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Dairy Industry Module

The learning objectives discussed: Recognize how the dairy cattle industry is divided. Sequentially list the stages of dairy cattle production and how various dairy cattle production animals are managed at each production stage. Explain different feeding practices for each life stage within the dairy cattle industry. Describe major diet components used for dairy cattle for each life stage. This grain module is brought to you by the Iowa Grain Quality Initiative, and was produced by the former Crop Adviser Institute.

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Learning objective: Recognize how the dairy industry is organized. Describe the different stages of production, management practices, types of housing, and feeding practices.

Introduction: The dairy industry not only provides dairy products, but also accounts for 20 percent of the beef industry. Large-scale operations house over 2,000 head of dairy cattle and make up 30 percent of the dairy industry. Small-scale operations make up 2 percent of the dairy industry.

Housing: There are a variety of housing options for dairy producers depending on the size of the herd and the amount of land available. Options may include tie stalls for very small herds, grazing and dry lots for large herds, or covered barns for herds of various sizes

Nutrition: Newborn calves will be fed colostrum and then milk. Within several days, they will be offered small amounts of concentrate to teach them how to eat solid food. After weaning, calves are introduced to a diet that includes forages and protein supplements to support growth. Bred heifers and lactating cows require the most nutrients and energy compared to others in the herd. Dry cows are in a period of maintenance and require a lower quality diet.

Milking systems: Tie-stall and parlor milking systems are commonly used throughout the dairy industry. Tie stall systems are used in smaller operations, are portable, and can be brought to the cattle. Parlor systems are housed in a separate area of the barn that is reserved for milking.

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Publication Date: 09/2016

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