HD Notebook

Lame cows need our help

Tue, 08/05/2014

It takes preventative strategies and early detection to keep cows walking comfortably on all four feet.

by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Do lame cows get better on their own? According to Gerard Cramer, D.V.M, associate professor from the University of Minnesota, the answer is usually no.Gerard Cramer

In his presentation at the Minnesota Dairy Health Conference, Cramer explained that lameness is more than an economic problem for multiple reasons. It creates more work for producers, and it is an animal welfare issue as well. “Lameness is a disease we can see,” Cramer said. “It’s a huge animal welfare problem.” Read more

Big-picture thoughts from dairy science meetings

Mon, 08/04/2014

While listening to presentations at this year’s Joint Annual Meeting (JAM) of the American Dairy Science Association (ADSA) and the American Society of Animal Science (ASAS), we were able to glean some big-picture thoughts from the world’s leading animal scientists.

by Corey Geiger, Hoard’s Dairyman Managing Editor

While all the research conducted by the world’s animal scientists is geared towards building a better agricultural system, it’s important for everyone to remember that ultimately our number one goal is to produce food for the human race.

While dairy exports have been a buzzword these days, we still have a great deal of upside right here at home.

“If Americans ate to USDA’s dairy guidelines, we’d have to produce twice as many dairy products,” Juan Tricarico of the Dairy Research Institute reminded attendees at a symposium featuring presenters from all the major food animal species. Read more

Shopping for grains is fun again

Fri, 08/01/2014

Huge crop outlooks have slashed prices 40 to 56 percent from two years ago.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

What a crazy, incredible turnaround.
harvesting corn
Huge 2014 crop outlooks in the U.S. and other major grain-producing countries have destroyed the high prices for feed grains that made life so painful for anyone with livestock to feed just two years ago. Corn, soybean and wheat farmers were on the top of the world in 2012; now they’re hoping to break even.

Two years ago, prices at the Chicago Board of Trade peaked at $8.40 per bushel for corn, $9.42 for wheat, and almost $18 for soybeans. Feeding cows was hazardous — no, dangerous — to everyone’s financial health. Read more

What you cannot see can kill them

Wed, 07/30/2014

Water quality is paramount to cow health.

cow at water trough

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

“My cows are dying. What is going on?” sobbed the 65-year-old dairy producer as his cracked hands cradled his cheeks and covered his swollen eyes. “They calve, get weak, have trouble getting up, then they just give up trying.”

Water is the most critical nutrient in dairy cattle, especially in the summer. Maximizing water intake during warm weather helps to minimize drops in production. But, it was not summer.

Water should be cool, clean and readily available. Positioning troughs out of direct sunlight can aid in keeping water temperature desirable and maintaining consumption. There were adequate troughs and all under cover. That was not the problem. Read more

Control flies this summer

Mon, 07/28/2014

A multistep approach is best for fly control on your dairy.

by Ali Enerson, Hoard’s Dairyman Special Publications Editor

cow with fliesFlies become a nuisance in the summer, especially for our cattle. An unmanaged fly population can reduce milk production 10 to 30 percent and decreases feed efficiency. While we’ll never be able to eliminate flies completely, there are some control measures that minimize their impact on the herd. Read more

Get out and get about

Fri, 07/25/2014

Visiting other dairies and attending conferences is a great way for producers to get new ideas for their operations.

dairy farm

by Maggie Seiler, Hoard's Dairyman Editorial Intern

I am now more than two months into my internship with Hoard’s Dairyman. It is pretty incredible to realize how fast it has gone and how much I have learned. I think one of the biggest lessons I have gained so far came on the road. In June, I was sent on a cross-country tour of the dairy industry. In one week, I visited farms in Ohio, North Carolina and Kentucky. The old green work van and I got some quality time on the road while I gawked at parts of the countryside I had never seen. Now, this past week, I have been exploring Pennsylvania and New York. Read more

Georgia is committed to youth development

Thu, 07/24/2014

University of Georgia’s, William Graves, awarded ninth youth development award.

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Before there was 4-H and FFA, there was the Hoard’s Dairyman Juniors. In addition to launching the Young Dairyman page for farm youth in 1915, Hoard created the Juniors, which was the forerunner of the two aforementioned rural youth organizations.

Over 75,000 youngsters enrolled in Hoard's Dairyman Juniors. The program encouraged young people to stay on dairy farms with their parents and taught them the fundamentals of dairying.

For nearly a century, Hoard’s Dairyman has maintained this commitment to youth development. To further support not only youth, but those who play an integral role in their knowledge development, we began sponsoring the American Dairy Science Association’s Hoard’s Dairyman Youth Development Award in 2006. Read more

Making money or being wealthy?

Wed, 07/23/2014

Americans are worth more today than ever before, but many still struggle financially

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

As a group, Americans are the wealthiest they have ever been. This spring household financial wealth was at its peak, and with the current stock market, the two are obviously related. However, the median American household income is still recovering, and is 8 percent below 2007 levels (after inflation), according to a recent issue of The Kiplinger Letter.

The report went on to say that only about 13 percent of Americans have significant financial assets. We have been told for years to save for retirement, and people are listening. However, that “wealth” is stashed away in accounts that aren’t easily accessible without penalty.

The Kiplinger Letter covers economic forecasts, but in easy to understand, everyday language. The wealth vs. income section caught my attention. Read more

Don’t cry over spilled manure… instead, act quickly

Tue, 07/22/2014

Manure spill response demonstrations give farmers tools to deal with a potential spill.

by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Manure is a valuable commodity that provides needed nutrients for crop acres, but it takes multiple steps to get it from Point A to Point B. Most times, moving manure from storage to the field happens with few problems. However, occasionally a mechanical or equipment failure, an accident or negligence occur and cause a spill.

“It’s not illegal to have an accidental spill,” said Kevin Erb, University of Wisconsin-Extension conservation professional development and training coordinator. “Failure to report it is when you’ll have problems.” Read more

Watch “Milkhouse Mama” evict birds

Mon, 07/21/2014

This dairy farm cat routinely trolls the freestall barn with the goal of permanently evicting birds. Watch this 40-second video to see her in action.

by Corey Geiger, Hoard's Dairyman Managing Editor

Stolen feed.
Defecating in feed and on cows.
Spreading disease.

As dairy farmers, we can all add to the list of havoc that birds wreak on our dairies. One farm I visited recently is fortunate to have a very instinctive cat that literally skips back and forth on the freestall neck rail permanently evicting birds from the barn. The cat, dubbed “Milkhouse Mama” by the veterinarian who spayed her a few years earlier after a few litters of kittens, paces through the barn most of the day. In this short summertime video, you will see her “attitude” towards sparrows. Read more

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