HD Notebook

How’s your sampling technique?

Thu, 04/17/2014

Poor samples turn in to a poorly balanced ration in the bunk.

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Accurate samples are the cornerstone of diet formulation. Yet, for some nutrients, sampling itself is a major source of the variation seen from one nutrient analysis to the next. When sampling technique is poor, uncertainty surrounds our data and results in poorly formulated, inconsistent diets.

Bill WeissAt the Tri-State Dairy Nutrition Conference, Bill Weiss with The Ohio State University outlined protocols to take good samples from bunker silos. Multiple samples should be taken to monitor sampling variation.

Sampling from bunker silos:

Do not sample directly from the face due to the risk of a cave-in. Take your sample at a distance from the face of at least twice the height of the face. Read more

Farm size matters, but not to the cows

Wed, 04/16/2014

Research shows similar challenges for small and large dairies.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

“Farm size is a lightning rod for criticism in agriculture,” said Dan Weary as he spoke to those attending the April 14 Hoard’s Dairyman webinar, “Cow welfare and farm size – challenges and opportunities”. Read more

Don’t just cut your losses

Tue, 04/15/2014

Cow health and welfare benefit when causes of death are identified and changes are implemented.

by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

cowThose in production agriculture know that animal mortality on farms is inevitable.

But how much death loss is normal? According to Franklyn Garry, Colorado State University, there is no specific benchmark for what death loss on dairy farms should be.

In his presentation at a PDPW transition cow workshop, Garry shared that dairy cattle mortality appears to be on the rise. NAHMS data has shown an uptick death rate over the past two decades. In 1996, it was at 3.8 percent. By 2002, it was up to 4.8, and in 2007 average reported death loss was 5.7 percent on dairy farms. Read more

Embryo sales go under the microscope multiple times

Mon, 04/14/2014

Just like semen and live cattle, the international regulations governing embryo sales require highly accurate records and health checks.

Scott Armbrust

by Corey Geiger, Hoard’s Dairyman Managing Editor

Life does truly go full circle. Last Wednesday, I had the opportunity to be on the speaking docket with Scott Armbrust, D.V.M., at the Livestock Genetics Export Seminar in Madison, Wis. Hosted by Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, the event was geared towards giving breeders, veterinarians, A.I. studs and other interested parties updated information on marketing genetics around the globe.

Dr. Armbrust has spent the past years 30 years developing his Paradocs Embryo Transfer enterprise into a highly regarded genetics business, respected equally by breeders here stateside and around the globe. Read more

The Federal Department of Absurd

Fri, 04/11/2014

FDA wants to make it tougher to feed brewers grains.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

cowThe Federal Department of Absurd – er, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – is an entity that regularly seems to defy common sense and logic. This is yet another example:

Smoking is a proven cause of cancer and other diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says it causes nearly 500,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. But is growing and selling tobacco illegal?

Brewers grains, a byproduct of making beer and other alcoholic beverages, are a high-quality source of protein that has been fed to cattle for centuries. Inclusion rates of up to 50 percent are seen in feedlot rations today. Cows love brewers grains and dairies that are lucky enough to have a supply swear by them. Read more

Calves require cleanliness

Thu, 04/10/2014

When colostrum is bacteria-laden, we do more harm than good.

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

calfWe’ve been indoctrinated with the five C’s to give calves their best possible start. Colostrum tops this list, followed by calories, cleanliness, comfort and consistency. Despite the order we’ve all been taught, colostrum and cleanliness must go hand in hand.

Even colostrum feeding has its own mantra, noted Bob James in a recent Dairy Pipeline.

  • We must feed high-quality colostrum. Levels exceeding 50 grams of IgG per liter are considered good. On a Brix refractometer, values exceeding 22 indicates good quality colostrum.
  • Feed enough colostrum and feed it early. It is often recommended that the calf receive 4 liters of colostrum in the 12 hours after birth. This provides approximately 200 grams of IgG.

Say cheese for National Grilled Cheese Month

Wed, 04/09/2014

This dairy-based food has enjoyed a steady climb in popularity.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

making grilled cheese April is National Grilled Cheese Month. Just the thought of warm melting cheese on hot buttered toast stimulates the taste buds. Delighted customers foster the continued consumption of dairy products.

While America produces a lot of cheese, its citizens also consume plenty. According to the Dairy Facts 2013 Edition, Americans eat 33.6 pounds of cheese per person per year. That trails only the eating habits of the European Union with 36.7 pounds. The U.S. does not rely strictly on U.S.-made cheese as it imports 154,000 metric tons of cheese annually. We are the third largest importer of cheese, behind Russia and Japan. Read more

What genomics can do for you

Tue, 04/08/2014

From parentage verification to culling decisions, genomic testing can serve a variety of purposes on-farm.

by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

heifer“SNP chips are information powerhouses,” says Tami Smith with Neogen Corporation. Smith addressed the audience at the Dairy Calf and Heifer Association’s annual conference last week.

A SNP (pronounced snip) is short for single-nucleotide polymorphism, or a genetic variation in DNA due to the sequence of nucleotides. Through genomic testing, we can learn more about these differences and the genetic make-up of an individual animal.

There are four main ways to use genomics on the farm, Smith said. One is to confirm parentage. She has seen farms with 2 to 3 percent of animals misidentified, all the way up to 40 percent. “Genomics can help clarify that,” she noted. Read more

Hoard’s Dairyman classifieds, the original farmersonly.com

Mon, 04/07/2014

The Scheiderers found true love through The National Dairy Farm Magazine

by Ali Enerson, Hoard’s Dairyman Special Publications Editor

Renae Konkler Scheiderer always read the personal classifieds in her dad’s Hoard’s Dairyman for giggles. However, in the April 25, 2000, issue, one ad caught her eye. Al Scheiderer had given his email address in that ad, and Renae emailed him.

From that first email, Al and Renae found out they both lived in Ohio, only 2-1/2 hours apart. After two weeks of emailing back and forth, they set a first date. Their dinner and movie date happened the Sunday before Memorial Day. Al asked Renae back for a second date the following day to the State Jersey Sale, and she agreed.

Al and Renae saw each other on the weekends, and they would go out after the cows were milked. “I should have known what I was getting into then!” says Renae. They would chat on MSN Messenger every evening while they dated. Read more

A no-brainer dairy investment

Fri, 04/04/2014

Dry pen and hospital pen cooling pay benefits forever.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Record milk prices give milk producers a financial opportunity that is simply too good to ignore – dry pen and hospital pen cooling.

They’re no-brainer investments whose benefits touch every area of the dairy, from the calving pen to the milking parlor to the calf area to the culling list. In those areas and others, they pay for themselves over and over forever.

Geoffrey DahlResearch evidence to back up this statement is beyond compelling, as Geoffrey Dahl (pictured), chairman of the department of animal sciences at the University of Florida, explained at five stops in the just-concluded Dairy Heat Stress Road Show. Seminar stops were made in Puerto Rico, Florida, Texas, Arizona and California. Read more

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