HD Notebook

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

Feeding the world will need to start with feeding the mind

Thu, 09/26/2013

Study shows that children are detached from the agri-food production cycle.

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

classroom learning about foodFewer Americans understand where food originates, how it’s produced or how purchasing decisions affect the entire agri-food system. A study published by the American Society of Agronomy studied children’s understanding of food production. It included 45 minute interviews with 18 children ages, 9 to 11, attending public schools in an urban area in southern California.

When asked about their past exposure to agriculture, 8 had been on a field trip, 7 mentioned a garden, 3 claimed grandpa’s farm, 1 had a mobile classroom visit and 1 had a family member with a “dirt farm with a horse.” Three had no plant or animal exposure. Read more

App grows our Expo coverage, too

Wed, 09/25/2013

Have you added our app to your Expo toolbox?

Hoard’s Dairyman’s World Dairy Expo app 2013
by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Twenty-eight years ago, Hoard’s Dairyman’s World Dairy Expo supplement was launched and became a staple in our September 10 issue. This year we reached a new milestone, printing the largest Expo supplement to date at 70 pages.

Furthering this growth, we launched another tool to enhance your Expo experience last year: our World Dairy Expo App. With over 5,200 downloads, we thank everyone who installed and made use of the app. For this year’s show, you will either need to update last year’s app or download the 2013 version.

We’ve all asked similar questions while preparing for and attending the show: “Where’s that booth?”, “Where can we eat around here?”, and “What time does that show start?” Read more

Calving heifers earlier no guarantee for more milk

Tue, 09/24/2013

Rearing costs are high, but calving heifers too early may adversely impact lifetime milk production.

by Abby (Huibregtse) Bauer, Hoard's Dairyman Associate Editor

The earlier a heifer enters the milking string, the more milk she will make in her lifetime, right? Not necessarily, explained Pat Hoffman during a ‘Dairy Heifer Management: Pitfalls and Paradigms’ webinar hosted by the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin. Hoffman, University of Wisconsin Extension heifer management specialist, shared new data that showed cows entering the herd sooner might also leave the herd sooner, lowering both lifetime days in milk and lifetime production. Read more

Not your average internship

Mon, 09/23/2013

Hoard’s Dairyman offers students a real-world experience.

By Taylor Pires, Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern

The importance of internships is constantly stressed to college students. Gaining experience outside of the classroom is critical in understanding what career path you want to take, what your interests are and what you are passionate about. I was able to do just that during my time as the 2013 Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern.

This internship offers real-world experience for anyone considering a career as an agriculture journalist. Developing writing skills, an appreciation for deadlines and an understanding of how a national magazine is run are just some features of the editorial internship. Hoard’s also offers their intern the chance to travel the country visiting with producers and industry members. Read more

Political opposition to ethanol ignites in California

Fri, 09/20/2013

State Legislature unanimously passes resolution calling for an end to the federal ethanol mandate.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Using food to make fuel has found a distasteful audience among California politicians.

Kristen Olsen, R-ModestoLast week, a resolution by Assembly member Kristen Olsen (R-Modesto, seen here) that calls upon the U.S. Congress to eliminate the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) mandate on the amount of corn-based ethanol that must be used in gasoline was approved by both houses of the California State Legislature… unanimously.

The resolution will now be shared with Congress – an action that, realistically, figures to be far more symbolic than politically effective. Read more

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