Dairy Farming

For the dairy folks and/or beef folks with questions about udders, milk and mastitis.
K-SHIRES
Cowhand
Cowhand
Posts: 96
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2006 7:12 am
Location: N.WI,USA

Matings

Postby K-SHIRES » Fri Mar 24, 2006 1:52 pm

Having a professional go thru and rank matings annually is a good tool. Fun to do your own and then go and compare what company man said. We don't always agree. But, as you know, when making hay - LOOK OUT, it's katie bar the door- grab semen based on mating sheet, breed and MOVE ON!
Nice chatting with y'all.
0 x
The family that hays together stays together.

User avatar
born2run
Trail Boss
Trail Boss
Posts: 463
Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2005 1:47 pm
Location: NW Wisconsin
Contact:

Postby born2run » Fri Mar 24, 2006 7:19 pm

Could make a new post I suppose, but I'll throw this question in on this one. :)

Oxytocin use...how often do you use it and on what cows? If you use it for every milking, do you have a tough time getting these cows to settle?
0 x
The world is like a mirror. Smile at it and it will smile back.

J and L
Cowhand
Cowhand
Posts: 84
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2006 10:26 pm
Location: Wis

Postby J and L » Fri Mar 24, 2006 8:24 pm

Oxytocin, A real burr under my saddle! We use it on some new mastitis cases to help clean things out. This a valid use in my opinion. Sometimes it is used on a fresh heifer that is nervous in the stall, usually only once. This is also a valid use. At one time,without our knowledge, we found it being used on 21 of obout 250 cows milked. Linda and I let this happen by failure to educate the milkers about the adictiveness of the drug and that often times milker use it as an alternative to good cow handling and proper preping. Today routine use is 1 out of 325. Needless to say, we resist the use it as an ongoing therepy as much as we can. I have never heard of poor conception and oxytocin going hand in hand but that doesn't mean that it isn't so. Maybe if the cow has poor let down she may also have high scc or clinical infection causing poor conception?
Jerry
0 x

K-SHIRES
Cowhand
Cowhand
Posts: 96
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2006 7:12 am
Location: N.WI,USA

Crutch medicines

Postby K-SHIRES » Sat Mar 25, 2006 12:03 am

born2run wrote:Could make a new post I suppose, but I'll throw this question in on this one. :)

Oxytocin use...how often do you use it and on what cows? If you use it for every milking, do you have a tough time getting these cows to settle?

Oxytocin - Never use it atall. If during milking, noone raises voice or moves too quickly, most cows will relax and let down. If a cow has to have that to milk, and is going to be chronic mastitis without it, then her dtrs. and on down will be same, so they will be gone. Besides, using it means you have to buy it, store it, train labor in it's use, spend labor to administer it, and dispose of more garbage. The less special things you do during milking, more efficient you'll be. Better off without it IMO.
0 x
The family that hays together stays together.

User avatar
born2run
Trail Boss
Trail Boss
Posts: 463
Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2005 1:47 pm
Location: NW Wisconsin
Contact:

Postby born2run » Sat Mar 25, 2006 1:18 pm

When I first started my current job over 2 1/2 years ago we dispensed Oxytocin like water. Coming from another dairy where they guarded it with their life (well almost LOL) this was odd to me. Now there are only three cows on it, out of a herd of over 430. Two of the cows are bred back, and have been on oxytocin their entire lactation. These cows, in earlier stages of their lactation, would have come down with acute masitis without it being used. The other one, ironically, is not bred back. I asked the herd manager about this two days ago, and he told me that he feels like it was the oxytocin that caused her failure to settle. He said there were about 5 other cows during the same time frame, also on oxytocin, that were having a tough time taking, and said it was just too coincidental.

Now we have a strict "don't give" policy. While I think it may have it's place for a case of mild mastitis, I can see the boss/manager's point and respect that.

If during milking, noone raises voice or moves too quickly, most cows will relax and let down.


Just curious if you have employees, or do you do all your own milking?
0 x
The world is like a mirror. Smile at it and it will smile back.

K-SHIRES
Cowhand
Cowhand
Posts: 96
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2006 7:12 am
Location: N.WI,USA

OXYTOCIN,ETC.

Postby K-SHIRES » Sun Mar 26, 2006 1:03 am

Born2run - On your question, we are a small potatoes husband and wife Dairy, so either I or my wife does all milking, as well as anything else that gets done around here! That said, there is huge gains in efficiency for large dairies that make it a solid policy that people working with cows keep their cool, don't scream or cuss at cows, and move in a steady(not neccesarily slow) pace. Cows just don't like surprizes, and raised voice levels actually cause them more physical pain than being slapped on the butt to move them over.
Yes, OXY can help a heifer let down. Yes, maybe it can help with Mastitis. My viewpoint is an economic one. For example, if 3 out of 430 cows on dairy using it, I would say gains are statistically outweighed by cost of stocking, storing ,monitoring usage. And needles along with their disposal ain't free either.
Yes, we may have a heifer that takes alittle longer to get past udder edema. If Mastitis comes, I reckon we'd treat it like any other case. I wasn't aware of your employer's conclusions as to affect on repro. But that don't surprise me. Any time you alter a cow's chemical nature, you can throw off or delay conception. Not much differnt than humans there.
One other thought - A new heifer is in strange surroundings, her bag hurts as it is tight with milk, and she misses her calf. So what do dairy folks do when she's not letting down? LET'S STICK A BIG NEEDLE IN HER! That would relax me!
Next time you have a heifer like that, try rubbing both sides of it's tailhead with one hand, and talking gently. Quicker to reach up and do that than go and get needle, draw out solution, give shot, jump out of way when she kicks, put needle and pharmeceutical bottle back.
Y'all can suit yourself - As for me I just don't believe the best economic solution always comes out of a bottle.
*******************
Hey born2run addl. info - my wife informed me that vets visiting her father's dairy would use oxytocin to induce labor in heifers, as it Encourages, stimulates contraction of the Uterus. If this is so, a plausible theory might be egg is fertilized at breeding, but then embrionic death loss due to contracting of uterus(when it shouldn't be). I'm not a vet or Phd( The only Phd I have is my Post Hole Digger ) so I'll stop here, but suspect your Employer is on to something there.
0 x
The family that hays together stays together.

User avatar
milkmaid
GURU
GURU
Posts: 5290
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 12:34 pm
Location: Idaho

Postby milkmaid » Sun Mar 26, 2006 9:45 am

I tend to feel that oxytocin might cause lower fertility rates, but due to the amount of oxy we use for milk letdown (1-2cc's) in relation to the amount used for o.b. purposes (10cc's) - I don't feel that that a cow on oxy with lower fertility rates can be blamed entirely on the oxytocin she's receiving.

In addition to that fact, the conclusion I reached the other day reading through my vet textbooks, was that the uterus only responds to oxytocin while under the influence of estrogen. Between actual estrus and during pregnancy, the reproductive tract is under the influence of progesterone. It's only at calving or during estrus that the repro tract is influenced by estrogen. And, based on what I was reading the other day, the fertilized egg does not reach the uterus until 4-5 days past ovulation. By that time, surely, the uterus is no longer influenced by estrogen.

Now, if someone shows me a convincing article with a different standpoint, I'd be more than willing to consider it and change my views. ;-)

Might be good to note here-- we very rarely have cows that need oxytocin. Had 3 new heifers calve last spring that all needed it (one wouldn't letdown without 4cc's IM and several minutes between prep and milker attachment) and we weaned them down to about 1/2cc per milking over several months. We - or at least I - wondered if they had a common sire. Just too coincidental. Eventually we said, "This is ridiculous" - and cut them completely off oxytocin. 2, maybe 3 milkings before they'd letdown completely, but they're all fine now. Two of the three just entered their 2nd lactation.

Only have one cow on it right now, first lactation cow, in milk about a week. We tried different things - longer time between prep and milker attachment - few minutes massaging the udder to try and stimulate her to let down - and this girl wasn't at all nervous in the barn. She'd eat her grain like the rest of them - she just wouldn't let her milk down. Boss gave in for now, but we don't intend to keep her on oxy long.

Other things: K-shires - thanks for the response on bulls. :) You are right about 311's conformation...basically same things I'd been thinking. Her legs are a bit hard to evaluate; L/R had severe footrot about 15 months ago (reason for her being a cull cow) and while she is sound now and I keep that hoof trimmed up on a regular basis, she still doesn't stand perfect on it. She could use a little more in the body - rib - department as well. Just a tad slab-sided.

Here's another picture of her, different angle, last summer while raising four angus/holstein cross calves.
Image

I had glanced at both of those bulls, but like I said, wasn't sure as I'm not completely comfortable reading the charts. :lol: Once you pointed out what you liked about them, I agree with you on Damion. :) (Have to wonder why they don't offer sexed semen on the really good bulls - they're only offering it now on eight so-so, $20 bulls. I'd rather have the sexed semen on a $40 bull. You wouldn't happen to know if they'll have sexed semen available on Damion, Blitz, Mr Sam, etc later this spring, would you?)

J and L - didn't see dehorning on your list. When do you dehorn? and with what? I've chopped them off, and I've used dehorning paste. I think I prefer the results with the paste better, but certainly just chopping them off is easier. Not familiar with J-vac either...what's that one cover?
0 x
Basics needed to answer questions: age, weight, breed, sex. # affected vs # in group, feed type/amount, prior vaccinations, deworming, antibiotics, any recent changes....

More info = better answers.

J and L
Cowhand
Cowhand
Posts: 84
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2006 10:26 pm
Location: Wis

Postby J and L » Sun Mar 26, 2006 11:36 am

Milkmaid, Good catch on the dehorning. We use a butane operated tool to burn the growth point at 4-6 weeks. We sedate the calves for this. This can even be done earlyer with good sucsess.

Just one thing on the oxy issue and that is that over the years I have learned to not be too quick to apply black and white decissions to stuations that are not always so black and white. As stated before, our problems were a fault of education and proticol. With our calibur of employee that we currently have this was easily taken care of. I know we have saved cows/lactations with the proper use of oxytocin and that the value of that cow, her production, and genetic potential outway the cost of inventory, dispencing, and management costs. Again the key, to me, here is proper proticols and follwing them. I would be more willing to let someone go for not following procedures, than to loose a cow due to not having a regiment that could help her for fear it would not be followed.
Jerry
0 x

User avatar
born2run
Trail Boss
Trail Boss
Posts: 463
Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2005 1:47 pm
Location: NW Wisconsin
Contact:

Postby born2run » Sun Mar 26, 2006 7:16 pm

Proper protocol being followed is key, Jerry. The boss' daughter was great not doing that for awhile. She'd shoot everyone up, and the oxy was dissapearing at an alarming rate. Not sure who yelled at her first, the herd manager or her dad, but at any rate it stopped.
0 x
The world is like a mirror. Smile at it and it will smile back.

J and L
Cowhand
Cowhand
Posts: 84
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2006 10:26 pm
Location: Wis

Postby J and L » Sun Mar 26, 2006 8:11 pm

Linda writing now-
On the oxytocin issue-- alot of what I do it teach employees how to make judgement calls. When properly trained employees will make decisions using the same process I do. We've found that most employees relish being taught how to make the call, not just what the call should be. While I fully agree that shots should not be the norm, my experience has been that hooked on oxytocin one lactation does not mean hooked for life. Oxytocin is like many other hormones-- animals will cut back their natural production of the chemical if there is an easier supply of it. BST is a great example of this. While a cow might give +10 over her natural production with it, if she is on it for 3 months she will drop 15-20 below her "natural" curve when it is stopped because her body is trusting another source for it and thus has reduced her own output of it. Her output resets next lactation (this is why the reduced BST supply sharply dropped milk production and is also why 6 months later milk supply was rebounding without it-- cows were freshening again and continuing on their own curves)

With all decisions the scerenio sets the stage-- for example, it is 11:00 PM on a -2 degree F night and a new heifer is in the parlor. After the normal prep and attach, the heifer lets down some but unit comes off quickly and the udder is still very tight. Oxytocin or no? Here, the permission would be a hands down "yes"-- the reasoning: heifers that let down some but not all are not likely to get a full letdown on a second attach. The temp says that if the heifer starts to drip in the freestall before the next milking frozen teat ends are a real possibility-- it is easy economics to see that the potential of losing one or more quarters on a $2000 heifer is much more significant than having her on shots a couple of days.

Second example: Fantastic cow, teat end injury and mastitis. Pain can keep a cow from letting down completely, so oxytocin with antibiotics is normal. Most cows will resume normal letdown once treatment stops. Occasionally the cow needs oxytocin for longer than the treatment-- I've always suspected that in this case the injury pain is overriding normal letdown.

Third example: Nervous heifer, mid summer day. As in scene 1-- unit comes off early and udder is still tight. The call? Re-prep and reattach-- then let her go no matter the result. The risk from her not milking out is very low if she has no mastitis.

As for inheriting letdown, I can't say I've seen a correlation. Cysts-- yes--I've seen that in families. Mastitis-- not specifically. I learned a real lesson on inheritibility when we purchased a herd where cow families had the same first letter for their names. Matilda, Menerd, Matea, Mildred, Maggie-- all related, all dripped on the left rear quarters. I don't believe that mastitis is inherited-- I do believe that physical characteristics that can cause susceptibility are. Just as being an NBA star wouldn't be inherited but the height that would help one become a star would be.

Linda
0 x

K-SHIRES
Cowhand
Cowhand
Posts: 96
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2006 7:12 am
Location: N.WI,USA

Oxy,ETC.

Postby K-SHIRES » Mon Mar 27, 2006 1:06 am

J&L- Thank You for you explanation. Can see your reasons for using product, and respect your choice in doing so. Did not intend to disrepect another's practices or integrity. I guess over the years we have developed different ways of operating than mainstream dairying.
Our solution to these cases is two-fold. We use a product offered by Select sires called Uddermint for edema, damaged or swollen teats, heifers, etc. The deep heating action helps greatly, but it is an expensive product, so we use it sparingly.
Our climate here sees -65F windchill conditions several times in winter months. While not feasible for everyone, we calve all new heifers between April 1 and Dec. 15. As you pointed out, heifers are valuable, and winter calving was costing us to much in our climate.
Respectfully submit that this forum is most productive when participants speak their mind, right, wrong, or just different. Sometimes we learn most when we disagree on a particular product or practice, as I have learned much from your quality explanation. That said, just want to reiterate that every farm or ranch operator makes their own choice as to what works for them, and I respect that.
0 x
The family that hays together stays together.

J and L
Cowhand
Cowhand
Posts: 84
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2006 10:26 pm
Location: Wis

Postby J and L » Mon Mar 27, 2006 12:03 pm

No offense taken. I too appreciate others inputs. When the herd was smaller (stall barn) we grouped calvings into Mar-May and Sept- Dec periods- the "off" periods let us have a life and I really liked that.
We also try to avoid calving between Dec 15 and March 1 but each year we end up with some stragglers. Holding heifers over has costs too-- but I agree wholeheartedly that it is alot less than a culled or severely compromised heifer. As space has gotten tighter we have tended to hold young repeats over and rebreed animals over 16 months of age. I've talked to several local dairys that were caught offguard in Dec and lost large 30-40% of the heifers they calved to weather problems.
I'll check into the "Uddermint"- it sounds like a good tool for winter problems. I would say that edema is the culprit in 90% of our winter issues--we're pretty successful in minimizing it but there are those streaks...
Linda
0 x

K-SHIRES
Cowhand
Cowhand
Posts: 96
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2006 7:12 am
Location: N.WI,USA

Heifers

Postby K-SHIRES » Mon Mar 27, 2006 1:52 pm

J&L - Clearly you are in a growth phase, and you may need to buy some heifers that don't fit your optimum calving times. If we wait for perfect conditions, we won't get much done, especially with heifer market as it is.
Uddermint also works well on sunburned teats, dry chapped, and mud cracks. Some purchased heifers come with those. It is also excellent for deep-heating releif of back pain for midwestern dairy farmers. LOL. Be careful with it though, if you have it on your finger and rub your eye, you'll be sooooorry! One other thought - If you talk to Rolf ask him if you can have a videotape copy of:
*MILKING PROCEDURES - Nolan Farms of Elba, NY.
An invaluable resource for any parlor dairy owners. Whether you use any of concepts or ideas contained or not it will open your eyes to the possibilities of advanced efficiency most parlor dairies never acheive. Just another idea, like your plate isn't full enough allready building a Dairy!
0 x
The family that hays together stays together.

J and L
Cowhand
Cowhand
Posts: 84
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2006 10:26 pm
Location: Wis

Postby J and L » Mon Mar 27, 2006 2:58 pm

K-SHIRES, Milkmaid posed the question about sexed semen and I know that Select Sires is marketing some. You seem pretty familiar with their bulls. I have heard that conception is greatly compromised and therefore heifers are the only practical usage at this time. What is your take on all this.
0 x

User avatar
born2run
Trail Boss
Trail Boss
Posts: 463
Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2005 1:47 pm
Location: NW Wisconsin
Contact:

Postby born2run » Mon Mar 27, 2006 3:42 pm

J and L...

K-Shires mentioning videos brings this thought up. Do you have a video you have new hires watch as far as milking procedures? I've often thought this would be helpful, maybe even a short Powerpoint presentation that went over the basics as far as prep times, etc.
0 x
The world is like a mirror. Smile at it and it will smile back.


Return to “Got Milk?”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests