Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS)
Department of Animal Sciences
Quarterly Newsletter Vol. 9 No. 3 Summer 2009
Jan Shearer Retirement
Dr. Jan Shearer, UF's Dairy
Extension veterinarian, will
officially retire from UF at the end
of August 2009 after 27 years of
service. In June, Dr. Shearer and
his wife Leslie moved to Iowa
where they joined the College of
Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University. Dr.
Shearer will be responsible for the development and
delivery of veterinary extension programs designed
primarily to meet the needs of Iowa's dairy farmers,
veterinarians and allied agri-business industry. He will
continue to focus on lameness and welfare programs.
Dr. Shearer's contact information is firstname.lastname@example.org
and phone (515) 294-3731. We wish Jan and Leslie all
the best in their new positions.
It appears that the now vacant dairy extension
veterinarian position at UF will be refilled again,
including a clinical component. Good news for Florida's
It's Spring (Summer) Cleaning Time Again! #14
David R. Bray
If you have not already done so, now is the time to
prepare for the long hot summer. I think it is more
important this year due to these depressed times when
we need to be more efficient and productive.
1. Clean out high organic matter dirt (MUD) in
pastures and lots and add new dirt, especially in calving
2. Clean out cooling ponds pump out the water,
and clean out the sludge and spread it in a place where
the cows do not have access to it.
3. Let ponds sit dry for the sun to work on the
bacteria. Mycoplasma and other nasty stuff live in
ponds. You must clean them out at least once a year if
you continuously add water to the pond. If you DO NOT
continuously add water, you need to sample the ponds
for Mycoplasma and pump and clean out the ponds
once or twice during the summer.
4. Clean your barn cooling fans now, and
whenever they look dirty. Dirty fan shields can reduce
fan efficiency by 50%. If cows are in the barn or holding
area, run fans 24 hours a day. This not only moves air to
cool cows, it also helps to remove moisture and dry the
5. Make sure your sprinklers, foggers, etc, work. It
was a cold winter, many pipes froze and/or broke, and
dirty nozzles don't add much water. Check timers for
the proper time for adding water. Constant water is not
as efficient as intermittent sprinkling and it saves water.
Set your sprinkler thermostat at 75 degrees F or lower
during the hot season. Sprinklers need to run at night
because cows get hotter at night than in daytime on
those hot nights. You need timers to control sprinklers
at night, so they only run when cows are eating and
standing at the feed line. Running sprinklers when cows
are in the stalls will waste great volumes of water and
raise the humidity in the barn.
6. Clean and rebuild your pulsators. Wash out and
change the filters on your vacuum controller, (unless
you have a variable speed drive). Make sure all ATO's
7. Replace all milk hoses, wash hoses, pulsator
hoses and jetter cup holders. Replace all rubber hoses
that may be in the milk house that may add water to
the pipeline and/or bulk tank wash. These hoses harbor
Pseudomonas and Coliforms and can raise your bacteria
count. If rubber hoses are used to wash udders, change
8. Replace all of your floor mounted cow wash
sprinkler nozzles once a year. Spring is a good time to
do this. They not only clean cows, they cool cows also.
Several short wash cycles are more efficient and uses
9. Check the pipeline and bulk tank chemical
concentrations. If you change brands or suppliers, they
may need to be checked.
10. Clean your condenser fins on your milk coolers.
Dirty fans cut down cooling and efficiency and you get
warmer milk at higher electricity costs.
11. Mow and spray careless weeds in pastures.
12. Cull your chronic mastitis cows now. It will
lower your cell count and your help is sick of treating
13. Clean out the back half of your free stalls at
least 10-12" deep and add new sand. Keep your stalls
bedded every 4-5 days and groomed daily.
14. Clean your mind of stress and don't get
depressed, take your family on a vacation trip to get
away from the pressures, even visit other dairies to see
what they are doing to cope with the times.
Contact Dave Bray at email@example.com or call (352)
Hospital: Hospitality or Horrors?
David R. Bray
We have come a long way in our design of dairy
facilities. The parlor is sized for the group sizes. We can
milk our groups in one hour or less to allow the cows
more time to eat and lay down. Our stalls are designed
to have the correct size for cow comfort. We have
mastered the fan and sprinkler placement to keep them
cool and comfortable. The next step would usually be to
add more cows to the groups and overcrowd them. We
often use the space allotted for the hospital herd to
house more milking cows. The hospital herd and fresh
cows then get moved to a less desirable location which
often involves mud, heat and other undesirable traits.
Transition and fresh cow care
We again have made huge strides in nutrition and care
for these cows to ensure that cows get off to a great
start into the lactation. This plan gets derailed if these
fresh cows are in a place that does not get the delivery
of their special ration or they have to share with a
bunch of lame cows and mastitis cows.
Separation of fresh cows and hospital cows
Most people agree that the ideal situation would be to
keep the fresh cows separated from the sick ones to
prevent spreading of disease and to make sure nutrition
If I had a choice to keep both fresh and sick cows in a
clean, cooled barn with clean bedding, I would take my
chances, rather than leaving one group outside the
barn. Most of our mastitis in Florida is not contagious
anymore except for mycoplasma. We have controlled
the spread of mycoplasma in the parlor with post
milking teat dipping and never using anything but a
commercial mastitis tube in the udder. My only worry
would be a respiratory outbreak which might be
mycoplasma. These cows should be separated from the
hospital herd anyway; a whole group of cows blowing
snot should be in the woods or somewhere by
themselves because they probably will be your
mycoplasma mastitis outbreak in 2-3 weeks.
We have ranted about having enough water tanks
in the exit lanes, so that every cow in the parlor can
drink when they leave. This will spread disease anyway
even if we separate sick cows from the rest of the herd.
Part II the parlor
We have devised milking schemes to milk clean dry
udders to get the milking units on the cows about one
minute from the start of stimulation to get maximum
milk out. This allows the cows to get back to their stalls
within our hour time limit.
Part III the hospital herd production (no matter
where the cows are housed)
Everything changes when the hospital herd is milking.
We must break the line so no antibiotic or bad milk gets
into the tank. Wash the walls and the floors a little bit.
Since the hospital herd often is far away and those lame
cows don't move fast, we go out a little early to start
the cattle drive to the parlor. They stand all bunched for
an hour while finishing the herd cows. We then break
the line, get the hospital list to see who is in the parlor
and find the supervisor who leads the production.
With the cows finally in the parlor, the milking
begins. A guy in a clean cap and shirt and pants enters
the parlor with a clipboard, followed by some guy with
dirtier clothes, followed by an exhausted guy who
already milked a shift. They start with the first cow. Mr.
Clean looks at his clipboard. The second guy looks at the
cow and squirts a little milk out of each quarter and
third guy squirts more milk. They all talk about how the
cow is and what will be done. The same thing is done to
the next cow. This procedure may take about an hour
before the units are hung on this side. They move to
side two where the same thing is done again. We now
have hung a machine on a sick cow with no stimulation,
so she is not going to milk out because this does not
resemble her milking routine. Now they go back to
these cows and do treatments.
Lame cows get lamer because of standing on concrete
for two hours. The mastitis cows are not milked out
because they had no let-down. These cows have to
return to their part time home and lay down because
they are exhausted, hot and miserable. They don't eat
and then get digestive problems. The guy with the clean
hat goes back to his air conditioned office. The second
guy goes home and the third guy has to clean the parlor
and pipe line. DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR HOSPITAL
HERD ROUTINE IS?
Contact Dave Bray at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (352)
Free Forage Sample Analysis
The Forage Extension Laboratory at the Range
Cattle Research and Education Center in Ona, FL is
analyzing forage samples for dairy producers free of
charge. The SMI Dairy check-off program funded the
extension program "Increasing Producer Awareness of
the Importance of Forage Testing in Florida" and 200
forage samples will be analyzed for free under the grant
provisions. The results provided by the Forage
Extension Laboratory are DM, NDF, ADF, TDN, and CP.
Turn-around time is approximately 2 weeks. The
objective of this program is not only to provide forage
testing results for dairy producers, but also to build a
databank with information from forages used in Florida.
If you have any further questions about this program,
please contact Joe Vendramini, email@example.com, (863) 735-
1314. Dr. Joe Vendramini is a forage specialist at the
UF/IFAS Range Cattle Research and Education Center in
Bioenergy 2009 Farm to Fuel Summit
Ann C. Wilkie
In 2006, the Florida Farm to Fuel Initiative was
statutorily created to enhance the market for and
promote the production and distribution of renewable
energy from Florida-grown crops, agricultural wastes
and residues, and other biomass, and to
enhance the value of agricultural products
and expand agribusiness in the State.
Since then, the Florida Department of
Agriculture and Consumer Services has
hosted three "Farm to Fuel Summits" in Orlando (2006;
2008) and St. Petersburg (2007), each of which
attracted several hundred participants.
The fourth Florida Farm to Fuel Summit is scheduled
for July 29-31 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in
Orlando, FL. The 2009 Summit will provide further
opportunities for industry leaders to discuss Florida's
energy future and join in shaping the future of biofuels
and renewable energy in the State of Florida. This high-
profile event will feature speakers and panelists
representing international, national and state
perspectives on issues of research, production and
distribution of biofuels, including biodiesel, bioethanol
For the 2009 Summit agenda and registration
information visit the Farm to Fuel website:
Also, there will be a special pre-summit meeting on
July 29th from 2:00 pm 4:00 pm at the Rosen
Shingle Creek, entitled: Biofuels Strategic Meeting:
Moving Biofuels into Production in Florida. This strategic
meeting will discuss and explore the opportunities and
obstacles the State of Florida faces in infrastructure
development of biofuel facilities. The goal of this
Strategic Meeting is to begin centralizing the initiatives
between public and private enterprise and to develop a
vision for the future, thus setting the stage for a
successful roadmap to biofuels production. A separate
registration is required for the Biofuels Strategic
Meeting. See details at:
http://www.floridafarmtofuel.com/summit 2009 Agenda.htm.
For questions or issues about bioenergy, contact Dr.
Ann C. Wilkie at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 392-8699.
Ann Wilkie is in the UF Department of Soils and Water
Dairy Proceedings Available on-line
Albert De Vries
Proceedings of the 20th Florida Ruminant Nutrition
Symposium, held February 10-11, 2009, are now on-line
at the UF Dairy Extension website at
http://dairy.ifas.ufl.edu. Papers related to feeding dairy
* Feeding n-6 and n-3 fatty acids to dairy cows:
effects on immunity, fertility and lactation
* Early life management and long-term productivity
of dairy calves
* Feed-restriction programs for growing heifers
* Nutritional control of feed intake in dairy cattle
* Feeding rumininally-protected choline to transition
* Managing milk fat depression: interactions of
ionophores, fat supplements, and other risk factors
* Using dietary additives to manipulate rumen
fermentation and improve nutrient utilization and
* The strategic use of ruminally protected amino
acids in dairy nutrition
The 46th Florida Dairy Production Conference was held
April 28, 2009. Proceeding papers available at
* Surviving low milk prices
* Environmental challenges ahead for the U.S. dairy
* Anaerobic digester feasibility study and business
plan road map for dairy farms in Florida
* The five key factors in transition cow management
of freestall dairy herds
* Using reproductive records: basics of monitoring
* Toe lesions in dairy cattle
Futures Market Course
Are you interested in managing your milk price and
feed cost with futures markets? Then join Dr. John Van
Sickle, Professor in the UF Food and Resource
Economics Department at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July
21, 2009, at your local Florida County Extension Office
via Polycom, a two-way voice and view method of
communications. Dr. Van Sickle has been working with a
group of dairy producers since last February. After the
July 21st introductory session, you will be able to join
them the following week (on Tuesday, July 28) and
monthly thereafter in their ongoing discussions of
future market movements and the best way to manage
price risk on your dairy. Central to the whole discussion
will be the use of FACTsim, a real-time program which
allows participants to practice trades on the Future's
Market without using real money. Whether you are
seriously considering personally entering the Futures
Market to manage your risk or hiring someone else to
do so, this is a great program to help you understand
how the Futures Markets work and can benefit your
profit margin. There will be a $25 fee for this on-going
class. To enroll, contact Mary Sowerby at (386) 362-
2771 or email@example.com, by July 15 so Polycom
arrangements can be made with your local extension
PCDART Consultant Workshop
Dan W. Webb
Dairy Herd Improvement Assn. is offering a one day
training session on August 18, 2009 in Augusta, GA on
several new features offered by Dairy Record
Management Systems to help with interpreting dairy
records. Greg Bethard, PhD, will demonstrate and
explain the Herd Detective Program, Pregnancy Rate
Summary, and Events Summary. The new summaries
and program should help you better serve your
clientele. Veterinarian Credits will be offered from
North Carolina State University. The workshop will start
at 9:00 AM and end at 4:00 PM. Lunch will be provided.
* Understanding the potential limitation of dairy
variables: Lag, Momentum, Bias, and Variation, and
their impact on common dairy variables.
* Accessing Dairy Herd Reproductive Performance:
o What measures are appropriate?
o How is the 21-day pregnancy rate calculated,
and how should it be interpreted?
o What are the uses and limitation of conception
o How should virgin heifer reproduction be
* Tracking Dairy Performance by Analyzing Events
o How are my fresh cows doing?
o What are recent and rolling cull rates?
o Are my first lactation heifer cull rates
* Using Herd Detective dairy analytical software to
access herd performance
o Am I getting cows pregnant?
o What are the reproductive opportunities in my
o Are too many fresh cows leaving?
o Are fresh cows performing to their potential?
o Do udder health data suggest an underlying
problem with subclinical mastitis?
The meeting will be held at the Holiday Inn, Augusta
West 1-20, 441 Park West Drive, Augusta, GA. Call the
hotel at (706) 396-4600. Rooms are $99.00 per night +
tax. Registration fee is $125 and payment is required at
time of registration to Southeast DHIA, PO Box 142460,
Gainesville, FL 32614-2460. Registration will close on
August 10. If we do not make the minimum number of
participates to hold the meeting, you will be notified
and fees returned. Contact Christina Dore' at 352-392-
5592 or firstname.lastname@example.org for other details.
Dairy-Beef Meat Quality Workshop for Dairy Producers
Mark your calendar and plan to attend the "Dairy-
Beef Quality Workshop: Focus on Culling Management"
on September 25 and 26 at the UF Animal Sciences
Building in Gainesville, FL. This workshop will help dairy
producers get the most out of animals removed from
the herd. Topics include: culling strategies, residue
avoidance, factors affecting carcass value, etc. This free
workshop is sponsored by the National Cattlemen's
Beef Association, but limited to the first 25 registrants.
Cost reimbursement will be available for a limited
number of registrants. Contact Dwain Johnson (352-
392-1922), Dave Bray (352-392-5594), Albert De Vries
(352-392-5594) or Todd Thrift (352-392-8597) for
details. More information will be forthcoming shortly.
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 July 7, 2009.