HD Notebook

The human element

Thu, 08/14/2014

Activity monitors have become almost commonplace on dairies, aiding in heat detection but not always improving pregnancy rate.

by Maggie Seiler, Editorial Intern
Since the early 2000s, automated heat detection has played an important role in reducing breeding and associated labor costs by eliminating the need for reproductive synchronization protocols. Farmers revealed they were happy with the systems, giving them a 94 percent satisfaction rating, reported by a survey of 219 German dairies that implemented automated detection methods. Read more

Adopt genetic strategies now for future benefits

Wed, 08/13/2014

We’re just beginning to unlock the genome’s secrets

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

August webinar slide
“Do not compare proven sires PTAs to genomic PTAs. Only compare them within their contemporaries for rankings,” cautioned Chad Dechow when presenting “The new world of genetics” during the monthly Hoard’s Dairyman webinar. He covered genomics and crossbreeding in his hour-long presentation.

Genomics Read more

One cow stands out above the rest

Tue, 08/12/2014

The world’s largest cow sculpture calls New Salem, North Dakota home.

Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Salem Sue frontOf North Dakota’s 18,000 dairy cows, one stands head and shoulders above the rest. That’s because she is 38 feet tall, 50 feet long and weighs in at 12,000 pounds. Her name is Salem Sue, and she has the distinction of being the world’s largest cow. Read more

A tracked number grows

Mon, 08/11/2014

Knowing your numbers makes farming easier


by Ali Enerson, Hoard’s Dairyman Special Publications Editor

How do you know where you’re going if you don’t know where you are? Tracking various aspects of your dairy business is one of the biggest contributors to your financial success.

The reasons to keep records are to provide clarity, measure progress and plan for the future. The three overarching categories to maintain records of are inventory, finances and production records. You don’t need an accounting degree to keep track of what you own, how much you spend or get paid, and what your cows and crops produce each year. Whether it’s a notebook and pencil, computer spreadsheet or more advanced software program, as long as you’re tracking your business you’ll see the benefits and have clarity.

Let’s start with two small steps toward record keeping and tracking: Read more

China’s dairy demand is a growing beast

Fri, 08/08/2014

Can the United States and other countries meet their needs?

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

glass of milkA staggering picture of just how big China’s demand for dairy products already is – and how much bigger it is expected to be in less than a decade – is painted by two recently released forecasts about global dairy demand.

Even though dairy foods are not part of traditional Chinese diets and per-person consumption is tiny by U.S. standards, China is already the world’s number one dairy products importer, accounting for about one-sixth of everything that is sold.

But recent studies by the International Farm Comparison Network (IFCN) in Germany and the Canadean Group in England say China’s dairy demand is going to get much, much bigger. Read more

Calf care pays off long term

Thu, 08/07/2014

For one Pennsylvania producer, the dollars spent on heifers are returned after calving.

Bollinger Farm

By Maggie Seiler, Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern

A common strategy for spending available dollars on the farm is investing it close to the milk parlor. Areas that tend to get the most attention are the ones that directly affect milk production such as nutrition and cow comfort. In many cases, this short changes other areas of the farm which must modify and adapt as resources permit. This has led to a variety of models for calf and heifer care across the nation, but producers who invest in their calves are reap the benefits. Read more

“My American Farm” is fun learning

Wed, 08/06/2014

Educational games share agriculture’s story.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager


“Corn is grown in every state and on six continents.” That is just one of the agriculture facts state fair attendees could learn in the American Farm Bureau’s booth in the Discovery Barnyard. At the Wisconsin State Fair, I volunteered for a four-hour stint and oversaw the four tablets that allowed fair attendees to learn about agriculture with "My American Farm." I was very impressed with how engaged the youth (and their parents) were. One young girl, after answering a few of the counting exercises correctly, turned to her mom who had been helping her and with newly found confidence said, “Mom, I got this!” noting that she did not need any assistance and wanted to do it herself. Read more

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

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