Entry Option 4: Research


If you are currently a dairy farmer, write a guest post for our website – adding something we’ve missed – any topic you feel is important for cow owners to know about!

If you are new to the dairy world, put together a presentation (PPT, website, or…?) on what you have researched that is needed for owning a milk cow (facilities, feeding, time requirements, etc.)



Adult entry by Susanne S. –

So you want to milk a cow  <— Click link for a great PowerPoint presentation!


Adult entry by A.J. –

In ruminants, for vaccination programs to be successful, immunized livestock must
be healthy. When you own livestock it is important to test for diseases to verify the
health of the animals. Tests for bovine viral diarrhea (BVD), Johne’s disease
(Mycobacterium para-tuberculosis) or bovine leukemia virus (BLV) should be
done on a routine basis.
BVD can be detected because cells of the virus are shed in milk, so dairy producers
can use milk recording samples to screen for BVD. When analysis confirms that
there is shedding of cells in milk, it is consistent and indicative of persistent BVD
Johne’s disease is not limited to dairy cows. Goats, sheep, elk, deer, llamas and
bison can also be infected. Johne’s disease first appears as infection in calves.
Clinical symptoms don’t appear until the animal is 2 to 5 years old. Johne’s
disease causes chronic debilitating enteritis in cattle and other ruminants. The
infection lowers milk production, decreases fertility, causes poor feed conversion,
shortens productive life and increases an animal’s predisposition to other diseases.
Johne’s disease costs dairy producers up to $250 per animal per year, and
according to the National Animal Health Monitoring System, it is present in more
than 68% of U.S. dairy herds.
Bovine leukemia targets lymphatic tissue. Lymphocytes make up one of the
classes of white blood cells. Less than 1 percent of BLV-infected cattle will
develop lymphosarcoma. Approximately one third of cattle with BLV infection
develop persistent lymphocytosis, an increase in the number of lymphocytes in
circulation lasting from months to years. Animals with lymphocytosis and most
animals that become infected with BLV do not develop clinical illness. In these
animals, milk production and fertility are not adversely affected.
BLV is found in lymphocytes and rarely as free virus, exchange of infected cells to
a susceptible animal is required. Three common routes are the transfer of blood,
consumption of colostrum or milk and transfer across the placenta during
Management procedures that contribute to the transfer of infected blood include
multiple vaccinations or collection of several blood samples with the same needle
and syringe, dehorning with a gouge or sawing technique, tattooing, or using
blood-contaminated surgical equipment. Susceptible animals may also be exposed
if an infected herd-mate has a bleeding or weeping wound, whether from injury or
surgery. Several surveys conducted in the past 15 years found that 10 to 42
percent of dairy animals and 1 to 6 percent of beef animals were infected with
BLV. The percentage of infected cattle within herds ranged from 0 to more than 50
percent for dairy and from 0 to 20 percent for beef. The percentage of herds
infected with BLV varies from state to state.
Allowing Johne’s, BLV and/or BVD to attack a cow’s immune system not only
suppresses immune response to these diseases but also interferes with vaccination
programs. According to the National Dairy Herd Association a Wisconsin study
concluded that regular regular testing reduced infection rates from 10% to 3.5%.


Entry by Jackie C. –

Once a day milking with calf shares.

Reasons why you would milk once a day vs. twice a day.

  • Flexibility in your schedule
  • Slightly less milk production for families that don’t need 4 plus gallons of milk a day.
  • The ability to leave for a day or two
  • You can raise the calf on there mom, which eliminates bottle feeding.
  • You won’t have to purchase milk replacer, which can be very expensive.
  • The calf seems to grow faster and bigger then milk replacer bottle calves.

Negatives of once a day milking.

  • You’ll get less milk.
  • Some cows tend to hold back milk when they know their calf is around the corner.
  • Holding-back of milk usually means you’ll get less cream.
  • Sometimes the calf and mom can protest and make calf sharing frustrating.

Example of once a day milking.

You will need to decide if you want to milk morning or night.( If you choose to do evenings which is when I would choose due to my schedule.) Then you would need to separate momma and calf at morning feeding. Let her bag fill through the day and then come evening feeding milk her out. She will hold back what she feels is her calves share. So don’t worry about the baby not getting its share. You will need to wait until the calf is at least two weeks old usually before you start separating the calf. Or you can wait longer if you don’t need the milk yet. And you don’t have to stick to once a day milking forever. Once you wean the calf then you can start to do twice a day milking.

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