Tue, 08/23/2016

Utilizing a bedded pack, adequate feedbunk space, and careful monitoring, this herd gets their special needs cows back in business quick.

cow on bedded pack

By Darleen Sichley, Oregon Dairy Farmer

Every operation is unique and different, but there are some ideas and practices that can be universally beneficial. One of those areas we have found on our dairy that plays a significant role in our success is a special needs pen.

Appropriately named special needs, this bedded pack pen houses our fresh cows, lame animals, and any other cow that is in need of a little special care. This pen allows us to sort a struggling cow from the milking herd as it exits the parlor. A sawdust bedded pack, large waterer, and separate feed space means this pen is completely partitioned from the rest of the herd to provide everything this group requires.

Mon, 08/22/2016

Grocery stores, restaurants, and schools/work places were all popular locations for weekly food purchases. Dairy is what they have in common.

grocery store

By Maggie Seiler, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Domestic dairy sales are an important part of dairy’s business, and three popular places to acquire dairy coincide with common places Americans acquire food. That is according to the USDA’s National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey.

According to the survey’s data, 87 percent of households acquired food from large grocery stores or supermarkets and another 85 percent bought food from restaurants or other eating places.

Fortunately, dairy holds prominent positions in each of these markets. The dairy case is a popular place for sales in grocery stores; dairy-related products highlight many restaurant menus and school lunch programs often feature milk.

Fri, 08/19/2016

Attempts to connect with consumers can be a trap.

animal right activists

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

When I attend the state fair, I expect to see a lot of youth having a great time and spending time with their friends. That is not all I found on the last day of the junior dairy show at the Wisconsin State Fair this year.

As I walked through the barns, I spotted some animal rights activists camped in the middle of the dairy barn shouting and chanting their beliefs while shaking their protest signs. They were critical of dairy cattle handling and care, but not 10 feet away were Holstein calves resting peacefully in a foot of clean straw, chewing their cud with hay and water within reach.

Thu, 08/18/2016

4-H livestock projects were blasted at a recent HSUS annual conference.

by Hannah Thompson, communications director for Animal Agriculture Alliance

Hannah ThompsonLike many of you in the dairy industry, some of my best memories and closest friends are from my time in 4-H. My experiences showing and judging dairy cattle taught me invaluable lessons in hard work, decision-making, and time management, not to mention influencing my choice of a college, major, and career. As you can imagine, it doesn’t sit right with me to hear animal rights activists attacking this phenomenal organization.

Wed, 08/17/2016

The Hoard’s Dairyman Farm earned national recognition from the American Guernsey Association.

Hoard's Dairyman Farm Guernsey herd

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

The Guernseys on the Hoard’s Dairyman Farm have proven once again that they can compete with the best Guernsey herds in the nation.

Each year, the American Guernsey Association recognizes the top 100 cows in the breed in terms of combined fat and protein production. The Hoard’s Dairyman Farm, located just north of Fort Atkinson, Wis., was home to more of these Component Queens of the Breed in 2015 than any other farm, tallying 23 in the top 100.

Tue, 08/16/2016

Social media should not replace face-to-face advocacy.

panel discussion

By Sadie Frericks, Minnesota dairy farmer

Almost every co-op meeting, checkoff organization conference, or dairy industry event includes a speaker or breakout session about telling our story, and for good reason. If we don’t show the world what happens on our dairy farms, someone else will try to do it for us.

Often those advocacy sessions focus on telling our story through social media. Again, there’s a good reason why. Social media gives us access to a nearly limitless audience.

I always say that I can’t give farm tours to thousands of people on a regular basis. There’s not enough time in a day to host daily tours and get chores done. Plus, very few people want to visit my farm in the dead of winter. Social media lets me share my farm and my life 365 days a year.

Mon, 08/15/2016

These consumers got a chance to learn a little bit about dairy cows.

By Maggie Seiler, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

So many times, the dairy industry discusses how we can better reach the general public with the story of milk. I would suggest one easy touch point we have to this group is at state fairs, county fairs and the like.

The Wisconsin State Fair was buzzing last weekend when I had the opportunity to go visit and walk through the barns. It brought back many fantastic memories of years of showing at the Kansas State Fair, but it also reminded me of that other important task we as exhibitors and members of the industry have to interact with fairgoers.

As I stood in the dairy barn, I heard a wide assortment of questions being tossed around from “What breed of cow is that?” to “How do you get paid for the milk?”

Fri, 08/12/2016

Who has the priority?

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

Raising healthy, well-grown calves is more than putting milk in a pail and dropping grain in a bucket. A newborn’s chance for success starts as soon as it hits the ground. Colostrum sets the wheels in motion. How much was fed, how soon after birth was it fed, how high was the quality, and how clean was the equipment? They all matter.

Well-known calf expert, Bob James, presented the August webinar, “An update on raising better calves.” Bob recently retired from Virginia Tech after 35 years in teaching, research and extension. He shared practical experience and scientific research.

Thu, 08/11/2016

Careful attention during the first three months of a calf’s life sets the stage for a lifetime of productivity on Hillcrest Farms.

newborn calves

By Caitlin Rodgers, Georgia dairy farmer

How important are the first 100 days of a dairy animal’s life? It has been proven that what you do during those first three months of life will have strong effects on how that cow will produce during its future lactations. For this reason, making sure calves have exceptional care is crucial!

At Hillcrest Farms, the first 100 days include some very important stages. These stages include:

The first 12 hours of life:

  • Two bottles of high-quality colostrum are fed — the earlier, the better.
  • Calf Guard and Enforce 3 vaccines are administered.
  • The calf is moved to a clean and comfortably bedded hutch with fresh feed and water.

The first 11 days:

Wed, 08/10/2016

Research shows intense long and short-term effects result from skimping on feed for this group.

cows eating

By Maggie Seiler, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Sometimes reality is harsh, and that can be the case when dealing with transition cows. Managing this group is a juggling routine that includes providing optimum nutrition and cow comfort while regularly monitoring health. The statement stands firm that these first few weeks really do set the stage for the entire lactation.