HD Notebook

Aim high . . . pick a low SCC target

Fri, 08/23/2013

A smart — and attainable — goal is 200,000

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

cowsThe list of reasons why dairies should constantly work to lower their herd somatic cell count (SCC) is both long and old. Reasons that were good decades ago have only gotten better, and many new ones have been added in recent years, particularly as researchers have established a strong correlation between mastitis and reproduction.

Setting a smart SCC goal has always been hard for U.S. dairy producers because of how stupid the national legal limit of 750,000 is. This inflated number gives the impression that 500,000 is good and 400,000 is great. In reality, 400,000 is marginal at best — and proof that there are both problems and room for improvement. Read more

Know your numbers for corn and beans

Thu, 08/22/2013

What can you afford to pay for land rent and still be competitive?


by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Margin management has become critical to farm success. “Keeping in mind feed market volatility, it looks like feed will be cheaper based on futures predictions for corn and soybeans,” noted Virginia Ishler, with Penn State in a recent Penn State Dairy Digest. While this could bring added relief to feed costs, it does mean producers need to evaluate their true crop production costs.

While completing cash flow plans for 143 farms last winter, two questions continually cropped up for Penn State’s Dairy Extension Team:

  1. What yield do I need to keep costs of production low enough to take advantage of the market if I want to sell corn or beans?
  2. What land rent can I afford before it negatively impacts the cost of production?

World Dairy Expo Championship Dairy Products Contest growing every year

Wed, 08/21/2013

WDE product contest

Last week, judges sorted through hundreds of entries in this contest co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Dairy Products Association and World Dairy Expo.

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

Dairy products from across the globe were shipped to Wisconsin to be judged at the annual World Dairy Expo Championship Dairy Products Contest. This year, over 820 entries in the categories of cheese, butter, ice cream and more were submitted. The contest, co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Dairy Products Association and World Dairy Expo, has grown substantially since it began in 2003 with just 100 entries.

This year’s contest was held last week in Madison, Wis., and a total of 28 judges from across the U.S. analyzed the entries. The judging process took place over a three-day period - one day for cheese, one for Grade A products and one for ice cream and whey. Read more

The August Bull list is now available to download

Tue, 08/20/2013

New faces and familiar ones mark the latest sire summary.

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

Hoard's Dairyman August2013 Bull ListSire summaries occur three times each year. Sometimes it seems the top bulls rarely change; yet at other times it appears like a totally new deck has been dealt. Read more

A new venture has its roots in the 1800s

Mon, 08/19/2013

Wall St. Dairy graciously hosted Red and White Convention attendees.

Wall St. Dairy

by Taylor Pires, Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern

Wall St. Dairy hosted Red and White breeders as part of the national convention’s day of tours in Chautauqua County, N.Y. It was the first stop for the group; a farm rich in history that is balancing modern technologies while keeping with tradition.

The farm that is now Wall St. Dairy was first established as a turkey farm in 1840. It was home to 10,000 turkeys each year. Current owners Jeff Winton and Jim Modica, who work in the pharmaceutical and health care industries, respectively, purchased the farm in 2007. Winton was raised on a commercial Holstein farm in Chautauqua County, which is still operated by his brothers, nieces and nephews. Read more

Dairy farmers, your thoughts are needed

Fri, 08/16/2013

Researchers hope to stop infertility losses; producers’ survey input is vital.

dairy farmers

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Slowly but surely, dairy cattle around the world are becoming less fertile. As they do, financial losses to dairies grow in the form of more culling, fewer calves and higher expenses.

Infertility is a slow, insidious drain on dairy income and an invisible increase in operating costs. Both are the result of a national dairy herd that has significantly lower conception rates today than just a few decades ago.

How much lower? A team of scientists at Washington State University, the University of Idaho, and the University of Florida says average conception rate on U.S. dairies in the 1980s was about 50 percent. Today it’s about 35 percent. That’s a dangerous trend that should scare everyone who milks cows. Read more

By-products: an alternative nutrient source

Thu, 08/15/2013

By utilizing by-products, the dairy industry has the potential to reduce the environmental impact of human food production.

taco waste

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

A staple in many dairy rations, by-products are seeing increased use as producers attempt to replace higher-cost ingredients and meet their herds’ nutrient requirements. For ruminants though, most of the attention has centered on it as a source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. There has been little to no mention of how dairy cattle reduce the GHG production of the human food industry. Read more

Is robotic milking a good fit for your dairy?

Wed, 08/14/2013

Hoard’s Dairyman webinar discusses considerations when going to robots.

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

August webinar slideLarry Tranel, Iowa State University, spoke on robotic milking during the August 12 Hoard’s Dairyman webinar, titled “Is robotic milking a good deal?” His noon-time presentation covered a cross-section of financial and management considerations when contemplating installing automatic milking systems (AMS). Read more

Troubleshooting calfhood disease starts with knowledge

Tue, 08/13/2013

By getting to know the parts of a calf’s respiratory “engine,” farms are better equipped to troubleshoot breakdowns in defense.


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

“It’s tough to fix an engine until you know how it works. The same is true for respiratory disease in calves.” This is the philosophy of Darren Katzung, D.V.M., a large animal veterinarian at Southwest Veterinary Service in southwestern Wisconsin. Katzung spoke at the Dairy Beef for Profit workshop hosted by Iowa State University Extension last week. Read more

Capitalize on your calves’ routine

Mon, 08/12/2013

Calves housed in groups will eat according to their daily pattern.


by Taylor Pires, Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern

Producers have options for ad libitum, or free access feeding, as shared by the July 2013 William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute Farm Report. This style of feeding is a key component when group housing calves and can be successful with proper management. Some benefits include more frequent meals, improved growth rates and less labor. However, using milk replacer or acidified milk in a mob feeder can be inconvenient with the need for cooling down, reheating and agitation. The Miner Report offered producers some options to give the calf what it needs while also making ad libitum feeding more convenient. Read more

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