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K-State Research and Extension News

Milk Lines

Milk Lines is co-produced by the K-State College of Agriculture and the K-State Radio Network. Each week, K-State Research and Extension dairy specialist Mike Brouk provides the latest information for today's dairy producers.  Each segment is approximately 2-minutes in length.

Send comments, questions or requests for copies of past programs to ksrenews@ksu.edu.

Program Date

Segment Title
and Description

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07-13-18USING DROUGHT-STRICKEN CORN– Drought across many parts of Kansas will likely mean fewer acres of corn being harvested for corn silage. Producers are encouraged to determine the cost-effectiveness of using drought-stricken corn as corn silage and to explore alternative feeding sources for the next 12-to-18 months. ML 07-13
07-06-18HARVESTING CORN SILAGE– The severe drought in some areas of Kansas could mean less corn silage will be available for forage. As a result, producers are encouraged to assess where they stand on forage supplies for the next 12-to-18 months and to look for other feed options. ML 07-06
06-29-18REDUCE EXPOSURE TO BACTERIA– While somatic cell counts have been reduced over the last decade in dairy herds, summer offers some unique challenges. One of the biggest challenges is reducing the herd’s exposure to bacteria.ML 06-29
06-22-18FEEDING WATER TO CALVES – A 2014 survey found that dairy producers typically wait several days before offering calves water. However, there are benefits to providing calves water from the day they’re born. ML 06-22
06-15-18CHECKING RESPIRATION RATES– Kansas State University has done extensive research on how best to keep cows cool and comfortable during the heat of summer. Checking respiration rates is one of the most effective ways for dairy producers to monitor heat stress in the herd.ML 06-15
06-08-18EXTENDING FORAGE SUPPLIES– Now is a good time for dairy producers to take an inventory of forage supplies currently available on the farm and what will be needed over the next 12-to-16 months -- with the goal being to extend forage supplies.ML 06-08
06-01-18CHOOSING SILAGE INOCULANTS– Microbial inoculants can make silage fermentation more efficient, helping to preserve more nutrients and dry matter. However, there are several factors dairy producers should take into consideration when choosing an inoculant.  ML 06-01
05-25-18SUMMER MILK QUALITY CONCERNS– As daytime temperatures continue to climb, dairy producers may start to experience problems with their cooling systems. Inefficient cooling systems can increase overall bacteria count and impact milk quality. ML 05-25
05-18-18CELEBRATING DAIRY MONTH– June is Dairy Month. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk (brook) says this is an opportunity for producers to tell their story and the story of the dairy industry. He offers several suggestions for interacting with consumers and demonstrating how they deliver a safe supply of dairy products to grocery stores across the country.ML 05-18 
05-11-18THE PROPER DRY MATTER CONTENT– As dairy producers begin the spring forage harvest of small grains and alfalfa, K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk offers tips on achieving proper dry matter content – which would ideally be between 38 and 42 percent.ML 05-11 
05-04-18REDUCED BUTTERFAT LEVELS– Dairy producers can expect to see a decline in butterfat percentages in the spring and summer. Because butterfat commands a higher price in today’s market, this decline will impact an operation’s bottom line as well as the amount of milk cows give. ML 05-04
04-27-18SUMMER MILK FAT DEPRESSION– Milk fat percentage typically drops in the summer as dairy cows regulate their feed intake to combat heat stress. However, properly managing the herd’s diet can reduce summer milk fat loss.ML 04-27 
04-20-18ANALYZING HEIFER INVENTORY As dairy producers look to improve their bottom line, determining how many heifers will be needed to meet the replacement needs of the herd over the next 18 months is a good starting point. Producers with excess heifers might want to sell some. However, knowing which ones to sell first is vital.ML 04-20
04-13-18BE READY FOR SUMMER HEAT– Despite some warm days, summer heat is still weeks away. However, now is the perfect time for dairy producers to start checking their heat abatement systems. In addition to inspecting and repairing feed line soaking systems, controllers and pipes, cooling fans should be cleaned and then positioned to deliver air down to the cows.ML 04-13
04-06-18MARGINAL MILK PRODUCTION– As dairy producers continue to face tight margins, keeping cows in peak milk production can improve income over feed cost. To increase income, producers must make the most of marginal milk. This means focusing on several factors that can increase marginal milk production.ML 04-06 
03-30-18A SIX MONTH FINANCIAL PLAN– Developing a plan now to manage financial considerations that are six-to-nine months down the road can help dairy producers control costs and increase milk production. This includes analyzing cash flow, herd size and any holes that need to be filled, forage quality and managing heat stress.ML 03-30
03-23-18DISTINGUISHED DAIRY AWARD– The research dairy at Kansas State University has received the Distinguished Dairy Award for its contribution to the industry and its interaction with the community.ML 03-23
03-16-18PLAN FOR CORN SILAGE HARVEST– As we move into the corn planting season, dairy producers are encouraged to think about how they plan to harvest corn silage to get the best feed for their herds. ML 03-16
03-09-18A STRONG KANSAS DAIRY INDUSTRY– Milk production in Kansas has grown steadily over the past five years and it is not expected to slow down. In looking at the 2017 milk production report for the United States, there are a number of positive signs for future growth of the Kansas dairy industry.ML 03-09
03-02-18AVOIDING HEAT STRESS– Cows become stressed when the temperature is around 70-degrees. Milking parlors can be 10-to-15-degrees warmer than the outside temperature. As a result, dairy farmers should be inspecting their cooling systems in the milking parlor and milking parlor holding pen now to be sure they’re in working order before the warm weather arrives.ML 03-02
02-23-18CORN SILAGE PLANNING– It’s still late winter, but this is a good time for dairy producers to be thinking about their corn silage planting plans. Specifically, producers should start to consider their ability to harvest silage in a timely fashion, and how their hybrid selection and planting dates factor into that.ML 02-23 
02-16-18CARING FOR TRANSITION COWS– When it comes to dealing with transition cows – which covers cows three weeks prior to calving as well as three weeks post-calving – there are 10 factors dairy producers should consider.ML 02-16
02-09-18ALFALFA HAY OPTIONS– Alfalfa hay is a common feed for lactating dairy cows. However, with price changes in alfalfa hay over the years, producers may want to explore other options. But what are the pros and cons of replacing alfalfa hay in the cow’s diet?ML 02-09
02-02-18ADDRESSING OPEN COWS– Especially in these times of low milk prices, a dairy producer can ill-afford any missteps in herd reproduction. If open cows have become a problem, the producer needs to get at the root of that situation right away. ML 02-02
01-26-18SETTING OPERATION GOALS– Milk prices are not expected to improve much in 2018.  Instead of dwelling on that, dairy producers would be better served by concentrating on production and management goals for this new year and setting a course for achieving those goals. ML 01-26
01-19-18K-STATE DAIRY DAYS – Once again, Kansas dairy producers have an opportunity to glean information on a host of dairy management topics at the 2018 K-State Dairy Days.  There will be two of these, one in northeast Kansas on February 1st and one in south-central Kansas on February 2nd.ML 01-19 
01-12-18COW UDDER CARE– Sharply cold weather, coupled with dry conditions, can take quite a toll on a dairy cow’s udder…especially the teat ends. What producers use in the form of a post-milking dip to treat winter damage to the udder is important.  ML 01-12
01-05-18COW WATER SOURCE– Often, dairy producers will re-purpose the water used to cool the milk tanks as a watering source for their cows. That becomes more challenging in the winter, but producers should continue that practice, even during the extremely cold weather. ML 01-05