HD Notebook

Step up to the plate

Tue, 03/22/2016

What other ways can you find to serve the dairy industry?

Darleen Sichley

by Darleen Sichley

Last week, March 13 to 19, was National Agriculture Week. I had the chance to represent the Oregon dairy industry in a video commercial for a local TV station. The commercial was played on their morning show during ag week.

I don’t think this opportunity was one I would have willingly volunteered for in the past, but I took a moment to look at the bigger picture — doing a service for the industry that matters the most to me. That gave me the drive to step up to the plate.

I’m not a fan of public speaking, luckily the commercial was short and scripted, and I got a couple days to rehearse. The filming went great and was a very fun experience, I walked away very glad I had agreed. Read more

Seven keys to automated calf feeding success

Mon, 03/21/2016

Attentiveness and observation are still important to success in automated calf feeding systems.


By Maggie Seiler, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Just like many management areas on the farm, calf feeding requires careful attentiveness in order to be successful. According to Jim Salfer, University of Minnesota extension educator, this is true for any type of calf feeding setup but especially for automated calf feeding systems.

“If your number one goal of putting automated calf feeding systems in is to save labor, you will probably be disappointed,” he told a large crowd during a recent presentation at the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin annual meeting. “Observation is really the key to this system. Calf managers have to go out of their way to look at the calves every day.” Read more

Summer’s coming! Are you and your cows ready?

Fri, 03/18/2016

Strategize for ways to minimize heat stress.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

Hoard's Dairyman webinarEven though we are not ready for sunglasses and shorts, warm weather will be here soon. Mike Brouk, Kansas State University, presented “The latest on beating the heat” during the monthly webinar.

Each region of the country has its own reaction to summer weather, depending on the temperature and the humidity. However, losses of 10 to 15 pounds of milk per cow are not unusual across the country. Unfortunately, states like Texas can see a loss of $700 per cow per year due to heat stress. That number amplifies as herd size grows.

Heat stress has several detrimental impacts:

  • Drop in milk production
  • Reduced fertility and extended days open
Read more

Farming offers a competitive edge to scholarship applicants

Thu, 03/17/2016

Students who grow up on dairies stand out on scholarship applications.

scholarship image

By Taylor Leach, 2016 Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern

College, as we all know, can certainly cause financial stress on a family. Especially to those who grew up on a small dairy farm such as myself. However, there are ways to make this financial burden more affordable. Scholarships can play a key role when it comes to financing one’s education, and the list of dairy scholarships that are available for students to utilize continues to grow. Read more

Speak the language cattle understand

Wed, 03/16/2016

Our actions need to speak louder than words when working with livestock.

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Cows may not speak like we do, but that does not mean that we cannot communicate with them. We must simply interact in ways they understand.

Ron Gill, Texas A&M“Cattle prefer to communicate through sight,” said Ron Gill from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension during his presentation at the Wisconsin Dairy and Beef Well-Being Conference held in Platteville, Wis. His demonstration involved beef animals, but his advice pertained to cattle of any breed.

He explained that to accomplish good stockmanship and low-stress handling, we must understand how prey animals like cows see the world. Gill shared that while cattle have excellent peripheral vision, they have a large blind spot directly behind them and a smaller blind spot in front. Read more

Our first roll and toggle

Tue, 03/15/2016

Turning adversity into opportunity.

Wiggle, the cow

by Sadie Frericks

Like other dairy farmers who enjoy showing cows, we develop special relationships with our show cows. They’re the ones who always want their heads scratched or come find us in the pen or the pasture. We give all of our cows the same love and attention, but show cows get a little more affection.

So I didn’t take it well when Glen, my husband, told me that Wiggle had pinged with a displaced abomasum. Wiggle has done better in the showring than any other cow we’ve bred. She also comes from one of the top production families in our herd.

“Oh no,” I said out loud, as my heart sank.

“No, this is OK,” Glen replied.

For a second, I thought my hubby wasn’t thinking straight. “When is a DA ever OK?” I thought to myself.

Before I could question his soundness of mind, he explained: Read more

The perfect feed center

Mon, 03/14/2016

There is no one-size-fits-all in feed centers, but all farms can benefit from reduced feed costs realized by measuring and managing inefficiencies.

By Maggie Seiler, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

feed center on a dairy

It’s no secret that feed costs make up a significant portion of expenses on the farm, and in tight financial seasons, we all look to this area. What things can be reduced? What can be cut? How can we lose fewer nutrients before they make it in front of the cows?

Speaking at the Northeast Dairy Producer’s Conference last week, Dave Greene, technical field specialist with Diamond V, suggested that the greatest feed center inefficiencies exist in management and shrink. The key Greene says is understanding your specific operation’s strengths and weaknesses and playing to the strengths while reducing the inefficiencies. Read more

National Ag Day – for ourselves or others?

Fri, 03/11/2016

Event celebrates the value of food production in our world.

Ag Day poster

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

Tuesday, March 15 is National Agriculture Day, which marks the 43rd year of celebrating the ways agriculture impacts everyone. This year’s theme is “Celebrating Safe and Healthy Ag Workers.”

The National Agriculture Day program encourages every American to:

  • Understand how food and fiber products are produced.
  • Appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products.
  • Value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy.
  • Acknowledge and consider career opportunities in the agriculture, food and fiber industry.
Read more

The Rx for sharing our dairy life

Thu, 03/10/2016

Place yourself in a consumer mindset. In doing so, you’ll develop a much clearer dairy conversation.

farm scene

by Mark Rodgers

When dairy farmers speak to each other, we often toss around terms such as TMR, DA, fresh, dry, lactation, milk fever, and hundredweight of milk like we learned those terms back in the first grade. That’s because we understand dairy terminology, it’s second nature for us to use, and it works fine in conversations with peers. However, when we share our dairy stories to those outside industry circles, that technical jargon does not work to convey our message. Read more

It’s a different world without GMOs

Wed, 03/09/2016

Adverse economic and environmental impacts would result if genetically modified organisms were eliminated from farming.


By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Technology has given our agricultural industry legs to grow, opportunities to be more productive, and methods to become more efficient.

One such technology is genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. The use of GMOs has elevated food production for both humans and animals to new levels.

Yet, some people have taken a firm stance against the use of GMOs. They would prefer use of this technology be limited or not used at all. Read more

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