HD Notebook

Hay is over $300 in some Western states

Fri, 04/25/2014

Prices are great for sellers, but some worry that demand may fall.

hay stacking

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

It’s shaping up to be an expensive summer for hay in the West.

By mid-April, prices for supreme and premium quality alfalfa were already over $300 per ton in some of the region’s largest dairy states, according to USDA’s Ag Market News Service.

California – Prices in the nation’s biggest dairy state were highest of all in the central San Joaquin Valley, where supreme alfalfa averaged $340 delivered. Southern California prices were modestly lower at $314, and northern San Joaquin Valley prices were steady at $310. Supplies were described as very tight. Read more

Does milk do a body good?

Thu, 04/24/2014

Many studies demonstrate that milk consumption improves health and lowers an individual’s risk of chronic disease.

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

milkFor over 50 years, the concept of eating healthy has been synonymous with avoiding dietary fat, especially saturated fats,” noted Adam Lock, Michigan State University, at the 2014 Mid-South Ruminant Nutrition Conference. Naturally then, the public’s thought process leads them to conclude that milkfat, too, is bad for human health.

As an industry, there is a reality we must embrace: between 60 and 75 percent of the fat in milk is saturated fat. Milk and dairy foods, though, account for less than 15 percent of the nation’s dietary fat intake. Additionally, dairy supplies 75 percent of our calcium needs and a mere 10 percent of the nation’s total caloric intake. Read more

Dairy banquets not just for princesses

Wed, 04/23/2014

Attend agriculture events to recharge your own battery.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

chatting at a banquetSpring is a very popular time for banquets, including dairy princess contests, FFA award programs and fair royalty competitions. These contests and events display the speaking and presentation skills of young people.

But, the banquets are more than just for contestants in formal attire or youth in official dress. It is a time for dairy producers and those in agriculture to come together to celebrate the industry and be reinvigorated by the young people and their fresh perspectives. Read more

It’s a good time to be working in ag

Tue, 04/22/2014

Many companies are looking at ways to recruit and retain talented employees.

by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Not everyone is a farmer, but a love for animals and people has drawn many to a career in agriculture. According to a recent survey, the agriculture industry is a pretty good place to make a living right now, too.

Eighty-five companies from an array of agricultural fields participated in the 2013-2024 AgCareers.com U.S. Agribusiness HR Review. Information was collected through direct communication with the agribusinesses by an online survey.

More than 90 percent of participating companies said their employee salaries had grown in the past 12 months. Almost all (98 percent) said that some or all of their employees would see a salary bump in the next year. According to the anticipated budgets, these companies expect salaries to go up an estimated 3.1 to 3.5 percent. Read more

Don’t let your feed control you

Mon, 04/21/2014

Taking feed inventory allows you to make informed, educated decisions.


by Ali Enerson, Hoard’s Dairyman Special Publications Editor

Tracking feed inventory is a valuable strategy for any size farm, especially with the growing unpredictability of Mother Nature and a more volatile commodity market. Plus, staying current with inventory calculations has never been easier or faster than with the technology available to dairy producers today.

A feed inventory program will be unique to each dairy. Some may choose to calculate it by hand, others will use slightly more sophisticated spreadsheets with built-in calculations and still others will use more advanced software programs. Each method works well, as long as you stay current on the option you choose and stay abreast of the information it generates for you. First, you may want to start with some basic calculations:

Can genetics help reduce heat stress?

Fri, 04/18/2014

The answer is yes, and rising temperatures mean more work is vital.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

In the decades ahead, climate change is expected to make heat stress an increasingly bigger problem for dairy cows everywhere. Breeding animals with more natural resistance is one way farmers will cope, says Peter Hansen (pictured), a distinguished professor of dairy science at the University of Florida.

Peter Hansen

“In the southeastern and southwestern U.S., for instance, the number of days per year that temperatures are above 90° is expected to increase from 60 to over 150 by the end of the century,” he points out. Read more

How’s your sampling technique?

Thu, 04/17/2014

Poor samples turn in to a poorly balanced ration in the bunk.

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Accurate samples are the cornerstone of diet formulation. Yet, for some nutrients, sampling itself is a major source of the variation seen from one nutrient analysis to the next. When sampling technique is poor, uncertainty surrounds our data and results in poorly formulated, inconsistent diets.

Bill WeissAt the Tri-State Dairy Nutrition Conference, Bill Weiss with The Ohio State University outlined protocols to take good samples from bunker silos. Multiple samples should be taken to monitor sampling variation.

Sampling from bunker silos:

Do not sample directly from the face due to the risk of a cave-in. Take your sample at a distance from the face of at least twice the height of the face. Read more

Farm size matters, but not to the cows

Wed, 04/16/2014

Research shows similar challenges for small and large dairies.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

“Farm size is a lightning rod for criticism in agriculture,” said Dan Weary as he spoke to those attending the April 14 Hoard’s Dairyman webinar, “Cow welfare and farm size – challenges and opportunities”. Read more

Don’t just cut your losses

Tue, 04/15/2014

Cow health and welfare benefit when causes of death are identified and changes are implemented.

by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

cowThose in production agriculture know that animal mortality on farms is inevitable.

But how much death loss is normal? According to Franklyn Garry, Colorado State University, there is no specific benchmark for what death loss on dairy farms should be.

In his presentation at a PDPW transition cow workshop, Garry shared that dairy cattle mortality appears to be on the rise. NAHMS data has shown an uptick death rate over the past two decades. In 1996, it was at 3.8 percent. By 2002, it was up to 4.8, and in 2007 average reported death loss was 5.7 percent on dairy farms. Read more

Embryo sales go under the microscope multiple times

Mon, 04/14/2014

Just like semen and live cattle, the international regulations governing embryo sales require highly accurate records and health checks.

Scott Armbrust

by Corey Geiger, Hoard’s Dairyman Managing Editor

Life does truly go full circle. Last Wednesday, I had the opportunity to be on the speaking docket with Scott Armbrust, D.V.M., at the Livestock Genetics Export Seminar in Madison, Wis. Hosted by Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, the event was geared towards giving breeders, veterinarians, A.I. studs and other interested parties updated information on marketing genetics around the globe.

Dr. Armbrust has spent the past years 30 years developing his Paradocs Embryo Transfer enterprise into a highly regarded genetics business, respected equally by breeders here stateside and around the globe. Read more

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