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2015 Minnesota Dairy Health Conference in Bloomington

Ulrike (Riki) Sorge, DVM

March 28, 2015

The 34th Minnesota Dairy Health Conference will be held from Wednesday May 6th to Friday May 8th, 2015 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel & Suites in Bloomington, MN. The conference is again located in close proximity to the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport and the Mall of America.

On May 6th, participants can choose from three preconference workshops this year:

A full day workshop on lameness prevention and control led by Dr. Gerard Cramer, University of Minnesota, and Dr. Nigel Cook, University of Wisconsin. During this interactive case-based workshop, participants will be given the opportunity to work through specific examples that will provide them with the skills and knowledge to become actively involved in a dairy farm's foot health team. Topics discussed will include: treatment protocols, assessing hoof trimming methods, hoof trimming records, detecting and monitoring lameness, footbath protocols and the link between cow comfort and lameness. Participants will have the chance to send workshop facilitators specific herd level cases they are working with and some of these cases will be discussed during the workshop. Come prepared to learn and discuss how to help your clients or your own herd to address this manageable health disorder.

Alternatively, attendees can select half day workshops that focus on the use of Dairy Comp 305 records to assess the reproductive performance of dairy herds led by Dr. Ricardo Chebel, University of Florida. The workshop will be held on Wednesday morning and it is aimed at providing experienced users of DC305 with new tools to evaluate reproductive problems in herds. Several examples of herds will be used to demonstrate new commands that may be created to evaluate important reproductive parameters. Furthermore, some of the important aspects of reproductive management of lactating dairy cows and heifers will be 'revisited' and expected pitfalls and outcomes of different strategies will be discussed. The discussion will also include new data regarding the use of pedometers/activity monitors for heat detection.

The third preconference workshop on Wednesday afternoon will present an overview of current trends in the dairy industry regarding labor, and the challenges that dairy producers, veterinarians and employees face among these changes. Attendees will be provided with information from two separate USDA-supported studies that have increased understanding of communication and attitude barriers between dairy farm managers and employees. In particular, employee training and education relative to milk quality will be presented as a potential model for opportunities to improve employee engagement. The workshop will be led by Drs. Erskine, Martinez, Durst and Moore from the Michigan State University.

The space for these preconference seminars is limited; therefore, the conference organizers advise to register early to secure a spot.

The main program of the conference over the next two days is equally diverse and exciting. The program will provide research updates from experts from the University of Minnesota's College of Veterinary Medicine as well as other Universities from within the United States. The research presentations will include topics such as an update about bovine leukosis, stockmanship tips for dairy farms, organic dairy production, best practices for raising heifers, mastitis prevention and therapy, residue avoidance, pharmacology, and pain management.

The organizers are particularly pleased that Dr. David Fraser will be the keynote speaker. Dr. Fraser (University of British Columbia, Canada) is an excellent, thought-provoking speaker and worldwide leading expert for animal welfare. His research seeks practical solutions to improve the lives of food production animals. His keynote presentation "Could Dairy Production Become a 'Profession'?" will be held on Thursday afternoon. Furthermore, Dr. Fraser will also provide an overview about the evolution of animal welfare across time and cultures in a second lecture.

In addition to the scientific program, the University of Minnesota's College of Veterinary Medicine is thrilled to honor the Davis family with the Dairy Appreciation Award on Friday. The Davis family is the owner of the New Sweden Dairy, which is home of the Dairy Health Education and Research Center of the College of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Minnesota. The Dairy Appreciation award will be given to the Davis family for their continued support of the Center. In addition to their support of veterinary education, the Davis family is lauded for their longstanding support for education of the general public about modern dairy production by offering tours at New Sweden Dairy.

The long running conference has been a key event for bovine veterinarians, dairy producers and industry representatives where they can learn more about the latest applied research from national and international experts. Furthermore, exhibitors will showcase the latest veterinary dairy health management tools.

The conference organizers are thankful for the continued support of our sponsors, which include our Platinum sponsor: Elanco Animal Health, our Gold sponsors: Zinpro and Zoetis, and our Copper Sponsor: Arm & Hammer.

For more information about the conference program and registration, please visit: or contact us at

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