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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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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
12-22-17MANAGING CORN SILAGE– Once it’s stored in the silo or bunker, corn silage starts to change.  As dairy producers feed that silage to the milking herd through the winter, they need to adjust to that accordingly.ML 12-22
12-15-17RE-EVALUATING FEED RESOURCES– As winter starts to come on, dairy producers would do well to re-evaluate the feed resources available to them in the coming months…with an eye to economic efficiency. The use of grain by-products could fill an important, cost-effective, niche in the herd ration.ML 12-15
12-08-17DAIRY DURING THE HOLIDAYS– With the holiday season in full swing, producers and consumers are encouraged to incorporate dairy products into their celebrations -- and to give back to their communities, which can also involve dairy foods.ML 12-08
12-01-17EVALUATING MILKING PERFORMANCE– The economic outlook for dairy producers in 2018 isn’t particularly rosy…profit margins are expected to be ultra-tight. That’s why producers should scrutinize all aspects of their operations. One area to closely consider is the per-cow milk output, and whether all the cows in the herd are earning their keep. ML 12-01
11-24-17CORN SILAGE OPTION– As dairy producers settle on the corn silage hybrid they intend to plant next year, they should consider the brown mid-rib hybrid options because they've been upgraded to address some past concerns.ML 11-24
11-17-17PRODUCING FOR THE MARKET– While the consumer demand for fluid milk has fallen off some in recent years, such is not the case for cheese products.  As a matter of fact, cheese product consumption is very much on the rise, and dairy producers should be managing their production in response to that demand. ML 11-17 
11-10-17MANAGING AGAINST KETOSIS– Research has indicated that when excessive ketones accumulate in the body of dairy cows, their milk productivity can be significantly reduced. As a result, dairy producers need to manage their herd rations carefully to assure that ketosis doesn’t become a problem.ML 11-10 
11-03-17MILKING HERD LIGHTING– Research has confirmed that exposure to light positively impacts dairy cow milk productivity. So, as the days get shorter, dairy producers should re-examine the lighting systems in their herd facilities to make sure they’re up to the task. And, if they aren't already using L-E-D lighting, they should consider it for this purpose. ML 11-03
10-27-17ASH IN FORAGES– As dairy producers have their silage and alfalfa analyzed for nutritional content, they should take note of something that usually goes overlooked: the ash content of that forage. That tends to go up when dirt finds its way into the harvested forage and producers should figure out why the ash levels in their forages is higher than it should be.ML 10-27
10-20-17PREDICTING SILAGE DIGESTION– Before feeding newly-harvested silage to the dairy herd this fall and winter, producers would be well advised to have that silage evaluated for its digestibility potential.  That includes analyzing both the starch and fiber content. ML 10-20
10-13-17WINTERIZING COW UDDERS– Fall is definitely here, and winter isn’t that far behind.  Dairy producers would be wise to start providing their herds protection from the colder conditions…and that includes protecting cow udders from the ill effects of the weather to maintain milk production and quality.ML 10-13
10-06-17MANAGING AGAINST MASTITIS– As fall is now here to stay, dairy producers should take another look at the somatic cell counts in their herd production for indications of mastitis problems.  If those exist, there are a couple of management considerations to review. ML 10-06
09-29-17MAKING CULLING DECISIONS– With the onset of fall, dairy producers should re-evaluate the status of their herds to identify still-open cows that might be candidates for culling. This is very important to keeping herd milk production going at an economically-favorable level.ML 09-29
09-22-17FORAGE AND ROBOTICS– The new robotic milking systems have caught the attention of numerous dairy producers.  There are a great lot of things for a producer to think about before they invest in one of these rather costly systems.  One of those is the quality of forage that is routinely provided to milking cows.ML 09-22
09-15-17LAST ALFALFA CUTTING – How dairy producers manage their last cutting of alfalfa for the season greatly influences the quality and quantity of the first cutting next spring.  Allowing the stand to build up root reserves ahead of the first fall frost is essential. ML 09-15
09-08-17LATE SUMMER LAMENESS– It’s not unusual for dairy cows to exhibit some degree of lameness as the summer winds down.  However, it's possible to manage that lameness until the cow returns to full walking comfort.ML 09-08 
09-01-17PRE-CALVING RATION BALANCING– How a dairy producer manages cow rations just ahead of calving can have a significant effect on her milk productivity.  This has to do with a proper cation-anion balance within the ration, and there’s some new research information on achieving that.ML 09-01
08-25-17SILAGE KERNAL ANALYSIS – The quality of corn silage being fed to the dairy herd is largely predicated by the processing at harvest. One aspect that producers need to pay attention to is how the corn kernels turn out in the finished product.  There  are a couple of tests that can give producers an idea of this silage quality factor.ML 08-25
08-18-17SECURING ALFALFA SUPPLIES– Dairy producers can find some good buys on high-quality alfalfa right now and should take stock of the hay they have on hand, and assess whether it’s sufficient to cover herd needs this fall and winter. ML 08-18
08-11-17SILAGE NITRATE MANAGEMENT– Dry and hot conditions in July put many corn stands under stress.  In turn, that may have led to a build-up of nitrates in corn plants. Dairy producers need to be cautious about that as they harvest corn for silage this year to lessen the chance that nitrate toxicity will become a problem in this year’s silage crop.ML 08-11
08-04-17CORN SILAGE PRICING– Unfavorable weather conditions this summer have carved deeply into the yield potential of some corn stands…to the point where the grower chooses to salvage the crop as silage.  For dairy producers interested in purchasing that silage, coming up with a fair price for both parties can be challenging.  ML 08-04