HD Notebook

Calf care pays off long term

Date: 
Thu, 08/07/2014

For one Pennsylvania producer, the dollars spent on heifers are returned after calving.

Bollinger Farm

By Maggie Seiler, Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern

A common strategy for spending available dollars on the farm is investing it close to the milk parlor. Areas that tend to get the most attention are the ones that directly affect milk production such as nutrition and cow comfort. In many cases, this short changes other areas of the farm which must modify and adapt as resources permit. This has led to a variety of models for calf and heifer care across the nation, but producers who invest in their calves are reap the benefits. Read more

“My American Farm” is fun learning

Date: 
Wed, 08/06/2014

Educational games share agriculture’s story.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

MAF

“Corn is grown in every state and on six continents.” That is just one of the agriculture facts state fair attendees could learn in the American Farm Bureau’s booth in the Discovery Barnyard. At the Wisconsin State Fair, I volunteered for a four-hour stint and oversaw the four tablets that allowed fair attendees to learn about agriculture with "My American Farm." I was very impressed with how engaged the youth (and their parents) were. One young girl, after answering a few of the counting exercises correctly, turned to her mom who had been helping her and with newly found confidence said, “Mom, I got this!” noting that she did not need any assistance and wanted to do it herself. Read more

Lame cows need our help

Date: 
Tue, 08/05/2014

It takes preventative strategies and early detection to keep cows walking comfortably on all four feet.

by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Do lame cows get better on their own? According to Gerard Cramer, D.V.M, associate professor from the University of Minnesota, the answer is usually no.Gerard Cramer

In his presentation at the Minnesota Dairy Health Conference, Cramer explained that lameness is more than an economic problem for multiple reasons. It creates more work for producers, and it is an animal welfare issue as well. “Lameness is a disease we can see,” Cramer said. “It’s a huge animal welfare problem.” Read more

Big-picture thoughts from dairy science meetings

Date: 
Mon, 08/04/2014

While listening to presentations at this year’s Joint Annual Meeting (JAM) of the American Dairy Science Association (ADSA) and the American Society of Animal Science (ASAS), we were able to glean some big-picture thoughts from the world’s leading animal scientists.

by Corey Geiger, Hoard’s Dairyman Managing Editor

While all the research conducted by the world’s animal scientists is geared towards building a better agricultural system, it’s important for everyone to remember that ultimately our number one goal is to produce food for the human race.

While dairy exports have been a buzzword these days, we still have a great deal of upside right here at home.

“If Americans ate to USDA’s dairy guidelines, we’d have to produce twice as many dairy products,” Juan Tricarico of the Dairy Research Institute reminded attendees at a symposium featuring presenters from all the major food animal species. Read more

Shopping for grains is fun again

Date: 
Fri, 08/01/2014

Huge crop outlooks have slashed prices 40 to 56 percent from two years ago.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

What a crazy, incredible turnaround.
harvesting corn
Huge 2014 crop outlooks in the U.S. and other major grain-producing countries have destroyed the high prices for feed grains that made life so painful for anyone with livestock to feed just two years ago. Corn, soybean and wheat farmers were on the top of the world in 2012; now they’re hoping to break even.

Two years ago, prices at the Chicago Board of Trade peaked at $8.40 per bushel for corn, $9.42 for wheat, and almost $18 for soybeans. Feeding cows was hazardous — no, dangerous — to everyone’s financial health. Read more

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

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