cows in field

Recent ODairy Discussions - May, 2023

By Liz Bawden, NODPA Board Co-President

A producer reminded the group during a discussion about administering homeopathic remedies that it is always best to either put them in water that the cow(s) to be treated will drink or administer them vaginally. Another practitioner recommends they be diluted in water then sprayed on the nose leather where the cow generally licks it off.

Several researchers joined in a discussion surrounding the role of ruminants in reversing global warming. “All too often, discussions about climate change focus on the negative aspects of livestock production. But sustainable livestock farming (regenerative grazing) can substantially reduce emissions and deliver environmental and social benefits including promoting food security. Soils are a major carbon reservoir, storing more carbon than the world’s forests and atmosphere combined. Increasing carbon stocks in the top meter of the soil by one percent would capture more carbon than the total annual global emissions from burning fossil fuels, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.” And from another, “More and more we are turning in thought and practice toward an agriculture in which grass will act as the great balance wheel and stabilizer to prevent gluts of other crops—to save soil from destruction—to build up a reserve of nutrients and moisture in the soil, ready for any future emergency, to create a more prosperous livestock industry, and finally to contribute to the health of our people through better nutrition.”

There was a discussion following Dr. Locitzer’s article on Staph aureus in the last issue of this newsletter. In a nutshell, we can limit the spread of this mastitis-causing bacteria by wearing gloves during milking, promoting teat end health, using appropriate vacuum levels, proper udder preparation, and good calf management. A contributor added that there is another factor as “research conducted a few decades ago demonstrated that staph is forcibly shoved up through the natural barrier of the teat canal by the action of the liner.” A farmer who tested all their fresh cows and heifers shared that there were numerous individuals that tested positive on day 1 after calving but tested negative after day 4 – their theory was that the S. aureus bacteria was there on the teat end but was flushed out in a few days.

A producer shared a photo with the group asking if he should be concerned about a first calf heifer just a few days before freshening showing quite a bit of udder and belly edema. Not uncommon in first calf heifers, it generally subsides within a week of calving. It is more prevalent in cows and heifers that are good producers. But it can be uncomfortable for the cow who may experience more pain or tenderness at milking, be more likely to develop udder sores, and lower feed consumption. Farmers usually limit salt intake in dry cows and springing heifers to limit edema.