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Newsletter of Penn Dutch Cow Care September 2007

As we come out of the dry and hot time of the year, remember that grazing legumes early on cool mornings may cause bloated animals. This is especially true if a frost (even a light one) has occurred. Use other types of pasture stands during those times.

As you harvest your crops, I'm sure lots can go through your mind, but keep safety at the front please. Don't have loose shirts near moving machinery parts!

While you are out in the field, either bringing in your corn silage or simply moving your cows to the next pasture, I thought you might like to ponder some of the results of the DHIA study that was completed a few months ago. While all the analyses are not finished - especially those that attach farm management with DHIA information - I'd like to share what is known at this time.

First of all, Ken Griswold, the Lancaster County Dairy Extension Agent, and myself were the primary investigators. Ken recently presented some of the results at the annual American Dairy Science Association meeting in San Antonio, Texas in July. Unfortunately, there were no other studies on organics out of the hundreds presented. Additionally, Ken and I have written an article for Hoard's Dairyman which will appear at some point. It has been great working with Ken and I hope other Extension dairy agents elsewhere begin to learn about organic dairy farming as it is constantly growing, trying to meet an increasing demand of between 15-20% growth per year by consumers.

For this study, local certified organic clients that participated had to be on monthly DHIA and were asked to complete a 6 page, 308 question survey about their dairy farm. In order to not bother you every month, we downloaded all DHIA information directly from the main frame computer of DRMS in Raleigh, NC. In this study we also wanted to see how DHIA from organic farms compared to conventional farms locally in the county. We did that by locating a conventional farm within 1 mile of a participating organic farm and matched, as best as we could, the herd size and breed. This would cancel out most effects of radically different soil types and weather patterns; additionally, for here in Lancaster county, this would probably give fairly similar farming systems to compare (use of horses for power, use of diesel generators, farm buildings made similarly, etc.). Results include n=34 farms, unless otherwise indicated. General farm information and length of time being certified organic is shown here:

Note - BOLD FACE type indicates a statistically significant difference

Note - BOLD FACE type indicates a statistically significant difference

Next month - A close look at management information and associated DHIA numbers

For Bovinity Health, information on functional alternatives to antibiotics see:

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