‘Moon Milk’: America’s New Health Trend?

“Moon Milk” could be America’s next health craze. While many farmers have little trouble falling asleep after a long day’s work, a cup of “moon milk” may be the answer for those having difficulty catching some zzz’s.

Taking Pinterest and Instagram by storm, the trending milk claims to be a natural sleep aid for those who suffer from insomnia. A new spin on a cup of warm milk, “moon milk” uses cow’s milk, honey, spices such as cinnamon or nutmeg, and adaptogens.

Adaptogens are an herbal supplement which some claim can improve the health of the adrenal system. Different types of adaptogens alter the color of the spiced milk, making an eye-catching drink perfect for social media.

According to HelloGiggles, a popular health and lifestyle website, “moon milk” has seen a 700% increase in popularity over the past year on Pinterest alone and is on track to be America’s next health trend. The colorful dairy concoction can also be found on Instagram in every color under the sun.

But does this new health craze actually work? While the verdict is still out if the dairy drink will help one sleep, it does have some health benefits.

Erin Coffield, a registered dietitian at the National Dairy Council, explained the health factors.

“It’s simply cow’s milk with some added spices and herbs,” Coffield said. “Nutrient-rich cow’s milk already sets you on the path to a healthy choice, because you get the added benefits of protein, calcium, vitamin D, B vitamins, and more.”

Besides the nutrients provided from milk, spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger may assist with digestion and a sense of calmness.

If counting sheep is not working for you, maybe “moon milk” can help you rest up before another long day on the farm.

Hay Moisture Levels

With the limited opportunities and short windows many have had to make hay so far this year, some hay may have been made at higher moisture levels than we would like. Moisture levels have a direct effect on hay quality. What we have found to be a consistent number in the literature is 20% moisture maximum. To be more specific:

    1. Small squares to be 20% or less,
    2. Large round, 18% or less and
    3. Large squares, 16%

Hay baled at 20% moisture or higher has a high probability of developing mold, which will decrease the quality of hay by decreasing both protein and total nonstructural carbohydrates (TNC) AKA energy! The mold will also make the hay less palatable to livestock and could potentially be toxic, especially for horses. Even hay baled between 15%-20% moisture will experience what is known as “sweating.” Sweating, in regard to hay bales, refers to microbial respiration, which will create heat and result in dry matter (DM) loss. A good rule of thumb is that you should expect a 1% DM loss per 1% decrease of moisture after baling. As an example, hay baled at 20% moisture that is stored and dried down to 12%; will result in 8% DM loss.

What happens if we bale hay and the moisture content is too high? Bad things. If lucky, maybe the hay will only mold, but if it is too moist and starts heating, it could catch fire. If the hay heats to 100-120 degrees F, it will be fine; if it goes above that, monitor daily. Once it gets to 140 degrees F, consider tearing down the stack. At 150-160 degrees F, call the fire department, and once it gets to 160 degrees F, there will be smoldering pockets and hot spots, and gases will ignite hay when exposed to air (source: Washington State University Extension, Steve Fransen and Ned Zaugg).

It can be a double edged sword in regards to losing quality by not baling, or losing quality by baling with moisture levels that are too high. Therefore, our recommendation to ensure adequate livestock nutrition this winter is to have a forage analysis done on the hay baled this year. Once you have those results, develop a corresponding supplemental feed program, if necessary, based on the nutritional requirements of your livestock.

The two short videos below by Clif Little and Rory Lewandowski will answer questions regarding forage testing, and subsequently interpreting the results of the test(s).

National Dairy Month: Learn More About Dairy From Farm to Table

Midwest Dairy shares a behind the scenes view with their online farm experience.
( Midwest Dairy )

June is National Dairy Month, so what better time to learn more about where your milk comes from? You’re probably curious—and we can help! Start by learning more about the dairy farm families in South Dakota and throughout the Midwest.

Want to visit a dairy farm? We’ve got you covered! Midwest Dairy has an online farm experience. You can take this 10-stop video tour to experience how milk from real cows, on a real Midwest farm, becomes the fresh, naturally nutrient-rich dairy foods you love.

Do you have specific questions about dairy from farm-to-table? Take 48 seconds to watch the journey your milk makes in about 48 hours. If you’re fond of eating local foods, then choose dairy as a part of your diet. Milk is locally produced in every state so it doesn’t have to travel far from home.

What about dairy cow care? Dairy farmers know that if you take good care of your cows, your cows will take good care of you. Read on to learn how they do this through a nutritious diet, regular medical care and comfortable living conditions.

Feel like celebrating? World Milk Day kicks off June 1st with events going on around the globe. Or, join us in celebrating National Dairy Month and beyond with our simple, tasty, and nutritious recipes. Everything from savory pizzas and creamy parfaits, to chocolate milk and tempting cheese plates is deliciously, extraordinarily, Undeniably Dairy!

North Carolina Could Ban Labeling of Plant-based Drinks As Milk

After winning approval from the House committee on Wednesday, the 2018 North Carolina Farm Act could pose changes for companies labeling plant-based products as “milk.” The state may be the first in the country to require this new labeling law.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration defines milk as “the lacteal secretion, practically free from colostrum, obtained by the complete milking of one or more healthy cows.” Companies that produce alternative dairy products, however, are still able to label products as “milk” under the current law.

Following countries like Canada and the majority of Europe, North Carolina is taking steps to ban the labeling of plant-based drinks as “milk,” a marketing tool confusing to consumers . However, some North Carolina House Finance Committee members are opposed to the state being the first to require this.

“Sometimes, it’s good to be in the lead,” Rep. John Szoka said, “but sometimes, if you get too far in front, you look around, and there’s nobody behind you.”

Agriculture Commissioner, Steve Troxler, disagreed.

“The move is needed to protect the dairy industry, as well as consumers who may not understand that soy milk doesn’t include any milk,” he said. “You ask people what’s in it, they say, ‘It’s almond-flavored milk.’ But no, it’s not.”

Troxler went on to say this would not pose a burden on the manufacturers of plant-based drinks as they are already banned from labeling their products as “milk” in Canada and across Europe.

North Carolina dairy farmers are on board with this new law , but it is still uncertain if their state will be the first to take action.

To bloom or not to bloom?

By Kassidy Buse

A common recommendation of agronomists is to let one alfalfa cutting reach bloom each year.

Ev Thomas, retired agronomist from the Miner Research Institute in Chazy, N.Y., says otherwise in The William H Miner Agricultural Research Institute Farm Report.

“For many years, I’ve said that in managing alfalfa for dairy cows, you should never see an alfalfa blossom, from seeding to plowdown,” says Thomas.

Thomas also notes there’s room for difference of opinion due to no research supporting either opinion.

But, if one cutting is to bloom, which cutting should it be?

The first cut of alfalfa-grass typically contains the most grass. Grass, even the late-maturing species, is close to heading when alfalfa is in the late bud stage.

The second cut is exposed to long, hot June days that result in highly lignified, fine stems. A Miner Institute trial found that the stem quality of bud-stage second-cut alfalfa was no better than full-bloom first-cut alfalfa.

The third cut can be influenced by prior harvest management. If it was a late second cutting, the third cut was growing during midsummer heat. This cut would also have highly lignified stems.

The fourth cut often takes a long time to bloom, if it makes it there. A killing frost might arrive first.

For any cutting, the more grass in the stand, the lower the forage quality if alfalfa is left to bloom.

“The objective of letting alfalfa bloom is to improve root reserves, and therefore extend stand life,” says Thomas. “We need to balance the impact of delayed harvest on plant health with the economics of feeding alfalfa of lower quality that is needed by today’s high-producing dairy cows,” Thomas adds.

How alfalfa and alfalfa-grass is managed depends on if the goal in mind is long stand life or high milk production potential.

Digital Dermatitis Isn’t Just a Dairy Herd Problem

Digital Dermatitis Isn’t Just a Dairy Herd Problem

Acute active digital dermatitis lesions can cause pain and lameness in cattle, which leads to declines in animal welfare and food production.
( Arturo Gomez Rivas, University of Wisconsin )

Digital dermatitis (DD), also known as hairy heel warts, was discovered in 1974 in Italy. The disease first popped up in US dairy herds in the 1980’s, and spread rapidly during the 1990’s as herds expanded. The co-mingling of multiple dairy herds into one barn or facility made a perfect scenario for DD to infect millions of cattle.

Digital dermatitis is an incurable disease. Once cattle are infected with DD, they have it for life. Digital dermatitis cannot be cured, only managed. Treponemes, a spiral-shaped bacteria, cause DD. Treponemes that cause DD enter the body of an animal through a break in the skin on the foot. Treponemes hate oxygen and thrive in pen environments with poor hygiene, wet floor surfaces, and overcrowding. When cattle are subjected to standing in mud or manure for prolonged amounts of time, softening of the skin occurs and allows treponemes to penetrate the skin.

Digital dermatitis lesions mainly occur on the back feet. Lesions can spread between the toes and sometimes appear on the front of the foot. Lesions are recognized by two different appearances. One type of lesion, hyperkeratotic, appears as a raised callous. Proliferative lesions appear to have long fibrous hairs. Active DD lesions may appear initially as a raw, red, oval ulcer on the back of the heel just above or at the coronary band. There are six stages of DD. Named after one of the researchers who discovered DD, (Mortellaro), “M” stages are categorized as M0 (no lesion, healthy foot), M1 beginning of a lesion, M2 active, M3 healing, M4 nonactive healed lesion, and M4.1 nonactive healed lesion with an active M2 on top of a healed lesion.

Beef herds are not immune to DD. While DD is present in beef cow/calf herds, feedlot cattle are especially susceptible. The key to controlling DD is to prevent outbreaks and spread of the disease. Once you find it, you are too late, your herd is infected. Cattle who are co-mingled with other groups of cattle, transition cattle, and animals under stress are at highest risk of contracting the disease. Untreated DD can cause lameness resulting in decreased rate of gain in feedlot animals, and reduced fertility and milk production in replacement cows. In addition, losses incurred through treatment costs, increased labor, and potential animal mortality are economically detrimental to the overall enterprise.

Digital dermatitis causing treponemes are spread through manure and mud. Keeping pens clean and dry as possible is a good start to prevent the spread of disease. Prompt treatment of active M2 lesions will reduce the spread of DD to other cattle and reduce the chance of the infected animal’s development of lameness. Treatment requires the lifting of the foot, cleaning of the lesion, and applying topical oxytetracyclin. Dr. Dörte Döpfer from the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine recommends <2g of oxytetracyclin per treatment. M4 lesions are a reservoir for future outbreaks. Treponemes lie deep within the skin and can become active at any point. Running cattle through a footbath two to three times per week should keep the lesion in the chronic nonactive M4 stage. Depending on preference, a premix, formalin, or copper sulfate solution will serve as an antibacterial and hoof hardening solution. All footbath solutions have pros and cons, you can read more about footbath options at: https://fyi.uwex.edu/dairy/resources/animal-well-being-herd-health/

Early detection and treatment are important factors to controlling DD in the beef herd. Walking pens to detect DD is the first step of control. Utilizing an integrated management strategy of footbath use, hoof care, and footbath use will help control the spread of the disease. Not every animal exhibits the same symptoms and reacts the same to treatment, so utilizing a consistent control strategy is important. It is still unclear how much DD economically impacts the beef industry, but one thing is for certain, DD is here to stay.

Avoid Barn Fires, Let Hay Dry All The Way

Not only can wet hay catch fire, but it can mold. Hartschuh says bale temperatures of 120° to 130° F often results in mold growth and makes the protein less available to animals. ( Farm Journal )

Farmers across the country have either finished putting up their first cutting of hay, or they are in the process of doing just that. While it can be easy to get in a rush, avoid barn fires by ensuring your hay is dry enough before you bale it.

“When [hay] is baled at moistures over 20% mesophilic bacteria release heat causing temperatures to rise between 130°F and 140°F. If bacteria die and bales cool, you are in the clear, but if thermophilic bacteria take over temperatures can raise to over 175°F,” according to Jason Hartschuh a guest contributor to Ohio State University Extension’s Ag Safety Program.

Most wet bales catch fire within six weeks of baling, Hartschuh says. Here are some things to consider when determining if your hay is at risk of fire. Did the field dry evenly? Were moisture levels kept at or below 20%? If moisture was higher than that, was a hay preservative used?

If you are concerned that your hay is a fire risk, monitor it twice a day for the first six weeks or until low temperatures stabilize, he says. Temperatures should be taken from the center of the stack or “down about 8 feet in large stacks.”

Not only can wet hay catch fire, but it can mold. Hartschuh says bale temperatures of 120° to 130° F often results in mold growth and makes the protein less available to animals.

“While those temperatures are not high enough to cause hay fires, the concern is if the mold growth continues and pushes temperatures upward into the danger zone,” he says.

According to research from OSU, if the temperature in the hay continues to rise, reaching temperatures of 160° to 170° F, then there is cause for alarm.

“At those elevated temperatures, other chemical reactions begin to occur that elevate the temperature much higher, resulting in spontaneous combustion of the hay in a relatively short period of time,” Hartschuh says. “If the hay temperature is 175° F or higher, call the fire department immediately, because fire is imminent or present in the stack.”

 

Critical Temperatures and Actions to Take

The team from OSU extension recommends monitoring the following temperatures and taking appropriate action.

125° – No Action Needed

150° – Hay is entering the danger zone. Check twice daily. Disassemble stacked hay bales to promote air circulation to cool the hay outside.

160° – Hay has reached the danger zone. Check hay temperature every couple of hours.  Disassemble stacked hay to promote air circulation to cool hay have fire department present while unstacking from here on.

175° – Hot pockets are likely. Alert fire service to possible hay fire incident. Close barns tightly to eliminate oxygen.

190° – With the assistance of the fire service, remove hot hay. Be aware the bales may burst into flames.

200°+ – With the assistance of the fire service, remove hot hay. Most likely, a fire will occur. Keep tractors wet and fire hose lines charged in the barn and along the route of where bales are to be stacked.

 

Marl Pit Tailgate Session

What: Twilight Tailgate Session

When:  Tuesday, June 5 2018

Where: UD Cooperative Extension Research Demonstration Area

¾ Mile east of Armstrong Corner, on Marl Pit Rd. – Road 429, Middletown

Time: 6:00 p.m.

Bring:  A tailgate or a lawn chair

Credits: Nutrient Management (1.0), Pesticide (1.0)

Join your fellow producers and the UD Extension team for a discussion of this year’s demonstration trials and current production issues.  Other topics will include nutrient management, pest management and weed management.

We will wrap up with the traditional ice cream treat.

The meeting is free and everyone interested in attending is welcome.  If you have special needs in accessing this program, please call the office two weeks in advance.

To register or request more information, please call our office at (302)831-2506.

Thank you and see you there.  Dan Severson

Welcome and Introductions 6:00-6:05

Dan Severson, University of Delaware Cooperative Extension

Overview of Small Grains Variety Trials at Marl Pit 6:05-6:10

Victor Green, University of Delaware Extension

Weed Update 6:10-6:30

Mark VanGessel, University of Delaware Cooperative Extension Weed Specialist

Discussion of early-season weed management issues.

We will talk about what we have seen and been asked about in the spring of 2018.  We will explain and discuss our cover crop demonstration plots at the Marl Pit site as well.

 

2018 Insect Pest Outlook 6:30-6:50

David Owens, University of Delaware Extension Entomologist.

Perennial insect pests that need to be anticipated will be discussed along with management implications of current insect pest populations.”

Nutrient Management Update 6:50-7:10

Amy Shober, University of Delaware Extension Nutrient Management Specialist

Insect Management Update 7:10-7:30

Bill Cissell, University of Delaware Cooperative Extension

Agronomic Crop Insect Management Update

This talk will address current pest management concerns, focusing on cereal leaf beetle management in small grains and pest management issues with cover crops.

 

Using NDVI to Measure Wheat Populations and Spring Nitrogen Needs 7:30-7:50

Jarrod Miller, University of Delaware Extension Agronomy Specialist

 

UAVs can be used to scout crops as well as obtain NDVI measurements of crop health and biomass. Research on winter wheat was performed to determine whether NDVI imagery could detect wheat population, tiller counts, and nitrogen needs.

 

Conclusion and Evaluations 7:50-8:00

Dan Severson, University of Delaware Cooperative Extension

USDA Calls for Newcastle Disease Vigilance

John Maday

Clinical signs of virulent Newcastle disease include swelling around the eyes and respiratory distress. ( USDA )

Animal health officials have confirmed two cases of virulent Newcastle disease in backyard poultry flocks in southern California, raising concerns the disease could spread to commercial operations. The disease has not been confirmed in commercial poultry in the United States since 2003, according to the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

While not a food-safety threat, humans can contract a usually mild form of the disease from exposure to infected birds. In unvaccinated poultry flocks though, the virulent disease can cause up to 100% mortality.

The two California cases, one in San Bernardino County and one in Los Angeles County, were confirmed over the past two weeks in backyard poultry flocks. APHIS now urges poultry owners, especially in southern California, to adopt biosecurity measures to prevent spread of the disease. These include:

  • Wash hands and scrub boots before and after entering an area with birds.
  • Clean and disinfect tires and equipment before moving them off the property.
  • Isolate any birds returning from shows for 30 days before placing them with the rest of the flock. Limit visitor contact with their birds, and do not let anyone else who owns birds come in contact with their flock to avoid potentially sharing/spreading germs between flocks.
  • Report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to State/Federal officials, either through their state veterinarian or USDA’s toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593.

Clinical signs of virulent Newcastle disease include:

  • Sudden death and increased death loss in the flock.
  • Sneezing; gasping for air; nasal discharge; coughing.
  • Greenish, watery diarrhea.
  • Decreased activity.
  • Tremors; drooping wings; twisting of the head and neck.
  • Circling; complete stiffness.
  • Swelling around the eyes and neck.

Images of some of these signs are available here.

Additional information on biosecurity for backyard flocks can be found at the USDA’s Biosecurity for Birds website.

Additional cases will be reported on the APHIS website as they are confirmed.