Livestock Articles on Health and Welfare

The dairy cow is a magnificent producer of food. In approximately 10 months, a good cow can produce 496 pounds of protein, 784 pounds of energy in the form of the sugar lactose, 560 pounds of fat, and 112 pounds of minerals all in 16,000 pounds of milk. This is enough protein to supply the needs of a man for nearly 10 years, enough energy for 5 years, and enough calcium for 30 years.

High temperatures and humidity put stress on dairy cows. Dairy cows suffer from heat stress at lower temperatures than humans. If a dairy producer is starting to feel the heat and humidity, then the milking cow is already under stress. According to the Temperature Humidity Index for Dairy Cows (see table below), if the temperature is 95°F and the humidity is 75% humidity the cow is under “severe” stress.

Stray, tingle or neutral to earth voltage has been implicated as a problem for dairy and other livestock herds for approximately twenty years. For the livestock producer, awareness of and concern for tingle voltage should be one small component of the overall concern for the management and profitability of the herd, and the well being and productivity of the animals. Recent research has focused on measuring the tolerance for and economic impact of exposure to low levels of tingle voltage.

Cow comfort is becoming an often heard phrase in today's industry trade papers. It's a means to describe relationship between the well being of the cow and the housing systems. Cow comfort improvement focuses mainly on developments in stall design  to reduce diseases such as mastitis and lameness and boost milk production. However cow comfort issues can apply to other aspects of the housing system.

Trace minerals exist in cells and tissues of the animal body in a variety of functional and chemical combinations and in characteristic concentrations that vary with the mineral and tissue (McDowell, 1992; Underwood and Suttle, 1999). The concentrations of trace minerals must usually be maintained within quite narrow limits if the functional and structural integrity of the tissue is to be maintained and the growth, health and productivity of the animal are to remain unimpaired (McDowell, 1992; Underwood and Suttle, 1999).