HD Notebook

Making money or being wealthy?

Wed, 07/23/2014

Americans are worth more today than ever before, but many still struggle financially

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

As a group, Americans are the wealthiest they have ever been. This spring household financial wealth was at its peak, and with the current stock market, the two are obviously related. However, the median American household income is still recovering, and is 8 percent below 2007 levels (after inflation), according to a recent issue of The Kiplinger Letter.

The report went on to say that only about 13 percent of Americans have significant financial assets. We have been told for years to save for retirement, and people are listening. However, that “wealth” is stashed away in accounts that aren’t easily accessible without penalty.

The Kiplinger Letter covers economic forecasts, but in easy to understand, everyday language. The wealth vs. income section caught my attention. Read more

Don’t cry over spilled manure… instead, act quickly

Tue, 07/22/2014

Manure spill response demonstrations give farmers tools to deal with a potential spill.

by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Manure is a valuable commodity that provides needed nutrients for crop acres, but it takes multiple steps to get it from Point A to Point B. Most times, moving manure from storage to the field happens with few problems. However, occasionally a mechanical or equipment failure, an accident or negligence occur and cause a spill.

“It’s not illegal to have an accidental spill,” said Kevin Erb, University of Wisconsin-Extension conservation professional development and training coordinator. “Failure to report it is when you’ll have problems.” Read more

Watch “Milkhouse Mama” evict birds

Mon, 07/21/2014

This dairy farm cat routinely trolls the freestall barn with the goal of permanently evicting birds. Watch this 40-second video to see her in action.

by Corey Geiger, Hoard's Dairyman Managing Editor

Stolen feed.
Defecating in feed and on cows.
Spreading disease.

As dairy farmers, we can all add to the list of havoc that birds wreak on our dairies. One farm I visited recently is fortunate to have a very instinctive cat that literally skips back and forth on the freestall neck rail permanently evicting birds from the barn. The cat, dubbed “Milkhouse Mama” by the veterinarian who spayed her a few years earlier after a few litters of kittens, paces through the barn most of the day. In this short summertime video, you will see her “attitude” towards sparrows. Read more

The disease that stumps researchers

Fri, 07/18/2014

Hemorrhagic bowel syndrome causes abdominal pain, dehydration and death while keeping producers guessing on methods to prevent it.

by Maggie Seiler, Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern

Hemorrhagic bowel syndrome (HBS) was first detected in the early 1990s in dairy herds. Since that time, it has become a more common issue in the industry affecting all breeds of cattle and especially Brown Swiss.

Sheila McGuirkAccording to a presentation given by Sheila McGuirk at the Four-State Dairy Nutrition and Management Conference in June, virtually no progress has been made in treating the disease because researchers have been unable to recreate the disease in the lab. A definitive cause of HBS has yet to be identified, but two agents, the bacteria clostridium perfringens type A and the mold aspergillus fumigatus, appear to play a role. Read more

Dairy Shrine goes high-tech

Thu, 07/17/2014

The museum’s carbon footprint has been significantly reduced with a $90,000 upgrade.

By Ryan Whisner, Daily Jefferson County Union Regional Editor

The National Dairy Shrine in Fort Atkinson unveiled a $90,000 technological upgrade to its main floor display last week. “We are very pleased to share the excitement of some of the changes that were made in the National Dairy Shrine portion of this museum complex,” National Dairy Shrine Executive Director David Selner said, noting that the organization truly appreciates the partnership it has with the city and historical society.

updated display at National Dairy Shrine museum

Ground for the Dairy Shrine was broken in 1980 and the space was formally dedicated in 1981. Eight years ago, a $200,000 renovation project was completed on the lower level. Read more

Slight alterations to management net more milk

Wed, 07/16/2014

Webinar shares steps to boost production

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

July webinar slide slideOne pound of milk per cow per day over your entire herd really adds up over a whole year. In his Monday, July 14, webinar, Mike Hutjens, University of Illinois, provided multiple ways to boost milk production or cut expenses to gain additional income. In the webinar titled “Finding the next five pounds of milk” his suggestions were aimed at garnering additional production per cow per day and other ways to improve margins.

Cow Comfort
Cows need to be kept comfortable during the warmer months of the year. Not only does hot weather sacrifice milk production, it also impacts calf health and production potential of the resulting calf. Read more

Get some dirt on your dirt

Tue, 07/15/2014

A properly collected soil sample will give you the most accurate and valuable data.


by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

A field covered in black soil looks good, but there’s much more to soil quality than what meets the eye. Soil testing can help farmers properly manage nutrients, saving both money and the environment.

Not just any sample will do, however. Soil testing is simple, but not necessarily easy.

“The greatest potential for error in soil testing is in taking the sample,” said Hailin Zhang, Oklahoma State University, when he spoke at the North American Manure Expo in Springfield, Mo.

One key to obtaining a good soil sample is to collect enough subsamples to make a composite sample, Zhang noted. How many subsamples are enough? “Our research has found at least 20 are needed,” he said. Read more

It’s fair time

Fri, 07/11/2014

The Hoard’s Dairyman Farm provides Guernseys to local 4-H members who show at the Jefferson County Fair.

by Maggie Seiler, Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern

At 7 a.m. on a typical June day, most young people are still in bed enjoying the start to their summer vacation. Members of the Barnyard Clovers 4-H club are not among the late risers. Almost every June morning at 7:00 a.m. on the Hoard’s Dairyman Farm, the club members are feeding, watering and cleaning up after their show heifers.

4-H members

The Barnyard Clovers club members enjoy the look of their freshly bedded show cattle. Club members from left to right include Nick Yunker, Dawson Yurs, Victoria Yurs, Hannah Beckman and Ava Kleman. Members not pictured include Kayla Beckman, Ryan Messler and Aaron Messler.
Read more

The changing face of dairy youth

Wed, 07/09/2014

Gone are the days where every youth at a dairy event resides on a farm.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

There was a time when nearly every youth showing at a fair, competing in dairy judging or competing in quiz bowl lived and worked on their family farm. Being around the cows was part of the daily routine. As the number of dairies decline, there are fewer youth raised on farms.

This was evident at the recent National Holstein Convention in Iowa. When looking and listening to the young people on stage during the dairy bowl finals, you witnessed excitement and knowledge about our industry. How ironic that most of them aren’t on a farm each day.

They come from varied backgrounds and have a deep appreciation for our dairy industry and in some cases, may be more passionate than those born into it.

2014 National Dairy Bowl Champions from California
Read more

Give calves a jumpstart on life

Tue, 07/08/2014

A dairy cow's long, productive life starts with the care she receives from the minute she is born.


by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

In an ideal world, every calving would happen unassisted and result in a perfectly healthy, active calf. However, as all dairy producers know, that sometimes is not the case.

“We can have a critical impact in the first 24 hours,” said Sheila McGuirk with the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine. She addressed the crowd at the Four-State Dairy Nutrition and Management Conference in Dubuque, Iowa. Read more

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