Supporting Oldham County Agriculture

The following Agriculture & Natural Resources articles originally published in the 2017 Report to the People and reprinted in the 2017 Winter edition of the Oldham County Extension Newsletter.

“If it wasn’t for 4-H I do not think I would have developed the skills that have helped me take care of my own horse, and I would not have gained the knowledge that is helping me [study pre-veterinary science.]”
– Oldham County 4-H alumni

Supporting Oldham’s #1 Ag Commodity

The 2012 Kentucky Equine Survey reported a total value of Oldham County’s equine and equine-related assets of $163 million. Oldham County ranks 4th in Kentucky in value of equine sold, 5th in equine operation income, 6th in value of equine and equine acres, and 7th in equine population.

Oldham County Extension supports farm managers and horse owners through site visits to help troubleshoot problems and improve pastures and horse health. This includes improving pastures through reseeding, fertility management, weed control, and grazing management; improving horse diets; and hay testing.

The Extension Service also provides equine programs on worming, pasture management, vaccinations, showmanship, and tack care. Between July 2016 and June 2017, the county 4-H and agriculture agents, as well as numerous community equine professionals and veterinarians, taught seven educational sessions to 4-H members and horse owners. Thirty-six repeat attendees learned valuable horse care information that improved health and safety of both horse and rider.

oc 4-h horse club

Oldham County 4-H’ers at the Kentucky State 4-H Horse Show.

Through monthly educational meetings, 4-H horse club members build social and emotional skills like accountability, empathy, leadership, and confidence.

Beef Field Day

In Oldham County, pasture makes up 32% of available farmland and provides grazing for livestock. Livestock are important to Oldham County’s economy, with cattle alone representing over 2.4 million dollars in sales in 2012, according to the Census of Agriculture.

Because of the importance and prevalence of cattle production in the area, agriculture extension agents in Oldham, Trimble, Henry, and Shelby Counties have organized and held annual Regional Beef Field Days for farmers since 2005. These field days offer farmers an opportunity to see how production practices work on other farms. Field days also promote implementation of new practices that improve production efficiency while protecting natural resources, which are goals outlined in the county plan of work.

In 2016, this event was held at an Oldham County Farm. During the field day, 250 Louisville area producers attended and learned about:

  • Heavy Use Feeding Areas and Other Conservation Practices that Protect Soil and Water
  • Proper Handling Facilities to Minimize Animal Stress
  • Good Herd Health Practices and Update on Antibiotics Use

Farms make up one-half of total land acreage in Oldham County.

“Looking at the handling facilities setup helped me decide on changes needed for my own system.”
– Oldham County farmer

Written by Lauren State, Oldham County Extension Staff Assistant; Traci Missun, Oldham County Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent; and Kelly Woods, Oldham County 4-H Youth Development Agent.


Summer 2017 Ag Events

The following Agriculture & Natural Resources calendar printed in the Summer 2017 edition of the quarterly Oldham County Extension newsletter.

All activities are held at the Oldham County Extension office unless otherwise noted. Please call to RSVP for classes held at extension offices.

June Ag Calendar

1 Master Cattleman, 6:00 p.m.
8 County Extension Council, 9:00 a.m.
8 Extension District Board, 10:00 a.m.
8 Equine Farm & Facilities Expo, Lexington, University of Kentucky Extension Forages
9 Oldham County Beekeepers, 7:30 p.m.
12 Green Thumbs, contact office for details
15 Master Cattleman, 6:00 p.m.
20 Ag Development Council, 7:00 p.m.
24 Master Gardener Association Meeting and Rain Garden Work Day, 9:00 a.m., Oldham County Extension Pavilion

July Ag Calendar

4 Office closed for Independence Day
6 Master Cattleman, 6:00 p.m., Henry County Extension
6 I Love Roses, 6:30 p.m., Oldham County Public Library, La Grange. Guest speaker Janet Miller of the Louisville Rose Society. Sponsored by Oldham County Master Gardener Association.
10 Green Thumbs, Contact office for details
14 Oldham County Beekeepers, 7:30 p.m.
17 How Flowers Flirt and Flourish, 6:30 p.m., Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve, Goshen. Guest speaker Tavia Cathcart Brown, Wildflower Expert and Author. Sponsored by Oldham County Master Gardener Association.
18 Oldham County Cattlemen, 6:00 p.m.
20 Master Cattleman, 6:00 p.m., Shelby County Extension
31 Ag Exhibits Entry for County Fair, 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., (NEW LOCATION: Oldham County Extension office)

August Ag Calendar

3 Late Summer/Early Fall Gardening, 10:00 a.m. Guest speaker Jeff Wallitsch, Wallitsch Nursery and Garden Center. Sponsored by Oldham County Master Gardener Association.
3 Master Cattleman, 6:00 p.m.
8 Extension Foundation, 9:00 a.m.
10 Rinse & Return for Pesticide Containers, 9:00 a.m. – 12 noon
11 Oldham County Beekeepers, 7:30 p.m.
16 Master Gardener/Green Thumbs Outing, Streamcliff Farms

Recall Alert: EpiPens, Aldi’s Peas, Hunt’s Chili Kits

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) releases food and drug recall notices to help consumers stay informed. Sign up to receive email notifications of Recalls, Market Withdrawals, and Safety Alerts.

EpiPens Recalled

Mylan is recalling EpiPens (epinephrine injections) and EpiPen Jrs due to potential defects. A defective EpiPen may require unnecessary force in order to deploy medicine, or in some cases, the device may altogether fail. Epinephrine, the drug injected by an EpiPen, is first aid treatment for an individual undergoing anaphylactic shock, or life-threatening allergic reaction.

The recall was originally limited to Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Japan but has since expanded to include the United States. Outside of the United Stated, there have been two cases reported of individuals whose EpiPens failed during emergency situations. Both patients, fortunately, were able to use alternate EpiPens in order to obtain treatment.

Both faulty EpiPens came from the same lot, but additional lots are now being recalled out of precaution. The potentially defective EpiPens were distributed between December 2015 and July 2016. Recalled lots in the United States are listed below.

faulty epipens recalled

The image below indicated where to find the lot number on an EpiPen package.

recalling epipens

Patients carrying recalled EpiPens are encouraged to return them for replacements, free of charge. The manufacturing company can also be contacted via 800-796-9526 or

Aldi’s Peas Recalled

Just under two thousand packages of Season’s Choice Frozen Peas are being voluntarily recalled due to potential Listeria monocytogenes contamination. Listeria infections can be serious or even fatal in young children, the elderly, or other persons with weakened immune systems. Symptoms include high fever, nausea, stiffness, severe headache, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Pregnant women who are infected with Listeria may suffer miscarriages or stillbirths.

The recalled frozen peas were distributed to Aldi Stores in Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and West Virginia. Identify the recalled product by its label code:

Season’s Choice Sweet Peas, Net Weight 16 oz (1 LB) 454 g UPC code 041498164294

Code: DC17038 PLAB6176 BEST BY 08 2018

DC27038 PLAB6176 BEST BY 08 2018

DC27038 BNAF7286 BEST BY 08 2018

DC37038 BNAF7286 BEST BY 08 2018

DC47038 PLAC6216 BEST BY 08 2018

DC57038 PLAC6216 BEST BY 08 2018

Consumers may returned recalled products to place of purchase for full refunds.

Hunt’s Chili Kit Recalled

On April 2, Conagra initiated a voluntary recall of its Hunt’s Chili Kits due to potential Salmonella contamination of the chili seasoning packets. Symptoms of a Salmonella infection include abdominal cramps, fever, and diarrhea. An otherwise healthy individual may recover without treatment, although some cases of severe diarrhea lead to hospitalization. Salmonella infections pose the greatest risk to infants, the elderly, and others with weakened immune systems.

The recalled chili kits were distributed in retail stores and online, as well as through military commissaries, across the United States. Identify a recalled product via UPC and Manufacturing Lot Codes.

Item Description UPC MFG/Lot Code Best By Date
HUNT’S CHILI KIT 44.8OZ 20-0-27000-42063-2 3534619500 Apr 04, 2018
HUNT’S CHILI KIT 44.8OZ 20-0-27000-42063-2 3534622200 May 01, 2018
HUNT’S CHILI KIT 44.8OZ 20-0-27000-42063-2 3534619600 April 5, 2018

The below picture demonstrates where to find the information that can be used to identify a recalled chili product.

hunts recall

OC Cost-Share

The following Agriculture & Natural Resources article printed in the quarterly Oldham County Extension newsletter.

CAIP Cost-share Applications

County Agricultural Investment Program (CAIP) cost-share applications are anticipated to be available in June at the Extension Office. CAIP cost-share provides funding for farm improvements for approved applicants. View guidelines on what qualifies for cost-share at Investment Area Guidelines.

Oldham County cost-share maximum limit per producer is $1,500. (Cost-share is on a 50-50 basis, meaning producers who are approved will be reimbursed for 50% of eligible purchases, up to a maximum of $1,500).

All applications will be scored, and funds will be awarded based on scoring. CAIP cost-share funding comes from the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund, administered by the Governor’s Office of Ag Policy.

Questions about completing the application? Make an appointment to meet with the Program Administrator, Laraine Staples, for help in completing the application. Laraine is available BY APPOINTMENT on June 1, 8, and 15 at the Oldham County Extension Office.

If you own or lease farms in another county, check with that County Extension Office for information on CAIP cost-share funds there. Even though the application criteria and scoring are the same across Kentucky, the application period is set by each county ag development council and may be offered at different times during the calendar year.

KY Dairy Cattle News

ky dairy cattle

Kentucky Dairy Notes

The University of Kentucky Dairy Extension team circulates a monthly e-newsletter called Kentucky Dairy Notes. The following article “Heat Stress is a Hot Topic” comes from the May 2016 issue of Kentucky Dairy Notes.

Heat Stress is a Hot Topic

Written by Barbara Wadsworth, University of Kentucky Dairy Graduate Research Student, and Dr. Jeffrey Bewley, University of Kentucky Dairy Assistant Professor.

Heat stress negatively affects many cattle around the world. In the United States, heat stress is particularly bad in the southeast. Heat stress decreases dry matter intake, production, and reproductive performance. Below are reviews of new and interesting research conducted at various research institutes.

University of California, Davis researchers conducted a study where the objective was to determine the relationship between signs of panting and respiration rates, both of which may be indicators of cow’s heat load. Respiration rates and panting signs (drooling, mouth open, or tongue out) were measured every five minutes for thirty-two cows. The researchers determined that all signs of panting were accompanied by a higher respiration rate. Take home message: When cows are panting and breathing heavily, they may be trying to dissipate their heat load. This study reaffirms that if a cow exhibits these signs, a producer will want to provide cows with more heat abatement resources (fans, shade, and sprinklers).

Cornell University researchers studied the relationship between milk yield with rectal temperature, respiration rate, udder skin temperature, and body surface temperature on eight cows. Four cows were housed in a cooled environment and four cows were housed in an environment with a temperature humidity index of 79.5. The researchers discovered that udder skin temperatures and respiration rates were equally related with rectal temperatures. They also discovered that rectal temperatures had the highest correlation with milk yield. Udder skin temperature was a better indicator of milk yield then respiration rates. Udder skin temperature may be a useful indicator of heat stress as udder skin temperature is fast to measure and non-invasive. Take home message: Udder skin temperatures are comparable to respiration rates as a heat stress indicator.

California Polytechnic State University researchers studied differences in the degree of heat stress based on cow cooling methods. Fifteen cows were housed in two different barns. One barn had fans and soakers and the other barn had soakers only. Rectal temperatures were measured three times per day to assess cow heat stress. No difference in the rectal temperatures of the cows housed in the two barns was shown. However, differences in rectal temperatures of the cows that were housed in the barn with soakers only (101.5º F) occurred when they were moved to the holding pen which had fans and soakers (100.8º F). This result highlights that having fans and soakers may be effective in decreasing heat stress. Take home message: This study reiterates that housing cows in barns with fans and soakers may help alleviate heat stress.

University of Florida scientists examined the cellular structure of calves’ intestines after being in utero in heat stressed cows. Thirty bull calves were sacrificed either at birth, or 1 and 2 days after birth. Their intestines were removed and tissues sampled. The researchers discovered that calves in utero of cows exposed to heat stress had limited passive immunity capability. Take home message: Cooling dry cows may help calves born to these dams increase their IgG uptake and increase their passive immunity capability.

Cornell University researchers conducted a study where they used temperature humidity index to evaluate its impact on pregnancies per AI and postpartum disease. The researchers determined that when cows were inseminated in times of heat stress compared to non-heat stress they had reduced pregnancies per AI from 38.7% to 32.5%, respectively. Cows that calved during a period of heat stress had an increased risk (30.2%) of having a postpartum disease than cows calving during a period of non-heat stress (26.3%). Take home message: Inseminating cows during heat stress may decrease the rate of pregnancies per AI. Calving during heat stress may increase the cow’s risk for disease.

In conclusion, heat stress can negatively affect cows. Heat stress increases cow’s panting and respiration rate, rectal temperature rate, postpartum disease rate, and decreases their pregnancies per AI rate. Heat stress on the dam can also negatively affect calves by decreasing their passive immunity capability. This new research was presented at the 2015 Joint Annual Meeting of American Society of Animal Science and American Dairy Science Association in Orlando, FL. What a great environment Orlando made to discuss heat stress!

KY Aquaculture News

KY aqua farming

KY Aquatic Farming

The Spring/Summer 2016 KY Aqua Farming News is now available for download.

KY Aquaculture Articles

Learn more about the aqua farming industry in Kentucky. In the latest newsletter, you will enjoy the following aquaculture informational articles:

  • Improving Market Access for Small-Scale Seafood Producers by Richard Bryant, Research Associate, Kentucky State University; Dr. Siddhartha Dasgupta, Professor and Principal Investigator, Kentucky State University; Angela Caporelli, Aquaculture Marketing Specialist; Dr. Laura Tiu, Aquaculture Specialist
  • Does Adding Taurine to the Feed Benefit Largemouth Bass? by Leigh Anne Bright, Aquaculture Investigator
  • Investigating Aquaculture and Water Reuse by Ken Semmens, Ph.D., Kentucky State University Aquaculture Research Center, and James Poindexter, London Utility Commission
  • Irrigating Late Summer Corn with Channel Catfish Ictalurus punctatus Pond Water in Western Kentucky: A Demonstration Project by Forrest Wynne, State Extension Aquaculture Specialist; and John Murdock and Rick Murdock, Ponderosa Farms

For more information about Kentucky aquaculture, visit the KSU Aquaculture Research Center.

Aquaculture Workshop

The Third Thursday Thing is a monthly sustainable agriculture workshop targeting small farmers, beginning farmers, and agricultural professionals.


Worm Composting

compost pile


Using Worms to Compost Kitchen Scraps

For those turned off by the higher level of maintenance of a traditional compost pile, there is another option: worms. Vermicomposting is another kind of composting in which the worms do all (or nearly all) of the work. Little setup is required. Vermicomposting is an ideal method for those interested in composting only food scraps.

Where to Vermicompost

Worm bins can be small enough to be used in an apartment or office setting, indoors or out. You can build a worm bin out of wood or simply use a plastic container. Worms thrive in the dark, so make sure your worm bin has a lid and its walls are opaque. The container will also require drainage and a few air holes. The worm composter should be between six and sixteen inches deep. Width is more important than height. The more surface area you offer your worms, the better your food scraps will decompose.

Your worm bin can go anywhere, so long as the temperature is between 50°F and 80°F. Choose an accessible location as you may be adding food waste daily. If placed outdoors, monitor the weather. Hot weather may overheat and kill the worms.

Preparing Worm Bin Bedding

Before adding food and worms, you must prepare bedding. Suitable bedding materials include peat moss, shredded newspaper, shredded corrugated cardboard, and even machine-shredded computer paper. Avoid glossy paper such as the ads section of the newspaper. Worms require moist – NOT wet – bedding. Prepare worm bin bedding by soaking the materials for ten to twenty minutes then wringing it out. The bedding should be very damp but not dripping wet.

How to Compost with Worms

Red wigglers, not earthworms, are used in vermicomposting. One pound of worms consumes two to three pounds of food each week. After you add food waste, cover the scraps with bedding. You can feed your worms fruit and vegetable scraps, crushed eggshells, coffee grounds, and tea bags. Do not give worms onions, citrus, or meat.

Scraps may be added as often as once a day, but if you add more waste than your worms are able to consume, then the excess will begin to rot and develop an odor. Extra food waste can be stored in a freezer. Scraps should be added at least every three days.

Maintain the moisture level of your worm bin by spraying bedding with water every few days. Be careful not to over-water your worms. Never pour water directly into the worm bin.

Your worms will develop vermicompost after about four months. The soil-like mixture of worm castings and decomposed food scraps contains nutrients such as nitrogen, calcium, and potassium that are important for plant growth. After harvesting the finished compost, add new bedding to your worm bin.

For more information on vermicomposting, contact the Oldham County Cooperative Extension Service at (502) 222-9453.

Educational programs of Kentucky Cooperative Extension serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability, or national origin.

Sources: Ashley Osborne, Extension Associate for Environmental and Natural Resource Issues, University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, “Constructing a Worm Compost Bin;” Rhonda Sherman, Extension Solid Waste Specialist, North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, “Worms Can Recycle Your Garbage.”

Written by Lauren State, Oldham County Extension Staff Assistant. Reviewed by Michael Boice, Oldham County Extension Horticulture Assistant.

KY Aqua Farming News

KY aqua farming

KY Aquatic Farming

The Spring 2016 KY Aqua Farming News is now available for download.

KY Aquaculture Articles

Learn more about the aqua farming industry in Kentucky. In the latest newsletter, you will enjoy the following aquaculture informational articles:

  • Effect of Dietary Carbohydrate on Fish Health Indicators in Largemouth Bass During Second Year Grow-out in Ponds by James Tidwell, KSU Aquaculture Division Chair; Shawn Coyle, KSU Aquaculture Research Associate; and Leigh Anne Bright, KSU Aquaculture Research Associate.
  • Size Selective Channel Catfish Harvest to Stock Kentucky Fee Fishing Ponds By Forrest Wynne, Kentucky State University State Extension Aquaculture Specialist, Graves County Cooperative Extension Office.
  • How Many Pounds of Paddlefish can be Grown in a Pond? By Ken Semmens, Ph.D., Kentucky State University Aquaculture Research Center.
  • Local Markets for Catfish in Kentucky by Siddhartha Dasgupta, Professor and Principal Investigator, Kentucky State University; Richard Bryant, Research Associate, Kentucky State University; and Alejandro Velasquez, Graduate Student, Kentucky State University.
  • Indoor Marine Shrimp Production at Kentucky State University by Andrew Ray, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Kentucky State University Aquaculture.

For more information about Kentucky aquaculture, visit the KSU Aquaculture Research Center.

Aquaculture Workshop

The 2016 Aquaculture Workshop will take place on Saturday April 23, 2016 at Kentucky State University Aquaculture Research Center, located at 103 Athletic Road in Frankfort, KY.

Moderator: Dr. Bob Durborow, State Extension Aquaculture Specialist

9:15 Registration No charge
9:45 Dr. Kirk Pomper Welcome from College of Ag / AFE
10:00 Dr. Sid Dasgupta Aquaculture Economics
10:15 Dr. Ken Semmens Floating Raceways
10:30 Mr. Forrest Wynne Western KY Aquaculture
10:45 Dr. Boris Gomelsky Koi, and Koi x Goldfish Hybrids
11:00 – 11:30 Break to interact with speakers and other workshop participants
11:30 Dr. Bob Durborow Fish Disease Management
11:45 Dr. Andrew Ray Marine Shrimp
12:00 – 1:30 Lunch and Networking
1:30 Dr. Jim Tidwell Prawns
1:45 Mr. Shawn Coyle Largemouth Bass
2:00 Dr. Vikas Kumar Fish Nutrition, red claws, etc.
2:15 Mr. Michael Tierney Aquaculture Marketing
2:30 Tour of KSU Aquaculture Research Center
3:30 – 4:15 Kentucky Aquaculture Association (KAA) Meeting

If interested in attending the aquaculture workshop, contact Dr. Bob Durborow at (502) 597-6581 or

January KY Dairy Notes

ky dairy news

The University of Kentucky Dairy Extension team circulates a monthly e-newsletter called Kentucky Dairy Notes. The following article “Interpreting a Forage Analysis” comes from the January 2016 issue of Kentucky Dairy Notes.

Interpreting a Forage Analysis

Written by Mickayla Myers, University of Kentucky Dairy Undergraduate Research Student, and Donna M. Amaral-Phillips, University of Kentucky Dairy Extension Professor.

Interpreting a forage analysis can sometimes feel as though you are translating a random code. Despite this, being able to understand a forage analysis is absolutely crucial to understanding the quality of your feed. Understanding quality of forages is important because they are the backbone of the rations for dairy cows and determine how much extra nutrients we need to add into rations.

Here are some of the first things to pick out when you are looking at a forage analysis.

  1. Dry Matter (DM): Dry matter at harvest is especially important for forages harvested as silage, haylage, or baleage, it can determine packing density (ability to exclude oxygen from the chopped or rolled forage) and thus whether a desirable fermentation of the forage will occur. For corn silage, we recommended a range of 32 to 35% DM while alfalfa silage should be at 35 to 40%. Forages harvested as baleage should be 40 to 60% DM. Dry matter will also determine how much of each forage needs to be included in the ration when weighed on an as fed basis.
  2. Acid Detergent Fiber (ADF): ADF is made up of cellulose, silica and lignin. Lignin is indigestible by ruminant animals and as plants mature the amount of lignin increases. Cellulose is found in the cell wall of plants and the rumen bacteria can digest approximately 30 to 40% of the cellulose. Therefore, high levels of ADF in forages mean less digestibility and less energy available for the cow.
  3. Neutral Detergent Fiber (NDF): NDF is the percentage of cell wall material in the forage and is composed of hemicellulose, cellulose and lignin. NDF is very important in forages because it can increase rumination, improve rumen health and increase milk fat. However, remember that some is good but too much can limit intake, energy intake, and ultimately milk production. NDF also can be broken down and used towards energy for milk production. NDF is a more consistent predictor of energy between testing laboratories when compared to NEL (Net Energy for Lactation), which may have been calculated using different equations in different laboratories.
  4. NDF Digestibility (NDFd): Forage NDFd is measured as a percentage of total NDF and describes the digestibility of the forage. NDFd is not used when balancing rations but describes how fast this fiber can be digested by the rumen microbes. The faster NDF is digested, the more feed a cow can eat which can increase her total intake of energy and thus may increase milk production. Generally, as the maturity of a legume or grass plant increases (before harvest), the NDF digestibility will decrease. Environment or growing conditions also plays a role in fiber digestibility. Hot, humid weather has been shown to increase NDFd. NDFd can differ between laboratories, thus results need to be compared from the same laboratory and not between different forage testing labs. The most common way of estimating NDFd is an in vitro procedure. In this procedure, rumen fluid and a buffer are added to the sample and it is allowed to ferment for several hours. There are three different time frames that are used to measure NDFd, which include a 24-hour (h), 30-h and 48-h fermentation. Most nutritionists or producers choose the 24-h or 30-h time frame because it is uncommon for feed to stay in the rumen of a dairy cow for 48 hours. For corn silage, NDFd should be used to compare the quality of corn harvested as silage instead of NDF content.
  5. Crude Protein (CP): CP is calculated by multiplying the nitrogen concentration by 6.25. It is a good indicator of the amount of protein in the forage that can be utilized by the animal for maintenance, lactation, and growth requirements.
  6. Starch: When evaluating corn silage, starch should also be evaluated. Most of the energy in corn silage comes from the starch content and digestibility. A good range for starch percentage is from 24 to 39% for corn silage.
  7. Relative Feed Value (RFV): Another factor to consider when looking at alfalfa is RFV, or relative feed value. Values that are greater than 180 are deemed quality forage.
  8. pH: Another value that can be considered for silages overall is pH. The pH is one predictor of quality of silage fermentation. Normal pH ranges are 3.7 to 4.2 for corn silage and 4.3 to 5.0 for alfalfa haylage.

Average Values for Forages- Does not denote values for quality forage, just average values for tested samples

Forage DM% NDF% ADF% CP% NDFd (30h) Starch% RFV pH
Corn Silage 34 44 26 8 52.3 32 N/A 3.95
Alfalfa Haylage 40 44 34 22 50.1 N/A (<2%) 134 4.65
Legume Hay 90 39 30 21 40.8 N/A 160 N/A
Grass Hay 92 62 39 11 47.6 N/A 89 N/A
Small Grains Hay 89 26 13 12 31 >43 N/A N/A

*N/A is defined as Not Applicable

*Small Grains are defined as oats, wheat, barley, etc.

Values from Dairy One Feed Composition Library from 5/1/2000-4/30/15

*NDFd 30 is a comparison within labs, not between labs.

Kentucky Dairy Notes

KY dairy news

The University of Kentucky Dairy Extension team circulates a monthly e-newsletter called Kentucky Dairy Notes. The following article “Five New Developments in Precision Dairy” comes from the December 2015 issue of Kentucky Dairy Notes.

Five New Developments in Precision Dairy

Written by Matthew Borchers and Karmella Dolecheck, University of Kentucky Dairy Graduate Research Assistants, and Jeffrey Bewley, University of Kentucky Dairy Assistant Professor.

The 7th European Conference on Precision Livestock Farming was held September 15 to 18, 2015 in Milan, Italy. The conference provided an opportunity to not only share research results, but also discuss future applications for animal monitoring. Five of the dairy topics discussed at this year’s Precision Livestock Farming Conference were combining robotic milking and grazing, economics of combining robotic milking and grazing, virtual fencing, real-time milk separation, and real-time cow location.

Combining Robotic Milking and Grazing

The concept of incorporating an automated milking system (AMS) into a grazing herd is complicated by the requirement that cows must voluntarily come from the field to the robot. Researchers at Moorepark, an animal and grassland research and innovation center in Ireland, are studying how changing AMS milking frequency can impact milk production, cow traffic, and milking duration. Preliminary results show that reducing the number of visits the cow is allowed to the AMS could improve cow flow and make AMS use easier for grazing herds.

Economics of Combining Robotic Milking and Grazing

Moorepark researchers also considered the economic implications of using an AMS system in a grazing herd. They found AMS systems implemented in grazing herds to be profitable, but with lower net profits than conventional milking herds. Therefore, if a producer using a grazing system is interested in investing in an AMS system for social or other reasons beyond net profits, the option should still be considered.

Virtual Fencing

For grazing herds, investment in fencing and the labor associated with moving fencing can represent a significant cost. Researchers in Ireland have come up with one potential solution to this problem: virtual fencing. In this system, each cow is fitted with a collar. Collars receive a signal indicating the assigned grazing area. If cattle approach the boundary of a grazing area, collars beep to communicate this. If cows cross this boundary, a small shock is issued to encourage the cow to turn around. Preliminary studies of this technology confirm that most cows can easily adapt to this system, but further development will be needed before it becomes commercially available.

Real-Time Milk Separation

Cheese production is maximized when milk coagulation properties are ideal. Coagulation properties vary drastically between cows and even from the beginning to the end of milking for each cow. Afimilk has developed a system that can monitor coagulation properties and the type of fat produced while cows are being milked. When this system is used in conjunction with multiple bulk tanks, milk can be separated for use as cheese, fluid milk, or any other use. This system would be valuable for producers with access to multiple processors, milk pickup routes, and component premiums. Although already being implemented on some Israeli farms, adoption elsewhere will depend on the market and milk pricing systems. This system also offers the benefit of monitoring fat mobilization rate and type in early lactation cattle. Using this system, cows that are at risk for ketosis or other metabolic disorders can be identified and treated more quickly.

Real-Time Cow Location

Several presentations at this conference focused on the development and improvement of real-time cow location systems. Utilizing the ability to find and identify dairy cattle in large housing facilities is an interesting concept, but is difficult to financially justify. Because of this, manufacturers have added additional metrics in order to increase the usefulness of these technologies. These systems now offer heat detection, health monitoring, lameness detection, calving detection, and many other uses. The combination of behavior monitoring and knowing where cows spend their time enhances these system’s monitoring capabilities compared to other commercially marketed technologies. This could provide information that is much more useful to managers than traditional accelerometer-based systems.

Precision dairy management can be an answer for many issues on a dairy farm, but further development is necessary for many of the technologies and concepts mentioned above. Through collaboration between manufacturers, researchers, and most importantly dairy farmers, steps can be taken to improve the effectiveness of dairy cow management.