HD Notebook

No longer scared of sand

Date: 
Thu, 07/31/2014

A Pennsylvania dairy combines cow comfort and an easier way to handle sand-laden manure.

sand

by Maggie Seiler, Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern

Comfortable cows or easily maintained manure systems. It seems like many dairy producers feel they must choose between one or the other. Sand has a strong reputation for enhancing cow comfort and lowering somatic cell counts while remaining an inexpensive bedding choice. However, many dairies must also consider how to handle the bedding once it has been used. Sand is not only hard on equipment but can be especially difficult on manure separators and digesters. Read more

What you cannot see can kill them

Date: 
Wed, 07/30/2014

Water quality is paramount to cow health.

cow at water trough

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

“My cows are dying. What is going on?” sobbed the 65-year-old dairy producer as his cracked hands cradled his cheeks and covered his swollen eyes. “They calve, get weak, have trouble getting up, then they just give up trying.”

Water is the most critical nutrient in dairy cattle, especially in the summer. Maximizing water intake during warm weather helps to minimize drops in production. But, it was not summer.

Water should be cool, clean and readily available. Positioning troughs out of direct sunlight can aid in keeping water temperature desirable and maintaining consumption. There were adequate troughs and all under cover. That was not the problem. Read more

The 100 pounds of milk club

Date: 
Tue, 07/29/2014

No two herds are the same, but those that reach 100 pounds of milk per cow per day have certain practices in common.

cows

by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Farms getting 100 pounds of milk per day from their cows are doing a lot of things right. Like what, you might ask?

To answer that question, Nigel Cook and his colleagues at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine performed a cluster analysis of 557 dairy herds with more than 200 cows using freestall housing in Wisconsin. The analysis categorized farms using 16 different DHIA monitors of herd performance. The farms sorted themselves into six clusters of varying levels of production and herd health success. Read more

Control flies this summer

Date: 
Mon, 07/28/2014

A multistep approach is best for fly control on your dairy.

by Ali Enerson, Hoard’s Dairyman Special Publications Editor

cow with fliesFlies become a nuisance in the summer, especially for our cattle. An unmanaged fly population can reduce milk production 10 to 30 percent and decreases feed efficiency. While we’ll never be able to eliminate flies completely, there are some control measures that minimize their impact on the herd. Read more

Get out and get about

Date: 
Fri, 07/25/2014

Visiting other dairies and attending conferences is a great way for producers to get new ideas for their operations.

dairy farm

by Maggie Seiler, Hoard's Dairyman Editorial Intern

I am now more than two months into my internship with Hoard’s Dairyman. It is pretty incredible to realize how fast it has gone and how much I have learned. I think one of the biggest lessons I have gained so far came on the road. In June, I was sent on a cross-country tour of the dairy industry. In one week, I visited farms in Ohio, North Carolina and Kentucky. The old green work van and I got some quality time on the road while I gawked at parts of the countryside I had never seen. Now, this past week, I have been exploring Pennsylvania and New York. Read more

Georgia is committed to youth development

Date: 
Thu, 07/24/2014

University of Georgia’s, William Graves, awarded ninth youth development award.

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Before there was 4-H and FFA, there was the Hoard’s Dairyman Juniors. In addition to launching the Young Dairyman page for farm youth in 1915, Hoard created the Juniors, which was the forerunner of the two aforementioned rural youth organizations.

Over 75,000 youngsters enrolled in Hoard's Dairyman Juniors. The program encouraged young people to stay on dairy farms with their parents and taught them the fundamentals of dairying.

For nearly a century, Hoard’s Dairyman has maintained this commitment to youth development. To further support not only youth, but those who play an integral role in their knowledge development, we began sponsoring the American Dairy Science Association’s Hoard’s Dairyman Youth Development Award in 2006. Read more

Making money or being wealthy?

Date: 
Wed, 07/23/2014

Americans are worth more today than ever before, but many still struggle financially

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

As a group, Americans are the wealthiest they have ever been. This spring household financial wealth was at its peak, and with the current stock market, the two are obviously related. However, the median American household income is still recovering, and is 8 percent below 2007 levels (after inflation), according to a recent issue of The Kiplinger Letter.

The report went on to say that only about 13 percent of Americans have significant financial assets. We have been told for years to save for retirement, and people are listening. However, that “wealth” is stashed away in accounts that aren’t easily accessible without penalty.

The Kiplinger Letter covers economic forecasts, but in easy to understand, everyday language. The wealth vs. income section caught my attention. Read more

Don’t cry over spilled manure… instead, act quickly

Date: 
Tue, 07/22/2014

Manure spill response demonstrations give farmers tools to deal with a potential spill.

by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Manure is a valuable commodity that provides needed nutrients for crop acres, but it takes multiple steps to get it from Point A to Point B. Most times, moving manure from storage to the field happens with few problems. However, occasionally a mechanical or equipment failure, an accident or negligence occur and cause a spill.

“It’s not illegal to have an accidental spill,” said Kevin Erb, University of Wisconsin-Extension conservation professional development and training coordinator. “Failure to report it is when you’ll have problems.” Read more

Watch “Milkhouse Mama” evict birds

Date: 
Mon, 07/21/2014

This dairy farm cat routinely trolls the freestall barn with the goal of permanently evicting birds. Watch this 40-second video to see her in action.

by Corey Geiger, Hoard's Dairyman Managing Editor

Stolen feed.
Defecating in feed and on cows.
Spreading disease.

As dairy farmers, we can all add to the list of havoc that birds wreak on our dairies. One farm I visited recently is fortunate to have a very instinctive cat that literally skips back and forth on the freestall neck rail permanently evicting birds from the barn. The cat, dubbed “Milkhouse Mama” by the veterinarian who spayed her a few years earlier after a few litters of kittens, paces through the barn most of the day. In this short summertime video, you will see her “attitude” towards sparrows. Read more

The disease that stumps researchers

Date: 
Fri, 07/18/2014

Hemorrhagic bowel syndrome causes abdominal pain, dehydration and death while keeping producers guessing on methods to prevent it.

by Maggie Seiler, Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern

Hemorrhagic bowel syndrome (HBS) was first detected in the early 1990s in dairy herds. Since that time, it has become a more common issue in the industry affecting all breeds of cattle and especially Brown Swiss.

Sheila McGuirkAccording to a presentation given by Sheila McGuirk at the Four-State Dairy Nutrition and Management Conference in June, virtually no progress has been made in treating the disease because researchers have been unable to recreate the disease in the lab. A definitive cause of HBS has yet to be identified, but two agents, the bacteria clostridium perfringens type A and the mold aspergillus fumigatus, appear to play a role. Read more

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