HD Notebook

Best blogs of 2014: What were the odds?

Thu, 07/10/2014

What appeared to be a “normal” calving turned out to be anything but.

twin heifer calves

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

It’s that feeling of hope. The red-carrier Holstein (carrying one copy of the recessive red gene) was bred to a Red and White bull (carrying two copies of the red coat color gene). There was a 50-50 chance that the cow would give birth to the red calf that was desired. And, it’s happened many times before.

But when when we pulled into the farm’s driveway after running errands, we came to an abrupt halt, noticing a small addition in the dry cow pasture. It was black, not red, and that feeling of hope turned to disappointment. Read more

My favorite thing at World Dairy Expo

Fri, 10/10/2014

A new calf bottle stood out amidst all the bright, shiny equipment.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

calf bottleOf the thousands of products on display at World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis., last week, the one that most captured my attention was a few ounces of high density polypropylene plastic – in the form of a BIG calf feeding bottle.

Yes, a calf bottle… but one that holds 4 quarts (pictured on the left next to 2- and 3-quart bottles).

The 1-gallon giant is a partnership between Calf-Tel, which manufactures and sells them, and Land O’Lakes Animal Milk Products. It gives dairy producers another valuable tool to help deliver “full potential feeding” and nutrition to unweaned calves. Read more

Best blogs of 2014: Dairy communities unite to help their own

Wed, 09/03/2014

When times are tough, the ag family is one of the most supportive around.

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

Patricia Stiles**Update on Reece and Hans:
Hans had a successful second stem-cell transplant and is back home. He is doing well and is working little by little at the farm again.

Reese is still is in the hospital, but is upbeat as she makes progress. Her vivacious personality shows through as her body continues to heal. She’s chatty and talks to everyone she encounters.

The majority of people in registered Holstein and Jersey circles and across the East Coast are aware of the Memorial Day fire where grandmother Patricia Stiles demonstrated bravery in action when entering the bedroom engulfed in flames to rescue her 7-year-old granddaughter, Reese, who was visiting. Read more

Best blogs of 2014: The 100 pounds of milk club

Tue, 07/29/2014

No two herds are the same, but those that reach 100 pounds of milk per cow per day have certain practices in common.


by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Farms getting 100 pounds of milk per day from their cows are doing a lot of things right. Like what, you might ask?

To answer that question, Nigel Cook and his colleagues at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine performed a cluster analysis of 557 dairy herds with more than 200 cows using freestall housing in Wisconsin. The analysis categorized farms using 16 different DHIA monitors of herd performance. The farms sorted themselves into six clusters of varying levels of production and herd health success. Read more

Best blogs of 2014: Brown is the color of money

Fri, 06/13/2014

Financial summary says Jerseys don’t just compete, they excel.

Jersey cows

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Steady growth in the number of Jersey herds in the U.S., particularly among large dairy owners in the West, naturally leads to the question of how do they do financially?

It’s not an easy question to answer, because many individual farms have to be willing to share their precise financial information in order to form a clear picture. Fortunately, one such database does exist.

In addition to the annual dairy income and expense reports that Genske, Mulder & Co. LLC, the largest dairy accounting firm in the U.S., prepares summarizing all of its clients as a group, it also does a separate summary for its Jersey clients. Read more

Best blogs of 2014: Robotic rotary parlor count is now 11

Mon, 07/07/2014

All are in Europe and Australia. Herd sizes range from 300 to 850.

rotary milking parlor

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

If robots are the next evolution of milking cows on a large scale, then the future is here already. Except it is happening slowly and not at all in the U.S. . . . yet.

Several companies have sold single- or multiple-stall robotic systems since the 1980s, but all have been aimed at small dairies. DeLaval is the only firm that has married robotic technology to the rotary parlor format that is popular with big herds. At the heart of its automatic milking rotary (AMR) system is a computer that controls multiple robots to perform teat preparation, milking unit attachment and postmilking teat spraying for up to 24 stalls. Read more

Bank sees a short dairy downturn

Fri, 12/19/2014

Milk price decline in 2015 should begin recovering late in the year.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

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Strong production by most major dairy exporting nations during the second half of 2014 collided with weakening economies in much of the world to swamp global markets, cut demand, and trigger the rapid decline in milk price that U.S. dairies are seeing now.

It’s a situation that Rabobank expects to continue in the first half of 2015 but then turn around. Its Dairy Quarterly report released two days ago forecast lower production and falling market inventories during the second half of the year that should encourage prices to rise. Read more

Feed refusals are a balancing act

Thu, 12/18/2014

There’s a fine line between ensuring cows have adequate feed for milk production and minimizing the cost associated with what’s left in the bunk.

By Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

FeedingDairymen balance their feed budgets on pennies. Ingredients are often pulled from a ration based on the perceived cents per cow it could save the bottom line. Feed refusals, too, fall victim to this mindset. In an effort to reduce the amount of feed that is “wasted” on a daily basis, some producers have chosen to feed to a slick bunk. This choice isn’t always advantageous, though.

Providing dairy cattle with unlimited access to high-quality feed over the course of the day is the best way to promote maximum feed intake and improve milk production, noted Alanna Kmicikewycz, a Ph.D. candidate at Penn State University. Read more

If hiring employees was like the NFL draft . . .

Wed, 12/17/2014

Select the best person for the position

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

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On NFL draft night, the team with the worst record picks first. They are, in theory, in need of the best talent. It used to surprise me that the most touted college players, like Heisman Trophy finalists, didn’t get selected first, second and third. Now, I understand it is more about how that player would fit into the current organizations team dynamics. Read more

Let the lactation curve guide calf feeding

Tue, 12/16/2014

Just like a lactation curve peaks and then tapers over time, so should your calf feeding program.

by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

calfToday’s dairy producers use the lactation curve to schedule milk harvest from a cow. Her milk production level dictates ration changes, housing group and may push up or move back her dry-off date.

“The original purpose of the lactation curve, though, was to feed calves,” says Trevor DeVries from the University of Guelph. DeVries discussed the need to apply concepts of natural behavior to modern calf rearing practices during his presentation at the Calf and Heifer Congress in Rochester, New York. Read more

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