Fri, 03/27/2015

Spring has barely begun, yet things already look grim.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

cows at water troughBad turned to worse for California’s drought situation in 2014, which is why, on the first day of spring this year, California’s 2015 water situation already looked terrible.

Signs of a fourth straight year of drought — which broke historic records a year ago — were unmistakable in the San Joaquin Valley and Sierra Nevada mountains last week.

Winter precipitation was once again far short of normal. Snowpacks are once again abysmal. Reservoir levels are still too low. Some farmers are making more money by selling the water they are entitled to than they could if they used it to grow crops.

Thu, 03/26/2015

A breeding ground for bacteria, bedding is a significant source of mastitis pathogens in a confinement system.

cows lying down

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

The climatic conditions encountered in many regions of the country necessitate cattle housing. Such strategies must therefore account for a means to reduce the mammary gland’s exposure to environmental pathogens and minimize bacterial growth in cows’ surroundings.

“Populations of bacteria in bedding are related to the number of bacteria on teat ends and rates of clinical mastitis,” says Joe Hogan with The Ohio State University. Therefore, reducing the number of bacteria in bedding generally results in a reduction in environmental mastitis.

Wed, 03/25/2015

What accounts for the size differences between calves in the showring?

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager
brushing a heifer at the fair

There are two factors that contribute to an animal’s appearance – genetics and the care it receives.

Tue, 03/24/2015

The list of precision dairy farming technologies continues to grow and tell us more about our cows.

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

cow monitorPeople with good cow sense are irreplaceable, but there are exciting new tools that can help producers make more timely and informed decisions.

Mon, 03/23/2015

My bout with an intestinal infection hardened my stance on raw milk.

calf

by Brittany Statz, Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern

I spent most of my Christmas break helping my boyfriend on his 40-cow dairy in northwestern Wisconsin. The first couple of weeks of 2015 saw a bumper crop of calves hitting the ground: 11 calves out of nine cows, in fact . . . and eight of those calves were heifers. When I wasn’t sitting up until nearly midnight getting newborns to drink or holding down the fort while Sam made many mad dashes up the silo in the bitter cold to keep silo unloaders running, I was helping care for and feed the baby bovines.

Fri, 03/20/2015

University coordinators hope results will lead to a free safety program for producers.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

HICAHSWith dairy farm safety, there is always room for improvement.

Thu, 03/19/2015

Since pulsation came on-line, machines have taken a lot of flak for causing mastitis. Observations of the entire milking process, though, are needed to unroot the cause of milk quality problems.

By Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

milking parlor

Since the mid-19th century, there have been continuous attempts to make milk harvest more efficient. And since that time, mechanized milking has been blamed for the development of mastitis in dairy cattle.

So where does the blame lie?

“Machine milking can lead to the development of mastitis, but poor management practices also result in reduced milk quality,” noted Patrick Gorden, a veterinarian with the Iowa State College of Veterinary Medicine, at the National Mastitis Council annual meeting.

Wed, 03/18/2015

March 18 recognizes the import role agriculture plays in everyone’s lives

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

Ag DayThe Agriculture Council of America hosts National Agriculture Day, with the epicenter being Washington, D.C. Events promoting the role food
and fiber play in daily lives will attempt to reach educators, families and government officials. The 2015 theme is “Agriculture: Sustaining Future Generations.” But, the message starts at home.

National Ag Day has four goals:
1. Understand how food, fiber and renewable resources are produced
2. Value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy
3. Appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products
4. Acknowledge and consider career opportunities in the agriculture, food, fiber and renewable resource industries

What are the desired results?

Tue, 03/17/2015

New school lunch policies improved food consumption and minimized waste in one school district; can we do even better?

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

child eating healthy school lunchWhen the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 was passed and required the USDA to update the nutrition standards of the National School Lunch Program, some people feared that more food waste would occur.

We’ve seen it happen before. When some schools pulled chocolate milk from their menus, a Cornell University study showed that milk consumption dropped 10 percent, milk waste rose 29 percent, and participation in the school lunch program fell by 7 percent.

Mon, 03/16/2015

Automated calf feeding systems offer huge benefits but can also challenge management systems.

by Maggie Seiler, 2014 Hoard’s Dairyman editorial intern

automated calf feeder

Offering quicker gains, healthier calves and greater labor efficiencies, automated calf feeders have revolutionized antiquated calf systems while. Upon first appearance, the investment seems like it will easily pay for itself, and in many cases it does. However, C.A. Russell, a dairy producer in Texas and California, warned dairymen during a panel at the 2015 Western Dairy Management Conference in Reno, Nev., to pay special attention to building design when installing such systems.