Stories by Dianne Shoemaker

About Dianne

(Dianne Shoemaker is an OSU Extension dairy specialist located at the extension center in Wooster, Ohio.)

Ohio farms encouraged to take part in National Farm Benchmarking project

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Total cost of production per cwt., feed cost per cwt, net farm income per cow. These are important numbers for every farm as they monitor profitability, develop and monitor risk management plans and look for opportunities. These are also numbers that allow one farm to compare their production and financial management with similar farms. How […]

The true behind-the-scenes farm story

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Through the years, I have occasionally strayed off the strictly educational or informative path in this column. It is happening again today… because late Saturday night we lost a heifer. Just three weeks ago, Steve came in and said one of the Holstein heifers in the prefresh pen was going into labor (it was, of […]

Backup, backup, backup: It may be the easiest way to survive a disaster

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Last Thursday, a tornado laid a path of destruction through the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center campus and surrounding community. In light of all the destruction, the true blessing was the minimal injuries to people and animals, especially with the Wayne County Fair wrapping up just down the road. Total cost Considerable time will […]

Pricing corn can be a tricky decision

Thursday, August 26, 2010

COLUMBUS — How to price corn for silage is a perennially challenging question. The best answer will vary depending on the point of view: Are you buying or are you selling?

Don’t forget calves when heat soars

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Last weekend’s heat was the most challenging for bovines of all ages (and their people) so far this year. Milking cows are usually the primary focus of heat stress abatement strategies, as they are the animals generating the most heat on the farm due to their size and their stages of lactation. While they are […]

Cash flow planning is a good thing

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cash flow planning. These are three words that typically inspire a response along the lines of “ugh,” “why?” or “never done it, never will.” If anything was ever going to happen to change that response, it would be the $1.50 drop in the Class III price from February to March, or more likely, the need […]

Dairy farmers have to know when to call it quits

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The cost of production number, combined with the four key numbers outlined in this article, will help each dairy farm define the point where the business is unlikely to be able to bounce back.

2009 Income tax issues: A professional may be your best bet

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Most dairy producers were glad to see 2009 come to a close and are looking forward to a better dairy economy this year. Even though many farm families are facing net operating losses, income tax management is still an important issue that should be high on the 2010 “to-do”. Tax concerns. Why are income taxes […]

It is corn silage pricing season

Thursday, October 1, 2009

You don’t have to look outside to know what season it is in an Extension office. You can tell from the questions that come in. It is now corn silage pricing season. How to price corn for silage as a crop standing in the field is a regular and perennially challenging question. The optimal answer […]

The more things change…

Thursday, August 13, 2009

“Tho they may never expect to become farmers, urban youth will soon be in positions where their word may count strongly for the welfare of agriculture. Having them in your community offers a good chance to make lasting friendships for yourself and all farm people.” Inviting non-farm people to visit farms and farm communities is […]

DIBS address issues facing dairy producers dealing with milk prices

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Plummeting prices in the dairy industry are creating critical cash-flow and long-term survivability issues on Ohio’s 3,328 dairy farms. Full awareness Cost-cutting decisions must be made with full awareness of both short and long-term production and economic consequences. For instance, do you really save money by buying a bull and not purchasing frozen semen? A […]

Alternatives for dealing with down cycle

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Most dairy farm businesses are not cash flowing. Some may be if they priced first half milk production using futures or options contracts when the early 2009 prices were trading considerably higher than they are now. No sense in kicking yourself if you didn’t do that, just deal with what is. Protecting your equity and […]

Dairy farms are in the limbo line

Thursday, March 12, 2009

If you have ever taken a small child to a roller skating party, sooner or later some energetic teenagers corral the troops and organize them into a long line to do the limbo. While two kids hold onto either end of a long stick, each child tries to skate under the stick while bending backwards. […]

Ohio’s minimum wage rate increased

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A quick look at a few business-related topics this month. The first of the year brought an increase in Ohio’s minimum wage rate. For most dairy businesses this will mean an increase for employees that were working at the previous rate of $7 per hour. Adjust wages Ohio employers need to adjust wages for hourly […]

In cold, calves need nutrients to grow

Thursday, January 22, 2009

No time like the present to talk about feeding calves in cold weather. While the feeder puts on more clothes to help them stay warm, the “layers” of clothing our calves can put on to help them stay warm is nutritional. Yes, a calf coat or blanket of some sort can help a calf maintain […]

It’s year-end tax planning time

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Can’t put it off any longer … it’s year-end tax planning time. “One’s tax management goal should be maximizing after-tax income or wealth over time, not minimizing taxes in any one year.” A sound piece of advice from Purdue University Extension Ag Economist George Patrick. This can be a tough one that requires looking past […]

What is holding you back on your farm?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

“What is holding you back?” A popular statement five years ago when we first addressed this topic in this column. The seatbelt safety campaign signs can still be found along the roads of rural Ohio urging drivers and passengers to buckle up for their safety. But, if we ask that same question of our dairy […]

Use your history to help build the future

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Millie, Tillie, and Cindy; Zeller’s cow, Dick’s cow, and Wilford’s cow; Daisy, Penny and Ann. These are the first 10 cows entered in a small “Farmer’s Pocket Ledger” as they calved in late 1967 and 1968. Each entry carefully notes the new calf’s tattoo number, their dam, birthdate, and sire. A progressive herd, nearly all […]

Dairy researchers have seen the light; farmers should, too

Thursday, July 10, 2008

We’re going to do it. A whole column that doesn’t mention the two four-letter words we are growing to hate: f_ _ d and c _ _ t. No magic answers for the issues they represent. But, it doesn’t hurt to revisit some non-feed opportunities to support and increase milk production. Let’s look at the […]

Wise antibiotic use just makes sense

Thursday, June 12, 2008

In Europe, antibiotics are handled and administered by veterinarians. Interestingly, antibiotics are used on organic dairy farms — when necessary for animal health — in some European countries. Withholding times are doubled, (note: labeled withholding times are more than adequate when the mediations are administered following label directions), but the important point is that antibiotics […]

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