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March 2018

March 2018


American ®

In This Issue Vol. 44 No. 3 • March 2018


6 Publisher Statement Industry News 8

Trending news from around the dairy world.



Industry Features

8 Reasons to Install Livestock Scales in Your Farm By Kevin Hill

Farm management consists of several critical tasks and weighing animals accurately is one of them. It is imperative that you stay up-to-date with all the details pertaining to individual animals. To achieve this, you must implement livestock scales as it helps in optimizing the performance of your animals and maximizing ranch profits.


12 32 24 28 4

March 2018

Gene-editing: A Promising Future in Dairy By Jaclyn Krymowski for American Dairymen

Of all the exciting recent genetic innovations, among the most anticipated is the use of gene editing. This technology can bring desired novel traits to herds and breeds much faster than using generations of selective breeding with all the trial and error that accompanies it. Recombinetics is one company that is leading the way in the development and application of this practice.

Getting Dairy Calves off to a Good Start

A look at the the SIP principle with colostrum. Colostrum has nutrients and immune cells to further protect the newborn and get it off to a good start.

Sponsored Features


The Real Cost of Outdated Raw Milk Sampling Techniques




Smart Calf System – Innovative Technology for more Animal Welfare

Today, QualiTru’s on-going commitment to the science of accurate sampling has turned what was once an unreliable process into one that consistently delivers truly representative samples in every stage of the dairy industry, including on dairy farms, milk tanker trucks and dairy processing plants.

Do fertilizer practices influence forage digestibility? At AgroLiquid we can, in fact, increase yields and at the same time increase the digestibility and energy content of forage crops.

The new Smart Calf System was awarded the Gold Medal of the German Agricultural Society for its highly innovative character, new sensors and development parameters are now utilized to estimate the health status and development of the calf.

Publisher Statement

We’ve Come a Long Way Wow……has the dairy industry come a long way over the years? I found myself reminiscing as a memory popped up on my Facebook page. A little over a year ago, I was with some friends in Omaha, NE and we went on a “milk run.” Now, the story is way too long to get into all the details and explain how I ended up on a “milk run” so I will give you the “cliff note” version. As we pull into this small farm we go all the way to the back of a property. We park next to a building that is about the size of my office. As we go in there sits a Holstein with a stool. I followed my buddies who had done this before; we went up to a table and paid a few bucks to get a cup. We put in some hot chocolate mix and some other mixers and proceeded towards the patiently waiting Holstein. One by one we sat on the stool with our cup in one hand and the udder in the other. With the supervision of the owner we started to milk the cow, yes, by hand. Then proceeded to drink the concoction. Now to some that seems odd, but man was it delicious. My first “milk run” was complete! It amazes me how much the industry has changed and how technology has changed our industry. Many of you probably remember sitting on a stool similar to the one I sat on, making sure you were clear of the hind legs, and away you went. Milking by hand is almost a thing of the past and completely unheard of now. Nowadays everything is automated from the milking

American ®

Products and Services

for American Dairymen

Vol. 44 No. 3 • March 2018

President/CEO Gale McKinney VP/CFO Audra McKinney Group Publisher/COO Patrick McKinney Publisher Dustin Hector Associate Publisher Lissa Baker Office Manager Dawn Busse Creative Director Brandon Peterson Advertising Account Executives Kathy Davidson Mary Gatliff Lori Seibert Irene Smith Joyce Kenney Ed Junker Kendra Sassman Kristen Adams Circulation Coordinator Shawna Nelson Subscription Sales Falon Geis

machines to the feeding tracks to lure the cattle into the milking parlor. Dairies went from milking 25-50 cattle to hundreds and thousands of head. Some believe the market has done this to the dairy producer just so they can break even. Luckily, the designers of these products have managed to find that price point that can make them affordable so producers can continue to produce the dairy products we love.

Livestock Media Group 4685 Merle Hay Rd • Suite 200 Des Moines, IA 50322 877-424-4594

In closing, I want to send a heartfelt thank you to all the producers out there. Your hard work and never ending dedication to your industry is second


to none and greatly appreciated. I heard a producer say the other day at the local gas station when people were talking about the weather, “just because the weather’s bad doesn’t mean there ain’t milking to be done” as he walked out the door. The job of a dairy producer is never done, and for that I am thankful. From all of us at American Dairymen, we salute you! Until next time, Dustin Hector Publisher – American Dairymen


March 2018

©Twin Rivers Media, LLC, 2018. All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recorded or otherwise without the prior written permission of Twin Rivers Media, LLC, 2018. The information and advertising set forth herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Twin Rivers Media, LLC, 2018 (“Publisher”) however, does not warrant complete accuracy of such information and assumes no responsibility for any consequences arising from the use thereof or reliance thereon. Publisher reserves the right to reject or cancel any advertisement or space reservation at any time without notice and for any reason. Publisher shall not be liable for any costs or damages if for any reason it fails to publish an advertisement. Advertisers are solely responsible for the content of their respective advertisements appearing in this publication and Publisher is not responsible or liable in any manner for inaccuracies, false statements or any material in such advertisement infringing upon the intellectual property rights of others. Advertisements appearing in this publication are not necessarily the views or opinions expressed by Publisher.

Industry News

New research confirms AccuMast® is the most accurate on-farm mastitis diagnostic kit Article provided by AccuMast®

A University of Illinois research study by Ferreira et al. (2018)* evaluated four commercial on-farm culture methods used to identify clinical mastitis-associated pathogens. Results showed AccuMast® had the highest overall accuracy, plus AccuMast was the only on-farm system capable of detecting Staphylococcus aureus. Other culture plates involved in the study included Minnesota Easy System Tri-Plate, Mastitis SSGN Quad Plate and Mastitis SSGNC Quad Plate. The results were presented at the American Dairy Science Association’s 2017 annual meeting. AccuMast, from FERA Animal Health, utilizes color to identify multiple mastitis pathogens. It diagnoses all of the treatable mastitis pathogens in only 16 hours, making selective therapy possible, significantly reducing the overall cost of mastitis and improving cure rates, cow health and profitability. “While mastitis diagnosis is critical for targeted therapy, this study was the first to compare these on-farm culture systems for accuracy in identifying specific pathogens,” says Rodrigo Bicalho, chief executive officer of FERA Animal


March 2018

Health. “AccuMast had the highest sensitivity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value and overall accuracy. Plus it was the only test with

and farmers by producing easy-to-use products that improve animal health through accurate diagnostics and disease prevention.

Table 1. Predictive factors for identifying mastitis-related pathogens

Ac = Accuracy, Se = Sensitivity, Sp = Specificity, PPV and NPV = positive and negative predictive values, respectively, k = Cohen’s kappa coefficient

almost perfect agreement as measured by Cohen-K value.” The study used 299 milk samples from two commercial dairy herds. The four on-farm systems, along with two reference laboratories, cultured the samples. See Table 1 for the results. FERA Animal Health is dedicated to improving the lives of dairy cattle

Contact Info

For more infor mat ion, c a l l ( 585) 465-2218, v i sit w w w. or email *Evaluation of four on-farm culture plates to identify pathogens associated with mastitis in dairy cows. J. C. Ferreira, M. S. Gomes, E. C. R. Bonsaglia, I. F. Canisso, E. F. Garrett, J. S. Stewart, Z. Zhou, F. S. Lima

Industry News

Coburn introduces Udder Hair Removers EXPRESS Udder Hair Removers are available for sale Article provided by The Coburn Company, Inc. Coburn introduces new Udder Hair Removers for 2018. Express Udder Hair Removers, distributed by The Coburn Company, Inc., provide an easy, fast, economical and safe alternative for removing udder hair. Express Udder Hair Removers are a great option for udder hair removal to combat mastitis. Removing udder hair helps reduce the spread of germs and allows for faster, more thorough udder preparation prior to milking. Robotic

milkers identify teats easier once udder hair has been removed. Udder hair may have to be removed more frequently during winter months due to quicker hair growth in the colder temperatures. Express Udder Hair Removers are set-up in less than two minutes and hair removal is quick and easy. The soft flame provides a sensation of warmth and is painless to the animal. Hair removal is done by drawing a figure-8 pattern, 4-7” below the udder for two to four seconds. Units come in two designs – straight and angled – making them useful for every operation. Units come complete with hose, fuel regulator for 14 oz. propane cylinder (cylinder not included) and flint striker. Item numbers shown below: • 572-5655 Express Udder Hair Remover with Angled Wand o Ideal for stanchion barns • 572-5656 Express Udder Hair Remover with Straight Wand

o Ideal for milking parlors The Coburn Company, Inc., founded in 1925, is a leading manufacturer and distributor of quality agricultural supplies and milking equipment. The Coburn Company, Inc. is dedicated to customer service and our products are found throughout the US and in over sixty countries. For more information visit or call (800)776-7042.

DeLaval introduces 2-in-1 acid sanitizer AcidiShine

The unique PAA-based solution helps dairies sustainably save time, money Article provided by DeLaval DeL ava l rec ent ly lau nched AcidiShine™, a solution which combines the acid and sanitizing cycles in the washdown process, helping dairy farms save time, money and resources without having to compromise the quality of their milk. Its unique formulation, containing peracetic acid (PAA), hydrogen peroxide and a proprietary acid, provides broad spectrum sanitizing with antimicrobial efficacy against bacterial pathogens. AcidiShine also provides excellent descaling of surfaces not usually associated with this class of sanitizers. It can be used to sanitize clean in place (CIP) conventional milking systems and bulk tanks, DeLaval Voluntary milking system VMS™ and calf hutches. “There are typically four steps in the washdown process: warm water rinse, chlorinated or alkaline rinse,


March 2018

acid rinse, and finally, a sanitizer,” said Jami Raymond, DeLaval Aftermarket Solution Manager. “With AcidiShine, producers can combine the acid and sanitizing cycles, helping them save money by using one product and reduce time by eliminating a step.” AcidiShine is part of DeLaval’s expanding portfolio of sustainable milk quality solutions. It was first introduced to processors through DeLaval Cleaning Solutions in 2017. Not only does it help save water by eliminating a wash cycle, but it also breaks down to vinegar and water, leaving no residue

or negative impact on the environment. AcidiShine is completely free of Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPE’s). For more information about AcidiShine, and other DeLaval acid detergents, visit our website.

About DeLaval

DeLaval is a worldwide leader in milking equipment and solutions for dairy farmers, which make sustainable food production possible, warranting milk quality and animal health. Our solutions are used by millions of dairy farmers around the globe every day. DeLaval was founded more than 130 years ago in Sweden, when the visionary Gustaf de Laval patented the cream separator. Today, DeLaval has 4,500 employees and operates in more than 100 markets.

Livestock Scales

8 Reasons to Install Livestock Scales in Your Farm By Kevin Hill

Farm management consists of several critical tasks and weighing animals accurately is one of them. It is imperative that you stay up-to-date with all the details pertaining to individual animals. To achieve this, you must implement livestock scales as it helps in optimizing the performance of your animals and maximizing ranch profits.

Benefits of livestock scales

employed in tough cattle conditions and for handling heavy loads. To cater to this requirement, they are designed to be quite durable and they are capable of taking the stress of multiple large loads. In addition to that, they also work well in conditions like rain, dust, animal waste, etc. These scales are built to handle the brunt of animal kicking and shoving too, which would damage other scales that are built for industrial use.

• Performance Evaluation

You can measure the cat tle weights at different stages of their lives with the help of livestock scales. You can use and analyze this data to evaluate feedlots, adjusted weaning and yearling weights, gain in addition to average daily gain (ADG) and weight per day of age (WDA). With the help of livestock scales, you can carry out accurate performance evaluation

• Accuracy

Your weighing equipment is going to be used in various stages of production and output and if it isn’t accurate it will definitely affect your profits. When you use livestock scales, you won’t have to worry about inaccuracies as they always deliver highly accurate measurements. Ensure the scales are maintained and calibrated properly for consistent results.

• Durability

Livestock scales are usually * Continued on page 14


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Livestock Scales

and maximize ranch profits.

• Accurate Calculation of Feed or Medicine

It is important that your herd gets the right amount of feed and med ic at ion, which is genera lly based on the animal’s weight. Livestock scales help in getting the feed/medicine calculation accurately because if the feed or medicine dose is too high or low, it will affect the animals’ performance and you may even lose some of them, thus affecting your bottom line.

• Accommodates Animal Comfortably

Livestock scales are designed to accommodate different kinds of animals comfortably. A low-profile scale would ideal to use as it offers more comfort. Regardless of what animals you have in your herd or what their sizes are, you can implement and use these scales with accurate results.

• Customization

Most livestock scales can be customized to suit your specific and unique requirements. Additionally, they may include several accessories such as digital weight indicators, gates, load bars, etc. All these features aid in streamlining the weighing processes further and reducing the time and labor investment. Regardless of whether you run a small-scale livestock farm or a largescale dairy, you cannot undermine the importance of measuring animal performance accurately. Installing livestock scales will make a huge difference and you must incorporate them if you haven’t already.

Author Bio:

• Automatic

You require less labor to use livestock scales as they are electronic and quite easy to handle. Moreover, they have an internal memory making it easier to analyze the history of the various animals.

• Ease of use

Livestock scales consist of concrete or f lat wood decks which


facilitate easy loading and unloading of animals. There are several user-friendly features such as the inclusion of memory components in many scales which reduces the need for separate equipment to collect weight data.

March 2018

Kevin Hill heads up the marketing efforts at Quality Scales Unlimited in Byron, CA. Besides his day job, he loves to write about the different types of scales and their importance in various industries. He also writes about how to care for and get optimized performance from different scales in different situations. He enjoys spending time with family and going on camping trips.

March 2018


Industry Innovation

The real cost of outdated raw milk

sampling techniques A

s early as 1933 the Milk I n d u s t r y Fo u n d a t i o n’s Laborator y Manual for Methods of Analysis of Milk and Its Products stressed the challenges of collecting accurate samples due to inconsistent agitation. The publication went so far as to break out the considerable cost to dairies of improper agitation to encourage extending agitation times. Eighty four years later, many businesses are still faced with this problem. While gone are the days of 10-gallon milk cans, some farmers and milk haulers are still using dippers and agitation to gather samples for testing of everything from butterfat content to milk quality and potential contamination. Unfortunately, the challenges of dipper sampling experienced in 1933 have not only not gone away, but today have been magnified to expose farmers and haulers to much


March 2018

more serious risks of financial losses and regulatory violations.

The modern solution to today’s sampling needs.

The value of truly representative samples for the dairy industry can’t be overstated. Inconsistent results indicate a problem, but w ithout a reliable sampling process identifying the cause of the variations, it basically comes down to guessing, which is a dangerous way to run a business. It’s also no secret that farmers get paid based on sample quality. Inconsistent or incorrect butterfat content and quality testing can have a devastating effect on a business’s bottom line. As Lindsey Dimond, Idaho Manager of Member Services

for Dair y Farmers of A merica stated, “If dippers are not properly maintained and sanitized before each location’s use you can easily taint a sample or even worse literally contaminate the entire production.” Thirty five years ago QualiTru Sampling Systems, then known as QMI, identified the need for accurate, aseptic sampling for the dairy industr y. The resulting QualiTru sanitar y por t and septa combination made getting reliable samples for testing a simple process. To d ay, Q u a l i Tr u’s on - goi n g c om m it me nt to the science of accurate sampling has turned what was once an unreliable process into one that consistently delivers truly representative samples in every stage of the dairy

Sampler allows samples to be drawn and the needle removed, leaving you with a sealed container for storage or shipping to a testing facility. The TruDraw also offers a tamper-evident feature and provides easy sample tracking for added security. After Ole Johnson, an owner of Dairy Ventures, a 2800-head dairy farm in Kansas converted his operation to the QualiTru Sampling System he said “We just don’t see the sampling errors we used to. From my point of view, QualiTru is the only way we can get the sample accuracy we rely on.” industry, including on dairy farms, milk tanker trucks and dairy processing plants. One of the key features of the QualiTru Sampling System is that it is a closed system. The system consists of stainless steel sanitary ports that can be attached anywhere in the process, including milk lines, silos, tanks and tanker trucks. This ability to use the sanitary ports throughout the process provides statistically identical results because the same sampling technique is used. The next component is the sterile septa that are placed within the sanitary ports. The septa are made from food-grade material and are available in seven- or twelve-channel configurations. The QualiTru TruStream septa feature a label over the channels so it is easy to identify the ones that have been used. This prevents the reuse of channels and virtually eliminates the risk of external contamination. QualiTru’s latest development is a new 12-channel septum that is a single-piece unit with a permanent, thermal aluminum label making it stronger and even more secure from outside contaminants. The new aluminum label also makes it even easier to clearly see which channels have been used. The final part of the QualiTru Sampling System is the sterile, disposable collection units with i n s er t ion ne e d le a nd t ubi ng

attached. These are available in a variety of bag sizes for every sampling need. The latest collection unit inno-

Today, QualiTru’s on-going commitment to the science of accurate sampling has turned what was once an unreliable process into one that consistently delivers truly representative samples in every stage of the dairy industry, including on dairy farms, milk tanker trucks and dairy processing plants. vation from QualiTru is the new TruDraw Single Sampler. As the name implies, the TruDraw is a sterile container with an attached needle designed for drawing a single sample at a time. The configuration of the TruDraw Single

Removing doubt from direct load sampling.

A s more a nd more d a i r ie s convert to direct load systems, the QualiTru Sampling Systems become even more integral and convenient for accurate sampling. T h e Q u a l i Tr u Tr u S t r e a m Sampling System can be installed in various locations, such as after the receiver, after the balance tank, near the sock filter or chiller. These multiple locations provide the operator with a fast and easy way to locate and isolate any problem. Steve Mur phy of t he Dair y Practices Council said, “Having the ability to strategically place QualiTru sampling ports to isolate sections of a dairy processing stream is very important from the standpoint of trouble-shooting microbial problems. Utilizing appropr iate laborator y tests,

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Industry Innovation these strategic “line samples” can be critical in identifying potential contamination sources so they can be dealt with quickly and effectively.” A peristaltic pump utilized with the TruStream system will continually draw a measured amount of samples throughout the process. Because you are getting a true representative sample of the entire load, there is no need to agitate the load to get a clear picture of the milk quality. This approach also mitigates the risk of cross contamination that is inherent in dipper sampling, because the entire TruStream sampling system is a closed sterile system.

Reducing employee and hauler risk.

For decades, the most used tank and trailer procedure for sampling required a person to climb up a ladder and insert a dipper to gather a sample. This approach has many downsides. The first is the challenge of keeping the testing equipment free from contaminants. Sanitizing the dipper before each use is vital, yet the number of variables to accomplish this can seem almost insurmountable. Is the sanitizing solution kept consistently at the right strength? Is the time in the solution for proper sanitation adhered to every time? Is the dipper stored or transported in a sterile fashion? The next challenge involves a combination of sample integrity, product exposure and worker safety. Safely climbing a ladder while carrying a dipper and vial makes maintaining aseptic practices virtually impossible. Once the top of the tank or trailer is reached, the entire load is then exposed to possible contamination by both the dipper and the surrounding environment when the access hatch is opened.


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Having employees off the ground for this function obviously adds the risk of injury through falls. To understand the inherent financial and employee health ramifications as it relates to businesses, you only have to look at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) top 2017 violations. For the sixth year in a row, fall protection general requirements were the top violation. These violations resulted in more than 6,000 citations being issued. The risk of falls is naturally increased for haulers when you take into consideration that they are often sampling outdoors during inclement weather. Finally, improper agitation of tanks or trailers can result in stratification leading to incorrect results and reduced payments based on erroneous butterfat content readings. The QualiTru Sampling Systems virtually eliminate all these challenges through better design and the benefits of being a closed system. With the sanitary port and septa feature, the entire load is never exposed to outside contamination. Additionally, the sampling location of the QualiTru port is placed at ground level on tanks, silos and trailers. This placement removes the need to climb ladders, thus removing the risk of accidental falls. Bob Fradette, Transportation Coordinator for Agri-Mark for over 30 years, had this to say about QualiTru Sampling Systems, “One of our biggest goals is to keep drivers from having to climb up trucks and the QualiTru Sampling Systems keep them on the ground. Another benefit we’ve seen is that sampling in this fashion reduces wait time at processing plants. Both of these things are of real value to us.”

Sampling integrity, security and safety is of paramount importance.

As the dairy industry continues to adapt to new regulations, safety requirements and quality expectations, the sampling technology of the past is no longer a viable solution. Today’s sampling technology needs to combine ease-of-use, reliability and repeatability for dairy farms and processing plants to compete and thrive in today’s heavily regulated and competitive marketplace. Mark Schwab, president of QualiTru Sampling Systems, clearly defined his company’s commitment by saying, “For decades, very little has changed in how liquid samples are taken. Today, food safety is a primary concern for processing facilities, regulators and consumers. QualiTru Sampling Systems is improving liquid sampling through innovations that make the sampling process simpler, more accurate and brings real accountability to the sampling process.” Mr. Schwab’s statement is proven by QualiTru’s ongoing investment in research and development to answer the needs of liquid processors. The company’s scientific approach to creating innovative sampling tools and techniques has made them a leader in the liquid sampling field and has brought true accountability to sampling throughout the dairy industry. QualiTru sampling products are FDA approved and 3A Certified and are available worldwide.



a promising future in dairy By Jaclyn Krymowski for American Dairymen Of all the exciting recent genetic innovations, among the most anticipated is the use of gene editing. This technology can bring desired novel traits to herds and breeds much faster than using generations of selective breeding with all the trial and error that accompanies it. Recombinetics is one company that is leading the way in the development and application of this practice. Gene-editing is a technology where 24

March 2018

specifically designed molecular scissors can cause a double strand break at any desired spot on a genome to induce a change. Naturally, the cell can repair the break itself. But when provided with an instruction template to copy, the cell will specifically repair to produce the desired outcome – such as introducing the polled allele. This method of gene editing uses something called HDR or homology direct repair, explains

Tad Sonstegard, Chief Scientific Officer of Acceligen – the division of Recombinetics that works on developing genetic technology in various livestock species. Sonstegard, a former research geneticist with the USDA, works on the research and development of gene-editing for Recombinetics.

Application & opportunity

Currently there are two ways

this technology is applied to cattle. One is by using the cells harvested from an animal that can be used for cloning, this is the same method that was used to produce Dolly the sheep. The other more common one is using scissors in a single-celled zygote utilizing the IVF procedure. “Once that fertilization happens we can inject the editing mix into the single celled zygote and cause the double stranded break and repair to introduce the allele,” says Sonstegard. This simple process should have no effect on the typical IVF procedure or its fertility outcome. The near-term future opportunities for this technology are immense and the surface is just being scratched. A big goal at the

forefront of this effort is to eliminate the stressful procedure of traditional dehorning. This can be done by introducing the polled allele to more and more of the industry’s elite sires. With gene-editing, the allele can be added without years of breeding or impacting any other

traits. “We were very deliberate as far as what we want to work on,” says Tom Erdmann, general manager of Acceligen. “As you can imagine if you look at all the genetic opportunities there are in any animal whether that’s a dairy cow or anything else there are a lot of things

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you could do, but there’s probably only a few things that you should do. At this point in the life cycle of this technology and in (regards to) government regulatory acceptance and consumer acceptance, we deliberately looked at animal well-being as a really great place to start.” Other kinds of wellness traits, namely disease resistance and heat tolerance, are perfect examples that improve animal welfare and production efficiency. Tuberculosis, BVD, foot and mouth disease and even tick resistance traits are all carried in individual animals in different breeds. They can all be easily applied using the same HDR method as done with the polled allele once we know their source code at the genomic level. The trait for heat tolerance, once confined to specific breeds, can be used to adapt any breed to perform in the tropics. The widespread implementation of certain traits is especially important on a global scale, says Sonstegard.

animals now, the last hurdle they are waiting on is regulatory approval for their human consumption. Regulations can be tricky from country to country, he says, as there is currently no universal consensus on the marketing of these animals. From a scientific stand point, these animals are absolutely safe and ef fective. “ There’s no difference bet ween a genet ic a lly dehorned animal and a polled bred animal relative to its genome,” says Sonstegard. It is important to note that every trait being introduced through gene editing is already a natural occurrence somewhere within the species. “These are not GMO animals,” says Erdmann. Rather, the goal is to use these available traits to get a desired outcome without going through the

time of generations of breeding. The response from the industry on this technology have been extremely positive. Erdmann says they have garnered solid support from all corners of the industry. Unlike some technological advancements in the industry, gene-editing isn’t one that needs convincing to be adapted. The word from many enthusiastic breeders is that they are wanting to use edited animals as soon as possible. “We’ve talked to all the different groups, including most breed associations,” says Sonstegard. “They’re willing to work with us and our technology to make sure that animals are tracked appropriately and marketed according to these added value traits that are being brought in through this technology.”

Where to go from here

In 2015 the f irst gene-edited polled Holsteins were born a success. Sonstegard says they are ready to produce commercial 26

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Partnering with Producers for Success

Smart Calf System

– Innovative technology for more animal welfare


reating appropriate housing conditions, controlling their effects, documenting them and making them understandable to the farmers are important tasks in the future management of livestock herds. This also refers to a good calf management. The automatic calf feeders from FĂśrster-Technik have always provided a lot of information about crucial health parameters, such as feed consumption, drinking speed, thus giving valuable details on the well-being of the calves. With the new Smart Calf System awarded with the Gold Medal of the German Agricultural Society for its highly innovative character, new sensors and development parameters are now utilized to estimate the health status and development of the calf. As a result, diseases can be detected earlier and the necessary treatments


March 2018

can be performed in time. That means fewer treatments are required and the farmer saves a considerable amount of money and time. At the same time, many practical enhancements are introduced, such as the fully automatic cleaning of the milk lines and the suction hoses as well as the swiveling feeding station. The two main components of this system are the Smart Activity Box and the Smart Neckband.

The Activity Box is equipped with a nipple moving on two axes. This enables the calf to perform its natural udder bumping behavior. An integrated activity sensor measures the udder bumps. A new parameter is thus recorded that supports the early detection of disorders of well-being (stress) and increased disease risks. Studies have shown that this behavior is closely related to emerging diseases. The system signals an

increased risk about 2-3 days before a visible finding. Activity on the nipple is also a parameter that supports the objective assessment of animal welfare. It is expected that evidence can be deduced in connection with the animal activity and drinking data. The necessary algorithms are currently under development. Beside the activity parameters, the Activity Box has other important features. The Auto-Learn-Function supports the training of young calves after they have been transferred to the group. When playing with the nipple, calves that have only been in the group for a few days, are given

The signal light is controlled via the CalfCloud. Animals can be displayed individually or in groups, such as alarm animals, animals with drinking rights, animals with an increased risk of disease, etc. When activated, the light on the collar flashes clearly and visibly. In principle, it is possible to encode further information by color or flashing frequency of the light. An essential advantage is the possibility to look for and observe animals without having to go into the group. This makes it easier to assess the calf’s state of health without spreading unnecessary stress in the group. In addition, the light has a magnetic switch to confirm activity directly

a small amount of milk. Without a worker having to take care of it, the calves quickly learn how to use the feeding station. New is also the fully automatic circuit cleaning of the suction hoses, which can be carried out up to 4 times per day. The Smart Neckband is a collar with an activity sensor and an LED signal light. By measuring the activity, conclusions can be drawn about the development and the health status

on the animal. This helps, for example, when training or treating individual calves. In work management, the system offers advantages in multi-level communication. For example, veterinarians, herd managers or other persons can define measures to be taken on the calves (e.g. measuring fever). The barn personnel can then have the animals shown to them quickly and easily and then confirm that they have taken care

of the calf. The operator receives corresponding alarm or/and warning messages on an external device such as a PC, tablet or smartphone. Since the system is browser-based, it does not matter which hardware or operating system is used.

of them directly at the animal. In the future, it will also be possible to automatically save related data. This results in complete and error-free documentation while reducing the amount of work involved. The Smart Calf System has a modular structure. This means that

the individual components can be combined according to the respective operational requirements. In f uture, the values of the connected components shall be converted into a standardized index. With the currently developed algorithm, any number of measured values can be evaluated individually. This results in indications for prophylactic measures, veterinary treatment of individual animals and feeding and drinking depending on the health and development status of each individual animal. The new generation of the smart calf feeders offers the coupling to the internet. This enables farmers to prepare the data as well as possible and make the information available in a way that is easy to use. The drinking intake data (quantity, drinking speed, visits, etc.) are merged with those of the Smart Calf System via a cloud application. In principle, early warning systems, graphical representations of parameters and aggregated information as well as recommendations for action can be derived from this. The system can be used at any location and by different people via the Internet connection. This offers a wide range of possibilities for organizing and controlling work. As a result, workflows can be better adapted to operational requirements and made more flexible. The Smart Calf System has been introduced to the German market beginning of 2018. It will be available in North America by the end of 2018. For any questions about this system, please contact Jan Ziemerink, cell: 519-239-9756 March 2018


March 2018



Getting Dairy Calves Off to a Good Start —

The SIP Principle with Colostrum By Maurice L. Eastridge - Department of Animal Sciences - The Ohio State University As soon as the dairy calf exits the uterus of the cow, the maternal nutrition and protection from disease by blood transfer of nutrients and immune cells directly to the fetus ceases. This nutrition and immunity now shifts to absorption of nutrients and immune cells found within colostrum to further protect the newborn and get it off to a good start. It has been well documented for years that consumption of colostrum, the first mammary gland secretion from the dam, is essential for low calf morbidity and mortality. It’s that simple, but not exactly. This process, called S I P, involves the: Supply of colostrum, Immunoglobulin (Ig) concentration, and Pathogens of low presence in colostrum

Supply of Colostrum

Many farms str uggle today with having an adequate supply of high-quality colostrum for feeding

calves; thus, most farms will have some frozen as a back-up plan. It has been perplexing for years as to what factors affect the yield of colostrum. In a recent study conducted with Holstein cows at the University of Bern in Switzerland, first-lactation

cows produced about 10 lb of colostrum (range = 4 to 24 lb), and cows with two or more lactations averaged 43 lb (3 to 46 lb). Although the average yield would provide a sufficient supply, some cows within the study yielded very low amounts of colostrum. Cows obviously calve at different times of the day, which results in different time intervals to milking time, but in this study, time from calving to milking did not affect colostrum yield. In addition, the colostrum yield was poorly correlated to milk yield for the entire lactation. Risk factors suggested for potentially reducing colostrum yield have included a shortened dry period, low protein and energy intakes during the dry period, and heat stress, but limited scientific evidence is available to directly identify the major risk factors for reducing colostrum yield. Among several studies, nutrition of the dry cow has generally resulted in minimal effects on colostrum yield. In a recent study conducted at * Continued on page 34


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Ohio State University (unpublished), dry cows were overstocked at the feedbunk (0.88 headlocks per cow) or understocked (1.17 headlocks per cow) in the far-off period or close-up period. Holstein cows that were overstocked during the far-off period tended to produce less colostrum than cows understocked for the entire dry period (12.6 versus 19.3 lb, respectively). However, given that the risk for an inadequate supply of colostrum from every cow exists on every dairy farm, frozen, high-quality colostrum should be available or a stocked supply of colostrum replacer be on hand, preferably formulated with bovine immunoglobulins (Ig).

Immunoglobulin Concentration

For years, research has focused on the quality of colostrum (i.e., concentration of immunoglobulins) as the primary factor affecting the level of immunity in the calf because it was assumed that you always feed the same amount of colostrum, generally about 4 quarts or 4 liters within the first 6 hours of birth. The sooner colostrum is fed, the more Ig are absorbed because gut closure increases with age and exposure to bacteria; however, timing of feeding colostrum varies. Some of this variation in timing relates to when the cow calves, how frequent the calving pen is checked, when she gets milked (with herd or bucket milker), and the actual lag that occurs from the time the colostrum is

harvested until the calf is fed. In addition, we used to check the quality of colostrum by primarily using a colostrometer, but today we encourage the use of a Brix refractometer (greater than a 22 percent reading on a Brix refractometer recommended, which is equivalent to greater than 50 g/L of IgG). A colostrometer is easy to break and then you have a mercury issue, and temperature of the milk can affect the readings (room temperature preferred, 72°F). A Brix refractometer also can be used to check the serum protein, an indicator of passive transfer of immunity from the colostrum (greater than 5 g/100 ml of serum protein or 10 g/L of serum IgG is suggested, which is equivalent to a greater than 8 percent Brix reading). There does not appear to be a high correlation of nutrition of the dam

during the dry period, photoperiod, or the yield of colostrum on the Ig concentration in colostrum. Also, in an Israeli study with Holstein cows, Ig concentration in colostrum was not affected by a 60- versus 40-day dry period. Thus, the specific causative factors of low concentration of Ig in colostrum are not defined. Based on the concentrations of Ig in the colostrum, we can adjust the amount of colostrum fed to prov ide adequate intake of Ig. Colostrum should have greater than 50 g/L of IgG. Thus, a calf fed 4 L of colostrum with 60 g/L of IgG would consume 240 g of IgG. So if the Ig in colostrum is marginal and higher-quality colostrum is not available, the amount of colostrum can be increased by 1 or 2 qt (L) as needed. For example, if the

* Continued on page 36


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colostrum contains 48 g/L of IgG, then 5 L of colostrum would need to be fed to provide the 240 g intake of IgG. The amount of Ig consumed is more important than the actual concentration of Ig in the colostrum. Intake of IgG is of primary importance, but there are other Ig and potential immune stimulators in colostrum. In a recent study at Virginia Tech University, it was observed that maternal immune cells in colostrum were important in enhancing neonatal immunity during the first month of life. Of course, colostrum is rich in nutrients and other growth factors and hormones to enhance the neonate’s start in life and possibly production later in life.

Reducing Pathogen Load

High bacterial counts in colostr um enhance gut closure to absorption of Ig and increase the risk for failure of passive transfer and diarrhea. Colostrum at feeding time should contain less than 100,000 cfu of bacteria using the standard plate count. Some calf care specialists suggest that low bacteria count in the colostrum is as important, possibly even more important, than the Ig concentration in providing for adequate passive transfer of immunity. Keeping the bacteria count low begins with the equipment used for milking the dam and then continues into how the colostrum is stored if it is not fed immediately, and of course, the utensils used in feeding the colostrum to the calf. Colostrum should be fed immediately after it


March 2018

is harvested, or chilled for delayed feeding and then warmed to 100° to 105°F at feeding. If colostrum is not fed within about 48 hours after harvest, it should be frozen. High-quality colostrum relative to Ig concentration can suddenly become poor quality because of dirty equipment used to harvest and feed the colostrum. Oftentimes, the equipment looks clean, but it may be a simple gasket or valve that is contaminating the entire supply of colostrum. So proper cleaning of equipment, including valves and other potential crevices, after each contact with milk is very important. Then the equipment must be kept dry and stored in a low-dust environment. Colostrum can be pasteurized without denaturing the Ig, but the temperature should be held at 140°F for 60 minutes (versus 30 minutes at 145°F for whole milk) and then the colostrum should be cooled rapidly. Also, some manufacturers of pasteurizers have developed special bags for use in their equipment to provide for uniform heating and to ease storage of colostrum after pasteurization. The other important step in reducing pathogen load to the newborn is providing a clean, dry calving environment. So, cleanliness of the maternity pen is important for reducing the intake of pat hogens when t he ca lf ’s mouth touches the environment. Then clean, dry bedding in the housing area is important in reducing bacterial growth in the calf’s environment.


An adequate Supply of colostrum of high Ig concentration and with low Pathogen load is critical for the calf to get off to a good start. The management factors that specifically cause low yield and quality of colostrum are unclear. However, extreme variations in yield and quality of colostrum occur on dairy farms, and thus proper measurement of colostrum Ig concentration is essential. With this information, the amount of colostrum fed can be adjusted, an alternative source can be used, or a colostrum replacer can be used. Whichever is used to provide the Ig to the calf, a low bacteria count is essential for adequate absorption of the Ig to occur. Colostrum consumed by the calf is a nutrient- and Ig-dense food with a low bacterial count if harvested, handled, and fed properly.


Baumrucker, C .R ., A .M. Burkett , A .L . Magliaro-Macrina, and C.D. Dechow. 2010. Colostrogenesis: Mass transfer of immunoglobulin G into colostrum. J. Dairy Sci. 93:3031-3038. Drakley, J.K. 2011. The other side of the transition: Effects on colostrum and calf. Proc., Tri-State Dairy Nutrition Conference, Ohio State University, Columbus. Pg. 71-77. http:// Kessler, E.C., R.M. Bruckmaier, and J.J. Gross. 2014. Milk production during the colostral period is not related to the later lactational performance in dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci. 97:2186-2192. Langel, S.N., W.A. Wark, S.N. Garst, R.E. James, M.L. McGilliard, C.S. Petersson-Wolfe, and I. Kanevsky-Mullarky. 2014. Effect of feeding whole compared with cell-free colostrum on calf immune status: The neonatal period. J. Dairy Sci. 98:3729-3740. Shoshani, E., S. Rozen, and J.J. Doekes. 2014. Effect of a short dry period on milk yield and content, colostrum quality, fertility, and metabolic status of Holstein cows. J. Dairy Sci. 97:2909-2922.


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American Dairymen March 2018  
American Dairymen March 2018