- The dairy industry is heavily concentrated in south Mississippi
- Most of the state’s dairy producers are 50+ years old
- The state has approximately 80 Grade A dairies
- The value of milk production in 2017 was $26 million
Dairy cattle plays a vital role in agriculture and in our lives. Special care is taken to ensure that dairy cattle have proper nutrition, which is why dairy farmers often rely on experts in nutrition for advice on feeding their cows.
Dairy farmers monitor their cows carefully – at least twice daily as they enter the milking barns. And as with beef cattle, farmers regularly walk their pastures and check the barns to check the health of their herd and the availability of food and water. Fences are checked for weakness, and added as needed to keep the herd safe and secure.
In addition, shelter conditions are closely checked. To reduce stress, dairy cattle need a comfortable sleeping environment with comfortable bedding in the form of sand, wood chips, recycled rubber or even foam mattresses.
Hygiene, such as hoof trimming, is performed regularly to keep the cows comfortable and their hooves healthy. And, as in beef cattle, if a cow becomes injured or sick, the producer will isolate it from the herd to provide one-on-one care, or to call in a veterinarian or university animal scientists for advice. If a cow needs antibiotic treatments, she is removed from the milking herd and not placed back until her milk tests free of antibiotics.
Dairies have regular veterinarian check-ups across the entire farm, occurring monthly, bi-monthly or, in some cases, even weekly to maintain the health of the herd.