Improving Transition Cow Health

Dairy producers should monitor and control negative energy balance (NEB) to prevent ketosis (also called hyperketonemia).  NEB occurs in all mammals when caloric intake doesn’t meet the animal’s needs and the body begins to use fat reserves. Byproducts from this process, including ketones, are damaging at high levels, producing ketosis — and in cows, creates the potential for negative effects such as reduced production, metritis, mastitis and more.

It’s best to monitor your herd for NEB, so as to be able to treat cows and prevent the development of ketosis. Urine and milk tests exist, but blood tests are the most accurate. The downloadable PDF from Hubbard Feeds linked below has much more information on blood testing, including the types of tests, when to administer them, sample size, cost, and more.

Download the PDF here.

Corn Stalk Rots

Your co-op recommends continuing to monitor corn stalk quality, as stress during the grain fill period can result in problems.  Channel’s Agronomic Advice titled Corn Stalk Rots and Managing Lodging Issues covers:

  • Physiological stalk lodging is usually the result of an interaction of weather and agronomic factors.
  • Stalk nutrients can be cannibalized to nourish developing kernels.
  • Plants suffering from physiological stalk weakness are susceptible to secondary problems.
  • Pathological stalk lodging is caused by the presence of one or more stalk rot diseases.

Download the PDF for a complete discussion of the topic, including management suggestions.

Ways to Estimate Corn Yields

Every year, farmers across the country estimate corn grain yield in an effort to assist in forecasting the final yield for their geographic region. Many farming decisions, including storage decisions, pre-harvest sales, financial decisions, and harvesting requirements, are based on these projections. So it’s important to obtain an accurate sample on which to estimate your entire yield. If the sample isn’t representative, the projection can be way off. In 2015, accurate sampling can be a challenge because so many fields are uneven, containing drowned-out spots or thin stands. To calculate yield, it’s important to accurately determine what percentage of each field has these problems.

As Channel explains, there are three main methods of estimating yield:

  • Final kernel count per acre
  • Grain weight per ear, multiplied by the average harvestable ear count per acre
  • Yield per thousand ears

For a complete discussion of this topic, visit Channel’s website.