Fri, 10/24/2014

Dairying would be in profound trouble if the government had to make full payments.

dairy economist Scott Brown

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Thousands of pages have been written about what the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP) is and how it will work. This isn’t another one.

Instead, it’s a highly unlikely, but still reality-based, look at what it might take for every dairy that signs up for MPP to collect maximum payments during 2015 – payments that, frankly, would mean the dairy industry was in dire trouble if they occurred.

The short version: imagine 2009 all over again.

The long version is serious food for thought from dairy economist Scott Brown (pictured above) at the University of Missouri, who helped USDA design the program.

Thu, 10/23/2014

When mastitis was detected in the week after insemination, the likelihood of the cow carrying a calf was greatly diminished.

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

A.I. sceneA dairy’s success or failure hinges on a number of variables, one of which is a successful reproductive program. When cows fail to conceive, time, labor and capital expenses are incurred by the operation. To minimize these disruptions and irregularities, many farms will employ a timed A.I. program.

Wed, 10/22/2014

Living and childrearing expenses continue to climb.

By Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

Family living costs are up for urban and rural residents alike. In a survey of over 1,300 farm families, Illinois farmers reported that their cost of living for 2012 was $85,012, which was a $4,000 jump over the previous year.

How are farm families continuing to survive?

Off-farm income. Nonfarm income averaged over $38,000 per family per year. How does this impact the family? Spouses or other family members are contributing financially to the operation.

When looking at the population as a whole, the United States Department of Agriculture publishes its annual report, “Cost of raising a child.” It looks at geographical locations, income levels, and number of parents raising the child or children.

Tue, 10/21/2014

People may be eating less meat, but the Meatless Monday campaign doesn’t seem to be driving the trend.

meat

by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Meatless Monday is a global movement that began in 2003, encouraging consumers to refrain from eating meat on Mondays to better their health and save the environment. According to the campaign’s website, Meatless Monday is now active in 36 different countries and claims to be growing in popularity. Consumers, however, may be responding differently, at least in the U.S.

According to the most recent Oklahoma State University Food Demand Survey (FooDS), when asked questions about Meatless Monday, over half of the consumers (51.6 percent) had never even heard of the movement. More than 80 percent said they have never participated in a Meatless Monday.

Mon, 10/20/2014

Safety should be top of mind year-round, especially when working with grain

silos

By Ali Enerson, Hoard’s Dairyman Special Publications Editor

Grain entrapment is a farming hazard year-round; however, with all of the grain transport vehicles on the road and combines in the fields, it brings year-round safety to mind. As Penn State Extension reminds us, working with grain can provide a wide variety of safety risks, from electrical hazards of overhead power lines, portable augers, dryers and stirrers to increased potential for falls from ladders and other tall structures. This makes it a good time to remind all workers and family members to take safety precautions year-round in their daily work activities.

Fri, 10/17/2014

This year’s crop is bigger, but lower prices may not last long.

cottonseed

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Harvest is finally under way on the nation’s cotton crop after being delayed by a cooler summer in many major growing areas. That means what has historically been the best time to shop for whole cottonseed has arrived.

Fortunately for dairy producers, USDA expects this year’s crop to be 26 percent bigger than last year — including 1.17 million more tons of whole cottonseed — which has already pushed prices well below 2013 levels.

Tom Wedegaertner, director of cottonseed research for Cotton Inc., says prices are roughly $120 to $150 per ton less than a year ago, but he’s wary about how long they will last and what they could do in 2015.

Thu, 10/16/2014

When mixed with older cows, your first-lactation animals take the brunt of the milk production hit.

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

cows eatingLimited pen space on-farm often ties our hands when we attempt to develop a grouping strategy. The options, such as separating cows based on stage of lactation, reproductive status or body condition, are endless. Yet, one strategy that deserves renewed consideration is grouping cows by parity.

As Rick Grant noted in the September Miner Institute Farm Report, many heifers will struggle to meet their genetic potential when competing with older cows in a mixed parity pen.

Wed, 10/15/2014

First seek to understand, then act on the new farm bill’s new dairy component

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

October webinar slideThe recent Farm Bill eliminates the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) and replaces it with a Margin Protection Program (MPP-Dairy). “The previous program was not an adequate safety net for the U.S. dairy industry’s dynamics,” remarked John Newton from the University of Illinois. With MILC only a portion of the U.S. milk supply was covered. With MPP-Dairy, all milk produced is eligible to be covered, although producers have the option to participate or not, as the program is voluntary.

Tue, 10/14/2014

The best calf raisers treat their calves like children, and Marcie Feine does just that.

by Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Marcie Feine’s passion for calves clearly shined through as she spoke at a Land O’Lakes calf event last month.

“I have the best job because I get the babies,” she said.

Marcie and her husband, Glen, are former dairy farmers turned custom calf and heifer raisers from Rushford, Minn. The family-run operation has eight employees, including their daughter and son-in-law, two young granddaughters and Glen’s father.

Glen and Marcie Feine

Glen and Marcie Feine, Rushford, Minn.

Mon, 10/13/2014

No, but it may be time to start preparing dairy facilities for Old Man Winter's arrival.

dairy winter scene

by Maggie Seiler, Hoard's Dairyman Editorial Intern

As I boarded the plane to leave World Dairy Expo last week, the imminent threat of snow had me dreading the predictions of an equally miserable winter to come. Maybe I am jumping the gun, but the Old Farmer’s Almanac has predicted a winter in line with that of last year's with lower than average temperatures and average to more than average snowfall across the nation.