5 Ways Dairy One is Getting Ready for Summer

Summertime is here in the eastern U.S., and Dairy One is ready for it! After the crazy spring planting season, summer isn’t the time to slow down either for us or our customers. As the hot season rolls in, let’s talk about some of the ways we help out during this part of the year.

Scouting Fields: Agricultural Consulting Services (ACS) works out in crop fields year-round. During the summertime, they scout in fields for the presence of pests and to check on crop growth. Farms use pest-resistant crop seeds, however, bugs evolve to beat that, so ACS Field Technicians note the presence of how many bugs on plants and where in the field there is a heavy presence. Going back to planting records, they can work with farmers to note what conditions may have caused this increase in bugs. While looking for bugs, they also note the health of the crop plant itself. Are there brown spots? Is it growing at the rate it should be? How many ears of corn are growing on the stalk? All of this information is important to farmers and influences future crop and field plans.

Testing Hay: At the Dairy One Forage Laboratory, summer is a time of numerous types of samples arrive for testing, but there is a slight increase in hay samples. Hay is a perennial field crop meaning it will grow multiple times during the summer. Each time it is harvested, however, the nutrients available in it change a bit due to the availability of them in the soil or if the farm applied fertilizer to the field between harvests. Hay is used by many different people – dairies, horse farms, or even zoos. Hay growers need to know what nutrients are in their product to sell it to these customers. The Forage Lab will analyze a sample and provide a report on the nutrients, which are then used for the sale of it.

Tracking Cow Steps: Like people, cows wear activity trackers too. Their monitors help farms see how much they’re moving each day which feeds into health data and tracking. Dairy One’s Integrated Farming Solutions team offers SCR tags to farms. These come in a collar, ear tag, and leg option so that herd managers can choose where on the cow it will go. Activity data is useful for care records and breeding programs.

Screening for Pregnancy: Although the common conception is that animals give birth in spring, they can in fact, have births during the entire year. Even though farms try to have birthings at certain times of the year, there are some late births or ones that are out of sync. For dairy cows, they need to have a baby once a year to keep producing milk. That baby can be born anytime between January and February. At the Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory, the team receives milk and blood samples throughout the year to see if a cow is pregnant. In addition to cows, they can also provide pregnancy results for goats, sheep, and water buffalo, so a wide range of animals! These types of pregnancy testing are relatively low disruptive to the animal and provide results faster to their owners.

Collecting Milk Samples: Much like the Postal Service – through sleet and rain, drought and snowstorm, we will collect milk samples! Well, we will safely collect milk samples. Every month our DHI Field Technicians visit multiple farms to collect milk samples from every cow being milked. Dairies need this information from milk samples as it plays a part in their plans for the herd. Even during the summer, Technicians are visiting farms to collect milk and update herd records for farms.

Summertime is definitely not a slow time at Dairy One! Our teams are working to provide the best service to customers for a variety of summertime tasks and jobs. From collecting milk samples to walking through crop fields, we are there to make sure they are successful for this season. For more information about any of these services, email [email protected].