While GMO (genetically modified organism) feeds continue to garner attention from some food retailers and consumers, there are a number of other common dairy farm practices that have gained some attention. The National Milk Producers Federation’s (NMPF) Emily Meredith (shown at right) touched on those matters at the 101st annual meeting of the organization.

1. Pain management: This concern relates to pain mitigation when disbudding calves. Polled genetics also has gained attention. “We all know that horned cattle are a safety issue for both cattle and employees. Even so, we must carry out the practice in the best way possible for the animal,” said Meredith, who serves as chief of staff for NMPF. “While polled genetics are available, they cannot be widely incorporated into dairy herds at this time due to reduced genetic values.

2. Animal housing: “Animal housing has popped up on the radar as it relates to animal stocking densities within dairy facilities,” Meredith went on to explain to the 800 people attending the joint annual meeting of the National Milk Producers Federation, the United Dairy Industry Association, and the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board at their gathering in Anaheim, Calif.

3. Calf care: “Calf care, as it relates to housing and cow-calf separation, has been another issue that has been discussed at times,” said Meredith. “In Europe, consumers are asking how dairy farmers can provide nose-to-nose contact with their dam for two months,” Pete Kappelman, chairman of the Land O’Lakes board added later at the same meeting.

4. Employees: “Worker safety and human resources will draw more scrutiny in the coming years,” said Meredith.

5. Reproductive hormones: “Consumers and retailers want to know more about them and how they impact cows and dairy products,” she said.

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(c)Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2018
January 22, 2018
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