Stories by Dianne Shoemaker

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 […]

Farm Finances 101: It’s not that hard

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Own vs. owe. Two three-letter words and the last letter makes all the difference.

Limiting feeding heifers is possible

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Limit feeding heifers. Sounds like a plan when feed ingredient prices are soaring out of sight. Less feed, less cost, right? Maybe, maybe not. What is limit feeding? When I first heard that phrase, with the implication that heifers aren’t being fed as much as “normal,” my first thought was, “Hope their heifer barn isn’t […]

Dairymen, how do you measure up?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

“How do I know if I am competitive?” “How can I become more competitive?” These were the questions from producers that led to the development and publication of Dairy Excel’s 15 Measures of Dairy Farm Competitiveness in 1997. Those same questions are just as valid today and can be answered in the context of today’s […]

You really need to do a balance sheet

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Yes, it is time to take inventories and prepare balance sheets.

Help newborn calves survive the cold

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Sounds like something from an old almanac, but I just made it up. While some calves seemingly do get a long and fluffy hair coat overnight, the more important cue of that chill for calf feeders is to feed baby calves more.

Internal herd growth equals profit

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Ohio State University might have beaten Penn State in football, but the state of Pennsylvania runs circles around Ohio in its commitment to support and grow its dairy industry.

Fall brings indoor farm chores, too

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Corn silage is in and combines are running everywhere. When corn and beans are dry and the ground is fit to drive over, a good manager knows it is time to attend to these tasks.

Iodine tincture hard to acquire now

Thursday, September 13, 2007

(Editor’s note: When OSU Extension Dairy Specialist Dianne Shoemaker went to buy some iodine for their farm, she discovered she couldn’t get it where she’s always purchased it.

Dairymen, retool your milk market

Thursday, July 12, 2007

“You are bigger than milk,” says Nestle dairy buyer Patty Stroup. Stroup, raised on a dairy farm and a former dairy producer, is solidly grounded in the world of dairy production.

Milk or milk replacer: Do the math

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Is it ‘cheaper’ to feed milk rather than milk replacer? Not necessarily.

Give calf facilities a yearly checkup

Thursday, April 19, 2007

How easy – or difficult – is it for your calves to thrive? Now is a great time to assess your calf-raising facilities to see what the current answer to this question is.

If you wouldn’t spend the night on it, why should your calf?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The overall objective for calf bedding is to keep the calf clean, dry and comfortable – all critical factors for successfully raising healthy, happy calves.

Make your dairy a no-fly zone

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Not too many things are more annoying in the summer than trying to work and getting bothered by flies.

Neonatal workshop targets calf care from birth through weaning

Thursday, March 1, 2007

The future of every successful dairy operation depends on a steady supply of healthy, productive replacement heifers calving between 22 and 24 months of age.

Have you ever seen boiling manure?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

We needed frozen ground. Mud was getting old. Nonfarm types complained about the cold, those whose manure storages were over-full were glad to see sustained temps below freezing.

Labor: You’ll get what you pay for

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Payday! Who doesn’t get a good feeling knowing that a paycheck or direct deposit awaits them in an envelope or in the bank as a result of their work? I cut paychecks for our dairy’s part-time employees every other Thursday night.

Even with $4 corn, you’re in control

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Amid projections of improving milk prices, increasing feed costs have many dairy producers concerned.


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About Dianne

(Dianne Shoemaker is an OSU Extension field specialist in dairy production economics. You can contact her at 330-533-5538 or