HD Notebook

Americans are spending less money eating out

Wed, 11/26/2014

Is the trend motivated by cost or convenience?

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

Just about anyone could guess that health care, housing and transportation costs were higher in 2013. And they’d be right. Americans have cut back across the board, but what about food purchases?

For the past three years, Americans have increased the amount of money spent on food consumed at home. It was $3,977, while food eaten out was less, at $2,625, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey for 2013. That translates to 60 percent of food dollars being spent on meals in-home, while 40 percent are from restaurants. That’s a stretch from 25.9 percent out-of-home in 1970. Read more

A snow overload

Tue, 11/25/2014

The recent major snowstorm in New York is a reminder to all in northern climates the dangers of heavy snow on rooftops.

winter dairy scene

by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

An early winter snowstorm dumped up to 7 feet of snow in parts of western New York, shutting down highways and stranding thousands. For farmers, feed delivery was halted and milk that could not be picked up was dumped. The worst reports shared news of barn collapses and animals that perished.

Curt Gooch, senior extension associate with Cornell University, says that building failure due to heavy snow can be a result of improper building design or construction, an imbalance of snow on the roof, or simply an amount of snow that exceeds the design's snow load.

In a wooden structure, audible or visual signs may be noticed prior to a collapse. Read more

Outcry for agriculture

Mon, 11/24/2014

Discussing policy and practices with consumers is all about talking with them, not at them.

by Maggie Seiler, Hoard's Dairyman Editorial Intern

Bruce VincentAs a nation, consumers are no longer interested in just the nutritional content of the food but also how it is produced and how production affects the environment. One of the biggest struggles that the agriculture industry faces is explaining it in a way that is understandable and personal. Bruce Vincent, a Montana logger and traveling speaker on this issue, said during a November 10 lecture at Kansas State University that the trick to communicating is talking with people rather than at them. Read more

Future supermarkets will feature – you!

Fri, 11/21/2014

“Guru” predicts a shopping environment that includes cooking, eating, and meeting local farmers.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Take a seat, have a taste . . . and say hello to farmer Frank.

Phil LempertNone of these are part of the grocery store shopping experience today, but “Supermarket Guru” and NBC Television Today Show food trends editor Phil Lempert (pictured here) says all of them are coming.

Speaking at the United Dairymen of Idaho annual meeting in Boise last week, he told listeners that, in addition to grocery shopping being low on consumers’ list of favorite things to do, supermarket trends are changing at an increasingly faster pace. On top of that, “a lot of the food information out there for consumers is simply wrong.”

He said that is where local farmers will come in. Read more

Oxygen is the enemy

Thu, 11/20/2014

Poorly preserved corn silage doesn’t stand a fighting chance.

silage bunker

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Haste makes waste. An idiom that’s long been applied to children completing their household chores is just as relevant to our corn silage harvest and storage. Occasionally, in the haste to stay ahead of dry matter losses or impending weather, corners are cut. But this is a double-edged sword. These shortcuts may get the crop under plastic and tires sooner, while inadvertently causing irreversible dry matter losses.

At the Penn State Dairy Nutrition Conference, John Goeser with Rock River Laboratory spoke on the fermentation process from onset to feed-out. Ideally, we want to utilize as many of our harvested tons as possible. Ultimately, this comes down to minimizing shrink. Read more

She sees a Class III low of $15.50

Wed, 11/19/2014

But decline could be brief; economist expects a rebound to $18.50 in fall.

Mary Ledman

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Virtually no one doubts that U.S. farm milk prices will be lower in 2015. While many different predictions are out there, the only debate is about how far they may fall.

Speaking at last week’s United Dairymen of Idaho annual meeting in Boise, economist and Daily Dairy Report editor Mary Ledman (seen here) said her prediction is a low of around $15.50 per hundredweight in April, May or June — or perhaps all of them.

She noted with obvious skepticism that the latest USDA All-Milk forecast for 2015 was $19.50, and then told producers, “If you can lock in your milk anywhere close to that, do it!” She pointed out that, in New Zealand, the current Fonterra price forecast suggests a world market price of $14. Read more

Build heifer facilities that meet your needs

Tue, 11/18/2014

A larger building means extra costs, but your heifers will thank you during surges in animal numbers… and an empty pen now and then isn’t a bad thing, either.

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Building heifer facilities to meet your needs

If the time has come to build a new heifer facility on your farm, it is wise to do your homework before the construction crew moves in. One major decision is how big the building should be.

“Know where you’ve been in terms of heifer herd size,” said Becky Brotzman, D.V.M., with the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, during a Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin Calf Care Connection workshop. She advised farms to first determine their average and 80th percentile heifer calf delivery rate per year and by month. Read more

Why do cows die?

Fri, 11/14/2014

Simply guessing as to the cause is part of the problem.

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

November webinar slide

Death loss is a challenge to every producer. Minimizing early removals from the herd should be the goal, but it starts with an understanding of the root cause of the illness or injury.

Choosing to focus on the positive side of the issue, veterinarian and Colorado State University professor Frank Garry spoke on the topic of “Moving toward longer-lasting cows” during the November Hoard’s Dairyman webinar. Read more

Forage shrink: what are you leaving on the table?

Thu, 11/13/2014

Combined with poor ensiling practices, up-front and secondary fermentation losses can account for unnecessary losses.


by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

“In the best-case scenario, we’ll lose only 2 to 3 percent of our harvested forage tons to fermentation shrink,” noted John Goeser, Rock River Laboratory, at the Penn State Dairy Nutrition Conference. But, when combined with poor ensiling practices, up-front and secondary fermentation losses can account for anywhere between 3 and 25 percent of harvested tons, he continued.

While it is too late to change tactics and better preserve this year’s crop, Ev Thomas, previously with the Miner Institute, shared strategies to reduce forage shrink in future years. Read more

New York 4-H sweeps National 4-H Dairy Quiz Bowl

Wed, 11/12/2014

Empire State has won nearly one-third of all national contests.

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

After a second place finish in last year’s contest, New York 4-H came back in full force in 2014. Not only did they win the team portion of the dairy quiz bowl contest in Louisville, Ky., they had the top four individual scores on the 50-question short answer written test!

New York 4-H team

Since the contest started recognizing top test scores, no team has swept the top four spots. New York, Wisconsin and Minnesota each previously had claimed a one-two punch. New York’s team was (in order of test scores) Courtney Dearnley, Stephanie Bishop, Ian Stewart and Katie Sondericker. They are coached by Deborah Grusenmeyer and Matt Young. Read more

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