July 14, 2015

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 Ken Olson, Ph: 630-237-4961, [email protected]

             SPECIAL 2015 JAM COVERAGE


Welcome to JAM 2015

Welcome to our expanded coverage of the 2015 Joint Annual Meeting of the American Dairy Science Association� (ADSA�) and the American Society of Animal Science (ASAS).

Whether you are in Orlando as one of more than 3,000 participants in the meeting, or if you were unable to attend this year's meeting, we hope you will find this additional coverage valuable.

We appreciate the assistance of the Graduate Student Division who will be helping with the reporting for our daily editions. We will also be using social media at the meeting. If you are on Twitter, watch for #JAM2015 for tweets from the JAM. We also have a You Tube channel "ADSANews" where you will find video clips from activities at the JAM.

We welcome your feedback on the coverage and hope you enjoy our special JAM 2015 coverage.
For more information on JAM, visit http://www.jtmtg.org/JAM/2015/

JAM Sets a Record

As of the close of registration on Monday the total number of registrants stands at 3,320.  This is a new record for a two society meeting.  With three days to go, the total numbers will continue to climb.  Attendees will have access to 1,550 poster presentations and 867 oral presentations.


Mycobacterial Diseases of Animals (MDA) - Interest Group

Join us today from 8:00 to 9:00 am in Suwannee 15 for the MDA Interest Group. Do you work with Johne's disease or bovine TB and have ideas to share? Did you attend Monday's MDA Symposium and want to continue the discussion? Do you just have questions? Then join us at the MDA Interest Group.  We will continue discussion from Monday's seminar as well as reviewing other current activities related to Johne's Disease and Bovine TB. Come to share your ideas and plans with others.

News from JAM 2015  

Decline in graduate students a concern for industry

There is a growing concern among employers in academia and industry regarding the adequacy of PhD training programs for animal scientists in the U.S. in terms of the number of graduates as well as their preparedness.

At the 2015 JAM, J.R. Knapp of Fox Hollow Consulting, Columbus, Ohio, shared data from the National Center for Education Statistics and U.S. Department of Agriculture Food & Agricultural Education Information System that show the number of PhDs awarded from animal, dairy and poultry science departments has declined by nearly 40% in the past two decades. He said that currently there are approximately 150 PhDs awarded per year in animal science, 80 to 90 of whom are U.S. citizens. While some non-citizens may seek employment and stay in the U.S., he noted that the majority return home.

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Social media holds opportunity for Extension specialists 


The use of social media in public engagement and extension is a relatively new phenomenon, and many scientists are cautious about using it professionally, University of California-Davis researcher Alison Van Eenennaam explained during the Extension Education Symposium at the 2015 JAM.

Social media provides opportunities to reach a much wider public audience than traditional extension meetings, but it may not always be the best approach to reach more traditional agricultural clientele who typically are an older demographic, noted Van Eenennaam. She said one issue with the professional use of social media is the difficulty of objectively documenting impact. Although the number of followers or page views is an easy metric to report, it does not really evaluate impact. Merit and promotion evaluation systems will need to evolve to reflect the increased use of social media in extension programs, and appropriately reward academics for time spent effectively using these forms of communication.

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Reproductive health, acute immune responses evaluated   


With representatives from five different countries and 12 different universities, the Reproductive Health and Acute Immune Response oral session at the 2015 JAM Conference demonstrated the universality of health and fertility concerns.

Presenters spoke on a large variety of topics ranging from treatment of acute puerperal metritis to health and fertility of cows around Chile to determining bovine viral diarrhea in beef cattle to ACTH-test reactivity's relation to changing fat depots.


To focus on some of the novel presentations, researchers at University of Florida looked at the effects of uterine microbiota and vaginal discharge on diagnosing clinical metritis. The researchers found that relative abundance of Bacteroides in 6+/- 2 days postpartum cows could be used to indicate metritis. In addition, both Bacteroides and Fusobacterium were highly correlated with increased uterine discharge scores. Researchers from Utah State University presented a talk regarding bovine viral diarrhea's (BVD) prevalence in samples taken between 2009 and 2013. Despite few reported cases, BVD consistently affects greater than 1% of cow populations and 8% of aborted fetuses. Each of the talks provided the opportunity to consider future research endeavors that could benefit overall cow health.


Amanda Lee is a Master's student at University of Kentucky under the direction of Dr. Jeffrey Bewely. She earned her Bachelor's degree from Knox College in 2013.

Graduate student competition covers variety of topics 


Many Masters students from various countries competed in the Production Division Graduate Student Oral Competition at JAM 2015 in Orlando, Fla. The session covered a vast array of topics from automated detection of estrus using multiple technologies to the effect of nutrition and management on de novo fatty acid synthesis in U.S. dairy herds to different feeding behaviors of cows at high risk for subacute rumen acidosis and the investigation of a new anti-slip flooring technology to address slips and falls by dairy cows.

One presentation that had some interesting results was titled, "Pregnancy outcomes based on milk pregnancy-associated glycoprotein levels" from the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. This presenter found that when using milk pregnancy diagnosis, pregnancy-associated glycoprotein (PAG) levels dipped between 45 and 75 days in gestation. The presenter advised that one should use caution when  interpreting test results for cows 45-75 days in gestation. At this time the reason for lower PAG levels between 45 and 75 days is not known but appears to be important.

A presentation titled "Cows at high risk for subacute rumen acidosis exhibit different feeding behavior" from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada found that animals with a higher risk of subacute rumen acidosis (SARA) spend more time eating soon after feeding. Feeding more often increases the distribution of eating throughout the day for all cows (high and low risk). It also found that increasing feeding frequency reduces the severity of SARA in higher-risk cows.

Michele Jones earned a BS in Animal Science from Purdue University in 2008.  She decided to pursue a Master's degree in Precision Dairy Technology at the University of Kentucky after working as a technical support analyst for Dairy Records Management Systems for 6 years.

Research looks at health in pre-weaned dairy calves


The U.S. Department of Agriculture, in partnership with Colorado State University, has been in the process of analyzing data from a NAHMS study looking at health in pre-weaned dairy calves.

During the Production, Management and Environment session at the 2015 JAM, session representatives explained three different studies that involved 851 calves, from 92 different dairy operations, across 13 states.

The first study examined the morbidity and mortality of pre-weaned dairy calves. Of the calves that were enrolled in the study, 33% experienced one disease. The most common diseases were digestive (52%) and respiratory (30%). These diseases were also the most common diseases that caused death. Of the claves that had clinical signs of illness, 92% received some type of treatment for their illness. A majority of the treatments consisted of providing extra fluids and electrolytes. Group housing led to a higher morbidity rate. Colostrum and the liquid diet also had an effect on the morbidity and mortality rate. Providing whole milk instead of milk replacer led to less morbidity. When excellent colostrum was provided both morbidity and mortality was decreased.

The next study examined how quality of colostrum can affect passive transfer. They categorized quality colostrum as: excellent, > 50 grams per liter of IgGs, medium between 40 and 50 grams per liter IgGs and poor colostrum having less than 40 grams per liter of IgGs. Of the colostrum examined, 68% was considered excellent and only 9% was poor. When examining passive transfer 78% was excellent while only 14% was poor. Many things can affect the levels of IgG in the colostrum and they found that first calf heifers and Jerseys have the highest serum IgG levels. They left the audience with an important reminder that all colostrum being fed to calves needs to be tested.

The final presentation explained how the pre-weaning diet affected growth weights of calves. Three different diets were analyzed; whole milk, a combination of whole milk and milk replacer, and only milk replacer. Most of the calves (38%) were fed whole milk, while 36% were fed milk replacer and remainder fed a combination. Over the course of the study, the average daily gain from birth to weaning was 0.73 kg per day, with the calves fed the combination diet having the highest average.

Derek Nolan is currently a master's student at the University of Kentucky under Dr. Jeffrey Bewley researching milk quality economics.  

Stressors, immune responses in cattle discussed 


The "Animal Health: Understanding and reducing the impact of various stressors on immune responses and health of cattle" session at 2015 JAM covered various topics to improve animal health in the American dairy industry. Transition cow immunity continues to be studied by many researchers in Dairy Sciences. Researchers from Texas Tech, Kansas State, and the University of Florida discussed their research and findings at length.

The transition period of three weeks before and after parturition continues to be a demanding time in the life of a dairy cow. Dairy cattle experience increased susceptibility to communicable or metabolic diseases severe reductions in productivity. Researchers discussed dairy cow diseases such as mastitis, ketosis, hypocalcemia, and metritis, and how herds exposing these dairy cattle to unnecessary stress around transition can increase disease susceptibility. Sources of this stress can come in the form of pen movements, ration changes, environmental stress, improper stocking density, or any general change to the life or environment of a dairy cow. The potential exists for these stressors to influence the immune and endocrine systems of transition dairy cattle, many of which having the capacity to be reduced or avoided altogether.

Researchers indicated not only cows to be susceptible to stress, but calves as well. Research from Kansas State University indicated that calf stress can arise from the birthing process, transport, weaning, dehorning, vaccination, or comingling with other calves. These stressors affect the health and growth of these calves and can affect productivity during lactation. The importance of establishing the passive transport of immunity from dam to calf was greatly emphasized and immunocompetence was suggested as a potential benchmark, establishing the health of these calves. The potential exists for this to become an indicator of future performance in dairy replacements.

Dr. Geoffrey Dahl of the University of Florida also presented research showing that the effects of heat stress during late gestation can be seen in not only the subsequent lactation of a dam, but in the performance of her calf as well. Dr. Dahl indicated in utero fetal calves undergoing heat stress to have decreased weight at birth, earlier births, decreased reproductive performance, and decreased productivity upon entering the lactating herd. Dairy cows and their calves experiencing heat stress during late gestation can experience reductions in milk production nearing 5 kg/d during peak lactation. The findings of these studies indicate the effects of heat stress during late gestation to be of greater detriment to productivity than previously thought by not only affecting transition cows, but also future dairy replacements.

Regardless origin, any stress can prove detrimental on the ability of dairy cattle to fight off illness and dairy farmers should strive to decrease the potential for stressors to arise in their herds. Researchers, extension specialists, and dairy farmers should work together in the future to identify and eliminate sources of unnecessary stress in dairy cattle. Taking corrective actions to remove sources of stress can improve animal wellbeing, and help producers achieve greater levels of production in their herds.

Matthew Borchers was raised on a dairy farm near Jackson Center, Ohio, and attend the Ohio State University, studying Animal Sciences. Most recently, he received a Master's degree and began working on a PhD at the University of Kentucky.

Colostrum contamination, yeast supplements among sessions topics


The Ruminant Nutrition in Dairy Calves session at this week's 2015 JAM covered a large range of topics with particular emphasis on calf growth and behavior. Calf performance topics included: colostrum contamination, influence of yeast supplements, different concentrate hay starters for calves on high planes of milk, vitamin D supplementation and the impact of weaning method on performance. The impact of ambient temperature and different concentrate hay starters on lying behavior were also covered.

One interesting aspect of this session was the variety of international studies. For instance, an Irish study investigated the impact of total bacterial count in colostrum on passive transfer in calves. These calves were fed colostrum fresh, pasteurized, or stored from 48-72 hours at either refrigerated or room temperature as one-third of Irish farmers feed pooled colostrum stored at room temperature. This is largely due to nearly all calves being born from January to May. The results were surprising. While total cfu were higher with colostrum stored at higher temperatures, all study treatments achieved passive transfer. Average daily gain was also not affected.

A collaborative study in partnership with Diamond V, and Texas Tech University challenged calves with a minor dose of Salmonella enterica to determine if a yeast additive to milk replacer alone, or also added to starter improved immune function and growth. Calves were fed 6L/d divided into two feedings. There was a tendency for improved ADF and FE by 29 days of age for the calves fed yeast product in milk replacer and starter over control. There was also a tendency for less pathogen shedding days for calves fed yeast sup

The University of Guelph, looked into the impact of feeding traditional starter, high starch TMR silage starter, traditional starter, or either 90%DM mixed hay concentrate starter or a hay starter on growth and lying behavior in 48 calves fed at 20% bodyweight.

On an as fed basis, there was no difference among treatments in intake. However, when adjusted for DM intake, TMR diet calves consumed 1kg/day less. The speaker speculated this was due to high moisture content of this diet. As a result, calves on the TMR diet spent the least amount of time lying, and lower experienced lower ADG. The other treatments were not statistically different.

Cargill Premix and Nutrition conducted a study to quantify the impact of ambient temperature on calf performance. Thermochons attached to tail veins reported calf temperature every ten minutes and lying times were recorded. Calves stood 300 min/d and increased to 320 min/day by 8 weeks. Daily Circadian temperatures reported higher body temperatures at night, than in the morning by about half a degree Celsisus. Deeper bedding retained temperatures in winter.

Recently, more mineral accessible starter, through soft starch corn hybrids are becoming available. Compared to high 24% CP starter ground shelled treatment, the softer starch treatment improved overall trial average daily gain in calves. This was likely due to the more accessible DM mineral content through the softer starch profile.

The impact of supplementing vitamin D to calves fed pasteurized whole milk was investigated. Calves not supplemented vitamin D were deficient. There was no impact of vitamin supplementation on gene expression.

Lastly, weaning was covered for calves fed high planes of nutrition peaking at 9L/day. Calves were either gradually step down weaned by removing a pm feeding over the course of a week, or abruptly weaned at 54 d. Calves step down weaned demonstrated increased straw and starter intake. Average daily gain decreased dramatically compared to step down, but though differences VFA and butyrate were different at day 48, there was no difference post-weaning or on rumen development. However, step down weaned calves gain more efficiently post-weaning than abruptly weaned calves.

Melissa Cornett is a Dairy Sciences MS student specializing in the impact of probiotics and changing daily feeding levels of milk in automated feeding systems. She obtained her BS in Animal Sciences at the University of Kentucky with Dr. Jeffrey Bewley. She defends in December and is looking to begin her career in the Wisconsin dairy industry. She hopes to focus on improving calf nutrition and standards operations of procedures on dairy farms. 

TB, Johne's disease challenging ancient diseases

The Bovine tuberculosis (TB) and paratuberculosis (Johne's disease) Symposium at the 2015 JAM: What we know and what we need to know" provided an excellent overview of both diseases, highlighting both domestic and international opportunities and challenges for the diseases.  

Vivek Kapur, Penn State University provided an introduction.  He noted that the biology of both diseases is complex and poorly understood.  No country is free of the diseases and losses associated with them runs into the billions of dollars. As examples of the scope of the disease, the UK loses about 2% of their cattle population to bovine TB each year and one in ten animals at auction in the US is infected.

Adel M. Talaat, UW- Madison described "A three-year study of bovine tuberculosis in an enzootic area, the Nile Delta."  It provides an opportunity to work in a high prevalence situation where at least one isolate appears to be human related.  The need for better diagnostics and whole genome sequencing has been shown.

Read more

Study looks at consumers' willingness to pay more for 'local'

In the debate on what animal agriculture "should" look like, it is important to understand what consumers perceive attributes and buzzwords, such as "local", to mean.


Purdue University researchers Elizabeth Byrd, Nicole Widmar, and Michael Wilcox surveyed consumers to determine their perceptions of and willingness to pay for local pork chops and chicken breasts. They reported their results at the 2015 Joint Annual Meeting in Orlando.


When asked how they defined "local" food, 37% of U.S. consumers described it as having been produced within 10 miles of their home, 21% described it to mean within 20 miles of their home and 17% described it as having been produced within the state. Several demographics were found to be correlated with perceptions of local. For instance, they said, being male was found to be correlated with defining local food as having been produced within 20 miles of home, whereas living in the Northeast was positively correlated with defining local food as produced within 10 miles of home.

Read more

JAM 2015 Extra


Schedule Highlights for Tuesday, July 15
Morning (3 hours)Afternoon (3 hours)
Poster Session (Authors present 7:30-9:30) 
ARPAS Symposium: Reproductive efficiency of beef cows-Current status and new technologiesADSA Production Division Symposium: The rumen and beyond-Nutritional physiology of the modern dairy cow
ADSA Production Division Symposium: Production efficiency of the dairy cowBeef Cattle Nutrition Symposium: Feeding Holstein steers
Beef Species Symposium: Keeping beef in the center of the plate-Meeting consumer demand in a period of reduced cattle numbers and increased pricesCompanion Animals Symposium: Bioenergetics of pet food
Cell Biology Symposium: Regulation of growth through amino acid sensingContemporary and Emerging Issues and International Animal Agriculture Symposium: Ahead to 2050-Global livestock production challenges: Current status, future needs, production obstacles
Forages and Pastures Symposium: Implications of climate change on the resiliency of forage and pasture production systemsDairy Foods Symposium: Recent developments in manufacturing and applications of lactose and lactose derivatives
Horse Species Symposium: Exercise physiology of the horseTeaching/Undergraduate and Graduate Education Symposium: Teaching graduate students to teach and be successful at teaching
Milk Protein and Enzymes Symposium: High milk protein foods-Challenges and opportunities in structures and digestionAnimal Behavior and Well-Being I
Animal Health: Transition Cow HealthAnimal Health: Beef Cattle Health, Lameness & Mastitis
Breeding and Genetics: Application and Methods - Dairy IBreeding and Genetics: Feed Efficiency and Methods
Companion Animals: Nutrition and BehaviorBreeding and Genetics: Genomic Methods
Dairy Foods: MicrobiologyDairy Foods: Cheese & Chemistry
Extension EducationNonruminant Nutrition: Feed Ingredients
Food SafetyPhysiology and Endocrinology: Gametes and stress
Growth and Development IProduction, Management, and the Environment II
Lactation Biology IIRuminant Nutrition: Manipulating Rumen Function
Physiology and Endocrinology: Reproduction in cattleRuminant Nutrition: Protein Metabolism
Ruminant Nutrition: Amino acids and metabolismSmall Ruminant: General
Ruminant Nutrition: Dairy 
Teaching/Undergraduate and Graduate Education


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