Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Happy Cows Making More Milk

Keeping cows healthy and happy pays off for Pennsylvania farmers
Monday, September 29, 2008

University Park, Pa. — For more than six years, Bradford County dairy producer Glen Gorrell has relied on Penn State Extension to help him run a profitable business. Through Extension's Dairy Alliance program, Gorell has long benefited from useful tips on labor management and financial stewardship at his Smithfield dairy. Over the past year, though, Penn State has helped increase Gorell's bottom line in a new way — by helping him keep his 570 dairy cows healthier and more productive.

"Our cows weren't producing as much as we wanted them to," said Gorrell, looking back to last year's numbers. "Our production had peaked."

Looking for a remedy, in July and August of 2007, Gorell worked with Penn State's nutrient management specialist Ginny Ishler, and Gabriella Varga, distinguished professor of animal science, to evaluate how he was feeding his animals.

By carefully considering size and placement of areas for rest, feeding, watering, ventilation and heat stress reduction, Barley was able to realize exceptional stall acceptance and use at Star Rock Dairy, making him (and his cows) happier.

"I would like to tell you they laugh and smile," McFarland joked, "but they 'show' us how happy they are by being healthy, reproducing and producing milk efficiently, and staying in the herd a long time." Read More

Often times when anti-ag groups are talking about livestock they like to say that producers treat them like units rather than animals. Regardless of how many animals an operation has, you can still treat them well and this article is a great example of why producers treat their animals well. Well cared for animals will produce better. Producers have every incentive in the world to make sure their livestock are as comfortable and content as possible. These activists just can’t seem to wrap themselves around the idea that the success of the producer and the success of the animal are one in the same.

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