Dr. Matt Akins’ Dairy Extension Program site provides research-based information on calf and heifer management topics including growth charting, health management, nutrition, housing, and costs of production.
Dr. Victor Cabrera provides a collection of state-of-the-art, data-driven, user-friendly, and interactive, scientific decision support tools designed to support dairy farm management.
Dr. Victor Cabrera’s site is designed to support dairy farming decision-making focusing on model-based scientific research. The ultimate goal is to provide user-friendly computerized decision support tools to help dairy farmers improve their economic performance along with environmental stewardship.
Over the past 20 years, the Intuitive Cost of Production Analysis (ICPA) program has been conducted 4 times across Wisconsin and provides important benchmarks for dairy replacement rearing costs. These data provide information about costs centers for rearing replacements (feed, housing, labor, etc.), variation in costs across different management strategies, and opportunities to control costs to improve dairy farm profitability.
A farm-directed, team-based Extension program inside the Dairy Brain project intended for farmers to improve management by adopting near real-time aggregated data, models, and tools. Participating farms follow a multi-year curriculum that includes an entry/exit survey, goal statements, and evaluation formats.
Development of Genomic Reference Populations for Feed Efficiency, Calf Health and Early Postpartum Disorders
Dr. Kent Weigel and his colleagues’ objective is to foster the development of genomic selection programs for traits that are too difficult or expensive to measure routinely on commercial dairy farms. The best example is feed efficiency, where we and our collaborators are measuring dry matter intake (DMI) and residual feed intake (RFI) on thousands of mid-lactation Holstein cows, to increase the reliability of genomic predictions for feed efficiency and allow the Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding to release genomic predictions for RFI and Feed Saved. We are also working with breeding companies and milk recording organizations on ways to improve resistance to common health disorders, such as hyperketonemia (subclinical and clinical ketosis) in lactating cows, as well as strategies to reduce the incidence of respiratory disease in young calves.
Breeding for Feed Efficiency: Yes We Can!
Genomic prediction of residual feed intake in US Holstein dairy cattle
Genomic analysis of bovine respiratory disease and lung consolidation in preened Holstein calves using clinical scoring and lung ultrasound
The genetic and biological basis of feed efficiency in mid-lactation Holstein dairy cows
Harnessing the genetics of the modern dairy cow to continue improvements in feed efficiency
Genomic Selection and Management Tools to Improve Dairy Farm Profitability
Dr. Kent Weigel and his colleagues’ objective is to provide applied research and technical expertise to ensure effective implementation of genomic testing tools, advanced reproductive technologies, and dairy management decisions on commercial dairy farms. Genomic testing of dairy calves, coupled with early culling of inferior individuals, is an established management practice on many commercial dairy farms. Herds that seek to maximize genetic progress tend to focus on the synergies between genomic testing and IVF, and this strategy can help them achieve very rapid gains in genetic potential. In addition, many farmers are now using beef semen on genetically inferior cows and heifers, with or without genomic testing, to produce added-value crossbred beef calves.
Should I Consider Using Genomics and IVF?
Effective Use of Genomics in Sire Selection and Replacement Heifer Management
A 100-Year Review: Methods and impact of genetic selection in dairy cattle – From daughter-dam comparisons to deep learning algorithms
Potential gains in lifetime net merit from genomic testing of cows, heifers, and calves on commercial dairy farms
UW-Extension Dairy Team strengthens the competitiveness of the Wisconsin Dairy Industry through statewide leadership in education and research.