Are you Ready for VFD?

Jan. 1, 2017 marks the beginning of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) regulations. These regulations were developed because of the concern over the use of feed grade antibiotics in production animal agriculture and the possible effects their use in animals may have on human health. The main goal of the VFD is to control the use of the “medically important” antibiotics that are used in both human and animal situations. Just as people must get a Doctor’s prescription to use an antibiotic, livestock producers will need to get a VFD from a licensed veterinarian to use these products on their operations. The antibiotics most commonly used in animal production that are covered under VFD regulations are: oxytetracycline, chlortetracycline, neomycin, penicillin, sulfamethazine, apramycin, avilmycin, erythromycin, florfenicol, hygromycin B, lincomycin, oleandomycin, sulfamethoxine/ornethoprin, sulfamerazine, tilmicosin, tylosin and virginiamycin. Oxytetracycline and neomycin are the most common of the “medically important” antibiotics used in milk replacers. Since the VFD regulations prohibit the continuous use of antibiotics, milk replacers containing these two antibiotics, or any other VFD antibiotic, will go off the market after Dec. 31, 2016. In order for a livestock producer to use products covered by VFD regulations the producer must get a valid VFD from a veterinarian licensed in the state where the operation is located. The veterinarian must have a valid veterinary‐patient‐client relationship with the operation. The VFD must list specific details including type of animal, approximate number of animals, name of the drug being used, drug indications, dosage and withdrawal time for the drug, and an expiration date of the VFD order. The VFD order cannot be...

Four Pregnancy Loss Risk Factors and How to Control Them

Pregnancy losses may be a larger problem on most dairies than many realize. This may be because pregnancy losses are only recorded after a pregnancy is confirmed at 30 to 45 days after insemination. However, recent studies have shown that more than 60 percent of all pregnancies are lost prior to term. And 85% of these losses occur prior to day 42, when the embryo becomes a fetus. That means that 51% of all pregnancies are lost before day 42 of the pregnancy. There are many causes for these losses. Known risk factors include: Postpartum diseases and disorders like dystocia, metritis, endometritis, mastitis, fever, ketosis and lameness Heat stress Digestive problems Negative energy balance and excessive weight loss Toxins in feedstuffs such as mycotoxins, gossypol and ergot alkaloids Infectious agents such as IBR, BVD, Campylobacter ssp., Lepta and Neospora caninum. Here are some steps you can take to control or reduce the following risk factors: 1.Heat Abatement One way to reduce these risks factors is with heat abatement. High producing dairy cows are sensitive to heat stress due to their high feed intake and high metabolic rate that generate body heat. Heat stress affects fertilization and early embryonic development. Therefore heat abatement becomes important to help prevent pregnancy losses.  Examples of heat abatement management practices are: Fans for air movement Sprinklers to wet the cows body surface Misters to cool the environment Shade in outdoor lots 2. Improved Health Fertility is strongly related to a cow’s health status. Cows with dystocia, metritis or endometritis are much less likely to have normal ovaria function which effects embryo development. Cows with...

Energy: Does your Milk Replacer Fall Short?

With winter right around the corner, you might begin to wonder if the energy in your milk replacer is enough for your precious calves.  The goal should be to manage the calf nutrition program to provide for 1.75 to 2.25 lbs. average daily gain and to double the calf’s birth weight in 56 days. One of the confounding problems of meeting these goals is the increased energy demand of the calf as the ambient temperature declines below the calf’s thermoneutral zone of 60-75 degrees F.  This is especially important this time of year as temperatures are falling.  A 100 lb. calf needs at least 25% more milk dry matter to meet maintenance requirements and gain 1.5 lb. per day when the temperature is 15ₒF as it does at 68ₒF.  If this additional energy is not supplied via the milk/ milk replacer the calf may use body stores to maintain its body temperature.  This can result in weight loss, reduced immune function and possible illness or even death. The traditional 2 quarts, twice a day of a 20-20 milk replacer falls far short of providing the nutrition needed for optimal growth.  In fact it only provides about 55% of the energy and 48% of the protein needed to meet the goal of 1.8 lb. daily gain at 32ₒF.  To reach optimal growth potential, feeding 3 quarts 3 times a day of a high quality replacer is needed to deliver the needed nutrition. The energy supplied in replacers come from two main sources: fat and carbohydrate.   The predominant source of carbohydrates is lactose, which is a readily available source of energy. ...

Summer months affecting your herd’s fertility?

Heat stress can occur in cattle at any time where the temperature is over 72°F and 45% humidity. Heat stress not only affects food intake and production, but many overlook how it can lower fertility and conception rates.  Several factors can contribute to fertility issues during summer heat. Shorter periods of exhibiting estrus Less mounting activity Exhibit estrus only after temperatures cool in evenings Higher internal body temperature Poor quality of semen, egg, and embryo AI conception decreases Greater chance of absorption during pregnancy All of these lead to much lower estrus detection during the hot weather. Detection may be improved with the use of mount detectors. Estrus synchronization protocols and timed insemination can improve conception rates with the help of proper management. The warmer temperatures can affect the viability of the egg during ovulation and the embryo after fertilization.  Even after implantation, production of progesterone, which is needed to maintain the pregnancy can be reduced.  Therefore can cause an increase in prostaglandin F2alpha production which can cause pregnancy failure. Semen quality can also be reduced in hot weather if natural service is being used. Bulls can have damaging effects from the summer weather by not being able to keep the testicles cool for sperm development. They will have a higher amount of unviable and deformed sperm. Cattle have limited ability to sweat and cool themselves by evaporative cooling. It is necessary for the herdsmen to take initiative and provide shade, housing, foggers or misters, and fans to help cool the animals. This helps livestock maintain cooler body temperatures and recover faster. More so, it will help maintain milk production...