UF UNIVERSITY of
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS)
Department of Animal Sciences
Quarterly Newsletter Vol. 9 No. 4 Fall 2009
Feeding Catfish Oil Improved Milk Production
Approximately 12,000 to 14,000 tons of catfish oil is
produced each year as a byproduct of the commercial
catfish meat industry. Much of this is produced on
catfish farms in the southeast. Feeding supplemental fat
to lactating dairy cows has been beneficial in the past
by improving milk production but care must be taken in
formulating the ration to prevent milk fat depression by
adding the oil.
The University of Florida conducted 2 studies to
evaluate catfish oil as a fat supplement for milking
cows. Catfish oil (donated by Protein Products Inc.) was
mixed with liquid sugarcane molasses (donated by
Westway Feed Products Inc.) so that the oil made up
20% of the as-is mixture. The molasses-oil mix was
added to the TMR so that catfish oil comprised 0 or
1.8% of the dietary dry matter. Both diets had the same
amount of molasses about 5%. The control diet
contained 3.2% ether extract. 190 cows averaging 210
days in milk were fed the 2 diets in an alternate fashion
in an 8-week study.
Cows fed the catfish oil produced 2.6 pounds more
milk per day, an increase from 67.8 to 70.4 pounds per
day. Concentration of milk fat was unchanged,
averaging 3.34% across both diets.
In another study to examine the effects of feeding
catfish oil on intake and digestion, catfish oil was fed at
0, 1.5, or 3.0% of dietary dry matter to 12 milking cows,
4 of which were ruminally cannulated. In this study
using fewer cows in late lactation, milk yield and milk
fat % were not changed.
Benefits of feeding increasing amounts of catfish oil
included increased digestibility of dry matter and fiber,
increased rate of digestion of corn silage fiber in the
rumen, and increased feed intake. Improved intake of
digestible feed appeared to go into increased body
weight in this study. Average ruminal pH was more
acidic (6.4, 6.2, and 6.1) with increased catfish oil but
proportions of volatile fatty acids in the rumen were
changed only modestly.
In summary, feeding about 0.8 Ib of catfish oil
mixed with liquid cane molasses benefited milk
production without negatively affecting milk fat % of
cows in mid to late lactation.
Contact Charlie Staples at firstname.lastname@example.org or call
What Kind of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
do you have on Your Dairy?
David R. Bray
Most dairies should have a document that defines
the way the dairy operates, a comprehensive plan that
explains how all jobs are done on the dairy. These are
the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the dairy.
SOPs should cover all aspects of the dairy
1. General herd health management Vaccination
schedules and treatments
2. Reproduction management-Timed A.I. protocols
3. Milking management Procedures, cleaning
sanitation, liner changes etc.
4. Replacement herd health Calves and heifers
5. Emergency calls (veterinary assistance)
6. Feed crew Cows, dry cows, heifers and calves
7. Agriculture crew Waste management monitoring,
barn cleaning etc.
8. Maintenance crew
9. Organizational chart Who is in charge of what and
10. Maps Diagram or maps of where animals and
facilities are located, barns, lots, pens, silos and
SOPs should be dynamic
Everything is constantly changing in the dairy
business; drugs change, new barns are built and more
cows added to the dairy, nutritionists come and go, new
commodities appear and waste management
regulations change etc. Revisions must be done to stay
current. SOPs can be easily revised on the computer.
Who should develop and revise these documents?
Dairy management, veterinarians, waste
management consultants, nutritionists and even
technical reps from companies you deal with.
Who should have access to the SOPs?
All employees should have access to these
documents and each division manager should discuss
them with not only new employees but go over changes
in protocols with existing employees. It should be
explained to all employees that their specific job is
important to the operation of the dairy as a whole.
Their contribution to the dairy operation should be
explained to each employee written in their job
description and if they meet these goals their
compensation will reflect this.
This SOP document should make it possible for
whoever replaces an existing employee that they can
perform the same tasks in the same ways as the one
who they replaced. This includes permanent
replacements or relief personnel used in shift changes
and days off, holidays etc.
Training of employees
The SOPs should be the basics of job training for a
specific job. Cross-training of many employees allows
management to have enough help available to do many
related activities. All employees on the dairy, from
milkers to farm chores personnel, should have basic
training in animal husbandry. Most dairy labor does not
have any understanding of animal husbandry.
The calf feeder does not have the knowledge of
how to carry out a timed A.I. protocol but should know
if he does his job correctly. He will provide the A.I.
breeder something to breed in 13 months.
Cow treating vs. herdspersons
Proper training in basic animal husbandry then
allows employees to better care for the animals they
work with. Basic knowledge on movement of animals
not only protects the animals but also helps labor
perform their tasks safely. There are many good multi-
lingual videos out on proper care and handling of
Dos and don't
SOPs should give directions on how and when to
treat animals and when not to threat animals for varies
reasons. Management should decide which animals that
will be culled whenever their production reaches a
certain level or other criteria. Cows that may have
health issues or have undesirable udders or other
deficiencies should go on a "Do Not Breed" (DNB) list.
There should always be a "Do Not Treat" (DNT) list
for animals that are unproductive or have health
problems and are to go to market immediately when
some problem appears. A rule of thumb is to cull
mastitis cows after five (5) episodes of clinical mastitis
in a single lactation. This means if a cow gets a sixth
episode of clinical mastitis the cow gets on the truck
before any treatment is applied. This can also be cows
with feet, hip or leg problems. If locomotion problems
occur she goes immediately.
Don't give feel-good shots to these DNT cows.
These drugs don't have any milk withholding time but
do for meat. Don't give Flunixin (Banamine) shots I.M. -
only I.V. Give cattle I.M. in the neck only unless
otherwise directed by a veterinarian.
Do not treat cows before they leave the dairy with
antibiotics in them and they should be able to walk on
and off the truck and should not have puncture wounds
from injections in all the expensive cuts of meat.
1. Have a plan: Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs)
2. Use your plan to train a stable work force
3. Update your SOPs when necessary
4. Use more husbandry practices
5. A dairy cow becomes a beef cow at the end
6. Handle the cow with care and compassion
Contact Dave Bray at email@example.com or call (352) 392-
UF Looking for Dairy Youth Agent
The University of Florida is accepting applications
for a Regional Specialized Dairy (4-H/Youth) Extension
Agent (Rank II, III or IV). Location will be Polk County
(Bartow), Florida. Applications are accepted until
October 21, 2009.
This is a 12-month, permanent status-accruing,
100% state-paid, 100% extension (Florida Cooperative
Extensive Service) position. It is available in
collaboration with the Department of Animal Sciences,
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, at the
University of Florida. This assignment may change in
accordance with the needs of the unit. Duties will
include providing leadership to dairy youth extension
activities and participating in other dairy extension
programs, such as assisting with the college dairy
judging team. As appropriate, the incumbent of this
position will seek contract and grant funding actively to
support his/her program.
The complete job description can be found at
http://dairy.ifas.ufl.edu. Persons interested should
apply through the online UF GatorJobs application
system (https://iobs.ufl.edu), referencing requisition #
Pat Miller Retired
Pat Miller retired from the
Cooperative Extension Service in
Okeechobee County, FL, on August
13, 2009. He served as an Extension
Agent for 37 years. The Indiana
native first spent 12 years in three
different counties with the
i, Extension Service in Indiana before
coming to Okeechobee County in 1984. Pat was heavily
involved with the dairy industry in Okeechobee. Now
that he has retired, Pat plans to spend more time with
his grandchildren. We wish him well.
Year End Summary for DHIA Herds
Daniel W. Webb
September 30 ends the traditional DHIA test year.
Here are some of the early year-end numbers for herds
in Florida and Georgia. Data presented in Table 1 show
the average for herds on all types of test in both states
for October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2009.
Table 1. Florida and Georgia herds
Item All Herds Herds Herds
No. of Herds 185 131 54
No. of Cows per Herd 415 270 767
PCT in Milk on Test Day 79 78 80
Daily Milk-Milk Cows 52 52 50
Value of Milk $ 6.00 6.06 5.86
Rolling-Milk Ibs 18,524 18,553 18,452
Days in Milk 217 217 216
Proj 305 day ME milk-ist Lact 21,013 20,942 21,186
Sire PTA$-lst Lact 255 253 262
Proj 305 day ME Milk-2nd Lact 21,245 21,371 20,938
Sire PTA$-2nd Lact 210 211 208
Proj 305 day ME Milk-3rd Lact 20,506 20,708 20,014
Sire PTA$-3rd+ Lact 133 129 142
Days to 1st Serv (%herd, VWP to 100d) 49 47 53
Days to 1st Serv (%herd, > than 100d) 37 39 33
Days Dry-All Lact 72 73 72
Days 1st Serv-total herd 106 107 103
Conception Rate-lst serv 54 53 55
Std 150 day milk 63 63 61
SCCS < 4 (% of cows) 50 51 45
SCCS = 4 (% of cows) 17 17 18
SCCS = 5 (% of cows) 13 13 13
SCCS = 6 (% of cows) 9 8 9
SCCS > 6 (% of cows) 12 11 14
Current Month SCC Score 3.57 3.51 3.89
Herds in Georgia tend to milk fewer cows per herd
than those in Florida. Somatic cell counts are noticeably
lower in Georgia herds. Some larger herds find it
profitable to milk 3 times per day. Table 2 is a
comparison of 2X versus 3X herds.
Table 2. Milking frequency: 2x vs. 3x herds.
Item All Herds 2X Herds 3X Herds
No. of Herds 185 162 23
No. of Cows per herd 415 305 1,189
PCT in Milk on Test Day 79 78 85
Milk Ibs-All Cows 41 40 49
Value of Milk $ 6.00 5.83 7.24
Rolling-Milk Ibs 18,524 18,222 20,650
Summit milk-ist Lact 64 62 72
Summit milk-2nd Lact 80 79 89
Summit milk-3rd+ Lact 86 84 94
Days to 1st Serv (%herd, VWP to 100d) 48 47 59
Days to 1st Serv (%herd, > 100d) 37 38 27
Days Dry-All Lact 72 73 67
Days 1st Serv-total herd 106 107 96
Concep Rate-ist serv 53 55 45
Std 150-day milk 62 61 68
SCCS < 4 (% of herd) 50 49 60
SCCS = 4 (% of herd) 17 17 15
SCCS = 5 (% of herd) 13 13 9
SCCS = 6 (% of herd) 9 9 7
SCCS > 6 (% of herd) 12 12 9
Current Month SCC Score 3.57 3.6 3.16
Larger herds use 3X milking more often than smaller
herds. As usually seen, milk production is higher in
herds milked 3X. In this case, 3X herds have a 13%
advantage. Average days dry was higher in the 2X herds.
Cows in 3X herds had lower average somatic cell count
(SCC) and 3X herds had more cows with low SCC scores.
Contact Dan Webb at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (352)
Video: Dairy-Beef Meat Quality Workshop
A successful workshop titled "Dairy-Beef Quality
Workshop: Focus on Culling Management" was held in
September at the UF Animal Sciences Building in
Gainesville, FL. About 45 people attended. This
workshop aimed to help dairy producers get the most
out of animals removed from the herd. Topics included:
culling strategies, residue avoidance, factors affecting
carcass value, etc. Especially interesting was the hands-
on work with carcasses in the meats laboratory.
Videos of the presentations, including audio, can be
seen again on http://dairy.ifas.ufl.edu. This workshop
was sponsored by the National Cattlemen's Beef
Sign up for UFL-DAIRYUPDATE-L
* The Quarterly South Georgia North Florida Dairy
Meeting and Lunch will be held on October 27,
2009 at the Brooks County Extension office in
Quitman, GA, from 11 am to 1 pm. Mary Sowerby
will be leading the discussion on "Using genomics
and new selection traits to optimize bull selection
for both Al and natural breeding". Please call the
Books County Extension office at (229) 263-4103 to
pre-register for lunch.
* Contemplating a change to your current dairy
production system? Or looking for new ideas to
lower production costs and improve efficiency.
Either way, plan to join the Dairy Alternatives Tour
High Tech or Low, on November 4, 2009 from 9
am to 3 pm (the day after the SMI board meeting).
The tour will include Sunset Dairy in Dixie, GA,
where Claus Haaren's cows have been rotationally
grazing since December 2008. In addition, we'll tour
Calvin Moody and Doyle Weltzbarker's conventional
Brooksco Dairy and the under construction (but
soon to be completed) Westbrook Dairy near
Quitman, GA. Lunch and discussion about both
dairy operations will be held at the Books County
Extension office in Quitman, GA. There will be a $10
registration fee to cover lunch. For more
information and to pre-register please call Mary
Sowerby at (386) 362-2771 on or before Thursday
* The annual Southeast Dairy Herd Management
Conference is planned for November 11-12, 2009.
Location is again the Farm Bureau Building on 1620
Bass Road off 1-75 in Macon, GA. A wide variety of
topics will be presented and discussed, including
crossbreeding in the Southeast, conventional vs.
grazing, New Zealand style dairies, waste
management, team building, reproduction and
culling, calf health, DHIA update and new tools, and
a silage hybrid update. A PCDART workshop
precedes the start of the conference and starts at
9:30 am on Wednesday November 11. The
Southeast Dairy Herd Management Conference is a
joint conference planned by Auburn University,
Clemson University, University of Florida, University
of Georgia, Fort Valley State University, the U.S.
Department of Agriculture, and Counties of the
cooperating states. For more information, including
the program, visit http://dairy.ifas.ufl.edu.
[UFL-DAIRYUPDATE-L@LISTS.UFL.EDU] is the new
electronic mailing list of Dairy Extension at the
University of Florida. The electronic mailing list will be
used by UF Dairy Extension to send subscribers timely
emails about dairy extension programs, new factsheets,
newsletters or other dairy news from the University of
Florida that we believe are of interest to those involved
in the Florida Dairy industry.
We have populated the list with email addresses of
many dairy producers in Florida and allied industry folks
that serve the Florida dairy industry. Subscription to the
list is voluntary. You can subscribe and unsubscribe by
UFL-DAIRYUPDATE-L is solely used for messages
related to dairy programs for adults from the University
of Florida. Only the list owners can send emails to the
electronic mailing list. We will not forward
announcements from third parties. The number of
messages sent to UFL-DAIRYUPDATE-L will be restricted
to no more than twenty per year.
UFL-DAIRYUPDATE-L is owned by Dr. Daniel W.
Webb and Dr. Albert De Vries. To contact the owners of
this list, send an email to DAIRYUPDATE-L-
Dairy Update is published quarterly by the Department of Animal Sciences, University of Florida, as an educational and informational service. Please address any
cancellations or comments to Albert De Vries, Editor, Dairy Update, PO Box 110910, Gainesville, FL 32611-0910. Phone: (352) 392-5594. E-mail: email@example.com.
Past issues are posted on the UF/IFAS Florida Dairy Extension website at http://dairy.ifas.ufl.edu. This issue was published on October 12, 2009.
Upcoming Dairy Meetings