HD Notebook

Write it down: California will get a federal order

Fri, 10/25/2013

Latest price hike denial should be the final straw for producers.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

One of Albert Einstein’s famous quotes is, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

It’s a madness that California dairy producers have lived through for years.

Specifically, they have made multiple petitions for substantive changes in the state’s milk pricing formula to increase the value of whey in its Class 4b (cheese) component. Again and again, however, the answer has been “no,” even as producer support at public hearings has become more and more broad, as testimony has become more vocal and plaintive, and as the number of financially-forced herd liquidations has grown.

Their futility was illustrated again on Tuesday when California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Secretary Karen Ross denied producers’ latest request made at a September 12 price hearing. Read more

Feed calves to their full potential

Thu, 10/24/2013

Intensive management nets an extra $35 per heifer, without considering the value of additional milk.

by Amanda Smith, Hoard's Dairyman Associate Editor

Replacement heifers have long been viewed as a two-year economic sinkhole. “While heifer programs usually rank as the second largest cost of producing milk, the expense associated with feeding and rearing youngstock should be viewed instead as an investment in the future,” noted Michael Overton, Elanco Knowledge Solutions, at the Cornell Nutrition Conference.

In the heifer growth cycle, the most costly portion is the preweaning period. Traditionally, a calf was fed a 20:20 milk replacer at 8 to 10 percent of body weight. Especially in colder weather, this diet burned brown fat and left calves in a semi-starved state. Read more

Promote dairy’s diversity in food

Wed, 10/23/2013

Share your dairy-inspired meals with others.

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

cheese and crackersDairy farmers believe in promotion. Fifteen cents from each 100 pounds of milk sold goes to the checkoff program to educate consumers and promote dairy products, both on the state level and national scene. Some counties have active dairy promotion groups that work with June is Dairy Month events. But, what is being done closer to home? That is up to you. Read more

A small stick can mean big problems

Tue, 10/22/2013

Needlestick injuries are actually quite common and can result in injury and loss of work for both workers and veterinarians.


by Abby Bauer, Hoard's Dairyman Associate Editor

Needlestick injuries are a common risk to those working in health care professions, but it is also a danger to those working on farms. Research has shown that more than 80 percent of farm laborers in animal agriculture have accidentally stuck themselves with a needle at work. Similarly, 73 percent of swine veterinarians have had a needlestick injury before.

Needlestick injuries are usually minor, but they can be serious, explained Jeffrey Bender, D.V.M., from the University of Minnesota School of Veterinary Medicine, at the North American Agricultural Safety Summit in Minneapolis, Minn. Read more

Five European countries paid milk quota penalties

Mon, 10/21/2013

Fines totaled nearly $63 million. The remaining 22 countries were all under quota limits.

by Corey Geiger, Hoard’s Dairyman Managing Editor

milking machineSince the 1980s, Europe has operated with a quota system to address supply and demand issues associated with surplus production. Europe’s entire quota program is expected to sunset in April 2015.

As part of the current checks and balances, the European Commission tracks quota bases — one for deliveries to processing plants and another for direct sales at the farm level. For the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013, five European countries surpassed milk quotas for deliveries to processing plants. Read more

Another example of why processors bypass California

Fri, 10/18/2013

Buy land, build a plant and start processing milk, right? Ha!

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Every state, county and city likes to claim it is “business friendly” in hopes of attracting new companies and the economy-sustaining jobs they bring. But backing up those claims is another matter, and one should never assume that friendly means inexpensive.

Nowhere these days does business friendly talk seem to be cheaper than in California, as reflected by the number of dairy firms that have bypassed it in recent years in favor of places like Texas, Colorado, Nevada and Idaho.

The latest example comes from the city of Tulare. Although it is a friendly place, the expense that new businesses face anywhere in the state can be steep — even when the company is a cheesemaker and even though Tulare is the biggest milk-producing county in the universe. Read more

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

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