HD Notebook

How did my education prepare me for my career as a dairy farmer?

Date: 
Thu, 04/21/2016

From high school to college to continuing education opportunities, we must continue to grow and develop our talents.

animals practicum

by Caitlin Rodgers

In order that I may inspire some other youth, I’ve decided to share how my education has prepared me for my career choice as a dairy farmer. Maybe I’ll be able to help some youth wanting to come back to the family dairy farm make some smart decisions, too. To get the story rolling, I’ll start out with a small recap. Read more

The flawed fat philosophy

Date: 
Wed, 04/20/2016

Researchers did not want to publish all of their findings.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

steakLooking back, the intense fat-related studies of the 1960s and 1970s did not prove that removing saturated fats and replacing them with vegetable oils made people healthier.

That was the hope of the research leaders Ancel Keys and Ivan Frantz. While some of their own research proved them wrong, they chose not to publish it. Their collective omission led people to vilify animal fats in diets — shaping the habits of consumers for over 40 years. Read more

Bridging the consumer gap starts in preschool

Date: 
Tue, 04/19/2016

Our little boy’s passion made me realize the weight we carry as advocates and educators of our industry.

Farm tour

by Darleen Sichley

Our local preschool class did a fun project this year where all the kids picked a topic and did a presentation on their passion. That topic then became the theme of the week’s regular learning.

It was fun to see the array of choices that so closely portrayed each child’s personality. Monster trucks, scuba diving, art, rainbows, and even one little girl’s daddy were subjects picked by youngsters. My Littler Farmer’s (our youngest son) choice melted this farm mama’s heart — his cows. Read more

Always room to improve

Date: 
Mon, 04/18/2016

Tightly correlated, managing SCC is an important step in limiting antibiotic use.

By Maggie Seiler, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

milking cowsMastitis remains the most prevalent health problem in dairy herds according to the USDA’s Dairy 2014, and it’s not one that is going away. The study found 24.1 percent of cows are affected by the disease. That number is up from the 16.5 percent reported in the 2007 National Animal Health Monitoring System survey.

Phil Cardoso, D.V.M., reminded farmers that as the mastitis rate goes up, so does the need for antibiotics. In a recent Dairy Focus at Illinois Newsletter, the assistant professor of animal sciences recommended dairies work to lower somatic cell counts (SCC) as a way of reducing antibiotic use and thus minimizing the chance for antibiotic residue in meat or milk. Read more

Target rations for above-average cows

Date: 
Fri, 04/15/2016

Ration strategies for groups of dairy cows summarized.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

Maximize production, but don't waste resources. That sums up the art and science of formulating rations for milking groups. The challenge is that rations are seldom balanced for just one cow; they are balanced for a pen of cows with similar characteristics – age, days in milk, reproductive status, and even breed.

Bill Weiss from The Ohio State University presented our April webinar, “Target rations for your milking groups.” He addressed basic principles and some misconceptions in balancing rations for lactating cows. Read more

Allergies add extra challenges

Date: 
Thu, 04/14/2016

Science shows that “farm kids” are less likely to have allergies, but what about those of us who do?

By Taylor Leach, Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern

allergy medicineScience has proven over the years that children who grow up on dairy farms run a lower risk of developing allergies or asthma problems. Apparently, I am an exception to this scientific data.

From a young age, it was clear that I had a pretty significant allergy problem. I was not able to shake out straw for calf hutches or even feed heifers hay without sneezing. As time went on, we hoped that my symptoms would improve, but my health declined and I was becoming more dependent on my medication. Read more

Behind the music

Date: 
Wed, 04/13/2016

The Peterson Farm Bros. put their agriculture advocacy efforts to music in a string of parody videos.

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

With one YouTube video, the Peterson Farm Bros. became an overnight sensation. Before bursting into the spotlight, though, it took some careful thought and planning by the trio of brothers from Assaria, Kan., to prepare their agriculture advocacy efforts.

Greg Peterson, the oldest of the Peterson Farm Bros., shared a behind the scenes look at the making of their first video and their journey since then at the Dairy Calf and Heifer Association (DCHA) annual meeting held this week in Middleton, Wis. Read more

Reframing . . . dairy farmer style

Date: 
Tue, 04/12/2016

We can change our attitudes by changing our thoughts.

Sadie Frericks

by Sadie Frericks

Without a doubt, I am an optimistic person. My glass isn’t just half-full — it’s overflowing.

I think dairy farmers, in general, are optimistic people. A positive outlook is almost a necessity for this way of life. As the famous quote from Brian Brett so eloquently states: “Farming is a profession of hope.”

But there are times when our optimism is tested.

For me, February and March are the months when my smile turns upside down.

For several reasons, we schedule breeding so that none of our cows calve in December and January. That means over a third of our herd freshens in February and March. This flood of fresh cows and newborn calves overwhelms our system, including both facilities and labor. Read more

Still looking for early metritis diagnoses

Date: 
Mon, 04/11/2016

Behavioral changes and bacterial cultures both show early promise in identifying metritis cases.

cow in freestall

By Maggie Seiler, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Characterized by discolored vaginal discharge and an offensive odor, metritis is a top health and reproductive concern in fresh cows. As such, researchers have focused on early detection and treatment options that return cows to reproductive health as effectively and quickly as possible. Read more

Science or sentiment

Date: 
Fri, 04/08/2016

Who do consumers trust?

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

Farmer trust image

Some days we think people are so naïve to believe everything they read. Other times, they are so skeptical of even the most logical and safe practices. I laughed when I read a post on Facebook on April Fool’s Day. The post poked fun at those who only question what they read on the first of April, assuming all other information is 100 percent truthful the other 364 days.

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