Wed, 01/13/2016

Colostrum offers newborn calves benefits beyond immunity, including critical energy used early in life.

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Holstein calf

Carrying around a few extra pounds of holiday weight gain, some of us in colder climates may joke that we need that extra padding to help keep us warm. For most humans, a little extra fat isn’t going to make an impact, but for newborn calves, it really can mean the difference between life and death.

We know colostrum best for its crucial role in providing immunity for calves. Another benefit is the nutrient content it brings. According to Debbie Haines, a professor at University of Saskatchewan’s Western College of Veterinary Medicine, colostrum contains high amounts of important vitamins and minerals.

Mon, 01/11/2016

The crops are in, and it’s time to decide how to use what’s available.

forage

By Maggie Seiler, Special Publications Editor

Winter is in full swing now, and it is time to start thinking about how to most effectively use the forages in the bunker. Bob James, extension dairy scientist at Virginia Tech, suggests it is dangerous to rely on past experience to determine future forage utilization. For any given forage, quality greatly affects the amount that is needed in a ration. For example, in a well-balanced ration, a high-quality corn silage with low fiber would be used in a larger proportion than a moderate or low-quality forage, and the balance of use between these two types of silages would greatly impact the total forage requirement for the year.

Wed, 01/06/2016

California’s dairy industry highlighted during annual event

Adventures in Real Food float

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

It was the first time in the 127 year-history of the Rose Parade, the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) had a float entry. The organization represents the state’s dairy farmers. The pizza, baked potato, ice cream sundae and grilled cheese sandwich-inspired float earned the “Tournament Special Trophy” for exceptional merit in multiple classifications. Just 24 floats in the parade earned honors.

Tue, 01/05/2016

Proper timing of forage availability can ease the rocky transition of weaning.

calves

By Maggie Seiler, Special Publications Editor

Weaning time is easily one of the more difficult management challenges for producers with calf and heifer feeding programs. For many, the transition from milk or milk replacer to a forage and concentrate diet spells a growth set back and potential for disease. The goal of the weaning process should be to adequately develop the rumen, meet nutrition requirements, and maintain growth and health.

In a recent Penn State Dairy Digest article, Xavier Suárez, a calf and heifer specialist, suggested the best formula for ensuring a smooth weaning period begins by focusing on the rumen environment and how we can meet the animals nutritional requirements.

Mon, 01/04/2016

One Wisconsin city rings in the New Year by dropping a big piece of cheese.

cheese drop
Photo credit: Plymouth Arts Center

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s an . . . 80-pound Styrofoam cheese wedge . . . falling from the sky . . . at midnight?

Yes, it is indeed. Dropping cheese from a 100-foot truck ladder has become a New Year’s Eve tradition in Plymouth, Wis., the town where I grew up.

Plymouth is known to many as “The Cheese Capitol of the World.” That’s what past and current residents consider it, anyway, whether it is an official designation or not. From 1918 until the late 1950s, Plymouth was the site of the Wisconsin Cheese Exchange, where cheese commodity pricing was set for the country.

Fri, 12/18/2015

Independent report says the agency illegally tried to shape public opinion about its water rule proposal.

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

The firestorm that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ignited last May with a proposal to redefine “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act – which opponents said is really a grab for more regulatory power — intensified dramatically this week.

And in the process, EPA’s credibility went even deeper down the drain.

In a 26-page report issued on Monday, legal counsel for the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) said the aggressive social media campaign used by EPA to promote its “Clean Water Rule” broke two federal laws in 2014 and 2015: one about publicity and promotion, the other about lobbying.

GAO’s brief overview summary of the report gives a terse synopsis of the violations:

Thu, 12/17/2015

When used regularly, body condition scoring can help you recognize potential issues and act proactively instead of reactively.

cows grazing

By Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

After a two-month vacation, our cows can calve in one of two ways: slow and sluggish or ready to roll. Their body condition at that time can tell us a good deal about how their lactation will progress. Ultimately, we want to avoid calving cows in either too fat or too thin and strive for a middle ground.

Body condition scores (BCS) can tell you a lot about your herd. These scores are assigned on a 1 to 5 scale, with 1 being the thinnest and 5 representing the most conditioned cattle.

Wed, 12/16/2015

Gadgets and devices aid – not replace dairy management.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

December 2015 webinarAll that cool technology that people use to communicate, record exercise levels and monitor their sleep patterns, now are being applied to the management of dairy cows.

While cows aren’t wearing GPS devices, the technology is there to monitor movement, milk composition and eating routines. “I don't know if we need to be measuring everything a cow does, but it is possible to track most of it,” remarked Jeffery Bewley.

This University of Kentucky assistant professor is one of the leading authorities on dairy technology. He conducted the December 14 webinar, “Today’s tech tools to fine-tune herd care.”

Tue, 12/15/2015

Make a ride in the cattle trailer safer for your young bovine passengers by following these AABP guidelines.

truck and trailer

By Abby Bauer, Hoard's Dairyman Associate Editor

There are times we need to get our livestock from Point A to Point B, and that process often involves a ride in the cattle trailer. To make the trip smooth and safe for both the animals and people involved, the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) has produced a set of guidelines for transporting cattle.

Before any animals are loaded onto a trailer, AABP recommends that a load plan be put in place. This plan should take into account animal weight, frame size and the type of transportation equipment; consideration should also be given to the environmental conditions.

Mon, 12/14/2015

Get a handle on lameness before it cripples your herd’s productivity.

by Maggie Seiler, Special Publications Editor

cowThe old saying goes, “the first step to fixing a problem is knowing you have one.” I would argue the second step is knowing what and how significant that problem is.

According to Peter Robinson, extension specialist at the University of California-Davis, lameness results in reduced profitability based on lowered milk yields, higher veterinary costs and more culling. Although many farms use regular trimming and footbaths to bolster hoof care, monitoring hoof health by regular scoring is a relatively new way to examine the impact lameness has on a farm’s bottom line.