HD Notebook

A true family affair

Mon, 07/13/2015

When one Illinois farm family came to a crossroads, they took a leap into the unknown and reaped major rewards as a result.

by Brittany Statz, 2015 Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern

Marcoot family

In the midst of corn and soybean fields stands a dairy farm. While that may not seem unique at first, the farm attracts approximately 15,000 visitors every year.

What, you might ask, makes this dairy farm so popular? Read more

Feed costs are up 108 percent since 2000

Fri, 07/10/2015

Last year was a blast from the past for dairies: feed costs dropped below 50 percent of income.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

feeding cost

Once upon a time – way back in 2000 – the cost of feeding a dairy herd was slightly over $5 per hundredweight on a total revenue basis.

Those were the good old days, weren’t they? Read more

The Western frontier

Thu, 07/09/2015

From the lens to the page, photos help us capture the essence of American dairying.

By Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

For those who live east of the Mississippi, the dramatic landscapes and vast plains of the West remain awe-inspiring. That same geography inspired Katherine Lee Bates to pen “America the Beautiful,” while atop Colorado’s Pikes Peak.

In addition to being the site of the first rodeo and home to Rocky Mountain National Park, close to 144,000 cows and 120 dairies reside within the state’s nearly square border. Colorado excels on a milk per-cow basis, ranking second behind New Mexico. Read more

Take a second to think about your safety

Wed, 07/08/2015

Enclosed spaces can be death traps

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

Farmers are busy people with a long list of tasks to complete and a shortage of daylight. However, a little extra time to think through a situation could save a life.

manure pitLast week, a father and son lost their lives when the father descended down the ladder through a 4-foot-diameter pipe to retrieve a wheel that broke off the manure conveyor. He was overcome by the fumes and perished in the manure pit. His 21-year-old son tried to save his father, but the gases were too much for him as well. A family and a Wisconsin community lost two vibrant members. Read more

Words of advice for automated milking

Tue, 07/07/2015

Kiefland Holsteins in southeastern Minnesota installed its first robotic milkers in 2011, and the family has learned a great deal in the past four years.

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

robotic milker
Read more

A royal flush

Mon, 07/06/2015

Being crowned — or just running for — fair royalty creates leadership and social skills that last a lifetime.

By Brittany Statz, 2015 Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern

BrittanyYou can’t miss them when you visit a county fair. The sashes, the crowns, the polished hairstyles and nice outfits make them incredibly easy to spot in even the biggest of crowds.

I’m talking about princesses and queens, but not the types that rule entire countries. I’m talking about fair royalty. Read more

The dairy labor cost trend is not good

Fri, 07/03/2015

Herds are getting bigger and more productive, but the cost of employees is rising faster.

milking parlor

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Everyone who milks cows knows that the dairy industry is struggling with a labor crisis that is only getting worse. And as it does, employees are getting more expensive.

We still need phenotypes

Thu, 07/02/2015

Genomic evaluations have become an essential tool in producers’ decision-making toolbox. Yet, without type traits, genomics aren’t worth much.

By Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

“Genomics have changed how dairies are run,” said Joåo Dürr, chief executive officer of the Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding, while presenting at the American Jersey Cattle Association’s annual meeting. Read more

From outside the circle to the top of the mountain

Wed, 07/01/2015

Atypical youth succeed at national dairy bowl contest

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

The day after the contest, I had a chance to sit down with Becky Meier, the coach of both national winning junior and senior dairy bowl teams at the recent Holstein convention. Becky is one of three coaches for the state’s teams. The Illinois Holstein Association appointed her as the perennial coach to add continuity to their program as changing coaches with new advisors didn’t provide consistency. (A future blog will focus on study strategies.) Read more

Shrink those feed losses

Tue, 06/30/2015

Feed is best utilized when consumed by your cows, and a reduction in losses from shrink can reap great financial benefits.

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor


“Shrink is not your dad or your grandpa’s problem,” said Keith Sather, of K.S. Dairy Consulting. “Shrink takes place today on beautiful dairies.” Read more

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