Characterization of the Management Practices of the Top Milk Producing Herds in the Country
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Out of 128 surveys mailed to dairy farms that had been identified by the nine DHI processing centers as the top milk producing herds in the country, 61 surveys were returned. The predominant forage being fed was corn silage, followed by legume hay and haylage. On average, 6.7 feed additives and 3.5 alternative feeds were fed. Producers reported the following incidences of metabolic disorders: parturient paresis, 7.2%; displaced abomasum, 3.3%; ketosis, 3.7%; and nonspecific downer cow syndrome, 1.1%. Producers scheduled detection of estrus 3.1 times per day. Only 18.3% of the herds used routine synchronization of estrus. Artificial insemination was used on 94.8% of the cows and 88.5% of the heifers. The most important trait in sire selection was PTA for milk. For mastitis control, 75.4% of the producers practiced predipping, 85.2% used individual paper towels, 93.4% practiced postdipping, and 95.1% treated all cows at cessation of milking. Increased profitability and lower costs or higher returns were the primary motivators of these producers. Veterinarians were the most frequent source of information, followed by farm magazines. Satellite delivery of educational programs was the least acceptable delivery method. Extension professionals need to be cognizant of the producers' preferred information sources and delivery systems to ensure accurate, timely, cost-effective transfer of technological advances.
author list (cited authors)
Jordan, E. R., & Fourdraine, R. H.