HD Notebook

Milking machines aren’t fully to blame

Thu, 03/19/2015

Since pulsation came on-line, machines have taken a lot of flak for causing mastitis. Observations of the entire milking process, though, are needed to unroot the cause of milk quality problems.

By Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

milking parlor

Since the mid-19th century, there have been continuous attempts to make milk harvest more efficient. And since that time, mechanized milking has been blamed for the development of mastitis in dairy cattle.

So where does the blame lie?

“Machine milking can lead to the development of mastitis, but poor management practices also result in reduced milk quality,” noted Patrick Gorden, a veterinarian with the Iowa State College of Veterinary Medicine, at the National Mastitis Council annual meeting. Read more

Ag Day is today . . . and every day!

Wed, 03/18/2015

March 18 recognizes the import role agriculture plays in everyone’s lives

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

Ag DayThe Agriculture Council of America hosts National Agriculture Day, with the epicenter being Washington, D.C. Events promoting the role food
and fiber play in daily lives will attempt to reach educators, families and government officials. The 2015 theme is “Agriculture: Sustaining Future Generations.” But, the message starts at home.

National Ag Day has four goals:
1. Understand how food, fiber and renewable resources are produced
2. Value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy
3. Appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products
4. Acknowledge and consider career opportunities in the agriculture, food, fiber and renewable resource industries

What are the desired results? Read more

Students are eating more of their (healthy) lunch

Tue, 03/17/2015

New school lunch policies improved food consumption and minimized waste in one school district; can we do even better?

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

child eating healthy school lunchWhen the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 was passed and required the USDA to update the nutrition standards of the National School Lunch Program, some people feared that more food waste would occur.

We’ve seen it happen before. When some schools pulled chocolate milk from their menus, a Cornell University study showed that milk consumption dropped 10 percent, milk waste rose 29 percent, and participation in the school lunch program fell by 7 percent. Read more

Walking a fine line

Mon, 03/16/2015

Automated calf feeding systems offer huge benefits but can also challenge management systems.

by Maggie Seiler, 2014 Hoard’s Dairyman editorial intern

automated calf feeder

Offering quicker gains, healthier calves and greater labor efficiencies, automated calf feeders have revolutionized antiquated calf systems while. Upon first appearance, the investment seems like it will easily pay for itself, and in many cases it does. However, C.A. Russell, a dairy producer in Texas and California, warned dairymen during a panel at the 2015 Western Dairy Management Conference in Reno, Nev., to pay special attention to building design when installing such systems. Read more

Reno wrap-up: did you attend?

Fri, 03/13/2015

Turnout at last week’s 12th Western Dairy Management Conference almost set a record.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Western Dairy Management Conference

There are three U.S. dairy industry events that are so well known around the world that milk producers often refer to them simply by where they are held:

Madison – World Dairy Expo in Wisconsin
Tulare – World Ag Expo in California
Reno – the Western Dairy Management Conference in Nevada

Unlike the first two, Reno happens only every other year and is a purely educational event; the largest one in the world. Children are nowhere to be seen, nor is there a trade show. The atmosphere is thoroughly informal and social, yet the conference is all business. Read more

Full-fat dairy isn’t a villain

Thu, 03/12/2015

For those looking to shed pounds, dodging dairy fat may be bad for your waistline.

By Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Fat is having a heyday.

For decades, the standard recommendation within the nutrition community has been to avoid fat like the plague. As the U.S. developed an obesity epidemic, their rationale to cut fat and sidestep calories, while still getting calcium and protein, seemed logical.

According to recent research, though, the fat-bashing health and dietary experts behind these recommendations may have been wrong.

Published in the European Journal of Nutrition, a review of the existing research on dairy fat came to two major conclusions:

  1. People who consume full-fat dairy are no more likely to develop type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease than those who stick to dairy’s low-fat selection.
  2. When it comes to weight gain, full-fat dairy products may be your better option.

Cooling dry cows – more benefits than you thought

Wed, 03/11/2015

Additional milk per day is just the start.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

March webinar slide
The signs of heat stress in dry cows are less obvious when there is no production to monitor. In the March Hoard’s Dairyman webinar, Geoff Dahl, University of Florida, presented, “Help your dry cows avoid heat stress.” Dahl has conducted numerous studies in the southeast heat and looks specifically at the dry period.

His research studied two different groups – those that were cooled during the dry period and those that were not. The only variable in his research was the dry period, as cows were managed under the exact same circumstances for their entire lives. Read more

Doing more with less land

Tue, 03/10/2015

Last year, the United States saw another drop in farm acres and number of farms, but productivity filled the gap.

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor


Our nation’s farmers are faced with the continuous challenge of doing more with less. The world population is climbing; meanwhile, the number of acres devoted to farming in the United States is shrinking.

Total land for farming in 2014 was at 913 million acres, down 1.03 million acres from the year before, according to recently released numbers from USDA. The number of farms in the United States was estimated at 2.08 million, down 18,000. The only number to go in the opposite direction was average farm size, which moved up 3 acres to reach 438 acres in 2014.

Five years ago there were 2.17 million farms on 917.5 million acres, averaging 423 acres per farm. Read more

Embryo market proving to be fertile ground

Mon, 03/09/2015

GenElite and Holstein Plaza help bring buyers and sellers together in today’s evolving dairy genetics trade.

by Brittany Statz, 2015 Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern

I attended the 124th Wisconsin Holstein Association Convention on February 21 in Hudson, Wis. Before the annual business meeting, a panel discussion titled “Marketing Embryos in a Global Setting” took place, starring Steve Berland of GenElite and Hendrik Albada of Holstein Plaza. The moderator of the discussion was none other than Hoard’s Dairyman Managing Editor Corey Geiger. As someone who is still acquiring knowledge about the increasingly multidimensional dairy industry, I didn’t quite know what to expect from the following exchange of thoughts and ideas on how to market embryos internationally. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how enlightening and informative the discussion truly was. Read more

Tips from genomics gurus

Fri, 03/06/2015

Elite breeders have simple advice for dairies about how to get started.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor


Genomics technology has taken the dairy breeding world by storm, giving milk producers tools to make dramatic improvement in their herds faster than ever possible.

Three early and aggressive adopters shared their results at the 12th Western Dairy Management Conference this week in Reno, Nev. Between them they may do more monthly genomic testing than any other three dairies in the U.S. They also had simple, basic tips for other producers who want to get started with the technology. Read more

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