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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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11-09-18HOOF TRIMMING AND FOOT BATHS– Proper hoof trimming is essential for dairy cows. It prevents and controls foot problems and maximizes milk production. And, now is a good time for dairy producers to add hoof trimming to their “To-Do” list. ML 11-09
11-02-18TESTING FIBER DIGESTIBILITY– Dairy producers using 2018 corn silage are seeing mixed results in their milk production. This might be caused by a change in fiber digestibility of this year’s silage, something that can be determined by using a laboratory to evaluate corn silage for neutral detergent fiber digestibility. ML 11-02
10-26-18LAMENESS IN DAIRY HERDS– Locomotion scoring is an effective method for detecting early hoof disorders and monitoring the prevalence of lameness in dairy herds. Locomotion scoring also helps producers identify potential risk factors on the farm.ML 10-26
10-19-18LATE HARVESTED FORAGES– Frost in some parts of Kansas may result in higher dry matter for late harvested forages. However, steps can be taken to improve the quality of late harvested forages.ML 10-19 
10-12-18AVOIDING COLD STRESS IN CALVES– As we move into fall and early winter, dairy producers are encouraged to take the necessary steps to protect young calves against cold stress. This includes drying off their coat soon after birth, keeping them warm, providing good bedding and having a nutrition program in place.ML 10-12 
10-05-18USE OF FAT IN LACTATION DIETS– Research shows that feeding supplemental fat to dairy cows increases milk production over not feeding any supplemental fat. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk says the increase can be more than five pounds.ML 10-05 
09-28-18CROSSBREEDING HEIFERS – To reduce costs and the size of their dairy herd, more producers are beginning to use a little beef semen in the lower end of their herd so that when those animals calve, they produce a marketable breed for the beef industry.ML 09-28
09-21-18PREGNANCY AND PROFITABILITY– Studies show a correlation between pregnancy rates on the dairy farm and overall profitability. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk says there are three main factors that have a large impact on the pregnancy rate in the dairy herd.ML 09-21
09-14-18LAST FALL ALFALFA HARVEST– The timing of the last harvest of alfalfa for the fall should be about five-to-six weeks before the first killing frost. This allows enough growing time to get reserves into the tap root to survive over winter. ML 09-14 
09-07-18NAVIGATING FINANCIAL CHALLENGES– The current state of the dairy industry is forcing producers to look at ways to put their farms in a better position to deal with the narrow margins expected over the next few months. In addition to looking at expenses, producers are encouraged to look at each animal in their herd and the overall size of the herd. ML 09-07
08-31-18OPTIONS FOR EMERGENCY FORAGE– With many of the acres taken as corn silage now open to be seeded as something else, producers might want to consider planting cover crops which can be used for grazing this fall or harvested in the spring as a forage crop.ML 08-31 
08-24-18REDUCING BACTERIA IN BUNKER SILOS– Reducing the amount of soil that is mixed in with the plant material being put in bunker silos and drive-over silage piles can reduce the risk of dairy cows becoming infected by a bacteria that is regularly found in soil. ML 08-24
08-17-18PROTECTING TEAT ENDS IN WINTER– One of the biggest challenges in winter weather for lactating dairy cows is teat health. The milking process can remove naturally occurring oils that help to prevent skin chapping, cracking and damage in cold weather. However, maintaining milking equipment and using a winterized post-dip will keep the skin’s condition healthy.ML 08-17
08-10-18TIPS FOR CHOPPING CORN SILAGE– Making sure the chop length is set correctly and checking it every few hours throughout the day, especially when switching fields, is one of the critical factors to consider when chopping corn silage. However, there are other factors producers should be mindful of.ML 08-10
08-03-18PLANNING FOR WINTER BEDDING– Straw is the preferred winter bedding for dairy cows and calves. However, high prices and a potential shortage may force producers to consider other options. As a result, now is the time to look for ways to reduce the amount of bedding needed and to secure other alternatives. ML 08-03
07-27-18MONITORING MILK REPLACERS– Milk replacers provide a consistent delivery of nutrition to calves to promote growth and overall health. However, producers using accelerated growth programs for their calves should pay attention as the milk replacer is being mixed to ensure it is mixing well and that it is mixing the way it should. ML 07-27
07-20-18COMBATING HEAT STRESS– In addition to taking measures to protect livestock during the hot Kansas summer, employers need to take steps to protect their employees. And, there are a number of things that can be done to keep employees safe when working in the heat.ML 07-20 
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