Title: Dairy update
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Title: Dairy update
Series Title: Dairy update
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Creator: Institute of Food and Agricultural Science
Publisher: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Science
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: Fall 2002
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Bibliographic ID: UF00087054
Volume ID: VID00002
Source Institution: University of Florida
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Institute o
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UNIVERSITY OF Update

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f Food and Agricultural Sciences
nent of Animal Sciences


Quarterly Newsletter


Fall 2002


WHAT HAVE WE DONE FOR YOU LATELY?
BEHIND THE SCENES

Mary Beth Hall

There are many projects and programs that we do to meet the needs of the Florida dairy industry. Some are
funded by the Milk Check-Off, others funded with funds from other sources, and others, with your tax dollars.
Two newly funded projects focused on Florida Dairy issues include sorting out if the protein in our tropical
forages is more or less available to the animal than those in temperate forages ($90,300 over 3 years from the T-
STAR granting agency); this could change how we supplement cattle when tropical forages are used. Another
research project in collaboration with Soil and Water Science addresses the question of why phosphorous in
manure moves differently in soils than does fertilizer phosphorous ($586,000, 5 years, NRI). Farms need this
information to decide what needs to be done to address nutrient movement on farms.


IT'S TIME TO TUNE UP THE SNOWMOBILE

David R. Bray

The nice thing about Florida is that we don't have to worry about this subject. This also means that what
happens "up north" does not always apply here. There is new evidence that sprinkling cows more often is the
way to go.
If we think about how evaporative cooling works, we wet the cows to the skin, shut off the water and let
fans dry-off the water taking the heat with it. In Florida it takes about 15 minutes to do this. In climates with
low humidity they dry-off much quicker, hence you can cool cows better the more you wet and dry them.
We tried these short cycles about 10 years ago, never got any change, because we could not dry-off the
cows faster in this humidity.






What can we do to speed up our cooling? Move to Kansas or increase airflow to help evaporate the water
off the cow. A slightly dirty fan will cause a 45% decrease in airflow, thus making cooling even slower. We all
know that heat stress causes lower milk production, digestive upsets, poor reproduction and more mastitis.
How can we improve these problems?
1. Hire a fancy nutritionist, one who sells lots of minerals and stuff to combat heat stress.
2. Buy lots of drugs to off set reproduction problems, increase conception rates from 6% to 10% for a million
dollars.
3. Buy more drugs to treat mastitis, maybe sample cows more often, repeated sampling will really help cow
mastitis,
Or we could:
1. Clean out fans once a month unless you are a total screw up you can clean them with a pressure washer in
a shorter period of time. The fan that don't work, don't get real dirty. You might want to fix them.
2. Look at you cows and see how long it takes to get them wet and adjust the timer to that time, each barn may
need to be observed, due to water supply, pressure, nozzle size etc.
3. Look at your cows and see how long it takes to dry them off and adjust your timer.
4. Have a thermostat control the water cycle in each barn, set between 75-78 degrees F to activate, each barn
may be different settings due to its location, roof height, this means on hot nights the sprinklers need to run.
5. Run fans day and night or use a thermostat set at 65-70 degrees F to turn them on Dairy cows ideal climate
is 55 degrees F. During the day fans do not cool the cows, they evaporate the sprinkler water and cool the cow,
at night the difference between the outside temperature and the cows temperature may be great enough to cool
the cow, and those hot muggy nights you still need the sprinklers to run.
6. Mow your pastures before the careless weed start to scratch the cow's ears.
Park a snowmobile outside the parlor, maybe the imported cows from the "north" will "think winter" and give
more milk and get pregnant.











THE DAIRY INDUSTRIES NEXT GREAT CHALLENGE:
ANIMAL WELFARE
Roger P Natzke

Over the past 20 years the dairy industry has struggled with the challenge of meeting all of the
environmental regulations. The challenge continues as new stricter regulations are put in place. And just about
the time we have that aspect under control the next challenge is about to rear it's ugly head. Animal welfare will
indeed be the next big challenge.
Over the past few months we have witnessed the fast food restaurants introducing restrictions on the
producers of the poultry and eggs that are sold. Cage sizes, de-beaking and molting will now be regulated. A
new initiative will be on the Florida ballot this fall to outlaw the use of farrowing crates in swine production.
Where is this all coming from? Well, you have an interesting situation with two groups of people with
different goals getting together. On the one hand you have the people who love animals and have trouble
accepting some of the management practices currently applied on farms. The other group is the animal rights
activists. The first group wants to change some management practices to reduce pain and to have a more
The Florida Dairy Update newsletter is published on a quarterly basis by the University of Florida, Department of Animal Sciences as
an educational and informational service. Please address any questions comments or suggestions to Mary Beth Hall, Editor, Dairy
SUpdate, PO Box 110910, Gainesville, FL 32611-0910. Ph: (352)392-1958.
^,






humane existence for farm animals. However, animal rights activists have a simple goal- eliminate the use of all
domesticated animals. Each group recognizes that they must get public sympathy on their side in order to cause
the changes, which they seek.
So why have they selected the swine industry in Florida? Recently someone was quoted, as saying there are
less than 5 swine producers in the state that use crates. The answer is simple; with the limited number of
producers in the state they can expect limited resistance. The grand scheme then is to use the victory in Florida
to gain similar public support in other states.
If animal rights activists want to eliminate all domesticated animals then why are they willing to fight to
simply eliminate swine farrowing crates? Again it goes back to the concept that they must gain public support.
At this point they know they would not be successful with a plan that called for the elimination of all swine
operations. They are willing to go about their business one step at a time.
So what does this have to do with dairy producers? After all they are not attacking our industry. The answer
is simple; they will not stop with a victory with the swine industry. An effort is already underway to force
supermarkets to only accept milk from producers that produce milk according to guidelines, which are
acceptable to the activists. It is safe to assume that in the near future dairy farms will be forced by the
supermarkets to be inspected regularly to demonstrate that the animals are being managed according to an
accepted set of guidelines. With that ahead of the industry, a couple of approaches, need to be considered.
The first is one that the Animal Agriculture Coalition is currently involved in. That is to assemble a group
of scientists to develop guidelines for animal care, which can be supported by science. The charge to the writers
is to examine all of our management practices and determine if any of them cause pain and suffering. If pain is
caused they must determined if there is a long-term benefit. If there are benefits then they must look for ways to
reduce the pain or find an alternative practice. As an example it has been shown that dehorning causes pain but
at the same time is of benefit to the animal because it reduces injuries. Thus the practice will be acceptable but it
will be necessary to carry out the procedure at a young age. In this case the use of anesthesia should be
considered. Our writing group should have that set of guidelines available by the end of August 2002.
The second approach is for the dairy industry to do a self-analysis and determine which practices need to be
changed to make them acceptable to a non-farm reared audience. This is very difficult for us (those of us who
were raised with animals) because we tend to accept what has been done in the past as the norm and thus we
assume that it is OK. That may be OK for you and I but it will not be acceptable to those people who grew up
with Disney cartoons that give human personalities to animals. While we may be convinced that their
perception is wrong, they are the ones who will vote on the ballot initiatives.
So what can we do to convince the public that we have the best interest on the animals in mind and that we
do not accept cruelty to animals as a way of life? Here are just a few items. Animals should never be deprived
of feed and water nor denied accessibility to shade as protection from the Florida sun. Do we provide bull
calves and downer animals with these minimal needs? Euthanasia: do we know and follow the correct
techniques? Dehorning, do we do it at a very young age? Housing, do we provide facilities that minimize
slipping, injury and disease? Do cows have clean relatively dry places to lie down?
We are very fortunate that the number of animal rights activists is small enough so that they will not be able to
get animal welfare laws passed on their own. Thus if the dairy industry can adopt management practices that
are acceptable to the other animal lovers that are currently supporting the animal rights people in the farrowing
crate initiative, then we can be effective in preventing the establishment of laws that will prevent us from
handling dairy animals efficiently.








The Florida Dairy Update newsletter is published on a quarterly basis by the University of Florida, Department of Animal Sciences as
an educational and informational service. Please address any questions comments or suggestions to Mary Beth Hall, Editor, Dairy
Update, PO Box 110910, Gainesville, FL 32611-0910. Ph: (352)392-1958.






UPDATE ON USE OF TIMED EMBRYO TRANSFER TO IMPROVE PREGNANCY RATES
DURING THE SUMMER

Pete Hansen, Jeremy Block and Maarten Drost
Dept. of Animal Sciences and Dept. of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, University of Florida

For cows exposed to heat stress, pregnancy rates to embryo transfer are often higher than following AI
because effects of heat stress on the oocyte and early embryo are bypassed. Several problems must be
overcome to make the use of embryo transfer an economical alternative for getting cows pregnant in the
summer. Limitations include costs of embryo production, effects of heat stress on estrus detection, and less-
than-optimal pregnancy rates. In vitro fertilization using oocytes recovered from slaughterhouse ovaries
represents an inexpensive method for embryo production but altered sex ratio and birth size can be a problem
when embryos are produced in this way. Effects of heat stress on estrus detection can be bypassed by using the
Ovsynch procedure to synchronize ovulation sufficiently to allow embryo transfer without detection of estrus.
This procedure, which is analogous to timed AI, is called timed embryo transfer (TET).
An experiment was conducted between June and September, 2001 to determine if pregnancy rate following
TET could be improved by 1) treating embryos before transfer with a hormone called IGF-1 that has been
reported to enhance embryonic development and 2) treating recipients with GnRH to enhance the ability of the
embryo to establish pregnancy. Embryos were produced by in vitro fertilization and were cultured in medium
in the presence or absence of IGF-1. Embryos were transferred to a total of 210 lactating Holstein cows
subjected to the OvSynch protocol. Recipients randomly received either GnRH (Cystorelin7, 100 Gg) or placebo
on day 11 after presumed day of estrus (i.e., 4 days after transfer). Pregnancy was diagnosed 8 weeks after
transfer and the number of calves born was also determined.
Recipients which received IGF-1 treated embryos had higher pregnancy rates at pregnancy diagnosis than
controls. The pregnancy rate for all cows was 22.7% for IGF-1 treated embryos (28 of 123 cows receiving
embryos were pregnant) vs. 10.3% for control embryos (9 of 87 cows). Including only those cows in which the
OvSynch worked successfully (i.e., cows with low progesterone on the day of expected estrus and high
progesterone on the day of transfer), pregnancy rates were 25.7% for IGF-1 treated embryos (28 of 109 cows)
and 11.1% (9 of 81 cows).
Of the 37 cows pregnant at day 54, a total of 9 lost their pregnancy before birth (24%) and 2 calves were
born dead. The proportion of cows receiving embryos that gave birth to live calves remained higher for IGF-1
embryos (13.8% for IGF-1 vs 6.9% for controls for all cows and 15.6% vs 7.4% for cows responding to
Ovsynch). Treatment with GnRH also tended to improve pregnancy rate and live birth rate but the effect was
not statistically significant. Overall, the proportion of cows receiving an embryo that gave birth to a live calf
was 16.1% for GnRH-treated recipients and 8.5% for control recipients. The average birth weight of the calves
was 98 lb for control embryos and 93 lb for IGF-1 treated embryos. A total of 64.3% of the calves born were
males.
Results of this experiment indicate that pregnancy rate following embryo transfer in the summer can be
improved by treatment of embryos with IGF-1 before transfer. Further work is needed to determine whether
GnRH treatment might also be an effective treatment for increasing pregnancy rate. Problems of a high rate of
fetal death loss, large calf size, and skewed sex ratio need to be solved to enhance the effectiveness of embryo
transfer using IVF-derived embryos in the summer.with more details in the coming weeks.








The Florida Dairy Update newsletter is published on a quarterly basis by the University of Florida, Department of Animal Sciences as
an educational and informational service. Please address any questions comments or suggestions to Mary Beth Hall, Editor, Dairy
Update, PO Box 110910, Gainesville, FL 32611-0910. Ph: (352)392-1958.





















Two of the heifer calves born
following timed embryo
transfer in the summer. Shown
(1-r) are Maarten Drost, Jeremy
Block, and Pete Hansen.

Embryo transfer (cont'd)
proportion of cows receiving
embryos that gave birth to live
calves remained higher for IGF-1
embryos (13.8% for IGF-1 vs
6.9% for controls for all cows and
15.6% vs 7.4% for cows
responding to Ovsynch).
Treatment with GnRH also tended
to improve pregnancy rate and
live birth rate but the effect was
not statistically significant.
Overall, the proportion of cows
receiving an embryo that gave
birth to a live calf was 16.1% for
GnRH-treated recipients and
8.5% for control recipients. The
average birth weight of the calves
was 98 lb for control embryos and
93 lb for IGF-1 treated embryos.
A total of 64.3% of the calves
born were males.
Results of this experiment
indicate that pregnancy rate
following embryo transfer in the
summer can be improved by
treatment of embryos with IGF-1
before transfer. Further work is
needed to determine whether


GnRH treatment might also be an
effective treatment for increasing
pregnancy rate. Problems of a
high rate of fetal death loss, large
calf size, and skewed sex ratio
need to be solved to enhance the
effectiveness of embryo transfer
using IVF-derived embryos in the
summer.with more details in the
coming weeks.


SIEVING GROUND CORN:
SO YOUR COWS USE WHAT
YOU FEED

Mary Beth Hall

Do you really want to feed
something that is going to make
manure rather than milk? There's
been information out for some
time that the finer that corn is
ground, the better the cow will be
able to digest and use it to support
production. The coarser the corn
is ground, the more undigested
corn you see in the manure. A
small amount of undigested
ground grain in the manure might
not be much of a concern, but an
appreciable amount can represent
a waste of feed dollars. Dr. Mike
Hutjens of Illinois has been
recommending sieving corn meal
to decide if it's the right particle
size. Using official USA
Standard Testing Sieves, you can
get an estimate of how finely the


corn is ground. The sieves used
are #4 (0.187 inch mesh opening),
#8 (0.0937"), #16 (0.0469"), #30
(0.0234") and the pan to catch
material that passes through all
the sieves. The # 4 sieve retains
kernels that are about 14 kernel or
larger. The #8 sieve retains very
coarsely ground corn. Ideally,
little to no corn will be held on
the #4 or 8 sieves. That said, you
have to make sure you have
enough forage in the ration to
keep the animals ruminating and
healthy if the finely ground corn
is fed. (You can evaluate the
proportion of corn on the other
sieves, but I'm not sure how to
properly interpret the
information.)
Your options:
1) Sieve the corn to get an
objective number to describe
the feed, and work with your
supplier to get the corn
ground to a particle size your
cows can use well in a ration
containing enough fiber to
keep them healthy.
2) Feed coarsely ground corn
that passes into the manure,
but is less likely to cause
acidosis problems, because it
doesn't get digested.
Number 1 is the best use of your
feed dollars and space in the
ration. Always check with your
cows to see what you need to
consider doing. Sieves are
available from Fisher Scientific
and other suppliers.


The Florida Dairy Update newsletter is published on a quarterly basis by the University of Florida, Department of Animal Sciences as
an educational and informational service. Please address any questions comments or suggestions to Mary Beth Hall, Editor, Dairy
Update, PO Box 110910, Gainesville, FL 32611-0910. Ph: (352)392-1958.




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