HD Notebook

Use genomic data to your farm’s advantage

Tue, 11/26/2013

Genomic testing of heifer calves can provide farmers useful information for making selection and culling decisions.

by Abby Bauer, Hoard's Dairyman Associate Editor

When genomic testing became commercially available a few years ago, it was almost immediately incorporated into genetic evaluation systems for dairy cattle. Today, genomic data is used to select young bulls that enter A.I. companies, and many cows, heifers, calves and embryos sold at auction are marketed based on genomic information.

Genomic testing can also be a great tool on the farm level, noted Kent Weigel, University of Wisconsin-Madison, in his presentation at the Dairy Cattle Reproductive Council annual meeting last month. Read more

What is your dairy’s purpose?

Mon, 11/25/2013

Getting your employees to work more cohesively could be as simple as three words: mission, vision and values.

dairy employee

by Ali Enerson, Hoard’s Dairyman Special Publications Editor

Every farm should have mission, vision and values statements.

Did you just stop reading? Are you tired of hearing that your dairy needs these core items? To you I say – just do it! You’ll be done with it. You have to start somewhere. You have nothing to lose. Read more

Idaho needs to become a huge dairy exporting state

Fri, 11/22/2013

No one else comes close to making as much milk per capita.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Twenty-seven U.S. states border either the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, or Gulf of Mexico. This makes them candidates to be international dairy product exporters via low-cost sea shipping.

But in terms of yearly milk production, only four are top 10 dairy states (California, New York, Texas and Washington) that have sufficiently high milk production volume to make them likely exporters.

Of those, California and Washington are already there. New York has more than 100 dairy processing plants, but their output is almost entirely used by New York residents. Texas, meanwhile, produces significantly less milk than its population consumes.

When looking at the list of largest dairy states, pounds of milk produced per resident clearly shows which one badly needs to become a major dairy exporter even though it doesn’t have ocean access: Idaho. Read more

Should we worry about negative protein balance?

Thu, 11/21/2013

When cows are MP deficient, they will break down muscle and other bodily protein sources. This is most severe in the first 10 days postpartum.

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

cows eatingOver the years, tremendous attention and research dollars have been poured into studying cows’ early lactation negative energy balance. But should we also be concerned with our fresh cows' protein balance? Generally, negative protein balance is not considered as big of an early lactation concern as negative energy balance. In the November Miner Institute Farm Report, Heather Dann delved a bit deeper into the protein drain our cows likely experience postcalving. Read more

October Milk Production up just a tick

Wed, 11/20/2013

A mere 1 percent increase over 2012’s October levels.

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

milking parlorWhile production in the 23 major dairy states was up 1.2 percent in October, the increase was a straight 1 percent nationwide. October’s total milk output was 16.425 billion pounds, while the top 23 states had all but 1 billion of that total.

In the top 23 states, cow numbers were up, as was output per cow. However, the states of Idaho, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico and Oregon all saw less milk production as compared to last year. The big movers were Florida (5.8 percent increase), Kansas (5 percent rise) and Utah (4.5 percent boost). Modest gains were seen by Iowa and Virginia, both at 3.8 percent increase over 2012, followed closely by Indiana at 3.4 percent. Read more

Aging farm population doesn’t warrant concern

Tue, 11/19/2013

U.S. farmers and ranchers aren’t the only aging workforce. It’s a nation wide trend across all labor sectors.

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

The U.S. farm population is aging. This isn’t news to anyone in the agricultural community; it is our reality. The age of U.S. farmers and the impending need to replace them is a recurring topic of discussion.

But, Ohio State professor Carl Zulauf, has a fresh perspective on agriculture’s future. In his paper "Putting the age of U.S. farmers in perspective," Zulauf examines changes in the average age of U.S. farmers over time. He then compares this to the age of the U.S. labor force. The conclusion: farmers aren’t the only population sector that’s aging.

Age of the U.S. farmer Read more

Consistent milking procedures are beneficial

Mon, 11/18/2013

A prep routine checkup may provide an opportunity that ties directly to your wallet.

by Ali Enerson, Hoard’s Dairyman Special Publications Editor

milking machineCows love routine. Proper, repeatable milking procedures are your best friend when it comes to harvesting high quality milk and ensuring comfortable, productive cows.

As basic as it seems to some dairy farmers, an inconsistent routine at milking time may be contributing to low production or slow milk out times. Ask yourself if every employee in the parlor is following your dairy’s Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for milking routine to the letter. If you don’t have an SOP for your milking routine, there is no time like the present to implement one. Correcting procedures in the parlor can improve overall efficiency, make happier cows and strengthen your bottom line. Read more

Who makes the world’s cheapest milk?

Fri, 11/15/2013

Here’s a hint: it’s no one who exports dairy products.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Take heart U.S. milk producers, your farms aren’t alone in seeing the cost of production soar during the 21st century. All around the world, most dairy operators have felt the same pain.

According to the International Farm Comparison Network (IFCN), the cost gap between major milk-producing countries closed dramatically in the last 12 years, especially between the U.S. and New Zealand. Kiwi production costs nearly tripled during that time due to high land and labor costs, repeated droughts, and unfavorable currency exchange rates.

New Zealand’s production costs are still lower on average, but not dramatically. It’s a big reason why U.S. dairy exports have soared and why they figure to continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Read more

Is it time for your farm’s financial checkup?

Wed, 11/13/2013

Know your numbers to better know your financial standing.

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

November 2013 webinar cover slideGary Sipiorski shared his wealth of banking experience within the dairy and agricultural community on the Hoard’s Dairyman webinar on Monday, November 11. During his “Farm financial business checkup” presentation he covered 15 important financially-driven calculations to help producers better understand the “health” of their dairy operation. Read more

Dairy partnerships are paying dividends

Wed, 11/13/2013

McDonald’s, Domino’s, Quaker Foods and Taco Bell are among the win-win partnerships for dairy and the companies involved.

by Corey Geiger, Hoard’s Dairyman Managing Editor

Almost a decade ago, the dairy-producer-funded check-off program known as Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), shifted its strategy. That new approach centered on partnering with food companies to bring more nutritious dairy foods to restaurant menus.

The longest-standing DMI partnership dates back almost a decade with McDonald’s. It began with one simple step — offering milk in a plastic bottle with Happy Meals, noted Steve Maddox outgoing chair of the National Dairy Board. Since then, the partnership has introduced McCafé which is an entire line of dairy-flavored drinks. According to Darci Forrest, senior director of marketing, McCafé sales are a growth engine for McDonald’s. As for the future, the DMI-McDonald’s partnership introduced 27 new dairy-based products alone this past year. Read more

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