Keeping Your Body and Wallet Healthy with Dairy

( Pexels )

It’s delicious, it’s nutritious and it’s cheap!

Frequently described as one of “nature’s most perfect foods,” milk and other dairy products are an excellent way to add high-quality nutrition into your diet, no matter what budget you may have.

At just 25 cents per glass, milk is a nutritional bargain. Providing nine essential nutrients to nourish your body, dairy products are an excellent source of protein. According to the Food and Drug Administration, the daily value for protein is 50 grams per day. One serving of milk contains 8 grams of protein. If one were to drink three servings of milk, the recommended serving of dairy, they would consume nearly half of their daily protein. All for only 75 cents!

Slide the dot to check out just how much daily protein milk provides!

Penny for penny, no other food offers as much nutritional return as milk does for America’s families, according to Dairy Management Inc.

The average American household spends about 10 percent of their budget on food — nearly $80 a week for groceries, according to Milk Life. If consumers purchased milk each week, they would spend an estimated $628 annually. This is much lower compared to the $1,222 that would be spent on purchasing almond milk. In comparison, dairy milk would save consumers nearly $600 each year!

Ranking just behind eggs, milk is one of the most economical ways for consumers to receive high-quality protein. Providing 32 grams of protein per dollar, milk out-ranks other popular forms of protein such as chicken, tuna and ground beef, according to Milk Life.

No matter how you serve it, dairy is a great way to keep not only your body healthy but your wallet healthy, too! Need more reasons to keep dairy in your diet? Try reading:

British Cows Get Own Tinder-Style App for Breeding

Farmers swipe right on Tudder mobile app to find matches for cows. ( Tudder )

Cows and bulls searching for “moo love” now have a mobile app to help their breeders.

A U.K. farming startup introduced a Tinder-style app, called Tudder, that lets farmers find breeding matches by viewing pictures of cattle with details of their age, location and owner. Users hear a mooing sound as they swipe — right to show they’re interested or left to reject possible matches.

Hectare, which designed the app, says it “seeks to unite sheepish farm animals with their soulmates.” Selling animals using social media can speed up a process that often involves transporting animals long distances for breeding.

“Tudder is a new swipe-led matchmaking app, helping farm animals across the U.K. find breeding partners in the quest for moo love,” according to the Apple app store description.

Farmers that swipe right on an image of a particular cow — or group of cows — are directed to Hectare’s livestock-buying website, with a chance to contact the owner or make an offer. The listing website includes information on the animal’s character and any health issues.

Working Bull

Profile descriptions range from “nice big strong sorts make nice suckler cows” to “quiet well grown young bull ready to work,” and farmers can also restrict their online search by whether the animal is organic, pedigree or on a farm where tuberculosis has been detected.

Marcus Lampard, a farmer in Carmarthenshire in southwest Wales, has one pedigree beef shorthorn breeding bull listed on the app and says it’s a lot easier to sell livestock online.

“Going to market is a nuisance,” he said by telephone. “If I go to an open market with a bull, and then maybe bring it back, it shuts everything down on the farm for at least two weeks.’’

Lampard, 76, said his daughter lists the cows online for him. “At my age we think we’re quite techy, but our grandchildren think we’re hopeless,” he said.

Hectare raised over 3 million pounds ($3.9 million) from investors including government programs, author Richard Koch and tennis player Andy Murray, according to its website.

About a third of U.K. farms use Hectare’s platforms to trade livestock and cereals, Chief Executive Officer Doug Bairner said by email, after the app was described in the Sunday Times.

“Matching breeding livestock online should be even easier than matching people,” Bairner said. “Sheep breeding is similarly data driven so maybe ‘ewe-Harmony’ should be next.”

Quick Test for TMR Dry Matter

Dan Severson

University of Delaware Extension

 

A total mixed ration (TMR) is defined as a method of feeding cows that combines feeds formulated to a specific nutrient content into a single feed mix which contains forages, grains, protein sources, minerals vitamins and feed additives. This method of feeding has been highly adopted since the 1950’s because it allows cows to consume a nutritionally balanced meal with every bite. Feeding a TMR has both advantages and disadvantages.

 

The main advantage of feeding a TMR is improved feed efficiency. Each mouthful contains a balanced ration that leads to higher milk production and less metabolic upsets. In addition, the ability to use a variety of products to meet the nutritional demands of the cow allows flexibility in food sources, allowing for savings in ration building. The purchase of commodities in bulk is also often less expensive, adding further savings. Furthermore, the use of less favorable feeds can be masked by mixing all the ingredients with no reduction in feed consumption. TMR also lends itself well to mechanization.

 

However, the cost of equipment to implement a TMR can be a major disadvantage. Also, all cows in the group get the same ration. Individual feeding is not possible, so cows in a group should be of similar milk production, stage of lactation and body condition. Moreover, a TMR may not be economical for all herds by reason of facility design or use of pasture.

 

Dairy rations are formulated on a dry matter (DM) basis and the amount of each feed fed is on an as is or as fed (AF) basis. Feeding feed ingredients according to weight is only accurate if the moisture content of the feed is accounted for. Small changes in DM will change the nutrient profile of the ration. For example, a ration that is formulated to provide 25 pounds of DM per cow with corn silage at 35 percent DM. However, the actual corn silage content is 32 percent DM. This would leave the cow short on feed, resulting in a reduction in milk production and potential health problems.

 

As luck would have it, the DM content of feeds can be measured on the farm. The most commonly used methods of measuring DM are the Koster moisture tester or a microwave oven. However, a new quick test using a kitchen air fryer was recently demonstrated at the 2018 World Dairy Expo. This is a preferred alternative as it does not have to be watched because there is no way to accidentally start a fire. This new method also traps the fines inside the fryer enabling a more accurate DM analysis. The specifics for determining the DM of your TMR are as follows:

 

  • Weigh 100 grams of representative sample
  • Place the sample in the Air Fryer
  • Set the fryer to 250⁰F
  • Set a timer for 30 minutes
  • Record the weight of the dry sample
  • Calculate the DM content

 

To find the DM you will need to do some math – don’t worry, it is simple math. To figure out the DM content you will use the following equation:

 

Final Dry Weight (grams) / Initial Wet Weight (grams) X 100 = %DM

 

Here are the steps in determining DM of a TMR sample:

 

Set up your scale – set it to grams and tare to zero. Then weigh out 100 grams.

 

             

 

 

Place the sample in the air fryer basket.  Turn on your air fryer: set the temperature to 250⁰F and the timer to 30 minutes.

 

                     

 

Record your final weight.  For this example, it was 45 grams. Now do the math to figure out the DM content.

 

 

 

Do you remember the equation?

 

Final Dry Weight (grams) / Initial Wet Weight (grams) X100 = %DM

 

The final dry weight for this sample is 45 grams.  Divide the 45 grams by the initial weight of 100 grams and multiply by 100 and you get 45% DM.

 

It is important to measure the DM content to maintain a more consistent diet and meet the needs of the animals.  The determination of DM should be used to adjust rations on a routine basis. The air fryer method is an easy way to perform DM analysis on the farm. The air fryer that was used for the DM testing was bought for less than $100 at a local box store. If your scale does not have grams, you can use ounces. There are roughly 28.35 grams in an ounce – 3.5 ounces equals 100 grams. The math equation will still be the same just change the grams to ounces. We currently have an air fryer located in the New Castle County Extension office, if you would like to try this method or you can use the Koster moisture tester located in Kent County Extension office. Feel free to contact me if interested or with any questions.

 

References available upon request.

Super Bowl Chunky-Style Milk Commercial Revolts Many on Ag Twitter

A Super Bowl commercial featuring a fake product called “chunky-style milk” had many people on social media gagging, but there were some farmers who were asking people to calm down. ( Mint Mobile )

While the Super Bowl was seen as a bland game lacking offense this year, there were plenty of fireworks on social media where people voiced their displeasure with an advertisement about “chunky-style milk.”

In years past agriculture has been painted with a positive light by Super Bowl advertisements. In 2014, Chevrolet talked about “Romance on the Ranch” between a Hereford bull and some heifers. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) was taken down a notch or two in 2017 with an advertisement that pointed out its funding structure that doesn’t actually help animals directly. A recent commercial receiving the highest praise was Dodge Ram’s “So God Made a Farmer” spot in 2013 featuring narration by legendary radio broadcaster Paul Harvey.

During Super Bowl LIII, the “Chunky-Style Milk” from Mint Mobile might have caused some people to have a weak stomach after eating Super Bowl snacks. The commercial featured a product called “chunky-style milk” because as the animated fox narrator says “that’s not right.” A family is sitting down to breakfast drinking “chunky-style milk because it has the wholesome chunks kids need, unlike smooth style milk.” The mother then pours a glass of the chunk filled liquid into a glass and the whole family enjoys a “beverage.”

Dairy Farmers Star in Social Media Music Video, “Talk to Me”

( Spruce Row Farm – Facebook )

Racking up nearly 60,000 views and 1,200 shares on Facebook alone, two dairy farmers have taken social media by storm after creating a parody music video titled “Talk to Me.”

Based off of Bebe Rexha and Florida Georgia Line’s hit song “Meant to Be,” the video was created by dairy farmers Jessica Peters of Meadville, Pennsylvania, and Katie Dotterer-Pyle of Union Bridge, Maryland. Both of these advocates own and operate Jersey operations and share their farm’s stories on social media.

Working together, the pair encourages people to ask farmers where their food comes from instead of browsing the internet for an answer. Using the hashtags #TalkToMe and #AskFarmersNotGoogle, the dairy team is hoping to get the conversation rolling between farmers and consumers.

“I use [the hashtag] because listen, I use Google too. Google doesn’t know everything,” says Dotterer-Pyle in an interview with AgDay’s Betsy Jibben. “Google doesn’t milk cows. Google doesn’t take care of cows, we do.”

Showcasing the role social media plays in agricultural advocacy, the video also highlights other dairy farmers who actively share their story on different social media platforms. Throughout the clip, the pair repeatedly sings:

“Cause if you like to eat, then you’ll agree there should be dialogue between you and me. If you do confide, we wouldn’t hide what we do to bring your food to you. So, won’t you talk with me, talk with me. See where this thing goes. Cause if you do, maybe you would start to see the truth more clearly.”

Foot-and-Mouth Disease Found on South Korean Dairy Forces Quarantine

A health officer checks a cattle in a farm in Gimje as a preventive measure against foot-and-mouth disease after South Korea on Monday confirmed a case of food-and-mouth at a dairy farm elsewhere in the country, South Korea, February 6, 2017.

Areas of South Korea are on quarantine after a dairy farm was found to have foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in its cow herd.

The outbreak was identified on a 120 cow dairy near the city of Anseong, which is 67.6 km (42 miles) from the capitol city of Seoul. According to a statement from the South Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs released on Jan. 28, this is first FMD outbreak identified in the country since March of last year.

Cows from the farm are being culled and to help decrease the likelihood of the disease spreading movement of livestock, including cattle and pigs, is prohibited in certain areas of the country. These regions include Gyeonggi, Chungnam, Chungbuk, Daejeon and Sejong. The halt on movement of livestock will be conducted for at least a 24 hour period ending on Jan. 29 at 8:30 pm in South Korea.

The prohibition also limits movement for livestock-related workers and vehicles. Workers and vehicles are to remain at the farm or facility.

Access and movement from the following livestock-related workplaces is limited during that time, according to the Ministry:

  • Slaughterhouses
  • Feed mills
  • Collecting yards
  • Feed dumps
  • Feed dealers
  • Manure disposal yards
  • Communal composting yards
  • Livestock manure public treatment facilities
  • Joint recycling facilities
  • Livestock transportation companies
  • Livestock related service companies
  • Livestock consulting companies
  • Compost manufacturers
  • Veterinary drugs and livestock equipment suppliers

If livestock, workers vehicles or goods are moving during the time of the announcement they are to be moved to a safe place approved by the Director of the Livestock and Livestock Bureau of the city or province.

Violations are subject to a fine of 10 million won ($8,937 USD) or less, or could result in a punishment of one year in prison.

Other Recent Outbreaks and U.S. Status

South Korea has had other outbreaks in the past few years, including a FMD outbreak on a hog farm in March of 2018. A similar case on two dairies in 2017 resulted in South Korea vaccinating all cattle in the country for FMD.

FMD is classified as a “severe, highly contagious viral disease” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). The disease causes fever and blisters on the tongue and lips, in and around the mouth, on the mammary glands, and around the hooves. FMD is seen as being a major economic hindrance to livestock production because of its ability to spread quickly. The disease was eradicated from the U.S. in 1929.

In the U.S., programs have been put in place to help secure various segments of the livestock industry. The Secure Milk Supply Plan (SMS) for Continuity of Business has been implemented by some dairy farmers to bio-secure their farms.

Also, the 2018 Farm Bill contained funding for the National Animal Disease Preparedness Program and National Animal Vaccine Bank. The bill funds $300 million for programs like a FMD vaccine bank.

Be a Good Hay Shopper

When shopping for a new truck, you don’t buy just because the salesman says it’s a good deal. Most shoppers do their research, looking at body style, fuel mileage, towing capabilities, included options and a vehicle history. Shopping for hay should also be carefully researched because making the correct purchase can drastically affect your bottom line. Have you ever met a person that can tell you the value of a truck just by looking at the exterior? Or someone that can tell the quality of hay based on a physical evaluation alone? While a physical evaluation can help us determine several characteristics about the hay, it cannot tell us nutrient content or other potential problems, like nitrates. The only way to know the quality of the hay is by having a forage test done. Knowing the nutritional value of the hay not only helps determine if supplementation is needed, but also will save you money and hopefully avoid any headaches.

Nutrient/Energy Requirement

Knowing what quality of hay you need to purchase all begins with understanding the nutrient requirements for your livestock. Nutrient requirement is the amount of nutrient an animal needs to perform a specific task, or their energy requirement. This is determined by weight, sex, age, growth rate and stage of production. From this we can break down that animal into four nutrient priorities:

  1. Maintenance
  2. Growth
  3. Lactation
  4. Reproduction

The largest shift in nutritional requirement is the transition from pregnant to lactation. Animals fed differently from their nutritional requirements will either lose or gain excess weight. Something else to remember is that the energy requirement for livestock increases during the winter, 1% for every degree under 32°F. Your county extension agent can help you determine your livestock’s nutrient needs.

Forage Testing

A forage analysis is the only way to assess the quality of the hay. The quality of the forage is focused on the value of each pound versus the total of pounds consumed. There is a physical limit to how much livestock can consume. Digestibility is the ability of the livestock to extract the nutrients from the hay. The primary nutrient found in hay are protein, carbs, sugars, pectins and fiber. When purchasing hay, ask for the forage test results. If a forage test has not been performed on the hay, it something you can do yourself through your extension office. For more details on how to take a good hay sample refer to Ray Hicks’s article in this edition of the newsletter.

Reading the Results

After you receive your forage report, there are some numbers that you want to focus on. Always look at the dry matter levels, not as sampled. The dry matter level is best for comparing forages, ration balance and economic value. Most producers go straight for the protein content, but this is Crude Protein and based on nitrogen levels in the sample. So a sample that is high in nitrates can have a high Crude Protein. Protein is important, but many times is overemphasized. The Total Digestible Nutrients (TDN) is a measurement of digestible energy. This allows you to compare
forages of the same species and compare them to the needs of the livestock. The Relative Forage Quality (RFQ) predicts the energy base based on fiber quality and intake. RFQ allows for comparisons across forage species. We have also been able to link ranges of RFQ to meet the energy requirements for livestock at different stages. This does not mean that a RFQ at that range will automatically provide all the nutrients needed, but provides us with an approximation if the forage will provide a cost-efficient base.

Nitrates are also important to look at. Nitrates over 4,500 ppm need to be fed at restricted rates. As the nitrate levels increase, so does the restrictions on feed until 18,000 ppm when it is considered lethal.

Storage

Another factor that effects forage quality is storage. Hay bales should be stored to protect from rainfall and weathering. Loss from storage can range from 20%-45%. Before hay is stored it should be properly cured. Round bales should be allowed to dry to 15% moisture and square to 18%. Improper curing of hay can result in fires. The best way for hay to be stored is in a hay shed, but if bales have to be stored outside its best they are orientated north/south, the bales are dense and they are elevated. Net wrapping also distributes moisture better than bales wrapped in twine.

Buy by Weight

Finally yet importantly, consider the weight of a hay bale. Whether you are buying square bales or round, consider buying by weight instead of by bale. Humans are not good at estimating the weight of a bale and usually overestimate the weight. So if you can put some bales on a scale and get a good estimate of the lot weight, see if the producer will sale by weight. It will save you some money in the long run.

Summary

  1. Consider your livestock nutrient requirements
  2. Forage Test
  3. Read and understand results
  4. Compare your forage options
  5. How was the hay stored
  6. Buy by weight (if possible)

Prevent and Prepare For Barn Fires

Although you cannot completely eliminate the risk that there could be a fire in your barn, there are some steps you can take to reduce the risk and be more prepared. ( PORK )

Have you ever considered what you would do if you had a barn fire? How would you protect your animals and all the other assets you have in your barn? What could you have done to prevent it? The thought of a fire is very scary. Although you cannot completely eliminate the risk that there could be a fire in your barn, there are some steps you can take to reduce the risk and be more prepared.

Tips for reducing the risk of a barn fire

Contact your local fire department to have them do a “checkup” of your barn and offer more recommendations for your individual situation. The University of Kentucky’s “Preventing Barn Fire: Tips for Horse Owners” recommends the following steps in reducing your chances of having a barn fire.

  • No smoking! Bedding and hay can easily be ignited by a person smoking in or around the barn. Enforce a strict no smoking policy in your barn. Post signs inside and outside your barn.
  • Place a fire extinguisher next to each exit, utility box and at roughly 30-40-foot intervals in your barn. Inspect and recharge each extinguisher every year, and use a ABC (general purpose) extinguisher.
  • Clean off cobwebs and pick up loose bailer twine. By making sure your barn is clutter-free, you are helping eliminate ways for fire to spread.
  • Electrical devices need to be professionally installed and encased in conduit. Pay attention during winter months to water tank heaters and heated buckets—they continue to generate heat even if there is no water present, which can cause the plastic to melt and a fire to ignite bedding and hay. If you are using electrical cords, make sure that they are professional grade, inspected often and are not overloaded. Keep lights caged and only use lights that are designed for barn use.
  • If possible, keep hay and bedding stored away from a barn housing animals. If you only have one barn, like many of us, make sure hay has properly cured before storing it in the barn. Check the internal temperature of curing hay by poking a thermometer into the middle of the bale. If the temperature reaches 150 degrees, the hay should be monitored. If it reaches 175 degrees, contact the fire department.
  • Keep tractors, fuel, other petroleum products and machinery away from the barn. Clear any grass, hay, leaves or other combustible materials from equipment before storage.

Tips for being prepared in case there is a barn fire

Mentally prepare yourself so that you can act calmly and safely in the case of a fire. Remember that human safety is the top priority—ensure your own safety and the safety of others before taking care of animals. The University of Kentucky’s “Preventing Barn Fire: Tips for Horse Owners” recommends the following steps for preparing yourself and being ready if a fire does occur in your barn.

  • Identify and designate a safe place for your animals to go if you can get them out of the barn safely. This location should be away from the fire and allows fire crews enough room to do their jobs.
  • Handling equipment such as halters, leads, etc. should be quickly accessible. Consider the materials these items are made of. Remember that plastic and nylon will melt in heat.
  • Talk about the plan with members of your family and any employees you might have so they can also be prepared in an emergency.
  • Mark gates, pens or stalls with reflective tape or glow-in-the dark paint. This will make it easier to see where you are going in the dark.
  • If you are removing animals, start closest to the exit first and handle animals one at a time or by groups if they are herd animals. Always maintain control of the animals to help reduce their stress, which can prevent other injury risks.

If there is a fire, call 911 and get people out of the barn. Only get animals out if you can do so without risking human safety. Follow the directions from the fire department or 911 dispatcher.

No one ever wants to think about the risk of a fire, but it is best to be fully prepared so that you can react fast and appropriately.

Tips to Keeping Livestock Healthy During Winter Months

Most animals need some shelter during the winter months, however their natural winter coats allow them to endure cold temperatures. ( Drovers )

Winter has arrived in full force in Michigan. Cold temperatures can cause some challenges in our barns, but utilizing some easy techniques on your farm will help you manage your herd successfully during the winter months.

Water

Ensuring your herd has access to fresh, clean water is essential to their health. In the winter, battling frozen water buckets and tanks can be a challenge. By utilizing tank heaters, heated buckets or automatic waterers, water is kept ice-free and at a temperature the animal is comfortable drinking.

Products that utilize electricity, such as tank heaters and heated buckets, should be checked with a voltmeter to ensure there is no current running through the water. Any electrical current will deter animals from drinking from the water tank or bucket. By inserting one end of the voltmeter in the water tank and the other into the ground, you will get a reading that will indicate if there is a problem. Make sure to check this often.

The University of Wisconsin Extension has published a water consumption chart that outlines the amounts of water certain species will consume per day. Ensuring that your animal is consuming enough water each day is critical to their overall health and well-being.

Amount of water livestock will consumer per day
Species Water needs, gallons per day
Cattle 7-12
Goats 1-4
Hogs 6-8
Horses 8-12
Llamas 2-5
Poultry Up to 1
Rabbits Up to 1
Sheep 1-4

Housing

Most animals need some shelter during the winter months, however their natural winter coats allow them to endure cold temperatures. Providing shelter or wind breaks that can be easily accessed by animals is key. Humans oftentimes are prone to making the winter environment for their animals too warm, which is unhealthy for animals.

Michigan State University Extension recommends the following factors to consider when evaluating the housing of your animals:

  • Air quality. Is there adequate ventilation to help dispel respiration gasses and manure odor? Depending on the type of barn you have, there are various ways the barn can be ventilated. Ridge vents are more prevalent in newer barns and are based on the premise that heat rises. Older barns may require opening doors or windows to allow for air circulation. Poorly ventilated spaces can cause irritation in the animals’ lungs and lead to respiratory infections such as pneumonia. If you notice condensation on walls or ceilings, that is a good indication your air isn’t ventilating enough for the number of animals occupying the space. You will need to adjust accordingly.
  • Dry bedding areas. Dry bedding provides insulation from the cold ground and helps decrease the amount of energy animals use to keep them warm. There are many options for bedding you can use; straw, wood shavings and with cattle in particular you can use corn stover or similar crop residues for cows and bulls.

Feed

Animals must maintain their energy reserves in order to endure cold temperatures. Before the weather gets cold, asses the body condition of each animal and adjust the nutrition they are receiving to adequately prepare them to thrive in winter conditions. It is critical to continue to assess body condition scores throughout the winter, as it may be necessary to increase the amounts of good quality feed and forages. Supplying adequate amounts of feed is essential in your herds well-being through the winter months.

This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit http://www.msue.msu.edu.

Survey Shows Consumers Misled by Plant-Based Beverage Marketers

In a survey done by IPSOS and commissioned by Dairy Management, Inc., 73% of consumers queried believe almond milk has as much or more protein per serving than milk from cows. It doesn’t. In fact, dairy milk has eight times more protein.

Another 53% believe plant-based beverage marketers label their products as ‘milk’ because it has similar nutritional value.

And the misinformation was even more common among those consumers who only bought plant-based beverages. Of those, 68% strongly or somewhat agreed that plant-based ‘milk’ beverages have the same nutrition as dairy milk.

Milk labeling “is much more than a sideshow over whether consumers can tell the difference between an almond and a cow,” says Jim Mulhern, National Milk Producers Federation president and CEO. Consumer confusion can, and may be, leading to an increasing number of children suffering from nutritionally-inadequate diets, he says.

“The Food and Drug Administration needs to immediately end the application of the term ‘milk’ to non-dairy products,” says Mulhern. That will help consumers distinguish between nutrient-rich milk from cows and water-heavy, nutrition poor imitators, he says.

 

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