HD Notebook

Compost bedded pack barns can work

Tue, 11/05/2013

Facility design, space and frequent stirring are essential elements in successful compost bedded pack barns.

by Abby Bauer, Hoard's Dairyman Associate Editor

cow on bedded pack“Compost barns are not your grandfather’s bedded pack,” explained Jeffrey Bewley, assistant professor from the University of Kentucky, at the Missouri Grazing Conference last month. Initially hesitant about compost bedded pack barns, Bewley studied many of these facilities in Kentucky and the surrounding area. From his observations, Bewley identified three main keys to successful compost bedded pack barns.

Construct the building properly. Select a site that maximizes natural ventilation. In Kentucky, Bewley recommended an east/west orientation. The barn should be at a location that is slightly elevated, and a clay or concrete base works best. Read more

Global milk production picking up steam

Mon, 11/04/2013

After sluggish production last year, Europe and New Zealand milk production is now expanding. The U.S. is steady.

milk tanks

by Corey A. Geiger, Hoard's Dairyman Managing Editor

While milk production never really missed a beat in the U.S., even with last year’s drought, the same could not be said for New Zealand and Europe. That was last year, and a new set of circumstances is reversing those trends this production season.

Among the world’s major milk suppliers, only the U.S expanded milk flow in 2012. Last year, the U.S. boosted milk output by 2.1 percent. This year, milk production could rise by 1 to 1.5 percent. Read more

As temperatures fall, calf feed needs rise

Fri, 11/01/2013

Calves need more energy in cold weather just to stay alive.


by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Welcome to November; it’s officially “that time of year” again.

Even if snow isn’t a normal part of winters where you dairy, colder temperatures are — and they’re a loud warning bell that the deadline has arrived to boost feeding quantity and/or quality for calves.

Less fat and total body mass mean younger animals in general are less able to deal with cold, wet and windy conditions than adult cows. Compared to mild months, all animals need more calories as temperatures fall in order to stay warm and fight off stress and sickness. To keep growing and thriving takes a lot more. Read more

Support shown for temporary extension of MILC program

Thu, 10/31/2013

Thirteen senators encourage farm bill committee to provide bridge gap solution.

by Ali Enerson, Hoard’s Dairyman Special Publications Editor

A potential extension to the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program could add some temporary security for dairy farmers. That’s the idea behind a bi-partisan letter signed by 13 U.S. Senators.

Last week, Senator Baldwin (D-Wis.) led a bipartisan effort with 12 other Senate colleagues encouraging members of the farm bill committee to extend the MILC program until a new dairy program is in place. Versions of a margin protection program are proposed in both the House and Senate farm bills. But, even if they can agree and pass the provision, it will take months before dairy farmers can enroll. The senators are aiming to lessen the risk for farmers should there be any dramatic price swings in the meantime. Read more

National FFA Convention begins today

Wed, 10/30/2013

Over 55,000 are expected to converge on Louisville, Ky., this weekend.

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

FFA logoThe National FFA Convention and Expo is a highlight for many FFA members. With nearly 580,000 FFA members in every state, along with Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, only a small portion of the membership attends this annual event. But, those who do, enjoy educational and fun-filled activities. This year the convention returns to Louisville, Ky. Read more

Moving pasture-based dairy forward

Tue, 10/29/2013

Investments in pasture and people are key to a successful grazing program.


by Abby Bauer, Hoard's Dairyman Associate Editor

“Are we still heading the right direction with grazing?” That is the question Joel McNair, editor of Graze magazine, asked the audience at the Missouri Grazing Conference last week in Springfield, Mo.

His observation is that graziers are doing well despite all the challenges farms face. However, he noted that grazing is still operating in a “scientific bubble,” and more research for pasture-based dairy would benefit producers. Other challenges he sees with pasture-based dairying include high land costs, poor quality winter feeds, high feed costs and limited hay supplies, lack of skilled employees, government policy and weather volatility.

McNair offered the following suggestions to graziers to help move their operation successfully into the future: Read more

Animals and humans can coexist

Mon, 10/28/2013

Animal agriculture is sustainable and essential to feeding a growing world.

by Ali Enerson, Hoard’s Dairyman Special Publications Editor

cowEven after significant improvements in sustainability and contributions to society over the last several decades, animal agriculture remains under scrutiny by some groups. When engaging others in a conversation about our farms, the September 2013 CAST issue paper points out some of the benefits of our efforts.

Animals are efficient human food sources.
There is a difference between what humans can and cannot eat. Take corn for example, field corn is digestible for cattle and sweet corn is better suited for humans. Read more

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

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