Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS)
Department of Animal Sciences
Quarterly Newsletter Vol. 8 No. 1 Winter 2008
KERMIT BACHMAN RETIRED
Dr. Kermit Bachman retired on December 31, 2007 from
the dairy faculty in the Department of Animal Sciences
after a working career of 36 years with the University of
Florida. Kermit Bachman received his BS and MS from
the Pennsylvania State University. After the completion
of his PhD at the University of Maryland, he joined the
Department of Dairy Science at the University of Florida
in 1971. Dr. Bachman's research interests were in the
reduction of the length of the dry-period in dairy cows
and the role of estrogen in the initiation of the involution
of bovine mammary tissue. Dr. Bachman was very
involved with the undergraduate dairy students,
including supervising the Dairy Club and teaching (parts
of) the courses Introduction to Animal Science and
Dairy Cattle Management. His retirement without
replacement raises more questions about the viability of
the dairy undergraduate program at UF. Nevertheless,
happy retirement, Kermit!
NEW-NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS
"NOT SO STRAY VOLTAGE"
David R. Bray
Stray Voltage. Our old friend stray voltage is just 1.0
volt AC, a point to point contact that disturbs cows,
mainly in milking parlors, but it can also be at water
tanks, or feeders. This is not as big of a problem in
Florida as in places that have old facilities and have lots
of stuff added on, barn cleaners, silo unloaders, etc. I
myself wired our barn cleaner at the age of 13 years, but
I think it lacked the Underwriters seal of approval.
Our modem dairies usually have licensed
electricians do our work and we have many fans, manure
pumps and many are exposed to wet conditions. Many
of our stray voltage problems in parlors are due to
extension cords, radio cords, fan cords etc. Stray voltage
sometimes comes in through the power companies' lines
Electrocution. This is a more serious problem than
stray voltage because it is terminal. In the last several
months I have been on two dairies that have lost multiple
cows to this. So maybe your New Year's Resolution
should be to have a licensed electrician inspect your
dairy and fix any problems he finds. Look at the fans
over your feed lane, a cable or lock ups with heads and
necks in them, or an outlet on a metal pole that gets hit
by a feed wagon or payloader and hits the lock ups and
you are out a couple hundred cows or worse yet a
person. Save a cow hire an electrician!
FAT SUPPLEMENTATION INCREASED
PREGNANCY RATES OF LACTATING COWS IN
Flavio T. Silvestre, Faith M. Cullens, Charlie R.
Staples, and Bill W. Thatcher
In a couple of intensive experiments that lasted many
months, some very dedicated and hard-working graduate
students, Flavio Silvestre and Faith Cullens, discovered
some very interesting benefits of including fat in the diet
of dairy cows starting in the transition period. In a
summer study conducted at the University of Florida
Dairy Research Unit, 47 Holstein cows were fed calcium
salts of vegetable oil enriched in linoleic acid (Megalac-
R, Church and Dwight, Inc.) at 2% of dietary DM.
Cows were assigned to 1 of 4 dietary treatments. The fat
supplementation started at 28 days prior to parturition, at
the day of calving, at 28 days postpartum, or not at all.
Cows stayed on diets through 100 DIM. Initiating fat
supplementation during the prepartum period appeared
to have several advantages. These cows tended to
produce more milk than the cows started on fat after
calving (93.0 vs. 81.8 lb of milk per day). In addition,
only 1 out of 12 cows fed fat prepartum had a disease
mastitiss, metritis, or retained fetal membranes)
compared to 15 out of 35 cows not fed fat prepartum. A
timed AI protocol was starting at 71 days in milk. First
service conception rate of cows fed the fat, regardless of
when the fat supplementation started, was better
compared to cows not fed fat at all (58 versus 27%).
Although this study only used 47 cows, the increase in
conception rate was large enough to detect a significant
benefit for the fat-fed group.
In a second study using 1069 Holstein cows on a
commercial dairy farm in Florida, the feeding of
different fat sources was compared. From
approximately 14 days prepartum through approximately
30 days postpartum while in the fresh group, cows were
fed either a calcium salt of palm oil (Energ-II) or a
calcium salt of safflower oil enriched in linoleic acid.
When cows left the fresh group, they were fed either the
calcium salt of palm oil or a calcium salt of fish oil
(Strata-G). The fat supplements were fed at 1.5% of the
dietary dry matter and were supplied by Virtus Nutrition.
Due to management and facility limitations, we did not
have a group of cows not fed fat. Cows went through a
timed AI protocol with the first breeding occurring at
approximately 83 days in milk and a second AI made 35
days later if needed. Based upon an accumulated
pregnancy diagnosis at 60 days including both
inseminations, cows fed the calcium salt of fish oil after
30 days in milk had the better pregnancy rate of 52.8%
compared to the 45.5% for those fed the other fat source.
This improvement was due to a lower loss of embryos
between pregnancy diagnosis at 32 and 60 days post AI
for the cows fed fish oil, a good source of omega-3 fatty
acids. Embryo loss was 6.3% for the cows fed fish oil
compared to 13.6% for the other cows.
MILK QUALITY HIGH BACTERIA COUNTS
David R. Bray
The time of whatever is legal is OK is ending. Our
processors are demanding more quality and not
necessarily paying for that quality. While this may not
seem fair, that's the way it is. Producing milk with low
Standard Plate Count (SPC) is quite easy and just takes
attention to details. Bacteria counts are a function of
three things: cleaning, cooling, and cows, and usually in
Cleaning: Cleaning a milking system should be
simple. Just do it the same way every milking. This
works real well if the same people do it every milking,
but in most cases this is not the case; help changes,
chemicals change, things wear out or quit working and
the changing help does not know that. If you can't speak
the same language as your help, it's hard to make
changes, what can change:
1- Bought new cleaning chemicals, this is a better buy,
$50 less a drum, only instead it calls for 1 ounce of
chemical per gallon of water and the old chemical
called for 1 ounce per 5 gallons of water, so you
need 60 ounces rather than 12 ounces. And to make
things worse the guy who delivered this did not
leave any instructions on the wall on how much
chemical to use, the sales person should be flogged.
You must use the correct concentrations of soap,
acid and sanitizers.
2- Do you know how much water your wash sink holds
when full? Most old half round long sinks hold
about a gallon per linear inch, a 60" sink holds about
60 gallons to the fill line, do you have to add extra
water to the sink so it does not go dry, and that water
must be accounted for also. Does anyone know how
much water is added to the bulk tank wash cycles?
And how do you add two little bottles of soap to the
3- Hot water is necessary to clean a system, not to rinse
a system. If you can get a good rinse with cold tap
water you will save energy. If you have a 50 gallon
hot water heater, a 60 gallon pipeline wash sink and
need 100 gallons of hot water to wash the bulk tank,
you better stage your procedures. At least 1600
water is needed to start the soap wash-up and the
solution should be dumped when the temperature
drops to 1200, acid rinse can use tap water.
4- Sanitization cycle using chlorine should be done 30
minutes or less before the start of milking. For the
pipeline and bulk tank, some acid rinse\ sanitizers
can be used at longer intervals. Be sure to follow the
directions on all chemicals.
5- The air injector is an important part of the wash up
system and needs to be adjusted to get the proper
slugging to clean the system; this seems to be a
common play toy for the help so inspection is often
High bacteria counts often mean that it is time to change
all milk hoses, wash up hoses, better cups. All rubber
and plastic hoses should be replaced every six months.
Silicone hoses should be replaced according to
directions. The milk pump may need to be dissembled
and cleaned, the main vacuum and pulsation lines should
be flushed. If all else fails take apart the plate cooler and
clean it and reassemble with new gaskets. The positive
side of the system, from the milk pump to the tank is the
hardest part of the system to clean because it does not
get the slugging action of the vacuum side.
Cooling: Make sure you follow the directions for
the particular tank for when to start the tank before the
milking process. Most dairies have some sort of pre
coolers for the milk anyway. It is important to keep the
outside cooling fins free of dust and dirt to get proper
cooling. Low coolant is also a major cause of warm
Cows: If you have an elevated Somatic Cell Count
(SCC) you can have a high bacteria count also, but this
is not necessarily true. Strep uberis infected cows may
shed high numbers of bacteria and several cows can
elevate the SPC. A cow with a problem should be
handled like a high SCC cow. Find your high cows and
deal with them.
To learn more, contact Dave Bray at drbrav@(ufl.edu
or call (352) 392-5594.
WATCH YOUR FEED ECONOMICS CLOSELY
Russ Giesy, Lane Ely, Mary Sowerby,
and Albert De Vries
Feeding cattle will be more expensive in 2008. The price
of corn might reach $4.75 per bushel. Some economists
predict less corn planting as acreage is diverted to wheat,
soybeans and cotton which are in demand. Additionally,
new ethanol plants are expected to increase production
from 7 to 11 billion gallons. The corn needed to feed that
capacity will grow from 2.5 billion to 4.5 billion bushels
during 2008. This demand will likely keep feed
commodity prices strong throughout 2008.
Feeding cows is an important business. Dairy farms
that participated in the Dairy
Business Analysis Project D B A P
(DBAP) in 2006 paid an average -
of $7.40 per cwt. for purchased
feed plus cropping costs. That
sum represented 38% of total DairyBusinesAnalysisProject
revenues. Of that expenditure,
DBAP estimated that $6.52 per cwt. was spent to feed
the adult cow herd while the remainder was spent to feed
Analysis of DBAP data suggests that there continue
to be opportunities to use feed inputs more efficiently.
While the average feed cost for adult cows was $6.52,
the range among DBAP participating dairy farms was
from less than $5.00 to greater than $9.00 per cwt.
Feeding management continues to be critical to the
financial success of Florida dairy businesses. The top
six most profitable dairy farms in DBAP in 2006 (out of
22 farms) averaged $5.28 per cwt. to feed the adult
cows. This group of dairy farms averaged $3.51 net farm
income per cwt. while the average of all dairy farms was
$0.81 per cwt. Florida dairy producers may need to find
opportunities to utilize feedstuffs more economically in
2008 as most feed commodity prices continue to move
upward. (Russ Giesy and Mary Sowerby are with UF/IFAS
Dairy Extension, Lane Ely is with the University of Georgia,
Albert De Vries is with UF/IFAS Department of Animal
Sciences. The DBAP website is http://dairv.ifas.ufl.edu/dbap).
RECORDS THAT ARE USED THE MOST,
MEAN THE MOST!
Daniel W. Webb
This slogan has been used by DHIA personnel and
records' analysts to stimulate herd managers to be more
enthusiastic about using records. We hear questions
from dairymen like "How do I use all this information?"
We have talked to a number of successful dairymen and
good consultants and found a few questions which
DHIA can help answer. The following comparison of
two herds provides an example.
How is my herd doing? The DHI202 herd summary
showed the following for herd A: 1) rolling herd average
23,641 lbs valued at $4,981 per cow; 2) milking cows
average 70 lbs on current test day at 181 days in milk; 3)
peak milk for all cows averaged 95 lbs; 4) annual herd
turnover 33%; 5) cows died were 7%. Herd B's data
showed: 1) rolling herd average of 17,743 lbs valued at
$3,587 per cow; 2) milking cows averaged 53 lbs at 182
days in milk; 3) peak milk was 74 lbs; 4) annual herd
turnover, 39% and 5) cow death loss 13%.
What about calf survival? Herd A had 92% of
calves born alive with 48% female. Herd B had 93%
calves born alive with 44% female. Both herds had 1%
How do first-calf heifers perform? Start-up milk for
first-calf heifers in Herd A was 66 lbs per cow with peak
milk at 78 lbs and 25 % were culled in the first lactation;
Herd B's first lactation cows had 51 lbs at start-up and
66 lbs at peak and 26% were culled.
How does reproductive performance compare? Herd
A had 87 days to 1st service, 32% successful 1st-services,
13 % annual pregnancy rate and 13.9 month actual
calving interval. Herd B had 74 days to 1st service, 13%
successful 1st-services, 8% annual pregnancy rate and
15.0 month actual calving interval...
What about milk quality? Herd A's weighted
average SCC of 283,000, 74% of cows below 250,000,
first-lactation cows average SCC = 251,000 and 7% of
herd over 1 million. Herd B's weighted average SCC =
560,000; 64% below 250,000, first-lactation cows
average SCC=455,000 and 14% of herd over 1 million.
Herd records, by themselves, only provide statistics.
The use of herd records offers the opportunity for
management to zero in on aspects of herd performance
that can be improved to increase the bottom line. So, to
paraphrase the title, "Records that are not used, mean
SECOND SOUTHERN REGIONAL DAIRY
CHALLENGE AGAIN A SUCCESS
Albert De Vries
On Nov. 15-17, 2007, 48 students from 11 Southern
colleges and universities participated in the second
annual Southern Regional Dairy Challenge held in Baton
Rouge, La. Louisiana State University (LSU) staff and
students hosted coaches and students from Berry
College, University of Kentucky, Alabama A&M
University, Louisiana State University, Virginia Tech,
North Carolina State University (NCSU), Clemson
University, Oklahoma State University, Southern
University A&M, Louisiana Tech University, and the
University of Florida.
NORTH AMERICAN INTERCOLLEGIATE
The Southern Regional Dairy Challenge is an
innovative three-day event designed by a team of
industry and university professionals. Working in
mixed-university teams of five or six students,
contestants assessed all aspects of a working dairy farm
and presented recommendations for improvement to a
panel of professional judges.
The objective of this evaluation process is to create a
real-life situation that stresses the importance of
teamwork and professionalism. Contest Chairperson
Gary Hay of LSU stated, "The Dairy Challenge allows
students to take the technical knowledge they have
gained and apply it to real life. It's a great way to
enhance students' team-building and communication
skills, as well as their technical and observation skills."
Participating dairy farmer Ladd Blades, Blades
Dairy Farm of Kentwood, La., welcomed the
opportunity to help teach students and get feedback from
many sets of eyes that gave him new perspectives on his
dairy farming practices.
The Dairy Challenge ended with dinner and an
awards ceremony. Paul Humes, director of the School of
Animal Sciences, offered a greeting to the students. "I
am truly impressed with the educational value of Dairy
Challenge in developing teamwork, as well as improving
the critical evaluation and decision-making skills that
will serve you well in your careers." After completing
the event, NCSU student Katie Jackson said, "I had an
amazing time and gained so much from the experience."
ine Pionaa parucipanms ar me c-oumnern Kegionai Lairy
(C11',,,,',. in Baton Rouge, LA. From left, Kyle Johnson,
Diane Tearney, Albert De Vries (coach and chair of the
organizing committee), Catalina Echeverri, Will Cone, and
A major sponsor was Florida-based Dairy
Production Systems in High Springs. Other Florida-
based sponsors were the Woody Larson family and
Southeast DHIA. Many other sponsors in the South and
nationally contributed to the event. In addition,
Southeast Milk, Inc. awarded lifetime memberships in
the National Dairy Shrine to all participants in the 2007
contest. National Dairy Shrine preserves the heritage of
the dairy industry and provides awards and scholarships
for a bright future for the dairy industry.
North Carolina State University will host the third
Southern Regional Dairy Challenge in November 2008.
If you have questions about the Dairy Challenge, contact
Albert De Vries at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Southern Regional Dairy Challenge is under the
guidance and support of the North American
Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge, which was established
in April 2002, as a management contest to incorporate
evaluation of all aspects of a specific dairy business. For
more information, call (217) 485-3441 or visit
UPCOMING DAIRY MEETINGS
For registration information, agendas and other meeting
details, visit the Florida Dairy Extension site at
http://dairy.ifas.ufl.edu or contact Albert De Vries,
devries(@ufl.edu, (352) 505-8081.
* The 19th Florida Ruminant Nutrition Symposium
will be held January 29 30, 2008 at the Best
Western Gateway Grand located at 4200 NW 97th
Blvd. in Gainesville, Florida. For more information
contact Charles Staples, email@example.com,
* 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. Contact Dan Webb,
dwwebb(@ufl.edu, (352) 392-5592.
* The 4th Florida and Georgia Dairy Road Show is
scheduled for March 4 7, 2008. Locations are
Okeechobee, FL (4h), Mayo, FL (5th), Madison, GA
(6th) and Tifton, GA (7th). 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 (devriesufl.edu, (352) 392-
5594), or John Bernard (firstname.lastname@example.org, (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. New this
year is an Open House at the Dairy Research
Center in Alachua on Wednesday morning April
30. Come and see what is going on at the DRU.
Contact Albert De Vries (email@example.com, (352)
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: devriestiufl.edu.
Past issues are posted on the UF/IFAS Florida Dairy Extension website at http:/dairv.ifas.ufl.edu. This issue was published on January 15,2008.