HD Notebook

Kentucky FFA wins National FFA dairy judging contest, again

Tue, 11/03/2015

Three years running and six wins in 11 years.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

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

Winning the 2015 National FFA Dairy Cattle Evaluation and Management Career Development Event (CDE) was Kentucky’s Spencer County FFA. Team members were Tanner Goodlett, Ryan Linton, Marissa Allen and Jacob Whitely. You could say consistency won it for them, as team members individually placed fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh. Their individual scores were separated by a mere nine points. All four team members’ scores counted in the final tally and topped the next team by 42 points. Read more

Killer Forages

Mon, 11/02/2015

Prussic acid and nitrate poisoning should be a concern as first frosts arrive.


By Maggie Seiler, Special Publications Editor

As autumn progresses, it is accompanied by cool weather, better milk production and easier reproduction for dairy herds. However, among all the benefits of the season, producers must be mindful of the dangers of feeding forages after a frost. Sudangrass, johnsongrass, sorghum-sudan hybrids, forage sorghum and grain sorghum can all fall suspect to prussic acid or nitrate poisoning. Read more

Best blogs of 2015: The end of tail docking is getting closer

Fri, 10/30/2015

FARM program has moved up its deadline to stop the practice by 2017.


by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Time is running out faster than ever on the routine tail docking of dairy cows — and it can’t end soon enough.

The biggest step taken so far to end the controversial practice occurred on Monday this week, when the board of directors of National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) voted at their annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., to drastically shorten the deadline for dairies in the national Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) animal care program to stop routine tail docking.

The old deadline was January 1, 2022. The new deadline is January 1, 2017.

According to the FARM website, more than 90 percent of the current U.S. milk supply is produced by dairies that participate in the FARM program. Read more

Capitalize on sprinklers’ water use sweet spot

Thu, 10/29/2015

Now is the time to conduct a postmortem on your heat stress mitigation plan and evaluate potential modifications.

dairy barn sprinkler

by Amanda Smith, Hoard's Dairyman Associate Editor

With full bunkers and only a few remaining harvest tasks to check off the list, the warmth of summer may be the last thing on your mind. Or, maybe you’re already dreaming of the warmer days we’ll see next year. Either way, your cows are certainly thankful that the heat has dissipated.

Cows begin to experience heat stress at a THI (temperature-humidity index) of 68. This value is reached when the temperature hits 80°F with little to no humidity or when it approaches 72°F at 45 percent humidity.

Fans or sprinklers over the feedbunk are commonly employed to get cows over the heat stress hump. And few states know heat stress like California. Read more

National-winning dairy bowl coach shares insight

Wed, 10/28/2015

Illinois coach builds a “family” of team members

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

Whether you are a seasoned coach or someone looking to start a quiz bowl team, there are nuggets of wisdom in Becky’s words — maybe something you can put into use in your home area.

After both Illinois dairy bowl teams emerged as national champions at the 2015 Holstein convention, I spoke to Becky Meier, one of three coaches for Illinois. She shared how Illinois prepares for competition, how they build a team and how they practice — even with geographic challenges. Her willingness to help other volunteers with her experiences is one of the reasons that I think she is successful. She wants a positive experience for everyone and shares that passion. Read more

Let’s get certified!

Tue, 10/27/2015

Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) training is one way for cattleman to show consumers how much they care about animals and the food they produce.

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Daniel Thompson
Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to become Beef Quality Assurance certified. My training session was taught by Kansas State University’s Daniel Thompson, D.V.M. Thompson was the recipient of the Beef Checkoff’s 2015 BQA Educator of the Year award.

Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) is a national program that raises consumer confidence by offering training in proper management techniques and a commitment to quality within every segment of the beef industry. Certification can take place in a classroom setting or online. Read more

Bedding for success

Mon, 10/26/2015

Choosing the correct bedding material for your farm’s system is an integral part of managing milk quality and production.

sand bedded stalls

By Maggie Seiler, Special Publications Editor

Selecting the ideal bedding for a farm can be a difficult and intensive project. Producers must consider milk quality and production goals, facility abilities and economics. No magic bedding has been identified that excels in all situations. That being said, inorganic bedding, such as sand, has been touted as a good option for achieving high production and low bulk tank somatic cell counts. On the flip side, it is notoriously hard on equipment. However, recent research in Wisconsin shows that more and more herds, especially large ones, are choosing inorganic options. Read more

Arizona dairy worker kills four cows

Fri, 10/23/2015

Recently hired employee also wounded five animals.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Four cows were stabbed to death early this month and five others badly injured by an employee at an Arizona dairy who admitted to having used methamphetamine and alcohol beforehand.

The attack occurred late Sunday night October 4 at Citrus Valley Dairy in Gila Bend. Employees at the dairy called the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office to say that 27-year-old Mario Alberto Garcia-Leon, whom they knew as Ramon Sandoval, showed up at the dairy armed with a knife and “was acting crazy.”

Citrus Valley Dairy
Google Maps aerial view of Citrus Valley Dairy in Yuma, Arizona.

They said that when they tried to confront him, he began threatening them and then attacked the cows. Read more

Beef up your diet

Thu, 10/22/2015

Adequate protein consumption is crucial. Beef can play a central role in meeting that need.

beef on the grill

By Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Most people readily recognize the “Beef, It’s What’s for Dinner” slogan. Yet, higher than average beef prices at the supermarket has dampened consumers' purchasing inclination. Coupled with that, dietary advice for the past 40-plus years has largely been skewed towards fat and carbohydrate recommendations, while ignoring protein.

“Although its benefits to the human diet are indisputable, in the past, protein often has been left out of the discussion when it comes to the three macronutrients,” noted Shalene McNeill, executive director of nutrition research for the Beef Checkoff, in a recent Checkoff News. Read more

Georgia agriculture is more than peaches and peanuts

Wed, 10/21/2015

State showcases family dairy operation in video series

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

The Georgia National Fair just concluded this weekend and celebrated its 25th anniversary. During the 11 days of the annual state-sponsored fair, the onsite “Georgia Grown” building features space dedicated solely to “Georgia Grown” products, manufacturers, and agricultural businesses. The building is a joint project of the Fair and the Georgia Department of Agriculture. “Georgia Grown” is a marketing and economic development project that educates consumers about the agricultural people and products their state grows. Read more

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