HD Notebook

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

Hoard’s Jerseys see the appraiser

Mon, 03/03/2014

With an average score of 81.5 points and production bumping the 20,000-pound mark, the Hoard’s Dairyman Farm Jerseys are performing well.

Jersey cows

by Corey Geiger, Hoard's Dairyman Managing Editor

The Hoard Farm team, headed up by Jason Yurs, continues to be pleased with the performance our Jersey herd. This group was evaluated by a pair of American Jersey Cattle Association appraisers on a very cold Thursday in late January.

On that day, the entire herd averaged 81.5 points on the 300-plus head. Had the 25 cows sold weeks earlier to a young dairyman been included in the mix, the average would have been 81.9 points. Read more

Idaho farm video spying bill goes to governor

Fri, 02/28/2014

Animal rights group is doing massive spin doctoring and distortion to oppose it.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

A bill that would make it illegal to trespass or use fraudulent misrepresentation to gain entry onto a farm for the purpose of making secret videos has been sent to Idaho Governor Butch Otter for his signature.

If approved, the bill will become law immediately. Violators would be subject to up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000, and would be required to pay restitution that is double the value of any damage resulting from their actions.

The bill has been on a fast track since it was introduced earlier this year. It was passed 23-10 in the state Senate on February 12, 13-1 in the House Agricultural Affairs Committee on February 20, and 56-14 in the full House on February 26. Read more

How they handle cropping and manure

Thu, 02/27/2014

The tie stall herds from our February 25, 2014, Round Table have more to share.

Hoard's Dairyman Round Table

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Earlier this week, the February 25 issue of Hoard’s Dairyman hit our readers’ mailboxes. On pages 118 to 120, four herds from New York to Kansas shared how they manage their tie stall herds. We couldn’t fit all they had to share on the three-pages devoted to the Round Table, so two topics were held back for our blog today. For additional information about each dairy, read the Round Table in your most recent issue of the magazine.

Please discuss your cropping and feed storage strategy. Read more

Excessive snow causes barn collapses

Wed, 02/26/2014

Have a winter emergency plan.

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard's Dairyman Online Media Manager

Minglewood barn collapse

Winter is not just about cold weather with frozen pipes, slippery concrete and snow shoveling. High volumes of snow can lead to barn collapses. At 3:30 a.m., 70-feet of roof came tumbling down on Minglewood’s 400-cow freestall barn that was 21 years old.

Read more

The right heifer herd size for you

Tue, 02/25/2014

Tighter heifer management could be a window of opportunity for many herds.


by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

A heifer needs to make about 33,000 pounds of milk to repay her rearing costs, said Cheryl Marti, a dairy production specialist for Zoetis, in her presentation at the Leading Dairy Producers Conference. Most cows won’t reach that point until their second lactation.

To trim costs, there are two hidden opportunities in heifer rearing, according to Marti. One is to “right-size” your replacement herd by raising fewer heifers. The second is to calve heifers in more efficiently through improved reproduction.

How can you right-size your heifer inventory? You can either sell bottom-end heifers that are likely to become less-profitable cows, or you can produce the precise number of heifers you need for the next generation, Marti explained. Read more

Learning Linear: More than choosing great dairy cows

Mon, 02/24/2014

New dairy cattle evaluation educational book contains over 90-plus color photos comparing each trait.

linear scoring

by Ali Enerson, Hoard’s Dairyman Special Publications Editor

Understanding linear evaluation enhances every dairy farmer’s ability to make better decisions for breeding and mating profitable, sound dairy cows. And for many others it means many lifelong skills that will serve them in personal and professional capacities.

It’s easy to talk about the skills youth gain by learning how to look at an animal, determine close pairs or a standout winner and give oral reasons. However, it’s sometimes overlooked that these same skills and benefits apply to adults who spend time learning these evaluation and observation techniques later in life. Read more

Make room for ice cream

Fri, 02/21/2014

It’s over half of the frozen desserts consumed

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

There was a time when ice cream was just for the affluent. With the advent of insulated ice houses in the early 1800s, it could stay cold.

Ice cream is a refreshing way to enjoy dairy, and the ingredients (protein, calcium, minerals and vitamins) add to its food value. To be called ice cream, it must contain 10 percent milkfat. Gourmet ice creams must contain at least 12 percent and often times are higher. Milkfat affects the palatability, smoothness, color and texture.

frozen yogurt shop in Dubai
Read more

A current snapshot of dairying in China

Thu, 02/20/2014

The gap between milk demand and supply is widening in the world’s largest country.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Milk in ChinaThis is a great time to be a milk producer in China. It’s an even better time to be a high-quality producer. But it’s a spectacular time to be a foreign supplier of premium, high quality products.

China’s melamine adulteration crisis in 2008 destroyed consumers’ confidence in domestically produced milk and it isn’t coming back quickly. The legacy of the crisis is that quality is now everything to consumers, who view imports as safer and are flocking to premium offerings in particular.

It’s a perception that gives imports a huge advantage over domestic dairy products and it’s a standard that domestic producers are forced to meet. Read more

Animals often bring comfort and joy

Wed, 02/19/2014

While dairy cows aren’t always an option, dairy steers can be just as valuable as a 4-H project.

By Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Megan McCoyEvery 4-H member has a unique story. Whether they’ve consistently bred show ring champions or have overcome obstacles to get where they are today, all of their tales are inspirational in some way.

Late last year, Megan McCoy’s story came across our desks after her mother, Christal, wrote to us. Embracing her love of animals, Megan’s father, who grew up on a dairy outside of Ashland, Ohio, was the driver behind her dairy steer 4-H projects. Below is the story we received from Megan’s family: Read more

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