut,” Hemorrhagic Bowel Syndrome is characterized by dark, tarry, and sometimes bright red, bloody feces; dehydration; and decreased feed intake.

5 Steps to Prevent Inflammation in Transition Cows

Inflammation creates additional stress at calving.

Transition Cows: It’s Tough Being the New Kid

The transition period, 3 weeks before and after calving, is challenging for all cows. But for first-calf heifers, it’s likely the scariest and most stressful time in their young lives.

The Beauty of Butyrate

When it comes to the products of rumen fermentation, butyrate is a beneficial amino acid superstar.

Helping Calves Eat Naturally

In our quest for healthy, growthy, efficiently raised calves, have we lost some of the more fundamental elements of what makes calves tick?

How Much Can a Probiotic Really Do?

Creating a herd where all the individuals are healthy and normal increases your chances of economic success.

Thermodynamics of Rumen VFA Studied

Researchers at Virginia Tech University have investigated what effects infusing extra acetate or propionate, or lowering the pH, would have on thermodynamics of VFA in the rumen.

Researchers Explore Risks of Feeding Waste Milk

Feeding waste milk to calves captures high-quality nutrients and adds value to a product that otherwise would be discarded. But recent research sheds light on concerns about the practice.

Calves Can Be Picky About Trace Minerals

Trace minerals are important to calves’ development, but these nutritional components can vary in source. It turns out some trace minerals are more palatable than others, resulting in differences in consumption.

Pour Hydration to Heat-stressed Calves

Extra water – along with a possible electrolyte boost -- is never more important than in the heat of summer.

Feeding Behavior Can Signal Issues with Feed Quality, Management

Paying attention to feed-bunk behaviors can alert dairy producers to issues with diet, feed management or delivery that impact health and performance.

How to Mimic the Perks of Transition Milk

We now know the beneficial influence of feeding transition milk to calves. Is there a way to deliver that nutritional and immunological support and bypass the tedious process of harvesting and feeding transition milk?

The 411 on Festulolium

Its name sounds like something that belongs in the pages of a Dr. Seuss book. But festulolium actually is a highly useful hybrid forage grass – the result of a cross between fescue grass and ryegrass.

7 Steps to Start Calves on Starter

The sooner calves eat enough dry feed to sustain themselves, the better equipped they are to bridge the nutritional gap between the fixed liquid ration and a weaned diet of solely dry feeds.

“Hybrid” Approach Helps Maximize Colostrum Quality

Maternal colostrum is often considered nature’s “perfect food.” But does this “free” resource help calves achieve passive immunity as reliably as the guaranteed ingredients in a bag of colostrum replacer?

5 Ways To Address Heat Stress And Keep Cows Cool

Keep an eye on water intake and feedstuffs. Avoid vaccinations when heat levels are high. Address the environment for management steps you can take to improve cow comfort.

Give Dairy Calves a Toothpick

Young animals often benefit from stemmy, lower quality forages. WIth regard to nutrition, this may seem counterintuitive but research indicates that's the case.

Sole Ulcers: Don’t Blame the Ration

A high incidence of sole ulcers in a dairy herd is probably not the fault of the ration.

Essential Oils Earn a Seat at the Calf Management Table

In the quest to find alternatives to antibiotics to fight disease in dairy calves, essential oils are the subject of a growing body of calf health research.

Foolproof Colostrum Protocols Makes all the Difference

A protocol overhaul helped the team at Singing Brook Farms, Imler, Pa., up their game in colostrum delivery. Two of their key managers share how they now seamlessly deliver high-quality colostrum to every newborn calf.

Bottle Beats the Bucket in Providing Winter Water

Providing free choice water to newborn calves has been shown to deliver a wide array of benefits in terms of calf health and performance. But it’s also a huge challenge for some farms in the winter.

Consistent Cow Routines Depend on the Right Mix

TMR consistency and composition are important to efficient and reliable nutrient delivery in lactating cow rations. But the impact of those factors actually can span much further.

Slug-feeding Starter May Create Bad Habits for Life

Habits formed early in life – whether good or bad – often carry through to adulthood. Like little children, calves, too, need to be trained on positive behaviors, including the way they eat.

Could Autofeeders Help Detect Calf Disease?

More and more farms have made the switch from feeding calves individually to group autofed systems. However, disease detection in group-housed calves remains a challenge. Could autofeeders help detect sick calves?

The 411 on Anti-caking Agents

Anti-caking agents make the pellet manufacturing process easier, and can help prevent ground feeds from doming, bridging, and sticking to equipment.

Diet Considerations to Prevent Displaced Abomasa

Incidence rates for displaced abomasum (DA) range from 1% to 6%, and up to 90% of DA's happen within the first 30 days in milk.

Feedipedia – The Global Animal Feed Resource

As feed prices currently challenge U.S. livestock producers, Feedipedia can be a resource for incorporating non-traditional feedstuffs into innovative rations.

The Liver Functionality Index: A Measure of Transition-cow Health

The intricacies of transition-cow nutrition and its role in lactation success may be made a bit easier with the Liver Functionality Index.

Rumens Might Hold the Keys to Plastic Recycling

The rumen may be taking center stage in digesting another global challenge: plastics

How Methionine Supports Reproductive Success

“The more we understand about how specific nutrition components influence health and performance responses, the more we can support cows in their production cycles.”

Bodyweight at First Calving: How Critical Is It?

Growing the ideal heifer is an ever-changing goal. A research team from Penn State University and the University of Florida recently explored the impact of bodyweight at first calving on milk yield and herd longevity.

Wanted: Ruminant Nutritionists

It’s currently a seller’s market for qualified ruminant nutritionists, especially in the dairy industry.

Mycotoxins Threaten Calves and Heifers, Too

They’re a danger to milk cows, to be sure. But mycotoxins in feedstuffs also can be damaging to the health and development of calves and heifers.

Don’t Lose Another Cow to Hemorrhagic Bowel Syndrome

A highly fatal intestinal disease of adult cows, Hemorrhagic Bowel Syndrome (HBS), draws concerns from dairy producers, veterinarians and nutritionists, as it is also known as the sudden death disease of dairy cattle.

The Pros and Cons of Using a Colostrum Replacer

Prepackaged colostrum replacers are an easy way to quickly feed colostrum to a newborn calf. However, while they do come with many benefits, there are a few potential negative aspects of utilizing this nutritional tool.

The Relationship Between Sugar and Milk Protein

Most research recommends 5-7% sugar as an upper limit. However, cows can certainly handle lots of sugar in the diet.

Research Shows Rumen Additives and Controlled Energy Can Benefit Cows During Dry Period

New Research from the University of Illinois finds that diets containing consistent energy levels and a rumen supplement during dry periods may be key, rather than a gradual increase method.

Preparation for meal time on a California dairy.
High-Protein Starter Improves Dairy Calf Weight Gain, Reduces Slumps At Weaning

A high level of crude protein helps support development of the gastrointestinal system, especially important as calves go through the weaning process.

Researchers at the Ohio State recently completed a study evaluating how dietary protein and amino acid supplementation influenced milk production during the first three to four weeks of lactation.
Here’s the Benefit of Feeding a High Protein Diet During Early Lactation

Researchers at the Ohio State recently completed a study evaluating how dietary protein and amino acid supplementation influenced milk production during the first three to four weeks of lactation.

Whether or not to feed hay to preweaned dairy calves is a longstanding debate, without an absolute answer.
The Pros and Cons of Feeding Hay Early

Whether or not to feed hay to preweaned dairy calves is a longstanding debate, without an absolute answer.

Cows affected by SCH tend to consume less feed and produce less milk.
Subclinical Hypocalcemia Costs $125 Per Affected Cow. Here Are 4 Steps To Prevent It.

SCH cows don’t display traditional signs of hypocalcemia, such as lethargy and cold ears. Instead, they are likely to consume less feed and produce less milk, both of which impact productivity and profitability.

Holstein with newborn calf.
A Pound Of Prevention For Hypocalcemia

Prevention is a key component to addressing the issue of hypocalcemia, including the subclinical stage.

New Study Supports Value of Feeding Transition Milk

The common industry practice of feeding first-day colostrum and then switching calves directly to whole milk or milk replacer may be under review.

“Kelly is dumping roughly 35,000 lb. per day,” Johnson says. “That amount was determined by logistics, but it turns out to be a good amount for us to be able to feed, so we’re able to offset those losses by feeding the dumped milk back to the cows.” 
A Farmer and Her Nutritionist’s Experience Feeding Dump Milk to Cows

When New York farmer Kelly Hendrickson was told she would have to start dumping milk, her milk inspector planted a seed in her mind.

An esophageal tube feeder can be a lifeline for young calves, delivering colostrum, milk or electrolytes when they are unable to suckle a bottle. But incorrect use of these feeders can be dangerous or even deadly. The University of Wisconsin Dairy Extension team shares advice on the best methods for using tube feeders.
Calf Tube Feeding Done Right

An esophageal tube feeder can be a lifeline for young calves, delivering colostrum, milk or electrolytes when they are unable to suckle a bottle. But incorrect use of these feeders can be dangerous or even deadly.