Thu, 06/30/2016

Feeding the best possible ration to your herd takes true teamwork between the farmer and nutritionist.

cows eating

By Mark Rodgers, Georgia dairy farmer

I have other dairy farmers ask me questions about the analysis of the rations we feed at our farm. My usual answer is, “I don’t know, that’s what I pay the nutritionist to keep up with!”

I have come to realize that I don’t need to know everything, I just have to surround myself with good consultants who excel in their field.

I believe it is more important that I focus on the management of the feeding process. I should be making sure that we harvest at correct moistures, pack the silage adequately, seal the finished forage for long-term and stable storage, and manage the pit face to feed the best forages to our cows daily.

Wed, 06/29/2016

Learning more about different breeds of dairy cattle can be beneficial.

cow

by Taylor Leach, Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern

I’m not colorblind, but I only see black, white, and brown on my family’s dairy operation.

Our 40-cow herd is made up of mostly Holsteins along with a few Jerseys thrown into the mix. Holsteins were the norm on our farm up until 1998, when I begged my parents to purchase a Jersey calf and add a little color to our herd. I still had an appreciation for our herd of Holsteins but quickly fell in love with the new breed. Recently, I have been exposed to other breeds of dairy cattle and have experienced the colorful world of the dairy industry.

Tue, 06/28/2016

Being part of a breed association goes beyond genetic benefits to lifelong connections and friendships.

breed convention

By Darleen Sichley, Oregon Dairy Farmer

Summer marks the season for barbeques, s’mores around the campfire, and family outings and vacations. In the purebred dairy world, it also marks convention season.

National Ayrshire Convention in Oklahoma and National Milking Shorthorn Convention in Ohio kicked off the 2016 season two weeks ago. National Guernsey Convention wrapped up in Minnesota on Monday as National Holstein Convention was kicking off in New York. Meanwhile, California welcomes the National Jersey Convention to San Diego this week as well.

The 2016 convention season concludes next week when National Red and White Convention visits Maryland and National Brown Swiss Convention is held in Minnesota.

Mon, 06/27/2016

Welfare and economics must both play a role in determining how many cows fill a barn.

cows in freestall

By Maggie Seiler, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

One size does not fit all. There are many areas on the farm to which this saying readily applies. One of the most pertinent areas is dairy cattle housing. When it comes to stocking density, Rick Grant says each farm must find their optimal rate of cows per pen to address both animal welfare and economics.

“Our industry must recognize that, for some farms, a trade-off will occur between economics and welfare,” the president of the William H Miner Agricultural Research Institute wrote in a recent Miner Institute Farm Report.

Fri, 06/24/2016

Promote the food side of dairy.

dairy display

By Patti Hurtgen, Online Media Manager

There are farm tours, public events featuring baby calves, and more opportunities to celebrate June Dairy Month by featuring your favorite cow. But what can dairy enthusiasts who don't have access to cattle or a good location do to promote dairy?

One option is to showcase the consumer side of dairy. Picture a dairy producer (or allied industry representative) in the grocery store dairy section offering cheese squares to consumers. While most have tried Cheddar, maybe offer a Pepper Jack, Brick, or Muenster. It could expose a consumer to a new palate pleaser, with the ultimate goal a purchase of a new variety of cheese and demand growth.

Wed, 06/22/2016

Animals teach kids important lessons about responsibility and respect for life.

by Sadie Frericks, Minnesota dairy farmer

boy with chick

As caretakers of animals . . . whether farm animals or companion animals . . . we often face tough decisions. When an animal is ill or injured, it’s our great responsibility to decide if we should do what we can to save it or if we should end its life humanely.

When kids are involved in caring for and rescuing animals, they learn important lessons about life and death. They learn to accept responsibility and respect life.

Tue, 06/21/2016

Whether in the dairy cattle show ring or on the dance stage, you only have a few seconds when the judge is looking your way. You must make it count.

by Corey Geiger, Hoard’s Dairyman Managing Editor

dance numberAs the competition began, door guards checked back tags, known in the dance world as competitor numbers, and made final calls for late entries. Tardiness was rarely accepted as 8,057 entries crossed the dance floor over the five days.

“Heat 460. This is the Intermediate Silver Open Rumba. Contestants to the floor. This is the Intermediate Silver Open Rumba. Music please,” boomed the announcer’s voice, as members of the audience gazed towards the dance stage or flipped through their 200-plus page dance catalog.

It was show time for us.

Music starts.

Dancers begin.

Mon, 06/20/2016

After dancing our way through our first national dance competition, the similarities between dance competitions and dairy cattle shows were striking.

by Corey Geiger, Hoard's Dairyman Managing Editor

“Let me put your back tag on,” said the reassuring but firm voice from what I would quantify as a “man’s man.”

Fri, 06/17/2016

Certain design features improve traffic flow, cow comfort, and overall success of a robotic milking facility.

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Jack Rodenburg


For farms struggling to find enough employees or looking for more flexibility in their daily routine, robotic milking systems have become an intriguing option. Jack Rodenburg with DairyLogix Consulting in Ontario, Canada, is very passionate about milking robots and how they can help farms.

“I think robotic milking can do a tremendous amount to reduce dairy farm labor, and on smaller farms, it can also improve the lifestyle of the operator,” Rodenburg said during the Hoard’s Dairyman webinar “Barn design for robotic milking.”

Thu, 06/16/2016

There are only so many hours in a day, but advocating for dairy must be on a farmer’s to-do list.

Hillcrest Farms

By Caitlin Rodgers, Georgia dairy farmer

When a person decides to become a dairy farmer, they aren’t choosing just a career but a lifestyle. As many of you know, dairy farming is a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week job.

Most dairymen and women live on the farm or within a few minutes because of the demands of the farm. It is nothing to be called in three nights in a row between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. for cow care, equipment issues, or parlor malfunctions. To some, vacations or days off are unheard of. Nine out of 10 times, the only time that you see a dairy farmer is when visiting their dairy.