Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS)
Department of Animal Sciences
Quarterly Newsletter Vol. 7 No. 4 Fall 2007
HAPPY HALLOWEEN OR HALLOWEEN
David R. Bray
This is the nice time of the year in Florida. The heat
and humidity of the summer season are reduced, there is
less rain (except we could probably use more), it's time
to start thinking about getting cows pregnant, lowering
your somatic cell counts, and getting harder thicker soles
on your cows because your floors should be drier now
because sprinkler usage will be much less.
Happy Halloween is when you went through the
summer with fewer deaths, less mastitis, good foot
health and even getting some cows bred along with
keeping milk production higher than previous summers
and having a high milk price. Those of you who had the
good luck, also already had good management practices
While this was a dry summer, it was still hot.
August was the hottest August in history but most of you
did very well. The hurricanes of past years caused
millions of dollars of improvements in the dairy
industry; new free stall barns, great stalls, recycled clean
sand bedding, new cow cooling features and a bunch of
young smart hardworking dairymen to keep the dairy
industry moving ahead. Many of the older dairies have
improved their facilities also and kept management on
top of the situation.
Happy Halloween hints from those of you that:
1. Had your cow cooling system ready before summer.
2. Had your milking procedures in place to milk clean
dry udders and detected clinical mastitis, culled your
chronic cows before summer.
3. Had you calving areas clean and new dirt in place,
cleaned and replaced it with new dirt in mud holes in
4. Removed the old wet material in the back of your
free stalls, and added new sand, had plenty of clean
sand for bedding cows all summer.
5. Pasteurized pot milk for calves to keep the
mycoplasma out of your calves.
6. Adjusted your sprinkler timers to prevent excess
water usage and keep drier feet.
Halloween Horrors usually will occur when you did
not do the handy hints above and your cow deaths were
high, mastitis was high and cell counts were high along
with it, milk production was low, you didn't get many
cows bred and the summer sucked.
How to prevent from becoming a Thanksgiving
1. While it's dry, clean out your mud holes in calving
areas and add new dirt.
2. If you have free stall barns, clean out the back of the
stalls, repair broken loops.
3. Review your training procedures with your
employees if desired. It's also a good time to
change procedures on a dairy, milking procedures or
changing to another teat dip. Barrier dips are
probably not needed this time of year. Things work
better in cooler weather.
4. Change breeding schemes, there is always a new
"timed A.I." protocol to try.
5. Buy a new refrigerator to store all the hormones
needed for # 4 above.
6. Buy a new semen thawing device. If yours is old, at
least check the temperature.
7. Go through the herd and band all blind quarters.
8. Mow the weeds in the pastures.
9. Buy a new shotgun.
10. Buy your wife a nice fall bouquet.
Contact Dave Bray at mailto:email@example.com or call
A PROFITABLE QUICK REMINDER
At $20/cwt, a cow only has to
produce 15 pounds per day to justify
milking her when the difference in her
cost per day in the dry lot and milking Ml031C ?
herd is $3.00. If the difference is $2.00
per day, 10 pounds per day will recover
the $2.00 cost associated with keeping
her in the milk herd [101b milk x 20
cents/lb= $2.00]. Manage your cows for
a 40 to 45 day dry period and continue to
milk a cow until her milk yield drops
below that needed to recover the cost of
her being in the milk herd or parlor o
pressure pushes her out in favor of a
more profitable cow.
UPCOMING DAIRY MEETINGS
* The 2007 Convention of the Dairy Cattle
Reproduction Council (DCRC) is planned for
November 2-3, 2007 in Denver, CO. The Council
consists of a wide array of dairy industry
professionals researchers and consultants,
practitioners and producers engaged in a
collaborative effort to take cattle reproduction
technology to the next level. The 2007 program is
found on http://www.dcrcouncil.org/DCRC2007/
and includes many topics relevant for Florida dairy
producers. For more information, contact W.W.
Thatcher at thatcher(@ufl.edu.
* A Master Hoof Care Technician Program English
course is planned for November 28 December 1,
2007. For further information about the program,
please visit http://lacs.vetmed.ufl.edu/MasterHoofCare/
or contact: Dr. Jan K. Shearer, (Dairy Extension
Veterinarian) or Leslie Shearer (Veterinary
Extension Dairy Program Coordinator) at (352) 392-
2212, 1 ext. 4112 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* The 34th Southern Dairy Conference is
planned for January 30-31, 2008, in Atlanta,
GA. The Southern Dairy Conference focuses on
milk marketing issues in the South.
* The 4th Florida and Georgia Dairy Road Show is
tentatively scheduled for March 4-7, 2008.
Locations are probably Okeechobee, Mayo, Madison
or Eaton (GA) and Tifton (GA). Goal is again to
bring practical information about dairy reproduction,
feeding management, cow comfort, facilities, and
health. For more information, contact Brent
Broaddus (broaddusufl.edu, (813) 744-5519 ext
132), Albert De Vries (email@example.com, (352) 392-
5594), or John Bernard (jbemard(uga.edu, (229)
* The 45th Florida Dairy Production Conference is
scheduled for Tuesday April 29, 2008. Location
will again be the Hilton University of Florida
Conference Center in Gainesville, FL. For more
information, contact Albert De Vries,
devries(@ufl.edu, (352) 392-5594.
SOUTHEAST DAIRY MANAGEMENT
The 2007 Southeast Dairy Herd Management
Conference will be held at the Georgia Farm Bureau
Building in Macon, GA (1620 Bass Road, Exit 172 off I-
75) on Tuesday, November 6 and Wednesday
November 7. Advanced registration is not required.
* Trends in Dairy Production for Southeast DHIA
Herds Dr. Dan Webb University of Florida
* Estrous Synchronization and Timed AI- How Much
Does It Cost Per Pregnancy? Dr. Steve Washbum -
North Carolina State University
* Health and Milk Production Responses To Water
Soluble Vitamins Dr. William Weiss Ohio State
* Optimizing Use of Forage and Non forage Fiber
Sources When Corn is Expensive Dr. Rick Grant -
W. H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute
* Defining a Metabolic Shift that Accompanies the
Onset of Heat Stress in Dairy Cattle Dr. Robert
Rhoads, Jr., University of Arizona
* Rethinking Nutritional Management during the Dry
Period and Transition Dr. James Drackley -
University of Illinois
Wednesday, November 7 (9:00 am)
* Observations of Seasonal Pastured Based Dairy
Production Dr. Steve Washbum North Carolina
* Enhanced Early Nutrition for Milk-fed Calves: What
Can We Expect? Dr. James Drackley University
* Using Diet Formulation to Reduce Manure and
Manure Nutrient Excretion by Dairy Cows Dr.
William Weiss-Ohio State University
* Effect of Heat Stress on Rumen Health and Post
Absorptive Metabolism in Dairy Cattle Dr. Robert
Rhoads, Jr. University of Arizona
* Cows Under Pressure: Recent Research on Stocking
Density, Cow Behavior and Productivity Dr. Rick
Grant- W. H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute
* Let there be light: Photoperiod Management of
Dairy Cattle Dr. Geoff Dahl University of
For Conference information or requests for brochures
contact Dr. Lane O. Ely, University of Georgia, (706)
542-9107), or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Ann C. Wilkie
The AgSTAR Program is a voluntary effort jointly
sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S.
Department of Energy. The program encourages the use
of methane recovery biogass) technologies at confined
animal feeding operations (CAFOs) that manage manure
as liquids or slurries. These technologies produce energy
and reduce methane emissions while achieving other
Tuesday, November 6 (1:00 pm)
environmental benefits. For additional information
about the AgSTAR Program, visit the website at:
The AgSTAR Program will hold its annual two-day
conference at the Sacramento Convention Center, in
Sacramento, California, on November 27-28, 2007.
This conference is recommended for livestock producers
and others interested or involved in the design,
financing, operation, or regulatory oversight of animal
waste management systems or in the development of
alternative sources of energy.
This year's conference will feature technical, policy
and financial presentations, poster sessions, networking
opportunities, exhibits of the latest technologies and
services. For the latest agenda, hotel information and to
register online, visit the AgSTAR Conference web page
at: http://www.epa.gov/agstar/conference07.html. You
can also register by calling (781) 674-7374. Registration
for the conference is free of charge. However, there is a
meals fee of $125.
There will also be a field trip to two local dairy
farms with operating digesters on Wednesday,
November 28, from 12:00 noon 6:30 PM. Roundtrip
bus transportation from the conference hotel will be
provided. There is no additional fee to participate in the
tour. A box lunch is available for $15.
For questions or issues about manure bioenergy,
contact: Dr. Ann C. Wilkie at email@example.com or (352)
392-8699. Ann Wilkie is in the Department of Soil and
CERTAIN SUPPLEMENTAL FIBER-DIGESTING
ENZYMES CAN IMPROVE MILK PRODUCTION
A.T. Adesogan, C.R. Staples, S.C. Kim & K. Arriola
We recently completed a study that aimed to
examine the effects of enzyme application on milk
production of cows fed diets with different forage to
concentrate ratios. We tested a novel enzyme
preparation from Dyadic International, Jupiter, FL. In
addition to cellulase and xylanase enzymes, which are
present in most commercial preparations off fiber-
degrading enzymes, the Dyadic product contained an
enzyme called ferulic acid esterase, which breaks down
the less digestible fiber parts of the plant. Our objectives
were to determine if the enzyme would improve milk
production from cows fed high or low concentrate diets,
respectively. Starting at 21 days in milk, 60 Holstein
cows were fed diets consisting of alfalfa hay, corn silage,
and concentrates for 63 days. The four treatments were
as follows: a low concentrate diet (33% of TMR, dry
matter (DM) basis) fed with or without enzyme
supplementation or a high concentrate diet (48% of
TMR, DM basis) fed with or without enzyme
supplementation. In each treatment, the enzymes were
added to the TMR just prior to feeding.
Cows fed the high concentrate diets ate 7.5 lb/day
more feed, produced 5.6 lb/day more milk, and 0.09
lb/day more milk protein but were less efficient at
utilizing feed for milk production than cows fed the low
concentrate diets. Although the rumens of cows fed the
high concentrate diet were more acidic, subacute
acidosis was not apparent.
Cows fed enzymes were better at digesting the DM
and fiber in the feed they ate. Enzyme effects on milk
production differed with the level of concentrate
supplementation. Cows fed the high concentrate diet
produced 6.6 lb/day more milk when the enzyme was
fed and they tended to be more efficient in converting
feed to milk, enzyme addition increased milk
production. Cows fed the low concentrate diet also
benefited from enzyme addition by improving the
efficiency of milk production, although milk production
was not improved.
Interestingly, cows fed the low concentrate diet
supplemented with the enzyme consumed less feed but
produced as much milk as cows fed the high concentrate
diet without enzyme supplementation. Therefore adding
the enzyme to the low concentrate diet made it as
effective as the high concentrate diet without enzyme
addition at supporting milk production. An added
benefit was that ruminal pH was higher (less acidic) in
cows fed the low concentrate enzyme-supplemented diet
versus the high concentrate diet alone. This suggests
that the enzyme could be used to reduce the amount of
concentrate in the diet and still maintain milk production
by dairy cows. Enzyme addition increased daily milk
income over feed costs for the low and high concentrate
diets by $0.81 and $0.90, respectively. Note that these
costs were calculated without including the cost of the
These results contradict those from our previous
SMI Check-Off funded project, which showed that
supplementation with a different enzyme did not
improve milk production in cows fed total mixed rations
based on bahiagrass. We will be conducting further
research trials to understand those factors most affecting
enzyme action so that recommendations that are more
definitive can be made on the use of enzymes in dairy
cow diets. Producers should only use fiber-digesting
enzymes that have been proven effective in independent
For more information, contact Dr. Adegbola
Adesogan by email at adesogan(ufl.edu, or (352) 392-
REPEATABILITY OF MILK PRODUCTION
Albert De Vries
Repeatability is the concept that what happened in
the past is going to happen in the future, given similar
conditions. For example, if a cow had an above average
lactation yield, is she expected to remain above average
in the next lactation? Some traits and events are more
repeatable than others. It is documented in the scientific
literature that people are not very good at estimating the
repeatability of events. We often believe some
biological events are highly repeatable, when in fact they
are not. For example, when a cow fails to conceive in 3
breeding, we believe there must be something wrong
with the cow, even though the herd average conception
risk is, say, 30%. Or, in other words, we may believe
that the chance she will conceive on the 4th breeding is a
lot smaller than 30%, when in fact studies show it
remains close to 30%. The number of breeding it took
to get a cow pregnant in one lactation is not very
repeatable. When something is not repeatable, our best
estimate for the future is the herd or group average.
What happened to the cow in the past does not matter
Milk production is more repeatable than the number
of breeding for individual cows. Higher producing
cows in the past are correctly expected to be higher
producing cows in the future. To make milk production
between lactations more comparable, it makes sense to
first adjust milk production for the age of the cow and
some other factors. Mature equivalent (ME) milk is the
predicted amount of milk produced in 305 days as if the
cow were a mature cow. ME milk is calculated by
applying adjustment factors to the actual amount of milk
produced in 305 days for every cow in the herd. These
factors adjust for days in milk, milking frequency,
season of calving, location, and age. Projected 305 day
ME milk is database item 013 in PCDART. The ME
milk in the previous lactation is database item 227.
It turns out that the repeatability of ME milk
production between lactations is about 50%. In the
figure, I plotted the ME milk in the first lactation against
the ME milk in the second lactation for a random sample
of 1% of all cows on DHIA in Florida between 2001 and
2007. On average, if a cow had a higher ME milk in the
first lactation, she had a higher ME milk in the second
lactation. But this was not necessarily true for all cows
as the cloud of observations shows. A repeatability of
50% means that half of extra milk in the first lactation
compared to the average is expected in the second
lactation. For example, a cow that produced +1000 lbs
more than her herd mates in the first lactation is
expected to be 50% x 1000 = 500 lbs better in her
second lactation. The repeatability of ME milk between
any two consecutive lactations (e.g. second and third)
was also about 50% in the Florida data. Between first
and third it was about 37%.
When we have the ME milk from several completed
lactations, the expected ME milk in the next lactation
can be estimated based on the ME milk yields in all
previous lactations using the formula [N / (N+1)] x
[average herd mate deviation] where N is the number of
lactations available on a cow and the average herd mate
deviation is based on all previous lactation records of the
cow. After one lactation, the repeatability of the average
herd mate deviation, [N / (N + 1)], is 1/2 = 50%. We see
this in the figure as well. After two lactations, it is 2/3 =
67% etc. So if a cow had a milk production of +1000 lbs
in the first lactation and +600 lbs in the second lactation,
then her expected milk production compared to herd
mates is 2/3 x (+1000 +600)/2 = 0.67 x 800 = +536 lbs.
This +536 lbs is a measure of the cow's estimated
relative producing ability (ERPA). ERPA milk is
PCDART database item 014.
These repeatabilities mean that above average cows
for milk yield are expected to be above average in the
next lactation, although the difference is regressed
downward toward the herd mate average. Similarly,
below average cows for milk yield are expected to be
below average in the next lactation, but the difference
with the average herd mate is expected to be smaller.
y =0.50x + 9888
0 00 e a e
0 10,000 20,000 30,000
ME milk lactation 1
Scatter plot of ME milk in the first lactation and ME
milk in the second lactation.
FLORIDA DAIRY EXTENSION SITE RENEWED
The Florida dairy extension website at
http://dairy.ifas.ufl.edu has received a makeover. The
site now follows the SolutionsForYourLife format.
SolutionsForYourLife is the brand name for all
University of Florida extension programs and websites.
The Florida dairy extension website has an archive of
dairy newsletters, EDIS factsheets, proceedings of
conferences, spreadsheets, news and announcements
including a calendar, and relevant links to other
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) 392-5594. E-mail: devriestaufl.edu.
Past issues are posted on the UF/IFAS Florida Dairy Extension website at http://dairv.ifas.ufl.edu. This issue was published on October 18, 2007.