HD Notebook

Hot buttered sales

Fri, 01/31/2014

Trans fat fear is making butter a better choice for consumers.


by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

U.S. butter usage in 2013 hit its highest level in 40 years, due in great part to growing publicity about the negative effects of trans fats commonly used in margarines.

How yummy is that news?

According to the American Butter Institute, butter usage in 2013 was 5.6 pounds per person — the most since the early 1970s and an increase of 25 percent in just 11 years.

That’s great news for the dairy industry, but let’s put things into a more candid context. Butter usage bottomed out at 4.1 pounds per person in 1997. While the 2013 figure was 36 percent higher, the difference amounted to only 1.5 pounds per person. Before World War II, butter use averaged over 18 pounds per person, according to the Los Angeles Times. Read more

Walk a Mile in My Farm Boots

Thu, 01/30/2014

An 11-year-old Pennsylvanian author depicts the basics of dairying on his family’s farm in his first book.

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Walk a Mile in My Farm BootsFor many, the thought of writing a book of any length is overwhelming. Often times, the idea dies shortly after it is conceived. But one young man on a Pennsylvania dairy embraced the challenge and, with the help of his parents, produced a short book on the essentials of dairy faming.

Yet, the project wasn’t without its frustrations. “The hardest part was getting the picture for the front cover because the calf just didn’t want to cooperate. She was running around constantly for 10 minutes and then we finally got it right so that we could actually take the picture,” he adds. Read more

Youth farm injuries have declined, but there is still room for improvement

Wed, 01/29/2014

Every third day, a child dies in an agriculture-related incident.

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

National Children's Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and SafetyWe try to safeguard our homes and farms from potentially dangerous situations, and for the great majority, we have been successful in lowering the total number and percentage of childhood (19 years and under) farm injuries. But, any injury or death that could be prevented is too many. Read more

Cow brushes: more than just a grooming tool?

Tue, 01/28/2014

The use, or lack thereof, of an automated cow brush may be an early signal of stress or disease in dairy cattle.

cow brush

by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Cows spend their days doing core activities, like sleeping and eating, and luxury activities, like playing and exploring. Luxury activity will decline when time or energy resources are limited during stress or illness.

One luxury item growing in popularity is the automated cow brush. Brushes are typically installed to help keep cows clean, potentially raise milk yield and to enrich the environment. Could the use, or lack of use, of a brush tell us how a cow is feeling? Some researchers think so. Read more

Know your tax options, but keep it simple

Mon, 01/27/2014

Farmers who plan ahead for tax management maximize their benefits.

by Ali Enerson, Hoard’s Dairyman Special Publications Editor

Tax time can bring mixed feelings for farmers.


Some are worried about pulling that shoebox full of receipts out that they shoved under the desk. Others know exactly what their tax preparer will say since they strategically bought or sold in the fourth calendar quarter to take full advantage of credits and deductions. Most farmers, however, fall somewhere in between.

There are a few tips you can begin implementing now to handle tax management with ease this new year.

  • Ensure all expenses are taken by keeping good records. If you don’t have a smooth-running expense tracking system in place, now is the time to try something better.

Milk production dips slightly in Idaho

Fri, 01/24/2014

That, plus growing demand for products, is pushing competition for milk.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Idaho dairy leaders say total milk production in the country’s third largest dairy state fell in 2013 for just the second time in 23 years.

The dip was tiny — 0.9 percent — according to Brent Olmstead, executive director of Milk Producers of Idaho, but it magnified the effects of what was already a tight milk market that is being driven by new processors and continued strong demand for their products.

Those effects have not been evenly distributed, though, as evidenced by a 50-employee layoff announced on Wednesday by Glanbia Foods, the world’s largest producer of America-style cheese that is headquartered in Twin Falls. It is a division of Glanbia plc, which is based in Ireland. Layoffs or other cutbacks have not been announced by any of the state’s other dairy processors. Read more

Conserve your forage’s value

Thu, 01/23/2014

You took the time to produce feed, don’t let it burn up.

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Producers that make hay are beholden to Mother Nature. While you may mow hay when the sun is shining, an unexpected rain can damage a valuable forage crop. Bale loss is caused by microbial activity. Microbes need water and oxygen to thrive. To conserve hay’s value, you have to keep it away from these two elements, noted Kevin Shinners with the University of Wisconsin-Madison at the Midwest Forage Association’s annual meeting.

When microbes have access to a water and oxygen buffet, they burn through the forage’s carbohydrates, which causes hay to heat. This process gives the hay a caramel smell and brown color. “Just like people will choose junk food, cow’s love to eat this stuff but it’s a low-nutrient feedstuff,” explained Shinners. Read more

Buffett’s 40 Chances Fellows program aims to make a difference in agriculture

Wed, 01/22/2014

College students explore global food issues and its impact.

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

AFA logoEach person has approximately 40 chances – or 40 years – in his or her adult life to make a positive impact on the world. That is the basic philosophy of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation 40 Chances awareness program. Howard Buffett is a farmer himself in Illinois, but he is also a businessman, politician and philanthropist. The program is in cooperation with AFA, Agriculture Future of America, not to be confused with FFA, a program for high school age students. Read more

Put up a good fight against digital dermatitis

Tue, 01/21/2014

Don’t wait for your cows to tell you they have digital dermatitis; take steps now to keep it in control.

by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Digital dermatitis, commonly known as hairy heel warts, is a major cause of lameness on dairy farms. Digital dermatitis was identified in the early 1970s, came to the U.S. in the 1980s and has been a management challenge ever since.

Arturo Gomez, from the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, explained that digital dermatitis is caused by a combination of moisture, skin conditioning and the presence of bacteria. There are five stages of the disease:

M1 — subclinical stage
M2 — acute clinical stage
M3 — healing stage
M4 and M4.1 — chronic stages

“Chronic warts are the ones that cause problems on your farm,” Gomez stated at the Leading Dairy Producers’ Conference last week in Wisconsin. Read more

Should you pay more to use antibiotics?

Mon, 01/20/2014

Two Canadian economists say yes as they propose an on-farm user fee to slow bacterial mutation.

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

“The development of resistant bacteria over the past 50 years stands testament to the power of evolution. While scientists have discovered or created hundreds of antibiotics to kill bacteria, those bacteria have almost as rapidly evolved to survive their use. The greater the exposure to antibiotics, the more rapid the evolution.”

This is how Aidan Hollis, a professor of economics at the University of Calgary, opens his article addressing antimicrobial resistance. Hollis’ work was done in conjunction with University of Toronto professor, Ziana Ahmed.

Their solution to slow the spread: impose a fee for on-farm antibiotic usage. Read more

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