HD Notebook

What’s holding you back?

Thu, 10/09/2014

Whether you’re searching for the next milk quality premium or striving for another pound of milk, parlor observations can help troubleshoot your weak links.

milking parlor

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Nothing is more frustrating than a problem without an answer. When we have a setback in production or a mastitis flare-up, the parlor can be a daunting place to start. But, it doesn’t have to be the headache for which it is often perceived. “Taking the time to routinely walk through the parlor or milking barn to make observations pays big dividends for the dairy,” noted David Reid, Rock Ridge Dairy Consulting, in the National Mastitis Council’s newsletter. Read more

Why do they genomic test?

Wed, 10/08/2014

WDE seminar provides insight to success with genomics

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

“It’s a no brainer,” remarked Matt Nuckols, a registered Holstein breeder from Virginia and a panelist at the genomics seminar. Extra cattle value and the ability to make more informed herd decisions are the primary reasons he shared.

Nuckols’ Eastview Farm uses genomics to sort the herd by testing all females in the 120-cow herd. Results help determine which heifers will be recipients, bred traditionally, bred with sexed semen or will be flushed.

The herd uses genomic bulls exclusively, yet spreads the risk, using only 10 units of any bull. “Genomic bulls may go up or down a bit, but on average, they will still do better than the average of 10 hand-picked bulls,” conveyed Nuckols. Read more

Is a value-added dairy enterprise right for you?

Tue, 10/07/2014

Consumer demand awaits, but you need to do your homework first.

by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

cheesemakingAmericans are drinking less fluid milk, but their taste for dairy is not waning. In fact, USDA data released last month shows that per capita consumption of dairy products has climbed from 539 pounds in 1975 to 607 pounds in 2013.

In her World Dairy Expo seminar, “Exploring value-added dairy opportunities,” Sarah Cornelisse, senior extension associate from Penn State University, commented on this dairy demand growth, particularly in the areas of specialty or value-added products. She noted a surge in the number of raw milk permits, artisan cheese plants and milking goat and sheep farms in the state of Pennsylvania as just a few indicators to the demand and interest in value-added dairy products. Read more

Milk prices already falling in Europe

Fri, 09/26/2014

Market supply and demand-driven cuts show what U.S. producers are in store for soon.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Farm milk prices in the U.S. have somehow and so far managed to defy the gravitational pull of rising production and falling international dairy product prices. But not in Europe, where changes in global supply and demand are being felt by producers much quicker.

U.S. Class III prices, which will likely peak at an all-time high of around $25 per hundredweight for October milk, are in sharp contrast to those throughout the European Union (EU), which have already begun to dip. Ours aren’t expected to start falling until November and are forecast to stay below $18 for at least part of 2015. Read more

Overcoming milk quality barriers

Thu, 09/25/2014

For some in the Southeast, milk quality has been their downfall. Getting information into the hands of their veterinarian can slow the downward spiral.

By Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

“Milk quality is a topic of continued debate that poses significant problems for the sustainability of the Southeastern dairy industry,” noted Steve Oliver, University of Tennessee, at the Southeast Milk Quality Initiative’s (SQMI) recent meeting.

A collaboration among six Southeastern universities, SQMI is a four objective program aimed at improving the somatic cell count and milk quality of dairies in a fluid-based market. Read more

What is old might be new again

Wed, 09/24/2014

100-year-old replacement for antibiotics might be on the horizon

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

EcoliAntibiotics are a common remedy in today’s society for human and livestock illnesses. However, there is a rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which is creating concern. Many argue the value or drawbacks of antibiotics, but this blog is about a century-old alternative to kill infections that could be making a comeback.

What is the potential solution? Phages. Read more

Not just for farm kids

Tue, 09/23/2014

Some youth exhibitors don’t have dairy backgrounds but still walk away with life lessons.

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

New Mexico boasts the largest average herd size in the nation (2,307 cows per farm in 2013), so dairy is no stranger to the state. However, a smaller number of large farms means that traditional “farm kids”, ones that grow up living and working on their family’s farm, are fewer and farther between.

This distance from the farm does not prevent some youth from participating in the dairy project. At the New Mexico State Fair last week, a small but vibrant dairy show took place.

Read more

An industry full of promise

Mon, 09/22/2014

Preparing our future generations for a career in dairy is a priority

By Ali Enerson, Hoard’s Dairyman Special Publications Editor

AnimartBy now school is back in full swing. For many students that brings excitement, nerves and the promise of new beginnings. For students who come from dairy farming, it might mean feeding calves before the bus arrives, preparing for judging at World Dairy Expo, or deciding which college major best fits their dairy interests and skills.

The dairy industry, and agriculture in general, has some of the best placement rates for recent graduates into a career immediately following college graduation. It’s an industry hungry for young, driven employees with that strong work ethic found from growing up in and around the industry. As we continue to feed the world, jobs will remain secure for future generations. Read more

Coincidence or choreography?

Fri, 09/19/2014

Animal rights group visits New Mexico with an abuse video and press conference, and it all seems totally scripted.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

There are no coincidences when animal activists are involved. A reminder of that came again this week when the undercover video circus moved to Albuquerque, N.M., looking more neatly scripted than ever.

Chapter one was a secret video taken by a Mercy for Animals investigator at Winchester Dairy near Dexter, N.M., during August and September, using what appears to be a fisheye button or pen camera. It is unknown whether the activist was an employee, and if so for how long they had worked there.

The video shows a wide range of animal treatment, some of which are mischaracterized for the benefit of clueless viewers. But there is also egregious treatment of downer cows with loaders and throwing of calves into a pickup bed. Read more

Calling all undergraduate journalists!

Thu, 09/18/2014

It’s your turn to write for the National Dairy Farm Magazine.

By Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Aside from having top tier dairy programs, what do the University of Wisconsin- Madison, Iowa State, Cornell, Virginia Tech, Kansas State and the University of Minnesota have in common? Over the past 26 years, each of these universities has had students spend a summer in Fort Atkinson, Wis., serving as the Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern.

Internships provide students with an opportunity to explore a career field. For a three-month period, students immerse themselves in a specific sector of the industry. During this time, they “try on” a potential career and discover if that line of work is the right fit for them. Read more

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