HD Notebook

The fall slump has arrived

Thu, 12/04/2014

Milk production depressions are commonplace after harvest, but this year, the valleys seem deeper.

cows eating

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Forage digestibility can be a game changer. For dairymen who were banking on the harvested tons to add some breathing room back in their forage budget, a crop like 2014’s provided little relief. While the harvested acres yielded well, low digestibility has been a common theme based on lab analyses. The need to feed new crop corn silage, combined with shorter day lengths, has resulted in lower milk production and high components.

In a recent bulletin from Vita Plus, Rod Martin, dairy technical services team, highlighted what many nutritionists are seeing out in the field:

  • Milk production is 4 to 8 pounds lower than expected.
  • Fat tests are running well above 4.0 percent in Holstein herds.
Read more

All I want for Christmas is . . .

Wed, 12/03/2014

What you can do when a calf purchase tops their wish list.

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

girl with calfIt’s the time of year when children dream. And there is no better time to “dream big” than Christmas. There seems to be less guilt about asking for things during the holidays as compared to other times of the year. For a few young boys and girls, a registered calf is on their wish list.

As with any new pet, there will be responsibilities to undertake if a calf is the gift under the proverbial tree. It is the responsibility of the parent and the child to work together to make caring for the new addition a learning experience, including animal care, nutrition and the cycle of life. Read more

Beyond the cattle and cowboy boots

Tue, 12/02/2014

For students in Louisville, Ky., the North American International Livestock Exposition provides a unique opportunity for a lesson in agriculture.

North American International Livestock Exposition

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

The North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE) in Louisville, Ky., is well-known for its dairy cattle and livestock shows, the rodeo, and a whole trade show hall filled with show supplies, cowboy boots, sparkly belts and more. What few people may realize is that the expo also serves as an excellent agricultural education venue for students every year through its school tours program. Read more

Milk’s nutrition remains unmatched

Mon, 12/01/2014

Milk alternatives are still giving cow’s milk a run for its money, but they may not be all they’re cracked up to be.

by Ali Enerson, Hoard’s Dairyman Special Publications Editor

glass of milk
There’s a resurgence in the debate between cow’s milk and milk alternatives for children. A recent Fox News article brings to light a few points regarding the differences between cow’s milk, human breast milk, and milk alternatives for both babies and toddlers. Read more

Cow milking is evolving toward robots

Fri, 11/28/2014

Technology is relentlessly eroding the need to attach machines by hand.

robotic milker

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Little by little, cow milking is evolving from manual to automated. Not just for small herds, but for everyone.

Adoption of robotic milking technology, whether as individual “box” units or as automated rotaries, is a fast-growing trend being driven by computers, software, generational changes, and lifestyle choices . . . but especially by declining labor supply.

“No one wants to retire as a milker. There’s no excitement in that for a young person or for anyone,” says Peter Langebeeke, president of Lely North America Inc., a division of the world’s largest robotic milking machine manufacturer. Read more

Americans are spending less money eating out

Wed, 11/26/2014

Is the trend motivated by cost or convenience?

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

Just about anyone could guess that health care, housing and transportation costs were higher in 2013. And they’d be right. Americans have cut back across the board, but what about food purchases?

For the past three years, Americans have increased the amount of money spent on food consumed at home. It was $3,977, while food eaten out was less, at $2,625, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey for 2013. That translates to 60 percent of food dollars being spent on meals in-home, while 40 percent are from restaurants. That’s a stretch from 25.9 percent out-of-home in 1970. Read more

A snow overload

Tue, 11/25/2014

The recent major snowstorm in New York is a reminder to all in northern climates the dangers of heavy snow on rooftops.

winter dairy scene

by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

An early winter snowstorm dumped up to 7 feet of snow in parts of western New York, shutting down highways and stranding thousands. For farmers, feed delivery was halted and milk that could not be picked up was dumped. The worst reports shared news of barn collapses and animals that perished.

Curt Gooch, senior extension associate with Cornell University, says that building failure due to heavy snow can be a result of improper building design or construction, an imbalance of snow on the roof, or simply an amount of snow that exceeds the design's snow load.

In a wooden structure, audible or visual signs may be noticed prior to a collapse. Read more

Outcry for agriculture

Mon, 11/24/2014

Discussing policy and practices with consumers is all about talking with them, not at them.

by Maggie Seiler, Hoard's Dairyman Editorial Intern

Bruce VincentAs a nation, consumers are no longer interested in just the nutritional content of the food but also how it is produced and how production affects the environment. One of the biggest struggles that the agriculture industry faces is explaining it in a way that is understandable and personal. Bruce Vincent, a Montana logger and traveling speaker on this issue, said during a November 10 lecture at Kansas State University that the trick to communicating is talking with people rather than at them. Read more

Future supermarkets will feature – you!

Fri, 11/21/2014

“Guru” predicts a shopping environment that includes cooking, eating, and meeting local farmers.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Take a seat, have a taste . . . and say hello to farmer Frank.

Phil LempertNone of these are part of the grocery store shopping experience today, but “Supermarket Guru” and NBC Television Today Show food trends editor Phil Lempert (pictured here) says all of them are coming.

Speaking at the United Dairymen of Idaho annual meeting in Boise last week, he told listeners that, in addition to grocery shopping being low on consumers’ list of favorite things to do, supermarket trends are changing at an increasingly faster pace. On top of that, “a lot of the food information out there for consumers is simply wrong.”

He said that is where local farmers will come in. Read more

Oxygen is the enemy

Thu, 11/20/2014

Poorly preserved corn silage doesn’t stand a fighting chance.

silage bunker

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Haste makes waste. An idiom that’s long been applied to children completing their household chores is just as relevant to our corn silage harvest and storage. Occasionally, in the haste to stay ahead of dry matter losses or impending weather, corners are cut. But this is a double-edged sword. These shortcuts may get the crop under plastic and tires sooner, while inadvertently causing irreversible dry matter losses.

At the Penn State Dairy Nutrition Conference, John Goeser with Rock River Laboratory spoke on the fermentation process from onset to feed-out. Ideally, we want to utilize as many of our harvested tons as possible. Ultimately, this comes down to minimizing shrink. Read more

Syndicate content