HD Notebook

Find the open cows

Fri, 05/13/2016

Determining which cows are open early speeds the reset process.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

While we all like to hear that a cow is confirmed pregnant, there also is value in knowing that she is not. At that point, she can be quickly placed on a reproductive protocol to prepare for the next insemination, and hopefully produce a pregnancy.

Paul Fricke, University of Wisconsin-Madison, presented the monthly Hoard’s Dairyman webinar “Strategies for nonpregnancy diagnosis in dairy cows.”

For confirming a pregnancy, you have several options. The “hands-on” choices include ultrasound evaluation after 30 days, rectal palpation after 35 days, or the old-timer’s “calf bumping” at six to seven months. Obviously the first two are preferred as results are more immediate and reliable. Read more

Fueling up with chocolate milk

Thu, 05/12/2016

Practicing healthy habits at an early age can influence one’s lifestyle for years to come.

drinking chocolate milk

By Taylor Leach, Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern

Stretching out sore, tired muscles after an evening of training for your next 5K race is something most runners do regularly. But would you know to do that when you are only 12 years old?

It’s safe to say that I was not the athlete of my family. I much preferred to watch sports rather than play them. I was relatively fit, however, and I knew that exercising and nutritious eating habits were still an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Now that I am an adult, I try to push myself to run (emphasis on the word “try”) and eat as well as I can as a college student. But when I was 12 years old, I certainly did not set the goal to run my first 5K race like my younger sister, Sophie, did. Read more

Build to meet the four basic needs

Wed, 05/11/2016

Housing that satisfies a cow’s most basic needs— fresh air, feed, water, and resting space— is worth the investment.

cow housing

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

“Dairy housing design must focus on cow needs.” That was the message of John Tyson’s presentation at the ADSA Large Dairy Herd Management Conference held in Oak Brook, Ill.

“There are four things every person, and every cow, needs,” explained the Penn State University agricultural engineer. Those four components are ventilation (air), water, feed, and a resting area.

“Dairy farm design and management need to excel at all of these things,” he said. “Production is held back by the weakest link.”

Ventilation Read more

Temple Grandin airs her experience

Tue, 05/10/2016

The Washington Post reporter left countless positive comments about the dairy industry out of his article. Temple had the email evidence to prove it.

by Sadie Frericks, Minnesota dairy farmer

Temple GrandinThe last thing I expected when I wrote my blog about Temple Grandin and her comments in The Washington Post was to get an email from Temple Grandin herself. Read more

New book features herd health

Mon, 05/09/2016

The newest book from the Hoard’s Dairyman bookstore sheds light on prevention, management, and treatment options for limiting antibiotic use.

By Maggie Seiler, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Practical Organic Dairy FarmingAntibiotics have been an important part of dairy animal welfare for many years and have served as great tools for producers in battling various types of infections. That being said, the use of antibiotics, especially those pertinent to human health, has fallen under growing scrutiny. Meanwhile, more options are becoming available for preventing and fighting such infections.

The newest book from the Hoard’s Dairyman bookstore, Practical Organic Dairy Farming, allows farmers to get their hands on tried and true methods for preventing and treating common ailments without the use of antibiotics. Read more

FFA Judging: Building on past experience

Fri, 05/06/2016

Each year new knowledge and skills were gained.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

So, how do teams that win, well . . . win?

FFA members dairy judging

I asked one of those teams, “Why did you win?”

One of the seniors had this to say, “I think we won because we worked hard for it, we started practicing for the test in October and studied a lot on our own time. My teammates and I have worked and practiced as a team because we know it takes a team effort to win.” Read more

Keep the freestall barn looking like new

Thu, 05/05/2016

Regular maintenance helps us maintain our freestall barn in top working condition.

By Mark Rodgers, Georgia dairy farmer

Hillcrest freestall barn

We moved from a pasture based operation to our conventional freestall barn in 2009. At that time, a dairyman friend of mine said, “Take a picture, as the freestall barn will never look that good again.”

Delegate to make your team great

Wed, 05/04/2016

It doesn’t come naturally to most people, but delegation is essential to effective team leadership.

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Bernie ErvenMost of us, at some point in our lives, will find ourselves in a leadership position. While many dairy farmers choose their profession based on a desire to work with animals, supervising people has also become a necessary part of the job. As a boss, you must become a leader to your team.

According to Bernie Erven, professor emeritus at The Ohio State University, one of the foundational blocks of effective team leadership is delegation.

“One person can’t do it all,” he said during his presentation at the Dairy Calf and Heifer Association’s (DCHA) annual meeting. “Increasing size and complexity of businesses makes delegation essential.” Read more

These are a few of my “Favorite Things”

Tue, 05/03/2016

If I ever lose my sense of wonder about a newborn calf or the first time we turn out our herd to graze in spring, then it's time for me to change occupations.

cows on pasture

by Darleen Sichley, Oregon dairy farmer

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.

How easily some of the classic song lyrics can work their way into our minds. Almost to the point where the lyrics lose their meaning . . . almost like the little everyday things that sometimes get over looked in the dairy industry.

This is a profession of repetition, the same song and dance to a degree every day. Especially when times are hard, like now, I find these little favorite things are most important to keep me going. Read more

Rations: one or more?

Mon, 05/02/2016

Research indicates multiple rations save money and resources, but it depends on the farm.

cows eating at feed bunk

By Maggie Seiler, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

No doubt efficiencies and economics are top of mind for dairy producers. This is not a new situation. Dairy producers are traditionally very cognizant of balancing efficiencies to stay in business through the ups and downs.

When it comes to feeding, economic efficiency can be found in feeding of multiple rations. Victor Cabrera recently shared his research on the economic benefits of grouping a herd by nutritional needs.

The University of Wisconsin faculty member suggests most of these economic benefits originate from overfeeding of later lactation cows. On farms that feed a single ration, it is often balanced for the cow producing just above average. Read more

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