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The Elegance and Wisdom of Simplicity: As Applied to Dairy Ruminant Nutrition (Part 2)

Click here to view as a pdf:  The Elegance and Wisdom of Simplicity Part II

By Dan Leiterman

Preface: This is the second part of a two-part article addressing my thoughts about common sense strategies for dairy nutrition.  The first article can be found at:  https://crystalcreeknatural.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/The-Elegance-And-Wisdom-Of-Simplicity.pdf   

The Important Role of Simplicity

In part 1 of this article (published in the April 2021 Crystal Creek® Newsletter), I talked about the important role of simplicity and how complex science needs to adhere to simple, basic and sound principles so information can be easily and efficiently applied with balance. If the concept of simplicity is not paramount, it is easy to lose perspective and forget what we have learned through decades of feeding animals. Simplicity also helps us deal with the overwhelming sea of data. Information that is consistent with simple principles will advance a cohesive and efficient strategy that helps us reach a sustainable goal.

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Using Data Collection Devices to Evaluate Progress in Your Dairy Herd

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Director of Technical Services

Dairy producers have been given a new tool to help track a herd’s overall health, fertility and production with activity monitoring systems. These systems provide data that can be measured over a period of time. Crystal Creek® has worked with several herds that utilize these activity monitoring systems and have found them to be an invaluable means of collecting data for making decisions impacting the herd. Nutritionists can collect and organize data from the system on a regular basis. The effects of changes in feeding strategies or procedural changes can easily be tracked by these monitoring systems. A nutritionist can conduct business meetings with the dairy producer and other team members, (veterinarians, breeders, bankers, agronomists, etc.) to review the data collected throughout the year and create goals for the future.

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The Skin: The Window to the Immune System

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Dr. Ryan Leiterman

Dr. Ryan Leiterman holds degrees in both Agricultural Engineering and Veterinary Medicine.

By Ryan Leiterman, D.V.M.

Director of Technical Services

The skin is the frontline defense mechanism for every animal and as a result, it is under constant challenges from toxins, infectious agents and physical stresses. It’s more than just a physical barrier between the body and the environment; the skin is an active immune organ. Specialized immune cells found only in the skin are always on the lookout, patrolling for infection.

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The Elegance and Wisdom of Simplicity: As Applied to Dairy Ruminant Nutrition

Click here to view as a pdf:  The Elegance And Wisdom Of Simplicity

By Dan Leiterman

Preface: This is the first part of a two-part article addressing my thoughts about common sense strategies for dairy nutrition.

Throughout the ages and in all walks of life, mankind has demonstrated a relentless and instinctive desire to learn, to explore and to discover answers for the many complex mysteries of life and science. The quest for knowledge is essential to our success as a species. However, managing the new knowledge and applying it to our benefit is an ever-increasing challenge. During our journey to learn as much as we can, it is important to remember the role of simplicity as an essential tool to help us manage the overwhelming amount of information we are exposed to every day. No matter how complex the topic, it must adhere to simple, basic and sound principles so information can be applied easily and efficiently with balance. If simplicity is not taken into account, it is too easy to lose perspective on the task at hand, forget the lessons of history, and become lost in a sea of data. Information that is consistent with simple principles will advance a cohesive, wise and efficient strategy that helps us to reach a sustainable goal. Keeping a solid tie to simplicity can provide clarity and help us stay on course in the growing complexity of our world.

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How to Effectively Manage High Somatic Cell Counts

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By Teresa Marker, B.S.

Herd-wide high somatic cell count (HSCC) issues can negatively impact both milk quality and overall farm profitability. A recent study estimated that the cost of subclinical mastitis to the U.S. dairy industry exceeds $1 billion annually. The overall production loss for the average U.S. dairy farm was estimated at $110/cow annually. This loss can be attributed to discarded milk, treatment costs, extra labor costs, milk production losses, culling and death loss. The following article will outline what steps are needed to determine the cause of a high somatic cell count, how to interpret diagnostic test results and how to create a plan to help reduce the overall herd somatic cell count.

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The Recovery Period: Tips For A Successful Dry Off

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By Erik Brettingen, B.S.

The dry cow period is arguably the most important time in the cow’s lactation cycle as it is the time in which the cow rests her body and prepares for the next lactation. The timing and way in which a cow is dried off can greatly impact how well she will transition into the dry period and how well she will come into her next lactation. A properly managed dry off protocol should minimize the risk of mastitis, maximize cow comfort and allow for mammary tissue rest and recovery in preparation for the next lactation.

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Forage Digestibility: How It Affects Your Bottom Line

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By Erik Brettingen, B.S.

Forages have traditionally been tested for Acid Detergent Fiber (ADF) and Neutral Detergent Fiber (NDF). While these values determine how much of each type of fiber there is, they do not give any information as to how digestible, or actually useable, the fiber is to the cow. A more accurate measurement in predicting how well cows will perform on a particular forage crop would be Neutral Detergent Fiber Digestibility (NDFd) and Undigestible Neutral Detergent Fiber (uNDF). The digestibility of NDF is a critical piece of information for balancing rations to maximize cow performance, improve cow health, and minimize ration costs by relying on as much home-grown forages as possible.

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Improving Butterfat: Using Components To Drive Profitability

Click here to view as a pdf:  Improving Butterfat Using Components To Drive Profitability

By Erik Brettingen, B.S.

With the economic challenges facing the dairy industry today, farmers are looking for any and every way to increase profit and maintain sustainability. We are currently in a market where the volume of milk is exceeding the demand.  In this situation, striving to produce more milk can be expensive and often have a minimal return. An alternative to increased volume is increasing the nutrient quality of the milk through higher butterfat content. This can make a large impact on a farm’s bottom line. In July of 2019, the average national price paid for butterfat was $2.69 per pound.1 A cow producing 75 pounds of milk could increase income by $0.30 per day if butterfat content was raised from 3.6 to 3.9%. Along with the economic impact, higher components are also a sign of good rumen health indicating efficient digestion. Increasing butterfat is not always easy, but there are strategies that can help improve milk components to drive a farm’s profitability.

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A New Generation Of Mycotoxin Technology

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By Dan Leiterman

In my April 2016 newsletter article Managing Mycotoxins In Feedstuffs: Mycotoxin Binder Strategies, I explained the significant negative effects mycotoxins have on livestock health and production. That article pointed out the previous challenges of inaccurate lab analysis of mycotoxins, how to interpret a lab analysis to determine a management plan for a given level of exposure and the subsequent limitations of strategies available at the time. This article can be found on our website under the “Articles” tab, under the sub-category of “Inoculant.”

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Milk Or Profit: A Case Study

Click here to view as a pdf:  Milk Or Profit A Case Study

By Erik Brettingen, B.S.

Rolling herd average or milk production per cow are numbers commonly referred to when discussing the success of a dairy farm. Milk production is an easy number to identify but the actual profitability of an operation is a much more complex topic. A dairy herd’s income is simple to see by reading the milk check. Determining the real profit of the herd cannot be so easily evaluated as it takes time to assess the expenses involved in making the milk and running the operation.

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