HD Notebook

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

It’s the little things

Fri, 09/09/2016

Farming isn’t easy by any means, but certain moments make all the hard work worthwhile.

dairy farmer

By Caitlin Rodgers, Georgia Dairy Farmer

As many of you know, milk prices as of late have been entirely too low for a dairy farmer’s comfort. It has a lot of us on edge and even fearful for the future. All we can do is put the situation in the good Lord’s hands and pray about it.

If you choose a career as a dairy farmer and expect to be “money rich,” you might as well get out now. Now don’t get me wrong, there are some really good years with milk prices, but they are usually followed by bad ones. Fortunately, most dairy farmers don’t take pride in how much money is sitting in the bank. The pride we have lies within our work. Read more

Put yourself in an editor’s shoes

Wed, 09/07/2016

Internships, like the Hoard’s Dairyman editorial internship, let college students “try on” a job before graduation and entering the real world.

2016 interns

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

A new school year has just begun, but it’s not too early for college students to start thinking about their plans for next summer. Many internship application deadlines are early in the fall, and the same is true for the Hoard’s Dairyman editorial internship. Read more

Getting milk to those who need it most

Tue, 09/06/2016

Milk is one of the most requested and least available items at food banks.

By Darleen Sichly, Oregon Dairy Farmer

Is anyone else looking at the calendar and wondering how in the world it’s September already? The summer seemed to fly by, but the start of September brings a special message as it is Hunger Action Month.

boy drinking milk

Forty-eight million Americans, 15 million of them children, face hunger.

Who are they fooling?

Fri, 09/02/2016

The “truths” told by advertisers sometimes go too far.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

I was in the Milwaukee airport recently for an early morning flight, and I stopped at a coffee vendor. While in line, I was reading their promotional billboards to pass the time. As I read the words, I wondered if consumers actually believed what was written – or could they read between the lines like I did?

The sign read . . .

coffee sign

I stood there wondering how many people really think that the coffee they were purchasing was a “local” product? The billboard says the beans were roasted locally, but the carefully crafted verbiage avoided saying where the beans originated. By reading this sign, people might assume they were grown nearby. Read more

Shh! Quiet in the parlor

Thu, 09/01/2016

We can help reduce animal stress when milking by maintaining a calm environment.

By Taylor Leach, 2016 Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern

milking parlorAmidst the humming of fans and the constant rhythm of the milking machines, I tend to do some of my best thinking while working in the parlor. It’s calm, it’s peaceful, and it has always been a soothing environment for me.

Just like the cow, I prefer minimal noise when I am working. Too much commotion can cause unwanted excitement and trigger stress in the parlor. Therefore, I like to keep it as quiet as possible during milking time. I will admit to sometimes listening to the radio to catch up on the latest sports or playing quiet background music every now and then. Most of the time, however, silence is golden in my book. Read more

A proud dairy farmer

Wed, 08/31/2016

Passion is the main driver that shines through all the hard work and stress dairy farming can bring.

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

dairy cowToday’s dairy farmers don’t fit into one mold; they come in all shapes and ages, with varying levels of experience and differences in management style. One characteristic that all dairy farmers possess, however, is passion — a passion for the work they do.

Wisconsin dairy farmer Joseph Giemza put his thoughts to paper in the article titled “I am a proud dairy farmer,” which appeared in our August 25, 2016, issue of Hoard’s Dairyman. Apparently his feelings struck a chord with many readers, as we have received numerous requests for reprints of this article.

Giemza states the fact that there are fewer dairy farmers today than there was at the turn of the century. Read more

If you died today

Tue, 08/30/2016

Let mortality be a reminder to live and love fully.


by Sadie Frericks, Minnesota dairy farmer

At the urging of a good friend, I started listening to podcasts while traveling. If you’re looking for a way to make your next road trip thought-provoking instead of mind numbing, a good podcast will do just that.

One of the last podcast episodes I listened to had me thinking so hard that I missed my exit. And I’m still thinking about it now. Specifically, there was one line in the podcast that hijacked my attention: “I might die today.”

At first blush, the thought is a bit morbid (pun intended). Taken in context, it’s not quite so bad. The podcast creator is talking about how we, as humans, tend to fear death and run from our mortality. He encourages listeners to instead embrace mortality as a reminder to carefully use our finite time on earth. Read more

What’s lurking in your colostrum?

Mon, 08/29/2016

Important nutrients and immune building molecules are all components of a calf’s first meal, but that colostrum may also be a vehicle for some unwanted guests.


By Maggie Seiler, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Are bacteria derailing your carefully crafted colostrum program? That is an important question to address on farms as USDA reports and calf specialists still suggest 40 to 50 percent of calves in the U.S. do not receive adequate passive transfer of immunoglobulins (IgG).

The discussion surrounding passive transfer of IgGs has led the industry to develop many tools to test colostrum quality. These tools do an excellent job of identifying colostrum with high levels of IgGs, but they do not tell us anything about the cleanliness of the colostrum. Read more

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