HD Notebook

Taking care of the high-risk fresh cow

Tue, 01/27/2015

Keep fresh cows “fresher” by identifying high risk cows early on.

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

high risk fresh cowThe high-risk fresh cow: She’s older (third lactation or greater), had a difficult calving and is battling lameness. She had a longer lactation (more than 350 days) the year before and produced above the herd average.

You know what she looks like, but can you pick her out in the crowd? According to Nigel Cook with the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, the number one factor impacting performance as herd size grows is the ability to find the sick cow in the fresh cow pen. Read more

It’s not easy, but it’s worth it

Mon, 01/26/2015

Tell your farm’s story for the betterment of agriculture as a whole

By Ali Enerson, Hoard’s Dairyman Special Publications Editor

I’ve come to the conclusion that the positive potential of sharing my farming story with the masses has to outweigh the fear. We hear more and more about the need to tell our farming stories on social media, especially with the rise in activist videos. And with the negative press those videos generate, I understand the hesitation to share.

There are many forms of “social” media a farmer can use; they don’t have to involve the internet. Ultimately, what you choose needs to work for your farm, and you only need to pick one or two. Here are a few options:

  • Sponsor a breakfast in your local community, inviting people to the farm.
  • Open your doors for farm tours to the local schools or daycares; leave them with some healthy chocolate milk and cheese at the end of the tour.
  • Start a farm Facebook page.
Read more

A closer look at MPP-Dairy sign-ups

Fri, 01/23/2015

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Taking a chance with MPP-DairyThere were some surprises in who signed up for the Dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP-Dairy), according to figures announced recently by USDA.

The biggest surprise is who didn’t sign up: almost half of all dairies in the country

Getting a $4 per hundredweight safety net for just $100, even if it’s only a catastrophic meltdown net that might not ultimately save anyone from bankruptcy if it came into play, seems like a no-brainer. And yet, nearly half of all milk producers disagreed.

Nevada had the highest sign-up rate of all states at 90 percent; Utah was second at 80 percent. Wyoming was the lowest at just 5 percent; Alabama was next at 29 percent. The nation’s biggest dairy states, California and Wisconsin, had sign-up rates of 69 and 54 percent, respectively. Read more

Calf management is like Jenga

Thu, 01/22/2015

If we miss a few blocks, it all collapses eventually.

By Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Calf ManagementA classic game, Jenga tests players’ ability to strategically remove blocks from a sturdy tower. One by one, blocks are pulled until the stack comes crashing down. The individual with the steadiest hand is often the winner.

“Calf management is like Jenga. If we miss a few blocks, it all collapses eventually,” noted Amy Stanton, University of Wisconsin-Madison, as she began her presentation on growing healthy calves at the Leading Dairy Producers Conference. Read more

Don’t get sick this winter

Wed, 01/21/2015

Prevent a cold from taking you down this season

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

Snowy Winter

“I’m fine.”

How many times have family members commented when a loved one looks under the weather and got that response? I venture a lot if you deal with farmers. They are the “no excuses, gotta get work done, no matter how I feel” poster people.

Gallup-Healthways research backs this. Farmers rank second only to doctors who take the least amount of sick days. Unfortunately, some may be hampering their recovery if they indeed are sick and still working.

We tend to take better care of our calves than ourselves. Follow this wintertime advice to help keep the human body’s immune system at full strength.

  • Drink the optimal amount of water. Consider keeping bottled water handy so it’s there when you want it.
Read more

The meatiest cities in America

Tue, 01/20/2015

If you’re looking for a good steak, the cities on this list are places you’ll want to visit.

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Denver cut steakMeat is a diet staple for many Americans, yet some parts of the country tend to be more meaty than others. In a nonscientific study, cable news channel CNN created a list of the top 12 meatiest cities in the nation.

The cities were ranked based on three criteria. One was the city’s number of experts in “beef, burgers and barbeque.” Also included was per capita meat consumption, based on USDA data and Nielsen sales figures and survey responses provided by health assessment platform Sharecare. The third factor was the number of steakhouses and special events held in regards to meat. Read more

Lost in the crowd

Mon, 01/19/2015

Keeping transition calves healthy starts at providing them with the right environment.

by Maggie Seiler, Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern


If there was one job I truly despised as a kid growing up on a dairy farm, it was helping bed the calf barn, which housed our calves from 3 months of age to around 500 pounds. I just never found a way to enjoy the swirling straw dust and strands of straw stuck down in my boots. At the time, I didn’t appreciate that the discomfort I experienced had a positive influence to the success of the young heifers.

According to John Tyson, a Penn State extension specialist, this group of animals, which he refers to as transition calves, often get lost in the mix of the other tasks on the farm. He warns that improper housing, animal care and management of this group can lead to stunted growth and late entry into the lactating herd. Read more

Ten ways to control heifer mastitis

Fri, 01/16/2015

Tips from NMC that help prevent mastitis from taking hold early in life.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

cowsMastitis threatens your young ladies – and your bottom line – long before they reach the milking parlor.

Heifer mastitis is real, it is costly, and dairy scientists say it is more common than many milk producers think. How common? It isn’t considered a problem unless more than 15 percent of heifers freshen with clinical cases.

But it’s a threat that can be significantly reduced through hygiene, nutrition, and strict management protocols. The National Mastitis Council (NMC) recommends that every dairy consider this 10-point prevention and control program when heifers are still calves:

  1. Improve general udder health management to decrease infection of udder pathogens from older cows to heifers.

We can’t breed our way out of lameness

Thu, 01/15/2015

Prevention is king, but early detection is key to improving lameness.

cow hoof

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Lameness and hoof health have garnered a great deal of attention in recent years. At the Vita Plus Dairy Summit, veterinarian Gerard Cramer discussed how we can address hoof health globally.

An often-mentioned method is to breed a better cow. “The heritability of hoof health is quite low, which equates to slow progress,” noted Cramer. A few countries, such as Holland, do have a claw health index built in to their genetic evaluations. Selection based on this index, though, will only reduce the prevalence by 0.7 percent per year. “It’s not the be all, end all,” stated Cramer.

Instead, we need to take an integrated approach and adjust our management strategies to reflect the cows we have today. Read more

Transition cows are at high risk for health issues

Wed, 01/14/2015

Prevent problems before they cause early culling

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

January webinar slideMike Hutjens presented ”Feeding cows for transition success” during the January Hoard’s Dairyman webinar. He shared 10 Key Performance Indicators (KPI). While all 10, would be admirable, it’s not realistic. “Choose two or three KPIs and really focus on those for your herd,” suggested Hutjens. Read more

Syndicate content