HD Notebook

Spend your summer with Hoard’s!

Tue, 09/22/2015

Students interested in dairy and journalism are encouraged to apply for the 2016 Hoard’s Dairyman editorial internship.

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

2015 Editorial team

College students often find themselves faced with the question, “What do you plan to do after graduation?” Some students know exactly what they want to do after college; for others, the idea of finishing school and entering the workforce may be met with more uncertainty.

Whether you’re still trying to figure out what you want to be when you grow up, or you’ve had your career path cemented since Kindergarten, internships are a great way to “try on” a job to see how it fits with your talents and interests. Internships are also a valuable opportunity to gain work skills, learn what areas you still need to grow in, and make connections within the industry you hope to work in after graduation. Read more

Cow personality tests

Mon, 09/21/2015

Researchers are delving into animal personalities and the effects they have on production.

By Maggie Seiler, Special Publications Editor

HolsteinThey have personalities. For anyone who has managed cattle or spent much time around them at all, it is pretty easy to confirm bovines exhibit behavioral traits that vary from animal to animal. Their own little ticks if you will. In recent years, researchers throughout the world have begun to quantify correlations between these traits, cows’ personalities and animal productivity.

One such research project in Sweden recently identified correlations between low milk production and certain cow behaviors such as stepping (shifting weight from one leg to the other) during milking and facing the herd while in social isolation. These animals produced less milk than their herdmates and were categorized as showing more nervousness. Read more

As harvest winds down, so does crop size

Fri, 09/18/2015

USDA slightly cuts its average bushels per acre forecast.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

corn harvest

Across the U.S., cornfields are clearing out and silage bunkers are filling fast. And as they do, USDA has slightly changed its mind about just how full it thinks they will be.

In September’s “World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates” the department shaved its forecast about national average corn yield per acre by 1.3 bushels from the August estimate of 168.8 bushels. Its initial forecast back in May was 166.8 bushels.

In the context of what is still likely be the third biggest corn crop in history, the change doesn’t amount to a whole lot – 101 million bushels. That nudges total expected crop size down to 13.6 billion bushels. Read more

What’s inside matters

Thu, 09/17/2015

And one product that defies the FDA’s standard-of-identify rules is being called out.

By Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Just Mayo is anything but. And the FDA has notified Josh Tetrick, the owner of Hampton Creek and developer of Just Mayo, that his sandwich spread must be renamed. It’s a decree Tetrick is hell-bent on fighting.

According to U.S. food regulators, mayonnaise must contain eggs, as it has for nearly two centuries. Primarily a blend of canola oil, filtered water, lemon juice, white vinegar, and pea protein, Just Mayo lacks the all-important egg that defines its namesake. Its label also prominently features the egg that’s missing inside, which the FDA noted might mislead consumers.

Once a company has a warning letter from the FDA, it must correct all concerns that have been addressed. If Hampton Creek doesn’t comply, the FDA can obtain a court order from the Department of Justice to pull Just Mayo off of store shelves. Read more

Little room for gray area with antibiotics

Wed, 09/16/2015

Webinar stresses the importance of diligent administration protocols.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

Ruegg Webinar“People are not perfect,” stated Pam Ruegg, D.V.M., with the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For that reason, every attempt should be made to properly record treatments, double check animal IDs, communicate with team members, including training and administration protocols – especially with milking cows. Ruegg brought real-life, on-farm antibiotic use scenarios to the Hoard’s Dairyman webinar. Read more

Clean as a whistle

Tue, 09/15/2015

Sanitary feeding equipment is a vital part of the calf health equation, especially early in life.

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

cleanThe equipment used to feed calves on your farm may look clean, but is it really? Oftentimes, there’s more trouble lurking than the eyes can see.

“Many farms place a low importance on proper cleaning,” noted Sarah Mills-Lloyd, D.V.M., an agriculture agent with University of Wisconsin-Extension. During her presentation at UW-Extension’s Calf Management Seminar, she explained that farms often rush through cleaning because they don’t have the time or see its value. Read more

My weekend in a tie stall barn

Mon, 09/14/2015

Over Labor Day weekend, I checked milking in a tie stall barn off my bucket list.

By Maggie Seiler, Special Publications Editor

tie stall barn

Hoard’s Dairyman editors stay close to the business of dairying through involvement on their home farms and the Hoard’s Dairyman Farm. The editors also travel on a regular basis encountering many other dairy operations across the country throughout the year. As a new member to the team, I am still working on growing my knowledge of the national dairy industry, and last weekend I had the opportunity to fill in what I consider a huge gap in my dairy industry education. Read more

Oh how milk production costs have changed!

Fri, 09/11/2015

Average cost is approximately one-third higher than it was in 2006.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

The cost of making milk never seems to go down, a hard reality that data from the nation’s largest dairy accounting firm drives home clearly.

And from 2006 to 2014 that cost changed a LOT, as seen in the accompanying table.

Annual income and cost summaries generated by Genske, Mulder & Company almost entirely represent very large dairies (average client milking herd size in 2014 was 2,055 cows) that are located in the western half of the U.S., but we doubt any larger such database exists.

Comparing items in the simple average cost summaries for 2006 and 2014 is sometimes startling. Read more

Take your parlor to the next level

Thu, 09/10/2015

Performance evaluations identify the milking routine bottlenecks that are holding your herd back.

By Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

milking parlorFarms operate on pennies and seconds. The pennies saved per head after a ration reformulation can equate to thousands of dollars over the course of a year. When seconds are cut from each turn of the parlor, more cows can be milked

At the National Mastitis Council’s Regional Meeting, Rick Watters, Cornell University, encouraged producers to develop a thought process that challenges their current parlor efficiency standards.

“Milking center performance focuses around cows, people and equipment. Developing synergies between these three is key to improving performance,” noted Watters, who works with the university’s milk quality group. Read more

Ag jobs are out there

Wed, 09/09/2015

Nearly 60,000 openings each year for new graduates, but do students have the right skills?

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

employment opportunities“Not only will those who study agriculture be likely to get well-paying jobs upon graduation, they will also have the satisfaction of working in a field that addresses some of the world’s most pressing challenges,” stated USDA Secretary Vilsack.

The United States Department of Agriculture and Purdue University released a report on job availability for new college graduates, “Employment Opportunities for College Graduates in Food, Agriculture, Renewable Natural Resources, and the Environment, United States, 2015–2020”. The shortfall in people to fill those jobs should make students look twice at agriculture. There are nearly twice as many openings as graduates to fill them. Read more

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