Thu, 07/28/2016

It takes careful attention to all details, large and small, to reach the highest levels of milk production.

freestall barn

By Mark Rodgers, Georgia dairy farmer

When our milking herd finally broke the 100 pounds of milk per day average, a lot of changes made on the farm had started working well. We had switched from a pasture-based system, milking 2x daily, to a conventional freestall barn and started milking 3x daily.

In addition, we now have daily milk weights provided by Alpro (now DelPro) and automated activity monitoring that gave us the ability to detect changes in cow performance in real time. Heat detection was truly being monitored around the clock by the activity system. Before this addition in technology, we honestly were trying to see heats, but we were not walking the herd round the clock to detect them.

Wed, 07/27/2016

What can you learn while pushing up the feed?

feedbunk

by Taylor Leach, Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern

“Go push up the feed.”

Those were some of my least favorite words to hear as child growing up on a small dairy. I hated having to go push up the feed by hand, especially during those hot summer afternoons. Managing the feedbunk was a job that needed to be done multiple times throughout the day whether there be rain, shine, heat, or snow. But it was still one of those jobs that I never really enjoyed doing.

On our family farm, we used the latest and greatest technology to make sure that the cows had feed in front of them at all times.

A shovel.

Tue, 07/26/2016

When we get out and see other places, we learn more about the industry and pick up new ideas.

farm tour

By Darleen Sichley, Oregon dairy farmer

Sometimes the stars all align, and we find ourselves with some time off of the farm. We always take advantage of the time away to unplug, rejuvenate, and just generally relax. That time is so important, both mentally and physically, to give ourselves the much needed rest.

More often than not it seems during these vacation times we also find a way to visit other farms. The farm stops occur for a variety of reasons whether they are planned through a meeting or convention, or are just a quick stop along the way to see friends.

Visiting other farms seems to be a dairy farmer’s ideal vacation.

Mon, 07/25/2016

Fly control protocols for heifers set the stage for long-term mammary health.

By Maggie Seiler, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

clean calf We all know the nuisance flies can be this time of year. Ruining picnics, dirtying white walls, and, perhaps most importantly of all, threatening the productive future of your dairy herd.

At the recent Joint Annual Meeting of ADSA and ASAS, the University of Georgia’s Stephen Nickerson warned attendees that horn flies play a potent role in mastitis infection. Some of the greatest damage is done before an animal ever enters the milking string.

Fri, 07/22/2016

NDQA seeks to recognize quality milk producers.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

NDQAAs producers we can get caught in the rut of the day-to-day grind. We are doing things well, but sometimes it seems no one notices. It is days like that when a shot of motivation and confirmation endorses the fact that you are on the right path.

One such program is the National Dairy Quality Awards. It recognizes U.S. producers who make it a high priority to produce milk of the highest quality. The National Mastitis Council administers the program, but the winners have been featured in our Hoard’s Dairyman Round Tables for decades.

Thu, 07/21/2016

After completing major chopper repairs at one dairy, a bagger needed substantial repairs a few weeks later, and the mechanical dairyman worked calmly through that issue, too.

by Corey Geiger, Hoard’s Dairyman Managing Editor

“I’ll be over by 2 p.m.”

That’s the text I sent Charlie Knigge after our family’s Ran-Rose Dairy got done classifying its Holstein herd earlier that Friday morning. It was now nearly two full weeks since chopping had been completed at Ran-Rose Dairy and dealt with the broken down forage harvesters detailed in the blog “The mechanical dairyman.” However, continual rains prevented Charlie from cutting his first crop.

Wed, 07/20/2016

Comforting a child during hard life lessons.

by Taylor Leach, Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern

child with calfLosing a favorite cow at any age can be heartbreaking, but it seems to sting even more when you’re young. Not only do you lose an animal, but you also lose a listener, a playmate, and a friend.

Maizy was a Jersey calf that my family purchased two years ago to expand our small show herd. Sophie, my youngest sister, helped purchase the calf and immediately claimed Maizy as her own. She spent long hours feeding, bathing, and training Maizy for shows, and the two had a special bond that only they shared.

Tue, 07/19/2016

All black attire for dairy shows makes a lot more sense.

show whites

by Sadie Frericks, Minnesota dairy farmer

As the mom of kids who show dairy cattle, I love helping my kids develop into young showmen. So many important life lessons can be learned in the show ring.

But as the mom who does her family’s laundry, there’s one thing I hate about showing dairy cattle . . . Show Whites.

I’d like to go back in time and have a stern talk with whoever decided that dairy exhibitors should wear white pants and white shirts.

Unfortunately, nobody seems to know who started the show whites craze. And nobody seems to know why we continue this craziness – other than, “It’s tradition. This is the way it’s always been done.”

Well, I say to heck with tradition. Here are four reasons why show whites need to go.

Hard to find.

Mon, 07/18/2016

Keep your cool this summer and keep those fans running.

fans in freestall

By Maggie Seiler, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

If June temperatures are anything to measure by, it looks like this summer is shaping up to be another steamy one. According to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center, last month was the hottest June on record. This was particularly true in the milk wagon states of California and Wisconsin. California notched its third warmest June ever while Wisconsin’s average temperature was 2.1°F warmer than June 2015.

Hopefully, farms are managing heat stress and have seen few impacts from the warm weather. Realistically, though, some farms may be struggling.

Fri, 07/15/2016

Good nutrition plays a key role in hoof health.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

Hoof issues are a concern for many dairy producers. They can limit feed intake, sacrifice milk production, and impair cow comfort. Along with a comprehensive foot care program nutrition plays a key role in ensuring that cows are healthy from head to hoof.

Recognizing a problem is the first step in minimizing or eliminating it. If a cow is not severely lame, we may not notice her mobility issues. If an issue is not obvious, it may not be perceived as a problem needing immediate attention, but early on is the best time to get ahead of it.