Latest articles

Controlling hairy heel warts in dairy cattle

A clean barn is part of preventative measures

Since the new year, I have travelled to many dairy farms across Western Canada and conducted a personal survey about lameness in dairy cattle. At each visit, I asked producers “What was their biggest cause of hoof problems?” Almost unanimously, their answer was “hairy heel warts!” This is no surprise, since multiple surveys conducted over […] Read more

Dairy Corner: How to optimize dry matter intake

Assess what’s happening at the feed bunk, supply proper ration

There is only one way I know to supply the essential nutrients to high-producing cows to yield large volumes of milk, milk-fat, milk-protein and solids — assure dairy cows optimize dry matter intake of good feed is at its best. As a dairy nutritionist, I am so convinced each bite of lactation diet counts that […] Read more

Pre-weaned calves need extra water

Dairy Corner: Satisfying thirst also promotes good dry calf starter intake

Feeding milk replacer or whole milk does not provide enough water for growing pre-weaned dairy calves. Young calves have a natural requirement for water which is often higher and separate than what is provided by most milk-based feeding programs. By providing all the water needed, calves adapt to dry calf starter quicker, grow faster and […] Read more

Dairy Corner: Don’t overdo palm fat in dairy cattle rations

Palm fat can help increase milk fat, but more isn’t necessarily better

There has been an explosive use of palm fat in many dairy diets. This growth has been fuelled by the numerous incentive days issued by milk marketing boards to increase milk fat production in lactating dairy cows. On the plus side, I see a profitable milk fat increase on many farms because some bypass palm […] Read more

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

Outstanding Young Farmers Quebec: Dominic Drapeau and Celia Neault

Dominic Drapeau and Celia Neault are part of a four-generation family farm

Relying on the knowledge and advice of an expert team, strong family support, a well-planned goal, and a lot of hard work has helped a young southern Quebec couple build one of the most progressive and productive dairy farms in the province. Dominic Drapeau and Celia Neault say it is a combination of these and […] Read more

dairy cattle in a pasture

Dairy Corner: Twofold impact of heat stress

Reproduction setbacks may take longer to correct than milk production problems

This summer in the eastern Prairies seemed to be hotter and definitely more humid than in previous years. I noticed this year in particular had many August nights when the humidex barely fell below 25 C. In talking to dairy producers, some had the same experience and also noticed their heat-stressed cows’ milk production as […] Read more

Beware of “things” in dairy cow water

Dairy Corner with Peter Vitti

A professor who once taught our nutrition class a long time ago (a long time ago) said the actual amount of water drunk by lactating dairy cows was important for milk production. However, she said it was the “things” that existed in their drinking water, which often limit their health and production during lactation. Even […] 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