HD Notebook

Cooling has transformed Arizona dairying

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

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

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

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

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

Thu, 06/12/2014

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


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

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

Tue, 06/10/2014


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

Strong fourth-quarter milk checks restored profitability

Mon, 06/09/2014

Even with higher milk prices late in the game, many Western dairy farms had slim margins, as feed prices were higher in 2013 when compared to the previous year.

by Corey Geiger, Hoard's Dairyman Managing Editor

“Although corn prices dropped dramatically during the fourth quarter of 2013, most other feeds rose in price which kept more profitable bottom lines just out of reach,” reported the Frazer LLP certified public accountants and consultants in its annual analysis of its clients’ dairy farm financial records. As a result, even though Western dairy producers realized higher milk checks, feed costs continued to chip away at profitability. Read more

At last! – Dairies were profitable in 2013

Fri, 06/06/2014

Accounting firm’s data says it was a decent year for a change. More of them are needed.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

dollar signsMilk producers made tangible progress last year in their uphill battle to recover from the financial disaster of 2008-09, according to summary data from the largest dairy accounting firm in the country. While it’s a start, most still have a long way to go to get back to premeltdown equity levels.

Average income and expense summaries just released by Genske, Mulder & Co. show that profitability was the broad norm for their clients in 2013 rather than the rare exception. Amounts varied widely between the seven Western states and two Plains states regions summarized by the firm, but all were in the positive column. Read more

Syndicate content