cows in field

Recent ODairy Discussions – July, 2021

By Liz Bawden, NODPA Board Co-President

A producer was experiencing a high rate of ketosis in his Jersey herd when they were transitioning from stored feed to spring grazing. Roughly 25% of his cows refused to eat the grain offered in the milking parlor, and they refused the dry hay offered in the barn. It was suggested that the producer graze taller swards, as they will have more energy. It was also suggested that graining cows in the parlor when they come right out of lush pasture can lead to serious rumen acidosis; adding baleage before milking should help. Another suggestion was to put molasses on the dry hay to make it more palatable.

In the last issue of the NODPA News, we reported on the discussion surrounding the mysterious deaths of two first calf heifers coming due with their first calf. The discussion, supported by the input of veterinarians on the list, concluded that the animals’ most likely cause of death was due to casting. The discussion continued into a recent post where the farmer shared the necropsy results which seemed to point to casting as the most likely cause of death, as no other conclusive cause could be found at the lab.

The group was asked for their experiences and advice on how a pasture might respond to a "sabbatical", where it was given a long rest with no harvesting or cultivating. This producer was looking for an alternative method of dealing with the mature, headed out grasses that would not remove it from the field or smother regrowth. One farmer shared his experience: “It’s a good way to reseed the pastures; but in our experience, we obviously lost diversity for numerous years afterwards as the dominant species are the ones that put down the most seed and came back so strong the lesser robust grasses and forbs did not express themselves for a number of years following. Based on our experience it’s better to just increase the days rest between grazings to benefit pastures rather than a partial or complete fallow.”