Wed, 05/25/2016

Are you ready to handle triplets on your farm?

by Taylor Leach, Hoard’s Dairyman editorial intern

triplet calves
As farmers, we learn to always expect the unexpected. But when triplets arrive on the dairy, it is understandable to be in shock.

Surprised was my reaction when I received the news that triplets had been born at the Oklahoma State University (OSU) Ferguson Family Dairy Center. My fellow student employee, Leanne Van Der Laan, an OSU animal science and agribusiness junior, informed me of her eventful, yet rewarding day spent at the vets office delivering three healthy Holstein calves.

Tue, 05/24/2016

Top animal welfare expert praises animal care, impressed with newest lameness research

by Sadie Frericks, Minnesota dairy farmer

Temple Grandin at Vir-Clar Farm
Temple Grandin visits Vir-Clar Farm in Fond du Lac, Wis.

“I saw dairy cows who have a wonderful life today.”

That’s what Dr. Temple Grandin told an audience of over 700 people during her lecture on autism at Marian University last Friday night in Fond du Lac, Wis. The dairy cows she saw were those at Vir-Clar Farm, which Temple and I toured together on Friday morning.

Mon, 05/23/2016

The standard of excellence begins with the boss when it comes to animal welfare.

training and development

By Maggie Seiler, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

What’s the hardest part of initiating a training program for animal welfare on today’s dairies?

If you ask Luís Mendonça, who conducts many employee trainings every year, the greatest challenge is company culture.

“It starts with the top management, but if the middle managers and supervisors don’t buy in, we fail,” the Kansas State University dairy extension specialist explained. On farms with good leadership that build strong culture, positive attitudes, and employee morale, animal welfare can come as second nature.

“I’m a strong believer that employee training needs to be a systematic approach,” Mendonça shared at the recent Dairy Cattle Welfare Symposium in Columbus, Ohio.

Fri, 05/20/2016

During the heat and humidity of summer, extra measures are taken to care for cows before and after calving.

fresh cow

By Caitlin Rodgers, Georgia dairy farmer

Ninety-eight degrees in Georgia feels a good bit different than 98° in California. In Georgia, we have some of the worst humidity imaginable. There are some weeks during the summer that temperatures stay in the low 100° range.

For us, putting our milking herd in a freestall barn has done wonders for cow health and production. What about our close-up dry cows that are still out on pasture though? How does heat throughout the dry period affect them in their vital first three days postpartum?

Thu, 05/19/2016

Friends, food, and funding are just a few perks.

Breakfast on the Farm

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard's Dairyman Online Media Manager

I’ve lived the majority of my adult life in Wisconsin, while all of my childhood was spent in California. Dairy breakfasts were not common in the Central Valley. A dairy day at the county fairgrounds promoted June is Dairy Month, but nothing like the dairy breakfasts throughout the Midwest.

1. Consumer Communication

Wed, 05/18/2016

Internships provide once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.

Hoard's Dairyman offices

by Taylor Leach, Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern

Summer has officially begun for most college students. For many, it marks the beginning of a summer filled with opportunities, learning experiences, and lots of memories.

Myself included.

Internships are an excellent way for students to explore potential career opportunities while learning and practicing some of the techniques used in their preferred area of interest. Not only do internships allow students to discover whether or not they would enjoy a career within that particular field, but it also opens new doors of opportunity and is considered an admirable resume builder.

Tue, 05/17/2016

Make time to sit down with family and talk succession planning.

family

By Darleen Sichley, Oregon dairy farmer

Raise your hand if you have an up-to-date, written, signed, notarized personal will? Keep your hand raised if that also contains a succession plan for the farm.

We were asked this question last month at our young cooperatives meeting in Seattle by Elaine Froese (http://elainefroese.com/) who is a farm family succession planning coach.

I will be honest that my hand was not among the few that were raised. It’s one of those items that seems to be a perpetual resident of my to-do list with no clear plan on how to proceed. I left Elaine’s session feeling like I had tools to start tackling succession planning.

The first step is having the right strategy to make those hard discussions around farm succession planning as easy as possible.

Mon, 05/16/2016

Humans are programmed to need 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep a night. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

By Maggie Seiler, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

farm machineryEvery now and then that warning slips across our radar again. “Get enough sleep; it’s important.”

It’s also easy to ignore.

Especially this time of year with so many spring and summer chores to be done.
If I get done with this, I’ll sleep. And I need to check that springing heifer. But I need to finish this field.

No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Science shows shorting yourself or your employees on sleep diminishes the ability to concentrate, increases the amount of energy expended, and reduces the quality of performance.

Fri, 05/13/2016

Determining which cows are open early speeds the reset process.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

While we all like to hear that a cow is confirmed pregnant, there also is value in knowing that she is not. At that point, she can be quickly placed on a reproductive protocol to prepare for the next insemination, and hopefully produce a pregnancy.

Paul Fricke, University of Wisconsin-Madison, presented the monthly Hoard’s Dairyman webinar “Strategies for nonpregnancy diagnosis in dairy cows.”

For confirming a pregnancy, you have several options. The “hands-on” choices include ultrasound evaluation after 30 days, rectal palpation after 35 days, or the old-timer’s “calf bumping” at six to seven months. Obviously the first two are preferred as results are more immediate and reliable.

Thu, 05/12/2016

Practicing healthy habits at an early age can influence one’s lifestyle for years to come.

drinking chocolate milk

By Taylor Leach, Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern

Stretching out sore, tired muscles after an evening of training for your next 5K race is something most runners do regularly. But would you know to do that when you are only 12 years old?

It’s safe to say that I was not the athlete of my family. I much preferred to watch sports rather than play them. I was relatively fit, however, and I knew that exercising and nutritious eating habits were still an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Now that I am an adult, I try to push myself to run (emphasis on the word “try”) and eat as well as I can as a college student. But when I was 12 years old, I certainly did not set the goal to run my first 5K race like my younger sister, Sophie, did.