No Half-hearted Tries

February 3, 2011 10:05 AM

Gorrell   Patron, Patrona,Jessie 12 14 10Glenn Gorrell

East Smithfield, Pa.

Gorrell Dairy LLC is home to 670 cows and 610 heifers.



*Extended comments are highlighted in blue.

We follow a very strict vaccination protocol for both heifers and cows. We have found that a half-hearted try is never successful.

When the calves are born, they receive TSV-2, Bo-Se, B vitamins and a First Defense pill. They receive colostrum from the mother if it is of good quality and she is Johnes-negative. The calves also receive milk from the mother’s second milking. The calves are then revacci-nated at five weeks and four months with Express 10.

The next time they get revaccinated is at prebreeding (10 to 12 months old). We breed heifers at 13 months of age, with 95% of them getting serviced off of a CIDR. Sexed semen is used a little (~25%) on first-service heifers in a good standing heat, from the top half of the herd’s cows.

At one to two months prefresh, the heifers are dry-treated. We do this when the hoof trimmer is here, on his table, which is much safer and easier. We use Albadry and Orbseal to dry-treat. At this time, heifers are vaccinated with J-5, Guardian, Covexin and Triangle 9. Two weeks later, they get revaccinated.

When heifers and cows freshen, they are milked in the sick barn before going down to the parlor. In order to leave, heifers and cows must test negative on the CMT, have cleaned, and be eating well. All cows that are second-lactation and up receive two bottles of calcium at freshening. We feel this greatly reduces our cases of milk fever and helps keep the cows clean.

When heifers leave to go to the parlor, they receive a magnet, Safe-Guard wormer, tail docking and J-5 (which the cows also receive). At 30 days fresh, the animals receive another J-5 and get their prebreeding dose of Express 10.

One important thing we have also changed is revaccinating the cows with J-5 every three months. We have found that this reduces the severity of late-lactation cases of coliform mastitis.

Getting cows bred back on time is probably one of the biggest challenges on everybody’s dairy. We have gone from a 50-cow herd where my wife, Robin, and I worked alone using heat detection, once-a-month herd checks, a little bit of Lutalyse and a sporadic vaccination program to where we are today.

We are on a Presynch/Cosynch/Resynch program starting at 32 DIM, which gets our first breeding between 72 and 79 days. We have not had a repro herd check since May 2005. Our local vet clinic, Laurel Hill Veterinary Service, opened its BioPryn lab shortly before that, and we draw blood for pregnancies every week. We check cows and heifers at 30, 70 and 200 days bred.

Shot day is Monday, so all the cows that are scheduled for 30-day blood that week also get GnRH (Resynch). If they are open, cows get Estrumate the following Monday and are bred on Thursday. Our preg rate is 20% on 100% AI services. Our cows and heifers are mated with ABS, with high priorities placed on productive life and daughter preg rate.


Gorrell's December Prices  
Milk (3.5% bf, 3.16% prt): $18.62/cwt.
Cull cows: $1.14/lb. dressed
Springing heifers: $1,100-$1,300/head
Alfalfa hay (milk cow): $180/ton
Cottonseed: $280/ton
Corn (meal):  $240/ton
Canola:  $325/ton
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