Nov. 16 2012 05:00 AM

Cattle handling is the first topic of what will be many instructional lessons.

A keen understanding of cows' behavior – knowing what, how and why they do what they do - is one of the most important skills a dairy manager can have. It's also a huge tool in improving the health, comfort and well-being of the herd.

But how do dairy employees acquire the same skills, especially those who haven't spent many years on a farm? Time spent working around cows eventually does it, but that can be a long, slow process with many unnecessary mistakes.

The Dairy CARE365 Training Series videos can speed things up dramatically. The first in what will be a very long series of management videos, "Introduction to Dairy Stockmanship," is now available in both English and Spanish.

Handling cattle safely, effectively and efficiently requires an understanding of how they behave and react to their surroundings and various stimuli. This first video, developed by the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, presents those principles in an easy-to-understand format that allows participants to learn how to effectively manage cattle in a low-stress manner.

The next two videos, also developed by UM, are due out now. They are "Moving Cows to the Milking Parlor" and "Using Cattle Handling Systems Safely, Efficiently." Each training course takes approximately 20 minutes to complete. You can also read a four-part series of articles based on the dairy stockmanship teachings in the August 10 through September 25 issues of Hoard's Dairyman.

At the end of the course, participants are presented with a short quiz to test their knowledge. With at least 80 percent correct answers, a personalized certificate of completion can be printed and awarded to the participant.

The video series is sponsored by Merck Animal Health and is being done in partnership with industry and university experts. Videos are available on USB flash drive and CD. To receive a copy, send an email to