Transition Housing for Heifers


Calves that have completed the weaning process are ready for their first experience with group housing. The stress associated with being weaned is over, and their immune system is now more developed.

This provides an opportune time to combine calves of similar size and age into small groups to continue their development and increase labor efficiency. Initial grouping of calves begins the socialization process which can cause anxiety, thus resulting in the need for frequent observation. Limited competition at …

Newborn Housing for Dairy Calves


Dairy producers know the importance of getting a fresh cow off to a good start in her lactation. A considerable effort is made to ensure that she is given the utmost opportunity to consume feed and water and that all of her environmental needs are met. Production and profitability can pivot on the first few weeks of her lactation. Similarly, but not with immediate payback, calves need to be given a good start in life to ensure they will …

Flooring Considerations for Dairy Cows


Many aspects of a dairy cow housing barn influence the overall environment experienced by the cows. One of the major aspects is the flooring system employed. Cows housed in modern freestall barns spend 10 to 12 hours per day on their feet. Lameness is a consistent problem with confined dairy cows and represents one of the major reasons cows are culled from the herd. When lameness is not controlled, dairy producers suffer substantial economic loss. Lameness has been shown …

Drive-Over Silage Pile Construction


This fact sheet provides management tips to enable farmers to properly locate, make, and manage a silage pile for short-term silage storage.

Farmers have been making silage piles for years, but some methods have allowed huge storage losses. Typically, a pile is constructed by unloading silage into an elevator and piling up the silage, much as a quarry piles sand or gravel. This piling method misses the most important step – PACKING. Silage exposed to oxygen deteriorates rapidly. Packing …

2008 Wisconsin Dairy Modernization Survey


A survey was conducted on 99 Wisconsin dairy farms representing 30 counties that had recently modernized their dairy facilities. The majority of the farms surveyed had switched from milking cows in a stall barn to some type of parlor milking system. The survey was used to determine the producers’ observations as to the major benefits to both themselves and the cows after modernizing their facilities. Producers were also asked to identify the educational resources they utilized and valued the …

Water System Design Considerations for Modern Dairies


Site selection for modern dairy production facilities is dependent on numerous criteria. One of these criteria is an adequate water supply. The facility must have the potential to develop or obtain a water supply of sufficient quantity and quality to serve the anticipated present and future production needs (Hoehne et al., 1994). Minimum water requirements for meeting the intake water needs of lactat­ing cows, milk parlor usage, and other needs of a function­ing dairy seem to range from 40 …

Bulk Storage


Various dry feedstuffs are included in typical dairy cattle rations. These may include dry grains, commercial grain mixes, and a host of by-products from feed and food processing operations. Whether you feed a commercial grain mix or use commodities such as bakery wastes, cottonseed, or brewers grain depends on your situation. As numbers of cows increase, the bulk storage and handling of these materials may provide savings in purchase price, handling, and feeding. The type and amount of these …

Design, Selection, and Use of TMR Mixers


Mixer design is an art. Field testing, consumer feedback, and experience are used to refine the design. Despite the information collected over years of use in the beef and dairy industries and the yearly design changes, mixer design is still a mechanical art form.

Total mixed rations (TMRs) have become the major feeding system of the dairy industry. Experienced nutritionists and research trials allow us to build better rations. Despite the information collected in research feed trials and the …

Feed Center Design and Components


An efficient and effective feed storage and handling system is vital to any modern dairy farm. The feed center can be considered the center of the entire feeding system like the hub of a wheel. From the feed center, feed is carried out the spokes of the wheel to the animals. Harvested crops and off-farm feedstuffs are hauled back to the feed center. In modern dairy design, the feed center should operate as a separate entity. It should have …

Five Steps to Designing the Ideal Transition Cow Barn



Over the last …