HD Notebook

Outside factors impact price and quality of forages

Wed, 10/14/2015

Understanding these conditions, we can manage feed quality and costs.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman, Online Media Manager

October powerpoint slideDuring “A crop and feed outlook for the months ahead” webinar, Mike Hutjens and Mike Rankin gave an overview of dairy ration ingredients and where prices have been and may be heading. In addition to price, they also looked at this year’s forage quality. Weather wreaks havoc, not just on the land, but alters quality and ultimately the price of forages. Read more

One milk cooperative’s road to prominence

Tue, 10/13/2015

A milk marketing cooperative born out of farmers’ concerns has grown to become a nationally ranked organization.

by Brittany Statz, 2015 Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern

Dairy farmers won’t soon forget 2009. Abysmal milk prices and razor thin margins were enough to push many of them out of the industry for good, and those who chose to stay held on by their fingernails.

But while 2009 was the end of the line for some farmers, it spelled a new beginning for others. Dairy farmers, already watching their pennies, more closely scrutinized where their dollars were going. They decided they needed something different that would give them more control over where that money was headed.

Those farmers, many of whom were influential in founding Wisconsin’s Dairy Business Association, created the Dairy Business Milk Marketing Cooperative (DBMMC) in April 2010 in Green Bay, Wis. Read more

Hairy Hoof Wars

Mon, 10/12/2015

Focus on identification and management to diminish heel wart prevalence.

By Maggie Seiler, Special Publications Editor

HolsteinI can remember the first time we detected digital dermatitis, also referred to as hoof warts or hairy heel warts, in my family’s herd. It was in the early 2000s, and we had recently purchased a few cows to expand our herd. What we got was a little more than we had bargained for – an ongoing battle against digital dermatitis.

What my family has learned over the last 15 years is that digital dermatitis is not a problem that can be ignored away. Management commitments to hoof health are necessary to reduce the prevalence of the disease in the herd. That begins with classification of digital dermatitis. One method for doing so was introduced in the 1990s by Dörte Döpfer and associates. Read more

Sustainability report touts dairy’s efforts

Fri, 10/09/2015

Partnerships aid in promoting our products.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

U.S. Dairy Sustainability Report

We are doing things right.

The Innovation Center for Dairy recently published the 2014 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Report and details the industry’s efforts.

The 40-page report details progress and current initiatives. Producers and processors work diligently to ensure sustainable practices and to educate consumers about our people, products and plans.

Some key points and messages from that report:

• Since 1944, milk production has quadruped, but the industry uses 90 percent less cropland, consumes 65 percent less water and emits 63 percent fewer greenhouse gases. Read more

Secure your farm to protect your reputation

Thu, 10/08/2015

by Hannah Thompson

Having grown up working in the dairy industry, I know firsthand how hard dairy farm families work to make cow comfort and safety a top priority. Unfortunately, animal rights groups, with the ultimate goal of ending the consumption of milk, meat and eggs, make their top priority misleading consumers about how dairy cows are cared for on farms.

One method of accomplishing this is sending “undercover” activists to gain employment on farms. These individuals — who are also being paid by animal rights activist organizations in addition to collecting a paycheck from the farm — have the sole mission of capturing footage or images that activist organizations can use to depict the industry in a poor light.

Let me be clear — no one in animal agriculture condones any sort of animal abuse. If animal mistreatment is occurring, it needs to be reported and dealt with swiftly. Read more

Why do other states care about a California FMMO?

Wed, 10/07/2015

Because it would probably hurt producer prices just about everywhere else.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

All-Milk price changes under cooperative proposal

One of the interesting aspects of USDA’s public hearing that is underway in Clovis, Calif., to gather testimony on establishing a Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) in California, was participation by producer groups on the opposite side of the country.

However, it comes as no surprise after seeing the department’s 46-page analysis of projected economic impacts that a California FMMO would have on the country’s current FMMOs. That analysis can be downloaded here. Read more

Robot cows are on the move

Tue, 10/06/2015

The success of a robotic milking system depends on four good feet to get each cow to the robot with ease.

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Jack Rodenburg“Healthy feet are absolutely critical for success in robot barns,” said Jack Rodenburg from DairyLogix Consulting in Ontario, Canada. During his educational seminar at World Dairy Expo, he pointed to research that showed a drop in robot visits and a rise in the number of fetch cows when lameness was prevalent in a herd.

“Fetching cows” is a new labor demand for producers milking with robots. Fetch cows are cows that don’t visit the robot for milking voluntarily. The number of fetch cows typically runs between 2 to 10 percent on robot farms, noted Rodenburg.

This number can escalate when the incidence of lameness rises. Thus, timely and effective treatment of lame cows is a necessity in robot herds. Read more

Get your piece of Expo History

Mon, 10/05/2015

We Need a Show is now available for purchase from the Hoard’s Dairyman bookstore.

By Maggie Seiler, Special Publications Editor

We Need a ShowBooths are deconstructed, cows are headed home, and the 49th edition of World Dairy Expo is wrapped up. If you had the opportunity to be on the grounds this year, you might have heard the buzz surrounding We Need a Show, the book commemorating the 50th anniversary of World Dairy Expo.

The book outlines the first 50 years of the show from its humble beginnings as the brainchild of a single passionate Wisconsin dairy farmer to the place where the dairy industry meets today. Along the way, the show saw many great successes on the colored shavings and in the aisles of the trade show. Most importantly, the last 49 years witnessed the coming together of many great people. Read more

Fun in the summer sun

Fri, 09/25/2015

Cows in Wisconsin had a lot, cows in California did not.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Wisconsin passes CaliforniaTwo very different songs sum up what milk production per cow was like in the nation’s two biggest dairy states this summer.

In Wisconsin it was “Hot Fun in the Summertime.” In California it was “Summertime Blues.”

According to USDA-NASS “Milk Production” reports, average milk production per cow in both July and August were higher in Wisconsin (1,960 and 1,940 pounds, respectively) than in California (1,919 and 1,875 pounds). Bravo Badger State!

It was news that some Wisconsin news outlets pumped up the volume for, but put out static when trying to say what it meant. And they put it into no context whatsoever. Read more

Feed’s too valuable to waste

Thu, 09/24/2015

Leachate and runoff can drain nutrients from your bunk while hampering water quality.

By Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

bunkerWhen it comes to feed, shrink – or nutrients that are lost before they have a chance to be consumed – can have a substantial impact on a dairy’s bottom line. Any number of factors, from operator error to natural causes, can be to blame.

Nutrients can also flow away from feed storage areas with or without the aid of precipitation. When the crop is harvested at a high moisture level, silage leachate can flow from the silage pile without a precipitation event. Meanwhile, runoff – the more common way that nutrients leave the feed storage area – generally coincides with a rain or snowmelt event. Read more

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