Editor's Choice Archive

Use of propionic acid–based products is not common to improve storage and nutritional quality of ensiled baled forages. This study tested varying application rates of a propionic acid–based preservative on storage efficiency, nutrient preservation, fermentation characteristics, and aerobic stability of alfalfa–grass silages. Although this treatment adds cost, applying a propionic acid–based product might be a viable tool in some forage management scenarios such as situations where periods of exposure to air are likely.

Anaplasmosis is the most prevalent tick-transmitted disease in cattle worldwide. This report describes research characterizing the reduction in milk production in a northern Iowa dairy in which some cows were seropositive for antibodies against the hemobacterium that causes anaplasmosis. The study demonstrates the need for careful monitoring for anaplasmosis infection across various geographic regions and especially in open herds not having rigorous diagnostic testing protocols. Poor biosecurity practices (such as failure to quarantine just-purchased animals or re-using hypodermic needles among animals for routine treatments) are risk factors.

This review characterizes changes and opportunities in the Chinese dairy industry after the 2008 milk scandal. In the last decade introduction of larger farms and adoption of new technology has occurred. This resulted in environmental concerns and government policies to address these problems. Lack of an adequate supply of high quality forages at cost-effective prices is currently a major obstacle to improving cow and farm productivity. Prospects are addressed for future industry structural changes to share benefits and risks along the supply chain among dairy farmers and milk processors.

This invited review addresses the critical need and current lack of knowledge to identity pain-affected animals, to measure pain objectively, and to implement pain-management protocols on farms. Current options for on-farm analgesic treatment are limited, and further research is needed for simple, objective approaches to address pain and welfare of food producing animals.

This new, novel research explores and identifies genes that encompass a range of immunologic and cellular functions responsive to the effects of metritis and associated early postpartum diseases. Some of the genes are associated with principal molecules that selectively enhance or alter the cows' innate immune defense mechanisms and modulate pathogen-induced inflammatory responses. Moreover, these proteins provide insight into individual and population-level markers of disease resilience (resistance and tolerance) that may help guide improvements in host genetic selection and clarify the burden of disease on animal well-being. This information is especially relevant for dairy cows in the transition period when they have increased risk of metabolic and physiologic changes and associated increase in disease susceptibility.

This research article characterizes the effects of a genetic variant in beef cattle that may influence oxygen consumption, heat production, and the respiratory quotient compared with animals not having the genetic variant. Authors suggest that cattle with 2 copies of the F94L MSTN gene likely have lower maintenance energy requirements compared with those without the MSTN gene. This genetic variant possibly should be considered when assessing energy requirements of beef cattle.

This large study in a commercial Florida dairy examines the effects of cooling of pregnant cows in the dry period during warm weather on subsequent health and lactational performance of their daughters. Daughters exposed to cooling in utero during late pregnancy of their mothers in warmer months had greater survival rates, started their first lactations earlier, and tended to produce more milk in first lactation. This is in addition to the benefit of cooling of pregnant cows in the dry period during heat stress to improve the transition into lactation. Cooling in warm weather benefited both the fetuses (daughters) exposed to cooling in utero as well as the transition to lactation of mother cows as demonstrated in other studies.

This new, novel research explores and identifies genes that encompass a range of immunologic and cellular functions responsive to the effects of metritis and associated early postpartum diseases. Some of the genes are associated with principal molecules that selectively enhance or alter the cows' innate immune defense mechanisms and modulate pathogen-induced inflammatory responses. Moreover, these proteins provide insight into individual and population-level markers of disease resilience (resistance and tolerance) that may help guide improvements in host genetic selection and clarify the burden of disease on animal well-being. This information is especially relevant for dairy cows in the transition period when they have increased risk of metabolic and physiologic changes and associated increase in disease susceptibility.

This original research assessed the relationship between visually assigned vulva score of prepubertal gilts and subsequent sow productivity in a commercial production system. The study showed that visually assessing prepubertal vulva development can identify gilts more likely to farrow at a younger age with improved first litter performance. Vulva score may be a potential management strategy to select breeding herd replacements or to identify gilts to exclude from the breeding herd. Authors stress the importance of having a consistent single human scorer for this subjective assessment.

This excellent invited review examines sources, pathways, and quantification of methane emissions in grazing beef cattle systems. With that background, key mitigation strategies to reduce enteric methane and improve efficiency of energy utilization are discussed. A new metric to better quantify the global warming potential of methane in grazing systems is noted that would allow future models to more appropriately consider the pathways and impact of methane from grazing cattle systems on global warming. The article also discusses how beef producers with grazing systems might respond with landscape monitoring systems to benefit from providing other ecosystem service.

This novel research estimates lactation curves of multiparous British breed-cross beef cows grazing pasture with the Wood's and Wilmink's models; and, then compares them with Spline functions. Reliable lactation curve estimates were found. Unavailable until now, the lactation curve estimates provide critical information needed in breeding selection programs for development of an expected progeny difference for maintenance requirements. Combined with cows' energy requirements, it might be possible to predict productive performance affected by milk production under different production circumstances.

This unique research characterized the effects of keeping piglets in nursery housing with a loading ramp (feed was offered only at the top of the ramp) versus "flat" nursery housing with no ramp. Growth performance and behavior as piglets, and speed and behavior at loading of the resulting market hogs, were quantified. Adding the loading ramp in the nursery pen is a relatively simple and inexpensive adaptation to improve the welfare of piglets in the nursery and at loading for the market.

This invited review evaluates current knowledge about body protein mobilization in transition dairy cows to meet amino acid and glucose demands. Large variation in extent of protein mobilization exists and better understanding is needed of how and why.

Reproductive efficiency is key to dairy farm profitability. Early embryonic loss is an important factor affecting reproductive success. This article reviews existing research evidence, and challenges and characterizes whether or not to use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) to reduce risk of embryonic loss.

This research article describes use of infrared temperature monitoring in the short-tube of the milking machine claw and its potential as a real-time, non-invasive tool to detect subclinical mastitis with or without active mammary infections in dairy cows.

This research compares meat quality characteristics of beef steaks with similar marbling from 5 marketing programs branded "naturally raised" with those of 2 commodity beef packers. Consumer sensory ratings, fresh meat color, fatty acid profiles, pH, antibiotic residues, cooking loss, cooked beef palatability, and shear force tenderness are compared.

Annual forage brassicas for fall and winter grazing in temperate climates are evaluated as low-cost alternatives to conserved or stockpiled forages in beef and dairy cattle systems. Compared with traditional perennial forages, canola, forage rape, and turnip provide improved dry matter yield potential and digestibility, and greater net energy and nutrient yields that are very attractive.

This invited review addresses transportation-induced oxidative stress in livestock. Nutritional strategies to combat oxidative stress and future research needs to find appropriate biomarkers of oxidative stress, and to establish a reference panel for livestock species, are highlighted. These potentially can mitigate negative effects of transit-induced oxidative stress on cattle health and performance.

It is well known that applying foliar fungicide on whole corn plants for silage to reduce fungal infection helps improve forage yield. This invited review examines how fungicide application affects silage fermentation, fiber content, and nutritive value and quality and affects yield of milk components and feed conversion efficiency of dairy cows.

This invited review explores the influence of genetic selection for greater milk yield of cows on productivity and profitability in beef systems. Greater milk production can influence fertility, culling of cows, and efficiency of resource use, all affecting optimal productivity and costs in commercial pasture-based cow-calf systems.

This invited review addresses management and housing with multiple dairy cows in group maternity areas. At calving cows in group pens are motivated to seek isolation, but the ability to do so can be limited. Ways to solve this challenge for the welfare of transition cows and their calves are addressed.

This article is a seminal Invited Review about why cows die in US dairy herds. The article questions the current conceptual framework, data and information collection, and analysis. More consideration of the dairy ecosystem (including the cows' environment, operational practices, economic concerns, and animal interactions on overall performance) is needed to analyze and find solutions to why cows die. A larger discussion about the welfare of animals in modern agricultural systems is catalyzed.

This Invited Review uses the example of herd health management decision options to eradicate bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDv) to quantify potential economic losses in infected and uninfected beef cow herds over a 10-yr period. This approach is useful to the beef cattle industry and policy-makers when deciding whether to institute management protocols to eradicate BVDv.

This invited review centers on key nutritional strategies to maximize gut health and function of young dairy calves. Colostrum and transition milk contain bioactive molecules that can positively affect gut microbiota and development. The untapped potential to use novel feeding strategies and microbial-based products as alternatives to antibiotics is explored.

Mastitis, with loss of milk yield and quality, remains the most common and expensive disease in modern dairy production. This invited review addresses the prospect that substrate demands of activated localized immune cells might be a contributing factor by reducing glucose and amino acids available for milk synthesis. Future research should address this possibility.

Organic dairy production is growing in the USA. Due to certification requirements and regulations, organic dairies have unique reproductive management challenges. This invited review discusses factors that may reduce fertility. Other unique attributes of some well-managed organic herds may result in improved fertility.

Mastitis, with loss of milk yield and quality, remains the most common and expensive disease in modern dairy production. This invited review addresses the prospect that substrate demands of activated localized immune cells might be a contributing factor by reducing glucose and amino acids available for milk synthesis. Future research should address this possibility.

This study examines effects of steam conditioning prior to pelleting on thermal stability of 3 phytase products added to a typical corn/soybean meal-based broiler diet. Some supplemental phytases are known to enhance the bioavailability of bound phytate-P in feedstuffs. Steam conditioning might render exogenous phytases less effective depending on their thermal stability. Dietary nutrient degradation, bird performance, and tibia mineralization were used to assessed the effect of increasing steam conditioning temperatures on phytase efficacy. Responses were affected by steam conditioning temperatures, but responses differed among phytase products tested.

Young dairy calves (<2 months of age) are often kept in individual pens to monitor health and diet consumption. The typical diet consists of a prescribed amount of milk or milk replacer and a specially formulated calf starter fed free choice to meet nutrient requirements. Calves also may be kept in pens with long straw bedding to promote warmth and cleanliness. If consumed in unexpectedly great amounts, the hay and straw might affect total diet digestibility, growth, and health. The current research examined effects of hay and straw on feed intake, growth, and diet digestibility. Long wheat straw bedding did not affect apparent digestibility; however, consumption of low or moderate quality hay had effects and may be an important practical consideration.

Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) can be a large financial cost in beef production. Stressors such as weaning, transport, and receiving at a new facility can create risk for development of BRD. The majority of cases occur within 3 wk of stress. Antimicrobials may be efficacious to reduce morbidity. This study compared metaphylactic treatment protocols using different antibiotics. Differences were found in calf health and costs between protocols. Establishing a metaphylactic treatment protocol for BRD is imperative to address and affect BRD-related sickness, morbidity, and profitability in high risk cattle.

About 400,000 North American bison (Bison bison) exist in the United States and Canada with about 95% in private herds. This invited review summarizes and evaluates key nutritional aspects and some metabolite profiles of the specie and addresses similarities and differences where the scientific literature is available with other wild and domestic large ungulate herbivores.

This invited review explores dynamic mass and energy relationships among dairy cows, feed, manure, and crop production impacting greenhouse gas emissions. Release of methane, nitrous oxide, and carbon dioxide must be considered interdependently in whole farm systems to optimize nutrient use and cow productivity for best economic and environmental outcomes. Dairy producers and consultants must integrate impacts of feeding, manure, and cropping into management decisions rather than addressing each as a separate independent entity.

The potential of water buffalo for human food and fiber is immense in certain parts of the world. However, the development of the specie using known scientific technologies and education efforts lags behind that of some other farmed animals. This review summarizes current knowledge and addresses potential of modern scientific approaches to improve economically important traits (e.g., growth and development, milk and meat production and quality, disease resistance, longevity, heat stress tolerance, and fertility). Authors also offer ideas on new research and education frontiers to empower future scientists and the public to capitalize on this animal resource.

This invited review from the ARPAS Symposium illustrates use of a decision tool for dairy nutrition and ration formulation to reduce nutrient losses to the environment and to improve the overall efficiency of nutrient use in whole farm systems. Nutritionists, dairy farmers, CAFO planners, and policy makers can assess release of enteric carbon dioxide and methane emissions from diets and dietary ingredients. This provides the dairy industry the capacity to self-evaluate and implement management decisions to reduce nutrient excretion while optimizing profitability.

Heat stress and systemic inflammation reduce productivity and nutrient utilization by dairy cows. These outcomes are mediated by physiological and molecular alterations, at least partially independent of reduced feed intake. This invited review addresses our current understanding of these effects on use of amino acids in absorptive and postabsorptive tissues, reducing amino acid availability and protein synthesis in skeletal muscle of growing animals and in mammary tissue of lactating cows.

Effects of heat stress in animal agriculture are well-founded and likely will become a greater challenge in the future. This invited review characterizes the physiological responses to heat exposure among animal species and especially addresses the physiological need to conserve hypophagia and hypogalactia induced by heat stress. Redistribution of blood flow from the viscera to peripheral tissues is emphasized. The author proposes that by preventing the adaptive reduction in visceral blood flow, it might be possible to limit losses in growth and lactation due to heat stress.

Application of genomics has provided the practical opportunity to more quickly identify genetically elite sires and decrease generation interval. This invited review characterizes and explores the new emphasis to optimize and manage the prepubertal development of bulls destined for artificial insemination through nutrition and modulated exogenous hormone treatments. In the future, early bull development likely will employ newly discovered and perfected assisted reproductive technologies to increase the rate of genetic advancement.

This invited review explores the effect of early-calfhood nutrition on molecular and physiological regulation of the onset of puberty in young bulls. Enhanced early-life nutrition can lead to enhanced testicular development, steroidogenesis, spermatogenesis, and ultimately earlier onset of sexual maturation of genetically elite young bulls in genomically assisted artificial insemination programs.

Detecting and managing pregnancy loss in cows is critical to increasing pregnancy rates, decreasing pregnancy loss, and maximizing reproductive efficiency. This invited review addresses approaches to detect embryonic mortality. Testing of blood or milk could become commercially available to cattle producers to predict pregnancy loss or maintenance, limit days not pregnant, and practically reduce costs of maintaining nonpregnant females and allow for earlier rebreeding.

This article explores the practical potential and challenges of feeding ground whole flaxseed in the nongrazing season of organic dairy herds to bolster concentrations of bio-active milk fatty acids to produce value-added products.

The importance of mapping trace mineral deficiencies in sheep production systems is demonstrated. Supplementation practices, or lack thereof, influence trace mineral status of weaned ram lambs.

Key profit drivers in multi-faceted Irish beef cow-calf to finishing production systems are assessed. The importance of achieving superior animal performance, optimizing stocking rates, and minimizing feed and fixed costs interplay to influence profitability.

This study describes the United States Beef Sustainability Program's characterization of eastern region beef production practices. The information will help guide life cycle assessment to develop and enhance sustainable beef production systems.

This research evaluated the effects of dietary betaine and superdosed phytase on semen quality and quantity of 36-wk-old boars experiencing mild heat stress. Whereas heat stress affected sperm motility and morphology, no deleterious effects of betaine or phytase were detected.

Supplemental whole cottonseed (WCS) was offered ad libitum to stocker beef steers grazing tallgrass prairie in early summer. Steers visited a head-chamber system to assess effects on methane emission intensity (grams of methane/kg of body weight gain) and average daily gain. Based on the curvilinear response of methane emission intensity, an optimum daily amount of WCS is suggested.

This article reviews key elements for use of cool-season forages in sustainable cow-calf systems in the southeastern USA. Strategic use of cool-season forages, careful evaluation of fertilization needs and timing, and assessment of animal stocking rates to optimize forage utilization and animal performance are essential.

Returns from calf sales are the major income source in commercial beef cow-calf operations. This study quantified factors (traits) of calves sold in Mississippi auction markets that affected sale prices during a period of historically high market prices. Factors such as body condition score, branded hides (or not), hair coat color, horned (or not), frame size, gut fill, muscle thickness, lameness, and degree of calmness were assessed and given monetary weightings.

Processing of the whole corn plant during harvesting is often practiced with the goal of improving the nutritional quality of the resulting silage. Fermentation profiles and characteristics were assessed in samples from a large data set comparing shredlage (to improve kernel breakage) with conventionally harvested corn silage.

Body fat is a physiological energy reserve and fuel. This review compares body condition scoring, ultrasonic scan for fat thickness, deuterium oxide dilution, near-infrared spectroscopic analysis, and peripheral leptin concentrations to estimate body fat content in horses.

Growing-finishing pigs in crowded conditions might benefit from additional nutritional support. The influence of dietary zinc source (organic or inorganic) and zinc concentration on growth, carcass composition, and pork quality were evaluated.

Optimal pasture management in dairies is a challenge because of constantly changing plant quality, quantity, and growth rate. This case study shows that it is possible to effectively manage one of the most productive dairy pasture systems in the world.

Trace mineral dietary treatments during the dry period were followed on 64 calves beginning with colostrum and continuing through growth and the first lactation in the article "Long-term effect of organic trace minerals on growth, reproductive performance, and first lactation in dairy heifers," by Pino et al. Although many traits were not affected, heifers fed organic trace minerals tended to calve earlier and tended to produce more milk in early lactation compared with those fed inorganic minerals.

Lawrence and Anderson studied camelina meal and carinata meal, as protein supplements from potential oilseeds, and reported that both are highly degradable for ruminants and comparable to soybean and linseed meals in the article "Ruminal degradation and intestinal digestibility of camelina meal and carinata meal compared with other protein sources."

The article by Preedy et al., titled "Injectable trace-mineral supplementation improves sperm motility and morphology of young beef bulls," reports on a large (n = 488) study of weaned bulls. Breeding soundness exams were conducted at both 10 and 12 months of age.

The Invited Review, "Ruminal microbes, microbial products, and systemic inflammation," offers a review of scientific literature and provides excellent information about the potential effect of microbial antigens on the liver and possibly other organs of the host ruminant.

An analysis of research articles was conducted to provide insights about the interactions of sugar with other carbohydrates when fed to lactating dairy cows.

This experiment evaluated the ability of the light horse to recover from bouts of intense exercise when starch was increased in the diet. Although more glycogen was used during exercise with a high-starch diet, that diet did not provide an advantage in recovery time.

This article reviews the literature about the microclimate, loading density, duration, and quality of transport, and animal behavior of finished beef cattle during land transport.

Lipid oxidation that had increased in beef links due to feeding distillers grains was decreased by adding antioxidants (rosemary and green tea extracts) to the meat links.

This review indicates that, when comparing studies, subjective evaluation of pork quality may differ from instrumental pork measurements.

This review of efficiency measures for dairy farms considers various quantifiable measures and recommends a combination to improve use of resources. The evaluation of changing feeds and managing the nutritional program is discussed.

This study revealed wide variations of time involved from start of feed preparation to actual feeding both within and across dairy farms. Several suggestions are offered to improve consistency and management of the feeding procedures.

This survey continues a series of articles providing a comprehensive life cycle assessment of beef cattle in 2 regions of the western United States and offers useful information to evaluate production systems.

Selection for heavier calves has resulted in larger cows, and this article reviews research with forage systems and other management tools to provide the increased nutrients required to sustain cows and their calves.

The paper provides heritability estimates of performance traits and additive genetic correlations in Brahman and Brahman-influenced stocker cattle grazing either bermudagrass or rye-ryegrass pastures.

This case study reports a genome-wide association analysis comparing the case of a Holstein calf with normal Holstein calves, identifying unique homozygous genotypes, and relates the case to the known developmental duplication in the Angus breed.

Lactating sows adapt to heat stress by reducing feed intake and milk yield. To address this, water-cooled floors have been designed, and the initial evaluation is reported. Respiration rates and rectal temperature of sows were reduced by cooling the floor.

Hinged and closed crates improved performance and reduced mortality of piglets compared with pens for lactating sows. Hinged crates may serve to balance needs as an alternative to closed crates.

Fresh grocery produce is widely available in the United States, and two experiments evaluated the nutritional stability and aerobic stability in two seasons of the year. Food waste can be a feed source if variability and moisture content are managed.

This invited paper focuses on stressors that affect beef cattle when they are relocated from cow-calf ranches to feedlots, including transport and feedlot entry. The relationships of stress and the immune system are discussed along with management strategies that reduce stress-related inflammation.

This research paper is specifically about alleviating oxidative stress by feeding vitamin E with a diet high in polyunsaturated fatty acids.

This paper focuses on the particularly astressful time of receiving cattle at a feedlot. The authors' results suggest that, even with multiple treatment times, additional days on feed may enable calves to reach similar compositional endpoints as their untreated cohorts, although quality grades and carcass yield may differ.