HD Notebook

Fall harvest brings safety reminders

Mon, 10/20/2014

Safety should be top of mind year-round, especially when working with grain


By Ali Enerson, Hoard’s Dairyman Special Publications Editor

Grain entrapment is a farming hazard year-round; however, with all of the grain transport vehicles on the road and combines in the fields, it brings year-round safety to mind. As Penn State Extension reminds us, working with grain can provide a wide variety of safety risks, from electrical hazards of overhead power lines, portable augers, dryers and stirrers to increased potential for falls from ladders and other tall structures. This makes it a good time to remind all workers and family members to take safety precautions year-round in their daily work activities. Read more

Cottonseed is cheaper, but for how long?

Fri, 10/17/2014

This year’s crop is bigger, but lower prices may not last long.


by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Harvest is finally under way on the nation’s cotton crop after being delayed by a cooler summer in many major growing areas. That means what has historically been the best time to shop for whole cottonseed has arrived.

Fortunately for dairy producers, USDA expects this year’s crop to be 26 percent bigger than last year — including 1.17 million more tons of whole cottonseed — which has already pushed prices well below 2013 levels.

Tom Wedegaertner, director of cottonseed research for Cotton Inc., says prices are roughly $120 to $150 per ton less than a year ago, but he’s wary about how long they will last and what they could do in 2015. Read more

Mixed groups do more harm than good

Thu, 10/16/2014

When mixed with older cows, your first-lactation animals take the brunt of the milk production hit.

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

cows eatingLimited pen space on-farm often ties our hands when we attempt to develop a grouping strategy. The options, such as separating cows based on stage of lactation, reproductive status or body condition, are endless. Yet, one strategy that deserves renewed consideration is grouping cows by parity.

As Rick Grant noted in the September Miner Institute Farm Report, many heifers will struggle to meet their genetic potential when competing with older cows in a mixed parity pen. Read more

Have you signed up for MPP-Dairy?

Wed, 10/15/2014

First seek to understand, then act on the new farm bill’s new dairy component

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

October webinar slideThe recent Farm Bill eliminates the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) and replaces it with a Margin Protection Program (MPP-Dairy). “The previous program was not an adequate safety net for the U.S. dairy industry’s dynamics,” remarked John Newton from the University of Illinois. With MILC only a portion of the U.S. milk supply was covered. With MPP-Dairy, all milk produced is eligible to be covered, although producers have the option to participate or not, as the program is voluntary. Read more

Calves are her babies

Tue, 10/14/2014

The best calf raisers treat their calves like children, and Marcie Feine does just that.

by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Marcie Feine’s passion for calves clearly shined through as she spoke at a Land O’Lakes calf event last month.

“I have the best job because I get the babies,” she said.

Marcie and her husband, Glen, are former dairy farmers turned custom calf and heifer raisers from Rushford, Minn. The family-run operation has eight employees, including their daughter and son-in-law, two young granddaughters and Glen’s father.

Glen and Marcie Feine

Glen and Marcie Feine, Rushford, Minn.
Read more

Is it winter yet?

Mon, 10/13/2014

No, but it may be time to start preparing dairy facilities for Old Man Winter's arrival.

dairy winter scene

by Maggie Seiler, Hoard's Dairyman Editorial Intern

As I boarded the plane to leave World Dairy Expo last week, the imminent threat of snow had me dreading the predictions of an equally miserable winter to come. Maybe I am jumping the gun, but the Old Farmer’s Almanac has predicted a winter in line with that of last year's with lower than average temperatures and average to more than average snowfall across the nation. Read more

What’s holding you back?

Thu, 10/09/2014

Whether you’re searching for the next milk quality premium or striving for another pound of milk, parlor observations can help troubleshoot your weak links.

milking parlor

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Nothing is more frustrating than a problem without an answer. When we have a setback in production or a mastitis flare-up, the parlor can be a daunting place to start. But, it doesn’t have to be the headache for which it is often perceived. “Taking the time to routinely walk through the parlor or milking barn to make observations pays big dividends for the dairy,” noted David Reid, Rock Ridge Dairy Consulting, in the National Mastitis Council’s newsletter. Read more

Why do they genomic test?

Wed, 10/08/2014

WDE seminar provides insight to success with genomics

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

“It’s a no brainer,” remarked Matt Nuckols, a registered Holstein breeder from Virginia and a panelist at the genomics seminar. Extra cattle value and the ability to make more informed herd decisions are the primary reasons he shared.

Nuckols’ Eastview Farm uses genomics to sort the herd by testing all females in the 120-cow herd. Results help determine which heifers will be recipients, bred traditionally, bred with sexed semen or will be flushed.

The herd uses genomic bulls exclusively, yet spreads the risk, using only 10 units of any bull. “Genomic bulls may go up or down a bit, but on average, they will still do better than the average of 10 hand-picked bulls,” conveyed Nuckols. Read more

Is a value-added dairy enterprise right for you?

Tue, 10/07/2014

Consumer demand awaits, but you need to do your homework first.

by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

cheesemakingAmericans are drinking less fluid milk, but their taste for dairy is not waning. In fact, USDA data released last month shows that per capita consumption of dairy products has climbed from 539 pounds in 1975 to 607 pounds in 2013.

In her World Dairy Expo seminar, “Exploring value-added dairy opportunities,” Sarah Cornelisse, senior extension associate from Penn State University, commented on this dairy demand growth, particularly in the areas of specialty or value-added products. She noted a surge in the number of raw milk permits, artisan cheese plants and milking goat and sheep farms in the state of Pennsylvania as just a few indicators to the demand and interest in value-added dairy products. Read more

Milk prices already falling in Europe

Fri, 09/26/2014

Market supply and demand-driven cuts show what U.S. producers are in store for soon.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Farm milk prices in the U.S. have somehow and so far managed to defy the gravitational pull of rising production and falling international dairy product prices. But not in Europe, where changes in global supply and demand are being felt by producers much quicker.

U.S. Class III prices, which will likely peak at an all-time high of around $25 per hundredweight for October milk, are in sharp contrast to those throughout the European Union (EU), which have already begun to dip. Ours aren’t expected to start falling until November and are forecast to stay below $18 for at least part of 2015. Read more

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