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.
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OUTLOOK FOR DAIRY PRICES– If data from the USDA is correct, the all-milk price for 2022 could set a record. While some of the increase will be offset by higher input costs, such as fuel and feed,K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk says producers need to take advantage of the higher prices by selling as much milk as possible this summer and into the fall.
IMPROVING COW COMFORT– A walk around the dairy may provide producers with information regarding just how comfortable their cows really are. When cows exhibit signs of discomfort, K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk says it can hinder the growth or production of the herd. He discusses what to look for and how to address the things that are causing discomfort.
BE PREPARED FOR FLY SEASON– If you’ve been planning to clean up some of those areas on the farm that attract flies but just haven’t gotten it done, K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk (brook) says it’s time to make it a priority. He says fly season is rapidly approaching and once flies are present it’s much harder to control them and keep them away from the herd.
INSPECT ALFALFA FIELDS– Alfalfa fields currently appear to be insect-free. However, as weather conditions change this spring, insect activity could quickly become a problem. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk recommends alfalfa fields be given more than a drive-by inspection and that producers consult their agronomist before taking any action which could delay harvest.
SUMMERTIME MILK PRODUCTION– Milk prices are expected to remain favorable this summer, providing dairy producers an opportunity to increase cash flow. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk says adding just 5-10 cows to the herd to increase milk production will provide a good return. However, he says to make sure you have room for additional cows and the ability to feed them and to milk them.
SUMMER FORAGE OPTIONS– Corn silage is the obvious choice for summer forage. However, if corn silage is in short supply or too costly, K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk says producers should have a backup plan to feed the herd. He says emergency crops might include wheat, millet, sorghum or short-season corn.
A COMPREHENSIVE PLAN– Focusing on the day-to-day operation of the dairy farm is essential. However, that doesn’t mean dairy producers should only focus on the here-and-now. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk suggests producers regularly meet with their veterinarian, banker, AI breeding service and farm management team to discuss a comprehensive plan. This includes a review of the current operation and changes they’d like to make in the next year, three years, five years and beyond.
WHY ARE DAIRY SHELVES EMPTY?– A trip through the dairy section of many grocery stores has many people asking why the shelves are empty or almost empty? K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk has seen the bare shelves and he encourages dairy producers to start questioning why milk and other dairy products aren’t making it to the store shelves for consumers to purchase.
BUTTER FAT AND MILK PROTEIN– Dairy producers in the Central Order are paid based on the amount of fat and protein in the milk they ship. In looking at last year’s trends, K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk says Kansas producers are considerably above the 22-year average in both categories. However, the summer slump in butter fat and milk protein, typically related to heat stress, is a concern.
PREPARING FOR FLY SEASON– The health of the dairy herd is currently not being impacted by flies. However, when the conditions are right, flies can multiply quickly. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk says studies show flies – fewer than 50 per animal – can reduce milk production by 15-to-30%. He encourages producers to be ready for fly season by getting their supplies lined up now and addressing areas on the farm that might attract flies.
SHORTER SUPPLY OF HEIFERS– Milk prices are expected to continue to climb in 2022. Kansas dairy producers wanting to take advantage of the higher prices will likely be faced with an increase in energy and feed costs and a shorter supply of heifers. If producers are considering increasing the herd size in the next 6-to-12 months, K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk recommends finalizing those plans and being prepared to pay more for heifers.
KANSAS IS A MILK GROWTH STATE –2021 milk production data shows Kansas is a major milk exporter and a milk growth state. Compared to other states, K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk says Kansas ranked 16th in total milk production last year and 5th in per capita milk production – an increase of 22% from 2016.
INCREASING SUMMER MILKFLOW– With signs pointing toward an increase in milk prices continuing through the summer, K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk says producers can take steps now to put them in a position to capitalize on the higher prices. This includes knowing the number of cows they’ll be milking, having forages that are of high quality and easily digested, checking their cooling system, and taking steps to conserve water in the holding pen.
IMPROVING HOOF HEALTH– As spring arrives, temperatures should start to climb. This is a good time for dairy producers to focus on the hoof health of their cows. Foot trimming, foot baths, early detection and proper treatment are the best line of defense against a variety of hoof issues – and can improve a producer’s pocketbook.
SHORT-SEASON FORAGE OPTIONS– Dairy producers needing to stretch their forage supply this summer might consider planting a short-season crop, such as oats, spring barley, spring triticale or Italian ryegrass. The yield is not as good as corn silage, but K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk says planting these crops on a limited number of acres can produce 30-to-60 days of forage – and can still be followed up with another crop.
INCREASE PRODUCTION THROUGH COOLING– Taking the necessary steps to ensure dry cows and pre-fresh cows are kept cool this summer will increase milk production and allow dairy producers to take advantage of higher milk prices. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk discusses some options for keeping dairy cows cool.
MAKE ROOM FOR SUMMER CALVES– Animals that got pregnant last fall will be calving this summer. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk encourages producers to think about how much space those calves will need and determine whether they have adequate room in their transition pens and bunks to avoid overcrowding.
MAY MILK MARKETING NUMBERS– May is a test month for the Milk Market Administrative Office and the 2021 report shows the West Region covered the milk production deficit in the Central and East regions. Moving forward, K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk says milk production in the U.S. will continue to expand and we’ll need to increase exports for the excess milk we’re currently producing.
CONTROL NITROGEN COSTS – Corn silage is a main forage for dairy producers. The cost of nitrogen, which is expected to be about 10% higher than a year ago, is a concern. Conducting a soil test to determine the level of residual nitrogen in the soil and identifying other nutrients available for use to increase nitrogen in the soil may allow producers to purchase less nitrogen.
WHOLE COTTON SEED IN THE DIET– The protein level and fat content in whole cotton seed make it a good alternative feed source for dairy cows. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk says feeding a small amount of whole cotton seed to high group cows will be more expensive than soybean meal but studies show increased milk production offsets the higher cost.
USE DATA TO DETERMINE DRY-OFF– The success of the dairy farm often occurs in the five to six weeks right around freshening. As producers decide which animals to dry-off, K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk suggests they look at their records to see how animals performed, based on the number of days dry. In addition, they should consider how long animals need to stay in the pre-fresh pen.
KEEPING TEATS HEALTHY IN WINTER– Managing the environment will minimize the impact of winter weather on teat-end health and is especially important for fresh cows. Clean, dry bedding, windbreaks, and proper maintenance of the milking parlor will minimize teat-end damage this winter and the resulting loss of profitability from elevated levels of somatic cells.
2022 DAIRY MARGIN COVERING PROGRAM– Dairy producers, including those who didn’t sign up for the Dairy Margin Covering Program in the past, are encouraged to consider the 2022 program. According to K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk, there have been major changes to the program that could benefit producers.
THE QUALITY OF ALFALFA HAY – Dairy producers considering adding more alfalfa hay into their dairy diets this winter should be mindful that there is a wide range in price and quality. Alfalfa hay costing $130-150/ton is going to be lower quality than alfalfa hay costing $180-230/ton. However, if you compare the cost of soybean meal to alfalfa hay, it is an economical ingredient to include in dairy diets.
TESTING CORN SILAGE– As producers begin using 2021 corn silage, it’s important to test for starch content and how quickly it degrades, as well as the digestibility of the fiber. Even a small change in those numbers can impact fat content and milk production levels.
MANAGING MICROBIAL GROWTH– As the weather turns colder, dairy producers may be seeing steam as they load feed in the morning or cows that are on and off feed. Typically, this is caused by microbial growth in the feed. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk discusses how to assess and manage the issues of micro-organisms in feed.
BENEFITS OF CALF BLANKETS– When a calf is born, it’s not capable of regulating body temperature. While this might not be a concern in warmer weather, that’s not the case when it’s cold. To help a young calf regulate its body temperature, K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk suggests using a calf blanket for 14-to-21 days.
REDUCING PRUSSIC ACID – When regrowth occurs after a mostly killing frost, a high percentage of prussic acid is present for cattle grazing in that area and any forage that’s being harvested. However, there are steps producers can take to avoid harvesting forage that might contain prussic acid.
FOSTERING EMPLOYEE RETENTION– Dairy producers know their employees are vital to the overall success of the operation. However, they sometimes forget to show their appreciation. While pay is certainly important, regular meetings with employees, listening to their concerns and showing recognition for a job well done are also important factors in retaining good employees.
HOW IS RAW MILK UTILIZED?– As fluid milk sales continue to decline, dairy producers should observe how it’s being turned into different products because that can affect future sales. Flavored milk and whole milk are current bright spots for fluid milk but losses are still occurring in other areas.
REDUCING FEED SHRINK– Kansas dairy producers, depending on how they store their feed, may be losing as much as 8% to shrink. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk provides two examples of the economic impact feed shrink could have on producers storing corn or soybean meal.
WRAPPING FALL SILAGE– Fall can be a difficult time for putting up dry hay. As a result, K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk suggests wrapping it as wet hay. It’s quicker than putting up dry hay and because it has a high moisture content it’s easier for cows to consume. However, producers need to consider the cost of the wrap, weight of the wet hay, and the equipment required for moving the hay.
RENEWABLE NATURAL GAS– There is a growing interest in the methane that cows produce – more specifically, the methane that can be obtained from digesters that further digest the manure that dairy animals produce. This is a process that could be an income source for large dairy operations or those able to group together 20,000-25,000 cows. However, there’s a lot to consider and producers should do their homework and make an informed decision.
KEEPING NEW-BORN CALVES WARM– A calf blanket is one of the most effective ways to protect young calves in late fall and winter. When the temperature is below 40-degrees, a blanket helps increase a calf’s health and growth rate. However, Kansas producers may need to remove the blanket during the day to keep calves from getting too warm.
WHEN TO USE A WINTER POST DIP– Dairy producers who wait until the first freeze to begin using a winter post dip have waited too long. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk says using a winter post dip three weeks before the first cold snap helps avoid an increase in somatic cell count which can reduce milk production and milk quality in the herd.
RAW MILK MARKET VOLATILITY– It’s been a tough 18-to-24 months for milk producers. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk says the base price for Class 1 fluid milk has had great volatility, impacting dairy producers and creating a serious financial situation on many farms. As a result, he says producers must control expenses and find ways to improve the income side of their operation.
TRANSITIONING TO NEW CORN SILAGE– As dairy producers prepare to transition to corn silage harvested this year, K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk explains the benefits of waiting 3-to-4 months before feeding it to the herd or introducing it slowly over a 10-to-14 day period. He also recommends closely monitoring milk production and butter fat content during the transition to new corn silage.
BIRD CONTROL ON THE DAIRY– Birds can create a variety of costly problems for dairy producers. A starling can consume about a penny’s worth of feed every day – and when they number in the thousands – those costs can add up quickly. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk explains how producers can control unwanted birds.
HEAT STRESS HOOF DAMAGE– Too much standing, caused by excessive heat, can result in hoof damage that will show up in a few months. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk looks at the reasons cattle stand when it’s hot and how producers can help reduce hoof damage this summer.
INSECTS IN ALFALFA FIELDS– As alfalfa cuttings continue, producers are encouraged to watch their fields for signs of insect development during regrowth. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk says potato leafhoppers and fall armyworms are two insect pests that can reduce yields on late-season cuttings.
MOISTURE VERSUS STARCH– When to chop corn silage is a question that’s currently on the minds of many dairy producers. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk says producers should carefully balance whole plant moisture against starch development of the grain. He covers what to look for before cutting begins.
CENTRAL REGION MILK PRODUCTION – The Milk Market Administrator breaks the country into three regions, with the Midwest assigned to the Central Region. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk says this region has been experiencing sustained growth, especially in the production of ice cream and non-fat dried milk.
TIMING CORN SILAGE HARVEST– The timing of corn silage harvest is key to maximizing yield and energy for dairy cattle. Typically, corn silage harvest should occur 42-to-47 days after silking. The goal is to have a dry matter content between 35 and 38 percent.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF ICE CREAM– We’ve all probably heard the saying, “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream” but how did it originate and become such a popular treat? K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk discusses the history of ice cream and the role dairy producers play in meeting the high demand for this tasty treat.
SOMATIC CELL IMPROVEMENT– Kansas dairy producers continue to see an improvement in somatic cell counts in their herds. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk says producers are doing a better job of reducing bacteria coming into contact with teat ends that can cause mastitis. However, he reminds producers that the highest somatic cell counts generally occur in August, so they need to remain diligent in their efforts to prevent mastitis.
SECONDARY FERMENTATION– Microbial bacteria in feed multiplies quickly in high heat. As a result, feed silage that is exposed for a longer period of time becomes less palatable for animals. As a result, producers are encouraged to shorten the time feed is exposed to the air by adjusting their feeding schedule to two or more times per day and delivering less feed during the day and more overnight.
TEMPORARY HEAT RELIEF– As we continue to move deeper into summer, dairy producers can expect heat stress to be a concern. If a permanent heat relief system isn’t in place, producers can take temporary measures, such as providing additional water troughs and spraying water on the animals’ backs several times a day, especially when they’re in the holding pen.
CALF AREA FLY CONTROL– Reducing fly activity in and around the calf area this summer can help calves avoid the pain and restlessness caused by flies. The bedding around calves and feeds that are fed there can attract flies. However, regular cleaning of the bedding and feed areas, keeping grass and weeds mowed down and using insecticide control and fly traps helps reduce flies in and around the calf area.
MANAGING FORAGE SUPPLIES– Now is a good time for dairy farmers to inventory their forage and make plans for meeting future demand. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk discusses the things farmers should keep in mind as they manage their forage supplies this summer.
SUMMER REPRODUCTION ISSUES– Heat-stressed animals – those with an increase in body temperature – will have longer heat cycles and are more likely to experience difficulty maintaining a pregnancy, particularly early after fertilization. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk encourages dairy farmers to think about what they can do to help their cows become pregnant during the summer months.
DAIRY INDUSTRY’S IMPACT– June is National Dairy Month. In addition to spotlighting dairy products, it’s a good time to remind people of the dairy industry’s economic impact. In Kansas, there are 320 active dairy farms that produce approximately $742 million in direct revenue and $1.2 billion in total revenue. The Kansas dairy industry also supports 1,300 direct jobs and 4,200 additional jobs.
HEAT STRESS MANAGEMENT– Keeping cows cool in hot weather is vital. However, a good heat management strategy extends beyond providing cool water and shade. Producers also need to think about improving rumen function which can be accomplished by using direct fed microbials and high quality forage.
COSTS AND REINVESTMENT– With the high cost of feed, dairy producers are trying to find ways to control costs. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk says home-raised feeds, especially when harvested for maximum crude protein, starch and fiber digestibility, is one way to reduce costs. He also suggests talking with your nutritionist and thinking about how you can reinvest in your operation.
KANSAS DAIRY DAYS– Dairy producers wanting to learn more about industry trends and current research being conducted by Kansas State University faculty and graduate students are invited to attend the annual Kansas Dairy Days. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk previews the event which is being held June 2nd and 3rd.
TWO-TIERED PRICING SYSTEM– The flow of milk off the dairy fam may become a cash flow issue over the next several months – or longer. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk (brook) says the application of a two-tiered pricing system – a base for part of a producer’s milk and another rate for anything above the base – will force producers to find other ways to maintain cash flow.
SEEKING ECONOMIC SAVINGS – As feed costs continue to escalate, dairy producers are looking for ways to be more economically efficent in their operations. One suggestion is to look at the milk output of open cows that remain in the milking string. The numbers might indicate that culling would be a better decision.
STABLE FLY CONTROL – Dairy producers with animals that are bunching in the barn and pasture, stamping their legs and swishing their tails are probably dealing with stable flies. If steps aren’t taken to control stable flies producers can expect a 10 to 30% reduction in milk production.
REDUCING BACTERIA TRANSFER– Kansas dairy producers are seeing an increase in somatic cell counts in the herd. One contributing factor might be the cold weather that occurred about six weeks ago. Also, bacteria transfers from a variety of sources animals come into contact with can cause mastitis and increase somatic cell counts in the herd.
KEEPING DRY COWS COOL– Kansas State University has done several studies on keeping cows cool to reduce suffering and reduce milk production losses. Studies show the losses can be big enough that the cost of a cooling system can be recouped in about 3 years.
FLY CONTROL ON THE DAIRY– House flies and stable flies look similar but stable flies cause the most irritation for dairy cattle. And, now is the time for producers to identify problem areas and take measures to reduce flies in those areas.
PLANNING FOR DAIRY MONTH– The safety restrictions implemented for COVID-19 last year prevented many dairy producers from opening their dairy farms to the public in June for National Dairy Month. However, this year looks more promising. With that in mind, producers are encouraged to begin making plans now to educate the public about the dairy industry and their specific dairy operation.
ADD ALFALFA HAY TO THE DIET– As soybean meal prices continue to increase, dairy producers looking for alternative feed sources should consider alfalfa hay. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk says producers must consider the value of protein as part of the overall cost of feed. He says alfalfa hay, when harvested at the right time, is a good protein option for higher priced soybean meal.
MINIMIZING HEAT STRESS– As temperatures turn more spring-like, dairy producers are reminded to take steps to minimize heat stress on the herd. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk (brook) says the risk of heat stress can be reduced in the holding area by opening side walls and using clean, well-maintained fans.
THE VALUE OF A PREGNANCY – Improving efficiencies on the dairy farm is vital for an operation’s success. One way to increase yearly savings per cow is by improving the pregnancy rate within the herd. In fact, a producer with a 15% pregnancy rate can increase their savings per cow significantly over the course of the year by identifying ways to improve the herd’s pregnancy rate by just 5%.
DEVELOP A STRONG FOUNDATION– When it comes to a total reproductive program, there are a number of options. However, before jumping to some of the more costly options, dairy producers need a strong foundation, including proper nutrition and good management of the program.
PROTECTING TEAT SKIN– Cold weather can have harsh effects on unprotected teat skin. Using a post dip after milking that contains skin conditioner and then blotting off excess dip before cows move out of the milking parlor can help prevent teat skin damage and subsequent mastitis.
ADDING WHEAT TO THE DIET– As we look at today’s prices for corn, wheat and soybean meal, dairy producers should consider adding more wheat to the herd’s diet. Making this move can reduce protein costs.
2020 STRUGGLES AND TRIUMPHS– The 2020 total raw milk market was historically difficult for dairy producers to overcome. However, a continued lowering of somatic cell count in the Central Order and an increase in the value in milk protein were both positives.
EARLY LACTATION PROTEIN– Researchers at the Ohio State University recently completed a study evaluating how dietary protein and amino acid supplementation influenced milk production during the first 25 days of lactation.
BENEFITS OF GROUP FEEDING– As feed costs continue to climb, dairy producers are encouraged to talk to their nutritionist and consider grouping their animals by production. This allows producers to change the level of protein based on expected milk production.
|01-15-21||FOOT BATH SOLUTION DEPTH– Dairy producers use foot baths to control hoof issues in the herd. However, if the calculation for chemical solution isn’t correct, K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk says producers won’t get the results they expect. He explains how producers can check their foot bath calculations for accuracy.||ML 01-15|
|01-08-21||CALF BARN PROTECTION – With winter officially here, dairy producers are encouraged to check their calf barns to make sure they provide adequate protection from the elements. This includes a thick layer of dry straw bedding, possibly replacing the base under the straw and offering protection from north and west winds.||ML 01-08|
|12-18-20||DRY COWS AND HEIFERS – While it’s important to protect calves from cold stress during the winter, it’s equally important to protect dry cows and heifers. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk recommends dairy producers monitor body scores, make sure animals have dry, clean coats, offer temporary housing and provide dry bedding before and after storms, especially snow storms.||ML 12-18|
|12-11-20||COLD WEATHER CALF CARE– As colder weather sets in, Kansas dairy producers are encouraged to take steps to protect their calves. This includes increasing feedings to three or possibly four times per day, using a higher fat milk replacer, keeping calves hydrated, and using deep bedding and calf blankets.||ML 12-11|
|12-04-20||GIFTS THAT HELP EVERYONE– Company holiday parties will probably not be held this year. However, it is still important for dairy producers to recognize their employees’ hard work. Purchasing gift cards from local businesses will not only help employees, it will help build a relationship with those local businesses as well as demonstrate the economic impact of the dairy.||ML 12-04|
|11-20-20||COVID-19 PRECAUTIONS– As we move from fall to winter, dairy producers are encouraged to remain vigilant in protecting themselves, employees and visitors against exposure to the coronavirus. Learn about the precautions producers can take to reduce the risk of the virus coming onto the farm and what to do if someone tests positive for coronavirus.||ML 11-20|
|11-13-20||WORK ON RELATIONSHIPS– A three-legged milking stool should exist on every dairy farm – and that stool is the relationship between the producer, their veterinarian and their animals. As a result, producers are encouraged to work with their veterinarian so they can discuss protocols, measure results and identify changes that will improve their dairy’s operation.||ML 11-13|
|11-06-20||REDUCING WASTED FEED– The dairy industry has made great strides in the last 50 years in increasing milk production through genetics and feed efficiency. While genetics plays a role in improving feed efficiency, feed that is wasted reduces feed efficiency and has a greater impact on a dairy operation’s bottom line.||ML 11-06|
|10-30-20||LAMENESS IN DAIRY HERDS– The lameness that some dairy cattle experience in the fall probably started in the summer. In addition to lost milk production, lameness also impacts early culling and fertility.||ML 10-30|
|10-23-20||RISING PRICE OF PROTEIN– For a variety of reasons, the cost of soybean meal has climbed more than 25% in the last six weeks. The supply of protein could become an issue over the next 6-to-12 months. As a result, producers should think about some options for controlling costs.||ML 10-23|
|10-16-20||CHANGES IN FEED PRICES– Questions surrounding the size of the corn and soybean crop is creating upward movement in those markets. As a result, feed prices will likely increase and producers should be to exploring marketing strategies to protect themselves over the next 12 to 18 months.||ML 10-16|
|10-09-20||U.S. FLUID MILK SALES– Fluid milk sales in the U.S. are showing increased consumer demand for whole milk products, especially flavored milk. Consumers are choosing whole milk products over something lower in fat because they have a better mouth feel and better taste. As a result, producers may need to look at products that contain more milk fat.||ML 10-09|
|10-02-20||REDUCING LACTATION LENGTH– As dairy producers consider their cash flow over the next six months, K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk suggests looking at the number of cows in late lactation. The cows still consume fairly large quantities of feed but milk production is declining quicker than feed consumption. He says that’s often because they didn’t conceive at the right time.||ML 10-02|
|09-25-20||MONITOR KERNEL PROCESSING– Kansas dairy producers are encouraged to monitor the kernel processing of corn silage about every hour during the day. To do this, fill a 32-ounce cup with chopped silage and spread it out on a flat surface. The ideal sample will contain four or fewer half or larger kernels.||ML 09-25|
|09-18-20||TESTING STARCH CONTENT – There are several steps producers should take before feeding recently harvested corn silage to their cows. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk (brook) says corn silage should ferment for at least 21 days and be tested to determine its starch content before being fed to the herd.||ML 09-18|
|09-11-20||FALL CALF CONCERNS– As we transition from summer to fall, dairy producers are encouraged to focus on three areas of calf health: environment, nutrition and vaccinations. A dry environment, an accelerated growth program and a good vaccination program can help calves withstand the stresses of the fall environment.||ML 09-11|
|09-04-20||KANSAS DAIRY LEADER– The 35th recipient of the Kansas Dairy Leader award has a long history of assisting dairy producers to solve issues and to make sure we have a safe milk supply. This year’s winner has served dairy producers through various positions with the Department of Agriculture.||ML 09-04|
|08-28-20||EVALUATING BY-PRODUCTS– Using by-product feeds for cattle is not a new concept. However, K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk says producers should work closely with their nutritionist to determine whether the by-products being adding to the cattle’s diet are still a good buy in today’s grain market.||ML 08-28|
|08-21-20||INCREASING STARCH LEVELS– This year’s weather conditions may allow producers to wait a little longer before chopping their corn silage – increasing starch levels by as much as five percent which can increase the performance of the dairy herd.||ML 08-21|
|08-14-20||SOMATIC CELL COUNT– Dairy producers typically see a rise in somatic cell count in the herd during the summer. Wet bedding material, flies and incorrect milking procedures can all create bacterial contamination and increase the incidence of mastitis, leading to a higher somatic cell count.||ML 08-14|
|08-07-20||PRODUCER PRICE DIFFERENTIAL– As milk checks for June marketings arrive, dairy producers may experience some anxiety over the negative Federal Milk Marketing Order Producer Price Differentials. An increase in the price of cheese is the reason for the negative PPD. However, negative PPDs are not taking money away but rather reflecting higher valued Class III milk compared to other uses in the market.||ML 08-07|
|07-31-20||VESICULAR STOMATITIS – Vesicular stomatitis is a viral disease which primarily affects horses, cattle, and swine. In affected livestock, K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk says the agent that causes vesicular stomatitis, VSV, causes painful blister-like lesions to form in the mouth and on the dental pad, tongue, lips, nostrils, hooves and teats. It is often so painful that dairy cattle refuse to eat and drink and can show signs of lameness.||ML 07-31|
|07-24-20||PACK DENSITY IN SILOS– Before corn silage chopping begins, dairy producers are encouraged to consider the packing weight they’re using and determine if that’s enough weight to do an effective job of packing. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk discusses how much weight is needed and some options for adding more weight to tractors.||ML 07-24|
|07-17-20||SELECTING SILAGE INOCULANTS– The cost of silage inoculant can vary widely, depending on whether it’s a basic inoculant, one that’s designed to fight funguses or an oxygen scavenger. In general, a silage inoculant will help provide a consistent ration, increase dry matter recovery, and increase milk production.||ML 07-17|
|07-10-20||CORN SILAGE HARVEST– Corn silage harvest is rapidly approaching, and dairy producers are encouraged to start getting ready now. That includes preparing the storage site, servicing harvesting equipment, securing a harvesting crew if needed, ordering supplies and determining if there’s anything you want to do differently for this year’s harvest.||ML 07-10|
|07-03-20||NATIONAL ICE CREAM DAY– How much do Americans enjoy ice cream? A lot! On average, we each eat about 23 gallons of ice cream a year. National Ice Cream Day, started by President Reagan in 1984, is celebrated on the third Sunday of July. Dairy producers are encouraged to enjoy their favorite ice cream flavor with family and friends – either at home or at a local ice cream parlor – on July 19th.||ML 07-03|
|06-26-20||MONITOR RESPIRATION RATES– Dairy producers can determine the effectiveness of heat abatement measures on the farm by checking the cow’s body temperature or respiration rate. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk explains how to monitor a cow’s respiration rate for signs of heat stress.||ML 06-26|
|06-19-20||RATIONS UNDER HEAT STRESS– Forage quality is a major factor for maintaining high levels of milk production. This is especially true when cows are under heat stress. As a result, producers are encouraged to focus on five things this summer: forages, silages, concentrate levels, water and heat abatement.||ML 06-19|
|06-12-20||DAIRY MARGIN PROGRAM– Volatility in milk prices, like dairy producers are currently experiencing, creates a significant cash flow problem. Producers are encouraged to take advantage of the federal programs that offer protection against sudden drops in milk prices, such as the dairy margin program.||ML 06-12|
|06-05-20||SUMMER FLY CONTROL– Summer is rapidly approaching and flies will soon become a bigger problem for dairy producers. Spraying helps control adults but if eggs are in various stages of development, more flies will appear in 7-10 days. Learn how producers can keep fly populations down now and through the summer.||ML 06-05|
|05-29-20||SMALL GRAIN CONSIDERATIONS– Harvesting small grain silages will continue for several more weeks across Kansas, and several things that can affect quality. The dry matter content, forage maturity, chopping length and ash content are important factors when harvesting alfalfa and small grain silages.||ML 05-29|
|05-22-20||CONNECTING SOCIALLY– June is National Dairy Month. In a normal year, producers would think of ways to get people out to see their dairies. However, this is anything but a normal year. As a result, producers are encouraged to use social media and work with local food banks and restaurants to highlight how they support their local communities.||ML 05-22|
|05-15-20||REDUCING FOOD COSTS– Dairy producers are expected to continue facing narrow margins for the next several months. As a result, controlling costs is critical. Mike Brouk offers some suggestions to help reduce food costs with minimal impact to total milk production.||ML 05-15|
|05-08-20||SURVIVING NARROW MARGINS– The narrow margins impacting the dairy industry are expected to continue for the next several months. To help survive these narrow margins, producers need to identify and implement cost-cutting measures, starting with reducing feed costs, which typically account for around 50% of a dairy’s total operating cost.||ML 05-08|
|05-01-20||COMPONENT PRODUCTION– There is a drop-off in butter fat and milk protein during the summer – primarily due to heat stress. To reduce this loss, producers are encouraged to work with their nutritionist to determine what can be done to increase butter fat and milk protein percentages when heat stress becomes an issue.||ML 05-01|
|04-24-20||HARVESTING SMALL GRAINS– Dairy producers harvesting small grain forage for silage can harvest in the boot stage or the head stage. Depending on the size and the makeup of the herd, some producers might benefit more from harvesting in the boot stage, while others might benefit from harvesting in the head stage.||ML 04-24|
|04-17-20||PREPARE FOR HEAT STRESS– The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a sharp drop in demand for some dairy products. As a result, producers are facing tight milk margins. Summer is fast-approaching and the heat stress it brings can impact milk production. However, there are steps producers can take to reduce heat stress and improve milk production.||ML 04-17|
|04-10-20||PAYCHECK PROTECTION LOANS– Kansas dairy farmers facing losses due to COVID-19 can now apply for low interest, possibly forgivable, Paycheck Protection Loans. The program allows dairy farmers to apply for loans to meet payroll, make mortgage interest payments, rent payments and utilities payments.||ML 04-10|
|04-03-20||COVID-19 PRECAUTIONS– The increase in positive tests for COVID-19 is a reminder that we all need to take the necessary steps to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. There are several precautions that can be taken to help protect employees on the dairy farm.||ML 04-03|
|03-27-20||2109 KANSAS MILK RANKING– According to the latest report, Kansas ranked 16th in 2019 in terms of total milk production. The state’s dairy producers also recorded good numbers for milk production per capita and milk production per cow.||ML 03-27|
|03-20-20||CRITICAL OPERATIONS– A Dairy farm has many critical operations, including milking the cows, feeding the herd, maintaining animal health and general maintenance. However, if a dairy operation experiences a labor shortage or a number of employees get sick, there needs to be a plan in place that identifies what is critical and who is essential for keeping the dairy operational.||ML 03-20|
|03-13-20||ROBOTIC MILKING SYSTEMS– There’s a balance between the cost of technology and its return on investment. Robotic milking systems offer producers many benefits. However, they should answer some critical design questions first, such as their expectation for milk yield, expectation for milk harvested per robot per day and the potential impact on overall cow comfort.||ML 03-13|
|03-06-20||FINDING MISSING MILK– The slide in milk prices is putting additional pressure on dairy producers to increase production per cow. Looking for missing milk is one suggestion – starting with determining the percentage of the herd that is pregnant and how many days in milk, on average, those cows are.||ML 03-06|
|02-28-20||RUMEN-PROTECTED LYSINE– Studies show transition and pre-fresh cows who receive supplemental amino acids before and after calving produce more milk, have better health and increased weight. As a result, dairy producers are encouraged to consider using supplemental rumen-protected lysine for transition and pre-fresh cows.||ML 02-28|
|02-21-20||MILKING EQUIPMENT ISSUES– Due to high, frequent use, regular maintenance of milking equipment is a critical factor on dairy farms. As a result, producers should monitor pulsators and the vacuum level at the teat end to improve milk production and reduce animal discomfort during the milking process.||ML 02-21|
|02-14-20||2019 MILK STATISTICS– When all the data is factored in, 2019 was a good year for dairy producers in the Central Milk Order. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk discusses the data that stood out to him in 2019 and what it may mean for producers in 2020.||ML 02-14|
|02-07-20||PROTEIN PRODUCTION– Since fall, the protein price for milk has steadily risen and is expected to remain strong for at least the next few months. As a result, dairy producers should consider focusing on protein rather than the fat percentage. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk discusses how to get higher protein percentage and higher protein yield from dairy cows.||ML 02-07|
|01-31-20||STAYING IN THE BLACK– As financial conditions improve in the dairy industry, it’s essential for dairy producers to continue to keep their belts tightened. Producers are encouraged to have honest discussions with their banker, resist the temptation to increase spending, fix the things they’ve been applying band aids to in the past, and keep their focus on things that will improve the financial situation on the dairy.||ML 01-31|
|01-24-20||GETTING TIMELY PREGNANCIES– Timely management of transition cows and early lactation is important in making sure dairy producers are getting timely pregnancies. Several studies show there is a connection between body condition scores and reproduction rates.||ML 01-24|
|01-17-20||HIGHER PROTEIN YIELD– As dairy producers strive to increase profitability, how they feed cows to achieve higher levels of protein yield is extremely important. As a result, producers should work with a nutritionist to increase protein content and closely monitor transition cows.||ML 01-17|
|01-10-20||ANNUAL DAIRY DAYS– The annual KSU Dairy Days is being held January 22nd just outside Whiteside – near Hutchinson – and January 23rd in Hutchinson. This year’s Dairy Days focuses on new technology and providing dairy producers research-based information to improve their dairy operations.||ML 01-10|
|12-20-19||SURVIVING COLD STRESS– As colder weather settles in across Kansas, calves become more stressed trying to survive. When the temperature falls below 30 degrees, calves require an additional 10-percent liquid feed each day for each 10-degree drop in temperature. Calves also need a clean, dry and draft-free place to rest, along with extra water to stay hydrated.||ML 12-20|
|12-13-19||THE VALUE OF TEAM MEETINGS– The owners and managers of dairy farms are comparable to the head coach of a team. As a result, these “coaches” should hold regular team meetings to provide feedback on employee performance, and more importantly, to receive employee feedback.||ML 12-13|
|12-06-19||THE BOSS OR THE COACH– With another year quickly coming to a close, it’s time to evaluate employees on the dairy farm. As part of the evaluation process, dairy owners and managers are encouraged to think about whether they’re a boss or a coach – and how their operation can benefit more from a coach.||ML 12-06|
|11-29-19||REASONS TO GIVE THANKS– It’s the season of giving thanks, and there are blessings and opportunities for dairy producers to be thankful for. Plus, there are opportunities the industry may present next year and in the years to come.||ML 11-29|
|11-22-19||DAIRY OUTLOOK FOR 2020– Dairy producers have seen a steady increase in milk prices this year. In fact, prices haven’t been this high in over five years. There is optimism that prices will remain strong in 2020. However, producers wanting to collect on the higher prices, must make management decisions that keep their herds productive.||ML 11-22|
|11-15-19||MARKET CONCERNS FOR 2020– Dairy producers are experiencing higher milk prices. However, that is not likely to continue all the way through 2020. As a result, there are a number of things producers should be thinking about, such as regularly monitoring feed costs, efficient utilization of energy and protein within the herd, and getting transition cows off to a good start.||ML 11-15|
|11-08-19||DAIRY CATTLE HOOF HEALTH– Hoof trimming, which may have been put off for a variety of reasons, needs to get back on the schedule. As part of that process, producers should pay special attention to toe length, sole thickness, heel depth and claw and heel balance.||ML 11-08|
|11-01-19||FACE MANAGEMENT– Stored silages that are greater than 38% dry matter are more susceptible to secondary fermentation. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk (brook) says proper face management of the feed is important. This includes checking the forage daily for secondary heating and possibly using a mold inhibitor.||ML 11-01|
|10-25-19||FLUID MILK SALES IN THE U.S.– The sale of fluid milk marketed in the U.S. has been steadily declining since 2010. However, new data indicates there are a few bright spots. There has been a rebound in sales of whole milk and flavored whole milk but the dairy industry still needs to look to other products, such as cheese or other soft products to increase utilization of milk in the U.S.||ML 10-25|
|10-18-19||QUALITY OF 2019 FORAGES– Many of the silages harvested in 2019 are probably not adequate to support high levels of milk production. As a result, producers should test alfalfa hay for quality and talk to their nutritionist about ways to make this feed and other small grain silages better.||ML 10-18|
|10-11-19||MONITORING TEAT END HEALTH– As the weather turns colder, dairy producers are likely to see more chapping of the teat ends in the dairy herd. Having properly adjusted milking equipment, pulsators that work correctly, using post-dip products, and protecting cows moving from the parlor to the housing area with windbreaks are ways to help improve teat end health in cold weather.||ML 10-11|
|10-04-19||INCREASED FIBER DIGESTIBILITY– Research shows a boost in fiber digestibility can improve passage rates and forage intake. The end result is more milk produced. Producers are encouraged to talk to their nutritionist about manipulating silage fiber digestibility for lactating cows.||ML 10-04|
|09-27-19||TRANSITION DIET OPTIONS– The transition period before and after calving is a critical time for cows – and the period where she is most susceptible to disease. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk looks at some recent research on diet options for transition or pre-fresh cows that provide better nutrition and increased protection.||ML 09-27|
|09-20-19||KERNEL PROCESSING CORN SILAGE– Kernel processing of corn silage is expected to be extremely important this year because of the maturity of the crop. As a result, dairy farmers should measure the kernels being processed and, if necessary, make adjustments to get adequate kernel processing.||ML 09-20|
|09-13-19||INTENSIVE LIQUID FEEDING– Research shows that increased liquid feeding during the early calf growth phase increases growth and improves the health of dairy calves. However, the amount of liquid feed calves need can vary and dry matter modifications need to be made near weaning.||ML 09-13|
|09-06-19||WHOLE PLANT MOISTURE– Ample, to in many instances, too much rain, is complicating the corn silage harvest. Whole plant moisture this year is higher than normal and will drop very slowly. As a result, producers wanting high quality silage for their dairy cows need to harvest at the right time.||ML 09-06|
|08-30-19||FEED COST DECISIONS– Volatility in the commodity markets over the next 12-18 months could create volatility in the cost of feed byproducts. As a result, producers are encouraged to work with a nutritionist to determine which byproducts to purchase. For example, buying corn gluten feed may not be necessary if producers have an ample supply of corn forages available.||ML 08-30|
|08-23-19||CONTROLLING FEED COSTS– Feed accounts for nearly half of the total cost of production for dairy producers. As a result, controlling feed costs over the next 12-18 months is going to be vital for the overall profitability of the operation. And, there are options and strategies to help producers control feed costs.||ML 08-23|
|08-16-19||PRICING CORN SILAGE– Many dairy producers are starting to ask questions about how to price corn silage this year. Because pricing corn silage may be more difficult this year than in previous years, several factors need to be considered to calculate a fair price.||ML 08-16|
|08-09-19||TRACKING FORAGE QUALITY– Weather conditions experienced in Kansas during the spring and early summer may create forage quality concerns for dairy producers over the next 12-to-18 months. To keep milk production at a high level, producers are encouraged to track forage changes in the silo and work with their nutritionist.||ML 08-09|
|08-02-19||LOWER SOMATIC CELL COUNTS– Data from the Federal Milk Marketing Order shows dairy producers in the Central Order have somatic cell counts well below the legal limit for milk being pooled on the order. However, the numbers show one area has some room for improvement.||ML 08-02|
|07-26-19||CONTROLLING E. COLI MASTITIS– E. Coli and other coliform bacteria are found in high concentration in organic matter, such as bedding and manure. As the weather gets warmer, bacteria multiplies a lot quicker, posing a greater health risk for dairy cattle. However, steps can be taken to control E. coli mastitis.||ML 07-26|
|07-19-19||FEEDING CONSISTENCIES– There are two ways to look at feeding consistencies for dairy cattle. It could mean feeding them the same ration every day or the feeding the same nutrients every day. However, there is a significant difference between those two approaches.||ML 07-19|
|07-12-19||FLY CONTROL ON THE DAIRY– House flies and stable flies look similar and have some of the same feeding characteristics. However, stable flies are the biting flies and cause the most irritation for dairy cattle. While flies can’t be eliminated, steps can be taken to manage the fly population in and around confinement dairy buildings.||ML 07-12|
|07-05-19||DAIRY PROTECTION COVERAGE– The Dairy Margin Coverage Program, which replaces the old Dairy Margin Protection Program, includes extended coverage for dairy producers. Producers are encouraged to take a closer look at this new federal program to determine whether it’s a good option for their operation.||ML 07-05|
|06-28-19||LOCKING IN CHEAPER FEEDS– With the recent rise in corn and soybean prices, dairy producers should work closely over the next few months with those who help them with bidding and contracting feeds to see if there’s an opportunity to lock in cheaper feed prices. Producers also need to know where they stand with supplies on-hand and where they need to be in the next 12-16 months.||ML 06-28|
|06-21-19||CONTROL BODY TEMPERATURE– Studies show conception rates for dairy cattle fall dramatically when body temperature hits a certain point. Good reproductive performance hinges on keeping cows cool this summer. Producers are encouraged to check respiration rates to make sure the animals aren’t becoming stressed by the heat.||ML 06-21|
|06-14-19||SUMMER HEAT ABATEMENT – Despite a relatively cool spring, summer heat will soon be kicking in. With that in mind, now is a good time for dairy producers to begin checking their heat abatement systems so cows will be cool this summer. In addition to inspecting and repairing feedline soaking systems, controllers and pipes, cooling fans should be cleaned and positioned to deliver air down to the cows.||ML 06-14|
|06-07-19||HIGHLIGHTING ANIMAL WELFARE– June is National Dairy Month. As visitors tour dairy facilities, it's important for operators to use this as an opportunity to not only show, but to explain, the steps taken to promote animal welfare on dairies.||ML 06-07|
|05-31-19||EXTENDING THE FORAGE SUPPLY– The uncertainty of the fall forage supply is forcing many dairy producers to consider alternative feed sources. There are three primary sources of feed available to Kansas dairy producers that could be used to extend limited forage availability in the fall.||ML 05-31|
|05-24-19||CORN PLANTING FOR SILAGE– The wet spring is forcing many dairy farmers to delay planting corn for silage. The the maturity length for corn hybrids can impact the fall harvest. However, farmers have options for extending the forage growing season.||ML 05-24|
|05-17-19||COW CULLING TO CUT COSTS– Dairy producers looking to cut production costs and save some money in the coming months are encouraged to determine how many heifers they actually need to replace animals in the herd. There’s a formula for determining that number and several ways to cull the herd to that size.||ML 05-17|
|05-10-19||DELAYED FORAGE CONCERNS– Many producers across Kansas are facing a delayed harvest of winter annuals for forages. As the fields continue to mature, the protein content of the plants will decrease significantly. As a result, producers are encouraged to take field samples and have a lab test for crude protein, NDF content and NDF digestibility.||ML 05-10|
|05-03-19||SMALL GRAIN SILAGE HARVEST– With some harvesting of small grain silages already underway in southwest Kansas, producers are reminded to pay attention to the moisture content of the silage, the cut length they use, packing density and how the grain is stored.||ML 05-03|
|04-26-19||ALFALFA INSECT CONTROL – Scouting alfalfa fields for insects on a regular basis will help minimize damage to the field. Hiring a professional to scout fields can save time and money.||ML 04-26|
|04-19-19||MILK PRODUCTION TRENDS– The Central Milk Marketing administrator recently published some of the final numbers for milk production in 2018. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk looks at the numbers and trends and what it could mean for milk prices in 2019.||ML 04-19|
|04-12-19||ALFALFA CUTTING INTERVALS– Timing between alfalfa cuttings can impact yield, forage quality and number of cuttings. Kansas producers willing to cut alfalfa at 24 days instead of the traditional 28-30 days might see a lower yield but gain an additional cutting.||ML 04-12|
|04-05-19||COOLING SYSTEM EVALUATION– Spring is a good time for dairy producers to get ready for summer. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk says clean fans and fully-functioning soaker lines will help keep animals cool this summer. He also recommends taking steps to keep dry and pre-fresh animals cool.||ML 04-05|
|03-29-19||PRE-FRESH ANIMAL DIETS– If dairy producers run low on forages or forage quality decreases this spring, they might have to adjust the diets of pre-fresh animals. Urine pH tests can provide producers valuable information regarding the nutritional health of the herd.||ML 03-29|
|03-22-19||CONSERVING CORN SILAGE– Now is a good time for dairy producers to take inventory of the silage they have on hand. In particular, there should be an adequate supply of corn silage to feed lactating cows until the next harvest.||ML 03-22|
|03-15-19||COSTS OF ROBOTIC MILKING– The investment costs associated with transitioning from conventional milking to robotic milking can be considerable. As a result, dairy producers must consider the cost of the equipment and whether they can offset that cost through increased milk production.||ML 03-15|
|03-08-19||PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE– It’s something no one really wants to think about, but having a plan in place to keep the dairy running smoothly in the event of an accident or death should be a priority. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk explains why this plan is important, especially for sole proprietors.||ML 03-08|
|03-01-19||AIR VENTILATION FOR CALVES– While it’s important to protect calves from harsh winter conditions, it’s also important to take steps to reduce the risk of respiratory issues caused by being confined in tight spaces. Providing clean bedding, a high plain of nutrition and fresh air will keep calves healthier this winter.||ML 03-01|
|02-22-19||ANIONIC SALTS FOR PRE-FRESH COWS– The goal of every dairy producer is to have healthy, productive cows that transition well into lactation. Transition cows, those that are two-to-three weeks pre-fresh, are separated off and fed a separate diet – one that typically includes anionic salts. Dairy producers are encouraged to conduct a urine pH test to confirm that the anionic salt diet is working.||ML 02-22|
|02-15-19||A LOWER SOMATIC CELL COUNT– According to data from the Central Federal Milk Marketing Order, producers are continuing to lower the somatic cell count of the milk delivered to processing plants. This reduction is helping both consumers and producers.||ML 02-15|
|02-08-19||WINTER TEAT HEALTH– As the cold weather continues across Kansas, dairy producers are starting to see more teat damage in the herd. Producers can reduce the risk of damage by addressing some of the more common causes associated with winter teat damage.||ML 02-08|
|02-01-19||KSU DAIRY DAYS ARE HERE– The annual KSU Dairy Days are being held February 5th just outside Whiteside and again February 7th in Seneca. Some of the highlights include using robotics to milk cows, securing the Kansas milk supply and risk management strategies for 2019.||ML 02-01|
|01-25-19||CENTRAL MILK MARKETING ORDER– The number of farms in the Central Milk Marketing Order, which includes Kansas, has steadily declined since 2001. While Kansas has fewer farms in the pool, today’s farms are larger and in 2018 accounted for a high percentage of the milk that was pooled in the Order.||ML 01-25|
|01-18-19||INCREASING INCOME ON THE FARM– Because of market conditions, most dairy producers had limited cash flow in 2018. To try to turn that around, producers will have to continue to trim expenses and find new ways to increase the amount of milk they’re selling off the farm.||ML 01-18|
|01-11-19||CHALLENGES WITH 2018 CORN SILAGE– The drought across much of Kansas resulted in a 2018 corn silage crop that was low in starch and fiber digestibility. K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk explains the problems this presents and steps dairy producers can take to improve the quality of their corn silage.||ML 01-11|
|12-21-18||POSITIVE SIGNS FOR GROWTH– There’s no question that this has been a challenging year for dairy producers. However, K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk says increased consumption of cheese and butter shows American consumers see dairy products as an important part of their diets – a positive sign for continued growth of the industry.||ML 12-21|
|12-14-18||NAVIGATING FORAGE ISSUES– As dairy producers begin using 2018 crops for forage, K-State dairy specialist Mike Brouk says dry matter intake – which helps animals get to a higher level of milk production – is going to be off from previous years due to a lack of fiber digestibility and increased fiber in the forages. However, he says there are steps that can be taken to combat this problem.||ML 12-14|
|12-07-18||CONDUCTING TEAM MEETINGS– Dairy farm owners and managers are essentially the head coaches of a team. As a result, they're encouraged to hold regular team meetings and to provide feedback on employee performance – and more importantly – receive input from employees on how to improve the operation of the farm.||ML 12-07|
|11-30-18||FEEDING GRAIN TO CALVES– Calves are generally weaned at 8-10 weeks. However, several weeks before they are weaned, calves need to begin transitioning from milk to grain. As a result, it's a good idea for producers to review their grain feeding program to make sure calves are getting adequate consumption of grain prior to weaning.||ML 11-30|
|11-23-18||SHOW YOUR APPRECIATION– With the holiday season underway, dairy owners and managers are encouraged to think about how they can show their appreciation for the hard work their employees perform throughout the year. They might also consider extending this appreciation to their families.||ML 11-23|
|11-16-18||HIRING A MARKETING ADVISOR– Making a profit – especially when margins are tight – often depends on taking advantage of opportunities to lock in milk and grain prices throughout the year. Dairy producers can make better, more informed decisions for their operations by hiring a marketing advisor.||ML 11-16|
|11-09-18||HOOF 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|
|11-02-18||TESTING 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|
|10-26-18||LAMENESS 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|
|10-19-18||LATE 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|
|10-12-18||AVOIDING 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|
|10-05-18||USE 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|
|09-28-18||CROSSBREEDING 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|
|09-21-18||PREGNANCY 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|
|09-14-18||LAST 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|
|09-07-18||NAVIGATING 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|
|08-31-18||OPTIONS 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|
|08-24-18||REDUCING 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|
|08-17-18||PROTECTING 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|
|08-10-18||TIPS 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|
|08-03-18||PLANNING 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|
|07-27-18||MONITORING 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|
|07-20-18||COMBATING 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|
|07-13-18||USING 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|
|07-06-18||HARVESTING 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|
|06-29-18||REDUCE 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|
|06-22-18||FEEDING 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|
|06-15-18||CHECKING 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|
|06-08-18||EXTENDING 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|
|06-01-18||CHOOSING 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|
|05-25-18||SUMMER 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|
|05-18-18||CELEBRATING 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|
|05-11-18||THE 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|
|05-04-18||REDUCED 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|
|04-27-18||SUMMER 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|
|04-20-18||ANALYZING 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|
|04-13-18||BE 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|
|04-06-18||MARGINAL 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|