HD Notebook

Dairy outlook for 2016 is “bah humbug”

Fri, 12/04/2015

Disappointing milk price situation likely to get worse before it gets better.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

calendarSince they became a key part of the worldwide dairy export pipeline, American milk producers have seen these “dots” before and know how they connect:

  • Strong global supplies
  • Weak global demand
  • Shaky economies

So it’s no surprise that the U.S. milk price outlook for 2016 is worse than in 2015 — disappointing news that is already seen in Class III futures and is supported by analysts at the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC).

As bad as prices have been for all of 2015 ($15.98 per hundredweight average through October) and as bad as they’ve been lately (declines every month since June), producers should brace themselves for much worse prices in 2016, especially early in the year. Read more

A hairy hoof problem

Thu, 12/03/2015

A clean environment, adequate cow comfort and footbath use all bolster your ability to prevent digital dermatitis.

By Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

cow hoovesLameness affects everything a cow does. Feed intake, fertility, milk production and, in the end, profitability are all depressed when an animal has sore feet. Digital dermatitis is a prevalent and sometimes painful hoof lesion that develops when the hoof skin barrier weakens and Treponema species are able to invade it.

According to Dörte Döpfer, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, digital dermatitis is characterized by a raw, bright red or black circular erosion and inflammation of the skin above the heel bulbs. The edges of the lesion develop a white margin and overlong hairs that surround the sores or are adjacent to thick, hairy wart-like growths. Read more

The world’s foremost genetics exporter passes

Wed, 12/02/2015

It was a full 85 years for World Wide Sires’ Willard “Bill” Clark.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

A cowman, businessman and art collector, World Wide Sires Founder, Bill Clark was unafraid to pursue his passions. Born in the Central Valley of California, Bill’s impact reached far beyond his hometown farming community of Hanford. His education included the University of California-Davis and the Harvard Business School. He also served his country for four years in the U.S. Naval Air Force.

Bill Clark, World Wide Sires

Bill Clark (seated center) at the 1983 World Dairy Expo International Party with some of the World Wide Sires employees.
Read more

Put calves in the hot seat

Tue, 12/01/2015

A warming box can save young calves born during the frigid cold.

calves in heating box

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

There’s definitely a chill in the air, and for those of us in Northern climates, that chill is not going away any time soon.

Falling temperatures add to the challenges newborn calves face. With wet hair and just 2 to 4 percent body fat, these young animals are susceptible to frostbite, illness and even death when temperatures drop below freezing.

Some of these risks can be minimized if calves are dried quickly and thoroughly shortly after birth. This process can be sped up by placing calves in a warm environment. Commercially made warming boxes are available for farms to purchase, while other dairies have designed their own warming rooms or boxes. Read more

Climate change adding challenge to farming

Mon, 11/30/2015

New research shows the predicted warming of the climate could spell a decline in Wisconsin dairies’ economic productivity between 2020 and 2039.

cow grazing

By Maggie Seiler, Special Publications Editor

Farmers have one guarantee: change. Farming, more than almost any other profession, is at the mercy of Mother Nature’s musings. As we enter what is expected to be a warmer than average winter for the northern part of the country, we are reminded of the ups and downs of the climate and its effects on farms’ pocketbooks. Read more

Floods shrink cotton crop even more

Fri, 11/27/2015

Cottonseed availability was going to be lower even before Hurricane Joaquin flooded major growing areas.


by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Even with milk prices down, whole cottonseed prices were on track to be up this year – and then Hurricane Joaquin slammed the Carolinas in early October just prior to harvest.

Called a “once in a thousand years” storm, Joaquin was blamed for a dozen deaths as it flooded parts of the Carolinas with up to 20 inches of rain, prompting President Obama to declare a state of emergency in South Carolina.

Those rains drenched a 500-mile wide swath that included the important Mid-South cotton growing area, “decimating a significant portion of that region’s 2015 crop,” according to Cotton Incorporated. Read more

How butter got better

Wed, 11/25/2015

That creamy spread hasn’t changed, but its public perception has.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

butter on toast Butter is back! On family tables and restaurant menus, our old friend is asking consumers to rethink this dairy staple.

Dairy Management Inc., the group that manages the dairy checkoff, recently shared the back story on how butter replaced margarine at over 14,000 McDonald’s restaurants in the United States.

For over 25 years, DMI has led milkfat research through the National Dairy Council. The results show that dairy fat is different than other fats. Because of the science, consumers now have "permission" to add dairy fat to their diet. Without the milk fat research, it is doubtful that butter would have replaced margarine at McDonald’s in 2015.

Stop the disappearing feed act

Tue, 11/24/2015

Action can be taken to reduce feed losses during the TMR mixing process.

TMR mixer

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Now you see it . . . and now you don’t. Just like that, feed that was once available for your herd can be lost due to mold, pests, weather conditions and human error.

Feed losses, known as shrink, often happen slowly over time. We may not notice the impact shrink has on feed inventories on a daily basis, but that does not mean these losses should be ignored.

“We cannot forget shrink,” said David Greene, a Dairy Field Technical Specialist with Diamond V. “That’s money spent that you don’t get value from.”

Some measurable losses can occur during the TMR mixing process. At the 2015 GPS Dairy Forum, Greene shared the following recommendations to maximize efficiency and minimize shrink when mixing feed:

What’s keeping your fresh cows down?

Mon, 11/23/2015

Subclinical hypocalcemia management is important, but it remains hard to monitor the successfulness of treatments.

fresh cows

By Maggie Seiler, Special Publications Editor

Drink your milk so you can have strong bones and healthy teeth was probably the first nutrition lesson I remember receiving. As I grew up, I learned more about calcium and the many other functions it serves in the body. Read more

MPP-Dairy winners and losers so far

Fri, 11/20/2015

Producers who are most ahead are those who didn’t sign up at all.

MPP-Dairy payment calculations

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

No matter what kind of insurance a dairy owner has, not needing to use it means nothing bad has happened, which is exactly what they hope for.

On the other hand, not using it means it was an overhead cost that generated no income, which no business can afford.

According to official feed cost and margin calculations done by USDA for the first nine months of 2015, the only Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy) insurance payments made so far have been to the 269 producers nationwide who bought optional coverage at the maximum $8 per hundredweight level. Read more

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