HD Notebook

Beyond the cattle and cowboy boots

Tue, 12/02/2014

For students in Louisville, Ky., the North American International Livestock Exposition provides a unique opportunity for a lesson in agriculture.

North American International Livestock Exposition

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

The North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE) in Louisville, Ky., is well-known for its dairy cattle and livestock shows, the rodeo, and a whole trade show hall filled with show supplies, cowboy boots, sparkly belts and more. What few people may realize is that the expo also serves as an excellent agricultural education venue for students every year through its school tours program. Read more

Milk’s nutrition remains unmatched

Mon, 12/01/2014

Milk alternatives are still giving cow’s milk a run for its money, but they may not be all they’re cracked up to be.

by Ali Enerson, Hoard’s Dairyman Special Publications Editor

glass of milk
There’s a resurgence in the debate between cow’s milk and milk alternatives for children. A recent Fox News article brings to light a few points regarding the differences between cow’s milk, human breast milk, and milk alternatives for both babies and toddlers. Read more

Cow milking is evolving toward robots

Fri, 11/28/2014

Technology is relentlessly eroding the need to attach machines by hand.

robotic milker

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Little by little, cow milking is evolving from manual to automated. Not just for small herds, but for everyone.

Adoption of robotic milking technology, whether as individual “box” units or as automated rotaries, is a fast-growing trend being driven by computers, software, generational changes, and lifestyle choices . . . but especially by declining labor supply.

“No one wants to retire as a milker. There’s no excitement in that for a young person or for anyone,” says Peter Langebeeke, president of Lely North America Inc., a division of the world’s largest robotic milking machine manufacturer. Read more

Americans are spending less money eating out

Wed, 11/26/2014

Is the trend motivated by cost or convenience?

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

Just about anyone could guess that health care, housing and transportation costs were higher in 2013. And they’d be right. Americans have cut back across the board, but what about food purchases?

For the past three years, Americans have increased the amount of money spent on food consumed at home. It was $3,977, while food eaten out was less, at $2,625, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey for 2013. That translates to 60 percent of food dollars being spent on meals in-home, while 40 percent are from restaurants. That’s a stretch from 25.9 percent out-of-home in 1970. Read more

A snow overload

Tue, 11/25/2014

The recent major snowstorm in New York is a reminder to all in northern climates the dangers of heavy snow on rooftops.

winter dairy scene

by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

An early winter snowstorm dumped up to 7 feet of snow in parts of western New York, shutting down highways and stranding thousands. For farmers, feed delivery was halted and milk that could not be picked up was dumped. The worst reports shared news of barn collapses and animals that perished.

Curt Gooch, senior extension associate with Cornell University, says that building failure due to heavy snow can be a result of improper building design or construction, an imbalance of snow on the roof, or simply an amount of snow that exceeds the design's snow load.

In a wooden structure, audible or visual signs may be noticed prior to a collapse. Read more

Outcry for agriculture

Mon, 11/24/2014

Discussing policy and practices with consumers is all about talking with them, not at them.

by Maggie Seiler, Hoard's Dairyman Editorial Intern

Bruce VincentAs a nation, consumers are no longer interested in just the nutritional content of the food but also how it is produced and how production affects the environment. One of the biggest struggles that the agriculture industry faces is explaining it in a way that is understandable and personal. Bruce Vincent, a Montana logger and traveling speaker on this issue, said during a November 10 lecture at Kansas State University that the trick to communicating is talking with people rather than at them. Read more

Future supermarkets will feature – you!

Fri, 11/21/2014

“Guru” predicts a shopping environment that includes cooking, eating, and meeting local farmers.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Take a seat, have a taste . . . and say hello to farmer Frank.

Phil LempertNone of these are part of the grocery store shopping experience today, but “Supermarket Guru” and NBC Television Today Show food trends editor Phil Lempert (pictured here) says all of them are coming.

Speaking at the United Dairymen of Idaho annual meeting in Boise last week, he told listeners that, in addition to grocery shopping being low on consumers’ list of favorite things to do, supermarket trends are changing at an increasingly faster pace. On top of that, “a lot of the food information out there for consumers is simply wrong.”

He said that is where local farmers will come in. Read more

Oxygen is the enemy

Thu, 11/20/2014

Poorly preserved corn silage doesn’t stand a fighting chance.

silage bunker

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Haste makes waste. An idiom that’s long been applied to children completing their household chores is just as relevant to our corn silage harvest and storage. Occasionally, in the haste to stay ahead of dry matter losses or impending weather, corners are cut. But this is a double-edged sword. These shortcuts may get the crop under plastic and tires sooner, while inadvertently causing irreversible dry matter losses.

At the Penn State Dairy Nutrition Conference, John Goeser with Rock River Laboratory spoke on the fermentation process from onset to feed-out. Ideally, we want to utilize as many of our harvested tons as possible. Ultimately, this comes down to minimizing shrink. Read more

She sees a Class III low of $15.50

Wed, 11/19/2014

But decline could be brief; economist expects a rebound to $18.50 in fall.

Mary Ledman

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Virtually no one doubts that U.S. farm milk prices will be lower in 2015. While many different predictions are out there, the only debate is about how far they may fall.

Speaking at last week’s United Dairymen of Idaho annual meeting in Boise, economist and Daily Dairy Report editor Mary Ledman (seen here) said her prediction is a low of around $15.50 per hundredweight in April, May or June — or perhaps all of them.

She noted with obvious skepticism that the latest USDA All-Milk forecast for 2015 was $19.50, and then told producers, “If you can lock in your milk anywhere close to that, do it!” She pointed out that, in New Zealand, the current Fonterra price forecast suggests a world market price of $14. Read more

Build heifer facilities that meet your needs

Tue, 11/18/2014

A larger building means extra costs, but your heifers will thank you during surges in animal numbers… and an empty pen now and then isn’t a bad thing, either.

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Building heifer facilities to meet your needs

If the time has come to build a new heifer facility on your farm, it is wise to do your homework before the construction crew moves in. One major decision is how big the building should be.

“Know where you’ve been in terms of heifer herd size,” said Becky Brotzman, D.V.M., with the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, during a Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin Calf Care Connection workshop. She advised farms to first determine their average and 80th percentile heifer calf delivery rate per year and by month. Read more

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