HD Notebook

Coincidence or choreography?

Fri, 09/19/2014

Animal rights group visits New Mexico with an abuse video and press conference, and it all seems totally scripted.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

There are no coincidences when animal activists are involved. A reminder of that came again this week when the undercover video circus moved to Albuquerque, N.M., looking more neatly scripted than ever.

Chapter one was a secret video taken by a Mercy for Animals investigator at Winchester Dairy near Dexter, N.M., during August and September, using what appears to be a fisheye button or pen camera. It is unknown whether the activist was an employee, and if so for how long they had worked there.

The video shows a wide range of animal treatment, some of which are mischaracterized for the benefit of clueless viewers. But there is also egregious treatment of downer cows with loaders and throwing of calves into a pickup bed. Read more

Calling all undergraduate journalists!

Thu, 09/18/2014

It’s your turn to write for the National Dairy Farm Magazine.

By Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Aside from having top tier dairy programs, what do the University of Wisconsin- Madison, Iowa State, Cornell, Virginia Tech, Kansas State and the University of Minnesota have in common? Over the past 26 years, each of these universities has had students spend a summer in Fort Atkinson, Wis., serving as the Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern.

Internships provide students with an opportunity to explore a career field. For a three-month period, students immerse themselves in a specific sector of the industry. During this time, they “try on” a potential career and discover if that line of work is the right fit for them. Read more

Premier National Junior Events – showcasing talents

Wed, 09/17/2014

Siblings top Junior Management Contest

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

Cole Leonard from Virginia FFA topped the Junior Dairy Management Contest, taking home the $1000 scholarship. The contest encompasses judging, linear scoring, feed identification, business and finance management, and practical knowledge on topics like reproduction. The top five individuals are then interviewed and that score is added to their tallies. Undoubtedly, the years Cole spent dairy judging, competing in dairy bowl and working on the farm contributed to his success in a contest that combines a variety of dairy skills.

Read more

Less pain is the end goal

Tue, 09/16/2014

New guidelines from the AABP are designed to alleviate some of the discomfort associated with dehorning and castration.

Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Dehorning and castrating are not two of the most favorite jobs on a farm, and the calves are likely not fans either. The reality is that both need to be done, so the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) has created guidelines to help veterinarians and livestock producers approach these tasks with animal well-being in mind.

Both practices should be completed considering the following parameters:

Age: Dehorning and castration are best done when the calf is young. Ideally, horns should be removed before the horn base grows larger than 1-inch in diameter. Castration would preferably be performed by 120 days of age. Read more

Don’t forget to develop the rumen

Mon, 09/15/2014

Calves need a steady supply of calf grain or starter to mature the rumen and prevent growth losses.

by Maggie Seiler, 2014 Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern

Not long ago, calf care was a bit of an afterthought, and many young animals received a standard serving of milk that was adequate for survival and some growth. In the last several years, developments in calf rearing have allowed producers to take advantage of the high potential for growth during this period by feeding higher quality milk or milk replacer.

This movement toward accelerated calf growth has boosted weaning weights and reduced weaning ages, while automatic feeders and group housing management strategies have aided the process. However, high milk consumption does not equate to rapid rumen development. Read more

Feed price outlook for rest of decade: Low

Fri, 09/12/2014

Forecast paints a nice financial picture for anyone with livestock to feed.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Low prices for corn and other feed grains are expected to last for the rest of the decade, according to a recent forecast by a leading agricultural research group.

The dramatically lower prices being driven by this year’s record crop harvests are not expected to continue, of course, but those in following years should still be very low in comparison to what was seen in 2008 and again from 2010 to 2013, according to the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) at the University of Missouri.

December corn ($3.41), November soybeans ($9.88) and December wheat ($5.17) all traded at 52-week lows yesterday morning at the Chicago Board of Trade. In 2012, by comparison, corn touched $8, soybeans approached $18 and wheat flirted with $9. Read more

Our spin on “Designer Dairy”

Thu, 09/11/2014

From concept to cover: how we created this year’s gatefold

By Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

On the Saturday of World Dairy Expo, the theme for the following year’s event is announced. As 2013’s “Center of the Dairy Universe” drew to a close, the artwork for “Designer Dairy” was unveiled. From that time, our staff has 10 months to come up with our interpretation on the latest theme. The design or image that is crafted then graces the cover of our September 10 World Dairy Expo Supplement.

Found in the center of your September 10 issue, this year’s gatefold cover was composed and photographed by our art director, Ryan Ebert. He estimates that between, sketching and brainstorming, dying and drying the shavings, the photo shoot and finalizing the design, 30-plus hours of work were wrapped up in this year’s cover. To see what went in to our cover creation process, Ebert put together the video below: Read more

Is getting cows pregnant getting harder?

Wed, 09/10/2014

It might seem like it, but tighter management and technology can help.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

September webinar slide Decades ago, cows gave far less milk and reproduction came easy. Today’s cows produce high volumes of milk, but are still expected to calve back consistently. There was a downward trend for fertility until 2001, when a focus on reproductive health reversed that trend. Matt Lucy, University of Missouri, discussed this during the September Hoard’s Dairyman webinar, “Getting them bred.” Read more

Milk price tops list of organic dairy concerns

Tue, 09/09/2014

A fair and steady milk price is on organic dairy producers’ wish lists.

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Organic dairy product consumption continues to grow, but so does the price of organic cattle feed, cutting into margins for dairy producers. Thus, a new study has revealed that a fair and consistent milk price is the top concern for organic producers.

Researchers with the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station and the University of New Hampshire College of Life Sciences and Agriculture surveyed 183 organic dairy farmers in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont during the spring of 2011. The average Northeastern organic farm in the survey consisted of 57 milking cows and 309 acres. Three-quarters of the farms grew their own forage but purchased grains. On average, the farms were certified organic for 7.6 years. Read more

Once There Were No Cows

Mon, 09/08/2014

Bonnie Mohr’s inspirational book features 16 new paintings

By Ali Enerson, Hoard’s Dairyman Special Publications Editor

Once There Were No Cows coverThe farmer is an American icon to many, the foundation upon which our country was built. They are some of the most hardworking, committed, stubborn, yet optimistic entrepreneurs around. And, ultimately, farmers live life as a guardian to their land, animals and family. Bonnie Mohr’s new book is about the Creator finding an animal worthy of giving back to their guardian. Read more

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