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Dairy Topics Volume 13 Number 3 (2014)

NUTRITION Finding the dietary solution to toxins, stress and immunity.

CALF MANAGEMENT Higher performance through the use of phytogenics.

MILK YIELD Is your herd of cows picture perfect or profitable to milk?

REPRODUCTION The use of ultrasonography in pregnancy diagnosis.

MASTITIS & TEAT CARE We look at options from around the world.

HEALTH Improve productivity and your return on investment.

Practical information for progressive dairy professionals


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ising affluence in Asia is now seeing a rising demand for milk and dairy products. In countries with large populations an increase of just one litre per capita per year equates to a large number of extra cows required. Genetics is a key component of milk production, so surely it is shortsighted of certain Asian countries to ban the importation of stock from many of the world’s best genetic pools? One also has to ask questions over the quality of some of the locally produced forages and concentrates. Some countries or, more correctly, some companies in certain countries, have risen to the challenge by creating mega dairy farms. These are dependent on foreign assistance because how can you expect a local dairy farmer, who previously milked a couple of cows, to scale up his abilities and skills to cope with 200 or 2,000 cows, never mind 20,000? Are the systems and practices that have served our industry so well in the temperate regions of the world appropriate for the tropics? Is equipment that works well in temperate regions also fit for purpose in

Cover Picture:

International Dairy Topics — Volume 13 Number 3

tropical areas? Then we come to diseases and the tropics favour certain ones. For example, nasty diseases like foot and mouth and BVD are still prevalent in some Asian countries. Yet basic issues, like ensuring milk is kept cool after it leaves the cow, are still relatively alien concepts in certain countries. One thing is for sure – if you are going to rely on mega farms you must import the expertise for managing such farms and you must not skimp when it comes to sourcing quality genetics, forage and staff. But, remember, you have got to get your product to your customers and fresh milk is a fragile commodity that quickly goes off. So, if you are planning a large farm why not plan in your budget for the processing facilities required to convert fresh milk into more durable products like cheese, butter, milk powders, yoghurts and UHT milk and UHT flavoured milk drinks? After all, you have put all the hard work into producing the original milk so why give the extra profit which comes from value added n products to a third party? Good nutrition is key to good health. (Photo courtesy of Genus ABS)


WorldFocus An executive summary of key international issues


Should we counter this UN report?

A UN report entitled ‘Nitrogen on the Table’ claims that if Europeans reduced their consumption of meat and dairy products by 50% then greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture would be cut by 25-40%. In addition, such a cut would lead to a 40% cut in man’s intake of saturated fats and bring levels to within a range recommended by the WHO. The vast majority of saturated fats in man’s diet come from such products and these can lead to cholesterol problems and obesity. This obviously overlooks the benefits of eating such products, but it is a compelling argument to mislead the ill-informed! Should we counter it?


Chinese industry to benefit retrospectively?

The Chinese government has recently stated that they ‘will accelerate the consolidation of the dairy industry and create advanced, cross-regional dairy companies with global competitiveness and inefficient companies using outdated technology will be forced out of the market and overcapacity in the industry will be reduced’. China wants to rebuild confidence in their $US19 billion dairy industry after the melamine contaminated milk scandal. The Chinese want to raise their per capita consumption of dairy products and therefore aim to encourage schoolchildren to boost consumption by considering subsidising milk for poor children.


Time to find a sensible middle path?

A view that is beginning to emerge in the USA is why hire someone when there is a robot that can do the job? Robotic milkers stick to schedules, do not take lunch breaks and do not give the dairy farmer people-management issues to worry about! Conversely, they are not stockmen, they do not give the extra attention that some cows require and they can not spot many problems. The dilemma is that many of the younger generation see robots as ‘more fun’ and traditional milking as doing manual labour! Surely, there is room for a compromise here along the lines of taking more technology into the parlour so the dairyman is better able to manage his job, rather than having to physically do it all himself?

International Dairy Topics — Volume 13 Number 3


Finding the dietary solution to toxins, stress and immunity in dairy cows by Dr Rüdiger Kratz, Innovad NV, Technical Services - Ruminant. he entire dairy industry, including consulting nutritionists, veterinarians and producers, all strive to keep their herd in good health knowing that healthy cows will be able to better cope with stress, especially with potentially contaminated feedstuffs. Stress resulting in oxidative stress can negatively impact the dairy cow. Moulds and mycotoxins, endotoxins, hidden toxins in the feed, extra heat, pathogen challenges, environmental issues, changes in diets, transition period and calving all compromise the cow’s immunity and its ability to deal with possible diseases, causing immune suppression. As a result, higher somatic cell counts, lower milk yield, poorer reproduction performance, mastitis and metritis are observed. Moulds are omnipresent. Their main task in nature is to decompose organic matter. More than 400 mycotoxins have been identified but about 20-30 are frequently detected with highly sensitive analytical methods (LC/MS-MS) in feed and food in higher concentrations. The most critical mycotoxins for ruminants are deoxynivalenol (DON), zearalenone formed by Fusarium spp. and aflatoxin B by Aspergillus.


Fig. 1. Oxidative activity of fumonisin B1 on kidney cells (Abado-Becognee et al 1998).

MDA (nmol/mg of protein)




0.0 Control

Fumonisin B1



Body tissue

Small intestine de-glycosylation, glucuronidation, methylation


Liver sulphation, glucuronidation, methylation



excretion Faeces


Fig. 2. Metabolism of polyphenols. Fumonisins, ochratoxin A, ergot alkaloids, as well as silage-associated roquefortin C and mycophenolic acid, can also be detected. The formation of mycotoxins undergoes significant regional and seasonal variation and, among other things, depends on the nutrient supply, water content in the substrate and in the surrounding air, temperature and pH. The optimum conditions for mould growth and toxin formation do not necessarily need to coincide. Moulds and mycotoxins in feed cause chronic, ‘subacute’ problems in dairy cattle that show up with signs of higher disease incidence, reduced fertility or sub-optimal milk production. This is mediated by the following modes of action: l Reduced intake or feed refusal. l Altered microbial growth in the rumen. l Reduced nutrient absorption and impaired metabolism. l Altered endocrine and exocrine systems. l Suppressed immune function. Experience from research and practice indicate that individual actions are not sufficient. The best way to eliminate such risk related to the concurrent presence of toxic contaminants along with all other stresses inherent to the cows’ production challenges seems to lay in a combination of actions – the cow metabolic support emphasising maintenance and balancing oxidative stress management, the essential organ (liver mainly) aid, the stimulation of rumen function and immune response, along with the

International Dairy Topics — Volume 13 Number 3

reduction of mycotoxins adsorption and toxins toxicity through their bio-transformation.

Balancing oxidative stress In biological organisms, such as the dairy cow, the antioxidant system and pro-oxidative substances (reactive oxygen species (ROS)) are finely regulated at the cellular level. Many studies have shown oxidative stress as a fundamental factor of unwanted immune and inflammatory responses. Dairy cows, especially in the phase from gestation to lactation, are susceptible to a variety of diseases. ROS affect the regulation of gene expression, and the antimicrobial activity of the macrophages. Elevated levels of ROS damage nucleic acids, proteins and lipids, affecting important physiological functions. Food spoilage and mycotoxins are considered oxidative stress triggers. It is not yet completely clear whether this is done by direct stimulation of the formation of ROS or indirectly by weakening the antioxidant system. Presumably, both paths are taken. In most cases, the levels of natural antioxidants are reduced due to lipid peroxidation caused by mycotoxins. Fumonisin B1 was found to be a strong inducer of malondialdehyde (marker of oxidative stress, see Fig. 1). Continued on page 9



International Dairy Topics — Volume 13 Number 3

functioning and performance Continued from page 7 Fumagillin even in the presence of mycoThe antioxidant system of the toxins. They supply micromammalian cell is complex and Citrinin nutrients like B vitamins, branchconsists of proteins, enzymes, chained fatty acids and oligopepvitamins and pro-vitamins, which Griseofulvin tides to a variety of bacteria and are found in the cytosol, mitoprotozoa and stimulate their chondria or cell membrane. Mycophenolic acid growth and efficiency acting Special secondary plant metaboPenicillium spp. Aspergillus spp. therefore as prebiotics. lites such as the polyphenols can Penicillin Cellulolytic bacteria are espestabilise the existing system. cially supported and may be Polyphenols are a complex group Penicillinic acid increased in numbers by about of substances, which can be 50%, bacteria +15%. As a result, divided into phenolic acids and Penitrem A the digestibility of organic matflavonoids and then subdivided ter, ADF and hemicellulose are much further. They have an Roquefortine improved. The production of important role in building the cell short-chain fatty acids can be walls that protect the plant from increased indicating higher harmful influences, such as UV Fig. 3. Antibiotics produced by Penicillium and Aspergillus spp. energy supply from feed fibre. light and pathogens, and are Some herbal ingredients have been proven involved in the repair of cellular damage. to protect the liver. Experience with various The absorption of the polyphenols occurs parts of plants or extracts are supported by mainly in the small intestine (Fig. 2). They Supporting immune function trials with cell cultures (in vitro model), animay be chemically modified, bound on albumal studies (in vivo model) and clinical trials min to become water soluble and reaching Mycotoxins appear to have a significant in humans. the liver via the portal vein. In the liver other immunotoxic potential, depending on the Rosmary is well known for its strengthenmolecular changes take place, such as degree of exposure. Gliotoxin produced by ing effect on liver functions. Production and hydroxylation, decarboxylation and conjugaA. flavus acts as an immunosuppressive, flow of bile are stimulated, so that the digestion, having the polyphenols become being antibacterial and improving apoptosis. tion is improved. The glucuronidation of hydrophilic and excreted via the kidneys in These effects can be enhanced further by unwanted molecules is increased, leading to the urine. T-2 toxin as it inhibits phagocytosis of accelerated elimination via urine and diminThus, the main sites of action for polypheA. fumigatus conidia by macrophages. Direct ishing their potential disease impact. nols are the intestinal mucosa, liver, and kideffects of T-2 toxin are seen in lower conArtichoke leaves are a liver detoxifying and ney. The structural variability of polyphenols centrations of plasma immunoglobulin and regenerating agent. It is mainly used to treat is also reflected in their effect. For example protein. liver dyspepsia and disease. The main active proanthocyans are very poorly absorbed Cows in phases of stress as in early lactacomponents are cynarine and other bitter and their effect remains limited on the tion or due to high temperatures are particsubstances resulting in the regulation of lipid intestinal mucosal area. ularly susceptible to mycotoxins because digestion. Flavanones and isoflavones show the best their immune system is already overtaxed. bioavailability and can exert their antioxidant The interactions between the immune syspotential in blood, liver and kidney. Howtem and nutritional status or requirements ever, the concentrations fall quickly after are well documented. The requirement of Stimulating rumen function stopping supply, so that constant feeding is the immune system is highly dependent on necessary. The antioxidant potential of the immune response and applied condiIt should always be considered that mycopolyphenols can be measured in relation to tions. The system is less stressed when vital toxins will adversely impact rumen environvitamin E in Trolox equivalent antioxidant organs such as the liver are fully functional. ment and activity even before having an capacity (TEAC), showing a broad variation The rumen has great potential to eliminate effect on the animals themselves. Decreases of <0.1 to >5.0 mM TEAC per mM toxins if the microflora is well balanced and in ruminal motility, on dry matter intake, polyphenol. Therefore the usage of very active. In addition, the immune system acid detergent fibre (ADF), starch digestion polyphenols presupposes their effectiveness can be activated directly. b-glucans, as and on microbial growth are some of the in terms of absorption and antioxidant extracted and concentrated yeast cell walls, issues seen in animals fed mycotoxin contacapacity. can activate leukocytes and cytokines. minated diets, directly impacting production Cytokines are peptides and some regulate and indirectly initiating other metabolic disgrowth and differentiation of cells, others orders. Additionally, toxins like aflatoxin and are mediators of immunological reactions. Supporting liver function deoxynivalenol reduces feed intake and, The stabilisation of the immune system consequently, further suppression of nutriresults in fewer cases of mastitis, and lower Crucial organs, like liver, are stressed and ent supply. In dairy cattle, T2-toxin has been concentration of somatic cell count. damaged or malfunctioning due to the presassociated with intestinal haemorrhages, ence of mycotoxins (aflatoxin and fumonbloody faeces, gastrointestinal lesions and isin) after absorption, while immune enteritis, finally disruption of the digestive function is compromised by most of the Conclusion process in the lower part of the digestive other mentioned toxins. tract. The liver has a very high metabolic activity At the beginning of lactation, during high Moulds also produce antibiotics to defend that makes it extra vulnerable for oxidative mobilisation of body reserves and with high themselves against other mould and bactestress by aggressive molecules. In addition, feed bypass through the rumen, the cow can ria. Fig. 3 shows some antibiotics produced the liver of dairy cows during early lactation barely cope with an additional burden like by penicillium and aspergillus spp. present in is exposed to specific extra stresses. Low mycotoxin contamination. A multi-functional silages. These antibiotic activities will supress concentrations of glucose and insulin in the approach should be used to maintain and to bacterial production in the rumen and lead blood and increased influx of free fatty acids stabilise the health of the cow naturally. to decreased feed conversion as well as lead to fat deposition in the liver. Moulds Innovad’s Escent can keep the liver and kid‘normal’ toxic effects of mycotoxins. and mycotoxins can exacerbate this further ney healthy, as well as the rumen highly proFermentation extracts can maintain rumen by reducing feed intake. ductive, resulting in more milk. n

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International Dairy Topics â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Volume 13 Number 3

Supporting calves with phytogenics for higher performance by Carina Schieder, Product Manager Phytogenics, Biomin Holding GmbH, Industriestrasse 21, 3130 Herzogenburg, Austria.

connected to direct costs due to calf losses, treatments and negative long term effects on performance. Feed changes occurring during the first three months of life are major stress events affecting intestinal health and performance. Consequently, it has become a common practice to apply antibiotic growth promoters (AGPs) at subtherapeutic levels in milk replacers and starter formulations. It is estimated that the exclusion of AGPs from ruminant feed increases production costs by up to 5%. Antibiotic resistance in animal production and the risk of antibiotic residues in products of animal origin and in the environment have raised concerns among the public and scientific community. Government regulations are increasingly aimed at restricting the use of antibiotics as growth promoters or banning the use of AGPs, as in the European Union in 2006.

alf management is a major aspect of dairy operations. Under intensive calf management, short rearing periods with high daily weight gains are desirable goals from an economic point of view. Farmers and farm managers are becoming more aware of the advantages of intensified feeding systems that lead to better ruminal development accompanied by higher growth rates and subsequently higher milk performances in first lactations. Intensified growth programs, based on higher milk or milk replacer intakes in combination with continuous weaning, encourages starter intake in the pre-weaning period and demands accelerated early nutrition. Thus, animals are supported to achieve the growth of their genetic potential.


Health triggers Challenges in rearing calves

The exposure to various infectious agents through feed may be accompanied by various other stressors originating from the environment or suboptimal management. These consequently have a negative impact on the calf’s well being and health. Calfhood diseases may affect the

Overall, high weight gains require a good health status in pre-weaning calves. Morbidity and mortality of calves in the rearing period represent major financial losses for farmers. These parameters are

Control group

PFA group

Diarrhoea score*




Diarrhoea days




a,b Means with different superscripts differ significantly (p < 0.01) *Scour score: 1 = normal, 2 = loose, 3 = water separation, 4 = watery with dehydration.

Table 1. Decreased diarrhoea score and number of diarrhoea days in neonatal calves offered CMR with and without PFAs. economic viability of dairy operations with losses arising from respiratory and gastrointestinal tract diseases. The latter leads to diarrhoea caused by bacterial infection in the intestine. According to the National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) report 2010, 23.9% and 12.4% of pre-weaned heifer calves suffer from diarrhoea or other digestive problems and respiratory tract diseases, respectively. More than 75% of these disease incidences were treated with antibiotics. Control of scours is a costly endeavour as diarrhoea causes greater financial loss to dairy operations than any other disease. All in all, securing high animal performance raises the demand for additives that can substitute for or even exceed the positive effects of AGPs on feed efficiency and disease prevention without further arousing public concerns. Several alternatives may be applied to improve health. Among the alter-

Fig. 1. Increased performance and feed efficiency in calves with supplementation of PFAs containing herbs, spices, essential oils and non-volatile compounds.





74.0kg 66.6kg




3 1.87








1 0

Trial I Trial I: Trial II: Trial III: Trial IV: Trial V:


2 1.90







Body weight gain (control = 100%)


6 Feed to gain ratio


n PFA 33.6kg

n Control


Trial II

Trial III

Trial IV

Trial V

Miller et al. (2011) – PFA in CMR vs. CMR – 54 vs. 53 calves/group – 6 weeks Chester-Jones et al. (2010) – PFA in CMR vs. Neo/OTC in CMR + Rumensin in starter – 24 vs. 26 calves /group – 8 weeks Friedrichkeit (AT, 2011) – PFA in CMR /starter vs. CMR/starter – 25 vs. 25 calves/group – 8 weeks. Friedrichkeit (AT, 2012) – PFA in CMR/starter vs. CMR/starter – 27 vs. 26 calves/group – 8 weeks. Bahlmann (DE) – PFA in CMR vs. CMR – 5 consecutive trials – each 21 weeks

International Dairy Topics — Volume 13 Number 3

natives are phytogenics which represent a group of plant-derived products, including a variety of promising substances that enable calves to maximise calf growth according to their full genetic potential while improving overall health.

A natural solution An increasing number of scientific literature have demonstrated the efficacy of phytogenic substances on growth and feed efficiency in various animal species. Phytogenics, also referred to as botanicals or phytobiotics, have been used for medicinal purposes in humans and animals for centuries. Phytogenics contain secondary plant metabolites with diverse positive influences on the health of animals. Besides sensory effects influencing palatability, phytogenic feed additives (PFAs) stimulate the production of saliva and gastric juices and exert great anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial as well as anti-oxidative activities. The positive influence of PFAs on zootechnical parameters particularly of broilers and pigs has been cited in a growing number of literature. With regard to calves, published scientific research data is still limited.

Improving feed efficiency The efficacy of phytogenics for calves on performance and feed efficiency is shown by the example of a defined PFA based on herbs, spices and essential oils (Digestarom; Fig. 1). Growth performance and feed efficiency of calves receiving PFAs in calf milk replacer (CMR) and/or PFAs in starter feed of calves were Continued on page 13



International Dairy Topics â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Volume 13 Number 3

Decreased challenge Maintaining healthy calves is essential for calf development and growth. Good health status is a key requirement for high weight gain. In particular, intestinal disturbances along with an increased number of diarrhoea incidences play a key role in impacting animals’ health negatively. Miller et al. (2012) reported significantly increased performance and feed efficiency with the application of a PFA in the CMR (Digestarom Milk) in a trial conducted at an experimental farm in the United States. The experiment also exhibited significant improvements in diarrhoea scores and significant reductions in diarrhoea days in neonatal calves when applying the PFA (Table 1).

antioxidative and antimicrobial efficacies. Various compounds of plant origin are known to positively affect radical scavenging abilities and down-regulate inflammatory mediators, reducing immune stress.

1.2 Treatment cost (€/calf)

Continued from page 11 compared to those of calves fed either non-medicated CMR and calf starter or medicated CMR (neomycin and oxytetracycline) and medicated calf starter (Rumensin). Overall, body weight gain was higher by 8%. Feed efficiency was improved by 5% on average across the five trials, so that calves receiving PFAs required only 1.91kg of feed per kg body weight gain compared to 2.01kg of feed for the control groups.

1.0 0.8 0.6

Conclusion 0.4 0.2 0.0 Positive control

Negative control


Fig. 2. Decreased medical treatment costs in neonatal calves offered a CMR with PFAs compared to no supplementation (negative control) and addition of AGPs (positive control). Another experiment conducted at the Calf and Heifer Research Facility at the University of Minnesota yielded interesting findings with regard to veterinary treatment costs. In this study growth performance and medical treatment costs in neonatal calves receiving CMR supplemented with a PFA (Digestarom P.E.P. sol), AGPs or no supplementation at all were recorded. Results showed that medical costs were lowest for calves of the PFA group compared to calves of the positive (neomycin and OTC, Rumensin) and negative control (Fig. 2). The PFA group also exhibited higher weight gains and an improved

International Dairy Topics — Volume 13 Number 3

overall health status along with lower disease incidence. Differences in treatment costs were remarkable. The expenses due to medical treatments were slightly above €1.00 per calf in the negative control group. Treatment costs were reduced to €0.70 in calves receiving AGPs and were further lowered with PFA supplementation (€0.57/calf).

Efficacy of PFAs These experimental findings confirm the potential of PFAs as powerful tools that stabilise the digestive system due to their anti-inflammatory,

Adequate growth rates and excellent ruminal development are the basis for raising healthy calves that eventually mature into high performing cattle. However, calfhood diseases, mainly arising from bacterial challenges in the intestinal tract, greatly impact the economic viability of dairy farms due to significant medication costs. As a result, AGP supplementation is still a common practice in many countries. Amid rising concerns over the use of antibiotics in animal production, phytogenics are gaining substantial interest. Positive experimental findings on growth performance, feed efficiency and health status have shown that supplementation with mixtures of herbs, spices, essential oils and plant extracts (Digestarom) reduces the need for AGPs. The results obtained are excellent indicators of the potential of phytogenic additives. n References are available from the author upon request



International Dairy Topics â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Volume 13 Number 3

Is your herd of cows picture perfect or profitable to milk? by Colten Green, Dairy National Account Manager, Cooperative Resources International (CRI), 117 E. Green Bay Street, Shawano, WI 54166, USA. hile evaluating a dairy in central California recently, I observed that they were making an easy 80lb of milk and the body condition score was good. The herd’s reproduction and culling were going extremely well, but I just could not get over how much smaller their Holsteins were than most herds. The cows at this farm were noticeably smaller than most Holstein dairies I visit, but their milk production was above average reaching about 82lb on twice a day milking with no rBST and a higher forage ration than most dairies. This is not an isolated phenomenon. There are Holstein dairies scattered across the countryside with smaller framed cows getting as good or better milk production compared with their neighbour’s larger framed cattle. Genetic selection for smaller framed Holsteins is a trend gaining serious momentum as dairies have been hard-pressed to maximise feed efficiency with several consecutive years of high feed prices and certainly more high feed prices to come. The old adage is big strong cows make more milk and last longer. However, research on the relationship between type


traits and production traits is variable at best. If you were to look at bulls with high reliability for PTA Type and PTA Milk you would find the correlation between those traits is low (< 0.02), meaning bulls with high PTAT do not necessarily have daughters that produce a lot of milk. Conversely, bulls with high PTA Milk will not necessarily have daughters with a high final score.

Feed efficiency and weight What we know for certain is a larger framed cow needs to consume more feed to make the same amount of milk as her smaller framed herd mate. When milk production is the same, regardless of body size, there is a clear negative correlation between feed efficiency and body weight (Fig. 1). This point was emphasised in research on Jersey cattle published in the January 2012 issue of the Journal of Dairy Science. The researchers found Jerseys are not only more feed efficient than Holsteins but also require less water, produce less waste and have a lower carbon footprint. All of these facts would hold true for small-framed Holsteins compared to largeframed Holsteins too. Highlighted in Table 1 you can see that a 1,400lb cow producing 80lb of milk has the same feed efficiency as her 1,600lb counterpart making 90lb of milk.

Fig. 1. Feed efficiency of different sized cows that are not growing, producing 80lb of 3.5% fat corrected milk, and walking 1.25km per day.

Table 1. The matrix below clearly demonstrates the feed efficiency of cattle based on their body weight and milk production. 3.5% fat corrected milk (lb)

1.60 BW (lb) Feed efficiency (lb/kg)

At this level you can make an argument as to which cow is truly more profitable in the herd. While feed costs make up the bulk of any dairy’s operating costs, that extra 10lb of milk produced by the second cow may indeed make her more profitable than the first. However, in the case that both cows are making the same amount of milk it is obvious the smaller cow is more profitable. Furthermore, body weight gain is not free. It takes extra energy for a first lactation cow to grow to full body size or for a cow to increase in body condition score. The energy required for the 1,600lb cow to reach mature body weight was unquestionably more than that of the 1,400lb cow. Now consider during their first lactation the 1,600lb mature cow was already less feed efficient than the 1,400lb mature cow. Then you add on the extra energy that was needed to obtain mature body weight while the cows were lactating. An example of five dairies (Table 2) randomised for body weight and milk production demonstrates the most efficient cows in the herd are smaller framed cows that produce large amounts of milk. In all five simulated farms the average feed efficiency of the cows weighing less than 1,450lb is 0.06 or 0.07 greater than the feed efficiency of the cows weighing more than 1,650lb (compare the far right two columns). Continued on page 16































































1.55 1.50 1.45 1.40 1.35 1200



1500 1600 Body weight (lb)



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Continued from page 15 The reason the median feed efficiency is substantially higher than the average feed efficiency in Table 2 is that the less feed efficient cows migrate further from the average than the most feed efficient cows. For example, an 1,800lb cow making 20lb of milk has a feed efficiency around 0.5 (or 2lb of feed consumed per pound of milk produced) while a 1,300lb cow making 140lb of milk has a feed efficiency of 1.8 (or 0.45lb of feed consumed per pound of milk produced). We can agree then that a 1,400lb cow producing the same amount of milk as a 1,600lb cow is more profitable. Now comes the tricky part. To get smaller cows through genetic selection you have to take one of two approaches: l Select against bigger cows (USDA’s Lifetime Net Merit selection index does this with a negative emphasis on body size). l Remove selection emphasis on traits that lead to larger framed cows (such as stature, PTAT and TPI). If you use an index (Lifetime Net Merit, Cheese Merit or Fluid Merit) to select bulls, then the first option is a good way to penalise bulls for having larger daughters. If you do not utilise one of those indexes and instead choose bulls by traits like stature, PTAT and TPI, it may be more beneficial to remove the trait(s) from your selection criteria completely rather than set-


BW (lb)


<1450 FE

>1650 FE



















































Herd A

Herd B

Herd C

Herd D

Herd E

Table 2. Feed efficiency results for five simulated 1,500 cow dairies. Milk ranged from 20-140lb 3.5% fat corrected, body weight ranged from 1,255-1,845lb, and feed efficiency (FE) is a ratio of pounds of milk produced per pound of feed consumed. ting a ceiling for it. For example, if your current selection criteria are >1,000 PTA Milk and at least one point on PTAT, Udder Composite and Foot and Leg Composite, you are better off removing PTAT from your criteria altogether than switching it so that you will not take any bulls with more than a point on PTAT. The reason this proves to be tricky is that

people have different ideals. For many the ‘showy cow’ or the cow that can win at the county fair is perceived as being the ideal cow. To be frank that cow is ideal, but she is ideal for the show ring not for the milk parlour, feed alley or freestalls. The ideal cow for a commercial dairy has high feed efficiency, stays out of the hospital pen, conceives easily and produces enough milk over her lifetime to far exceed her raising costs. That smaller cow may likely not do well in the show ring but has an easier time reaching a high level of feed efficiency and thus a higher probability of making a profit for the farm. I am reminded of conversations that took place on two dairies regarding sire selection criteria. The first producer told me, “Even though I know they are not the best cows for my dairy, I just want a herd of cows that I can feel good looking at.” Not long after another producer told me that he selected for PTAT and TPI above all other traits because “that’s what a judge would look for” in cows at a show. The irony is neither operation even participates in cattle shows yet they were both picking bulls that produced showy daughters. The first producer chose to stick with selection criteria that will lead to larger framed cattle that will have a more difficult time achieving a high feed efficiency ratio. The second producer decided he would begin selecting bulls based on Lifetime Net Merit and combined fat and protein instead of PTAT and TPI. This brings us to the question you have to ask yourself: Given the choice would you rather have a herd of cows that are picture perfect or profitable to milk? Often those characteristics are not one and the same. n References are available from the author on request.


International Dairy Topics — Volume 13 Number 3

The use of ultrasonography in pregnancy diagnosis of dairy cattle by Jon Mouncey, Westpoint Veterinary Group, Dawes Farm, Bognor Road, Warnham, West Sussex RH12 3SH, UK. eproductive efficiency of dairy cows can greatly influence the profitability of dairy farms. Prolonged intervals from calving to pregnancy lead to economic losses due to delays in beginning or resuming milk production, increased maintenance costs, a decreased rate of replacement and increased depreciation costs. These costs have been estimated to be between approximately £2 and £5 per day extension over a 365 day calving interval. The variance in the reported costs are dependent on factors such as milk yield per cow, description of lactation curve, milk price, feed costs, calf value and replacement costs. The actual sum of money per day extended calving to pregnancy interval is often disputed amongst dairy farmers, however most agree that there is a significant cost.

and inexpensive method of pregnancy diagnosis by many farmers. This assumption does not consider early embryo mortality and is dependent on the efficiency and accuracy of oestrus detection on the dairy unit. However as labour units per cow are declining and oestrus behaviour has become erratic, short and often even non-existent in Holstein dairy herds, visual observation of oestrus has become particularly difficult. This could lead to the false assumption that some cows – which have either not been detected in oestrus or have not expressed oestrus – might be pregnant. If oestrus is not detected in these barren cows, presumed pregnant, until the point they are expected to re-calve, the individual is likely to be culled, thus increasing the number of cows culled for failure to conceive.


Critical control points Two critical control points for improving reproductive efficiency on dairy farms are: l Optimising calving to first service. l Early diagnosis of non-pregnancy and timely re-insemination thereafter. Pregnancy diagnosis is one of the most common and key procedures performed by veterinary surgeons during routine fertility management on dairy farms. The purpose of examining cows and heifers for pregnancy is to detect those cows that are not pregnant. Detection of the non-pregnant dairy cow or heifer post insemination provides an opportunity to identify individuals that are not pregnant and either decrease the interval between inseminations and therefore reduce the aforementioned costs of extension of calving to pregnancy interval; or alternatively a timely management decision can be made to cull that individual from the herd when economically advanta-

Holsteins in oestrus. geous. An early accurate diagnosis of non-pregnancy post insemination followed by as short a period of time possible to re-insemination is likely to be an economically profitable strategy for a dairy farm. Fertilisation rates following a correctly timed insemination are approximately 90%. After entering the uterine lumen on approximately day five post insemination the bovine embryo signals its presence around eight days later, 13 days post insemination. The bovine embryo secretes interferon tau from trophoblast cells, preventing regression of the corpus luteum by acting on the mechanism which releases prostaglandin F2 alpha and return to oestrus does not occur. In the absence of successful fertilisation or a viable embryo, normal luteolysis of the corpus luteum will occur and the cow or heifer will return to oestrus 18-24 days after insemination. Early embryonic mortality before 21 days post-insemination occurs in approximately 22% of embryos. Embryonic mortality between 21 and 42 days post insemination and foetal loss thereafter occur at approximately 6% and 5% respectively. Therefore early pregnancy diagnosis prior to 21 days post

International Dairy Topics — Volume 13 Number 3

insemination may be unreliable. Criteria for the ideal pregnancy diagnosis have previously been described and are as follows. The test should be as early as possible, identify both pregnant and nonpregnant animals correctly, be inexpensive, be simple to conduct under field conditions, determine pregnancy rapidly at the time the test is performed and involve as little additional handling as normally required of the dairy cow or heifer to administer the test.

Economic benefits The economic benefits of pregnancy diagnosis depend on the factors outlined above, such as the time after insemination when the diagnosis is performed, but also its effects on embryonic loss, the efficiency of oestrus detection, factors that may be affecting oestrus expression on the individual dairy unit and the management or treatment decision made upon finding a non-pregnant individual. Failure to return to oestrus 18-24 days post insemination may indicate the establishment of pregnancy. This method of oestrus detection is considered to be the most simple, early

Culling costs The cost of culling a dairy cow is estimated to be £750 and total costs due to fertility culls are likely to be much greater than 13% on farms employing poor oestrus detection and depending on return to cyclicity as a means of pregnancy diagnosis. Approximately 6-10% of cows exhibit behavioural oestrus during a normal pregnancy. Intrauterine insemination of pregnant cows can result in termination of pregnancy. In these instances if the cow returns to oestrus after iatrogenic attrition of pregnancy and at best is re-inseminated and becomes pregnant within 21 days the incurred cost is estimated to be £94.50, assuming £4.50 per days extension in calving to pregnancy interval. Equally these 6-10% of cows exhibiting behavioural oestrus during a normal pregnancy may be subsequently culled as barren with greater associated costs plus the value of a pregnancy. In summary, efficient and accurate oestrus detection in cows and heifers profoundly influences the reproductive performance and profitability of dairy herds as one missed Continued on page 19



International Dairy Topics â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Volume 13 Number 3

Continued from page 17 oestrus event without intervention may cost approximately £189, assuming £4.50 per days extension in calving to pregnancy interval; however non-return to oestrus, should be considered an unreliable indicator of pregnancy and pregnancy loss.

Laboratory testing Various laboratory tests have been developed for early pregnancy diagnosis in dairy cattle. These tests have the advantage of being minimally invasive as the hormones or proteins they rely on can be detected in milk, however they do have some disadvantages. Oestrone sulphate for example, can be detected in plasma and milk in pregnant cows by 105 days, and concentrations are significantly lower in the non-pregnant animal. However it is not cost effective to wait 105 days post-insemination to determine the pregnancy status of a dairy cow and other methods can diagnose pregnancy accurately much sooner, for example rectal palpation at day 30 post insemination, offering a potential saving of 70-75 days over oestrone sulphate. Early pregnancy factor (EPF) can be detected in milk of pregnant cattle three days post insemination, although after eight days more accurate results can be obtained. This test would enable fertilisation failure post insemination to be identified within eight days and allow prostaglandin F2a to be administered resulting in a rapid return to re-insemination, however a dipstick cow side test has to date been too unreliable. Bovine pregnancy specific glycoprotein B (bPSPB) is produced by the binucleate cells of the trophoblastic ectoderm thus indicating the presence of a viable embryo. bPSPB also has the added advantage of being detectable in milk at 24 days post-insemination, however its Portable ultrasound in use.

Fig. 1. Left, a male foetus and, right, a cystic structure on an ovary. The images were taken with Easi-Scan, BCF. half life is many months and as such can be detected after embryonic and foetal death and after normal parturition resulting in a false positive pregnancy diagnosis. Milk progesterone concentrations are high during dioestrus and pregnancy and low around the time of oestrus. The optimum time for sampling has been shown to be 24 days after service. Milk progesterone sampling has the advantage of being relatively cheap, minimally invasive, and can be performed as a cow side test. The accuracy of milk progesterone testing for confirmation of pregnancy at day 24 post insemination is reported to be 85% and 100% for confirmation of non-pregnancy. However as a single test 24 days post insemination there are a number of reasons for false positive pregnancy diagnosis. These include incorrect timing of insemination, persistent corpus luteum associated with endometritis, cystic ovarian disease, short return to oestrus interval and late embryonic death. The greatest benefit to be gained in a single test 24 days post insemination is a low progesterone result as a confident diagnosis of non-pregnancy can be made. A low progesterone value indicates only that the animal is either 2.0-2.5 day’s pre- or post-oestrus or indeed in oestrus at time of sampling. Milk progesterone sampling has been deemed labour intensive by some and so less attractive for the practical farmer. In-line milking parlour biosensors are therefore currently being developed for application in automatic milking systems.

Transrectal palpation Pregnancy diagnosis by transrectal palpation of the uterus was reported to be first recorded in the 19th Century and is now considered the most widely used method of pregnancy diagnosis in dairy cattle. This method of diagnosis, although invasive, is relatively cheap and simple to perform once appropriate training has been undertaken.

International Dairy Topics — Volume 13 Number 3

Various structures of the bovine reproductive tract can be palpated per rectum to assist in pregnancy diagnosis including corpus lutea, amniotic vesicle, chorioallantois, placentomes and the foetus. These various structures can be palpated at different times from insemination to pregnancy diagnosis. Accuracy of pregnancy by transrectal palpation from day 35 of gestation has been estimated to be 95%, however this will vary between operators. Manual rupture of the amniotic vesicle can cause termination of pregnancy in cattle and there remains controversy over the risk of iatrogenic pregnancy loss by examining cows early in gestation by transrectal palpation. The viability of the embryo cannot be assessed by transrectal palpation alone. The risk of pregnancy loss can be high at 35-42 days of gestation when cows are diagnosed pregnant by transrectal palpation and transrectal ultrasonography. If most cows within a dairy herd are submitted for pregnancy diagnosis at this time it may not be possible to distinguish between spontaneous losses which might have occurred ‘normally’ and those losses which are iatrogenic. There may also be an instance when an embryo or foetus may not be viable or is dead and is palpated and diagnosed pregnant, with subsequent pregnancy loss thereafter. Although invasive, transrectal palpation of the uterus for pregnancy diagnosis remains relatively accurate, cheap and simple to perform, with manual skills rather than equipment required. It does, however, provide a solid grounding in the skills of uterine and ovarian palpation necessary for transrectal ultrasound for pregnancy diagnosis and ultrasonographic examination of ovarian structures. It is therefore likely to continue to be a valued and cost efficient means of pregnancy diagnosis where acquisition of ultrasound technology has been deemed cost prohibitive or is unavailable. The use of real-time Bmode transrectal ultrasonography is now widely used within the UK for pregnancy diagnosis and in dairy cat-

tle. There are several advantages of transrectal ultrasonography over transrectal palpation alone including the ability to detect pregnancy and non-pregnancy earlier, with greater accuracy and with less iatrogenic pregnancy loss. Furthermore, foetal number, gender and viability can be assessed and evaluation can be made in the case of a non-pregnant diagnosis to aid reproductive management decisions. Although still invasive and rate of pregnancy loss is significant in studies using ultrasound to assess pregnancy loss, the technique has not been identified as a direct cause of pregnancy loss and is deemed less invasive than transrectal palpation by some authors, however there is the risk of iatrogenic trauma to the rectum by the transducer. The cost of equipment required for transrectal ultrasonography in recent years has reduced considerably and where a source of electricity and suitable viewing conditions were once required, ultrasonographic equipment has now become more portable, battery operated and is now commonplace in most large animal veterinary surgeon’s vehicles within the UK. Almost all UK veterinary students are now taught how to perform transrectal ultrasonography for pregnancy diagnosis as it has become so widespread and expected by dairy clients, however in the author’s opinion uterine and ovarian palpation skills remain a cornerstone from which transrectal ultrasonography skills grow. Regular routine pregnancy diagnosis may also allow early identification of potential costly reproductive issues. For example if there is a sudden drop of pregnancy rate from one month’s visit to the next which might highlight issues, for example, with insemination technique.

Conclusion In the author’s opinion, the most cost effective means of diagnosis of non-pregnancy is milk progesterone testing at days 19 and 24 post insemination. However, for positive pregnancy diagnosis transrectal ultrasonography is cost effective from day 30 post insemination. A re-check diagnosis at day 55-60 post insemination is to be recommended, given the risk of embryonic death after initial pregnancy diagnosis, with the added advantage that foetal sexing (Fig. 1) can be performed at this stage. Frustratingly, these results are similar to that found by Oletnacu et al. (1990), 20 years previously, with the exception that pregnancy diagnosis could be performed five days earlier using transrectal ultrasonography. n References are available from the author on request.


A more considered approach to mastitis

On farm testing for mastitis in dry cows The dry-off period in the lactation cycle is now receiving more attention as producers balance the need for mastitis prevention and the overuse of antibiotics in their herds. Simple and affordable on-farm tests, like UdderCheck and the PortaSCC milk test from PortaCheck Inc, are excellent tools to help monitor cows and detect subclinical mastitis. l UdderCheck measures LDH (lactate-dehydrogenase), an enzyme present in milk during udder infection. It provides an early indication of mastitis, often before SCC levels rise. Simply dip a test strip in milk and read THE results. l The PortaSCC milk test is a somatic cell count test that is available in two versions: • Five minute, colour chart only, ideal for a few samples at a time. • A 45 minute test for testing many

samples at once. It can be used with a colour chart or a digital reader. For best results, test individual cow quarters with UdderCheck or the PortaSCC milk test 14 days prior to dry off. This will give you time to receive culture results and to choose the best treatment at dry off. If you wish to determine the effectiveness of your dry cow therapy program, compare quarter sample PortaSCC or UdderCheck test results at dry off with those taken within seven days before freshening. Routine screening with on-farm tests like UdderCheck and PortaSCC enables farmers to quickly detect possible problems, to prevent further mastitis infections, to minimise antibiotic residues and to improve animal health, milk quality and production. b beatac@portacheck.com

A new generation of intelligent teat disinfection With the annual estimated cost of mastitis in a herd of 100 cows averaging £12,500 (€15,180), udder hygiene is clearly a matter of health and cost. This statistic also underlines the preference for prevention above cure. The mastitis challenge has changed, moving to a clear threat from the environment – udder hygiene products therefore need to be developed to respond to this threat. The new Deosan Activate range of disinfectants from Sealed Air Food


Care is a new generation of intelligence based teat disinfectants that make a critical difference to udder hygiene and are proven to be effective against the most common bacterial threats. Their use ensures clean, healthy teat skin with significantly reduced bacterial contamination and optimal milk quality. Developed to be fit for the future the Deosan Activate range is also supported under the Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR). b william.grayson@sealedair.com

The steady rise in the prevalence of antibiotic resistant organisms and the threat they pose to human health is an increasing concern on an international basis. Some antibiotics (third and fourth generation antibiotics in particular) are now being discouraged by regulatory bodies and scientific authorities in order to preserve the long term efficacy of these agents in both cattle and humans. Boehringer Ingelheim’s Ubrolexin is a considered approach to treating mastitis, as it is a unique combination of kanamycin (aminoglycoside) and cefalexin (first generation cephalosporin) with proven synergy. The combination acts synergistically against S. uberis, S. aureus and E. coli. The combination produces a much faster and higher rate of kill when compared to cefalexin and kanamycin alone. Sensitivity data from across several countries has shown that sensitivity

of common mastitis pathogens to Ubrolexin is still above 97% at five years post-initiation. Ubrolexin needs to be applied only twice, in a 24 hour interval. This reduces the risk of introducing a new pathogen into the udder and damaging the teat lining or sphincter. Due to the fast kill rate and postantibiotic effect, Ubrolexin needs to be administered only twice in order to be effective. b camilo.de_mendonca@ boehringer-ingelheim.com

Cost effective solutions for teat dip dispensing Using an iodophor biocide teat dip, such as the GEA Agroserves Ioklene RTU or Kote-It, is a great way of preventing mastitis by cleaning, disinfecting and moisturising the teat. Dispensing iodophor in larger containers, such as an IBC can be very difficult, particularly when using the tap system. Using a strong, reliable, non-drip, non-syphoning pump solution, such as the Ezi-action Drum pump from the New Zealand Pump Company, can help save the farmer time and money by purchasing in bulk and helping the customer reduce storage space for chemicals. The FDA compliant drum pump, constructed from durable polypropylene and chemical resistant, is a proven reliable solution for dispensing. Additionally, using the Ezi-action Non-Siphon Check Valve with a length of hose is key to filling teat cups, such as the non-return teat dip cups supplied by Agroserve. The New Zealand Pump Company has provided a solution for dispensing safely and accurately on farm. The 25, 60, 200 and the

recent 1000L Ezi-action Drum pumps all come with a safety strap attachment as standard, preventing mis-use. Traditional liquid teat dip is a guaranteed and trustworthy method of preventing mastitis. Using a drum pump will ensure you do not waste chemicals through improper filling, thereby saving money. b katie-jo@nzpump.com

International Dairy Topics — Volume 13 Number 3

mastitis & teat care Safeguarding teat health for maximising productivity Quat-Chem Ltd is a UK chemical company specialising in biocides and preventive hygiene technologies. The company holds a range of disinfection products for livestock agriculture and is particularly renowned for its innovative ‘Synergy’ Dairy range created in 2010 and used by professional dairy farmers across Europe. Quat-Chem’s Synergy range of teat dips provides a balance of skinfriendly reagents with a unique emollient system for optimal teat protection and conditioning. The range offers both pre and post-milking teat dips, expertly formulated with a focus on safeguarding teat condition and preventing mastitis induced losses in the dairy industry. Mastitis has a direct detrimental impact on dairy profitability through reduced milk yields and quality, and culling in case of chronic teat infections. However, it is highly respon-

sive to a carefully drafted preventive programme incorporating the use of well tested teat disinfection products. The management of teat hygiene is a powerful tool in safeguarding teat condition and milk quality. Quat-Chem’s premilking teat dips incorporate gentle detergency to remove dirt and food safe biocidal actives to ensure rapid sanitisation of teat skin to avoid contamination of raw milk and the milking system. Post milking it is important to dip immediately to prevent bacterial entry through the teat end sphincter, which tends to remain open for several minutes. Quat-Chem’s Synergy post-milking teat dips provide prolonged barrier or residual biocidal protection without the risk of chemical irritation. b sales@quatchem.co.uk

Chlorine dioxide products for udder hygiene Hypred started working with the dairy industry and dairy farms 30 years ago. Their experience and know-how continues to provide good performances from a range of active ingredients, which are effective, environmentally friendly and safe for the user. Knowing that dairy farms are enlarging and require quick and effective methods of udder preparation, Hypred have launched two new chlorine dioxide products for udder hygiene: l G-Mix Spray for after milking disinfection, spray application. l G-Mix Power for before and after milking disinfection, foam and spray application. They are innovative, especially for disinfectant effectiveness (even on difficult strains), easy to prepare and easy to apply. The mixture is stable for 30 hours after mixing. They are effective in 30 seconds against Staphylococcus aureus (EN 1656), E. coli (EN 1656),

Streptococcus uberis (EN 1656), Streptococcus agalactiae (EN 1656), Listeria monocytogenes (EN 1656), Prototheca (EN 1657) and Candida albicans (EN 1657), They are effective in five minutes against Orthopoxvirus vaccinia (EN 14675) and ECBO virus (EN 14675). G-Mix Spray and G-Mix Power reinforce all the qualities to which Hypred have become renowned. b hypred@hypred.fr

International Dairy Topics — Volume 13 Number 3

Fig. 1. It seems that only one cow is ill (1) but in reality the situation is different (2) and 20-100% of cows in the herd may be ill. These unrecognised subclinical states are the biggest reason for the losses incurred by milk producers.

Mastitis starts earlier than you think The Draminski mastitis detector allows you to make a diagnosis at the earliest stage of the disease in order to produce high quality milk. The detector has the following benefits: l Forestripping and monitoring the udder condition at once. l Assessment of the condition of the udder quarters based on the electrical resistance of milk. l The durable and waterproof case allows you to work in the toughest conditions. One of the biggest problems, which often occurs in breeding cows, is udder inflammation or mastitis. However, milk in this state does not show changes in taste and appearance and the udder has no visible lesions.

Milk from diseased quarters has poor quality and the productivity of this quarter is limited, therefore the occurrence of mastitis is very costly. The increase of salt in milk has a decisive impact on reducing the electrical resistance of milk. The relationship between the resistance of milk and the udder health condition has been used in the Draminski mastitis detector. b info@draminski.com

Mint udder cream with unique ice formula Ice Mint from Holland Animal Care is the mint udder cream with an unique composition. It contains a combination of essential oils, contains no antibiotics and comes in a unique 1000ml hanging tube. Ice Mint is an excellent product for external use on udder quarter(s) and contains: l Japanese peppermint oil to increase blood circulation and reduce swelling. l Eucalyptus oil for skin condition. l Tea tree oil for its anti-inflammatory quality. l Arnica oil to help inflammation reduction. l Horse chestnut for deep penetration.

The advantages include: l Pure natural cream with a ‘superior formulation’. l Excellent for reducing swelling. l Disappears quickly into the skin. l Does not leave any sticky residue on the udder. l Can be used for clinical and subclinical mastitis. l Can be used in combination with antibiotics. l No withdrawal period for milk or meat. l Easy to use with a ‘top massage quality’. l Improves natural recovery. l 1000ml unique hanging tube. l Cost effective. b info@hollandanimalcare.nl


mastitis & teat care Managing udder health and milk quality

Air system now entering new markets For several years, thousands of Western European dairy farmers have been using Milkrite’s milking system Impulse Air – a unique triangular milking liner that introduces air into the system behind the milk which gives a more even vacuum drop through the system. Dairy farmers have welcomed a system which improves the milking process in terms of gentler milking and lower rates of mastitis. This means that more milk can be delivered to the processors and that simply means more money in the farmer’s pocket. “I am happy to see Impulse Air is now entering Eastern European markets including Russia, Ukraine and Belarus as high milk quality and top herd management also provides high return on investment for the investors. We are also starting to enter the very interesting Turkish market with more than five million dairy cows,” Martin Eistrup, European Sales Manager at Milkrite, told International Dairy Topics.


Impulse Air technology is a system that provides better udder health. With any new installation the local Milkrite technical team enters the parlour and provides the results of dynamic measurement during the milking. This allows the milker to view the correct settings including the milking phases, exact vacuum levels and pulsations. This is another important step to integrate the system successfully on farm, as it ensures the settings are optimised for Impulse Air to perform at its best and therefore provide all the health benefits. The USA is another great example of Impulse Air. More than two million cows are already being milked with Impulse Air, predominantly by larger dairy farms. Current statistics do show that bigger US herds are improving udder health all the time, many dairy farms have less than 120tsd somatic cell count and also very low new infection rates. b martin.eistrup@milkrite.com

Udder health and milk quality problems are often related to incorrect milking routines and/or under performing milking equipment. Notorious is incorrect take-off as a cause of mastitis, insufficient stimulation resulting in bi-modal milk-flow and incorrect liner dimensions causing ‘purple teats’. Measuring the vacuum in the liner mouthpiece is an effective method to manage these issues: the teat reduces in diameter when the milkflow stops, which creates a shunt

between the teat-end and the mouthpiece of the liner. As a result, the mouthpiece vacuum will rise quite steeply when the teat is finished. BioControl’s VaDia is a four channel vacuum logger that is battery operated and small and lightweight enough to be attached to a teat-cup during milking. The VaDia records the mouthpiece vacuum of two teats during the Milking Time Test, typically a rear and a front-teat. The VaDia Suite software then gives a clear picture if the cows are properly stimulated, take-off is in time and if the liners fit the teats. The VaDia is equipped with Bluetooth, which is convenient for real-time diagnostics in the parlour. b info@biocontrol.no

Longer iodine persistence on teats Iodine post milking teat disinfectants have proven to be an important tool for mastitis control in dairy herds. Historically, teat disinfectants have played an important role in the control of contagious pathogens, which are transmitted during milking. Barrier teat disinfectants may offer extra protection in preventing new intramammary infections (NIMI) in the period between milkings. Buchalova and Rauer (2013) showed that after one hour of dipping, more than double iodine could be recovered from teats when using a novel iodine barrier teat disinfectant compared to an existing one, effectively extending the germicidal properties on teats. The goal of this study was to determine the field efficacy and safety of this new post milking barrier teat disinfectant – IodoFence from DeLaval – in a commercial dairy. The three month study included 300 cows from an 8,000 cow California Central Valley dairy. The

teat barrel skin condition (scale of 1-5), teat end orifice (scale of 1-4) and hyperkeratosis (scale of 1-5) were evaluated at weeks 0, 4, 8 and 12 of the study. Some 5,767 quarter milk samples were collected during weeks 2-12. Milk was cultured from 411 I2 and 378 IodoFence quarters, based on SCC thresholds. Of the cultured samples, 47% I2 and 39% IodoFence were culture positive. In addition, 42 samples were obtained from clinical cases. No differences in teat condition were observed. IodoFence was found to be superior to the positive control iodine based product and is considered safe in terms of teat condition. 30% less environmental NIMI were observed in the IodoFence group compared to I2. The higher persistence of iodine on teats proved to be valuable for improving the efficacy of IodoFence under field conditions. b kristina.hunter-nilsson@ delaval.com

International Dairy Topics — Volume 13 Number 3

Noticeably improve the condition of the teat skin For best teat skin care and a quick effect against pathogens, GEA Farm Technologies offers SensoDip 50; a chlorhexidine product that is ready to use. SensoDip 50 demonstrates excellent characteristics due to its ideal balance of long acting care agents and high performance disinfectant, providing top results in any size of herd within a short time of use. In addition, the long lasting action of SensoDip 50 still protects against bacterial colonisation after a number of hours. The effect of the caring elements in the formula protect the teat skin from drying out, keep it moist and


reduce susceptibility to bacterial infection. When things have to be done both quickly and safely, the ready-to-use SensoDip 50, with its chlorhexidine content of 5,000ppm, ensures that pathogens have no chance. The carefully selected combination of its active ingredients is a guarantee for perfect adhesion. Its use is easy to monitor through food-safe colouring. SensoDip 50 enhances the animalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s resistance particularly when there is average to high pathogen pressure. SensoDip 50 is available in a range of sizes. b contact@geafarmtechnologies.com

All the necessary options from one quality source Because not all mastitis cases are the same, MSD Animal Health provides a full range of products to meet all the needs to treat mastitis during the lactation and the dry period. During lactation, inflammation is the most insidious foe. Mastiplan LC is the only product with 20mg of prednisolone to visibly reduce inflammation fast and help cows fight mastitis better. Mastijet Forte has a unique combination of antibiotics that gives a full spectrum of action. Cobactan LC and Cobactan 2.5% provide the advantage of dual route administration to provide systemic coverage. In the dry-cow product line up, MSD Animal Health offers options to adapt to short and optimum length dry periods. Cows need to be protected at the beginning and at

the end of the dry period, right before calving, when they are most susceptible to new infections. Cepravin DC is the only product on the market that can cover the entire optimum-length dry period to allow cows to recharge and express their genetic milk production potential (55-60 days). Cefa-Safe and Nafpenzal DC provide options for cows that for various circumstances cannot be granted the optimum length dry period they need. b aurora.villarroel@merck.com

International Dairy Topics â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Volume 13 Number 3

Pre-milking routine reduces cross contamination The pre-milking Teat Sanicleanse Mobile Cart from Northern Dairy Equipment Ltd provides a superior, effective and reliable process in which the teats are washed, disinfected, dried and stimulated ready for milking. All this process is completed in approximately 10 seconds and the cows’ teats are cleaned and ready for milking. The system provides a time saving alternative to other pre-milking routines, while helping to reduce disease and cross contamination. By eliminating the use of paper towels and medicated wipes your routine efficiency is improved and savings can be achieved. The mobile cart is manually operated moving from cow to cow. The brush massage provides a fast stimulation to produce oxytocin, giving a quick milk let down to help save time and speed up the milking process.

At the same time the pre-sanitising of each teat by the rotating brushes eliminates the first drops of milk, helping to reduce a broad spectrum of contagious bacteria. There is less cross contamination from teat to teat, as with conventional sanitising and cleaning products, and the operator always keeps clean hands, which again help to control the spread of infection from cow to cow. b admin@dairyhygiene.co.uk

How ultrasound can help diagnose mastitis Mastitis is a major cause of economic loss in the dairy industry worldwide; early diagnosis enables farmers and their veterinarians to treat or cull individual animals as appropriate, thereby minimising financial losses.

Mastitis is a multi-factorial infectious disease of the udder in cows, and can be caused by many different bacterial organisms – bacteriological culture and somatic cell counts (SCCs) remain the ‘gold standard’ diagnostic tools. However modern ultrasound technology enables veterinarians to examine the internal structure of the udder in a quick and non-invasive manner. The information gained from the ultrasound examination

can give important prognostic information that enables the farmer and his or her veterinarian to make decisions regarding treatment. Some infectious agents even cause specific ultrasonographic changes within the udder tissue that can be detected by the ultrasonographer. The BCF Easi-Scan is an industryleading portable scanner used by bovine specialists worldwide for the scanning of the reproductive tract and non-reproductive applications of cattle. It is small and lightweight and produces a high quality image, making it perfectly suited to ultrasonographic examination of the udder in suspected cases of mastitis. b annie.doherty@ bcftechnology.com

International Dairy Topics — Volume 13 Number 3

Bacterial reduction % in 30 sec

mastitis & teat care n Carvanella

n Triclosan-based material

100 80 60 40 20 0 VRE


E. coli

K. pneum.

C. difficile

Fig. 1. Carvanella teat cleaner efficacy.

An innovative alternative to triclosan based cleaners Carvanella, a new and innovative teat cleaner, recently developed by T-Hexx Animal Health, is a triclosan-free product that is highly effective against common organisms found on the dairy. The product is cost effective and easy to use. Recent testing performed by EMSL Analytical Inc (Houston, Texas) clearly shows that Carvanella provides a strong antimicrobial action against vancomycin resistant Enterococci (VRE), S. aureus, E. coli,

Klebsiella pneumonia and Clostridium difficile (see Fig. 1 above). After 30 seconds of exposure time, Carvanella significantly reduced all bacterial growth tested. There were no viable bacteria detected after exposure to Carvanella with a detection limit of 10 CFU per mL, whereas the triclosan based material tested did not show antimicrobial effectiveness at 30 seconds of exposure under the testing protocol. b ebecktel@hydromer.com

Eliminate teat end pinching and improve udder health Significant reductions in mastitis with 90% reductions in antibiotics use are achieved when the pinching of the liner on the teat end is eliminated, thereby no longer forcing bacteria up the teat canal which is proven to cause new infections. Research by Dr Forbes has proven that liner pinch on the teat end causes new infections, while research and dairy farm experience with the CoPulsation Milking System has proven that the liner pinch can be eliminated achieving significant reductions in mastitis, antibiotics and teat damage. CoPulsation is the only milking system to eliminate teat end pinching, while providing a full teat length gentle massage for a humane milking action leaving the teats healthy and not backwashed with bacteria or swollen and reddened from the milking process. This is achieved with a patented

design using one solenoid for vacuum and another for fresh air to provide a pulsation action that changes the way the liner opens and closes. Continuous milk flow rates of 8kg/min with reduced milking times yielding higher milk quality and greater longevity are easily achieved. b gehm@copulsation.com



International Dairy Topics â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Volume 13 Number 3

Productivity through health or how to improve your return on investment by Dr Susanne Klimpel, GEA Farm Technologies, Germany.


Invest Return Profit



1000 Dollars (US)

he dairy industry, like any other industry, is faced with changing situations that sometimes seem to make profitability challenging. Alongside the growing demand for dairy products consumers are getting more aware about the limited resources and demand for value added products. Scandals have shaken the food industry regularly and short term consumer behaviour changes lead to long term influence via regulatory changes. Recently, awareness about the use of antibiotics has increased and already leads to some programs, especially in Europe to reduce this dramatically in the upcoming years. Another ‘trend’ is the longing for sustainably produced food. Sustainability includes the whole production chain and one very important part of this is animal sustainability. Animal sustainability and animal welfare are strongly related and dependent. Improvements in genetics and housing have a great impact on the rising level of production. Nevertheless, this potential can only be used if conditions are optimal. Any changes to these conditions lead to changes in individual animal behaviour and should be recognised as soon as possible. Animal welfare is defined by the absence of five conditions: l Freedom from hunger or thirst by

2.3 lactations

500 0 -500







100 Weeks

-1500 -2000 -2500 Fig. 2. The profitability of a cow (adapted from Lührmann 2009). ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour. l Freedom from discomfort by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area. l Freedom from pain, injury or disease by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment. l Freedom to express (most) normal behaviour by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind. l Freedom from fear and distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering. If pain, injury or disease cannot be avoided completely we are obliged to recognise and act accordingly. In growing installations and increasing cow numbers per farm this is a challenging task that needs: l Staff educated and trained to recognise this.

Fig. 1. The true costs of lameness (Adapted from CAFRE, 2006).

International Dairy Topics — Volume 13 Number 3

l Time for cow behaviour observation. l Management techniques to act after identification. It is very likely that one of the three is not optimum or available at a given time. The solutions to this are cow behaviour observation management tools.

costs like treatment, extra labour and discarded milk. Like the example of the iceberg, the big proportion lies below the surface and the main cost driver to most diseases is milk that is not being produced because of the disease. This contributes to 32% of disease costs like in lameness (see Fig. 1). The other very important aspects of costs associated with disease are culling and replacement and effects on reproduction. This leads to the fact that most of the cows are leaving the farm too early. Fig. 2 shows the profitability of a cow. Money is generated after the birth of the first calf. The break-even point of a cow is around 2.3 lactations. Unfortunately the average dairy cow’s life lasts around 2.4 lactations. The conclusion is that this is still profitable. But the question should rather be: how can we improve this to be even more profitable as most of the cows are leaving the farm when they just become a cash cow.

Economics of disease The bigger the herd grows the more the individual gets lost. Poor performance by one cow will be compensated by her group mates and not make a big impact on the overall performance. Nevertheless, an individual can spread disease and lead to a higher impact when the group is affected. Additionally, feeding costs and heifer raising costs are detrimental to the overall profitability on farm. Keeping the cows longer on farm is the message that makes a difference. Identifying health disorders and treating them early contributes a lot to increasing a cow’s lifetime and profitability on farm. In the sum the individual does make a difference as drug use will be more and more limited in the future. The crucial part of every disease event that happens on a farm is that it causes extra work and economic losses. The costs associated with diseases are often underestimated and the distributions of these costs are not very obvious. Humans tend to recognise what is obvious, in diseases these are direct

Detection and intervention It is desirable to prevent diseases which are in some cases possible by vaccination or other methods of prevention. Some cases are inevitable. This means the affected cows have to be identified early to: l Avoid deterioration of the condition of the animal. l Avoid suffering. l Avoid further spreading of the disease. l Check/adapt management. Numerous articles have shown that early detection and intervention is necessary and helpful to be able to reduce the number of affected animals on farm dramatically. The perfect example for this intervention is lameness: A sole ulcer also leads to changes in behaviour at a very early stage. If this is detected and treated the only effort it takes may be hoof trimming. If not detected and treated it will lead to consequences, severe lameness, drop in milk yield, inflammation of deeper tissues and require more intensive treatment, Continued on page 29



International Dairy Topics â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Volume 13 Number 3

Continued from page 27 eventually with block, bandage and injections. Research has shown that lameness prevalence can be reduced to 5% with early detection and intervention and 87% of animals treated for lameness do recover. Fig. 3 shows the comparison of lactation curves from healthy cows compared to cows with an early or late detected disease. This is the major contributor to the economic losses. The goal of early detection and intervention is to avoid the deep drop in milk and speed up recovery to be able to reach the yield potential for this specific lactation. Furthermore, although a minor contributor, treatment costs can be reduced as subsequent treatment may not be necessary and only minor intervention is necessary at the early stage. If the drug use is and will be limited furthermore the need for early disease detection is rising and can contribute to a rather prophylactic intervention to avoid necessary treatment. Economic losses can be reduced dramatically. Early disease detection and intervention is one key to increasing a cow’s lifetime and therefore profitability. As most of the causes are multifactorial, optimum environment, climate, hygiene, comfortable and stress free surrounding are prerequisites for a comfortable environ-

Healthy Disease late detection Disease early detection




150 200 Milk production




Fig. 3. Comparison of lactation curves. ment that reduces the predisposition to get ill.

Identify disease early Cow behaviour has been observed and analysed since the 1980s for identification of heat. In the era of precision livestock farming more and more systems are being developed that offer an insight into the cow’s status. Some are attached to the cow, some are integrated into systems like milking machines. According to Rutten (2013) these can be distinguished into four different categories depending on the level of information they provide:

International Dairy Topics — Volume 13 Number 3

l Presentation of data. l Interpretation of data. l Integration of information. l Decision making. One very simple method to distinguish if a cow is ill or not is what is performed on a day to day basis by herd managers and veterinarians: cow behaviour observation. Observing a cow not behaving like she usually does or like her mates do leads to a decision like checking her for certain conditions. Cows tend to hide their discomfort as long as possible because in former times the weaker members of the herd would have fallen prey to predators. This means that identifying a cow with abnormal behaviour requires time and talent.

Due to the fact that time and educated staff may be a limiting factor on most farms the identification of sick animals often happens when profound changes in the behaviour have already occurred or performance has declined dramatically (for example milk yield drop). GEA CowView uses the very simple methodology of cow behaviour observation in a holistic approach: walking, standing, eating and resting behaviour is observed, analysed and compared to the cow’s and the group’s history. The intelligent algorithms inside GEA CowView generate alarms when the cow’s behaviour distinguishes from her normal behaviour. This is possible because the cow’s complete behaviour is observed 24/7 in a standardised manner. Maybe she is able to hide her lame leg while walking to the parlour, but the 24 hour observation reveals that her total walking distance and resting or feeding behaviour has changed. Farmers will be able to detect cows at an earlier stage and get guidance on how to apply procedures to handle them. Early disease detection and intervention will improve the health status of the herd and contribute to an increased lifetime and therefore profitability. n References are available from the author on request


Herringbone parlours This study in Ireland (J. of Dairy Res. 80 467-474) was undertaken to collect and analyse milking data from a sample of commercial farms with swingover herringbone parlours to evaluate milking efficiency over a range of parlour sizes (12-32 milking units). Cow throughput and milk harvesting efficiency increased with increasing parlour size with throughput ranging from 42-129 cows per hour and yield from 497-1,430 litres per hour. Greater throughput in larger parlours was associated with a decrease in operator idle time. Operator efficiency was variable and dependent upon the milking routines in use.

Closantel residues in milk Closantel is a veterinary drug which is used to treat cattle infested by liver fluke that has been given a provisional maximum residue limit (MRL) of 45mg per kg of milk by the EU. This Irish study (J. of Agric. and Food Chem. 61 8703-8710) was undertaken to study the persistence of closantel residues in milk

and their migration into dairy products. Following dry cow treatment, residues ranged from undetectable to 8.7m per kg milk at first milking and after lactating cow treatment residues ranged from 278 to 482m per kg milk at day one post treatment and were detectable above the MRL for 52 days and detectable

Ayrshire Brown Canadienne Guernsey Milking Swiss Shorthorn

Average rate of inbreeding (%) Est. effective population sizes Genetic diversity lost over last 40 years (%)
















at 198 days. At the second and 23rd days post treatment milk was used to make dairy products and closantel residues were found in cheese, butter and skim milk powder. The authors recommend that closantel is only used as a dry cow product.

Mycotoxins in Thai dairy feeds In this survey (Procs. 51st Kasetsart Univ. Ann. Conf.) 31 samples of dairy feed were collected from dairy farms in Nakhon Pathom, Ratchaburi and Petchaburi provinces. The feeds fell into three categories â&#x20AC;&#x201C; commercial, co-op and farm mixes. The findings are summarised in the table below. Mycotoxin

Average concentration (ppb)

Aflatoxin B1


Aflatoxin B2


Aflatoxin G1


Aflatoxin G2




Fumonisin B1


Fumonisin B2






There were no significant differences by source type. For aflatoxin B1 35% of samples passed EU regulations (<5 ppb) and 61% passed FDA standard (<20%).

Spoilage bacteria in raw milk This Chinese study (Guizhou Agric. Scis. 5 151-154) looked at the spoilage bacteria in raw milk using PCR. The results showed that 12 such bacteria were detected in raw milk and the dominant bacteria included Streptococcus suis, Streptococcus equinus, Lactococcus lactis subsp. iniae, Streptococcus gallolyticus and bacteria which could not be identified.


Genetic diversity This study (J. of An. Breed. and Genetics 130 476-486) looked at the trend in within breed genetic diversity and identification of the major causes of loss in genetic diversity in five Canadian dairy breeds. The average rates of inbreeding in the last generation and other key breeding parameters are showed in the table above. The results indicated that each breed had lost genetic diversity over time and that this loss is gaining momentum because of increasing rates of inbreeding and reduced effective population sizes.

Automated heat detection In this German study (Tier. Praxis 41 159-165) farmers using an automated activity monitoring system called Heatime were surveyed on oestrus detection practices. Some 232 survey forms were returned (58.3%) of which 219 could be used. Some 93.1% of farmers agreed that heat detection was higher following the installation of Heatime and most (92.3%) agreed that the management of reproduction improved with Heatime. Overall 94.1% were satisfied with the system and 94.5% said they would install the system again.

Worms in dairy goats This Brazilian survey (PUBVET 7 19) looked at gastrointestinal worm loads in dairy goats in the northeast of Brazil. The findings are summarised in the table below. Worm

Prevalence (%)

Haemonchus contortus


Trichostrongylus colubriformis


Oesophagostomum columbianum


Trichuris globulosa


Trichostrongylus oxei


Moniezia expansa


Strongyloides papillosus


International Dairy Topics â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Volume 13 Number 3

Body fat of Simmentals This German study (Tier. Umschau 68 322-330) was undertaken to determine the whole body composition of modern Simmental cows and to investigate the relationship of body condition score and backfat thickness of 30 non-pregnant Simmental cows. One unit change in body condition score was equivalent to a change in body fat content of 59.8kg and a change in backfat thickness of 1.0mm was equivalent to a change in body fat content of 5.2kg. It was concluded that body condition score was more accurate than backfat thickness when it comes to estimating the whole body fat content of mature Simmental cows. The relationship of fat content to body condition score and back fat thickness as well as relative body fat content indicate differences between Simmentals and pure dairy breeds.

Copper and selenium status This New Zealand work (N. Z. Vet. J. 61 269-273) looked at the number of samples required to obtain a robust estimate of the copper and selenium status in dairy herds. It concluded that five or six samples per group should be taken to determine selenium status. To effectively monitor the copper status a minimum of 12 liver samples should be taken, preferably in the autumn.

Butyrate supplementation This Canadian research (Am. J. of An. and Vet. Scis. 8 239-245) was undertaken to elucidate the effects of exogenous butyrate on mRNA abundance of genes indirectly asso-

ciated in rumen epithelial barrier integrity. The data generated suggested that exogenous butyrate induces a shift towards energy mobilisation in the rumen epithelium which may help barrier function in subacute ruminal acidosis.

Lactation curve shape This Iranian study (Iran. J. of Vet. Res. 14 88-93) looked at the relationship between early lactation curve parameters and calving interval in Holstein cows in Iran. Some 5.75 million test day milk records, corresponding to 766,108 lactations on 315,634 cows in 2,448 herds, were used. Cows with high milk yields in early

International Dairy Topics â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Volume 13 Number 3

lactation had shorter calving intervals, but longer calving intervals increased the 305 day milk production. Cows with higher yield at the beginning of production with steeper ascending and descending slopes had shorter calving intervals. Calving interval was increased by 2.73 days for every extra kg of milk at peak lactation. The calving interval was directly impacted by the persistency of milk yield, but milk yield persistency was reduced in cows with shorter calving intervals.

Retained placenta Retained placenta is said to occur if the placenta is not removed in the 12 hours following calving (Biotech. in An. Husb. 29 581-589). This condition has a multifactorial aetiology and the primary cause is often not known. During the periparturient period metabolic, hormonal and biochemical changes occur and immunosuppression is also common at this time. Everything is associated with endocrinal changes and decreased feed intake. Depressed

white blood cell (neutrophils) activity pre-parturition is associated with an increased frequency of postparturient ailments. Selenium and vitamin E are the most important antioxidants when it comes to having a positive effect on neutrophils.

Puerperal endometritis The efficiency of reproduction in dairy cows sometimes diminishes due to endometritis (Agricole i Med. Vet. 56 253-261). After parturition there is a risk of bacterial contamination of the uterine lumen and infections. From the clinical point of view the disease can be diagnosed by the occurrence of vaginal discharges. Herpes virus 4 has a tropistic action on endometrial cells in vitro and has been isolated in the field from animals with endometritis, yet the role of viruses in uterine disease is relatively unexplored. The presence of bacteria at the uterine level can affect endometrial prostaglandin secretion and depress follicular growth and function.

Secure your regular copy of International Dairy Topics by taking out a subscription see page 3 or email sw@positiveaction.co.uk www.positiveaction.co.uk


Newborn calf vitality This Canadian paper (Vet. J. 198 322-328) looks at calf vitality. A prolonged or assisted birth may increase birth stress in calves causing a variety of effects including injury, inflammation, hypoxia, acidosis, pain and an inability to maintain homeostasis, each of which can further contribute to a reduced state of vitality in the newborn calf. Newborn vitality is essential to the health, welfare and survival of the calf. Early colostrum intake improves the passive transfer of immunoglobulins (immunity), energy transfer and thermoregulation and intervention may be required to ensure this is achieved. Intervention may also involve respiratory and thermal support and the administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Monitoring of lying behaviour This Italian work (Liv. Sci. 158 145-150) evaluated the Pedometer Plus tag for measuring the lying behaviour of 18 cows over an 11 day period by simultaneously monitoring the cows with HOBO Pendant G logger. The recorded lying time and number of lying bouts closely correlated but for some cows differed by more than 5%. The Pedometer Plus tag overestimated the number of lying bouts but underestimated the time that cows spent lying down. Even so the researchers still regarded the Pedometer Plus tag as a useful tool for measuring dairy cow lying behaviour.

Periparturient conditions in Kenya This Kenyan study (Ethiopian Vet. J. 16 85102) involved 117 smallholder dairy herds and looked at the incidences of periparturient conditions in such herds and their associated plausible predictor variables. The most common conditions found are in the table below. Condition

Prevalence (%)

Feed forage particle size In this Danish study (Liv. Sci. 158 50-56) 36 multiparous Danish Holstein cows were used to investigate the effect of forage particle size and dietary urea supplementation on faecal and urinary phosphorus when cows were fed suboptimal phosphorus. The faecal excretion of phosphorus was not reduced with the reduction in forage particle size or reduced supply of dietary urea. These results do not support the theory that faecal loss of endogenous phosphorus is affected by forage particle size nor do they support the concept that faecal loss of endogenous phosphorus is affected by the supply of rumen degradable protein.

Downer cow syndrome






Alfalfa and linseed protein concentrate



The objective of this French trial (Liv. Sci. 158 64-73) was to assess the effects of supplying two α-linoleic acid rich feedstuffs as a proportion of the concentrate on the fatty acid composition of milk. The two α-linoleic acid sources were extruded linseed (700g per day) and alfalfa protein concentrate (2kg per day) which supplied 115 and 49g per day of α-linoleic acid per cow per day. The trial showed that adding α-linoleic acid rich feedstuffs to the diet to enrich the milk can have very marked effects on milk

Milk fever


Retained placenta


Cumulative incidence


Animals with milk fever were five times more likely to have retained placenta and those who encountered retained placenta in a previous pregnancy were twice as likely to experience this condition again. Cows with milk fever were nine times


more likely to be affected by downer cow syndrome, while those not given supplemented feed were 4.8 times more to go down with this condition. Animals with dystocia were 3.9 times more likely to develop metritis and those with retained placenta were 5.2 times more likely to develop metritis. Cows with dystocia were 10.5 times more likely to experience post-partum haemorrhaging and 59 times more likely to develop birth canal injuries.

International Dairy Topics — Volume 13 Number 3

fatty acid composition and milk protein composition. The effects are greater with high concentrate diets and can result in an acidogenic risk. The rate of transfer of α-linoleic acid from feed to milk also varies according to lipid source and higher transfer rates lead to less modification of milk composition.

Aflatoxin M1 in bovine milk

Some trace minerals, such as selenium, can lessen the economic impact of oxidative stress and reduce the severity of several important diseases such as mastitis and metritis.

Horse milking in central Asia Horse milking in northern Kazakhstan can be traced back to 3,500 BC. Around 2,000-

1,000 BC it spread across the steppes (Ethnozootechnie 94 57-65). Milking of horses was popular in areas having summer droughts because horses can graze woody plants. Their ability to depose and to mobilise fat makes them ‘the camel of the cold desert’. This horse heritage is perpetuated today by the Kazakhs, Kirghizs, Baskirs, Yakuts, Tuvans, Kalmyks and Mongols.

This Italian paper (Large An. Rev. 19 59-63) reports on the data originating from monitoring for aflatoxin M1 in milk. The study involved some 1,200 samples collected in the Piedmont region in 20092010. Some 16 samples (1.3%) were reported as non-negatives by ELISA and three (one in 2009 and two in 2010) exceeded the maximum residue limits with levels of 57, 82 and 96ppt aflatoxin M1.

Effect of vitamin E This Mexican study (Trop. An. Health and Prod. 45 1783-1788) was undertaken to assess the effect of vitamin E (control, C+4,000, C+8,000 and C+12,000 IU per cow per day) on the fat content and fatty acid profile in the milk of grazing cows supplemented with microencapsulated linoleic acid. It was concluded that supplementation with high levels of vitamin E did not affect milk fat depression or the fatty acid profile associated with conjugated linoleic acid.

Homeopathic medicines for calves This Brazilian study (Arq. do Inst. Biol. 80 387-392) assessed bodily development, dry matter intake, FCR and some health issues of 12 dairy calves which received or did not receive homeopathic medicines. The addition of homeopathic medicines did not affect body weight, dry matter intake or FCR in the calves but a reduction in other drugs to control diarrhoea and ticks was seen.

Selenium for periparturient cows Uncontrolled or impaired immune and inflammatory responses in periparturient dairy cows are associated with increased incidence and severity of infectious diseases (Vet. Med. Int. ID 154045). The progressive development of oxidative stress during the transition from late gestation to peak production is considered to be a significant underlying factor that leads to dysfunctional immune cell responses.

International Dairy Topics — Volume 13 Number 3


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Optimising reproductive management is one of the major factors influencing the efficiency of dairy production and Ceva recently held their second reprod-Action (Reproductive Management in Action) Cattle Symposium in Nice, France. Some 300 attendees from 30 countries met to be updated on the latest research. Six world experts shared their knowledge with topics selected on the basis of their practical interest for field specialised veterinarians in cattle reproduction. Dr Michelle Rhoads from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, USA, spoke on implementing strategies to reduce heat stress in dairy herds. She highlighted the importance of heat stress in reproduction and milk production in dairy cattle. Dr Alex Bach from Spain spoke on nourishing cows for optimal reproductive performance, focusing on facts and myths surrounding nutrition and reproduction. Dr Raphael Guatteo of France discussed Q fever impact on reproductive parameters. Besides the important zoonotic implications of Q fever, Dr Guatteo showed the impact of the disease on reproductive parameters and how a proper vaccination program may reduce the rate of abortions, improve fertility parameters and reduce the shedding at cow and herd level. Dr Claire Ponsart, UNCEIA,

France, spoke on genomics and sexed semen in dairy cattle. She explained the current use of genomics technology in cattle and gave insights into how this will impact the work of practitioners. Dr Alex Bach, IRTA, Spain, talked about management strategies for rearing dairy heifers successfully. Under optimal breeding programs, newborn calves are the animals, within a herd that have the greatest potential for profitability and the greatest genetic potential because they give birth to cows that produce more milk, have greater longevity and may have better reproductive ability. Dr Stephen Butler from Teagasc, Ireland, discussed synchronisation management in dairy cattle. He pointed out the benefits of using synchronisation programs in pasture based systems. The increased submission rate, shortening interval from calving to pregnancy with longer lactations and heavier weanings are important advantages. Heat detection efficiency and compliance should be considered when applying synchronisation programs. Dr Alessio Valenza, Ceva Sante Animale, France, spoke on the role of progesterone in cattle reproduction. The presentation gave the key elements of setting up an intravaginal progesterone device-based protocol to maximise the reproductive performance in a dairy herd. b pedro.rodriguez@ceva.com

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New era for dairy expo Construction has now started in Madison, Wisconsin, USA on new World Dairy Expo cattle facilities. The $24 million expansion will replace the current barn facilities with state-of-the-art multi-use pavilions. The construction project is to be completed in time for World Dairy Expo, which runs from 29th September to 4th October. The New Holland Pavilions will span 290,000ft2 and will be equipped with modular stalling systems, modern ventilation and livestock exhibitor amenities. “We are excited that the pavilion

building project is underway. The new facilities will provide improved accommodation for the elite dairy cattle that travel to World Dairy Expo to compete,” Scott Bentley, World Dairy Expo general manager, told International Dairy Topics. Financial support from public and private partners made this project a reality. Dane County, the State of Wisconsin, World Dairy Expo, Midwest Horse Fair/Wisconsin Horse Council, Centerplate, New Holland and BouMatic joined together to contribute to the construction project. b jkeller@wdexpo.com

International Dairy Topics — Volume 13 Number 3

Cut dairy chemical usage Most dairy farms overuse hygiene chemicals by up to 15%, but a new automatic dosing system from Progiene promises more accurate chemical delivery at each and every wash. Available from Progiene dairy chemical supplier Nettex – a division of the Rumenco Group – the new Autodoser offers milk producers the opportunity to use dairy chemicals far more cost effectively. “At its most basic level the low maintenance, durable and easy to clean stainless steel Autodoser ensures cost effective delivery of cleaning chemicals,” Alison Clark, Rumenco’s group product manager for dairy hygiene, told International Dairy Topics. Its high output pumps ensure that

Silage inoculant registered in China Kofasil Lac, a silage inoculant, based on Addcon’s patented Lactobacillus plantarum strains has been successfully registered in China. The well tested strains offer very fast acidification of grass and alfalfa silages and optimises the fermentation quality of those silages. b info@addcon.com

Chinese production rate tripled Tetra Pak, the world leader in food processing and packaging solutions, has announced that its Tetra Pak A3/ Speed filling machine for Tetra Prisma Aseptic portion packs has been successfully deployed with its first customer – Mengniu, a leading Chinese dairy. Running at a speed of 24,000 packs per hour, or approximately seven packs per second, Tetra Pak A3/ Speed is one of the world’s fastest filling machine for carton packages, pushing operational cost down by as much as 35%. Mengniu’s decision to purchase Tetra Pak A3/ Speed was based on a successful field test and the need to respond to the rising consumer demand for its premium flavoured milk, Latte.

every cleaning dose is dispensed quickly, which reduces the drop in water temperature that allows fat and protein re-deposits to build up on equipment surfaces. Its foolproof closed system minimises chemical wastage through ozone degradation, as well as preventing the poisonous gas emission danger from accidental mixing. The Autodoser allows for more cost efficient bulk product buying and extends chemical and liner life. Once installed the Autodoser gives dairy farmers the ability to purchase larger chemical volumes, often at a cheaper price per litre. In addition, with no need to dispense chemicals into jugs once it is installed, there are time and labour savings too. b aclark@rumenco.co.uk

The company was running two filling machines at full capacity in 2012, delivering an annual output of 94 million packs, but was still not able to keep up with demand. b uzothile.ngobeni@tetrapak.com

Calling all future industry leaders Alltech founder and president Dr Pearse Lyons has announced another exciting opportunity for the global animal nutrition and health company with the launch of The Alltech Dairy Career Development Program. The programme offers exciting opportunities for five high calibre university graduates, from anywhere in the world, who wish to specialise in the dairy industry. Alltech aims to develop potential future leaders in the dairy industry and values long term talent development, with the Alltech Career Development Program running since early 2012. Alltech will invest $1 million in the programme over the next year, with the objectives of providing innovative formats for new nutritional technologies for dairies, improving animal health and welfare, and increasing dairy farm profitability around the world. b rmatyasi@Alltech.com

International Dairy Topics — Volume 13 Number 3

BCF Tech nology have created a clinical booklet to help veterinarians understand the great value in using ultrasound for more than reproduction purposes. It is a reference guide for non-reproductive applications of Easi-Scan. The bo oklet provides key c linical descriptions and tips, along with normal and abnormal images to show how ultrasound can aid in diagnosing various on farm conditions. This booklet provides the essential information to allow you to begin gaining more diagnostic applications from your ultrasound. It covers scanning the teat to detect stenosis, umbilical area for an abscess, and even the thorax for help to diagnose BRD. b annie.doherty@ bcftechnology.com

New teat bandage introduced The German company Ecotype has introduced a new bandage for the treatment of teat injuries. It is used for dressing all types of wounds and cuts. The elastic product with blood absorbent and water resistant characteristics is made of polyurethane foam with an adhesive of natural rubber latex. It is self-adhesive but does not stick to skin, fur or wounds. A carton contains one bandage of 6cm x 500cm. If stored in a cool, dry and dark environment it can be used within five years. b gezork@eco-type.de


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National Mastitis Council Registration for the National Mastitis Council (NMC) Regional Meeting, which takes place from 4-6th August 2014, is now open. This three day event will be held at Ghent University in Ghent, Belgium. The regional meeting provides attendees with information and skills necessary to strengthen milk quality programs and increase dairy profitability. The conference also provides an excellent opportunity to network with individuals from around the world who share the common interest of quality milk production. The meeting is being organissed jointly with the M-team at Ghent University. The three-day conference will begin on Monday, 4th August with a session on the use of antimicrobials

in prevention and cure of mastitis, focusing on the responsibility of the industry, academia and regulators. An opening reception will be held that evening at the Assembly Hall of Ghent University (Aula) in Ghent, Belgium. The main program will be held on Tuesday, 5th August and includes 11 speakers covering topics ranging from immunity and mastitis, genetics and mastitis, treatment programs, dry cow management, udder health programs around the world, and an update on milking and milking techniques. Other topics include a look at what has been learned over the years on mastitis and milk quality, as well as updates on contagious mastitis, emerging pathogens, environmental pathogens, and opportunistic pathogens. b nmc@nmconline.org

Israel to host IDF World Dairy Summit

reliably proven bull in the international top 10 available to UK farmers and reinforces his position as an outstanding transmitter of butterfat – a key driver of profitability for most UK farmers. With 39.6kg (and +0.24%) butterfat in his Predicted Transmitting Ability (PTA) his performance is without parallel and is reflected in the fifth highest PLI of any proven bull from anywhere in the world on the DairyCo list. b export@cogentuk.com

In October 2014, the International Dairy Federation’s (IDF) annual World Dairy Summit will take place in Tel Aviv. Around 1,500 participants from all over the world are expected to attend. b deborahwdstelaviv@gmail.com

Holstein ‘bull of the moment’ The UK-bred Holstein, Cogent Twist is the leading butterfat bull in the world and the most profitable bull with a UK index according to the DairyCo April 2014 Profitable Lifetime Index (PLI) ranking. As 149 extra daughters from 65 different UK herds are added to his figures, Twist becomes the most Cogent Twist daughter, Nortonhill Twist Berry.

Lallemand’s global R&D Director Lallemand Animal Nutrition has appointed Dr Mathieu Castex as global research and development director for the company, succeeding Dr Henri Durand. After leading Lallemand Animal Nutrition R&D activities since the early days of the company in the late nineties, Dr Durand will retire later this year. Dr Castex has spent the past five years as aquaculture and yeast derivatives product manager, contributing widely to the development and the success of these ranges. This new organisation marks the important development of activities within Lallemand Animal Nutrition in

International Dairy Topics — Volume 13 Number 3

Belgian milk producer Rudy Rotsaert is the first in Europe to install PipeFeeder concentrate dosing units from Hanskamp AgroTech in a Rapid Exit milking parlour. Expanding his business onto a second farm gave Rudy the opportunity to invest in a totally new dairy unit with the emphasis on achieving a more efficient way of milking. On the advice of Rommelaere NV, a Belgian dairy equipment company, he opted for a 2 x 16 Rapid Exit milking system. This has a cantilevered, vertically moving steel frame that allows cows to leave the parlour quickly. b info@hanskampagrotech.nl

recent years, at a time when aquafeed represents a market with great potential. b sroquefeuil@lallemand.com

Field trial of first TB skin test PolyBatics Inc, whose novel biobead platform offers applications for diagnostics, antigen delivery/vaccines, bioseparations and many other uses, have started field trials of a unique tuberculosis (TB) skin test based on the company's bionanoparticle technology. The PolyBatics Assign-bTB product is a DIVA (Differentiate Infected from Vaccinated Animals) TB skin test reagent and the first such test able to differentiate Mycobacterium bovis-infected animals from those vaccinated against bovine TB or exposed to other strains of mycobacterium, lowering the incidence of false positives and reducing the need for confirmatory testing. PolyBatics said the same antigenpresenting biobead technology is also being developed to produce a similar human TB skin test as well as new TB vaccines for animal and human use that do not interfere with TB skin tests created using the same technology. b info@polybactics.com

Jalmarson-Thias AB • Skjulstagatan 10 S-632 29 Eskilstuna • Sweden Tel: +46 16 120415 Fax +46 16 120418 www.jalmarson.se info@jalmarson.se


Diary 2014 Year Indo Livestock 11-13th June Jakarta, Indonesia www.indolivestock.com

Heat stress in Asia World Dairy Expo & Summit At the recent Dairy Focus Asia 2014 conference in Bangkok, Dr Nicola Walker, AB Vista’s ruminant product development manager, presented a talk entitled Heat stress – nutritional and management practices. Tackling the combined impact of reduced intakes, decreased performance, lower fertility and an increase in sub-acute ruminal acidosis (SARA) was a key focus. The presentation highlighted the important role that nutritional supplements such as live yeast, rumen buffers and betaine play alongside management practices in overcoming the challenge posed by high tem-

DeLaval joins global DSF DeLaval has become an affiliated member of the Dairy Sustainability Framework, DSF. The newly established framework enables the dairy industry to collaborate and align its global sustainability efforts under one umbrella, facilitating and demonstrating a coordinated approach. It provides the sector with a framework and a common language to monitor and share progression with a focus on continuous improvement in sustainability. The Framework is based on consultation, research and collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders, including more than 100 individual interviews, several global meetings/ workshops and reviews of more than 80 dairy and 20 non-dairy sustainability initiatives from all over the world. b kristina.hunternilsson@delaval.com

New software for udder health BioControl have introduced VaDia Suite, the complete software package for pulsator testing and milking time testing for advisers, veterinarians, technicians and others who want to understand and manage udder health and milk quality. VaDia Suite offers the following: l Bluetooth connection for on-line diagnostics during milking.


peratures. “The Focus Asia conferences are the leading technical events in the region, and are a fantastic opportunity to present the independently verified research that underpins AB Vista’s approach to the market,” Dr Li Xiaojie, AB Vista’s technical manager in the Asia Pacific region, told International Dairy Topics. “Putting that research under the spotlight in front of a discerning audience is critical if our customers are to continue having confidence in our products, our services and the potential gains available from using them.” b asia@abvista.com

l Automatically compare recorded pulsator values with target values. l Enhanced zoom and navigation functions. l All tests are saved in the comprehensive database. l Add your own logo to reports. l Automatically update to the latest version when connected to the internet. l Easy to translate and available in many languages. b epi.postma@xs4all.nl

Silage additive can boost fertility Preserving silage with Genus ABS Powerstart, which contains the unique bacteria strain Lactobacillus plantarum Aber F1, can reduce calving to conception interval by 10 days, worth £50 per cow. The finding is the result of a major, statistically significant study involving over 100 herds and 25,000 cows backed up by an extensive, independent review of published research from several leading dairy countries. Unlike most strains of Lactobacillus, L. plantarum Aber F1 is a fructan degrading strain, which means it has access to more sugars in total, resulting in a more rapid fermentation. The outcome is a silage with more rumen available carbohydrate, a higher proportion of true protein and fewer free amino acids due to reduced protein degradation. b joanna.thelwell@genusplc.com

International Dairy Topics — Volume 13 Number 3

13-15th June Xi’an, China www.dairyexpo.com

Livestock and Dairy Event 2-3rd July Birmingham, UK www.livestockevent.co.uk

World Buiatrics Conference 27th July - 1st August Cairns, Australia www.wbc2014.com

National Mastitis Council Regional Meeting 2014 4-6th August Ghent, Belgium www.nmc2014.ugent.be

SPACE 16-19th September Rennes, France www.space.fr

World Dairy Expo 30th September - 4th October Madison, WI, USA www.worlddairyexpo.com

Vietstock 15-17th October Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam www.vietstock.org

IDF World Dairy Summit 27-31st October Tel Aviv, Israel www.idfwds2014.com

Eurotier 11-14th November Hannover, Germany www.eurotier.com

Agromek 25-28th November Herning, Denmark www.agromek.dk

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