HD Notebook

The nation’s dairy farms don’t fit one mold

Date: 
Tue, 05/20/2014

Our industry has no one set pattern when it comes to size and scale of dairy operations, but there is a trend towards farms of the bigger variety.

dairy farm

by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Dairy farms in the U.S. can’t be clumped into one cookie cutter mold, as new Census of Agriculture data shows that the dairy industry is still comprised of farms of varying shapes and sizes. The numbers did reveal, however, that those with more than 1,000 cows are growing at the fastest rate.

The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service released their 2012 census data earlier this month. The number of farms with dairy animals dropped from 69,890 in 2007 to 64,098 in 2012. Meanwhile, the number of dairy animals went up slightly during those five years, from 17.2 to 17.5 million. Read more

Farming with Family Ain’t Always Easy

Date: 
Mon, 05/19/2014

“You can be the smartest farmer in the world; however, if you can’t get everyone pulling in the same direction, then you get nowhere fast!”

by Ali Enerson, Hoard’s Dairyman Special Publications Editor

Farming with Family Ain’t Always EasyRunning any family business is challenging. The complexities of farming only add to that challenge. As with every business there are different personalities to work with, emotions that run high when so much of your life is invested into your work and especially when working with family, manners tend to float right out the window. Read more

“Dairy Land” is child’s play… and adults’ too

Date: 
Fri, 05/16/2014

Washington dairy producers’ new online game introduces consumers to the milk industry.

Dairy Land game

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

This time it’s okay to play on your computer at work.

“Dairy Land” is a new interactive online game unveiled May 5 by the Washington Dairy Products Commission (WDPC). It’s a fun and very educational take on how and why dairy products are great food choices, what it takes to make milk, and the important role dairying plays in Washington’s economy.

The game is the brainchild of WDPC communications program assistant Dan Hoffman, who also did all of the very engaging artwork on the downloadable game board. He came up with the idea in 2013. Read more

GMOs: a new labeling reality?

Date: 
Thu, 05/15/2014

Both sides claim science supports their position.

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

GMOs are one of the most hotly debated issues on tap today; yet science and emotion seem unable to find a common ground. This past Thursday, Vermont firmly aligned itself on the side of emotion, becoming the first state to mandate labeling of foods made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Signed by Governor Peter Shumlin, the law is set to take effect July 1, 2016.

Under this law, food sold for human consumption in Vermont that is entirely or partially produced with genetic engineering must be labeled to indicate this fact. Read more

Step up lactating cow minerals, but do so cautiously

Date: 
Wed, 05/14/2014

Uncertainty and risk drive careful ration mineral balancing.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

May webinar slide slideWhile the 2001 National Research Council (NRC) has been an ally of nutritionists for years, Bill Weiss’ research and experience have proven that some of the minimum levels set in the NRC guidelines are low and should be increased to meet the needs of today’s dairy herds.

Weiss’ webinar presentation, “Update on mineral nutrition of dairy cows,” on Monday, May 12, covered seven important minerals needed in lactating dairy cow rations. The Ohio State University professor focused on phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, sulfur, copper, chromium and manganese. Read more

Filling the need for protein

Date: 
Tue, 05/13/2014

Dairy products can play an important role in meeting people’s protein needs, especially as our nation’s population ages.

by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

The dairy product sector has seen great transformation. At one time, milkmen were delivering glass bottles of milk and a few other limited products. Today, every grocery store has a dairy aisle filled with an array of nutritious, protein-dense dairy foods.

One protein source of dairy descent that has seen tremendous growth is whey. Research in the area of whey has erupted recently. There was very little published data on the topic before 1990, but more than 240 articles were published in 2013.

“There’s been an explosion of high protein products the last 5, 10, 15 years,” said Brian Helwig, Director of Protein Nutrition Research at the Dairy Research Institute, when he spoke at the International Cheese Technology Expo. Read more

U.S. filled a world dairy export void

Date: 
Mon, 05/12/2014

With sluggish milk production around the globe in 2013, the U.S. developed relationships with new international customers. Can the U.S. continue at that pace?

by Corey Geiger, Hoard's Dairyman Managing Editor

Of the major exporting countries last year, only one — the U.S. — posted double-digit growth in multiple dairy product categories. Speaking to a group of dairy economists was Véronique Pilet from the National Center for Interprofessional Dairy Industries (CNIEL) in Paris, France. She noted that New Zealand and the European Union (as a federation of 28 countries) are stepping up milk production . . . and as a result, dairy product manufacturing. Read more

It’s official: 2013 was California’s driest year ever

Date: 
Fri, 05/09/2014

San Joaquin Valley dairy areas were among the very hardest hit.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

When it rained, it didn’t pour in California last year.

As a result, the California Department of Water Resources (CDWR) has officially declared 2013 the driest year since records began being kept in 1895. The announcement came after the season’s final snow survey on May 1, which found the state’s snowpack water content to be just 18 percent of normal.

According to the Western Regional Climate Center (WRCC), California’s total average statewide precipitation in 2013 was 7.0 inches. According to the National Climatic Data Center, the 30-year average from 1971 to 2000 was 22.2 inches.

Different parts of the state, of course, vary tremendously in terms of what normal precipitation is and illustrate how severe the magnitude is of the state’s ongoing drought. Read more

Calcium supports your cows' transition

Date: 
Thu, 05/08/2014

Milk fever impacts fresh cow health, production, reproduction and immune function.

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

As our cows transition into lactation, their calcium requirements elevate two to three-fold over their dry period needs. “Shortly before calving, a cow deposits 8 to 10 grams per day of calcium into her fetus. After calving, 20 to 30 grams per day are secreted into colostrum and milk,” noted Donna Amaral-Phillips in a recent edition of Kentucky Dairy Notes. If the cow isn’t metabolically ready for this upswing, blood calcium concentration drops below a critical level and milk fever (clinical or subclinical) can result. Read more

GMOs . . . just like an app for your phone

Date: 
Wed, 05/07/2014

Technology allows you to do more with the same basis unit

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

How do you explain genetically modified organisms to a consumer without getting too science-based in your explanation? I recently heard the analogy of comparing the technology to produce GMO foods with adding an app to your smartphone. You have not fundamentally changed the phone, it is still a phone, but it just has some extra options now. For example, resisting drought and insects, as well as tolerating extreme climate conditions.

When a crop is modified at the genetic level, generally one or two additional genes are added to the genome. It is done to make the crop or plant stronger, more functional and able to withstand environmental stress. When these benefits are present, the result is the production of more food with the same resources. And with more food being produced, costs to the consumer can stay low. Read more

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