Research Keeps the Dairy Industry Moving Forward
As high performing as the Holstein cow is today, there are ways to make the world’s perfect cow even more profitable. Dr. Chad Dechow is researching new ways of making cattle more feed efficient.
Dechow… “So, there’s been, in the last two years, a lot of focus on selecting for feed efficiency. And that makes sense because feed is 50-60 percent of a dairy producer’s cost, so if we can reduce that cost and become economically more efficient, that’s great, right?”
Researchers see an issue, determine that it can be improved, then tackle it head-on, like Dr. Anna Denicol, who’s studying environmental adaptability and heat stress.
Denicol… “Heat stress is a problem, right? It affects the productivity of the dairy. It has a huge economic impact, so anything we can do to try to decrease that fact, and I was just talking to some colleagues just now, this is not a magic bullet, because there isn’t one, right? We need to try to build tools that together will create a solution. And I think this really is a step in the right direction.”
The research process, on paper, looks pretty straightforward. In practice, it often gets complex, like the research Dr. JP Martins is doing into milk production and fertility.
Martins… “Cows that had higher milk production, they had more double-ovulation, even though they were treated with Double-Ovsynch, which is a fertility treatment that increases progesterone. As it’s shown, these programs really highly effective on increasing progesterone during the growth of the follicle for timed AI and increasing fertility of lactating dairy cows.”
Holstein Association USA’s grant program is all in the name of “improvement for a cause.”