HD Notebook

It’s silage season, Y’all!

Date: 
Thu, 07/14/2016

Harvest season can be one of the most challenging, yet most rewarding, times of the year on a dairy farm.

corn silage harvest

By Caitlin Rodgers, Georgia dairy farmer

Let me start out by saying that everyone who grows their own corn for silage knows how hectic harvest time is. Corn silage harvest is right around the corner in Georgia, and as I’m typing this, we have corn dry matter samples running to figure out when to start cutting. Everyone around here is geared up and ready to start whenever the dry matter percentage hits the correct amount. Read more

A “crappy” way to propose

Date: 
Wed, 07/13/2016

One Michigan dairyman took a unique approach at romance.

by Taylor Leach, Hoard's Dairyman Editorial Intern

You know you’re a dairy farmer when . . .
You propose to your girlfriend using cow manure.

manure proposal

It may sound like a joke you would hear from a Jeff Foxworthy comedy show, but Aaron Risch wasn’t joking when he asked Taylor, his girlfriend of nine years, to marry him.

The Risch Family Farm got started in 1937, when Aaron’s grandfather received seven Holstein heifers as a wedding present. Those seven heifers eventually grew into a 300-cow dairy in Webberville, Mich., where Aaron now works alongside his mother, father, and two younger siblings. “We all work together, we all love cows, and we all love what we do,” Aaron exclaimed. Read more

Dairy farming, it’s our calling

Date: 
Tue, 07/12/2016

This isn’t just my work; it’s my passion.

By Darleen Sichley, Oregon dairy farmer

cow with quoteI recently saw a quote that really struck me and made me think about how lucky we are in the dairy industry.

The things you are passionate about are not random, they are your calling — Fabienne Fredrickson Read more

Exit the execution trap

Date: 
Mon, 07/11/2016

In order to move forward, leaders and managers must focus on people, not the execution.

By Maggie Seiler, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

employee trainingThe wheels are spinning, but the car isn’t going anywhere. You haven’t worked long if you’ve never experienced this particularly stressful feeling.

On the farm, it might be something like this: The feed wagon broke, a cow needs assistance calving, the hay is ready to cut now, and all of the employees require assistance to accomplish their tasks.

Leadership specialist Jack Harkins might call this situation an execution trap.

The owner of Harkins Leadership Development Corporation says great organizations function well in three categories: people, strategy, and execution. Read more

Do you have the guts to bet the farm?

Date: 
Fri, 07/08/2016

Youth take a “go big or go home” approach to competition.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

“You are betting all your points in Final Jeopardy,” stated the moderator when speaking to California’s Alexandra (Alex) Gambonini.

Alexandra GamboniniThe 120 points tallied from earlier matches were tied with another competitor entering the last stage of the competition. It was her choice to “bet the farm” and risk all her points to assure herself at least a chance at the Jeopardy title. Or end the competition with no points. Read more

The mechanical dairyman

Date: 
Thu, 07/07/2016

Thanks to his mechanical talents, this dairyman kept two first-crop alfalfa harvests on track.

by Corey Geiger, Hoard’s Dairyman Managing Editor

chopperNear dusk on Sunday, May 22, I set out with our Hesston hay mower to cut the last field of first-crop alfalfa on my family’s Manitowoc County dairy farm. With the hay drying nicely, and one-third of the crop already chopped, my father said he would fill three more wagons before calling it an evening. So when I saw the farm pickup truck headed into a nearby field I was windrowing a short 20 minutes later, I knew something went awry.

“The chopper needs a lot of work,” said my father. “I picked up a chain and it made it through the rotary knives, jammed the blower, and tore the main drive belt.” Read more

Branching out with youth programs

Date: 
Wed, 07/06/2016

How youth activities helped me step outside of my comfort zone.

youth activities

by Taylor Leach, Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern

Small, quiet, and shy. Those were some of the words that best described me as a young child. I preferred working with my animals and keeping to myself most of the time rather than participating in social interactions. These were not necessarily bad qualities to have, but I had a hard time making friends when I did not possess the courage to walk up and start a conversation. Becoming more involved with dairy youth activities, however, allowed me to branch out and opened up various doors of opportunity that I am forever grateful for. Read more

Inexpensive summer fun for dairy kids

Date: 
Tue, 07/05/2016

Silage bag slip-n-slide, backyard camping, cow bedding sand piles, and nature exploring all lead to summer farm fun.

by Sadie Frericks, Minnesota dairy farmer

kids on water slide

Dairy farm kids find lots of ways to make their own summer fun. Once their chores are done, I allow our kids to free range as much as possible. Free ranging develops their creativity, confidence, and independence.

But I think every parent has heard, “I’m bored. There’s nothing to do.”

We try our best to make time for summer activities like going to the public library or spending the afternoon swimming or fishing. There are times, though, when taking care of cows and crops keeps us on the farm. That’s when options for at-home fun come in handy.

Here are four inexpensive ways for dairy farm kids to have more fun on the farm this summer:

1. Silage bag slip-n-slide Read more

Genomic testing is changing animal identification

Date: 
Fri, 07/01/2016

It’s more than just a number.

Guernsey cows

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

At the National Guernsey Convention held earlier this week in Minneapolis, Minn., members listened to a presentation on genomics by Laurel Mastro of Neogen Corporation.

While Holsteins started receiving official genomic information in 2009, April 2016 was the debut of Guernsey genomics. Mastro provided an overview of genomic testing. Read more

Don’t just blame the nutritionist

Date: 
Thu, 06/30/2016

Feeding the best possible ration to your herd takes true teamwork between the farmer and nutritionist.

cows eating

By Mark Rodgers, Georgia dairy farmer

I have other dairy farmers ask me questions about the analysis of the rations we feed at our farm. My usual answer is, “I don’t know, that’s what I pay the nutritionist to keep up with!”

I have come to realize that I don’t need to know everything, I just have to surround myself with good consultants who excel in their field.

I believe it is more important that I focus on the management of the feeding process. I should be making sure that we harvest at correct moistures, pack the silage adequately, seal the finished forage for long-term and stable storage, and manage the pit face to feed the best forages to our cows daily. Read more

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