Thu, 11/20/2014

Poorly preserved corn silage doesn’t stand a fighting chance.

silage bunker

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Haste makes waste. An idiom that’s long been applied to children completing their household chores is just as relevant to our corn silage harvest and storage. Occasionally, in the haste to stay ahead of dry matter losses or impending weather, corners are cut. But this is a double-edged sword. These shortcuts may get the crop under plastic and tires sooner, while inadvertently causing irreversible dry matter losses.

At the Penn State Dairy Nutrition Conference, John Goeser with Rock River Laboratory spoke on the fermentation process from onset to feed-out. Ideally, we want to utilize as many of our harvested tons as possible. Ultimately, this comes down to minimizing shrink.

Wed, 11/19/2014

But decline could be brief; economist expects a rebound to $18.50 in fall.

Mary Ledman

by Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman Western Editor

Virtually no one doubts that U.S. farm milk prices will be lower in 2015. While many different predictions are out there, the only debate is about how far they may fall.

Speaking at last week’s United Dairymen of Idaho annual meeting in Boise, economist and Daily Dairy Report editor Mary Ledman (seen here) said her prediction is a low of around $15.50 per hundredweight in April, May or June — or perhaps all of them.

She noted with obvious skepticism that the latest USDA All-Milk forecast for 2015 was $19.50, and then told producers, “If you can lock in your milk anywhere close to that, do it!” She pointed out that, in New Zealand, the current Fonterra price forecast suggests a world market price of $14.

Tue, 11/18/2014

A larger building means extra costs, but your heifers will thank you during surges in animal numbers… and an empty pen now and then isn’t a bad thing, either.

By Abby Bauer, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

Building heifer facilities to meet your needs

If the time has come to build a new heifer facility on your farm, it is wise to do your homework before the construction crew moves in. One major decision is how big the building should be.

“Know where you’ve been in terms of heifer herd size,” said Becky Brotzman, D.V.M., with the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, during a Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin Calf Care Connection workshop. She advised farms to first determine their average and 80th percentile heifer calf delivery rate per year and by month.

Mon, 11/17/2014

This couple thought the magazine was a fitting prop for their wedding announcement.

save the date photo with Hoard's Dairyman

by Ali Enerson, Hoard’s Dairyman Special Publications Editor

This love story may not have started in the Hoard’s Dairyman, but the happy couple is no stranger to the magazine. Growing up on farms, the Dairyman often graced the family dinner table at both Ashley and Phil’s childhood homes, so adding the magazine into their save the date photo (pictured above) for their upcoming wedding was natural.

Fri, 11/14/2014

Simply guessing as to the cause is part of the problem.

by Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager

November webinar slide

Death loss is a challenge to every producer. Minimizing early removals from the herd should be the goal, but it starts with an understanding of the root cause of the illness or injury.

Choosing to focus on the positive side of the issue, veterinarian and Colorado State University professor Frank Garry spoke on the topic of “Moving toward longer-lasting cows” during the November Hoard’s Dairyman webinar.

Thu, 11/13/2014

Combined with poor ensiling practices, up-front and secondary fermentation losses can account for unnecessary losses.

harvesting

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

“In the best-case scenario, we’ll lose only 2 to 3 percent of our harvested forage tons to fermentation shrink,” noted John Goeser, Rock River Laboratory, at the Penn State Dairy Nutrition Conference. But, when combined with poor ensiling practices, up-front and secondary fermentation losses can account for anywhere between 3 and 25 percent of harvested tons, he continued.

While it is too late to change tactics and better preserve this year’s crop, Ev Thomas, previously with the Miner Institute, shared strategies to reduce forage shrink in future years.

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.