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Clipping Heifers?

Jerry Bertoldo, Dairy
Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops

Last Modified: June 25, 2013

Moderating air temperatures lend themselves well to optimum performance for both cows and people. The lengthening days trigger animals to shed their winter hair coats and replace them with short, silky hair that will more efficiently aid in the dispersion of heat in the rising temperatures.

What about those cows, generally two year old heifers, who fail to shed their wooly winter coats? These poor creatures are wearing a metaphorical banner that reads "I will have problems when I calve!". Without delving into whether certain pre-dispositions cause the failure to shed, or whether the failure to shed create the pre-dispositions to fresh cow problems, we probably can agree that these cows are generally going to be more challenged than those who have their warm weather hair coats. Maybe it's time to look at an old-fashioned way of disrupting the unfortunate cascade of stress events that lead to fresh cow problems: blow the dust off your Old Browns!

Just as that bottle of calcium is a great way to give older cows a boost after calving (even if they don't display obvious clinical signs of hypocalcemia), a quick clip job can help a wooly fresh heifer "hit the ground running", so to speak. It has been well documented that a cooler animal in warm weather will have a lower respiration rate, and uses less energy to thermo-regulate, and have more energy available for maintenance, involution, milk production, etc.

We're not talking about a show-time body clip with a top-line, but rather a quick buzz cut along the back, over the ribs, and for added cleanliness, the thighs (and if she'll let you, shave that udder too!). Using a well-maintained set of clippers, which can be obtained new for under $200, and a quick curry combing to remove blade-dulling debris, the entire procedure can be done in the same amount of time it takes to run a bottle of calcium. This short investment of time can potentially reduce time spent on treating an over-heated, ketotic heifer that has metritis and pneumonia in the future.











calendar of events

Upcoming Events

Weed Resistance Management Demonstration and Plot Tour

Event Offers DEC Credits

July 23, 2019
1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Waterloo, NY

Come join us on July 23 in Seneca County at Quinten Good's farm for a demonstration and walking tour of 16 different pre- and post-emergence treatments in soybean and 12 different treatments and combinations in corn.
  • Tall waterhemp and marestail are two weeds that are resistant to glyphosate and ALS herbicide modes of action in the WNY and Finger Lakes regions.
  • Each year the number of acres with resistant weed populations expands.
  • For herbicides to be an effective tool in weed management, we have to know what chemistries & application timings are most effective against these resistant weeds.

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Income and Real Property Tax Primer-A Learning Circle for Women Non-Operating Land Owners of Ag Land

July 24, 2019
9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Portageville, NY

For many of us taxes can be a mystery, let's have a conversation with the experts about the tax considerations agricultural landowners need to think about. 
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Pasture Walk with the Finger Lakes Graziers-Cancelled!

July 29, 2019
12:45 - 4 pm

The Finger Lakes Graziers pasture walk has been cancelled due to some scheduling conflicts. 
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RMA Announces Additional One-time Changes to Prevented Planting Provisions

June 29, 2019

RMA Announces Additional One-time Changes to Prevented Planting Provisions
for 2019 Crop Year

In response to delayed and prevented planting resulting from above average rainfall and wetness, the USDA Risk Management Agency has made a one-time change to the 2019 crop year prevented planting rules that effectively allows silage corn, if planted as a cover crop following local agricultural expert guidelines, to be acceptable as a post-prevented planting cover crop. Under this one-time rule change, producers are allowed to produce this crop while retaining their prevented planting payment. This change couples with previously announced one-time changes to the prevented planting rules - including expanded acceptable uses for post-prevented planting cover crops and a change in the cover crop haying and grazing start date rule - serve to help those struggling to meet their forage needs due to the weather.

Read the full article from the New York Crop Insurance Education Program.

The USDA-RMA states that "For crop insurance purposes, a cover crop is a crop generally recognized by agricultural experts as agronomically sound for the area for erosion control or other purposes related to conservation or soil improvement." PRO-DAIRY specialists Joe Lawrence and Karl Czymmek and Dr. Quirine Ketterings, Professor and Director of Cornell Nutrient Management Spear Program have released a letter stating "Corn on Prevented Planting acres meets these objectives."

New Guidance for Mortality Disposal Issued

NYS Department of Ag and Markets has posted guidelines on disposal of livestock carcasses, in response to reports that some rendering companies have halted pickups from farms.|1