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corn silage chopping

Right and wrong fermentation

Dairy Corner: If silage moisture is too high going in, it can affect feed quality and palatability

This autumn, I have seen a variety of corn fields being chopped into silage for dairy cattle. While some of this corn was dried enough to make some good quality corn silage, I was surprised when I saw some producers literarily harvested green chop. After all, they were faced with another rain shower, which forced […] Read more

Brown young calf in barn pen.

Dairy Corner: Good starter provides a good start

Make sure the starter has proper nutrients but also great taste

In recent years, I have seen a lot of pressure on dairy producers to feed more whole milk or milk replacer to their pre-weaned calves. University trials show baby calves fed high levels of milk turn it into superior bodyweight, girth and height at weaning, which make better future-lactating cows. Not to be overshadowed, there […] Read more

Cows leaving the dairy

Proper diet reduces risk of lame cows

A well-balanced ration and a clean barn are a great combination to keep dairy cows mobile

Recently, I conducted a barn walk in a 300-cow robot-milking dairy and within 10 minutes I spotted more than a half-dozen limping cows. I did not know what caused them to limp, but after I talked to the dairy manager, I discovered that lameness was a significant problem on his operation and several of these […] Read more

Hutch-reared calves need good diet and TLC

Keeping them dry, out of drafts and well fed leads to a healthier calf

Each year, I literarily see hundreds of preweaned dairy calves overwintered in outdoor calf hutches. Most perform well, but there are also more “poor doers” than I care to see. I find that each poor calf tells a similar story. Some of the mediocre calves are shivering, others are skinny, a few calves are coughing […] Read more

Test corn silage moisture for better milk production

The Dairy Corner: Dairy producers should test every time a new bag, bunk or silo is opened

There are three stages to the corn harvest in Manitoba. The first starts in September when the corn crop matures and whole plant moisture dries to about 35 per cent dry matter — it’s one of the best time to take off corn silage. The second occurs weeks later when the grain corn dries to […] Read more

Pay attention to post-weaning programs for dairy cattle

You want replacement heifers to grow at an optimum rate, but not too fast or too slow

Almost every time I visit a dairy barn, I make a point of looking at post-weaned replacement heifers as well. Raising young dairy heifers can be one of the greatest challenges even on the best-run dairies. I believe implementing a good post-weaning heifer program makes good sense and contributes to their future success as high-milk-producing dairy […] Read more

Test for, treat ketosis early in dairy cattle

It is easy for cows to slip into a negative energy balance and lose condition

Years ago, I would lean over the feed bunk and smell the breath of a ketosis-suspect dairy cow. It convinced me that it had either bad breath or glue (acetone) breathing ketosis. Since then, I’ve come a long way. Dairy nutritionists like myself and dairy producers now have access to modern BHB (Beta-hydroxybutyrate) milk tests through […] Read more