HD Notebook

Is your feed accounted for?

Thu, 04/09/2015

Shrink is hard to define, but committing to best management practices during harvest, ensiling and feedout can reduce its impact.

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Over the past few years, sustainability has earned its status as a dairy industry buzzword. It’s become rare to attend a meeting where the concept of producing milk and meat sustainably isn’t mentioned or alluded to. In much the same vein, shrink has become the nutrition community’s focus for sustainability.

Corn silage shrink, or the loss of weight between ensiling and feedout, is economically important, yet hard to quantify. And, unless there is buy-in on-farm, practices that minimize or mitigate these losses are less likely to be adopted. Read more

Hormone hype

Wed, 04/08/2015

Understanding science takes away the scare tactics

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

A few of us liked science class. Others catnapped during the detailed and technical presentations. However, some of those very concepts are now playing a role in consumer perceptions.

Hormones are needed for survival and for the cycle of life. Unfortunately, certain foods, like milk, get incorrectly tagged as villains. To measure anything, we need to know the baseline or normal levels before we can make judgments.

Review the chart and pay careful attention to milk, both whole and skim — less than 2 nanograms of estrogen in one serving, while soy beverage is at 30,000 nanograms. Compare the others, too.

Source Estrogen

What lies beneath (your calf pens)

Tue, 04/07/2015

You can keep calves drier while using less bedding with well-designed calf pens that drain properly.

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

calf penMany factors go into creating an environment that supports good calf health. There’s sufficient space, proper ventilation, the ability to clean and sanitize, and adequate bedding, especially during cold weather. Another key feature that often goes unmentioned is the surface below the bedding. Read more

The dawn of a new dairy exports era

Fri, 04/03/2015

E.U. milk production quotas ended on Wednesday, raising global export potential for an already big source.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

EU flagTwo days ago, the sun rose on a new dairy world.

April 1 was the first day in 31 years without milk production quotas in the European Union (E.U.), and with it came increased potential for an already big player in the dairy exports world. Read more

Mismatched equipment creates bottlenecks

Thu, 04/02/2015

When output doesn’t match between machines, hay harvest efficiency goes down the tubes.

By Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Financially speaking, last year was one of the dairy industry’s best. While most equipment purchases were made this past fall, some last-minute changes to the fleet may be in order before haying gets under way. Read more

Which replacements to keep?

Wed, 04/01/2015

Genomics is taking away some of the guesswork.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

Some read the milk meter. Others admire cow families. A few “just know” that a heifer or cow will be great.

With dairy cattle, producers use various information sources to determine the caliber of the animals in their herd: pedigree, performance and progeny. Holstein, Jersey, Brown Swiss and Ayrshire breeders have a fourth source, genomics. Read more

Milk culturing can be a win-win

Tue, 03/31/2015

On-farm milk culturing can lead to better mastitis treatment decisions that benefit you, the cow and our industry.

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

milk culturingWhen it comes to mastitis, is there a way to reduce antibiotic use and, in turn, lower treatment costs, minimize days of discarded milk, reduce the risk of residue violations and make better treatment decisions to improve outcomes?

Indeed, there is: milk culturing. Read more

The next generation

Mon, 03/30/2015

Having those hard talks are worth the effort when it comes to farm transition planning.

by Maggie Seiler, 2014 Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern

California drought looks worse than ever

Fri, 03/27/2015

Spring has barely begun, yet things already look grim.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

cows at water troughBad turned to worse for California’s drought situation in 2014, which is why, on the first day of spring this year, California’s 2015 water situation already looked terrible.

Signs of a fourth straight year of drought — which broke historic records a year ago — were unmistakable in the San Joaquin Valley and Sierra Nevada mountains last week.

Winter precipitation was once again far short of normal. Snowpacks are once again abysmal. Reservoir levels are still too low. Some farmers are making more money by selling the water they are entitled to than they could if they used it to grow crops. Read more

Bedding choice drives pathogen load

Thu, 03/26/2015

A breeding ground for bacteria, bedding is a significant source of mastitis pathogens in a confinement system.

cows lying down

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

The climatic conditions encountered in many regions of the country necessitate cattle housing. Such strategies must therefore account for a means to reduce the mammary gland’s exposure to environmental pathogens and minimize bacterial growth in cows’ surroundings.

“Populations of bacteria in bedding are related to the number of bacteria on teat ends and rates of clinical mastitis,” says Joe Hogan with The Ohio State University. Therefore, reducing the number of bacteria in bedding generally results in a reduction in environmental mastitis. Read more

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