HD Notebook

Digestible fiber makes more milk

Wed, 08/12/2015

Understanding forage digestibility aids in maximizing production

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

August webinar slideHigh-quality forage fiber in a milking cow’s ration can help milk components, result in fewer metabolic disorders and foot problems and add to cow longevity. It also cut concentrate costs, especially if purchased, which leads to a greater income over feed costs (IOFC), up to a 30 percent difference.

That was the focus as Rick Grant, Miner Institute, presented “Milking ration fiber for all it’s worth” as the August Hoard’s Dairyman webinar. Since growing up on a New York dairy farm, Grant has worked extensively in research and education. He shared some cutting-edge concepts with attendees and challenged them to rethink the way they feed cows.

Which cows benefit most from high quality fiber? Read more

Cows congregate where it’s cool

Tue, 08/11/2015

To beat the heat, the nation’s cows are concentrated in more temperate regions of the United States.

by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Dairymen know that cows tend to seek out the coolest places on the farm: beneath shade, under sprinklers and in front of fans. Growing up on my family’s dairy farm, I remember cows crowding around the water tank or under that one patch of trees in the pasture on hot, sunny days.

During the dog days of August, temperatures can rise to uncomfortable levels in even the most well ventilated, animal friendly barns, leaving cows on a hunt for the coolest spot available. Read more

Well worth the expense

Mon, 08/10/2015

A dairy in southwest Indiana has reaped major benefits from installing precision dairy technologies on their farm.

by Brittany Statz, 2015 Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern

Brittany's blog

When one visits the Koester family farm in far southwestern Indiana, they’ll notice a lot of things. For one, they’ll see that the sprinklers run constantly on very hot days to keep the cows comfortable. They’ll also note the cows’ chunky red necklaces (aka activity monitors) and lastly, they’ll spot the robots positioned along the walls of the freestall barn.

Since they moved their dairy farm to its current location just one week before Christmas in 2012, Diamond K Dairy has jumped on the precision dairy technology train – and they aren’t looking back. Read more

California FMMO hearing starts September 22

Fri, 08/07/2015

It could last a month or more and will be unlike anything the state’s dairy industry has ever seen.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

California’s dairy industry asked for it, and on September 22 at 9 a.m., it may get to see an example of “be careful what you ask for” for many days in a row.

On Wednesday this week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it will hold a public hearing at the Veterans Memorial District Building in Clovis, Calif., to consider establishment of a Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) in the state.

A formal request to do so, along with a detailed FMMO proposal, was made by California’s three largest dairy cooperatives on February 4, 2015. Alternative proposals were subsequently submitted by state processor and producer-handler groups.

California accounts for approximately 20 percent of all milk made in the U.S., so a statewide FMMO would be by far the largest in the country. Read more

Proceed with caution

Thu, 08/06/2015

Not all cases of mastitis need to be treated. Let the causative pathogen be your guide.

culture dish

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

“Do not administer antibiotics to cows that will not benefit,” cautioned Daryl Nydam, Cornell University, at the National Mastitis Council Regional Meeting.

Based on research from the University of Wisconsin, not all cases of mastitis should or need to be treated. Nearly 85 percent of mastitis cases can be classified as mild or moderate. These animals don’t require systemic intervention, and delaying treatment 24 to 36 hours while waiting for culture results won’t change the treatment outcome. The remaining 15 percent of cases should be treated immediately and systemically.

When deciding which mild or moderately classified cows to treat, producers have three paths to pick from:

Read more

Lactose intolerance can be overcome

Wed, 08/05/2015

There are options for those who deal with the issue.

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

“It’s like the worst stomachache of my life. Someone is punching me in the gut. That is followed by nausea and diarrhea,” shared the 23-year-old when asked about the impact of lactose on her system. Lactose intolerance can cause digestive discomfort, but each person’s symptoms are a bit different.

Self-diagnosis of lactose intolerance is not always accurate. A medical doctor should confirm your suspicions because your symptoms may be from another condition that might need additional attention or treatment. I spoke with my cousin, Alicia, who was raised on a dairy farm and just before entering fifth grade was evaluated for lactose intolerance. An endoscopy and samples from her esophagus, and her small and large intestine confirmed what her parents suspected, lactose intolerance. Read more

Agriculture’s most important century

Tue, 08/04/2015

With the global population expected to grow by 3 billion in the next century, AgriCorps volunteers are doing their part to help train the farmers of today and the future.

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Trent McKnight“This is the most important century agriculture will face,” said Trent McKnight during his presentation at the 2015 Ag Media Summit in Scottsdale, Ariz. “We never had the challenge before of feeding this many people.”

He explained that 2014 was the “peak child year”— more children were born last year than there were in any previous year or will be in any future year. Right now, there are 2 billion people on Earth under the age of 16, and by the end of the century the global population will max out at 10 billion people.

“Our greatest challenge of the next century will be feeding those 3 billion additional mouths,” he said. Read more

Best blogs of 2015: PETA cranks up the cute factor

Mon, 08/03/2015

One of the most widely known animal rights groups is no stranger to using emotional appeal to win over people’s minds.

By Brittany Statz, 2015 Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern


We’ve seen them all when we view websites, videos or photos posted by anti-agriculture groups. The furry kittens, bouncing puppies and wide-eyed bunnies have made us all go “awwww” at some point or another. Let’s be honest: animal rights propaganda is good at making people feel all sorts of emotions.

Take, for example, this video called “Down on the Farm.” It features a song and a plucky guitar to give the video a homespun feel during its 1-minute, 17-second duration.

Scene One: the video starts off with a cow, a pig and a chicken living what would appear to be happy, uninterrupted lives. Read more

Dairy takeaways from a beef meeting

Fri, 07/31/2015

We are a bigger part of that industry than ever before, and it is not likely to change anytime soon.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

describe pixt

Earlier this month I took off my dairy hat and went to the 2015 National Cattle Industry Summer Conference in Denver, hosted by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA).

The view of our industry from that perspective was both interesting and encouraging, and I came away with several strong impressions: Read more

Cows need energy postcalving

Thu, 07/30/2015

Feeding a high forage diet alters feeding behaviors, health parameters and milk production in fresh cows.

By Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Transition cows are much like a puzzle that is missing a few pieces; we’re still working to develop the full picture. Feeding strategies are one piece of the transition cow puzzle that has evolved through years of trial and error.

“High forage diets for close-up dairy cows are gaining popularity and are perceived to provide health and production advantages,” noted Julie Huzzey, in a poster presentation at the Joint Annual Meeting of the American Dairy Science Association and the American Society of Animal Scientists.

After calving, cows typically transition to a high-energy diet. While at the University of British Columbia, Huzzey and colleagues compared the effect of keeping cows on a high-forage diet for three weeks after calving versus switching cows to a conventional high-energy diet. Read more

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