HD Notebook

Milk price tops list of organic dairy concerns

Tue, 09/09/2014

A fair and steady milk price is on organic dairy producers’ wish lists.

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Organic dairy product consumption continues to grow, but so does the price of organic cattle feed, cutting into margins for dairy producers. Thus, a new study has revealed that a fair and consistent milk price is the top concern for organic producers.

Researchers with the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station and the University of New Hampshire College of Life Sciences and Agriculture surveyed 183 organic dairy farmers in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont during the spring of 2011. The average Northeastern organic farm in the survey consisted of 57 milking cows and 309 acres. Three-quarters of the farms grew their own forage but purchased grains. On average, the farms were certified organic for 7.6 years. Read more

Once There Were No Cows

Mon, 09/08/2014

Bonnie Mohr’s inspirational book features 16 new paintings

By Ali Enerson, Hoard’s Dairyman Special Publications Editor

Once There Were No Cows coverThe farmer is an American icon to many, the foundation upon which our country was built. They are some of the most hardworking, committed, stubborn, yet optimistic entrepreneurs around. And, ultimately, farmers live life as a guardian to their land, animals and family. Bonnie Mohr’s new book is about the Creator finding an animal worthy of giving back to their guardian. Read more

U.S. exports are becoming a monster

Fri, 09/05/2014

We are well on track for a fifth record year in a row in 2014

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Because they started so modestly and have grown so quickly, it is easy to forget how important exports have become to the financial well being of the U.S. dairy industry.

And it is impossible to not be stunned by how big they have become.

Once again, U.S. dairy exports are well on their way to setting new all-time records for total milk volume and dollar value in 2014. Unless they fall off a cliff the next few months, it will be the fifth record year in a row.

But just how much do exports amount to and what does it mean to U.S. dairy producers?

It means that in the last 10 years (including just the first half of 2014), U.S. exports have totaled over 203 billion pounds on a milk solids equivalent basis. That is roughly all of what is expected to be produced in the U.S. this year. Read more

Transfer the farm to the next (nonfamily) generation

Thu, 09/04/2014

Partnering has benefits for both the entering and exiting generations.

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

FarmerFew dairymen readily admit when the time has come to retire. After pouring decades of blood, sweat and capital into their business, hanging up the milkers is likely the most difficult decision they will be faced with during their career. For those without a successive generation, the decision to exit the industry can be even more daunting. Partnering with a beginning dairy farmer can ease this transition while keeping the dairy in working order. Read more

Milk ads for one and all

Tue, 09/02/2014

The California Milk Processor Board has revealed a new advertising campaign encouraging all parents, regardless of ethnicity, to buy milk for their children.

Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

A scene from the new cross-cultural milk advertisement.

In 1995, the California Milk Processor Board’s advertising agency, Goodby, Silverstein and Partners, created the iconic “Got Milk?” slogan that lead national dairy marketing efforts up until earlier this year. Branching off of that success, the board partnered with agency Grupo Gallegos in 2005 to create a Spanish version of the campaign, “Toma leche,” or “Drink milk.” Read more

Idaho dairying in another uproar

Fri, 08/29/2014

“Confidential” heading on letter is like blood to sharks.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Public perception about the dairy industry has sadly melted down in Idaho again, and along with it comes a reminder to producers everywhere that if a news story doesn’t “have blood,” the non-ag media is fully capable of making it look like there is.

Earlier this year was a blowup over Idaho passing a law that essentially says entering a private business just because you want to see what is going on, such as in the form of undercover videos, has nothing to do with the First Amendment (freedom of speech). Rather, it violates the constitutionally protected private property and privacy rights that every citizen is entitled to. Read more

We can’t all be winners

Thu, 08/28/2014

The price, the prize and the pride of showing.

By Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Little girl with Jersey calfGrowing up, I never had the most “stylish” animal in the show ring. When selecting bulls with my dad, I was always drawn to the production-focused columns before moving on to stature and type. The reason behind this was simple: I knew my tanbark trail began with and ended at the county fair. Outside of this one-week each year, we needed a cow that would milk and earn her stall in the barn. Read more

Chocolate milk and athletes are a great combination

Wed, 08/27/2014

4-H members promote chocolate milk in winning presentation.

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

Hand out the research, spend money on television ads and speak about healthy food choices, but there is something special about hearing the same information from youth. We seem to be more attentive to what they are saying and in the case of their peers, more believable.

Two young California 4-H members and athletes combined their activities into their 4-H presentation, “The big lift that lasts.” Lauren Dutra is a soccer player and cross country runner, while Hannah Costa is a soccer and softball player. They are not from dairy farms, but have family or friends who have dairy cows. Read more

New cows, new problems?

Tue, 08/26/2014

The introduction of cows into your herd can present a big threat for new diseases.

dairy cattle truck

by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

With strong milk prices, farms may wish to bring more cows in to help fill the bulk tank. Outlets for purchasing dairy cattle are plentiful, but so are the disease risks new animals can bring to your herd.

Introducing new cattle may be more risky than ever before. In an article in the Dairy Farmers of Ontario publication Milk Producer, veterinarian Ann Godkin explained that more access to a greater variety of tests at a lower cost from veterinary diagnostic labs and milk recording organizations have led farms to do more testing. This is obviously a positive for the dairy industry, but with more testing producers become more aware of a cow’s disease status and more likely to remove a test-positive cow from the herd. Read more

What can you learn from cornstalk nitrate testing?

Mon, 08/25/2014

Knowing you’re N deficient, sufficient or in excess may allow better fertilizer application.

corn stalk nitrate test

by Ali Enerson, Hoard’s Dairyman Special Publications Editor

As we quickly approach harvest season, cornstalk nitrate testing may be something you want to consider adding to your regular fall routine. While testing the nitrates at the end of the season won’t allow you to improve the current year’s crop, it will allow you to tweak your nitrogen application for each field in the coming year. Annual nitrate testing is beneficial to every operation as it gives you a longer term view of how much N is available during the growing season. When you notice a field continually tests in excess each year, you may observe that manure or fertilizer may be better spent on another field to improve yields elsewhere. Read more

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