HD Notebook

Homegrown Southern dairy judgers top collegiate contest

Fri, 09/23/2016

University of Kentucky wins AADS contest with three individuals in the top 10.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

With 13 university teams from across North America, the Wildcats topped the Collegiate Dairy Judging Contest held at the All-American Dairy Show earlier this week. The University of Kentucky bested the five colleges that have produced the past five National Intercollegiate Dairy Judging Team champions. To many, they were an unlikely victor. However, if you look into their history, it should come as no surprise.

University of Kentucky dairy judging team
University of Kentucky: Coach Matthew Borchers, Rachel Sibert, Jacob Barnett, Rachel Hinton, and Tyler Nichols claimed the top college team honors at the All-American Dairy Show’s Dairy Judging Contest.
Read more

Staying positive

Thu, 09/22/2016

In a tough dairy year, farmers must work hard to remain positive, both financially and mentally.

dairy scene

By Mark Rodgers, Georgia dairy farmer

As my daughter, Caitlin, and I have written our blogs for Hoard’s Dairyman, we have tried to emphasize the positives of being dairy farmers even though this past year has been extremely hard financially for our family’s farm. We watched with great sadness as our two nearest neighboring dairies sold their herds and went out of the dairy business.

In this blog I thought I would share a few of the actions we have taken to stay positive and survive during these tough financial times.

  1. Family meetings and communication. We have kept all family farm shareholders aware of finances, and we continue to discuss short- and long-term goals and remain open to ideas that might help the farm reduce expenses or improve revenues.

Lameness . . . it will cost you

Wed, 09/21/2016

Treatment is just part of the expense when it comes to hoof health issues.

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

cow hoofFew things in life are free. Unfortunately for dairy farmers, even incidences of unwanted disease, like lameness, come with a price.

The most obvious costs of lameness are associated with treatment. Hoof trimming, antibiotics, bandages, and blocks are just some of the expenditures involved in treating a lame cow.

The economic impact of lameness goes beyond treatment, though. Additional costs of lameness evaluated in past research were highlighted in a University of Wisconsin-Extension fact sheet titled “Economics of Dairy Cattle Hoof Health.” Read more

Finding fall balance

Tue, 09/20/2016

Try these suggestions for finding a balance during this crazy time of year.

autumn dairy scene

By Darleen Sichley, Oregon Dairy Farmer

The leaves are turning color and starting to fall. The warm temperatures that last into the night have faded away, replaced by a crisp chill in the evening air. Rain has returned to wet a summer-dried earth.

If the changes of your surroundings haven’t signaled fall in every way, then certainly schedule changes have. Ours include harvest, back to school, sporting practices and events, and parent teacher community meetings, just to mention a few. Then, of course, we also have to find the time to feed everyone and still manage the daily chores between milkings.

There’s a kind of hustle and bustle to this time of year that can’t be found any other time. Read more

Milk quality training made simple

Mon, 09/19/2016

Good mastitis control begins with employees that are trained to identify and treat the disease.

By Maggie Seiler, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

People and Parlors bookMastitis control in any herd begins with good protocols facilitated by informed employees who are cognizant of the importance of identifying and handling mastitis cases early and effectively.

For that reason employee training has become a vital piece of the mastitis management puzzle. Trainings are most effective when they include up-to-date information, an application avenue, and a practical lesson. Read more

Transition time is critical for milk and more

Fri, 09/16/2016

It’s vital to getting cows bred back on time.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

How we feed and manage cows during the transition period can minimize illnesses, set them up to get bred back, and boost milk production throughout lactation. This is a challenging time as most infectious and metabolic disorders occur during this period, which is why proper care during those three weeks before and three or four weeks after calving are so important.

Incidence per lactation range Cost per case Culling risk
Displaced abomasum

Don’t let your colostrum supply run low

Thu, 09/15/2016

Make sure that you have high-quality colostrum in stock.

By Taylor Leach, 2016 Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern

frozen colostrumThe excitement that a newborn calf brings can be one of the best feelings in the world. Unfortunately, the disappointment you feel when you discover her dam’s colostrum quality is subpar can take your excitement down a notch.

The gold standard colostrum that you were hoping to receive is not available. Luckily, you have extra in stock, and the calf will soon be off to a healthy start. But what would happen if your stockpile of colostrum was running low? Here are some tips to make sure that you always have the best colostrum on hand at all times.

Work out of labor traps

Wed, 09/14/2016

Close the door on these five traps to improve the work environment.

farm labor

By Maggie Seiler, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Managers of all levels on dairy farms have a tough job. They juggle many schedules and a demanding workload that never takes a day off. Maybe more difficult is dealing with employee disagreements and personalities.

One national survey of American CEOs that was conducted by human resource experts estimated that as much as $144,541 per day is wasted in lost labor efficiency in companies.

Although many dairies operate on a smaller scale than those executives that were interviewed, the researchers described five spending traps that apply to all sizes of management environments. They explained these five items often originate from team members’ strengths as they are perhaps overused or misapplied.

Three ways I make calf chores more likable

Tue, 09/13/2016

There are always better ways to get jobs done when applying a little creativity or acting on advice from others.


by Sadie Frericks, Minnesota dairy farmer

Among the dozens of tasks I tackle each day, some tasks are certainly less fun than others.

And, I’ll be honest, I tend to put off what I don’t enjoy. Instead of “doing the worst first,” those jobs always seem to get pushed to the bottom of my list.

In an effort to get my chores done on a more appropriate timetable, I’m always looking for ways to make the less pleasant jobs more tolerable.

Usually, making a job more enjoyable means finding a way to do it faster or with less effort or discomfort.

I recently found that these three small changes added up to make some of my calf chores a lot more likable.

Dehorning paste and duct tape Read more

Smooth transitions

Mon, 09/12/2016

A survey of Iowa dairy farmers revealed their efforts to enhance fresh cow care.

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

transition cowThe transition period is fittingly named, as a dairy cow goes through a flood of transitions the 60 days precalving to 30 days postcalving.

This time period can be one of pride or one of frustration, as it has the potential to make or break a whole lactation. To evaluate fresh cow programs on dairy farms, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach conducted a transition cow survey. A total of 25 dairy farmers responded with an average herd size of 395 milking cows and 60 dry cows. Rolling herd averages ranged from 20,000 to more than 28,000 pounds of milk. Read more

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