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Cow Comfort Conference Convenes

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Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Northern NY Regional Ag Program is hosting its first statewide conference Monday and Tuesday in Liverpool.

It focuses on maximizing Cow Comfort through facility design.

Dr. Gordie Jones, DVM

One featured speaker is Dr. Gordie Jones, a dairy farmer from Wisconsin, who is known for his expertise on dairy herd performance, nutrition, dairy housing, facilities and management, and cow comfort.

Jones is also a veterinarian, nutritionist and partner in Wisconsin Dairy Farm before he traveled to Syracuse.

“One of the wonderful things about cow comfort is, the nicer we are to cows, the better air we give them, the softer bed we give them, the more time in bed – at food water and bed, the more milk they give us.”

Reducing the stress on cows can pay off.

“So, kindness pays,” says Jones. “If we give cows 20 hours a day to be cows and give them a great bed with fresh air, they eat the most feed, they convert it to milk and dairymen are happy and we get more milk from cows.”

A recent development in the field is the data to reinforce what scientists have learned.

“One of the things for dairymen is if she lays one hour longer on his dairy, if he does something nice and she lays down with a full stomach, she’ll give 3.7 pounds more milk. It pays to be nice to cows.”

Dr. Gordie Jones, Cow Comfort Specialist

Jones loves sharing his expertise.

“I’m looking forward to the conference because we can have a lot of dairymen in, we get a chance to improve a lot of cows lives, and that will improve some dairymen’s lives.”

Topics at the two-day conference include: understanding the importance of cow comfort, maximizing cow comfort through facility design, understanding when to retrofit and when to rebuild, the economics of cow comfort, using on-farm automation to improve cow comfort, and an update on the National F.A.R.M. Program.

“Dairymen are wonderful caregivers to their animals and they look for more information that says how can I do a better job – what’s the latest, greatest, what more can I do for my cows.”

As Dr. Jones might say, “We fill ’em up and lay ’em down!”

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