HD Notebook

Chick rescue

Wed, 06/22/2016

Animals teach kids important lessons about responsibility and respect for life.

by Sadie Frericks, Minnesota dairy farmer

boy with chick

As caretakers of animals . . . whether farm animals or companion animals . . . we often face tough decisions. When an animal is ill or injured, it’s our great responsibility to decide if we should do what we can to save it or if we should end its life humanely.

When kids are involved in caring for and rescuing animals, they learn important lessons about life and death. They learn to accept responsibility and respect life. Read more

Judged in seconds

Tue, 06/21/2016

Whether in the dairy cattle show ring or on the dance stage, you only have a few seconds when the judge is looking your way. You must make it count.

by Corey Geiger, Hoard’s Dairyman Managing Editor

As the competition began, door guards checked back tags, known in the dance world as competitor numbers, and made final calls for late entries. Tardiness was rarely accepted as 8,057 entries crossed the dance floor over the five days.

“Heat 460. This is the Intermediate Silver Open Rumba. Contestants to the floor. This is the Intermediate Silver Open Rumba. Music please,” boomed the announcer’s voice, as members of the audience gazed towards the dance stage or flipped through their 200-plus page dance catalog.

It was show time for us.

Music starts.

Dancers begin. Read more

Cha-cha and cows have a great deal in common

Mon, 06/20/2016

After dancing our way through our first national dance competition, the similarities between dance competitions and dairy cattle shows were striking.

by Corey Geiger, Hoard's Dairyman Managing Editor

“Let me put your back tag on,” said the reassuring but firm voice from what I would quantify as a “man’s man.” Read more

The right barn for your robots

Fri, 06/17/2016

Certain design features improve traffic flow, cow comfort, and overall success of a robotic milking facility.

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Jack Rodenburg

For farms struggling to find enough employees or looking for more flexibility in their daily routine, robotic milking systems have become an intriguing option. Jack Rodenburg with DairyLogix Consulting in Ontario, Canada, is very passionate about milking robots and how they can help farms.

“I think robotic milking can do a tremendous amount to reduce dairy farm labor, and on smaller farms, it can also improve the lifestyle of the operator,” Rodenburg said during the Hoard’s Dairyman webinar “Barn design for robotic milking.” Read more

Promotion is part of the job

Thu, 06/16/2016

There are only so many hours in a day, but advocating for dairy must be on a farmer’s to-do list.

Hillcrest Farms

By Caitlin Rodgers, Georgia dairy farmer

When a person decides to become a dairy farmer, they aren’t choosing just a career but a lifestyle. As many of you know, dairy farming is a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week job.

Most dairymen and women live on the farm or within a few minutes because of the demands of the farm. It is nothing to be called in three nights in a row between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. for cow care, equipment issues, or parlor malfunctions. To some, vacations or days off are unheard of. Nine out of 10 times, the only time that you see a dairy farmer is when visiting their dairy. Read more

Are your calves parched?

Wed, 06/15/2016

Help your calves withstand the intense summer heat.

newborn calf

By Taylor Leach, Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern

It’s hot, it’s humid, and it’s only the beginning of summer. And there is still a long way to go before we start to see the anticipated cooler temperatures of fall. While some might be enjoying the warmer weather, our calves, most likely, are not. How do we make sure that they remain comfortable during the intense summer heat?

Water is the most essential nutrient of them all. Without it, we cannot survive. Calves receive much of their water needs through milk consumption. Yet, they must still have enough clean water to replenish daily water loss through urine, feces, skin, and respiratory secretions. Within a few days of birth, calves should be provided with a clean, fresh water supply to encourage water consumption. Read more

Ode to the middle cows

Tue, 06/14/2016

Spend some time analyzing your most valuable group of cows — those that are so problem-free you almost forget they are present.

healthy cows

By Darleen Sichley, Oregon dairy farmer

We are all intimately familiar with our top cows — those special ones that outrank their herdmates in production or type. We form a special bond or attachment with those animals and celebrate their accomplishments in the showring and parlor. They are the real reason we get out of bed every morning, and it is an honor to work with them.

At the same time, we all also know our bottom cows. Those ones that, for whatever reason, struggle. They just don’t meet their genetic potential or seem to find all the problems. We spend most of our time keeping this group sound and healthy.

What about those cows that make up the middle?

Our favorite group of cows should be those we can almost forget about. Read more

The “others” of feed efficiency

Mon, 06/13/2016

Some feed efficiency factors are easy to overlook.

By Maggie Seiler, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

cows at feedbunkFeed management, bunker or silo care, labor efficiencies, and more. Farmers are some of the most economically aware workers in the country, and it’s easy to understand why. Perhaps the place on the farm that receives the most attention when it comes to economics and efficiencies is the feeding program.

A recent DaireXnet article dove into a few of the feed efficiency factors that have an impact on farm economics, but are not always top of the mind – the “others” of feeding program efficiency, if you will.

“Reproductive efficiency, cow comfort, and replacement management practices impact the efficiency of feed resources used on a dairy operation,” shared Donna Amaral-Phillips in the article. Read more

Take the farm to the city

Fri, 06/10/2016

It’s about the experience, regardless of location

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

Take the farm to the people, instead of taking the people to the farm.

ScoopieJune Dairy month brings excitement as the public sets foot on real dairies during dairy breakfasts and tours. They introduce, or reintroduce, consumers to modern dairy farming. However, consumers need to travel to those events. What if logistics in your farming community are not suited for these events? Read more

Our story doesn’t exist unless we tell it

Thu, 06/09/2016

Consumers will not hear what we have to say about the dairy industry unless we take the initiative and find ways to tell them.

By Hannah Thompson, communications director for Animal Agriculture Alliance

“To the consumer, our story doesn’t exist unless we tell it.”

Andrew Campbell
Dairy farmers always say the wisest things, don’t they? The quote above was shared by Canadian dairy farmer Andrew Campbell when he spoke at the Animal Agriculture Alliance’s Stakeholders Summit in early May. Andrew told our audience about his own experience with telling his story when he decided to post one photo a day from his farm on social media using the hashtag #Farm365. Read more

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