J UNIVERSITY of
Department of Animal Sciences
Quarterly Newsletter Vol. 6 No. 4 Fall 2006
NATIONAL ANIMAL IDENTIFICATION
SYSTEM (NAIS) AND PREMISES
Dan W. Webb
USDA and the various livestock industry groups
have forged a plan for comprehensive animal
identification known as The National Animal
Identification System (NAIS). This plan when
implemented will replace the old standard series eartag
number system used in DHIA, disease eradication,
health testing and other applications. It would provide
for 24-hour trace back when needed to quickly locate the
source of a disease outbreak such as the foot-and-mouth
situation in England a few years ago. All states have
implemented systems for cattle owners to register their
There are two cornerstones to this NAIS plan, 1.
Premises registration, and 2. Animal identity. The RFID
tags that we have discussed previously are one means to
supply the animal identity. The premises (location of
farm) registration is to be done by each state's respective
Veterinary Division. This registration is very important
to the success of NAIS and is required by the end of next
year. All cattle owners are encouraged to register.
Florida livestock producers can obtain an application for
premises registration at:
http://www.doacs.state.fl.us/ai/pdf/nais app.pdf There
is a similar site in Georgia. All herds are being
encouraged to register their farm's premises.
We think that this new technology along with the
discussions about national Animal ID present a unique
opportunity to develop and expand the use of automatic
ID for management as well as disease inquiry.
Collection of other management data can be automated
to improve effectiveness and efficiency, thus helping
justify the cost of electronic ID. This electronic
identification can reduce labor required for record
keeping and improve accuracy of records.
For more information, contact Dan Webb,
dwwebb(@ufl.edu, (352) 392-5592.
THE "GOLD STANDARD" OR "FOOL'S GOLD"?
David R. Bray
In the farm press and meetings this seems to be the
"buzz word". The problem with gold is that it's
expensive and can turn into lead if not managed
properly. How a dairy is managed depends on many
factors, the first being the goals of management. The 6
"P's of dairy farm management styles:
1. Profit like to make money, profit motivated.
2. Paint likes things, barns, and equipment; he who
has the most toys at the end wins.
3. People like people, managing, training, seeing
4. Pleasure likes cows, golf, and the dairy business.
5. Publicity proud of his operation and likes people to
6. Pride comfortable with his operation, self
There are interactions between these styles, but the idea
here is that people have different reasons for doing
things, and there is no one correct way to run a dairy.
Do only what you can do well to fit your goals. It has
been said that if you followed every recommendation
that came out of a land-grant college, you would go
broke. You must pick and choose what fits your goals.
1. Sand bedding, it is the gold standard if you can
afford to manage it. You must be able to recycle
most of the sand, gravity settling in flush systems, if
not forget it. If not groomed and bedded often,
bacterial numbers will be as high as mud. If you
have mud in stalls, you should not have built the
barn, and Mother Nature can give you that outside
free. Thanks to the SMI Dairy Check Off we have
added a variety of stall surface materials for you to
observe at the Dairy Research Unit come visit us.
2. NOT Florida feed barns, roof over a feed lane and
concrete to stand on. No one should build a new
one. If you can't build a free-stall barn, keep cows
outside with ponds.
3. Four row free-stall barns, provide shade feed and
water and manure management in one area. In the
future probably most cows will live in one. There is
no excuse to build a poor one with lots of good ones
4. Six row free-stall barn, you made the decision to
overcrowd a barn when you built it. Don't over
crowd more, and it will work with excellent
5. Tunnel free-stall barn, the ideal place for a six row
barn, or transition cows if it has fogger cooling. If
cooling is done by sprinklers, there is not a big
advantage. Tunnel barns are expensive to build and
maintain; no fresh air comes in unless by a fan. If
you can't shave and comb your hair in the same day,
you don't want this.
6. Transition cow barn, maybe the best barn value you
can build, especially in the summer. With free stalls
for semi-close ups, pack bedding for calving,
recovery and sick cows. It sure beats calving in a
mud hole in the sun with buzzards as a sentry.
7. Timed AI, these schemes are well thought out and
must be carried out as planned. Much of this work
was done at UF, but if you can't get cows pregnant
because you can't get semen handling done correctly
(which hind pocket do we thaw the straws in?) or
can't get to the cows to breed on time or you think
you or your Booger Boy know a better time to breed
them than Dr. Thatcher, this may not be your answer
to your reproductive problem.
8. 3X milking, in Florida during hot weather this may
not be the cows' best friend. We wear down the feet
on the sand-covered floors, decrease time available
to eat and lay down, and reduce the energy to show
estrus. If you average less than 80 pounds a
cow/day in the summer, I think 3X is a forced
exercise program for your cows. Less exercise
might lead to longer productive life for our cows.
Data out of central California on 2000+ cow herds
show that 12 out of the 18 herds milked 2X.
The six P's of dairy management: Proper
Prevents P--s Poor Performance! Dave
email@example.com, phone (352) 392-5594.
WHAT IS A PREGNANCY WORTH?
Albert de Vries
The objective of this study was to estimate the value
of pregnancy for dairy cows. Effects of the stage of
gestation, stage of lactation, lactation number, milk
yield, milk price, replacement heifer cost, probability of
pregnancy, probability of involuntary culling, and
breeding decisions were studied. A bioeconomic model
was used, and breeding and replacement decisions were
optimized. A general Holstein herd in the United States
was modeled. The average value of a new pregnancy
was $278. The value of a new pregnancy increased with
days in milk early in lactation but typically decreased
later in lactation. Relatively high-producing cows and
first-lactation cows reached greater values, and their
values peaked later in lactation. The average cost of a
pregnancy loss (abortion) was $555. The cost of a
pregnancy loss typically increased with gestation length.
Sensitivity analyses showed that an increased probability
of pregnancy, an increased persistency of milk yield, and
a smaller replacement heifer cost greatly reduced the
average value of a pregnancy. The value of a new
pregnancy was negative for relatively high-producing
first-lactation cows when persistency of lactation and the
probability of pregnancy were increased. Breeding was
delayed when the value of pregnancy was negative.
Changes in milk price, absolute milk yield, and
probability of involuntary culling had less effect on the
value of pregnancy. The value of pregnancy and optimal
breeding decisions for individual cows were greatly
dependent on the predicted daily milk yield for the
remaining period of lactation. An improved
understanding of the value of pregnancy may support
decision making in reproductive management when
resources are limited.
The full paper can be found in Journal of Dairy
Science (2006) 89:3876-3885. A copy is available at
For more information, contact Albert de Vries,
devries(@ufl.edu, (352) 392-7563.
SIXTH MID-ATLANTIC DAIRY GRAZING
CONFERENCE: OCTOBER 31 NOVEMBER 1
The 2006 Mid-Atlantic Dairy Grazing Conference
will provide dairy graziers throughout the Southeast
again with opportunities to learn about the latest grazing
research underway in the Southeast. The conference will
also feature talks and discussions led by successful dairy
graziers from throughout the United States. The two-
day conference will take place in Goldsboro, North
Carolina. The conference presentations kick off at the
Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) at
1:30 PM on Tuesday, October 31. Information on
production, reproduction, breed selection, economics,
parasite control, indicators of health and immune
function, milk flavor differences from pastured cows,
and other topics will be presented throughout the
conference. On Wednesday, November 1, the
conference activities will move to the nearby Wayne
County Agriculture Center in Goldsboro for more
presentations and discussion. Topics including
facilitating smooth dairy farm transitions to the next
generation, management of dairy grazing systems,
organic dairy production, and discussions featuring
experienced dairy graziers from several states. For more
information, contact Dr. Steve Washburn at
steve firstname.lastname@example.org or visit
ECONOMIC COMPARISON OF EXOGENOUS
PROGESTERONE (CIDR) AND TIMED
ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION (OVSYNCH) AS
TREATMENTS FOR OVARIAN CYSTS
Albert de Vries, Bronwyn Crane, Julian Bartolome,
Pedro Melendez, Carlos Risco, and Louis Archbald
The objective of this study was to compare the
economic benefits of timed artificial insemination (AI)
and a progesterone insert as therapeutic treatments for
cows diagnosed with cystic ovarian disease (COD). A
secondary objective was to illustrate the use of a
stochastic dynamic simulation model to fully account for
all changes in revenues and costs affected by differences
in treatments. First, 4 herds of 1,000 cows each were
simulated until steady state. These cows were free from
COD and inseminated based on estrus only. Herds
differed by probability of estrus detection (46 or 70%)
and days in milk (DIM) when
nonpregnant cows were culled (330
or 400 d). Second, 3 herds were
created with 1,000 nonpregnant
cows at 90, 170, or 250 DIM.
These cows were considered
diagnosed with COD at the start of
sert.ut mak, nc. the simulation (d 0); no new cases
Dairy Cheek-Of of COD developed after d 0. Cows
spontaneously recovered or were
treated. Treatments were either timed AI or intravaginal
device containing progesterone followed by PGF2a and
then AI if estrus was detected. Effects of treatments
were evaluated in 48 scenarios based on compliance of
timed AI (82 or 100%), probability of estrus detection
(46 or 70%), and DIM when nonpregnant cows were
culled (330 or 400 d). As cows became pregnant or
were replaced, the herd evolved into the associated
steady state herd. Seven scenarios resulted in less than
50% of cows conceiving before they were culled. The
percentage of cows diagnosed with COD that calved
again ranged from 14.0 to 74.4% and was significantly
reduced when COD was diagnosed later in lactation.
Treatments in all cases were more valuable than waiting
for spontaneous recovery. The average values of timed
AI (82 or 100% compliance) and the progesterone insert
were $83.29, $86.83, and $71.89, respectively,
compared with waiting for spontaneous recovery.
Treatments were least beneficial at 90 DIM. The
benefits of timed AI (82 or 100% compliance) compared
with the progesterone insert, adjusted for DIM and days
to culling, were $14.98 and $21.53 when the probability
of estrus detection was 46%. At 70% probability of
estrus detection, the benefits were $7.81 and $8.34,
respectively. Overall benefit of treatment by timed AI
was $11.39 greater than by progesterone insert.
The full paper can be found in Journal of Dairy
Science (2006) 89:3028-3037. A copy is available at
htt ://www.animal.ufl.edu/devries/nublications html.
For more information, contact
devries(@ufl.edu, (352) 392-7563.
SOUTHEAST DAIRY HERD MANAGEMENT
CONFERENCE: NOVEMBER 14 -15, 2006
The 20th annual Southeast Dairy Management
Conference will be held at the Georgia Farm Bureau
Building in Macon, Georgia on November 14 and 15.
Speakers include Mike Hutjens, Bill Crist, Bennet
Cassell, Mike Overton, Bradley Mills, Steve Nickerson,
Limin Kung, Mike McCormick, Albert de Vries, Dan
Webb, and Tim Quaife. Contact Dr. Lane Ely,
email@example.com, (706) 542-9107 for more information.
2007 DAIRY MEETINGS
The 44th Florida Dairy Production Conference is
scheduled for Tuesday, May 1st, 2007 in Gainesville.
The 4th annual Dairy Road Show is planned to be
held in the Fall of 2007. This is a change from previous
years when the Dairy Road Show was held in February
DR. GEOFFREY DAHL APPOINTED CHAIRMAN
Bovine reproductive endocrinologist Dr. Geoffrey
Dahl has been appointed chairman of the University of
Florida's Department of Animal Sciences effective July
28. Geoff Dahl succeeds Dr. Glen Hembry. As
chairman, Dahl will initially focus his energies on
enhancing the department's teaching, research and
extension programs in beef cattle, dairy cattle and equine
"One of the things that will be
a help to me is, I have experience
in all three mission areas of the
department research, teaching
and extension," Dahl said. "We're
already recognized as one of the
top 10 (animal sciences)
departments in the country, but
there's a real opportunity for us to
be recognized as the best in the
country." Jimmy Cheek, UF senior vice president for
agriculture and natural resources, said he was impressed
by Dahl's experience and vision.
"We believe that through his leadership we will
build on our strengths and achieve even greater
successes in the future," Cheek said. "Dr. Dahl will help
this become one of the best departments in the world."
Dahl is perhaps best known for his work on the effects
of photoperiod the amount of daylight in a 24-hour day
- on milk production, growth and health in dairy cattle.
His other interests include food security, the effect of
milking frequency on lactation, and mastitis.
Prior to his UF appointment, Dahl was a faculty
member with the University of Illinois, Urbana-
Champaign's animal sciences department from 2000 to
mid-2006. From 1994 to 2000 he was a faculty member
with the University of Maryland's animal and avian
sciences department, and also served as the department's
undergraduate coordinator. He began his professional
career as a research fellow with the University of
Michigan's reproductive sciences program, from 1991 to
1994. Dahl received a bachelor's degree in animal
science from the University of Massachusetts in 1985, a
master's degree in dairy science from Virginia
Polytechnic Institute in 1987 and a doctorate in animal
science from Michigan State University in 1991.
SUPPORT FOR ANIMAL SCIENCES
Editor's note: the following is a letter from Dr. Jimmy Cheek,
UF/IFAS Senior Vice President for Agriculture and Natural
Resources, to Dr. Hal Phillips, president of the Florida
Cattlemen's Association. The letter was published in The
Florida Cattleman, September 2006.
August 9, 2006
I appreciate your letter of July 1, 2006, our recent
conversation at the CARES meeting, and our lunch
meeting on August 4th with Woody Larson and Larry
Arrington. Your interest in and support of IFAS and its
programs, particularly those related to the animal
sciences is also appreciated.
First, let me assure you of IFAS' and my personal
commitment to making the Animal Sciences programs at
the University of Florida one of the premier programs in
the nation. It should be one that serves the research and
educational needs of the animal industries of Florida,
while building a strong national reputation of excellence.
In order to accomplish this vision, additional resources
must be added to our animal science programs over the
next several years and there must be a renewed
commitment from all parties interested in accomplishing
this objective. The questions are, how do we get there
and what commitments do we currently have in place to
make progress on the goal?
The animal industries in Florida are very important
to the economy and the environment of this state. IFAS
has an important role in helping to maintain and enhance
their economic and environmental sustainability and we
are fully committed to that mission.
We have just conducted a national search for the
chair of the Animal Sciences Department. Individuals
representing the animal industries were fully engaged in
this process. I am pleased to report that we have hired Dr.
Geoffrey Dahl based on extraordinary support of the
search and screen committee and extraordinarily strong
support of the faculty, industry representatives, and
administrators. This appointment is an important first
We have also released two positions to the
department for immediate filling. These were vacated
by Tim Marshall and James Umphrey. In addition, we
will release two additional faculty positions in this fiscal
year and two additional faculty have recently been
added to the department. As retirements occur in the
next 3 years, they will be reallocated back to the
department for re-filling.
With full support of the Florida Cattlemen's Executive
Committee, we will develop an IFAS Legislative Budget
Request for the animal sciences during the next 10
months for the 2008 legislative session. This initiative
will identify critical needs and essential faculty and other
resources that are needed to strengthen our capacity to
serve the animal industries. Planning for this LBR will
be done in conjunction with representatives of the
Florida Cattlemen's Association, and representatives of
the dairy and equine industries. A meeting is currently
being planned for September 18th at the Florida
Cattleman's Association headquarters. During the 2008
legislative session your support will be critical in
drafting and getting this initiative funded.
Recently, we have received significant private gifts
for the department. For example, the dairy science
building was recently named for Red Larson and an
endowment has been established to support research and
educational programs in dairy science. Others gifts are
currently being discussed and will be forthcoming.
The department and our faculty at Research and
Education Centers are in the beginning stages of
formulating a strategic plan for the animal sciences.
Hal, this is our current plan to significantly
strengthen the animal sciences department. It is
ambitious, but achievable. I look forward to working
with you and all those involved in the animal industries
in Florida to help strengthen our programs and be more
responsive to industry needs.
Jimmy G. Cheek Senior Vice President
Dairy Update is published quarterly by the Department of Animal Sciences, University of Florida, as an educational and informational service. Please address any
questions or comments to Albert de Vries, Editor, Dairy Update, PO Box 110910, Gainesville, FL 32611-0910. Phone: (352) 392-7563. E-mail: devries(iufl.edu.
Past issues are posted on the UF/IFAS Florida Dairy Extension website: http://dairv.ifas.ufl.edu. This issue was published on October 11, 2006.