April 2018 Newsletter - #75
In This Issue
About Us
The Dairy One Forage Lab excels in providing high quality analyses  
and customer service. Our goal is to provide analytical services designed to meet the expanding demands of modern agriculture.  
New technology and traditional methods are combined to deliver fast, accurate results.
Balancing the smallest TMR
By Sarah E. Fessenden, PAS; Business Development Manager

What is the most important TMR on the farm? Most would immediately say the lactating diet, some would argue for the dry cow diet, and I certainly doubt anybody would select the heifer diet as the most vital. So, what's the answer? I believe there is one ration that is more critical than the rest and is often the most overlooked: the calf "TMR".

From the moment the calf hits the ground, the transformation from calf to heifer to cow has already begun and it's very important that the diet fed to milk calves be considered a TMR. Operations feeding waste milk or pasteurized milk to calves tend to take the composition of nutrients for granted, do not bother to test the milk, and therefore have little idea about the overall nutritional intake of their calves. Just as testing your homegrown haylage or corn silage is the best gauge for diet adjustments, one should also analyze homegrown milk to evaluate if any supplementation is warranted.

Below is a case study supporting this:

A farm with two calf barns was using pasteurized waste milk supplemented with saleable milk. One barn utilized only the saleable milk while the other barn was feeding only a waste/saleable blend. The farm was observing slower growth rates than desired and increased morbidity rates, especially in the saleable only milk barn. To evaluate, samples were pulled from throughout the pasteurization process and sent to the lab for standard plate count, coliform count, fat, protein, and other solids. Through this testing process, it became clear that the pasteurizer was working optimally but identified that the plate cooler was not being properly cleaned and was producing an end product with a very high standard plate count.

After correcting the cleanliness issue, the focus moved to balancing the diet, particularly the waste/saleable milk diet. The saleable milk portion of the diet was smaller and quite regular but the larger portion of the diet consisting of waste milk from both fresh and treated cows was more variable. The number of cows, stage of lactation, and numerous reasons for segregation to the waste milk group all contributed to fluctuating total solid levels in the waste milk portion.

At this particular farm, the calf feeder was very attentive and excited to try a new system. With their willingness to implement a more intensive feeding program, a new protocol was developed to balance the percent solids in each barn. Every morning, the feeder would test the milk in each barn with a brix refractometer and then use a chart that was created to specifically adjust for total solids in both diets. An example is detailed in Table 1. The auto feeders containing a milk balancer in the hopper was calibrated and dispensed for each calf dependent upon the milk brix reading for that day. The goal calf diet was 13.5% total solids each day.

Milk Brix Reading 
Percent Solids 
Balancer Amount 
Computer g/l 
13.5  150  150 
11.3  13.4  152  150 
11.2  13.3  154  150 

Table 1. Example of balancing chart from brix reading

Through this precise total solids program, coupled with the improved sanitation protocols, calf morbidity dropped significantly and calf growth improved to over 2.2 lbs. average daily gain. The farmer was then able to sell more heifers that did not meet the enhanced standards for his herd and also began to observe a lower age of first calving due to the improved weight gain at a younger age. The savings from both improvements as well as an unexpected bonus of decreased medical costs vastly outweighed the additional costs incurred from the new calf feeding strategy. It's clear to see that while all diets have an important role at the various stages in a cow's life cycle, the calf "TMR" gets the herd started on the right hoof.   
Meet Annelise Bay!

Annelise is originally from Rochester, NY. She debated between pursuing Biology at the College of Wooster or Physical Therapy at Ithaca College. In the end, the beautiful campus and intimate setting of Wooster won her over. She graduated with a B.S. in Biology in 2016. Following graduation, she worked at Wickham Farms CSA in Penfield, NY for a year and assisted with the vegetable harvest.

Annelise began as an entry level technician in the minerals department in April 2017 and was promoted to Senior Minerals Technician in February 2018. In her current role she supervises all mineral samples as well as chloride and water analyses. She is also the primary operator of the ICP. Annelise is also a part time server at Maxie's Supper Club, where her Dairy One co-workers enjoy seeing her after work.

"I really enjoy working at Dairy One. It is a great learning environment. People here are willing to teach and there are many growth and learning opportunities. I love the people I work with and I look forward to coming to work; I'm very happy to be part of the team."

Annelise currently lives in Ithaca and hopes to get a dog soon. Outside of work, she enjoys activities with friends and hiking.
Upcoming Events - Come see us!

April 16-18
Tri-State Nutrition Conference
Fort Wayne, IN

May 2-3
California Animal Nutrition Conference
Fresno, CA
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Dairy One - Forage Laboratory
730 Warren Road ~ Ithaca, NY ~ 14850
Phone:  1-800-344-2697 Ext. 9962