HD Notebook

Dairy conferences provide limitless returns

Mon, 03/10/2014

Here are four reasons to take time away from the farm.

dairy conference

by Ali Enerson, Hoard’s Dairyman Special Publications Editor

Everyone struggles with taking time away from their daily workload to attend a conference, but it’s especially difficult for some dairy farmers to hand the reins over for a few days.

As a dairy farmer, you interact with other local farmers on a regular basis, but ask yourself if these same people help challenge you and your business to be its best. With many dairy events, you are in the presence of other producers of your same caliber, giving you a greater opportunity to discuss challenges and solutions applicable to your operation. Read more

Daily milk production is 11,740 pounds per farm

Fri, 03/07/2014

U.S. average has doubled in just 12 years.

milk tanker truck

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Even during a down year, the average U.S. dairy grew in 2013.

Both average herd size and milk production per cow went up — herd size by a lot and production per cow by a little. The result was a big bump in the average amount of milk made by each farm during the year.

Per-cow output set a new record of 21,822 pounds; a small 102-pound gain that was less than a third of the average increase for the previous 22 years. Meanwhile, average herd size rose by 9 cows to 196 head, the second largest one-year gain in history.

As a result, the average dairy in the U.S. in 2013 made 4,284,937 pounds of milk, which was 224,000 pounds more than the previous year and nearly double the average amount made per farm in 2001. Read more

We’re all tired of winter

Thu, 03/06/2014

With record lows and extended cold snaps, spring is nowhere in sight.

Hoard's Dairyman Farm

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Like many of you, the Hoard’s Dairyman Farm met its match this winter. Amidst frozen feed, frozen pipes and a few calves lost too soon, we’ve battled unpredicted and unforeseen cold.

And, as every member of our farm team can attest, they’re tired.

It’s taken a toll on our 400-plus-cow herd of Guernseys and Jerseys, as well. Production has been steady for most of the winter, averaging 67 to 69 pounds along with a 5.0 percent fat and 3.9 percent protein, but is starting to slowdown.

These high averages enabled the Hoard’s Dairyman herd to excel on national breed production lists this past year. For protein production, the Jersey component of the Fort Atkinson,Wis., based herd is eighth in the nation. Read more

Updates to Dairy Policy E-Source on hoards.com

Wed, 03/05/2014

Farm bill resources found in one location

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

It was a long time coming. The farm bill, which is scheduled to be renewed every five years, had delays, extensions and multiple compromises. But that is due to the multiple facets of agriculture, and in turn its reach into international trade, environmental concerns, food safety, nutrition and rural issues.

It was difficult to keep up with the whole drawn-out process as two separate bills and amendments had to be reviewed and voted upon, before being merged into one unified document. It seemed everybody commented during the deliberation process, which simply filled the air until the real decision makers (the House and Senate) could finalize the details. Read more

Best Blogs of 2014: Smarter calves come in pairs

Tue, 03/04/2014

Calves raised in pairs may be cognitively superior to their individually housed counterparts, new research shows.


by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Group housing is becoming a more popular and acceptable way to raise dairy calves. Besides feeding and health benefits, new research shows that raising calves in a group setting might also make them smarter.

Researchers at the University of British Columbia conducted an experiment where calves housed in pairs were taught an easy task. Calves entered a test pen and could approach a black bottle to receive milk or a white bottle to receive nothing. The calves learned rapidly and soon all knew to only approach the black bottle. Read more

Hoard’s Jerseys see the appraiser

Mon, 03/03/2014

With an average score of 81.5 points and production bumping the 20,000-pound mark, the Hoard’s Dairyman Farm Jerseys are performing well.

Jersey cows

by Corey Geiger, Hoard's Dairyman Managing Editor

The Hoard Farm team, headed up by Jason Yurs, continues to be pleased with the performance our Jersey herd. This group was evaluated by a pair of American Jersey Cattle Association appraisers on a very cold Thursday in late January.

On that day, the entire herd averaged 81.5 points on the 300-plus head. Had the 25 cows sold weeks earlier to a young dairyman been included in the mix, the average would have been 81.9 points. Read more

Idaho farm video spying bill goes to governor

Fri, 02/28/2014

Animal rights group is doing massive spin doctoring and distortion to oppose it.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

A bill that would make it illegal to trespass or use fraudulent misrepresentation to gain entry onto a farm for the purpose of making secret videos has been sent to Idaho Governor Butch Otter for his signature.

If approved, the bill will become law immediately. Violators would be subject to up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000, and would be required to pay restitution that is double the value of any damage resulting from their actions.

The bill has been on a fast track since it was introduced earlier this year. It was passed 23-10 in the state Senate on February 12, 13-1 in the House Agricultural Affairs Committee on February 20, and 56-14 in the full House on February 26. Read more

How they handle cropping and manure

Thu, 02/27/2014

The tie stall herds from our February 25, 2014, Round Table have more to share.

Hoard's Dairyman Round Table

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Earlier this week, the February 25 issue of Hoard’s Dairyman hit our readers’ mailboxes. On pages 118 to 120, four herds from New York to Kansas shared how they manage their tie stall herds. We couldn’t fit all they had to share on the three-pages devoted to the Round Table, so two topics were held back for our blog today. For additional information about each dairy, read the Round Table in your most recent issue of the magazine.

Please discuss your cropping and feed storage strategy. Read more

Excessive snow causes barn collapses

Wed, 02/26/2014

Have a winter emergency plan.

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard's Dairyman Online Media Manager

Minglewood barn collapse

Winter is not just about cold weather with frozen pipes, slippery concrete and snow shoveling. High volumes of snow can lead to barn collapses. At 3:30 a.m., 70-feet of roof came tumbling down on Minglewood’s 400-cow freestall barn that was 21 years old.

Read more

The right heifer herd size for you

Tue, 02/25/2014

Tighter heifer management could be a window of opportunity for many herds.


by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

A heifer needs to make about 33,000 pounds of milk to repay her rearing costs, said Cheryl Marti, a dairy production specialist for Zoetis, in her presentation at the Leading Dairy Producers Conference. Most cows won’t reach that point until their second lactation.

To trim costs, there are two hidden opportunities in heifer rearing, according to Marti. One is to “right-size” your replacement herd by raising fewer heifers. The second is to calve heifers in more efficiently through improved reproduction.

How can you right-size your heifer inventory? You can either sell bottom-end heifers that are likely to become less-profitable cows, or you can produce the precise number of heifers you need for the next generation, Marti explained. Read more

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