HD Notebook

Food security has a clear solution

Thu, 10/17/2013

Innovation and choice must be allowed on farm or all hope is lost.

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

In a changing tact from the 50-70-100 message he has spread since 2009, Elanco’s Jeff Simmons has three new numbers for us to consider.

  • As we move toward a larger world population, 3 billion people will join the middle class. In the next seven years, more people will join the middle class than in the history of mankind.
  • We will need 60 percent more animal-sourced foods (meat, milk and eggs). This demand is driven by the changing dietary preferences of an emerging middle class.
  • We must feed more with less. By overusing resources, it takes 1.5 years for the earth to regenerate annual consumption.

Move your nutrition program into 2014

Wed, 10/16/2013

Webinar focuses on maximizing feed inputs.

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

October 2013 webinar

“The crop year’s over ... now what?” That was the topic of the webinar on Monday, October 14. Mike Hutjens, University of Illinois, presented the webinar and provided options to help prodcuers prepare for next year.

The growing season has been a challenge for dairies – alfalfa winter kill, a wet spring, heat stress, flooding and drought. But, those are factors outside the producer’s control. Mike focused on things the dairy can manage. Read more

One size mastitis treatment doesn’t fit all

Tue, 10/15/2013

The type of pathogen and history of the cow should play a role in mastitis treatment decisions.

by Abby Bauer, Hoard's Dairyman Associate Editor

Pam Ruegg“You must know the mastitis pathogen to know how to treat it,” said Pam Ruegg, extension milk quality specialist from the University of Wisconsin-Madison at the 46th annual American Association of Bovine Practitioners’ meeting. She encouraged dairy producers and veterinarians to engage in “watchful waiting,” keeping an eye on cows identified with mastitis but postponing treatment until milk is cultured and cow history is studied. Read more

Educate yourself on feed versus food

Mon, 10/14/2013

A growing world calls for more conversation about feed versus food and its impact on animal agriculture and you.


by Ali Enerson, Hoard’s Dairyman Special Publications Editor

Food competition. Animal feed versus human food. It’s an increasingly important global, societal conversation.

While driving with a friend recently, a sweet corn versus field corn conversation came up. My urban friend’s reaction was that she never knew there was a difference; she just assumed humans and animals all ate the same corn. I was only slightly shocked that this was new information to her and went on to briefly educate her on some basic differences. Read more

California will fine rustlers, not hang them

Fri, 10/11/2013

The Old West code is long gone; $5,000 fines are the new law.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

The Old West of cowboy lore is a distant thing of the past, yet plenty of critters are still being rustled on dairies, farms and ranches across the country.

California passed a new $5,000 fine law on Tuesday to address the problem, but its effectiveness to slow things down seems questionable. The scope of the problem is also bigger than you may think. Estimates are that more than 1,000 head of cattle alone were stolen in California in 2012 and police in Louisiana are still trying to solve multiple beef cattle thefts that were committed this summer.

Once upon a time, hanging was a major deterrent to livestock theft. Fines today are nice, but they may prove to be little more than an annoyance by comparison. Jail time was originally proposed in the bill, but was deleted by lawmakers during negotiations. Read more

Harvest to delivery: our feed shrink downfall

Thu, 10/10/2013

We know how to calculate feed shrink. We don’t know how to obtain accurate real-time measurements.

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Every dairy has a vested economic interest in reducing feed shrink. “Feed wastage occurs on-farm in four primary manners,” noted Rick Grant with the Miner Institute, at the American Dairy Science Association’s Dairy Feed Efficiency Discover Conference. These inefficiency factors include:

  1. Harvest, delivery and storage: excessive dry matter or nutrient losses from wind, precipitation, spillage or feed predation
  2. Mixing of diets: inconsistent nutrient delivery due to TMR mixer condition, over or under filling and mixing time
  3. Feed-out of diets: feedbunk loss and feed refusal amounts
  4. Consumption of diets: consequences of too much or too little access to feed

So God made a 4-H member

Wed, 10/09/2013

National 4-H week is celebrated October 6 to 12, 2013.

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard's Dairyman, Online Media Manger

National 4-H weekWhile many think 4-H enrollment is just a necessary means to be able to show animals at the fairs, it brings value in the form of personal development, leadership skills and a respect for community involvement.

Ohio is considered the birthplace of 4-H in the United States. Small clubs focusing on one crop or livestock were formed. In Minnesota, after-school programs were developed focusing on agriculture. While the concept of 4-H began in 1902, the clover with the H's made its debut in 1910, but two years later in 1912, the official 4-H program began. Read more

An opportunity for heifers on greener pastures

Tue, 10/08/2013

If done well, grazing can lower forage costs and still maintain growth rates for dairy replacements.


by Abby Bauer, Hoard's Dairyman Associate Editor

Raising calves and heifers can be the second largest cost on a dairy operation, shared David Combs, dairy science professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, during the grazing seminar at World Dairy Expo last week. In a UW-Extension cost of rearing replacements study of Wisconsin dairy farms, feed costs doubled from 2007 to 2013. In this situation, grazing provides a real opportunity to reduce feed costs and labor, said Combs.

If you choose to raise heifers on pasture, the goal should be to maintain growth rates while reducing feed costs. Combs shared his guidelines for raising heifers on pasture.

Don’t underfeed wet calves. Calves should double their birth weight by 8 weeks of age. Read more

Top 50 co-ops marketed 78 percent of nation’s milk

Mon, 10/07/2013

More farms shipping to cooperatives remained in business compared to the national trend line.

milk truck

by Corey Geiger, Hoard’s Dairyman Managing Editor

Milk is holding steady while co-ops are bucking the trend in contraction of dairy farm numbers. Those are just some of the key takeaways in our latest top 50 co-op list featured in the October 10, 2013, issue on page 639.

Last year, the nation’s top 50 milk cooperatives marketed 156.5 billion pounds of the nation’s 200.3 billion pounds of annual milk production for a 78.1 percent market share. That compares to the previous year where the top co-ops marketed 154.2 billion pounds for a 79 percent market share. Read more

California raises minimum wage to $10 per hour

Fri, 09/27/2013

Labor cost impact on dairies is expected to be minimal, but suppliers are another matter.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

California is on track to have the highest minimum wage in the U.S., after Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill September 25 that will boost it to $9 per hour on July 1, 2014, and to $10 per hour on January 1, 2016. Washington has the current highest minimum wage in the nation at $9.19 per hour.

Although California’s minimum wage is currently $8 per hour and labor is the largest milk production cost after feed, hay and replacements, the direct impact of a 25 percent higher minimum wage on dairies is expected to be minimal. Read more

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