HD Notebook

Inexpensive summer fun for dairy kids

Date: 
Tue, 07/05/2016

Silage bag slip-n-slide, backyard camping, cow bedding sand piles, and nature exploring all lead to summer farm fun.

by Sadie Frericks, Minnesota dairy farmer

kids on water slide

Dairy farm kids find lots of ways to make their own summer fun. Once their chores are done, I allow our kids to free range as much as possible. Free ranging develops their creativity, confidence, and independence.

But I think every parent has heard, “I’m bored. There’s nothing to do.”

We try our best to make time for summer activities like going to the public library or spending the afternoon swimming or fishing. There are times, though, when taking care of cows and crops keeps us on the farm. That’s when options for at-home fun come in handy.

Here are four inexpensive ways for dairy farm kids to have more fun on the farm this summer:

1. Silage bag slip-n-slide Read more

Genomic testing is changing animal identification

Date: 
Fri, 07/01/2016

It’s more than just a number.

Guernsey cows

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

At the National Guernsey Convention held earlier this week in Minneapolis, Minn., members listened to a presentation on genomics by Laurel Mastro of Neogen Corporation.

While Holsteins started receiving official genomic information in 2009, April 2016 was the debut of Guernsey genomics. Mastro provided an overview of genomic testing. Read more

Don’t just blame the nutritionist

Date: 
Thu, 06/30/2016

Feeding the best possible ration to your herd takes true teamwork between the farmer and nutritionist.

cows eating

By Mark Rodgers, Georgia dairy farmer

I have other dairy farmers ask me questions about the analysis of the rations we feed at our farm. My usual answer is, “I don’t know, that’s what I pay the nutritionist to keep up with!”

I have come to realize that I don’t need to know everything, I just have to surround myself with good consultants who excel in their field.

I believe it is more important that I focus on the management of the feeding process. I should be making sure that we harvest at correct moistures, pack the silage adequately, seal the finished forage for long-term and stable storage, and manage the pit face to feed the best forages to our cows daily. Read more

Exploring the different colors of the dairy industry

Date: 
Wed, 06/29/2016

Learning more about different breeds of dairy cattle can be beneficial.

cow

by Taylor Leach, Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern

I’m not colorblind, but I only see black, white, and brown on my family’s dairy operation.

Our 40-cow herd is made up of mostly Holsteins along with a few Jerseys thrown into the mix. Holsteins were the norm on our farm up until 1998, when I begged my parents to purchase a Jersey calf and add a little color to our herd. I still had an appreciation for our herd of Holsteins but quickly fell in love with the new breed. Recently, I have been exposed to other breeds of dairy cattle and have experienced the colorful world of the dairy industry. Read more

More than just a membership

Date: 
Tue, 06/28/2016

Being part of a breed association goes beyond genetic benefits to lifelong connections and friendships.

breed convention

By Darleen Sichley, Oregon Dairy Farmer

Summer marks the season for barbeques, s’mores around the campfire, and family outings and vacations. In the purebred dairy world, it also marks convention season.

National Ayrshire Convention in Oklahoma and National Milking Shorthorn Convention in Ohio kicked off the 2016 season two weeks ago. National Guernsey Convention wrapped up in Minnesota on Monday as National Holstein Convention was kicking off in New York. Meanwhile, California welcomes the National Jersey Convention to San Diego this week as well.

The 2016 convention season concludes next week when National Red and White Convention visits Maryland and National Brown Swiss Convention is held in Minnesota. Read more

There’s a balance in stocking density

Date: 
Mon, 06/27/2016

Welfare and economics must both play a role in determining how many cows fill a barn.

cows in freestall

By Maggie Seiler, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

One size does not fit all. There are many areas on the farm to which this saying readily applies. One of the most pertinent areas is dairy cattle housing. When it comes to stocking density, Rick Grant says each farm must find their optimal rate of cows per pen to address both animal welfare and economics.

“Our industry must recognize that, for some farms, a trade-off will occur between economics and welfare,” the president of the William H Miner Agricultural Research Institute wrote in a recent Miner Institute Farm Report. Read more

Dairy promotion without the moo

Date: 
Fri, 06/24/2016

Promote the food side of dairy.

dairy display

By Patti Hurtgen, Online Media Manager

There are farm tours, public events featuring baby calves, and more opportunities to celebrate June Dairy Month by featuring your favorite cow. But what can dairy enthusiasts who don't have access to cattle or a good location do to promote dairy?

One option is to showcase the consumer side of dairy. Picture a dairy producer (or allied industry representative) in the grocery store dairy section offering cheese squares to consumers. While most have tried Cheddar, maybe offer a Pepper Jack, Brick, or Muenster. It could expose a consumer to a new palate pleaser, with the ultimate goal a purchase of a new variety of cheese and demand growth. Read more

Chick rescue

Date: 
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

Date: 
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

Date: 
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

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