Fri, 12/05/2014

Producer seminars are an early part of a five-year, $3 million grant from USDA.

Joe Santos, University of Florida

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

The best description of genomics I have ever heard came this week from Dale Moore, Director of Veterinary Medicine Extension at Washington State University, during a series of four producer workshops across the U.S. that continues next week: “Genetics is the cards you are dealt; genomics is how you play them.”

And isn’t it a game that is all about winning?

Genomics is information – wildly more information about animals than dairy producers have ever had before. It’s information that helps them guess less and win more when it comes to herd improvement, which ultimately results in greater profitability.

Thu, 12/04/2014

Milk production depressions are commonplace after harvest, but this year, the valleys seem deeper.

cows eating

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Forage digestibility can be a game changer. For dairymen who were banking on the harvested tons to add some breathing room back in their forage budget, a crop like 2014’s provided little relief. While the harvested acres yielded well, low digestibility has been a common theme based on lab analyses. The need to feed new crop corn silage, combined with shorter day lengths, has resulted in lower milk production and high components.

In a recent bulletin from Vita Plus, Rod Martin, dairy technical services team, highlighted what many nutritionists are seeing out in the field:

  • Milk production is 4 to 8 pounds lower than expected.
  • Fat tests are running well above 4.0 percent in Holstein herds.

Wed, 12/03/2014

What you can do when a calf purchase tops their wish list.

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

girl with calfIt’s the time of year when children dream. And there is no better time to “dream big” than Christmas. There seems to be less guilt about asking for things during the holidays as compared to other times of the year. For a few young boys and girls, a registered calf is on their wish list.

As with any new pet, there will be responsibilities to undertake if a calf is the gift under the proverbial tree. It is the responsibility of the parent and the child to work together to make caring for the new addition a learning experience, including animal care, nutrition and the cycle of life.

Tue, 12/02/2014

For students in Louisville, Ky., the North American International Livestock Exposition provides a unique opportunity for a lesson in agriculture.

North American International Livestock Exposition

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

The North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE) in Louisville, Ky., is well-known for its dairy cattle and livestock shows, the rodeo, and a whole trade show hall filled with show supplies, cowboy boots, sparkly belts and more. What few people may realize is that the expo also serves as an excellent agricultural education venue for students every year through its school tours program.

Mon, 12/01/2014

Milk alternatives are still giving cow’s milk a run for its money, but they may not be all they’re cracked up to be.

by Ali Enerson, Hoard’s Dairyman Special Publications Editor

glass of milk
There’s a resurgence in the debate between cow’s milk and milk alternatives for children. A recent Fox News article brings to light a few points regarding the differences between cow’s milk, human breast milk, and milk alternatives for both babies and toddlers.

Fri, 11/28/2014

Technology is relentlessly eroding the need to attach machines by hand.

robotic milker

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Little by little, cow milking is evolving from manual to automated. Not just for small herds, but for everyone.

Adoption of robotic milking technology, whether as individual “box” units or as automated rotaries, is a fast-growing trend being driven by computers, software, generational changes, and lifestyle choices . . . but especially by declining labor supply.

“No one wants to retire as a milker. There’s no excitement in that for a young person or for anyone,” says Peter Langebeeke, president of Lely North America Inc., a division of the world’s largest robotic milking machine manufacturer.

Wed, 11/26/2014

Is the trend motivated by cost or convenience?

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

Just about anyone could guess that health care, housing and transportation costs were higher in 2013. And they’d be right. Americans have cut back across the board, but what about food purchases?

For the past three years, Americans have increased the amount of money spent on food consumed at home. It was $3,977, while food eaten out was less, at $2,625, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey for 2013. That translates to 60 percent of food dollars being spent on meals in-home, while 40 percent are from restaurants. That’s a stretch from 25.9 percent out-of-home in 1970.

Tue, 11/25/2014

The recent major snowstorm in New York is a reminder to all in northern climates the dangers of heavy snow on rooftops.

winter dairy scene

by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

An early winter snowstorm dumped up to 7 feet of snow in parts of western New York, shutting down highways and stranding thousands. For farmers, feed delivery was halted and milk that could not be picked up was dumped. The worst reports shared news of barn collapses and animals that perished.

Curt Gooch, senior extension associate with Cornell University, says that building failure due to heavy snow can be a result of improper building design or construction, an imbalance of snow on the roof, or simply an amount of snow that exceeds the design's snow load.

In a wooden structure, audible or visual signs may be noticed prior to a collapse.

Mon, 11/24/2014

Discussing policy and practices with consumers is all about talking with them, not at them.

by Maggie Seiler, Hoard's Dairyman Editorial Intern

Bruce VincentAs a nation, consumers are no longer interested in just the nutritional content of the food but also how it is produced and how production affects the environment. One of the biggest struggles that the agriculture industry faces is explaining it in a way that is understandable and personal. Bruce Vincent, a Montana logger and traveling speaker on this issue, said during a November 10 lecture at Kansas State University that the trick to communicating is talking with people rather than at them.

Fri, 11/21/2014

“Guru” predicts a shopping environment that includes cooking, eating, and meeting local farmers.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Take a seat, have a taste . . . and say hello to farmer Frank.

Phil LempertNone of these are part of the grocery store shopping experience today, but “Supermarket Guru” and NBC Television Today Show food trends editor Phil Lempert (pictured here) says all of them are coming.

Speaking at the United Dairymen of Idaho annual meeting in Boise last week, he told listeners that, in addition to grocery shopping being low on consumers’ list of favorite things to do, supermarket trends are changing at an increasingly faster pace. On top of that, “a lot of the food information out there for consumers is simply wrong.”

He said that is where local farmers will come in.