HD Notebook

More than just a membership

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

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

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

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

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

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

The right barn for your robots

Fri, 06/17/2016

Certain design features improve traffic flow, cow comfort, and overall success of a robotic milking facility.

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Jack Rodenburg

For farms struggling to find enough employees or looking for more flexibility in their daily routine, robotic milking systems have become an intriguing option. Jack Rodenburg with DairyLogix Consulting in Ontario, Canada, is very passionate about milking robots and how they can help farms.

“I think robotic milking can do a tremendous amount to reduce dairy farm labor, and on smaller farms, it can also improve the lifestyle of the operator,” Rodenburg said during the Hoard’s Dairyman webinar “Barn design for robotic milking.” Read more

Promotion is part of the job

Thu, 06/16/2016

There are only so many hours in a day, but advocating for dairy must be on a farmer’s to-do list.

Hillcrest Farms

By Caitlin Rodgers, Georgia dairy farmer

When a person decides to become a dairy farmer, they aren’t choosing just a career but a lifestyle. As many of you know, dairy farming is a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week job.

Most dairymen and women live on the farm or within a few minutes because of the demands of the farm. It is nothing to be called in three nights in a row between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. for cow care, equipment issues, or parlor malfunctions. To some, vacations or days off are unheard of. Nine out of 10 times, the only time that you see a dairy farmer is when visiting their dairy. Read more

Are your calves parched?

Wed, 06/15/2016

Help your calves withstand the intense summer heat.

newborn calf

By Taylor Leach, Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern

It’s hot, it’s humid, and it’s only the beginning of summer. And there is still a long way to go before we start to see the anticipated cooler temperatures of fall. While some might be enjoying the warmer weather, our calves, most likely, are not. How do we make sure that they remain comfortable during the intense summer heat?

Water is the most essential nutrient of them all. Without it, we cannot survive. Calves receive much of their water needs through milk consumption. Yet, they must still have enough clean water to replenish daily water loss through urine, feces, skin, and respiratory secretions. Within a few days of birth, calves should be provided with a clean, fresh water supply to encourage water consumption. Read more

Ode to the middle cows

Tue, 06/14/2016

Spend some time analyzing your most valuable group of cows — those that are so problem-free you almost forget they are present.

healthy cows

By Darleen Sichley, Oregon dairy farmer

We are all intimately familiar with our top cows — those special ones that outrank their herdmates in production or type. We form a special bond or attachment with those animals and celebrate their accomplishments in the showring and parlor. They are the real reason we get out of bed every morning, and it is an honor to work with them.

At the same time, we all also know our bottom cows. Those ones that, for whatever reason, struggle. They just don’t meet their genetic potential or seem to find all the problems. We spend most of our time keeping this group sound and healthy.

What about those cows that make up the middle?

Our favorite group of cows should be those we can almost forget about. Read more

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