HD Notebook

Record milk cows have common attributes

Fri, 02/19/2016

Type and production are partners in extreme production

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

Last month it was announced that Bur-Wall Buckeye Gigi produced 74,650 pounds of milk. That equates to 8,680 gallons of milk and set the single lactation milk production record in one year of production. She eclipsed the previous record holder by over 2,000 pounds. Gigi is bred and owned by the Behnke Family of Brooklyn, Wis.

Bur-Wall Buckeye Gigi

For the last 45 years, Holstein Association USA has tracked its milk production leaders. In that time span, 12 different cows have held the title. They came from farms as far apart as Washington to New Hampshire.

The Oklahoma State Cowboys are gearing up for a change

Thu, 02/18/2016

Major renovations will be made to the Oklahoma State University Dairy thanks to a generous gift from a former student.

By Taylor Leach, Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern

Who would have thought that a love story from years past would lead to new state-of-the-art freestall barns and student housing renovations?

The students at the Oklahoma State University (OSU) Dairy, recently renamed the Ferguson Family Dairy Center, are preparing for major changes in the coming years to the place where many work and some even call home.

Ferguson Family Dairy Center
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Take a wide-eyed look at your dairy

Wed, 02/17/2016

Outside perspectives can benefit your herd in many ways.

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

We recently took my nephew Michael out to our family’s dairy barn for the first time. At just under four months of age, Michael couldn’t say what was on his mind, but the look on his little face made it quite clear; he was in awe. His big blue eyes were wide as he took in the sounds, the smells, the sights and the cows.

dairy barn

When you walk into your dairy barn, do you have that same look of awe? Most likely, the answer is no. You walk that same path, hear the same sounds and look at those same sights every single day. That intricate knowledge and perspective of your herd is invaluable; however, there could be more to gain by looking at your dairy with a fresh set of eyes. That is one of the benefits of a farm advisory team. Read more

The stories of our lives

Tue, 02/16/2016

Farmers need to share their stories with each other, too.

by Sadie Frericks

As dairy farmers, we hear a lot about sharing our stories with consumers. Stories about why we farm and how we care for our cattle help us connect with consumers.

What we sometimes forget, though, is that we need to share the stories of our lives with each other, too. Our stories about the joys and challenges of dairy farming help us connect to each other. We need those connections. We need dairy farmer friends who understand what this life is like.

Each of us is drawn to sharing our stories in different ways. Some of us share our stories in private conversation. Others find more public ways to share.

I’ve been sharing my stories in newspaper columns and blog posts since 2003. I am honored and thrilled to start sharing stories about my farm and family here in the HD Notebook.

Frericks family
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Know your herd’s locomotion

Mon, 02/15/2016

Locomotion scoring can help detect lame cows and gauge overall herd health.

Holstein cow

By Maggie Seiler, Hoard's Dairyman Associate Editor

When it’s not a problem, foot and leg health is something that flies under the radar on a many dairies, but soggy spring conditions and gimpy cows can quickly turn the tables. A well-developed foot and leg health program that includes locomotion scoring, regular hoof trimming and clean facilities is the best way to combat headaches incurred by lame cows.

A functional set of feet and legs can be described as one on which a cow can freely move from location to location, spend time standing at the feed bunk and comfortably move in and out of the milking facility. Determining cows’ abilities to do these simple tasks begins with locomotion scoring. Read more

Vaccinations and good management maximize effectiveness

Fri, 02/12/2016

Understanding immunity promotes calf health.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

Hoard's Dairyman webinarVaccinations are designed to stimulate the immune system. They aren’t cures, but tools to help the calf defend its body from viruses, bacteria and parasites. The ultimate goal is calf health.

At birth, calves are born without immunity and that’s why colostrum is so important. The valuable antibodies it supplies sets the stage for health and growth and, later, milk production. But colostrum alone is not enough.

Amelia Woolums, D.V.M., presented the February webinar titled, “Getting the most for your vaccination dollar.” It included an overview of how vaccines work and recommendations on how they should be used. Read more

Prepare for the unexpected spectator

Wed, 02/10/2016

Animal activists are becoming bolder in their actions; even events like dairy shows could attract guests with ulterior motives.

dairy show

By Hannah Thompson

You’ve lined up the judge, secured the award sponsors and ordered the ribbons. The entries have been received and organized, the food vendor is ready to go, and the show veterinarian is on deck for health checks. Your checklist for planning a spring show looks complete — but you may be forgetting to prepare for the unexpected. Read more

The art of cow whispering

Mon, 02/08/2016

A good herdsperson not only observes but takes action.


By Maggie Seiler, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

In college, I fielded many questions about my agricultural communications degree that went something like this, “So you’re studying to be a cow whisperer?” My quipped remark was often some type of dig at the individual’s chosen major, but what I wanted to tell those people was that I was actually studying the art of talking to the real cow whisperers. As a dairy farmer’s daughter, I spent many childhood hours following around my father who is a talented cowman and who for many years I believed was a genuine cow whisperer. Read more

Trade show attendee tips

Fri, 02/05/2016

Have a plan for what you want to see and do.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

trade showWinter – the season when not a lot happens in the fields. And for this reason, trade shows are scheduled to entice busy farmers to attend.

With World Ag Expo next week in California, I’ll be working in the Hoard’s Dairyman booth. Acres of diversified ag products will be on display to serve all types of attendees from grape growers to cattle ranchers to nut processors. Fortunately for dairy producers, the majority of dairy businesses are in one building.

There are plenty of suggestions for booth workers to maximize their exposure at these events. That being said, attendees should also be planning to get the most of their time at a trade show. Here are a few tips for optimizing your time spent at an agriculture trade show. Read more

Good cow care on a larger scale

Wed, 02/03/2016

Farms with more cows prove that animal welfare is still a priority.

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

dairy barnThe average herd size for dairy farms in the United States keeps growing while the number of farms continues to decline. This trend is unlikely to change.

Take a look at the Upper Midwest. From 2000 to 2012, the percent of state milk production coming from farms with more than 500 head grew nearly threefold. According to USDA data, the percentage of milk produced by farms with more than 500 cows in Iowa grew from 5.0 percent to 44.1 percent; in Minnesota, from 8.5 to 32.6 percent; in South Dakota, from 26.0 to 75.2 percent; and in Wisconsin, from 9.0 to 38.1 percent. Read more

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