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Peruse practical information for the dairy producer on essential topics including management, A.I. and breeding, new technology, and feed and nutrition.

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We live in changing times. Farming like your grandparents, your parents or even like your older siblings did may not be possible anymore. Agriculture still has not completely come to grips with the vast changes environmental concerns will thrust on the industry. We can’t even predict which environmental issue will overwhelm us next. There are so many possibilities: sediment, nutrients, biological oxygen demand (BOD), pathogens, antibiotics, hormones, heavy metals and others. Then there are the air issues: ammonia, PM2.5 (particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns), VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and any kind of odor.

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Today the spotlight in the United States is on the increasing world demand for energy and the high cost of oil and natural gas. This has heightened interest in alternative and renewable energy sources such as biofuels, forests, wind, solar and animal manure.

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The application of animal manure to farmland is an economically and environmentally sound management practice for most feedlot operators and farmers. Land application returns nutrients from manure to the soil and helps build soil fertility. Manure provides nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium, magnesium, micronutrients and organic matter. Applying manure to soil has been shown to improve soil tilth, increase water-holding capacity, reduce wind and water erosion and improve soil aeration. Land application of manure should be managed to recycle plant nutrients rather than used as a disposal method.

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Cows look forward to eating every day. Do you look forward to having all the feed ingredients available to put into a mix and feed the cows each day?

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Editor’s note: The following is the second of a two-part series discussing basic financial statements and analysis tools.

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I have been a Spanish teacher for 20 years. A while ago, I was asked to help local dairy producers with their Mexican employees. I started working and have never, ever looked back. I love what I do. As I gain experience in this world of milking cows, scraping estiércol (es-dee-air-col) or manure and pushing up feed, I am beginning to form an image of what makes a good patrón (pa-drone) or boss.

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