HD Notebook

Dry cows dig darkness

Thu, 11/19/2015

When cows’ light exposure is limited during the dry period, a milk production boost in the next lactation is likely.

By Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

dry cowWhen light hits the eye, a cascade of hormonal events is triggered in the brain’s pineal gland. This cascade begins with a signal to suppress the release of the hormone melatonin. As darkness falls, the inhibitory impact of light is dampened, and melatonin secretion rises.

Animals use the daily fluxes in the duration of elevated melatonin concentrations to set their internal clock, which influences the secretion of a number of hormones.

“Consequently, days with greater light exposure are associated with a shorter duration of high concentrations of melatonin,” noted Geoff Dahl, University of Florida, when speaking at the Penn State Dairy Cattle Nutrition Workshop. Read more

Allow heifers to give your parlor a test drive

Wed, 11/18/2015

Introducing heifers to the milking barn or parlor before calving may be the ticket to reducing stress.

heifers in milking parlor

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

When a dairy heifer has its first calf, its world changes dramatically. A first-lactation heifer is likely to face different housing, a new social environment, more human interaction and an unfamiliar ration.

Perhaps the biggest change of all is adjusting to the milking routine. The sights, sounds and physical act of milking can be a stressful experience for a recently fresh heifer.

To help ease this transition, some farms introduce heifers to the milking barn or parlor prior to calving. Does this help reduce the nervous behaviors associated with milking time stress? Read more

Pouring water down the drain

Tue, 11/17/2015

When we throw away food, we are tossing more than just nutrients into the trash.

by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

waterNo doubt, water is a valuable resource. We use it every single day in a multitude of ways.

When water supplies get tight, food production often comes under scrutiny. Why? Because water is a huge part of the food making process. We wrote an article a few months ago titled “Today you’ll ingest 1,000 gallons of water.” A study led by the California Rice Commission revealed it takes 1,326 gallons of water to grow the food an average American eats each day. In fact, nine out of 10 gallons of water used by Americans are connected to the consumption of food. Read more

Don’t mess with mud

Mon, 11/16/2015

Managing corral conditions year round in open-lot dairies is important for cow health, comfort and production in the rainy season.

tractor in field

By Maggie Seiler, Special Publications Editor

In the areas of the country where open-lot dairies are popular, the onset of winter means a welcome chance of rain, particularly with El Niño predictions this year. However, along with that rain comes a not so welcome problem, mud. Unlike pigs, dogs and the occasional human child who enjoy a well-placed mud puddle, cows are likely to avoid mud. According to Michael Payne, director of the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program, muddy corrals can lead to reduced dry matter intake, lower milk production and more disease potential. Read more

More processing capacity coming to New Mexico

Fri, 11/13/2015

Expansion at Southwest Cheese in Clovis is expected to take two years.

Southwest Cheese

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Already one of the biggest single site cheese and whey protein powder processing plants in the world, a $140 million expansion of the Southwest Cheese facility in Clovis, N.M., was announced last week that will increase capacity by 30 percent. The project is expected to take two years.

Southwest Cheese is a 50:50 joint venture between Glanbia Plc and the Greater Southwest Agency, which consists of Dairy Farmers of America Inc. and Select Milk Producers Inc.

Construction of the original $200 million facility began in 2004. The first few loads of milk were received in October 2005, and the plant ramped up to begin full-scale operation in October 2006. Read more

That extra month has a cost

Thu, 11/12/2015

Delaying a herd’s age at first calving to 25 months has the potential to cost $45 to $90 per heifer.

heifers grazing in field

By Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Age? Weight? Height? If you ask three dairy producers what criteria they use to breed heifers, each will likely give you a different answer. One thing we can all agree on: pushing the age at first calving out too far comes with a hefty price tag.

In addition to being the most fertile group of animals, heifers should represent the best genetics on the farm. Breeding heifers at the right time enables producers to take full advantage of this valuable resource, noted Emily Wilmes, an extension educator with the University of Minnesota. Read more

Webinar details latest in reproduction technologies

Wed, 11/11/2015

Veterinarian shares ready-to-use information.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

November 2015 slide cover “Technology is great, but you still need to manage it,” shared Scott Poock, D.V.M., during the Hoard’s Dairyman webinar, “An update on repro technologies and protocols.”

For many years, fertility suffered in dairy herds, but that trend is changing due to selections for higher daughter pregnancy rate (DPR) and sire conception rate (SCR). But, estrus expression remains lower for cows than for heifers and beef cattle. Research hasn’t confirmed any difference between Holstein and Jersey herds, or confinement versus pasture-based operations. Read more

Hard work and a proven system provide road map to success

Tue, 11/10/2015

National-winning FFA Dairy Judging Coach talks about preparing a non-traditional dairy judging team.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

“This was an extremely hard-working bunch of kids,” commented coach Bland Baird. His dairy judging program has brought six national FFA dairy judging titles to the Spencer County FFA Chapter in Kentucky – and that is just in the past eleven years.

Kentucky’s Spencer County FFA
Coach Baird, Tanner Goodlett, Marissa Allen, Jacob Whitely and Ryan Linton
Read more

Intermediate Champion also named Jersey Grand Champion

Mon, 11/09/2015

Winners hail from coast to coast

By Corey A. Geiger, Managing Editor

Grand Champion  Jersey Champion

Carly-O Tequila Alley (shown to the far right), the winning senior 3 year old and Intermediate Champion was selected Grand Champion of the All American Jersey Show. Taking the Reserve Grand Champion trophy was Miss Triple J Serenity-ET (shown second from left). The winning senior champion, Serenity won the five year old class.

Judge VanderMuelen
Read more

Minnesota and Ohio State ATI complete trifecta

Mon, 11/09/2015

Three national contest wins for these college programs.

By Corey A. Geiger, Hoard's Dairyman Managing Editor

The University of Minnesota and Ohio State University Ag Tech each swept the three major dairy cattle judging competitions this year by winning this year’s North American International Livestock Exposition’s competitions in Louisville, Ky., on November 8 with results being announced the next day.

For the Minnesota team coached by Dr. Les Hanson, this was the third championship in the four-year university division, having won Harrisburg’s All American by 15 points; World Dairy Expo by 54 points; and Louisville by 31 points. Making the win even more impressive was the fact the Gopher’s Louisville team was comprised of an entirely different team than the two earlier champions.

University of Minnesota dairy judging team
Read more

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