June Dairy Month

Bill Hammel, Dairy Production Specialist (507) 273-1882

Since 1937 dairy producers have been recognized for producing delicious and nutritious dairy products.  It was initially created to stabilize demand by promoting drinking more milk when there was surplus production.  Guess we have a ways to go on that issue yet.  My how the world has changed since then, or has it?  We still seem to have an overabundance of dairy supplies throughout the world even though millions do not have enough to eat each day.  Dairy producers still struggle to make ends meet at times and face unpredictable weather.  Only now it has come to the point that some producers were notified that in 30 days they would have no market for their milk.  I don’t think anyone saw that one coming.  Talk about some difficult nerve racking times around the kitchen table.  Despite all of this we can’t throw in the towel yet.  Producing a product that helps mankind fight off certain cancers, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, along with many other health benefits is a noble profession that requires unbelievable ambition.

Milk continues to be hammered on when it comes to school nutrition programs, restrictions on dairy products with the federal food assistance program (WIC), and more competition from bottled water.  It’s hard to believe this can happen when milk provides many high quality proteins which aid in tissue repair, the formation of antibodies which circulate in the blood stream to fight off infections, fat for energy, and many minerals for proper bone formation. 

In order to provide all of these dairy products I want to touch briefly on dry cow management particularly those on pasture.  Putting dry cows on the back 40 and forgetting about them isn’t a program for success.  Yes, exercise is good to a point.  Make sure they have their feet trimmed at or around dry-off and you will see improvements in feet and legs and easier calving due to improved muscle tone.  Forage testing is important to determine what needs to be supplemented and particularly to watch what the potassium level is of the diet.  A simple grain mix with a 4-5 pound feeding rate with our Dry Cow Mineral is generally all that is needed until pastures get short or rain is deficient.  ClariFly is included with it for season long fly control.  We also carry the Dairyland Dry Cow Tubs which can be used as a convenience in many cases.  As cows reach close-up status you may need to take them off a potassium rich pasture or dilute the diet with another forage.  It is difficult to feed a DCAD ration in a pasture situation due to palatably issues.  Pasture can be an economical and beneficial way to give your dry cows a great chance at having an outstanding lactation.

Thank you to all dairy farm families for the contributions you provide in our diet and communities.

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