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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How to maximize your dairy's profitability with minimal investment: Introduction (Part 1 of 5)

In one word, describe a person whose daily schedule looks something like this: 
13 hours lying in bed, 6 hours eating, 2 hours wandering around, and 3 hours working. 
Several words are probably running through your mind right now, but I think it's safe to say that "productive" isn't one of them. However, "productive" would be the perfect word to describe a dairy cow following this type of schedule.

In a recent Hoard's Webinar, Rick Grant of the Miner Institute discussed the impact that the physical and social environments surrounding a dairy cow have on herd health and productivity. To illustrate this impact, he presented the flow chart below:

Without the right environment, cows will budget the time they spend resting, feeding, and ruminating ineffectively. This altered time budgeting contradicts a cow's natural behaviors, leading to decreased productivity and more health issues. Grant proposed a typical time budget of a dairy cow in a free-stall environment as follows:
Grant's webinar was so jam-packed with valuable information that I couldn't fit it all into one post!

STAY TUNED! The next four posts will reveal tips and strategies for creating the best environments for resting and feeding! 

Source: "Managing cow behavior for profit and performance" Hoard's Webinar presented by Rick Grant, Miner Institute. May 9, 2011.

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