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THINK TWICE BEFORE ADDING 'JUST A FEW MORE' TO A PEN.

by Randy Shannon

You may have heard the expressions "too many cooks in the kitchen" or "too many irons in the fire," but the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin want to also remind you not to have too many cows in the pen!

While overcrowding sometimes may seem to make economic sense at first blush, it could have long-term consequences. Spanish research has found that milk production declined as stall stocking density increased. Research at the Miner Institute found that, as stall stocking density jumped from 100 to 142 percent, milkfat percentage was reduced and somatic cell count increased. Overstocked cows ate 25 percent faster and ruminated one hour per day less, which researchers say impacted the reduction in the milkfat test. Overstocked cows also experienced a greater pathogen load in their environment, had greater teat end exposure to pathogens and may experience immune suppression.

Reprinted by permission from the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin. www.pdpw.org