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Dairy Center Research Projects. Information about studies included in this presentation:. The conclusions presented in this Power Point are general conclusions. We encourage producers to research more thoroughly on these topics. We are presenting the information for general use only. .

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information about studies included in this presentation
Information about studies included in this presentation:
  • The conclusions presented in this Power Point are general conclusions. We encourage producers to research more thoroughly on these topics. We are presenting the information for general use only.
skin tests as a predictor of johne s disease in cows and heifers
Skin tests as a predictor of Johne’s disease in cows and heifers
  • An attempt to find an inexpensive and simple way to detect Johnes earlier than other tests currently available.
    • Samples were collected four times over a four year span on animals 10 months of age – aged cows.
    • Different test results were compared. The study is still in progress in other herds.

CONCLUSION – Skin testing is a simple, effective and inexpensive way to test for Johne’s in a herd

calf starter rumen development
Calf Starter & Rumen Development

60 calves were assigned to 1 of 4 calf starter treatments. Daily monitoring of calves was used to evaluate the starters for 10 weeks.

  • Daily starter intake
  • Daily scour score
  • Daily body temperature
  • Weekly bodyweights
  • Weekly blood draws

Blood samples were then frozen and sent to ISU for evaluation.

conclusion most effective program was using calf starter with 7 5 grass hay
CONCLUSION – most effective program was using Calf Starter with 7.5 % grass hay

This calf program showed:

  • Increased body weight
  • Increased feed efficiency
  • Alters rumen VFA production
  • Creates a more stable rumen environment
  • Decreased starter costs
    • significantly improved feeding profitability
    • 4 lbs chopped hay per 50 lb bag of starter
practical applications of accelerated calf feeding programs
Practical Applications of “Accelerated Calf Feeding Programs”
  • Study looked at:
    • Daily starter and water intake
    • Daily scour score/Milk replacer refusal
    • Weekly bodyweight and height
    • Weekly blood draw
    • Recorded the time it took to feed each treatment group
conclusion early weaning is by far the most effective when looking at feed cost per pound of gain
CONCLUSION: Early weaning is by far the most effective when looking at feed cost per pound of gain.

Other Economic Considerations for an Early Weaning program:

  • Labor costs
    • drop over 50% after weaning in conventional program
      • greater labor costs associated with accelerated programs
    • early weaning (~30 d) cuts total labor costs associated with rearing to 56 d by about 40%
  • Housing costs
    • Reduce number of hutches required by over 45%
fresh cow multiple milking project
Fresh Cow Multiple Milking Project

Study looked at:

  • 100 head : 34 heifers; 66 cows
  • 3X; 6X-21 days; 6X-14 days.
  • milk production: 1st 30 day + DHI test
  • weekly milk component
  • weekly body condition scoring (10 w)
  • Weekly teat ends / teat skin (8 wks)
  • CMT at calving: culture

DHI milk production by test day - Holsteins








Lbs. milk

P < .1

6X for 14d

4 # increase

NEIDF animals

DHI test


NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GROUPS for body condition score, teat ends or CMT quarter testing!

CONCLUSION: Cows milked 6 times a day for the first 14 days of lactation averaged a 4 pound increase. Multiple milkings did not have to be evenly spaced – milking fresh cows at the beginning and end of milking shifts was effective.





  • Weekly data collection included:
    • CMT score
    • Teat Shape score
    • Teat Skin score
    • Teat End score

CONCLUSION: ASC Barrier dip was the most effective winter teat dip at the time of this study.


* Poor dip removal by milkers

  • no other significant differences
compost barn demonstration project
  • Study ran from 12/2005 – 5/2007 and looked at:
  • DHIA SCC/ milk, etc
  • Lameness scoring 2X/week
  • Ammonia levels: before/after stir 2X/wk
  • Compost bacteria counts 2X/wk (before/after stir)
  • Cleanliness, hock/ leg, comfort scores 3X/week
  • Compost temp: 27 spots daily: 0,6,12,18”
compost barn project
  • Temperature < 1000F; Moisture> 65%
  • Leg/hock and comfort: score 1 (great)
  • Cleanliness scores: average 3 (dirty)
  • Bact counts: Gram - & streps: >106! (high)

CONCLUSION: The bedded pack did not heat as expected, but the cold, wet compost proved comfortable for the cows. There was a lot of bedding and dirty, content cows. There were very low ammonia and other gas levels.

the effect on the immune system of no dry period vs a 45 day dry period
The effect on the immune system of no dry period vs. a 45-day dry period

Study looked at:

  • 25 2nd or greater lactation cows were randomly selected to a dry cow treatment.
  • Cows with no dry period:
    • Low lactation ration
    • BST
  • Cows with a 45 day dry period:
    • Dry cow ration
    • Close-up ration 3 weeks pre-calving
  • Vaccination protocols were kept the same between both treatment groups
data collection of no dry period vs dry period
Data collection of no dry period vs. dry period
  • 3 weeks prior to calving
    • blood draws 3 times a week until 3 weeks postcalving
    • Analyzed for white blood cell counts and rabies antibody titer.
      • WBC ability to produce gamma interferon

CONCLUSION: Calcium levels were the same in both groups, so milk fever levels were the same. It is generally recommended that older cows have a dry period as it hard on them physically not to. (see graph, next slide)









No dry period

Normal dry period






-6 to -4

-3 to -1

0 to 1

2 to 3


Calcium (mg/dl)

Days Around Calving

bvd vaccination project
BVD Vaccination Project
  • This project is addressing whether the vaccination as a neonate will be negated by the presence of maternal antibodies
  • Efficacy of multiple vaccinations with a modified live vaccine verses a combination of modified live and killed vaccines.
bvd vaccination project20
BVD Vaccination Project
  • To date:
    • Northeast Iowa Community Based Dairy Foundation Cattle have all been tested for BVD
    • 200 heifers are enrolled in the vaccination trial
      • Ages currently range from about 7 months –post fresh
      • Data collection includes:
        • Vaccination records
        • Pre and post vaccination blood sample
        • Health records
          • 10 day temperature of neonates
          • Weekly bodyweights
          • Calfhood & Prebreeding Bodyweights
    • This study has not yet concluded.
other demonstration projects
Other Demonstration Projects
  • Use of extended day lighting in free stall barn – CONCLUSION: generally recommended, and we will continue using it
  • Mortality and Manure Composting – CONCLUSION: Both can be successfully used, we continue to compost mortalities after the demonstration project as it works well here