STRATEGIES FOR IMPROVED REPRODUCTIVE PERFORMANCE IN EARLY LACTATION COWS

Posted by Richard Shepardson, M.S. and Matthew Sellers, Ph.D on Jun 4, 2020 7:00:00 AM

Minimize the days spent in negative energy balance as AN important strategy to improve peak milk and reproductive performance in cows during early lactation

The onset of lactation is accompanied by extreme physiological shifts for dairy cows and causes a gap between the biochemical energy necessary to support lactation and the dietary energy taken in through dry matter intake (DMI). If cows are not obtaining adequate nutrients through feed, they enter negative energy balance (NEBAL) and must utilize body reserves (i.e. adipose tissue) to make up the difference. Cows in NEBAL, and those that remain in NEBAL for extended periods of time, will decrease in body weight and condition which can lead to a variety of metabolic and reproductive issues. Minimizing the time spent in NEBAL improves peak milk and reproductive performance.

IMPROVING ENERGY BALANCE AND REPRODUCTIVE SUCCESS

Minimizing days spent in NEBAL is an important strategy to improve reproductive success. Effects of energy balance on reproductive performance have been well documented. Butler (2000) and Gumen et al. (2011) will be briefly reviewed for the purposes of this paper.

Energy balance can impact the ability of the cow to return to estrous and ability to carry a calf. Decreased reproductive success is also associated with increased plasma non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) and beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA) concentrations present during NEBAL as the body mobilizes energy reserves. Negative energy balance alters luteinizing hormone (LH) pulse frequency and decreases ovarian sensitivity to LH. Circulating blood progesterone, often referred to as the “pregnancy hormone,” is decreased when cows are in NEBAL, meaning that these cows also have decreased fertility. Oocyte quality and function of the corpus luteum are also negatively impacted by prolonged NEBAL. Carvalho et al., (2014) demonstrated that pregnancies per artificial insemination (P/AI) at 40 days in milk for cows that lost, maintained, or gained body condition in the first 21 days of lactation was 25%, 38%, and 84%, respectively. These numbers were mirrored by the P/AI at 70 days as well.

Interestingly, energy corrected milk yield of all three groups was not different, nor was body condition score at calving. Finally, Domecq et al. (1997) showed that cows that lost 0.40 units of body condition decreased first service conception rate by 17%, and cows that lost 0.80 units of body condition decreased by 20%.

In order to improve reproductive success and peak milk yield, dairy managers and nutritionists must focus on returning their cows to positive energy balance (PEBAL) as quickly and efficiently as possible.

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Topics: Animal Nutrition

4 STEPS TO BLOOD MEAL REPLACEMENT

Posted by Mike Harper, Ph.D., Matthew Sellers, Ph.D. on May 20, 2020 11:53:01 AM

Blood Meal Replacement with Rumen-Protected Lysine and High Bypass Protein Feedstuffs For Dairy Cattle.

Nearly two dozen meat processing plants closed in April 2020 and many more have reduced production due to the spread of the novel coronavirus in the United States. Pork and beef harvesting capacity decreased by 40% at the end of April 2020, according to CoBank, and remain below full capacity. This has caused both blood meal shortages and increased prices. Whenever a specific ingredient increases substantially in price, it is prudent to explore alternative feedstuffs to supply required nutrients such as metabolizable lysine and protein. 

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Topics: Animal Nutrition

DELAYING SMALL GRAIN HARVEST

Posted by Michael T. Harper, Ph. D. | Dairy Technical Specialist on May 1, 2020 8:00:00 AM

A strategy for increased forage yield during milk production constraints

Farmers across the country are having to reduce milk production due to reduced demand during this unprecedented time of the COVID-19 pandemic. While reducing ration energy density for some cows and drying others off early is a good strategy, a resulting challenge could be not having enough forage to fill the ration of more dry cows while concurrently increasing the fiber content of the post-peak lactating group. This article discusses delaying small grain harvest; a strategy for increased forage yield during milk production constraints.

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Topics: Animal Nutrition

FEEDING SALABLE MILK TO YOUNGSTOCK: TIPS, TRICKS, AND FORMULATION ADVICE

Posted by Matthew Sellers, Ph.D. and Elizabeth Marvel, PAS on Apr 22, 2020 2:35:27 PM

The US dairy industry, along with our nation and world, are experiencing unprecedented and extreme challenges related to the current COVID-19 pandemic. While milk volumes are increasing across the nation due to ‘spring flush’, demand for dairy products has dropped significantly. In response, many cooperatives and dairy manufacturers have resorted to dumping milk, decreasing milk purchases, or implementing tiered pricing structures.

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Topics: Calf Management

THE PROTEINS IN MILK

Posted by Lindsey Ormond, Director of Research & Development on Apr 17, 2020 11:50:05 AM

Milk contains two main types of proteins – casein and whey. Casein accounts for 80% of the protein in milk, while whey contributes around 20%.

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Topics: Human Nutrition Ingredients

NOT ALL PROTEINS ARE CREATED EQUAL

Posted by Lindsey Ormond, Director of Research & Development on Mar 19, 2020 12:59:11 PM

Consumers are waking up to the benefits that dietary protein can provide. From endurance athletes, and weekend warriors, to those in their advancing years, however, not all proteins are created equal. When it comes to the composition of amino acids in protein, some sources of protein over others are better at meeting human requirements.

Proteins are composed of building blocks called amino acids, which are then joined together by peptide bonds to create larger peptide units. There are 20 amino acids in the diet, 9 of which are essential, meaning they must be consumed in the diet as the human body cannot synthesize them itself. Protein quality is assessed based on the amino acid composition of a protein, its ability to satisfy protein requirements, and how well it is absorbed by the body. 

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Topics: Human Nutrition Ingredients

INGREDIENT HIGHLIGHT: CALCIUM CASEINATE

Posted by Research & Development on Mar 11, 2020 1:26:24 PM

Milk Specialties Global is boosting the North American supply chain with Calcium Caseinate sourced and produced in the United States. The rBGH free skim milk is sourced from California dairy farms and transported to the Visalia, CA facility to produce Calcium Caseinate.

Calcium Caseinate is a highly functional ingredient with an excellent amino acid profile. It has excellent dispersibility, viscosity, and emulsification capabilities; making it a versatile ingredient of choice for ready to mix sports nutrition powders and other functional food applications.

The process of producing Calcium Caseinate involves gentle acidification and neutralization of the milk to help retain all superior nutritional qualities. Calcium Caseinate is an extremely nutritious and clean tasting ingredient that delivers a high level of protein with low levels of carbohydrates (sugar/lactose). It is also high in naturally occurring calcium phosphate which is the building block for strong teeth and bones, helping to maintain bone density and structural functions.

Milk Specialties Global’s Calcium Caseinate is available in instant and regular form, with non-GMO, Non-GMO Project Verified, Kosher and Halal certifications. Instant Calcium Caseinate is recommended for use in all nutritional powder formulations to improve nutritional and sensory attributes as well as increase the product shelf-life.

To learn more about Milk Specialties Global’s Calcium Caseinate and our extensive dairy protein portfolio, contact your Milk Specialties Account Manager or email us directly at ingredientsales@milkspecialties.com.

View the Milk Specialties Product Overview

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Topics: Human Nutrition Ingredients

DEHORNING: HOW TO MAKE A NECESSARY JOB EASIER WITH LIDOCAINE BLOCKING

Posted by Elizabeth Marvel on Mar 10, 2020 2:11:15 PM

Until polled genetics become more available in the dairy industry, dehorning is a necessary task on the farm.  Dehorning is a painful process; therefore, it is necessary to provide pain management to the calf. Dehorning should be performed prior to eight weeks of age The younger the calf the faster they seem to recover from the procedure.  You can offer pain management by Lidocaine blocking and offering a drug like Meloxicam. Lidocaine and Meloxicam are both very economical choices, just make sure you receive a prescription from your veterinarian.

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Topics: Calf Management

NPEW 2020

Posted by Genevieve Kettleson on Feb 7, 2020 10:21:00 AM

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Topics: Human Nutrition Ingredients

CALF COLD STRESS MONITOR: A NEW WAY TO ESTIMATE THE INCREASED ENERGY NEEDS FOR CALVES UNDERGOING COLD STRESS

Posted by Milk Specialties Technical Experts on Nov 8, 2019 9:46:27 AM

Colder weather has descended on many parts of the U.S. dairy country, and that means we need to pay increased attention to the impact of cold stress on young dairy calves raised outside. Calves less than 3 weeks of age are most susceptible to cold stress because they are born with very little body fat reserves to draw upon and do not consume very much calf starter at this young age. These young calves must rely on the energy being provided by the liquid diet they are consuming to meet their energy requirements for maintenance (basic body functions such as digestion, immune function, and nutrient metabolism) and for growth. 

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Topics: Calf Management