HD Notebook

Get some dirt on your dirt

Tue, 07/15/2014

A properly collected soil sample will give you the most accurate and valuable data.


by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

A field covered in black soil looks good, but there’s much more to soil quality than what meets the eye. Soil testing can help farmers properly manage nutrients, saving both money and the environment.

Not just any sample will do, however. Soil testing is simple, but not necessarily easy.

“The greatest potential for error in soil testing is in taking the sample,” said Hailin Zhang, Oklahoma State University, when he spoke at the North American Manure Expo in Springfield, Mo.

One key to obtaining a good soil sample is to collect enough subsamples to make a composite sample, Zhang noted. How many subsamples are enough? “Our research has found at least 20 are needed,” he said. Read more

Are you your farm’s problem?

Mon, 07/14/2014

Ten steps to improve your dairy that don’t cost a dime.


by Ali Enerson, Hoard’s Dairyman Special Publications Editor

Growth. Also known as improvement, advancement, prosperity or profit. Defined by Merriam-Webster as “progressive development.”

Growth on your dairy farm doesn’t necessarily mean adding more cows, diversifying with an on-site creamery or cropping more acres. Growth can be encouraged daily, by your actions, how you conduct business, interact with employees or solve challenges, and those things certainly impact your balance sheet.

Last week, I read an article by John C. Maxwell, a renowned author and expert on leadership and self-development, titled “Is Your Environment Holding You Back?” He touched on 10 characteristics of growth that should be present in a business:

  1. Others are ahead of you, benchmarks.
  2. You are continually challenged.

It’s fair time

Fri, 07/11/2014

The Hoard’s Dairyman Farm provides Guernseys to local 4-H members who show at the Jefferson County Fair.

by Maggie Seiler, Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern

At 7 a.m. on a typical June day, most young people are still in bed enjoying the start to their summer vacation. Members of the Barnyard Clovers 4-H club are not among the late risers. Almost every June morning at 7:00 a.m. on the Hoard’s Dairyman Farm, the club members are feeding, watering and cleaning up after their show heifers.

4-H members

The Barnyard Clovers club members enjoy the look of their freshly bedded show cattle. Club members from left to right include Nick Yunker, Dawson Yurs, Victoria Yurs, Hannah Beckman and Ava Kleman. Members not pictured include Kayla Beckman, Ryan Messler and Aaron Messler.
Read more

What were the odds?

Thu, 07/10/2014

What appeared to be a “normal” calving turned out to be anything but.

twin heifer calves

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

It’s that feeling of hope. The red-carrier Holstein (carrying one copy of the recessive red gene) was bred to a Red and White bull (carrying two copies of the red coat color gene). There was a 50-50 chance that the cow would give birth to the red calf that was desired. And, it’s happened many times before.

But when when we pulled into the farm’s driveway after running errands, we came to an abrupt halt, noticing a small addition in the dry cow pasture. It was black, not red, and that feeling of hope turned to disappointment. Read more

The changing face of dairy youth

Wed, 07/09/2014

Gone are the days where every youth at a dairy event resides on a farm.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

There was a time when nearly every youth showing at a fair, competing in dairy judging or competing in quiz bowl lived and worked on their family farm. Being around the cows was part of the daily routine. As the number of dairies decline, there are fewer youth raised on farms.

This was evident at the recent National Holstein Convention in Iowa. When looking and listening to the young people on stage during the dairy bowl finals, you witnessed excitement and knowledge about our industry. How ironic that most of them aren’t on a farm each day.

They come from varied backgrounds and have a deep appreciation for our dairy industry and in some cases, may be more passionate than those born into it.

2014 National Dairy Bowl Champions from California
Read more

Give calves a jumpstart on life

Tue, 07/08/2014

A dairy cow's long, productive life starts with the care she receives from the minute she is born.


by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

In an ideal world, every calving would happen unassisted and result in a perfectly healthy, active calf. However, as all dairy producers know, that sometimes is not the case.

“We can have a critical impact in the first 24 hours,” said Sheila McGuirk with the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine. She addressed the crowd at the Four-State Dairy Nutrition and Management Conference in Dubuque, Iowa. Read more

Robotic rotary parlor count is now 11

Mon, 07/07/2014

All are in Europe and Australia. Herd sizes range from 300 to 850.

rotary milking parlor

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

If robots are the next evolution of milking cows on a large scale, then the future is here already. Except it is happening slowly and not at all in the U.S. . . . yet.

Several companies have sold single- or multiple-stall robotic systems since the 1980s, but all have been aimed at small dairies. DeLaval is the only firm that has married robotic technology to the rotary parlor format that is popular with big herds. At the heart of its automatic milking rotary (AMR) system is a computer that controls multiple robots to perform teat preparation, milking unit attachment and postmilking teat spraying for up to 24 stalls. Read more

Should your cows stand longer?

Thu, 07/03/2014

Additional standing time postmilking could lower your herd’s mastitis risk.

by Amanda Smith, Hoard's Dairyman Associate Editor

cowFor the U.S. dairy industry, mastitis carries a $1.7 billion to $2 billion price tag. Reducing the infection risk takes a multi-pronged approach, but keeping cows on their feet a bit longer postmilking could be one piece of the prevention puzzle. Read more

Internships bring value to Distinguished Junior Members

Wed, 07/02/2014

All 6 DJM Finalists have summer internships in their career field.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

Last Saturday, six outstanding youth were recognized for their Holstein projects and named National Distinguished Junior Member Finalists, the highest honor given by the Holstein Association USA. Announced in Dubuque, Iowa, at the Junior Awards Luncheon, the winners were Hayleigh Geurink, Michigan; Sara Kitchen, Pennsylvania; Cassandra Krull, Wisconsin; Jaylene Lesher, Pennsylvania; Ryan Pralle, Wisconsin and Josh Simon, Iowa.

2014 National Distinguished Junior Holstein Members

2014 National Distinguished Junior Members: Hayleigh Geurink,
Jaylene Lesher, Ryan Pralle, Josh Simon, Sara Kitchen, Cassandra Krull
Read more

Jersey producers honor unknown fallen soldiers

Tue, 07/01/2014

Members attending the American Jersey Cattle Association’s annual convention witnessed a special wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

wreath at Tomb of Unknown Soldier

by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

The 2014 meetings of the American Jersey Cattle Association and National All-Jersey Inc., took place in Alexandria, Va., just miles away from the nation’s capitol.

As part of the convention, attendees visited historic Washington D.C., including a stop at the Arlington National Cemetery. There, association members had the opportunity to witness a special wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Read more

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