HD Notebook

Strategize for succession planning

Tue, 05/17/2016

Make time to sit down with family and talk succession planning.


By Darleen Sichley, Oregon dairy farmer

Raise your hand if you have an up-to-date, written, signed, notarized personal will? Keep your hand raised if that also contains a succession plan for the farm.

We were asked this question last month at our young cooperatives meeting in Seattle by Elaine Froese (http://elainefroese.com/) who is a farm family succession planning coach.

I will be honest that my hand was not among the few that were raised. It’s one of those items that seems to be a perpetual resident of my to-do list with no clear plan on how to proceed. I left Elaine’s session feeling like I had tools to start tackling succession planning.

The first step is having the right strategy to make those hard discussions around farm succession planning as easy as possible. Read more

A wake-up call

Mon, 05/16/2016

Humans are programmed to need 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep a night. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

By Maggie Seiler, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

farm machineryEvery now and then that warning slips across our radar again. “Get enough sleep; it’s important.”

It’s also easy to ignore.

Especially this time of year with so many spring and summer chores to be done.
If I get done with this, I’ll sleep. And I need to check that springing heifer. But I need to finish this field.

No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Science shows shorting yourself or your employees on sleep diminishes the ability to concentrate, increases the amount of energy expended, and reduces the quality of performance. Read more

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

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