HD Notebook

In search of the most feed-efficient cow

Date: 
Tue, 06/24/2014

While looking for characteristics that contribute to feed efficiency, we must not lose sight of traits, like milk production, that we know are profitable.

cows

by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

As our industry looks for the most efficient dairy animal, some are turning towards the idea of a smaller cow. But size isn’t everything, some researchers are saying.

“I want an animal that produces a lot of milk from the food she eats,” said Michael VandeHaar, Michigan State University, when he spoke at the Four-State Dairy Nutrition and Management Conference held in Dubuque, Iowa. Read more

If you break it, help fix it

Date: 
Mon, 06/23/2014

In helping get planting and first crop hay harvest completed on two family farms, a number of “field fixes” were needed to keep tractors rolling this spring.

by Corey Geiger, Hoard's Dairyman Managing Editor

Like other regions of the Midwest, northeast Wisconsin experienced a cool, late spring that included above-average rainfall. That led to short windows to actually get manure hauled, fields tilled and crops planted . . . if you could move at all. As these weather conditions lingered, the planting season and first crop hay harvest windows began to merge into one.

I am blessed to count my immediate family and my wife’s family among the nation’s 47,000 dairy producers who quite frequently help out on both operations. This spring was no exception as my father-in-law, Pete, was recovering from hip surgery. So I offered up my services to my brother-in-law Charlie, and he quickly accepted. Read more

Cooling has transformed Arizona dairying

Date: 
Fri, 06/20/2014

Producers in perhaps the country’s harshest environment prove that heat can be beat.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Shades, fans, misters and water make milk production possible even in the desert.

Arizona dairy

Few places in the U.S. are as deadly an environment for cows as Arizona, but milk producers there have become masters at using those four tools to not only help them survive, but thrive. It is a skill learned primarily from researchers at the University of Arizona, who did pioneering cow cooling research starting in the late 1970s.

Arizona’s 110 licensed dairies in 2013 ranked the state just 35th (tied) nationally, according to USDA, but they tended to be very big. Average herd size was 1,727 cows, the second most behind New Mexico and a position it has held all 22 years that we have records for. Read more

Plants may be student’s only lunch option

Date: 
Thu, 06/19/2014

One school in California is looking to eliminate dairy and meat as it pursues a vegan menu for students.

by Amanda Smith, Associate Editor

boy thinking about eating his vegetablesSchool lunch programs have become a political hot button as of late. Washington is gridlocked, as two opposing forces attempt to steer the future direction of the National School Lunch Program.

While tension takes hold in Washington, one private school in California, albeit on a much smaller scale, has already made their decision. Within the next year and a half, the meals it provides for its 140 students will be fully plant based. Dairy and meat will be terminated from the menu.

If all goes according to plan, the unaccredited MUSE School CA, owned and operated by actress Suzy Amis Cameron and director James Cameron, will be the first vegan, plant-based school in the U.S. Read more

Dairy breakfast showcases family dairy and its expansion

Date: 
Wed, 06/18/2014

Farm grows to accommodate more family and modern technology

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

June is Dairy Month. Along with celebrating the nutritious products made possible by dairy farmers, the Watertown Agri-Business Club highlighted the changing landscape of the family dairy farm. By hosting their annual dairy breakfast at Hasel Farms, they shared with the community what a modern dairy farm looks like.

Wagon rides took visitors through the freestall barn, along the alfalfa and cornfields and past the manure pit, to which many commented about the lack of odor. Or, if visitors chose, the farm was open to a walking tour, where guests could peak into the milking parlor, visit the calf barn and understand the mechanical process of how manure is converted into bedding. A petting zoo, train display, and of course, the delicious dairy breakfast meal, made the event complete. Read more

Monitor manure, monitor health

Date: 
Tue, 06/17/2014

Want to know how your cows are feeling? Check out their manure.

By Maggie Seiler, Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern

manureCow activity, the amount of time spent eating and milk production are indicators of cow health, but another gauge of herd health is often overlooked and stepped over by producers.

I remember walking through my family’s herd with the vet when I was young. Often, he would stop and, with a sleeved hand, pick up some manure, look at it and give it a sniff. At the time, I thought it was weird and gross; it was not until many years later that I realized the practicality of paying attention to cow manure as a method for monitoring cow health. Read more

Hoard’s editorial team hit the pavement for a 340-mile photography road trip

Date: 
Mon, 06/16/2014

Two Iowa dairies provided striking photos and learning opportunities

By Ali Enerson, Hoard’s Dairyman Special Publications Editor

The Hoard’s Dairyman editorial team takes great pride in providing our readers with high-quality articles and photos reflective of the current dairy industry. An annual photography road trip allows our editorial team an opportunity to expand their skillset and capture scenic dairy images. The images are then added to our stock photography collection for future issues. The six-person team departed from Fort Atkinson, Wis., on June 2 at 6:15 a.m. and returned at 7:45 p.m. after touring and shooting pictures on two photogenic Iowa dairies. Read more

China craves dairy knowledge

Date: 
Thu, 06/12/2014

Wisconsin researchers will develop training program for $400 million training center.

cows

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

China. It’s a population powerhouse on the tip of every dairyman’s tongue. Enter into a conversation regarding milk prices or dairy demand, and China will inevitably come up. The nation’s expanding middle class hungers for protein. This, coupled with its import demand, has buoyed world milk prices as of late.

After the melamine scandal rocked the country in 2008, citizens looked outward to meet their needs. Milk from a foreign supplier carried an added level of safety and trust, while domestic dairy was hindered by production problems and distrust. Read more

Improved starch digestion starts early

Date: 
Wed, 06/11/2014

Adjustments to rations can maximize efficiencies

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

June webinar slide slideRandy Shaver, University of Wisconsin-Madison, presented the monthly Hoard’s Dairyman webinar “Update on starch utilization by dairy cows” on Monday, June 9, a subject he’s extensively researched for the past decade.

It’s a growing area of interest as half to three-fourths of corn’s energy comes from starch. And starch is important for lactation as it provides carbohydrates that drive feed intake, milk production, components and feed efficiency. Read more

Computers are running our lives

Date: 
Tue, 06/10/2014

cow

Precision dairy technologies grow in number and popularity each year. The key to using them successfully is choosing the one that works for you.

by Maggie Seiler, Hoard's Dairyman Editorial Intern

I grew up listening to my grandpa talk about the “good ol’ days” when computers did not exist and cellphones were a figment of the imagination. For better or worse, I have never known agriculture without these technologies.

The first fully operational GPS was available when I was 3 years old, and my friends had cellphones by the time I was in sixth grade. I was only 9 years old when the first robotic milker was installed in the United States. I can now turn my dad’s irrigation sprinklers in Kansas on and off from my phone in Wisconsin. Read more

Syndicate content