HD Notebook

Daddy and daughter dairy together

Thu, 02/25/2016

Some days it’s like we speak and learn via a different language as a boomer dad and millennial daughter. Yet, we both have the same goals for our dairy.

by Mark and Caitlin Rodgers

My daughter, Caitlin, decided to return to the farm after graduating with a degree in diversified agriculture to manage our herd health and reproduction programs. In other words, she wanted to take over part of my job.

We are a lot alike and that sometimes can lead to conflict. A lot of the time I am trying to get her to trust, without questioning, that what I am asking her to do is correct. All the while she is asking why . . . and wants to try a new way of doing the task differently than the way I explained to her. It’s these same scenarios that happen on other multigenerational dairy farms. Let’s consider each person’s unique perspective.

Caitlin: I want to improve a fairly successful program. Read more

Reach into the closet to keep calves warm

Wed, 02/24/2016

Calf jackets can provide much needed warmth for young animals on cold days.

calf jackets

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

A few mild days in the Midwest made it feel like spring was on the way, but since it is only February, we can be fairly certain that more cold and snow are in our future.

When temperatures dip, we reach into the closet for another layer of clothes. An added layer of protection, in the form of a calf jacket, can also shelter the youngest members of our dairy herd. In a recent University of Wisconsin-Extension podcast, agriculture agent Sarah Mills-Lloyd, D.V.M., shared her recommendations for using jackets on calves.

“Calf jackets do an excellent job keeping calves warm,” she said. When should jackets be used? Mills-Lloyd suggests that calves under 21 days of age should be wearing a jacket anytime the ground is frozen. Read more

Invest in relationships

Tue, 02/23/2016

Learning is a lifelong process and the Young Dairy Leaders Institute helped speed up that process.

Young Dairy Leaders Institute

by Darleen Sichley

Today, I hop on a plane to finish Phase III of the Young Dairy Leaders Institute in sunny Phoenix, Arizona. Besides the great weather — because we can all use some sunshine this time of year — I am most looking forward to being together with my classmates of YDLI once again.

It’s been a whirlwind of a year since finishing Phase I in Phoenix last February and then continued with my Phase II projects at home. When I first applied to be a member of YDLI’s Class 9, it was because the leadership development conference had come very highly recommended, and I saw it as another opportunity to invest in myself.

What I didn’t expect was the network I would gain. Read more

Feed the gut bugs

Mon, 02/22/2016

It’s as important in human nutrition as it is in dairy cows.

dairy case

by Maggie Seiler, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

As dairy producers and industry people, we spend a lot of time worrying about the tiny bugs located in our cows’ digestive tracts. We focus on supplying nutrients that are readily available and useful to these microbes in order to keep our cows healthy and producing high quality milk. Read more

Record milk cows have common attributes

Fri, 02/19/2016

Type and production are partners in extreme production

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

Last month it was announced that Bur-Wall Buckeye Gigi produced 74,650 pounds of milk. That equates to 8,680 gallons of milk and set the single lactation milk production record in one year of production. She eclipsed the previous record holder by over 2,000 pounds. Gigi is bred and owned by the Behnke Family of Brooklyn, Wis.

Bur-Wall Buckeye Gigi

For the last 45 years, Holstein Association USA has tracked its milk production leaders. In that time span, 12 different cows have held the title. They came from farms as far apart as Washington to New Hampshire.

The Oklahoma State Cowboys are gearing up for a change

Thu, 02/18/2016

Major renovations will be made to the Oklahoma State University Dairy thanks to a generous gift from a former student.

By Taylor Leach, Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern

Who would have thought that a love story from years past would lead to new state-of-the-art freestall barns and student housing renovations?

The students at the Oklahoma State University (OSU) Dairy, recently renamed the Ferguson Family Dairy Center, are preparing for major changes in the coming years to the place where many work and some even call home.

Ferguson Family Dairy Center
Read more

Take a wide-eyed look at your dairy

Wed, 02/17/2016

Outside perspectives can benefit your herd in many ways.

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

We recently took my nephew Michael out to our family’s dairy barn for the first time. At just under four months of age, Michael couldn’t say what was on his mind, but the look on his little face made it quite clear; he was in awe. His big blue eyes were wide as he took in the sounds, the smells, the sights and the cows.

dairy barn

When you walk into your dairy barn, do you have that same look of awe? Most likely, the answer is no. You walk that same path, hear the same sounds and look at those same sights every single day. That intricate knowledge and perspective of your herd is invaluable; however, there could be more to gain by looking at your dairy with a fresh set of eyes. That is one of the benefits of a farm advisory team. Read more

The stories of our lives

Tue, 02/16/2016

Farmers need to share their stories with each other, too.

by Sadie Frericks

As dairy farmers, we hear a lot about sharing our stories with consumers. Stories about why we farm and how we care for our cattle help us connect with consumers.

What we sometimes forget, though, is that we need to share the stories of our lives with each other, too. Our stories about the joys and challenges of dairy farming help us connect to each other. We need those connections. We need dairy farmer friends who understand what this life is like.

Each of us is drawn to sharing our stories in different ways. Some of us share our stories in private conversation. Others find more public ways to share.

I’ve been sharing my stories in newspaper columns and blog posts since 2003. I am honored and thrilled to start sharing stories about my farm and family here in the HD Notebook.

Frericks family
Read more

Know your herd’s locomotion

Mon, 02/15/2016

Locomotion scoring can help detect lame cows and gauge overall herd health.

Holstein cow

By Maggie Seiler, Hoard's Dairyman Associate Editor

When it’s not a problem, foot and leg health is something that flies under the radar on a many dairies, but soggy spring conditions and gimpy cows can quickly turn the tables. A well-developed foot and leg health program that includes locomotion scoring, regular hoof trimming and clean facilities is the best way to combat headaches incurred by lame cows.

A functional set of feet and legs can be described as one on which a cow can freely move from location to location, spend time standing at the feed bunk and comfortably move in and out of the milking facility. Determining cows’ abilities to do these simple tasks begins with locomotion scoring. Read more

Vaccinations and good management maximize effectiveness

Fri, 02/12/2016

Understanding immunity promotes calf health.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

Hoard's Dairyman webinarVaccinations are designed to stimulate the immune system. They aren’t cures, but tools to help the calf defend its body from viruses, bacteria and parasites. The ultimate goal is calf health.

At birth, calves are born without immunity and that’s why colostrum is so important. The valuable antibodies it supplies sets the stage for health and growth and, later, milk production. But colostrum alone is not enough.

Amelia Woolums, D.V.M., presented the February webinar titled, “Getting the most for your vaccination dollar.” It included an overview of how vaccines work and recommendations on how they should be used. Read more

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