Recently, I attended the Commodity Classic in Anaheim, CA and had the pleasure of listening to Keni Thomas, a Staff Sergeant with the Army 3rd Ranger Battalion who was deployed to Mogadishu, Somalia.
As the American farm continues to grow and evolve, the need for extra labor within these operations is also exhibiting the same parallel trend. Unfortunately, many of us as agriculture producers did not sign on to become human resource managers, when we entered into the occupation of agricultural production.
Caring for the lactating dairy herd in extreme cold conditions also has its challenges. If not properly cared for producers may see a decline in performance including total milk production, increasing somatic cell counts due to mastitis, losses in reproductive efficiency and even decreased growth in young first calf heifers if the extreme cold continues for extended periods of time.
The most critical and most expensive period of calf growth in raising dairy calves is the pre-weaning period. During this period calves are highly susceptible to cold stress with a lower critical temperature of 50°F for newborn calves and 32°F for older calves. Cold stress can result in calves turning to stored body fat to generate body heat, essentially losing weight. In addition, calves experiencing cold stress will have compromised immune systems making them more susceptible to disease.
Within the dairy industry there is a high percentage of contact time between animals and human beings on a daily basis. So how are these injuries occurring? Many victims of animal injuries are the result of being stepped on, kicked, fallen on, crushed by cows or mauled by dairy bulls and gored by animals that have not been dehorned.
As agricultural livestock producers, we should know the dangers of manure pit gases. We should know they can be toxic and even deadly. The gases referred to are methane, hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide and ammonia.
Many producers know and understand the risk associated with confined manure handling systems but accidents and deaths still occur because unwarranted risks are taken as manure is being handled and removed from the confined manure handling systems.
Within agricultural production a good share of livestock producers perform routine veterinary work themselves. This includes administering vaccinations or treatments for common disease or sickness. A result of performing this type of work there is increased risk for injury do to a needle stick injury.
Recently the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services updated the I-9 Form, which is used to verify the identity and work eligibility of every employee. The new I-9 Form, which is coded with the 07/17/17N in the lower left hand of the document should be used for all new employees hired after September 18, 2017.
During the September 6th Animal Care Wednesday Webinar, we heard from Jim Salfer, Dairy Extension Educator at University of Minnesota Extension. Salfer discussed some of the improvements to dairy housing and facilities that today’s dairymen are implementing on farms to ensure cow comfort and promote welfare.