Stockmanship Field Day

Stockmanship Field Day to be presented by University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, Bovine Veterinarian, and Wolfcreek Dairy

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (August 26, 2016) — Bovine veterinarian Ulrike Sorge, DVM, PhD, from the University of Minnesota will present a free stockmanship field day on Saturday, August 27, to help dairy producers acclimate heifers to milking process. The event will be presented from 10 a.m. to noon at Wolfcreek Dairy in Dundas, Minnesota, in collaboration with the dairy.

Sorge is an assistant professor in dairy production medicine studying the impact of animal care practices on well-being, health, and production of dairy cattle.

“Being milked for the first time is as stressful for a heifer as the first day at school is for kids,” Sorge says. As a result, dairies try to find ways to make milking heifers for the first time less stressful for both cows and workers. Ideally, heifers are familiarized with the parlor and close handling before calving, but this not feasible on all dairies. Acclimating is a handling strategy in the beef industry commonly used to de-stress newly arrived animals and to habituate them to being handled.

“The Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s demonstration grants have enabled us to work with Dr. Sorge to test whether acclimating of pre-fresh heifers in their home pen is effective in improving cow flow and behavior during the first milkings," says Barbara Liebenstein, owner of Wolfcreek Dairy. "The results are very promising. While our cow flow is overall good, we found less hesitation in acclimated heifers to go into the parlor than in control animals.” 

The program will feature a guided tour of the dairy and a presentation on stockmanship practices for dairy farms. For more information and to RSVP, go to dairyknow.umn.edu