HD Notebook

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

In California, it paid to be organic

Thu, 06/05/2014

When compared on herd size, income over feed cost was $4 greater for organic dairymen.


by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Across the industry, there is one struggle upon which we can unite. Regardless of your chosen production method or location in the country, margins have been tight as of late. Yet, when compared, California’s organic operations fared a bit better than their conventional Holstein counterparts this past year.

Annually, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) releases California Cost of Production data. In 2013, data was collected from 10 organic dairy herds, averaging 445 head. The CDFA also collected information from 29 conventional Holstein herds, averaging 397 cows. Based on herd size, these two data sets provide a reasonable cost of production comparison. Read more

Breakfast on the Farm events stimulate dairy consumption

Wed, 06/04/2014

Dairy promotion gatherings enhance consumer sales

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

youth petting calfJune is an exciting time for the dairy industry . . . amiable weather, bustling activity and overall enthusiasm for milk and dairy products. The most obvious signs of dairy promotion are Breakfast on the Farm events, where rural and urban dwellers enjoy the morning meal showcasing agriculture and the dairy industry. Read more

Temperature and humidity readings predict heat stress

Tue, 06/03/2014

With high summertime temps looming, it is time to start paying attention to Temperature Humidity Index values to manage your cows’ heat stress.

Just like the kids at the local swimming pool who are cooling off on hot summer days, your cows are beginning to feel the effects of warmer temperatures. Producers in the South have already been dealing with THI values exceeding 68, which is the threshold for heat stress, and producers across the rest of the country should be gearing up for the warmer weather. Now is the time to review your heat stress terminology and prepare for the heat stress battle. Read more

How will you participate in June Dairy Month?

Mon, 06/02/2014

Dairy foods are worth talking about; they contain more nutrients and are only pennies per serving

By Ali Enerson, Hoard’s Dairyman Special Publications Editor

dairy facts

June. It’s National Dairy Month. With dairy products and our nation’s food under scrutiny, it would be easy to just sit out June Dairy Month altogether this year. But I would argue that very reason makes it all the more important that you participate. Each of us, contributing even just one hour of time, will create a tremendous impact. So, brush up on your dairy knowledge and decide what you can do this month. Read more

A scathing indictment about organic food marketing

Fri, 05/30/2014

Study says the objective is to make false claims that spread fear and boost sales.

organic food

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

If you ever sensed that organic sales tactics didn’t seem to be totally honest, objective and unbiased, then you’re smarter than many consumers, according to Organic Marketing Report by Academics Review.

The group’s website says it is “an association of academic professors, researchers, teachers and credentialed authors from around the world who are committed to the unsurpassed value of the peer review in establishing sound science.”

“Fear sells” is the very unpolitically correct message that comes from the report’s analysis of more than 100 published academic studies looking at the methods and messages used to promote and sell organic foods in the U.S. Read more

Manure’s double-edged sword

Thu, 05/29/2014

It’s an invaluable fertilizer that can also pose a safety hazard.

manure handling

by Amanda Smith Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Tractors hit the road with renewed vigor over the holiday weekend in America’s Dairyland. As is the case in many dairy states with a cropping emphasis, the pressure is on to apply manure, work ground and finish planting. In the haste to make feed for the coming year however, we must remember to be vigilant when emptying manure basins and applying “black gold” to our land.

While it has value as a fertilizer, when handled improperly, manure can pose some significant hazards. On-farm, every employee should be aware of the risks involved with manure management. Read more

Farms can be dangerous during summer

Wed, 05/28/2014

Safety first for those spending time on farms this season.

girl preparing toplineby Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

As many of us open our farms to tours and family gatherings this summer, here are reminders that we often overlook on the farm. These tips hold true whether we spend one day or the whole summer outdoors.

Summer safety reminders:

  1. According to the American Red Cross’ recent survey, nearly half of Americans don't know the basic water safety skills such as treading water or floating. Farmponds and large water troughs can be dangerous to nonswimmers. Drownings don't only happen in lakes or oceans.
Read more

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