Home > Groundbreaking Work > Transforming the Livestock and Dairy Industries
It’s simple: happy, comfortable cows are healthier and more productive. But what constitutes cow comfort?
This comprehensive, web-based program delivers information, virtual tours, blueprints, troubleshooting and more to producers, builders, lenders—the whole dairy facility team—to help them build facilities where cows thrive. The program has transformative potential—results show that a cow living in optimal conditions can produce up to seven more pounds of milk per day. And for today’s consumers who want to feel good about the welfare of the animals that produce their food, what better way than through the School of Veterinary Medicine’s leadership in this field?
Important new research at the UW School of Veterinary Medicine is changing the way beef and dairy farmers treat digital dermatitis, a disease that has caused painful hoof lesions and hindered animal welfare and food production for nearly 40 years.
Our scientists developed an infection model that can reproduce the disease in a controlled setting and allows them to test exciting new treatment methods, such as supplementing cattle diets with trace minerals that help cure digital dermatitis and exploring a safer, more effective hoof bath solution.
For the first time ever, these new treatments have helped bring better understanding to the role specific bacteria play in the disease. It’s another example of innovative thinking creating new breakthroughs in animal care at the School of Veterinary Medicine.
When 2,500 show cows march in to Madison’s World Dairy Expo each year, the potential for disease to spread rapidly is serious. That’s why our student volunteers have been instrumental in ensuring biosecurity at the event.
The volunteer program was developed in 2010 when Expo management wanted to increase the event’s biosecurity, a tall order for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture’s small Trade and Consumer Protection team. Today, under the leadership of our faculty, more than 80 veterinary medical students examine the cattle’s health papers and match them with ID tags, safeguarding against critical disease transmission.
The program highlights our commitment to both animal welfare and the motivation of our veterinary medical students to learn and engage in important animal care practices that will become even more crucial in the future.
Faculty, staff, and students at the School of Veterinary Medicine are merging old knowledge with new technology to shape the future of modern dairy farming.
Our Food Animal Production Medicine program has developed eight iPad apps that help improve efficiency and knowledge access for dairy farmers in the field. The apps give farmers instant feedback on various measurements, immediate data uploads, virtual farm tours and more.
This is one more example of how we continuously push to find new ways to help improve on existing methods of understanding. Whether it’s in the hospital or on the farm, we’re always looking to utilize new technology in new and exciting ways to transform animal care.