If dairy cows could talk

Hoard's Dairyman: 

If dairy cows could talk

Date: 
Tue, 05/10/2011

If your herd could talk to you about their pen dynamics, what would they say? Would they compliment the soft, bedded freestalls, the wide alley ways, and the roominess of the feedbunk? Or would they be more likely to mention that the freestalls are always full, and trying to find a place to rest is nearly impossible? Would they be likely to complain that there is not enough room at the feedbunk, and the older cows push around the younger ones?

While cows cannot talk, they can tell us, as animal caretakers, if they are content by their actions as demonstrated in production levels, resting times, and overall health.

Yesterday, Hoard’s Dairyman presented its fifth free monthly webinar. It was entitled,” Managing cow behavior for profit and performance” and was presented by Rick Grant of the Miner Institute in Chazy, N.Y. His data and extensive peer research in cow behavior showed some very startling results.

One example included several herds that were of the same genetic merit and were fed the exact same ration. The only factor that was variable was the management and housing of the cows. There was a 29-pound-per-day-per-cow milk production difference when comparing the farms. How the cows were handled and housed accounted for the 29 pound difference! Multiply that by herd size and understand how cow comfort really impacts your herd profitability.

You can view Rick Grant’s one-hour presentation to learn more about cow comfort and how you can ensure that your herd is performing at its best. Then listen to what your cows are telling you about their management.