Fri, 09/18/2015

USDA slightly cuts its average bushels per acre forecast.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

corn harvest

Across the U.S., cornfields are clearing out and silage bunkers are filling fast. And as they do, USDA has slightly changed its mind about just how full it thinks they will be.

In September’s “World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates” the department shaved its forecast about national average corn yield per acre by 1.3 bushels from the August estimate of 168.8 bushels. Its initial forecast back in May was 166.8 bushels.

In the context of what is still likely be the third biggest corn crop in history, the change doesn’t amount to a whole lot – 101 million bushels. That nudges total expected crop size down to 13.6 billion bushels.

Thu, 09/17/2015

And one product that defies the FDA’s standard-of-identify rules is being called out.

By Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Just Mayo is anything but. And the FDA has notified Josh Tetrick, the owner of Hampton Creek and developer of Just Mayo, that his sandwich spread must be renamed. It’s a decree Tetrick is hell-bent on fighting.

According to U.S. food regulators, mayonnaise must contain eggs, as it has for nearly two centuries. Primarily a blend of canola oil, filtered water, lemon juice, white vinegar, and pea protein, Just Mayo lacks the all-important egg that defines its namesake. Its label also prominently features the egg that’s missing inside, which the FDA noted might mislead consumers.

Once a company has a warning letter from the FDA, it must correct all concerns that have been addressed. If Hampton Creek doesn’t comply, the FDA can obtain a court order from the Department of Justice to pull Just Mayo off of store shelves.

Wed, 09/16/2015

Webinar stresses the importance of diligent administration protocols.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

Ruegg Webinar“People are not perfect,” stated Pam Ruegg, D.V.M., with the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For that reason, every attempt should be made to properly record treatments, double check animal IDs, communicate with team members, including training and administration protocols – especially with milking cows. Ruegg brought real-life, on-farm antibiotic use scenarios to the Hoard’s Dairyman webinar.

Tue, 09/15/2015

Sanitary feeding equipment is a vital part of the calf health equation, especially early in life.

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

cleanThe equipment used to feed calves on your farm may look clean, but is it really? Oftentimes, there’s more trouble lurking than the eyes can see.

“Many farms place a low importance on proper cleaning,” noted Sarah Mills-Lloyd, D.V.M., an agriculture agent with University of Wisconsin-Extension. During her presentation at UW-Extension’s Calf Management Seminar, she explained that farms often rush through cleaning because they don’t have the time or see its value.

Mon, 09/14/2015

Over Labor Day weekend, I checked milking in a tie stall barn off my bucket list.

By Maggie Seiler, Special Publications Editor

tie stall barn

Hoard’s Dairyman editors stay close to the business of dairying through involvement on their home farms and the Hoard’s Dairyman Farm. The editors also travel on a regular basis encountering many other dairy operations across the country throughout the year. As a new member to the team, I am still working on growing my knowledge of the national dairy industry, and last weekend I had the opportunity to fill in what I consider a huge gap in my dairy industry education.

Fri, 09/11/2015

Average cost is approximately one-third higher than it was in 2006.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

The cost of making milk never seems to go down, a hard reality that data from the nation’s largest dairy accounting firm drives home clearly.

And from 2006 to 2014 that cost changed a LOT, as seen in the accompanying table.

Annual income and cost summaries generated by Genske, Mulder & Company almost entirely represent very large dairies (average client milking herd size in 2014 was 2,055 cows) that are located in the western half of the U.S., but we doubt any larger such database exists.

Comparing items in the simple average cost summaries for 2006 and 2014 is sometimes startling.

Thu, 09/10/2015

Performance evaluations identify the milking routine bottlenecks that are holding your herd back.

By Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

milking parlorFarms operate on pennies and seconds. The pennies saved per head after a ration reformulation can equate to thousands of dollars over the course of a year. When seconds are cut from each turn of the parlor, more cows can be milked

At the National Mastitis Council’s Regional Meeting, Rick Watters, Cornell University, encouraged producers to develop a thought process that challenges their current parlor efficiency standards.

“Milking center performance focuses around cows, people and equipment. Developing synergies between these three is key to improving performance,” noted Watters, who works with the university’s milk quality group.

Wed, 09/09/2015

Nearly 60,000 openings each year for new graduates, but do students have the right skills?

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

employment opportunities“Not only will those who study agriculture be likely to get well-paying jobs upon graduation, they will also have the satisfaction of working in a field that addresses some of the world’s most pressing challenges,” stated USDA Secretary Vilsack.

The United States Department of Agriculture and Purdue University released a report on job availability for new college graduates, “Employment Opportunities for College Graduates in Food, Agriculture, Renewable Natural Resources, and the Environment, United States, 2015–2020”. The shortfall in people to fill those jobs should make students look twice at agriculture. There are nearly twice as many openings as graduates to fill them.

Tue, 09/08/2015

Feed makes up the bulk of cattle rearing costs, but other expenses chip away at profits, too.

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Today’s high price for beef may entice more dairy producers to raise some steers as a second enterprise. Mixed with the more cost-friendly price of grain right now, feeding out steers may seem like a very viable option. Before taking the plunge, though, one must first consider all the costs associated with raising cattle.

Whether you are raising dairy or beef cattle, feed is the single largest expense. But, other expenditures can eat away at profitability, too. Don’t forget the little expenses that can add up big over time.

Fri, 09/04/2015

Article in Washington Post is a huge and high profile challenge to common perceptions.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

screaming womanWe in agriculture are often angered by articles about food or farming in publications with huge readerships that tend to be clueless about both.

That is why I urge everyone to read a recent interview article about GMOs that appeared in, of all places, the Washington Post.