Producers can now benefit from two publications that monitor milk production and feeding intake, helping to detect problems before they turn into major bottlenecks. The publications, both available in hard copies or for any mobile platform, were developed jointly by the Penn State Extension Dairy Team and the Center for Dairy Excellence.
Titled “Milk Production Records for Management Control” and “Feeding Records for Management Control,” they allow production and feed intakes to be monitored daily – and easily.
The mobile application has the advantage of calculations being done automatically when information is entered for either milk production or feeding. The other advantage is data can be graphed over several months or for one particular month. The feeding portion of the app has a lot more flexibility in regards to the number of groups that can be monitored. In addition to the lactating cows, dry cows and heifers could be monitored. This mobile application was developed so it can be used on any platform, including a desktop computer. The application is available at the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences website. (You will need to log in to obtain the app.)
The hard copy of the milk production recording calendar is set up so the user can enter the bulk tank milk weights, the number of cows going into the tank and the amount of any waste milk used for calves. The producer can calculate the actual milk production per cow from the tank and graph production along with component information. There is a comment box so events that happened on a particular day can be recorded, helping to explain why cows may have gone up or down in production.
The feeding record calendar can be kept with the feeder, and the daily batch weights can be recorded. The number of cows fed and refusals should also be recorded. This is the preferred approach for monitoring intakes compared to the formulated diet on a per cow basis. Recording the batch weights, number of cows and refusals makes it easier to monitor over time how consistent intakes are or if there is a lot of variability. A comment box can be used to record any noteworthy events that may have impacted the herd or group’s intake. If dry matter is tested on the rations, actual dry matter intakes could be graphed along with the as-fed intakes.
These resources could be used along with monitoring income over feed costs. With the milk production and feeding record tools, more precise information on average milk production and feed costs should be possible. Without adding a lot of extra work by employees, critical information pertaining to animal performance as well as economics could be maintained and used for discussions with the producer’s key consultants.
Information on obtaining the hard copies and how to use the mobile application can be found at the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences website. PD
—From Penn State Extension news release