Tufts OpenCourseware
Search
Author: One Health Students

OCW One Health, 2008
G. Kaufman, DVM
Tufts University

1. Sustainable Agriculture Class 11: Field Trip Notes

1.1. Organic Farm

Overall Herd Management:

  • Herd consists of approximately 40 milking Jersey cows and 40 dry cows/heifers/calves

  • Twice daily milking, "flat parlor" milking parlor

  • Pre and post teat dips are used - iodine based

  • Cows are on a pasture rotation schedule and milking cows fed small amount of grain daily (corn based)

  • Milking cows receive 10lb/head/day of grain - much less than typical conventional farm

  • Dry cows receive no grain until 3 weeks before calving

  • Milk production: currently averaging 37lb/day/cow (near end of lactation cycle)

  • Milk production goal: 40-50 lb/day 1st lactation, 50-55 lb/day 2nd¬† lactation and beyond

  • BTSCC averages 150,000, which is far under the state limit of 750,000

Breeding practices:

  • Focuses on a breeding program that selects for good grazing traits

  • Use AI for breeding, no bulls on site

  • Efficient breeding is one of main problems on the organic farm - unable to use hormonal treatments to regulate cow reproductive cycles

  • Cows are culled after multiple failed breeding attempts

Disease and Alternative treatments:

  • Infertility - blackberry leaf, sepia, etc - sometimes these treatments seem effective¬†

  • Mastitis and other problems: many types of tinctures used, including garlic, eucalyptus and echinacea - often seem effective

  • Seem to have very little problem with metabolic disease, mastitis, displaced abomasum

  • Impressions on alternative treatments from farm staff are that these treatments are quite effective for some conditions, but have not been as useful for others, with breeding management being biggest concern

1.2. Conventional Herd

  • Overall Herd Management:

  • Holstein herd, 110 milking and dry cows, 110 calves and heifers

  • Twice daily milking with pre and post teat dip

  • Milk production currently 75 lb/head/day

  • Herd participates in statewide Johnes and Brucellosis programs

  • Very little pasture - dry cows have small pasture area in summer

Breeding practices:

  • More focus on production traits

  • Farm uses AI for breeding, no bulls

  • Cystic ovaries are biggest fertility issue

  • Breeding is usually synchronized with hormonal treatments

Disease and Treatment:

  • Mastitis, reproductive issues, and foot problems (hairy heel warts) most common

  • Antibiotics commonly used to treat conditions such as mastitis, metritis, injuries and post-operative

  • Naxcel commonly used due to no milk withholding time

1.3. Veterinary Perspective on the Two Herds

  • Less clinical disease in the organic herd - especially mastitis and metabolic problems

  • Herd vet feels this is because organic cows are not pushed for production

  • Breeding problems are the most common in the organic herd - learning to treat using alternative and holistic approaches

  • Leptospirosis is the biggest wildlife related health problem - control with vaccination, controlled water sources

  • Rabies also a concern - use vaccination

2. Images from Field Trip

Silage at organic farm
Silage at organic farm

Machine shed at organic farm
Machine shed at organic farm

Organic "pharmacy"
Organic "pharmacy"

Milk pump
Milk pump

Cows feeding at organic farm
Cows feeding at organic farm

Cows waiting to be milked
Cows waiting to be milked

Cow yard At organic farm
Cow yard at organic farm

Disinfectionproducts
Disinfection products

disinfectionproducts 2
Disinfection products 2

Conventional milking parlor
Conventional milking parlor

Cow pen at organic farm
Cow pen at organic farm

Feeding
Feeding

Jersey calf
Jersey calf

Calf
Calf

Holsteins in conventional barn
Holsteins in conventional barn

Conventional barn
Conventional barn

Conventional milking parlor
Conventional milking parlor

-