Wed, 11/12/2014

Empire State has won nearly one-third of all national contests.

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

After a second place finish in last year’s contest, New York 4-H came back in full force in 2014. Not only did they win the team portion of the dairy quiz bowl contest in Louisville, Ky., they had the top four individual scores on the 50-question short answer written test!

New York 4-H team

Since the contest started recognizing top test scores, no team has swept the top four spots. New York, Wisconsin and Minnesota each previously had claimed a one-two punch. New York’s team was (in order of test scores) Courtney Dearnley, Stephanie Bishop, Ian Stewart and Katie Sondericker. They are coached by Deborah Grusenmeyer and Matt Young.

Tue, 11/11/2014

Dairy judges from Minnesota, Illinois and New York took home the first place team honors.

by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Three dairy judging contests were held at the North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE) in Louisville, Ky., on Sunday, November 9. In all, 51 teams participated in the collegiate, post-secondary and youth contests.

Midwest teams rise to the top in the youth division
With three individuals in the top 10, Minnesota 4-H led all teams in the youth contest with a score of 1919 points. Coming in second was their neighbor to the east, Wisconsin 4-H, with 1907 points. The team in third was Michigan 4-H, with a score of 1883. Florida 4-H was fourth, and New York 4-H was fifth.

Minnesota 4-H team
Top youth team members: Coach Stacy Leiding, Kayla Leiding, Amy-Jo VanderWal, Clint Irrthum, and Haely Leiding from Minnesota 4-H.

Mon, 11/10/2014

One small responsibility can bloom into a lifelong passion.

by Maggie Seiler, Hoard's Dairyman Editorial Intern

Over the past year, I have repeatedly been asked how I became interested in dairy cattle considering I grew up in a state more well-known for beef and wheat. Many times, that conversation prompt leaves me talking about the lessons I learned growing up on a dairy farm in central Kansas. The story I tell revolves not just around hard work and early mornings. It was also greatly influenced by my dad’s decision to give me a cow when I was in third grade.

Fri, 11/07/2014

The largest crop in Humboldt County, California, poses a potentially funny “what if.”

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

A small dairy area in far-northern California climbed aboard the anti-GMO bandwagon on Tuesday, when voters in Humboldt County approved the “Genetic Contamination Prevention Ordinance” by a 59 to 41 percent margin.

Yes, another GMO ban. Never mind the just-released conclusion of an epically massive scientific review of GMO studies dating back 29 years and representing 100 billion animals – that GMO feed is safe and nutritionally equivalent to non-GMO feed – Humboldt voters nonetheless passed a countywide ban on growing any genetically modified organism.

Doing so sets up the possibility of a situation that could one day become incredibly fun to watch.

Thu, 11/06/2014

If your forages didn’t produce as anticipated, now is the time to secure feed and fill in the gaps.

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

This year’s harvest marks two very different ends of the spectrum. Some dairies have been blessed with an abundance of forage to feed over the coming year. Meanwhile, others, due to late or prevented planting, have a reduction in forage for the upcoming year.

If your dairy falls into the latter category, it is critical to develop an accurate representation of your current forage inventory. The next step, notes Jim Paulson, extension dairy educator with the University of Minnesota, is to build a feed and forage budget for your farm.

Quickly calculating what you have and what you lack enables you to identify and secure alternative feed sources. Of the forages you have on hand, the highest quality material should be allocated to the milking herd and youngest heifers.

Wed, 11/05/2014

Hoard’s Dairyman can be your stocking stuffer this year.

By Ali Enerson, Hoard’s Dairyman Special Publications Editor

Gift for a Farmer

I’m not typically an early Christmas shopper, but in the more recent years I’ve learned to pay closer attention to what my dad needs when we are fixing something, milking the cows or working around the farm.

This past weekend we built a new door for the barn, fixed a waterer, screwed a couple of new boards to the large barn door where others had fallen off in the wind and just did a little general cleanup. And while the number one thing my dad says he’d prefer for a gift is for his kids to come spend a few days at home helping him out, we know that sometimes when you live well over three hours away from the farm, that’s not always as easy as we’d hope it to be.

Tue, 11/04/2014

Group housing offers many advantages to calves, but when groups get too big, problems can arise.

group calve housing

by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Automatic feeders and group housing are very trendy topics in calf raising today, and for good reason. The opportunity to feed more milk and provide social interaction appears to deliver great benefits to calves, in both the short and long term.

But when it comes to group size, there is a point where things can go south in a hurry. Many autofeeders are sized for 25 to 30 calves per station, but using these feeders at maximum capacity can introduce problems, explained Sandra Godden, University of Minnesota, at a PDPW Calf Care Connection workshop last week.

Mon, 11/03/2014

Spencer County FFA wins 5th National FFA Dairy Judging title in 10 years

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

When you say you’ve won the National FFA Dairy Judging Contest, you have done more than just judged cows. The two-day contest encompasses four phases of dairy cattle management. And, technically the name of the contest is a mouthful, National FFA Dairy Cattle Evaluation and Management Career Development Event (CDE).

Kentucky’s Spencer County FFA

Winning Team: Spencer County FFA: FFA Advisor Bland Baird, Rachel Sibert, Tyler Nichols, Jacob Barnett and Daniel Cooper.

Fri, 10/31/2014

Mandatory paid sick time off becomes law on July 1, 2015.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

An estimated 6.5 million fulltime employees in California – including those who work on dairies – will begin earning three days per year of paid sick time off from their employers under the “Healthy Families Act” that was signed by Governor Jerry Brown in September.

In doing so, California becomes only the second state in the country requiring that employers provide such a benefit. Connecticut was the first in 2011. But don’t be surprised if other states follow.

On the day the bill was signed, U.S. House of Representatives Minority Leader and former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), posted a statement on her website saying, “Now it is time for Congress to follow California’s lead and guarantee paid sick leave for workers across the entire country.”

Thu, 10/30/2014

Unlike its clinical counterpart, subclinical hypocalcemia isn’t readily detected. Yet, afflicted cows are at a greater risk for metritis, displaced abomasums and culling.

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

transition cow A cow that’s come down with milk fever is easily recognizable. Oftentimes, the cow, unable to stand, has its head against its side, and its ears are cold to the touch. This metabolic disease has long plagued our transition cows, but, over time, we have developed and implemented strategies to lessen its prevalence.

While the cow exhibiting clinical signs of disease clearly requires our intervention, a more serious threat may lurk among its seemingly normal herdmates. Subclinical hypocalcemia lies below our visual detection threshold. But, there may be opportunities to intervene here, as well.