HD Notebook

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

Midwest dairy judging teams shine at NAILE

Tue, 11/12/2013

In a tough competition, two of the contests were won by a point or less.

by Abby Bauer, Hoard's Dairyman Associate Editor

Three dairy judging contests were held at the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Ky., on Sunday, November 10. In all, 43 teams participated in the collegiate, post-secondary and youth contests.

Top 4-H teams tie
A tie-breaker was needed to split the top two teams in the 4-H contest. In the end, Minnesota earned the first-place position while their neighbor, Wisconsin, was second. These top two teams in the 4-H contest finished with 1,796 points, 31 points ahead of third place Pennsylvania. New York was fourth, and Michigan was fifth. Read more

Improved reproduction begins with healthy cows

Mon, 11/11/2013

Avoid negative energy balance, which has been shown to lead to negative reproductive performance in dairy cows.

by Abby Bauer, Hoard's Dairyman Associate Editor

Jose Eduardo SantosHigh milk production is oftentimes linked to poor reproductive performance in dairy cattle. However, a loss of body condition associated with insufficient feed intake may be more to blame, explained Jose Eduardo P. Santos from the University of Florida. Santos spoke at the Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council annual meeting last week in Indianapolis, Ind.

Dairy cattle face many health challenges after calving. In fact, approximately 50 percent of cows in the United States suffer from at least one disease event during the first 60 days in milk, said Santos. Read more

Another Dairy Cattle Reproductive Council meeting in the books

Sat, 11/09/2013

People from around the globe met to discuss dairy cattle reproduction this week.

by Abby Bauer, Hoard's Dairyman Associate Editor

DCRC welcome signThe 8th annual Dairy Cattle Reproductive Council (DCRC) meeting wrapped up yesterday in Indianapolis, Ind. More than 240 individuals from across the country and the world attended the two-day event on November 7 and 8, 2013.

The DCRC annual meeting has become a gathering place for university and industry researchers, dairy producers, veterinarians, artificial insemination company representatives and more to discuss current trends in dairy cattle reproduction. Information was shared through numerous presentations, posters and trade show exhibits. Read more

Honors bestowed for top reproduction

Fri, 11/08/2013

Five awarded as platinum winners.

by Abby Bauer, Hoard's Dairyman Associate Editor

Dairy Cattle Reproduction CouncilThe top herds for reproduction received their awards at the 8th annual Dairy Cattle Reproductive Council meeting in Indianapolis, Ind. This is the fifth year that herds have been honored for reproductive success.
The 2013 Platinum award winners include:

  • Curtin Dairy, Cassville, New York
  • Dunlea Dairy, Coudersport, Pennsylvania
  • New Dawn Dairy, Huntington, Indiana
  • Schilling Farms, Darlington, Wisconsin
  • University of Missouri Southwest Dairy Center, Mount Vernon, Missouri
Read more

A dairy advertising phenomenon turns 20

Fri, 11/08/2013

got milk?

“got milk?” quickly became a part of American culture . . . and still is.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Advertising campaigns tend to live briefly, see marginal success, and be forgotten quickly. But every once in a while something wildly, madly, profoundly extraordinary happens.

Who could have ever imagined, though, that a simple two-word slogan for the dairy industry would be one of them?

“got milk?” turned 20 last month. Forget dog years; that’s as old as the pyramids on advertising clocks. The campaign put milk into public awareness like maybe never before, spawned perhaps more copycat spinoffs than any promotion in history, and literally became a part of American culture. Read more

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