HD Notebook

We can’t breed our way out of lameness

Thu, 01/15/2015

Prevention is king, but early detection is key to improving lameness.

cow hoof

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Lameness and hoof health have garnered a great deal of attention in recent years. At the Vita Plus Dairy Summit, veterinarian Gerard Cramer discussed how we can address hoof health globally.

An often-mentioned method is to breed a better cow. “The heritability of hoof health is quite low, which equates to slow progress,” noted Cramer. A few countries, such as Holland, do have a claw health index built in to their genetic evaluations. Selection based on this index, though, will only reduce the prevalence by 0.7 percent per year. “It’s not the be all, end all,” stated Cramer.

Instead, we need to take an integrated approach and adjust our management strategies to reflect the cows we have today. Read more

Transition cows are at high risk for health issues

Wed, 01/14/2015

Prevent problems before they cause early culling

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

January webinar slideMike Hutjens presented ”Feeding cows for transition success” during the January Hoard’s Dairyman webinar. He shared 10 Key Performance Indicators (KPI). While all 10, would be admirable, it’s not realistic. “Choose two or three KPIs and really focus on those for your herd,” suggested Hutjens. Read more

What your lender needs to see

Tue, 01/13/2015

Prepare for a more positive outcome at the bank by understanding the “5 Cs of credit” before seeking a loan.

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Running a business has a lot to do with building and maintaining relationships, and for a farm, an extremely important relationship is the one with their lender.

The foundation of that relationship is numbers based. For lenders, a financial analysis is a major tool used in determining their ability to finance an operation’s credit needs. “It’s what we, as lenders, are going to base our decision on,” explained Paul Dietmann, Emerging Markets Specialist with Badgerland Financial, during his presentation at a UW-Extension dairy modernization meeting.

A financial analysis is multi-faceted, and it goes beyond just dollars and cents. A lender will typically look at these “5 Cs of credit” when making loan considerations:

Character Read more

Be grateful you did; don’t wish you had

Mon, 01/12/2015

Another new year, another opportunity to refresh your purpose

By Ali Enerson, Hoard’s Dairyman Special Publications Editor

If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time

You may have heard this saying previously and wondered what it means or how it would apply to your dairy or everyday life. It's one I try to live by daily in all things, big and small, I sum it up with one word: Purpose. Not to say I don’t miss goals I set for myself, or that I don’t take a day of rest or that I am perfect, I’m completely human. But keeping this reminder in front of me is the only way I’ll stay focused and disciplined to move in the right direction. Read more

U.S. dairies at risk from global economy

Fri, 01/09/2015

Growing prospect of another recession threatens exports and farm milk prices.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Despite big dips in the stock market this week, the U.S. economy remains in fabulous shape.

Except that’s in comparison to the rest of the world. Depending upon whom you ask, “fabulous” is just a matter of our financial boat having smaller holes in it than everyone else’s.

Outside our borders, the global economy is in trouble. Especially where oil revenue is vital. Unemployment and deficits are rising, income is falling, and just about everyone’s currency exchange rate against the dollar has taken a hit. A couple have taken big hits.

At best, foreign economic growth and recovery from the 2009-11 recession may have stalled. More likely, say more and more business articles, another one is at hand. Read more

Standing signs

Thu, 01/08/2015

Monitoring the time cows spend standing may help producers detect cows at risk for ketosis.

by Maggie Seiler, Hoard's Dairyman Editorial Intern

cow laying

It was drilled into my head from a very young age to watch out for calves with droopy ears, sunken eyes and clear signs of illness. Many producers use physical and behavioral signs such as these to detect sick animals on the farm in conjunction with other monitoring strategies such as taking temperatures and watching milk production.

The standard sickness monitoring strategy for cows that become ketotic following calving has been the use of urine, blood or milk samples. These are effective in identifying cows already suffering the effects of the energy imbalances that cause ketosis. Read more

The importance of kindness when agvocating

Wed, 01/07/2015

While it’s human nature to become upset when agriculture is “attacked” a little bit of kindness and compassion will go a long way.

by Brittany Statz, Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern

describe pixt

It seems like every day there’s a new video or angry blog post that condemns farmers and their practices. While these are usually exaggerated and hold few truths, animal agriculture and dairy, in particular, are under constant assault. With less than 2 percent of our nation’s population actively involved in farming, it’s incredibly easy to paint such a small sector with a broad brush. These events have led to a national conversation about food, but farmers have been shushed, if not excluded from the conversation. It’s important now more than ever to share our stories with the American people so they can make informed decisions regarding the food they eat. Read more

Calving isn’t always easy

Tue, 01/06/2015

Dystocia impacts the cow and calf in many ways, but one of the greatest concerns is the elevated risk of stillbirths.

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor


“One of the most important events on a dairy is calving,” said Mark Thomas, D.V.M., a New York veterinarian and consultant with Dairy Health and Management Services, LLC.

During his presentation at the Calf and Heifer Congress in Rochester, N.Y., Thomas emphasized that the events that occur before, during and after parturition can have a significant impact on the livelihood of the cow and calf. Read more

2015 Cow Judging Contest goes digital

Mon, 01/05/2015

A new way to enter the contest debuts in 2015

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

Online Cow Judging ScreenshotPrint or digital, it’s the same contest . . . with the same cows . . . and the same judges. The only difference . . . You can view the five classes and enter electronically.

For 85 years the Hoard’s Dairyman Cow Judging Contest has provided education and entertainment for the millions who have entered. While only a few individuals sort their way to the very top, it provides a competitive learning opportunity in a fun way. Read more

Best Blogs of 2014: Smarter calves come in pairs

Tue, 03/04/2014

Calves raised in pairs may be cognitively superior to their individually housed counterparts, new research shows.


by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Group housing is becoming a more popular and acceptable way to raise dairy calves. Besides feeding and health benefits, new research shows that raising calves in a group setting might also make them smarter.

Researchers at the University of British Columbia conducted an experiment where calves housed in pairs were taught an easy task. Calves entered a test pen and could approach a black bottle to receive milk or a white bottle to receive nothing. The calves learned rapidly and soon all knew to only approach the black bottle. Read more

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