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.”

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.”

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.

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.

Fri, 04/29/2016

Mental health issues are more prevalent in nonmeat eaters.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

salsa steakVegetarians are crazy! That might be the sentiment of those who relish a succulent steak and cannot fathom eliminating beef, lamb, pork, or poultry from their diet. While we all have the option to purchase and consume whatever food types we choose, there appears to be negative ramifications for avoiding animal-based foods.

According to research, nonmeat eaters have more anxiety disorders as compared to those who eat meat.

Thu, 04/28/2016

Spring can bring a wide array of weather conditions . . . prepare now so you’re ready if severe storms hit.

spring weather

By Taylor Leach, Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern

Spring is in the air, but with it can come some not so pleasant weather. While we are happy to see winter go, it’s time to start thinking about how to prepare for those spring storms that are on the way.

Growing up in Kansas, I became accustomed to the severe thunderstorms and tornados that always seemed to make an appearance in mid-April and May. We can’t stop a storm, but there are steps we can take to plan for bad weather, especially on the farm.

Wed, 04/27/2016

For years, California dairy and livestock farmers have grazed their cattle in Point Reyes National Seashore Park, but that partnership may soon come to an end.

cow grazing

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

About 60 miles north of San Francisco, Calif., sits the Point Reyes National Seashore Park. For more than a century, grazing cattle have shared this space with the elk, elephant seals, and other wildlife that live there.

Those cattle may soon be looking for a new home, though. Three environmental groups filed a lawsuit earlier this spring with the U.S. District Court in San Francisco. They feel that the grazing herds are harmful to the wildlife in the park and are not a natural part of the landscape.

Tue, 04/26/2016

A recent interview in The Washington Post with the renowned animal welfare specialist leaves many in dairy circles with unanswered questions.

by Sadie Frericks, Minnesota dairy farmer

With all due respect to Temple Grandin, and the research she has done to improve the lives of farm animals, her quotes in a recent popular media report left me questioning her intentions.

cow with thought bubble

Titled "Why a top animal science expert is worried about the milk industry," the report ran last Thursday in The Washington Post’s Wonkblog.

According to the report, the main beef (pun intended) Grandin has with the dairy industry right now is that we’re using selective breeding to create hyperproductive dairy cows, with little regard for cows’ well-being.

Mon, 04/25/2016

Saturday is World Veterinary Day and our opportunity to stop and say thanks to an integral part of the farm team — veterinarians.

By Maggie Seiler, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

veterinarian“Do you know what that is?”

This was the prompt that started many a conversation cowside when I was growing up. My family’s veterinarian, fondly referred to as Doc, was always up for a teachable moment while diagnosing or treating a cow. At his side, I learned about reproduction, disease, and prevention. Maybe, most of all, I learned about observation.

Each time Doc visited the farm, he would walk the milking pens and go look at the calves. He would stop to check on manure consistency and listen for coughing. I learned how to observe early signs of disease in order to get ahead of illnesses.

Fri, 04/22/2016

When it comes to controlling lameness, the most effective footbath immerses each hoof more than once.

by Abby Bauer, Hoard's Dairyman Associate Editor

cow hooves Is lameness an issue in your herd? If so, you are not alone. According to Nigel Cook, D.V.M., from the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, “Lameness is a global problem.”

During a Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW) hoof care workshop, Cook indicated that about one in four cows around the world has some kind of lameness issue. “Twenty five percent is not very good. We need to find ways to do better,” he said.