HD Notebook

Tools that enhance our cow sense

Tue, 03/24/2015

The list of precision dairy farming technologies continues to grow and tell us more about our cows.

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

cow monitorPeople with good cow sense are irreplaceable, but there are exciting new tools that can help producers make more timely and informed decisions. Read more

Tales from the crypto

Mon, 03/23/2015

My bout with an intestinal infection hardened my stance on raw milk.


by Brittany Statz, Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern

I spent most of my Christmas break helping my boyfriend on his 40-cow dairy in northwestern Wisconsin. The first couple of weeks of 2015 saw a bumper crop of calves hitting the ground: 11 calves out of nine cows, in fact . . . and eight of those calves were heifers. When I wasn’t sitting up until nearly midnight getting newborns to drink or holding down the fort while Sam made many mad dashes up the silo in the bitter cold to keep silo unloaders running, I was helping care for and feed the baby bovines. Read more

Please take this dairy safety survey

Fri, 03/20/2015

University coordinators hope results will lead to a free safety program for producers.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

HICAHSWith dairy farm safety, there is always room for improvement. Read more

Milking machines aren’t fully to blame

Thu, 03/19/2015

Since pulsation came on-line, machines have taken a lot of flak for causing mastitis. Observations of the entire milking process, though, are needed to unroot the cause of milk quality problems.

By Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

milking parlor

Since the mid-19th century, there have been continuous attempts to make milk harvest more efficient. And since that time, mechanized milking has been blamed for the development of mastitis in dairy cattle.

So where does the blame lie?

“Machine milking can lead to the development of mastitis, but poor management practices also result in reduced milk quality,” noted Patrick Gorden, a veterinarian with the Iowa State College of Veterinary Medicine, at the National Mastitis Council annual meeting. Read more

Ag Day is today . . . and every day!

Wed, 03/18/2015

March 18 recognizes the import role agriculture plays in everyone’s lives

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

Ag DayThe Agriculture Council of America hosts National Agriculture Day, with the epicenter being Washington, D.C. Events promoting the role food
and fiber play in daily lives will attempt to reach educators, families and government officials. The 2015 theme is “Agriculture: Sustaining Future Generations.” But, the message starts at home.

National Ag Day has four goals:
1. Understand how food, fiber and renewable resources are produced
2. Value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy
3. Appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products
4. Acknowledge and consider career opportunities in the agriculture, food, fiber and renewable resource industries

What are the desired results? Read more

Students are eating more of their (healthy) lunch

Tue, 03/17/2015

New school lunch policies improved food consumption and minimized waste in one school district; can we do even better?

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

child eating healthy school lunchWhen the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 was passed and required the USDA to update the nutrition standards of the National School Lunch Program, some people feared that more food waste would occur.

We’ve seen it happen before. When some schools pulled chocolate milk from their menus, a Cornell University study showed that milk consumption dropped 10 percent, milk waste rose 29 percent, and participation in the school lunch program fell by 7 percent. Read more

Walking a fine line

Mon, 03/16/2015

Automated calf feeding systems offer huge benefits but can also challenge management systems.

by Maggie Seiler, 2014 Hoard’s Dairyman editorial intern

automated calf feeder

Offering quicker gains, healthier calves and greater labor efficiencies, automated calf feeders have revolutionized antiquated calf systems while. Upon first appearance, the investment seems like it will easily pay for itself, and in many cases it does. However, C.A. Russell, a dairy producer in Texas and California, warned dairymen during a panel at the 2015 Western Dairy Management Conference in Reno, Nev., to pay special attention to building design when installing such systems. Read more

Reno wrap-up: did you attend?

Fri, 03/13/2015

Turnout at last week’s 12th Western Dairy Management Conference almost set a record.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Western Dairy Management Conference

There are three U.S. dairy industry events that are so well known around the world that milk producers often refer to them simply by where they are held:

Madison – World Dairy Expo in Wisconsin
Tulare – World Ag Expo in California
Reno – the Western Dairy Management Conference in Nevada

Unlike the first two, Reno happens only every other year and is a purely educational event; the largest one in the world. Children are nowhere to be seen, nor is there a trade show. The atmosphere is thoroughly informal and social, yet the conference is all business. Read more

Full-fat dairy isn’t a villain

Thu, 03/12/2015

For those looking to shed pounds, dodging dairy fat may be bad for your waistline.

By Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Fat is having a heyday.

For decades, the standard recommendation within the nutrition community has been to avoid fat like the plague. As the U.S. developed an obesity epidemic, their rationale to cut fat and sidestep calories, while still getting calcium and protein, seemed logical.

According to recent research, though, the fat-bashing health and dietary experts behind these recommendations may have been wrong.

Published in the European Journal of Nutrition, a review of the existing research on dairy fat came to two major conclusions:

  1. People who consume full-fat dairy are no more likely to develop type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease than those who stick to dairy’s low-fat selection.
  2. When it comes to weight gain, full-fat dairy products may be your better option.

Cooling dry cows – more benefits than you thought

Wed, 03/11/2015

Additional milk per day is just the start.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

March webinar slide
The signs of heat stress in dry cows are less obvious when there is no production to monitor. In the March Hoard’s Dairyman webinar, Geoff Dahl, University of Florida, presented, “Help your dry cows avoid heat stress.” Dahl has conducted numerous studies in the southeast heat and looks specifically at the dry period.

His research studied two different groups – those that were cooled during the dry period and those that were not. The only variable in his research was the dry period, as cows were managed under the exact same circumstances for their entire lives. Read more

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