J. Dairy Sci. 84:717–729
 American Dairy Science Association, 2001.

An Overview of Experiences of Wisconsin Dairy Farmer...
718                                                  BEWLEY ET AL.

in the present study was designed to 1) determine what...
OUR INDUSTRY TODAY                                                           719
             Table 2. Mean (± SE) herd pe...
720                                                           BEWLEY ET AL.

animals were sourced, what practices were use...
OUR INDUSTRY TODAY                                                       721
Table 4. Number herds using selected practice...
722                                                             BEWLEY ET AL.

                Table 5. Mean (± SE) produc...
OUR INDUSTRY TODAY                                                                     723
Table 7. Mean (± SE) production...
724                                                            BEWLEY ET AL.

larger herds were expecting decreased reprod...
OUR INDUSTRY TODAY                                                             725
Table 9. Mean (± SE) labor management p...
726                                                            BEWLEY ET AL.

challenge of providing employees compensatio...
OUR INDUSTRY TODAY                                                                             727
                Table 1...
728                                                             BEWLEY ET AL.

                Table 13. Mean (± SE) produ...
OUR INDUSTRY TODAY                                                             729

and leg health. Very few differences i...
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Organizational Behavior

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Organizational Behavior

  1. 1. J. Dairy Sci. 84:717–729  American Dairy Science Association, 2001. An Overview of Experiences of Wisconsin Dairy Farmers who Modernized Their Operations J. Bewley,* R. W. Palmer,* and D. B. Jackson-Smith† *Department of Dairy Science †Program on Agricultural Technology Studies University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706 Abbreviation key: FTE = full-time equivalent, ABSTRACT NAHM = National Animal Health Monitoring System, RHA = rolling herd average. Wisconsin dairy producers who modernized their op- erations between 1994 and 1998 had positive feelings INTRODUCTION about their expansion experiences, accompanied by in- creased production and improved profitability and qual- The demographics of the Wisconsin dairy industry ity of life. The average herd in this survey experienced are changing rapidly. Producers are increasing herd increased production during the 5-yr period studied. sizes and incorporating modern technologies to help Nearly all producers were satisfied with their expan- improve their efficiency and the quality of life of their sion experience. The negative effect on milk production families and workers. Many Wisconsin dairy producers normally associated with expansion was minimal for have expanded or modernized their operations in recent most years and did not exist if all herds were summa- years. The average Wisconsin herd size increased from rized together. Managing labor appeared to be the most 50.1 to 70.0 cows per herd between 1985 and 1998 (Wis- daunting challenge facing producers following consin Dairy Facts, 1999). The percentage of Wisconsin expansion. herds with 100 or more cows increase from 9.0 to 11.6% Respondents who built all new facilities observed (Wisconsin Dairy Facts, 1995, 1999) between 1994 and higher production, greater labor efficiency, and satisfac- 1998. Limited research has been conducted on the real- tion with measures of profitability and quality of life ized benefits achieved by producers who have modern- than respondents who modified facilities or added no ized their facilities. Speicher et al. (1978) studied diffi- new facilities. As herd size increased, milk production, culties and challenges related to expansion of Michigan labor efficiency, and satisfaction with herd perfor- dairies in the 1970s and determined that dairymen ex- mance, profitability, and quality of life increased. Pro- perienced increased difficulties with animal health, ducers who built all new facilities spent less time on heat detection, manure handling, and labor manage- farm work, more time managing employees, and had ment following expansion. Norell et al. (1981) examined less difficulty finding, training, supervising, and keep- changes in milk production following expansion and ing farm employees than producers who modified facili- found that production often drops after expansion de- ties or added new facilities to existing operations. pending on the change in housing system and manage- Larger herds were associated with an increased reli- ment. Minnesota research concluded that a common ance on nonfamily labor. Managing labor appears to be denominator for herds that had increased milk produc- an easier task for managers of larger herds. The most tion in the early 1990s was a move toward larger herd difficult challenges for producers who modernized their sizes and more modern facilities (Stahl et al., 1999). operations were with labor management, financing, and Faust et al. (1992) stressed the importance and impact loan procurement, construction and cost overruns, and of biosecurity and planning for culling after an feet and leg health. Difficulties with expansion differed expansion. little between expansion types (same type, some new, The Wisconsin Dairy Modernization Survey was de- or all new facilities) or herd sizes. signed to examine both production responses and pro- (Key words: survey, expansion, modernization) ducer perceptions related to the modernization of their operation. Surveys that are designed to examine man- agement practices and production responses to man- Received July 26, 2000. agement changes are valuable in identifying adoption Accepted November 13, 2000. Corresponding author: R. W. Palmer; e-mail: rwpalmer@facstaff. rates and disparities between experimental findings wisc.edu. and field results (Howard et al., 1992). The survey used 717
  2. 2. 718 BEWLEY ET AL. in the present study was designed to 1) determine what ities. For example, reported hours worked per week management practices and facility changes were made, were recorded as missing if respondents indicated any 2) identify changes in herd productivity resulting from employee worked more than 116 h/wk (Bewley et al., these changes, 3) measure producer satisfaction with 2001). regard to these changes, 4) provide information to pro- Statistical analyses were performed using SPSS for ducers considering future expansion, and 5) identify Windows, 1999. Comparisons between groups of herds topics for further research. were conducted using an independent sample t-test. This paper provides an overview of the modernization Comparisons for herd parameters between years were experiences of Wisconsin dairy producers. The primary conducted using a paired-samples t-test. Comparisons objective was to examine responses in milk production involving multiple groups were conducted using the and labor efficiency resulting from the modernization general linear model univariate procedure with a one- process, labor management adjustments needed, and way model. Differences among means were tested using difficulties encountered during this process. Each of the LSD (least significant differences) post hoc test. these factors is compared by type of expansion (same type, some new, or all new facilities) and herd size. The RESULTS AND DISCUSSION lessons learned by producers in this survey can be used by other producers considering modernization in the Effect of Modernization future. on Herd Management Parameters Table 1 shows that herds in this survey more than MATERIALS AND METHODS doubled their herd size during the 5-yr period studied with the median herd size in 1998 of 180 cows. Using Information from 302 Wisconsin dairy producers, reported herd sizes, average herd sizes in 1994, before who responded to a survey from a sample of 694 herds the most recent expansion, 1998, and in the future were that had modernized their operation between 1994 and 103, 136, 252, and 435, respectively. The average herd 1998, was analyzed. Herds were selected if herd size size for all Wisconsin herds increased from 51.5 to 59.5 had increased by at least 50% for smaller herds (60 to cows and from 59.0 to 70.0 cows for all DHI herds during 100 cows) or at least 40% for larger herds (>100 cows). the same period (Wisconsin Dairy Facts, 1995, 1999). Survey methods are described in more detail by Bewley Most producers in the survey appeared to still be in the et al. (2001). This survey was designed to gather infor- expansion process as they indicated that their long- mation about the use of various management practices term goal for herd size was over 450 cows on average. and facility types, as well as farmers’ satisfaction with The experiences of producers in this survey may have the overall dairy operation and specific facility feature’s been different from the experiences of producers who performance in recently expanded dairies. did not respond to the survey. However, Table 2 illus- The survey included 280 questions related to herd trates that the performance of herds that responded size, milking system, housing facilities, cropping and feeding strategies, labor management, animal acquisi- tions, animal handling facilities, and satisfaction with Table 1. Mean (±SE) herd performance parameters for 1998 and the expansion experience. Milk production data were 1994. only included for Holstein herds. Herds were catego- 1998 1994 Change rized based on type of expansion, current herd size, and magnitude of expansion. Herd size categories were Herds, no. 252 252 Median herd size 180 80 +100 established by dividing herds into quintiles using milk- RHA1 milk, lb 21956 ± 195a 20103 ± 187b +1853 ing cows and dry cows to calculate herd size. Cows per ME2 milk, lb 23698 ± 198a 21741 ± 189b +1957 full-time equivalent (FTE) was calculated by dividing Peak milk3, lb 88.6 ± 0.6a 83.6 ± 0.6b +5 Linear SCS 2.91 ± 0.03 * * the reported number of milking and dry cows in 1998 Days dry 61 ± 1b 63 ± 1a −2 by the number of FTE (1 FTE = 50 h of labor per week). Calving interval, mo 13.8 ± 0.1a 13.2 ± 0.0b +0.6 The FTE for a farm includes the labor for all enterprises Days open 140 ± 2a 126 ± 2b +14 Age at first calving, mo 26.1 ± 0.1 * * (e.g., milking herd, heifer, and crop) associated with Culling rate, % 33.2 ± 0.7 * * that operation. Means within rows with different superscripts differ (P < 0.05). a,b For many questions, producers were asked to indicate 1 RHA = DHI calculated rolling herd average. their satisfaction with a particular aspect of their opera- 2 ME = DHI calculated mature equivalent herd average. tion by choosing a number on a scale from one (very 3 Peak milk = DHI calculated herd average highest level of milk dissatisfied) to five (very satisfied). The authors edited produced in a lactation. data to remove inconsistencies and physical impossibil- *Data not available. Journal of Dairy Science Vol. 84, No. 3, 2001
  3. 3. OUR INDUSTRY TODAY 719 Table 2. Mean (± SE) herd performance parameters for 1998 and 1994 for respondents and nonrespondents. 1998 1994 Respondents Nonrespondents Respondents Nonrespondents Herds, no. 252 308 252 308 Median herd size1 180 130 80 68 RHA2 milk, lb 21927 ± 194 21573 ± 175 20103 ± 187 19774 ± 187 ME3 milk, lb 23698 ± 198 23483 ± 170 21741 ± 189 21608 ± 177 Peak milk4, lb 88.6 ± 0.6 88.6 ± 0.5 83.6 ± 0.6 83.9 ± 0.6 Linear SCS 2.91 ± 0.03 2.97 ± 0.03 ** ** Days dry 61 ± 1b 63 ± 1a 63 ± 1 64 ± 1 Calving interval, mo 13.7 ± 0.1 13.8 ± 0.1 13.2 ± 0.0 13.3 ± 0.0 Days open 138 ± 2 140 ± 2 128 ± 2 133 ± 2 Age at first calving, mo 26.1 ± 0.1 26.3 ± 0.1 * * Culling rate, % 33.2 ± 0.1 33.2 ± 0.1 * * Means within main effects within rows with different superscripts differ (P < 0.05). a,b 1 Median herd size = herd size for nonrespondents calculated using DHI values. 2 RHA = DHI calculated rolling herd average. 3 ME = DHI calculated mature equivalent herd average. 4 Peak milk = DHI calculated herd average highest level of milk produced in a lactation. *Data not available. to the survey was similar when examining some DHI Previous research (Speicher et al., 1978) indicated performance parameters. Average days dry was sig- that herds experience a decrease in milk production nificantly longer for nonrespondents than respondents following an expansion and that previous milk produc- and herd size was smaller for nonrespondents. tion levels were not recovered until the fourth year after Mean rolling herd average (RHA) milk production expansion. Our research did not show this effect. Table increased by 1875 lb for herds in this study, although 3 shows the change in RHA milk production relative to reproductive performance appeared to decrease based the beginning of the most recent expansion. The aver- on increases in calving interval and days open (Table age RHA milk production for all herds did not change 1). The average Wisconsin DHI Holstein herd increased during the year of expansion and increased significantly by 1645 lb for the same period observed; thus, the in- the year after expansion. RHA milk production data creased production observed in this study was similar to was only available for 1994 to 1998. As a result, these the overall population trend (J. Pinter, 2000, personal comparisons could only be made for 3 yr. Compared observation). A portion of this increased milk produc- with RHA milk production during the year before tion can be attributed to the implementation of modern expansion, herds that expanded in 1995 and 1996 expe- facilities, and management practices conducive to rienced a temporary decline in milk production during higher milk production, and better managers may have the expansion process, although this difference was not expanded more than average managers. The average significant for herds that expanded in 1995. This lost for all Wisconsin herds in 1998 was 16,685 lb, and the production was recovered by the year following expan- average for all Wisconsin Holstein herds on DHI was sion for all three groups, although this difference was 20,707 lb (Wisconsin Dairy Facts, 1999). Average days not significant for herds that expanded in 1995. Herds open and calving interval increased by 14 d and 0.6 mo, that expanded in 1997 did not observe the decrease respectively, for herds in this study but only increased in milk production and actually increased production by 4 d and 0.3 mo for all DHI Holstein herds during during both the year of expansion and the year following this period (J. Pinter, 2000, personal communication). expansion. A portion of the production gained during Poorer reproductive performance is often associated this period can be attributed to population trends as with expansion as herd managers modify their culling discussed earlier. It appears that the disadvantages practices to maintain herd size by allowing animals to associated with expansion were outweighed by the im- proved cow comfort and management of these herds in remain in the herd despite extended calving intervals. a free-stall environment. The availability of bST during this time changed man- agement practices and may be responsible for part of How They Modernized the change observed. Days dry decreased. This is likely related to intensified management of larger, special- This survey attempted to answer questions regarding ized dairies. what types of animals were purchased, where these Journal of Dairy Science Vol. 84, No. 3, 2001
  4. 4. 720 BEWLEY ET AL. animals were sourced, what practices were used to min- coccidian (Carmell, 1994). These disease agents affect imize health problems with new animals, what benefits herd profitability through reduced milk production, were provided to full-time employees, why respondents poor reproduction, higher treatment costs, increased expanded, and if they would expand again. Table 4 culling rates, and animal deaths. summarizes producer responses to these questions. It appears that most producers in this survey visually This allows producers to compare responses to available inspected animals and increased vaccination levels options and provides industry professionals informa- while fewer producers were isolating or blood testing tion about areas in which education efforts should be incoming animals. Twenty-seven percent of the survey focused. respondents reported quarantining incoming animals As herds expand, their managers must determine and for an average of 25 d. A quarantine period of 3 to how additional animals will be obtained. Faust et al. 4 wk is recommended for purchased animals in which (1998) concluded that purchasing heifers or lactating no contact between purchased animals and the existing cows could provide similar success, although extra pre- herd occurs (Carmell, 1994). The National Animal cautions should be taken when purchasing older ani- Health Monitoring System (NAHMS, 1996) study re- mals. Buying heifers rather than older cows reduces the ported 6 to 27% of animals brought into the operation risk of bringing in another’s herds mastitis problems were quarantined for an average of 9 to 41 d. Approxi- (Smith et al., 1996). In this study, 63% of the respon- mately 50% of respondents reported vaccinating ani- dents reported purchasing mature animals which was mals before bringing them into the herd, 9 to 31% used higher than that reported by Faust et al., 1998. Most blood testing, 5.8% used a bulk tank culture, and 25.7% (66%) expanding herds in our study purchased heifers used individual SCC (NAHMS, 1996). The most pre- before they calved or bought mature animals. The prac- dominant biosecurity measure was pre-entry vaccina- tice of buying heifers after they calved is interesting to tions, while the least predominant was quarantining note as 21% of producers purchased this type of animal. animals (NAHMS, 1996). Faust et al. (1998) reported In order of prevalence, animals were sourced from 1) that animals were quarantined on 47% of the herds other dairy producers, 2) cattle dealers, 3) auctions, and for an average of 2.9 wk. Producers with higher herd 4) sale barns. The percentage of known sources appears average milk production vaccinated against more dis- to be higher than that reported by Faust et al. (1998). eases than those with lower milk production Ideally, all animals would be purchased from known (NAHMS, 1996). sources; however, this is not always an option when a Benefits provided to dairy farm employees listed in large number of animals are required to meet herd previous studies include social security, worker’s com- size requirements. pensation, farm produce, housing, bonuses, utilities, Working with a veterinarian when animals are in- health insurance, performance incentives, retirement troduced from outside sources should help reduce the plans, unemployment insurance, paid vacation, paid risk of introduction of new diseases into the herd. In- sick leave, performance-linked pay, and feedback mech- creased incidence of clinical and subclinical mastitis anisms (Fogleman et al., 1999; Maloney et al., 1989; and outbreaks of diseases such as Johne’s may occur Stahl et al., 1999). Producers in this survey reported after a group of animals is introduced into the herd. providing the following benefits, in order of prevalence: Disease agents that can be purchased unknowingly paid vacation time, health insurance, milk or meat, with incoming animals include bovine viral diarrhea housing, profit-sharing, employee owned animals in virus, infectious bovine rhinotracheitis, bovine respi- herd, retirement plans, and a share of calves born. ratory syncytial virus, bovine leukemia virus, Pasteur- Producers have a myriad of reasons for modernizing ella hemolytica, Salmonella species, Mycobacterium their operations. Respondents to this survey were asked paratuberculosis, Streptococcus agalactia, Staphylo- to indicate all reasons for expansion and to specify coccus aureus, Hemophilus somnus, Leptospira spp., which of these was the most important (Table 4). The roundworms, tapeworms, flukes, hairy heel warts, and ranking of reasons changed considerably between these Table 3. Mean rolling herd average production (± SE) by year of most recent expansion. 1995 1996 1997 All Herds, no. 40 50 72 162 Year before expansion 20484 ± 412 20979 ± 409a 20692 ± 320c 20729 ± 215b Year of expansion 20361 ± 330 20464 ± 422b 21287 ± 359b 20804 ± 223b Year after expansion 20503 ± 378 21240 ± 466a 21641 ± 337a 21236 ± 229 Means within columns with different superscripts differ (P < 0.05). a,b Journal of Dairy Science Vol. 84, No. 3, 2001
  5. 5. OUR INDUSTRY TODAY 721 Table 4. Number herds using selected practices during expansion. Some producers who expanded to allow a family mem- Responses No. % ber to join the operation recognized the need for addi- Where did the additional animals come from?1 tional cows to support multiple families. Other reasons Bought bred heifers before they calved 198 66% for expansion included improving physical working con- Bought mature animals 188 63% ditions, creating time away from the farm, and improv- Grew from within 145 48% ing labor efficiency. Bought bred heifers which had recently calved 64 21% Bought calves/heifers and raised them 50 17% When asked the question (referring to expansion) If bought, where did you buy these animals?1 “Knowing what you do now, would you do it again?” Other dairy producers 214 81% only 16 (6%) producers indicated they would not expand Cattle dealers 131 50% Auctions 108 41% again. Many producers indicated they would expand at Sale barns 29 11% a more rapid rate or to a larger herd size. Survey results Practices used to minimize health problems indicate that most producers surveyed achieved the ex- with new animals?1 pected gains in profitability and labor efficiency ex- Visually inspected animals before purchase 238 91% pected from expansion. These results should be inter- Increased level of vaccination in existing herd 177 67% Vaccinated incoming cattle after moving them 134 51% preted with caution because the experiences of nonre- Vaccinated incoming cattle before moving them 129 49% spondents may not have been as positive as for the Examined individual SCC records 110 42% producers who responded to the survey. Isolated animals after moving them 72 27% Examined individual cow health records 67 26% Blood tested animals before purchase 56 21% Did bulk tank cultures before purchase 39 15% Satisfaction with Modernization Benefits provided to full-time employees1 A common question asked by producers considering Paid vacation time 144 48% Health insurance 143 47% an expansion is “Should I start with all new facilities Milk or meat 107 35% or modify what I have?” Most producers (72%) who Housing 89 29% responded to this survey indicated they used existing Other 38 13% Profit-sharing 24 8% facilities along with some new facilities. Table 5 com- Allow employee owned animals in herd 20 7% pares postexpansion experiences of producers who 1) Retirement Plan 19 6% expanded cow numbers without changing facility type, Share of calves born 7 2% 2) modified existing facilities and built some new facili- Why did you decide to expand your herd?1 To increase our farm’s profitability 265 89% ties, or 3) built all new facilities. Schwarzweller (1999) To improve labor efficiency 217 73% demonstrated that newer facilities were associated To improve physical working conditions 207 69% with higher labor efficiency and higher production, al- To get time away from the farm 181 61% To allow a family member to join the operation 103 34% though this effect was confounded by herd size. This Other 52 17% work showed that producers who built all new facilities Which reason was most important to your decision had the highest RHA milk production following expan- to expand? sion, while producers who did not change facility type To increase our farm’s profitability 123 44% To allow a family member to join the operation 40 14% had the lowest RHA milk production (Table 5). Produc- To improve physical working conditions 35 13% ers who modified existing facilities observed a lower To get time away from the farm 33 12% increase in RHA milk production during the 5-yr period To improve labor efficiency 22 8% Other 28 10% studied than the producers who expanded without Knowing what you do now, expand your operation changing facility type. The highest production was asso- as you did?1 ciated with all new facilities and may be attributed to Yes, the same way 148 51% advantages in cow comfort and cleanliness associated Yes, only quicker 84 29% Yes, only bigger 66 23% with facilities designed without building restrictions. Yes, but slower 17 6% Producers who expanded without changing facility type No 16 6% had smaller herd sizes and a higher increase in produc- 1 Multiple answers could be selected. tion, which may be related to having the ability to ex- pand totally from within their herd or to buy higher quality animals than producers that needed more cows. two questions (example: the option “to allow a family Producers who built some or all new facilities had member to join the operation” was ranked fifth for total lower average age at first calving (Table 5). Labor effi- responses, but second for most important). Most produc- ciency; based on cows per FTE was highest for the pro- ers had multiple reasons for expanding their herd. The ducers who built all new facilities, followed by produc- majority of producers in this study appeared to be moti- ers who modified facility type and those who did not vated by a need to increase the farm’s profitability. change facility type. Satisfaction with heat detection, Journal of Dairy Science Vol. 84, No. 3, 2001
  6. 6. 722 BEWLEY ET AL. Table 5. Mean (± SE) production and performance measures by type of expansion. Expanded cow Modified existing numbers without facilities; built Built all new changing facility type some new facilities Herds, no. 31 218 53 1998 median herd size1 95 170 420 1994 median herd size1 54 77 120 1998 RHA2 milk, lb 20503 ± 549c 21920 ± 220b 23218 ± 514a 1994 RHA2 milk, lb 17985 ± 519b 20300 ± 210a 20897 ± 487a Change in RHA3 2519 ± 386a 1658 ± 156b 2321 ± 362ab Linear SCS 3.07 ± 0.09 2.89 ± 0.04 2.82 ± 0.09 Days open 143 ± 6 136 ± 2 141 ± 5 Calving interval 14.0 ± 0.2 13.6 ± 0.1 14.0 ± 0.2 Days dry 63 ± 1 61 ± 1 62 ± 1 Age at first calving 26.9 ± 0.3a 26.0 ± 0.1b 25.7 ± 0.3b Culling rate 34.7 ± 2.2ab 33.7 ± 0.9a 29.2 ± 2.0b Cows per FTE4 30 ± 3c 38 ± 1b 52 ± 2a Means within rows with different superscripts differ (P < 0.05). a,b,c 1 Median herd size = Herd size for nonrespondents calculated using DHI values. 2 RHA = DHI calculated rolling herd average. 3 Change in RHA = 1998 RHA Milk-1994 RHA Milk. 4 Cows per FTE = Number of milking and dry cows/(total h worked per week/50). production costs per hundredweight, net farm income, calving interval, days dry, or satisfaction with culling and disposable household income was higher for pro- rate, animal health, conception rate, calving interval, ducers who built all new facilities than for producers milk quality, personal satisfaction with my role, and who modified facilities or did not change facility type. relationship with spouse and family. The advantages Producers who built all new facilities were more satis- of new and modified facilities are reflected in the results fied with overall quality of life than producers who did above. These producers appear to be more satisfied with not change their facilities (Table 6). Producers who did herd productivity, labor efficiency, profitability, and not change their facility type were more satisfied with quality of life. A possible explanation for this increased neighbor relations than were producers who built all satisfaction is that producers who built all new facilities new facilities. Building a large, commercial dairy often could select designs that optimized cow comfort, cow creates resistance within the community related to con- cleanliness, and labor efficiency without being hindered cerns for animal welfare and odors from animal waste. by the constraints of existing facilities, but these results No statistical differences were observed for linear SCS, are confounded by herd size effects. Producers who built Table 6. Mean (± SE) satisfaction measures by type of expansion. Expanded cow Modified existing numbers without facilities; built Built all new changing facility type some new facilities Herds, no. 31 218 53 Culling rate1 3.23 ± 0.19 3.32 ± 0.07 3.46 ± 0.15 Animal health, general1 3.71 ± 0.15 3.79 ± 0.06 4.00 ± 0.11 Heat detection1 3.32 ± 0.17b 3.56 ± 0.06b 3.87 ± 0.13a Conception rate1 3.19 ± 0.16 3.36 ± 0.06 3.53 ± 0.13 Calving interval1 3.39 ± 0.16 3.41 ± 0.06 3.57 ± 0.12 Milk quality1 3.55 ± 0.17 3.77 ± 0.06 3.79 ± 0.13 Production costs per cwt1 3.61 ± 0.15b 3.66 ± 0.06b 4.04 ± 0.12a Net farm income1 3.26 ± 0.19b 3.59 ± 0.07b 4.04 ± 0.15a Neighbor relations1 4.29 ± 0.16a 3.95 ± 0.06ab 3.77 ± 0.12b Personal satisfaction with my role1 4.00 ± 0.15 4.03 ± 0.16 4.25 ± 0.12 Personal health1 3.32 ± 0.19c 3.78 ± 0.07b 4.23 ± 0.15a Disposable household income1 3.23 ± 0.18b 3.59 ± 0.07b 4.08 ± 0.14a Relationship with spouse and family1 4.16 ± 0.17 4.01 ± 0.06 4.10 ± 0.13 Time away from the farm1 2.71 ± 0.20c 3.29 ± 0.08b 3.79 ± 0.16a Overall quality of life1 3.65 ± 0.16b 3.82 ± 0.06ab 4.06 ± 0.12a Means within rows with different superscripts differ (P < 0.05). a,b,c 1 Average satisfaction reported on a scale from 1 (very dissatisfied) to 5 (very satisfied). Journal of Dairy Science Vol. 84, No. 3, 2001
  7. 7. OUR INDUSTRY TODAY 723 Table 7. Mean (± SE) production and performance measures by 1998 herd size. 60 to 105 106 to 145 146 to 220 221 to 360 > 360 Herds, no. 61 62 59 60 60 1998 Median herd size1 88 125 180 259 469 1994 Median herd size1 46 70 87 100 170 1998 RHA2 milk, lbs 19766 ± 361d 21642 ± 368c 22370 ± 371bc 22737 ± 403b 24113 ± 457a 1994 RHA2 milk, lbs 18136 ± 354d 19643 ± 360c 20690 ± 364b 20894 ± 391ab 21998 ± 443a Change in RHA3 1660 ± 284 2017 ± 289 1725 ± 292 1843 ± 314 2115 ± 356 Linear SCS 3.03 ± 0.07a 2.96 ± 0.07ab 2.83 ± 0.07b 2.85 ± 0.08ab 2.80 ± 0.09b Days open 130 ± 4b 136 ± 4ab 143 ± 4a 136 ± 4ab 143 ± 5a Calving interval 13.6 ± 0.2 13.7 ± 0.2 13.9 ± 0.1 13.7 ± 0.2 13.8 ± 0.2 Days dry 64 ± 1a 61 ± 1ab 60 ± 1b 61 ± 1ab 61 ± 1ab Age at first calving 26.8 ± 0.2a 26.2 ± 0.2a 26.3 ± 0.2a 25.4 ± 0.3b 25.2 ± 0.3b Culling rate 31.5 ± 1.6 33.5 ± 1.6 33.4 ± 1.6 35.1 ± 1.7 32.4 ± 1.9 Cows per FTE 27 ± 2c 34 ± 2b 40 ± 2b 49 ± 2a 51 ± 2a Acres per cow 3.38 ± 0.19a 3.37 ± 0.18a 2.64 ± 0.19b 2.61 ± 0.19b 2.31 ± 0.19b Means within rows with different superscripts differ (P < 0.05). a,b,c 1 Median herd size = Herd size for nonrespondents calculated using DHI values. 2 RHA = DHI calculated rolling herd average. 3 Change in RHA = 1998 RHA Milk-1994 RHA Milk. all new facilities had the largest average herd size in and expanded more than owners of smaller herds. The the study. Although building all new facilities has some owners of these larger, higher producing herds may advantages, increasing herd sizes without modifying have had greater financial strength, which allowed the facilities or adding new facilities remains a valid option larger increase in herd size. A trend for decreasing lin- because of their lower investment levels. ear SCS, decreasing age at first calving, decreasing Economies of scale exist in the dairy industry. In- acres per cow, increasing labor efficiency, and increas- creasing the size of the herd often allows for better ing days open was observed with increasing herd size. utilization of facilities and investments. Milking more This agrees with previous studies indicating that larger cows allows for on-farm specialization. Having employ- herds tend to have low SCC than smaller ones (Howard ees responsible for specific areas improves focus and et al., 1992). Managers of larger herds may place more may result in increased productivity. For example, hav- emphasis to the details necessary to improve these im- ing one employee responsible for herd reproduction will portant herd performance measures. Acres per cow de- likely improve the reproductive performance and creases with increasing herd size with the owners of profitability of a herd. Bailey et al. (1997) modeled dif- the largest herds having 2.31 acres per cow. ferent herd sizes and found that only larger units (500 and 1000 cows) would be economically feasible for start- Satisfaction by Herd Size up dairies in the Midwest given the economic parame- ters selected. Producers with larger herds tend to expe- Buttel et al. (2000) found that herd size did not affect rience economies of scale related to decreased expendi- current satisfaction with quality of life although satis- tures per cow (Schwarzweller, 1999). Investments per faction had improved more for producers with more cow normally are lower for larger herds because of re- than 200 cows. In this study (Table 8), managers of duced acquisition costs for major investments such as larger herds appeared to be more satisfied with milk facilities and equipment. production level, heat detection, net farm income, per- Results from this survey demonstrate clear advan- sonal health, disposable household income, time away tages for larger herds for most variables measured. Ta- from the farm, and overall quality of life. Respondents ble 7 provides postexpansion comparisons for different with more than 360 cows were more satisfied with ani- herd sizes. Statistical differences are listed in the table. mal health than were respondents with 221 to 360 cows RHA milk production increased as herd size increased. and were more satisfied with conception rates than re- A similar effect of higher RHA milk production being spondents with 106 to 145 cows or 221 to 360 cows. associated with larger herd sizes was found in the Respondents with more than 360 cows were more satis- NAHMS (1996) study. No significant differences were fied with calving intervals and production costs per observed among herd sizes for change in RHA milk hundredweight than were respondents with 106 to 145 production from 1994 to 1998. As a group, the producers cows. Satisfaction with calving interval varied, al- who had the largest herd size in 1998 had higher RHA though actual calving intervals did not. This pattern milk production in 1994 and 1998, were larger in 1994, could be related to expectations as producers with Journal of Dairy Science Vol. 84, No. 3, 2001
  8. 8. 724 BEWLEY ET AL. larger herds were expecting decreased reproductive Labor Management performance but were satisfied with the levels actually achieved. Respondents with smaller herds (60 to 105 As dairy operations become larger, more nonfamily cows) were more satisfied with neighbor relations than labor is required for daily activities. In general, satisfac- respondents with larger herds (more than 360 cows). tion values were lower for labor-related issues than for Respondents with 221 to 360 cows were more satisfied other areas examined suggesting that expanding dairy with their relationship with their spouse and family producers had more difficulty with labor management than herds with 106 to 145 cows. No statistical differ- than other areas. This could be expected because many ences were observed for calving interval, culling rate, producers are not trained to manage people and many or satisfaction with culling rate. Satisfaction levels did are not comfortable in that role. Historically, dairy pro- not increase linearly for all variables considered. How- ducers have struggled with the long hours and lack of ever, respondents with larger herds appeared to experi- time away from the dairy operation. Increasing herd ence advantages for nearly all herd performance mea- size creates the need for nonfamily labor and provides sures, labor efficiency, satisfaction with quality of life family members the opportunity to spend more time and profitability, and satisfaction with many herd per- away from the farm. Table 9 compares labor manage- formance measures. ment practices by type of expansion. Time spent on For this study, respondents were divided into four farmwork has been reduced more for the families of expansion size categories (increased herd size by <50%, owner-operators who built all new facilities than those 50 to 100%, 101 to 200%, >200%) to compare differences who modified facilities. Respondents who modified facil- by magnitude of expansion. Results from these compari- ities spent less time on farmwork than those who did sons were highly correlated to the results for respon- not change facility type, and more of their time was dents by herd size in that producers with larger herds devoted to activities related to employee management had a strong tendency to undertake greater percent than to farmwork. Producers who built all new facilities increase in herd size. The results of this analysis by or some new facilities observed a larger increase in time magnitude of expansion are not shown because of the hiring, training, and managing employees compared similarity of results. Expanding rapidly was associated with 1994 than did producers who did not change facil- with cash flow and operational problems in Michigan ity type. herds (Speicher et al., 1978). A New York study found The amount of work done by nonfamily members also that herds that expanded by at least 30% had the high- increased more for respondents who modified facilities est increases in net farm income (Smith et al., 1996). or built all new than for herds who did not change Managers who recently expanded may have learned facility types. Producers who did not change facility from past expansions of others and are better at plan- types reported more difficulty in finding and keeping ning and implementing new operations. good farm employees than did those who modified facili- Table 8. Mean (± SE) satisfaction measures by 1998 herd size. 60 to 105 106 to 145 146 to 220 221 to 360 > 360 Herds, no. 61 62 59 60 60 Milk production level1 3.53 ± 0.11b 3.55 ± 0.11b 3.97 ± 0.12a 3.82 ± 0.12ab 3.92 ± 0.12a Culling rate1 3.46 ± 0.14 3.16 ± 0.14 3.36 ± 0.14 3.25 ± 0.14 3.43 ± 0.14 Animal health, general1 3.76 ± 0.11ab 3.79 ± 0.10ab 3.91 ± 0.11ab 3.65 ± 0.11b 4.00 ± 0.11a Heat detection1 3.48 ± 0.12b 3.37 ± 0.12b 3.60 ± 0.12ab 3.58 ± 0.12ab 3.92 ± 0.12a Conception rate1 3.39 ± 0.11ab 3.23 ± 0.11b 3.48 ± 0.12ab 3.22 ± 0.12b 3.55 ± 0.12a Calving interval1 3.44 ± 0.11ab 3.26 ± 0.11b 3.50 ± 0.11ab 3.37 ± 0.11ab 3.62 ± 0.11a Milk quality1 3.64 ± 0.12ab 3.58 ± 0.12b 3.91 ± 0.12a 3.73 ± 0.12ab 3.88 ± 0.12ab Production costs1 3.53 ± 0.11bc 3.50 ± 0.11c 3.83 ± 0.11ab 3.71 ± 0.11bc 4.03 ± 0.11a Net farm income1 3.26 ± 0.13b 3.33 ± 0.13b 3.77 ± 0.14a 3.73 ± 0.14a 4.10 ± 0.13a Neighbor relations1 4.13 ± 0.12a 3.97 ± 0.11ab 3.88 ± 0.12ab 4.02 ± 0.12ab 3.78 ± 0.12b Personal satisfaction with my role1 3.98 ± 0.11b 3.92 ± 0.11b 4.03 ± 0.11ab 4.10 ± 0.11ab 4.30 ± 0.11a Personal health1 3.38 ± 0.14c 3.65 ± 0.13bc 3.71 ± 0.14bc 4.02 ± 0.14ab 4.30 ± 0.14a Disposable household income1 3.33 ± 0.13c 3.39 ± 0.13c 3.55 ± 0.13bc 3.87 ± 0.13ab 4.12 ± 0.13a Relationship with spouse and family1 4.08 ± 0.11ab 3.80 ± 0.12b 4.07 ± 0.12ab 4.17 ± 0.12a 4.08 ± 0.12ab Time away from the farm1 2.85 ± 0.14b 3.02 ± 0.14b 3.22 ± 0.15b 3.63 ± 0.14a 3.88 ± 0.14a Overall quality of life1 3.75 ± 0.11bc 3.60 ± 0.11c 3.69 ± 0.12c 4.03 ± 0.11ab 4.13 ± 0.11a Means within rows with different superscripts differ (P < 0.05). a,b,c 1 Average satisfaction reported on a scale from 1 (very dissatisfied) to 5 (very satisfied). Journal of Dairy Science Vol. 84, No. 3, 2001
  9. 9. OUR INDUSTRY TODAY 725 Table 9. Mean (± SE) labor management parameters by type of expansion. Expanded cow Modified Built numbers without existing facilities; all new changing facility type built some new facilities Herds, no. 31 218 53 1998 Median herd size1 95 170 420 1994 Median herd size1 54 77 120 Time I spend on farmwork2 3.57 ± 0.19a 3.09 ± 0.07b 2.67 ± 0.15c Time I spend on hiring, training, and managing2 3.22 ± 0.18b 3.79 ± 0.07a 4.00 ± 0.14a Time my family members spend on farmwork2 3.66 ± 0.18a 3.19 ± 0.07b 2.85 ± 0.13c Amount of work done by non-family members2 3.30 ± 0.20b 3.94 ± 0.07a 4.22 ± 0.15a Finding good farm employees3 1.96 ± 0.23c 2.54 ± 0.08b 3.19 ± 0.23a Training farm employees3 2.64 ± 0.18b 3.19 ± 0.06a 3.28 ± 0.12a Supervising farm employees 3 2.96 ± 0.18b 3.34 ± 0.06a 3.43 ± 0.12a Keeping good farm employees3 2.55 ± 0.21c 3.23 ± 0.07b 3.66 ± 0.14a Availability of employees4 2.52 ± 0.24b 2.98 ± 0.09ab 3.10 ± 0.17a Quality of job applicants4 2.52 ± 0.22b 2.86 ± 0.08ab 3.08 ± 0.16a Employee morale and attitude4 3.22 ± 0.18b 3.68 ± 0.07a 3.66 ± 0.13a Quality of work of non-family members4 3.44 ± 0.18 3.73 ± 0.06 3.80 ± 0.13 Labor efficiency being achieved4 3.22 ± 0.17b 3.60 ± 0.06a 3.69 ± 0.13a Ability to get necessary farm work done4 3.30 ± 0.17b 3.82 ± 0.06a 3.96 ± 0.13a Means within rows with different superscripts differ (P < 0.05). a,b,c 1 Median herd size = Herd size for nonrespondents calculated using DHI values. 2 Average change since 1994 reported on a scale from 1 (much less) to 5 (much more). 3 Average difficulty reported on a scale from 1 (very difficult) to 5 (very easy). 4 Average satisfaction reported on a scale from 1 (very dissatisfied) to 5 (very satisfied). ties. Producers who built all new facilities reported less Table 10 compares labor management practices by difficulty in finding and keeping good employees than herd size. Time spent on farmwork was reduced more did producers who modified facilities. As indicated ear- for primary operators and family members of larger lier, respondents with larger herds and those who built operations. Producers with larger herds spent more all new facilities had higher production. Owners of time hiring, training, and managing employees com- higher producing herds tend to provide employees with pared with 1994 and relied on nonfamily workers to a larger compensation packages (Fogleman et al., 1999; greater extent. Producers operating larger herds re- Maloney et al., 1989). This ability of owners of larger ported that it was easier for them to find, train, super- herds to pay more and the worker comfort associated vise, and keep employees and that employee absences with new facilities explains some of the observed differ- were less of a problem. Satisfaction with employee mo- ence in employee retention. Producers who did not rale and attitude, labor efficiency being achieved, and change facilities reported more difficulty with training ability to get necessary farm work done appears to in- and supervising employees and with employee absences crease as herd sizes increase. These results were similar compared with producers who modified facilities or to those demonstrated for type of expansion. This also built all new facilities. suggests that economies of scale may be associated with Producers who built all new facilities were more satis- employee management. Managers of larger farms han- fied with availability of employees and quality of job dle more employees, and a higher proportion of their applicants than producers who did not change facility time is spent managing employees. This allows produc- type. It appears that higher quality employees may be ers to develop employee management skills more rap- more likely to want to work for these dairies. Respon- idly and provides the opportunity to adjust to the chal- dents who built all new facilities or modified facilities lenges of employee management sooner. were more satisfied with employee morale and attitude, Nonfamily labor is generally more expensive, less labor efficiency being achieved, and ability to get neces- experienced, and less flexible than is family labor sary farm work done than did respondents who did not (Schwarzweller, 1999). Recruitment of employees is change facility type. These differences in satisfaction considered a major management problem by dairy pro- with labor management agree with the differences in ducers (Fogleman et al., 1999). This change necessitates cows per FTE shown in Table 5. No statistical differ- the development of labor management skills by dairy ences were observed for quality of work done by nonfam- producers who may have been accustomed to working ily members. only with family members. Dairy operations face the Journal of Dairy Science Vol. 84, No. 3, 2001
  10. 10. 726 BEWLEY ET AL. challenge of providing employees compensation pack- cost estimates, construction delays, and difficulty find- ages comparable to other employers in their area. Dairy ing the cows and labor needed. owners who expand their dairy operation often must The challenges do not stop after the facilities, people, make the transition from managing cows to managing and animals are in place. Approximately 68% of ex- people. This responsibility is one of the biggest manage- panded dairy farms experienced cash flow problems in ment hurdles that expanding dairy producers en- the first 2 yr following expansion (Speicher et al., 1978). counter. Stress levels associated with expansion may continue for 3 yr after the expansion project begins (Faust et al., 1998). Dairy producers who expand their operations Expansion Difficulties experience difficulties with animal health, heat detec- Dairy producers are faced with many challenges and tion, manure handling, and labor management difficulties before, during, and after an expansion proj- (Speicher et al., 1978). Faust et al. (1998) reported prob- ect. Large capital investments are often required for lems with diseases during expansion in the following order: bovine viral diarrhea, hairy footwarts, Johne’s, dairy farm modernization, and the loan procurement salmonella, infectious bovine rhinotracheitis, and clos- process is often more difficult than producers antici- tridium. The most difficult problems experienced by pate. As dairy herds continue to grow, considerations Minnesota producers (Stahl et al., 1999) were, in order for manure management become more complex. Pro- listed, uncertain economic times, limited capital access, ducers must take into account manure collection, ma- employees difficult to find, expert opinions differed, en- nure storage, nutrient management, and site selection vironmental regulations, and developing a financial options during expansion (Fulhage, 1997). Owners of plan for credit institutions. large herds often have more stringent permitting re- Table 11 describes expansion difficulties by type of quirements. Many producers experience difficulties in expansion. Producers who modified facilities experi- obtaining necessary permits from regulatory agencies. enced more difficulty with construction and cost over- An economic evaluation of manure systems in Missouri runs than did producers who did not change facility (Fulhage, 1997) showed that costs of manure manage- type. Producers who built all new facilities had more ment are lower for larger herds. Some other difficulties difficulty procuring feed than did producers who modi- encountered during expansion include incorrect initial fied facilities. It is likely that the owners of smaller Table 10. Mean (± SE) labor management parameters by herd size. 60 to 105 106 to 145 146 to 220 221 to 360 > 360 Herds, no. 61 62 59 60 60 1998 Median herd size1 88 125 180 259 469 1994 Median herd size1 46 70 87 100 170 Time I spend on farmwork2 3.65 ± 0.13a 3.21 ± 0.13b 3.10 ± 0.13b 2.92 ± 0.13b 2.42 ± 0.13c Time I spend hiring, training, and managing2 3.06 ± 0.12c 3.56 ± 0.12b 3.68 ± 0.12b 4.24 ± 0.11a 4.24 ± 0.11a Time my family members spend on farmwork2 3.50 ± 0.12a 3.27 ± 0.12ab 3.02 ± 0.12bc 3.29 ± 0.12ab 2.80 ± 0.12c Amount of work done by non-family workers2 3.20 ± 0.13c 3.55 ± 0.13bc 3.89 ± 0.13b 4.38 ± 0.12a 4.49 ± 0.12a Finding good farm employees3 2.33 ± 0.19b 2.37 ± 0.16b 2.63 ± 0.15ab 2.61 ± 0.15ab 2.95 ± 0.14a Training farm employees3 2.88 ± 0.15b 3.12 ± 0.12ab 3.12 ± 0.12ab 3.18 ± 0.11ab 3.36 ± 0.11a Supervising farm employees3 3.09 ± 0.15b 3.30 ± 0.12ab 3.12 ± 0.11b 3.39 ± 0.11ab 3.59 ± 0.11a Employee absences3 2.73 ± 0.19c 3.17 ± 0.16bc 3.57 ± 0.15ab 3.78 ± 0.14a 3.88 ± 0.14a Availability of employees4 2.82 ± 0.18a 2.74 ± 0.16a 3.13 ± 0.16a 2.95 ± 0.16a 3.14 ± 0.16a Quality of job applicants4 2.79 ± 0.17ab 2.54 ± 0.15b 3.02 ± 0.16a 2.93 ± 0.15ab 3.03 ± 0.15a Employee morale and attitude4 3.41 ± 0.13b 3.46 ± 0.12b 3.75 ± 0.12ab 3.62 ± 0.12ab 3.88 ± 0.12a Quality of work done by non-family members4 3.62 ± 0.14 3.61 ± 0.12 3.74 ± 0.12 3.68 ± 0.11 3.88 ± 0.11 Labor efficiency being achieved4 3.59 ± 0.13ab 3.32 ± 0.12b 3.64 ± 0.12ab 3.52 ± 0.12b 3.85 ± 0.12a Ability to get necessary farm work done4 3.42 ± 0.12c 3.62 ± 0.12bc 3.88 ± 0.12ab 3.92 ± 0.12ab 4.10 ± 0.12a Means within rows with different superscripts differ (P < 0.05). a,b,c 1 Median herd size = Herd size for nonrespondents calculated using DHI values. 2 Average change since 1994 reported on a scale from 1 (much less) to 5 (much more). 3 Average difficulty reported on a scale from 1 (very difficult) to 5 (very easy). 4 Average satisfaction reported on a scale from 1 (very dissatisfied) to 5 (very satisfied). Journal of Dairy Science Vol. 84, No. 3, 2001
  11. 11. OUR INDUSTRY TODAY 727 Table 11. Mean (± SE) expansion difficulties by type of expansion. Expanded cow Modified numbers without existing facilities; Built all new changing facility type built some new facilities Herds, no. 31 218 53 1998 Median herd size1 95 170 420 Permitting and zoning2 3.74 ± 0.28 4.11 ± 0.09 3.94 ± 0.17 Financing and loan procurement2 3.39 ± 0.26 3.62 ± 0.09 3.73 ± 0.17 Facility design and site selection2 3.81 ± 0.23 3.50 ± 0.07 3.77 ± 0.15 Construction and cost overruns2 3.80 ± 0.27a 3.18 ± 0.09b 3.40 ± 0.17ab Finding labor2 2.96 ± 0.22 3.14 ± 0.08 3.45 ± 0.15 Managing labor2 3.29 ± 0.21 3.23 ± 0.07 3.16 ± 0.14 Labor turnover2 3.44 ± 0.22 3.42 ± 0.08 3.53 ± 0.15 Finding animals2 3.77 ± 0.22 3.56 ± 0.08 3.77 ± 0.15 Procuring feed2 4.11 ± 0.19ab 4.13 ± 0.07a 3.75 ± 0.13b Animal health–udder health2 3.58 ± 0.20 3.68 ± 0.07 3.67 ± 0.14 Animal health–feet and legs2 3.31 ± 0.23 3.12 ± 0.08 3.39 ± 0.16 Animal health–reproduction2 3.31 ± 0.21 3.35 ± 0.07 3.41 ± 0.15 Means within rows with different superscripts differ (P < 0.05). a,b,c 1 Median herd size = Herd size for nonrespondents calculated using DHI values. 2 Average difficulty reported on a scale from 1 (most difficult) to 5 (least difficult). operations were able to raise more of their own feed differences were observed for financing and loan pro- rather than purchase it. No statistical differences were curement, construction and cost overruns, finding la- observed based on type of expansion for permitting and bor, managing labor, labor turnover, finding animals, zoning, financing and loan procurement, facility design procuring feed, udder health, or feet and leg health. No and site selection, finding labor, managing labor, labor significant differences were found for producer satisfac- turnover, finding animals, and animal health. No sig- tion with udder health and feet and leg type animal nificant differences were found for producer satisfaction health areas when analyzed by herd size, but some with herd health issues when analyzed by type of differences were seen with reproduction. expansion. Respondents with more than 360 cows experienced AI Use more difficulty with permitting and zoning than herds with 106 to 145 cows (Table 12). Regulatory agencies The NAHMS (1996) study found that 45.4% of dairies appear to pose a greater challenge for owners of larger did not use natural service at any level. Reproductive herds. Respondents with 221 to 360 cows reported more management often becomes more of a challenge in problems with reproduction than herds with 146 to 220 larger herds. Training hired labor to detect heats and cows or herds with more than 360 cows. No statistical allocating labor for this task is sometimes difficult in Table 12. Mean (± SE) expansion difficulties by herd size. 60 to 105 106 to 145 146 to 220 221 to 360 > 360 Herds, no. 61 62 59 60 60 1998 Median herd size1 88 125 180 259 469 Permitting and zoning2 3.96 ± 0.17ab 4.38 ± 0.16a 4.11 ± 0.17ab 3.98 ± 0.16ab 3.81 ± 0.16b Financing and loan procurement2 3.70 ± 0.17 3.61 ± 0.16 3.59 ± 0.17 3.51 ± 0.16 3.69 ± 0.16 Facility design and site selection2 3.61 ± 0.15a 3.67 ± 0.14a 3.15 ± 0.14b 3.73 ± 0.14a 3.66 ± 0.14a Construction and cost overruns2 3.26 ± 0.17 3.37 ± 0.16 3.22 ± 0.17 3.25 ± 0.16 3.22 ± 0.16 Finding labor2 3.27 ± 0.16 3.16 ± 0.14 3.28 ± 0.15 3.02 ± 0.14 3.22 ± 0.14 Managing labor2 3.37 ± 0.15 3.32 ± 0.13 3.23 ± 0.14 3.00 ± 0.13 3.22 ± 0.13 Labor turnover2 3.51 ± 0.15 3.60 ± 0.14 3.37 ± 0.15 3.28 ± 0.14 3.46 ± 0.14 Finding animals2 3.67 ± 0.16 3.63 ± 0.14 3.46 ± 0.15 3.53 ± 0.14 3.80 ± 0.14 Procuring feed2 3.96 ± 0.13 4.10 ± 0.13 4.00 ± 0.13 4.19 ± 0.13 4.02 ± 0.13 Animal health–udder health2 3.44 ± 0.14 3.76 ± 0.13 3.78 ± 0.14 3.73 ± 0.13 3.61 ± 0.13 Animal health–feet and legs2 3.15 ± 0.16 3.10 ± 0.15 3.18 ± 0.16 3.20 ± 0.15 3.29 ± 0.15 Animal health–reproduction2 3.46 ± 0.14ab 3.35 ± 0.14ab 3.51 ± 0.14a 3.05 ± 0.13b 3.48 ± 0.14a Means within rows with different superscripts differ (P < 0.05). a,b,c 1 Median herd size = Herd size for nonrespondents calculated using DHI values. 2 Average difficulty reported on a scale from 1 (most difficult) to 5 (least difficult). Journal of Dairy Science Vol. 84, No. 3, 2001
  12. 12. 728 BEWLEY ET AL. Table 13. Mean (± SE) production and performance measures of AI usage levels. Don’t use AI, use Predominantly Predominantly AI natural service natural service with minimal use Use AI (bulls) exclusively with some AI use of clean-up bull exclusively Herds, no. 14 12 71 143 1998 Median herd size1 222 186 349 206 1994 Median herd size1 67 80 90 76 1998 RHA2 milk, lb 21319 ± 783ab 19677 ± 845b 22069 ± 348a 22075 ± 245a 1994 RHA2 milk, lb 18329 ± 779b 17931 ± 811b 20462 ± 333a 20245 ± 237a Change in RHA3 3088 ± 579a 1746 ± 602ab 1607 ± 248b 1868 ± 176b Calving interval, mo 13.0 ± 0.3b 13.7 ± 0.3ab 13.9 ± 0.13a 13.7 ± 0.1a Days open 122 ± 8b 129 ± 9ab 144 ± 4a 136 ± 2ab Days dry 59 ± 2ab 65 ± 2a 64 ± 1a 60 ± 1b Age at first calving 25.3 ± 0.5 25.8 ± 0.5 25.9 ± 0.2 26.2 ± 0.2 Means within rows with different superscripts differ (P < 0.05). a,b 1 Median herd size = Herd size for nonrespondents calculated using DHI values. 2 RHA = DHI calculated rolling herd average. 3 Change in RHA = 1998 RHA Milk–1994 RHA Milk. newly expanded herds. Problems with reproduction and duction during the 5-yr period studied. More than 90% heat detection were the most predominant problems of producers were satisfied with their expansion experi- encountered by Michigan dairy producers who ex- ence. Producers who built new facilities or expanded to panded (Speicher et al., 1978). Many larger producers larger herd sizes appeared to be more satisfied with use a bull to combat this problem despite the differences their choices. These producers probably are less risk in production attributed to AI use. averse or in a better financial position. Part of the in- Table 13 demonstrates productive and reproductive creased satisfaction with their choice may be the status performance differences between varying levels of AI associated with their choices. Reduced production dur- use. Respondents who used AI exclusively or predomi- ing expansion, observed in previous studies, was rela- nantly observed higher RHA milk production than re- tively small for herds in this sample. Producers followed spondents who used predominately natural service. Re- industry biosecurity recommendations to minimize spondents who used a bull exclusively observed a larger health problems at different levels, with isolation of change in RHA milk production than respondents who animals introduced into the herd occurring in only 27% used AI exclusively or predominantly. Herds that used of herds in this sample. Extension efforts should be AI exclusively or predominantly had longer calving in- focused on stressing the importance of preventing the tervals than herds that used bulls exclusively. Herds introduction of new diseases into the existing herd. that used predominantly AI had more days open than Managing labor appeared to be the biggest challenge did herds that used bulls exclusively. These results sug- facing producers following expansion. gest that using natural service to some extent may Respondents who built all new facilities observed improve reproductive performance. Days dry were higher production, greater labor efficiency, and satisfac- higher for respondents with herds using predominantly tion with measures of profitability and quality of life AI or predominantly bulls than those that used AI ex- than respondents who modified facilities or added no clusively. This was probably caused by the producer’s new facilities. As herd size increased, milk production, inability to predict subsequent calving dates without labor efficiency, and satisfaction with herd perfor- accurate breeding information. No differences were ob- mance, profitability, and quality of life increased. Pro- served for age at first calving. These results suggest ducers who built all new facilities spent less time on that utilizing natural service may improve reproductive farmwork, more time managing employees, and had performance but not without a tradeoff in reduced less difficulty finding, training, supervising, and keep- milk production. ing farm employees than producers who modified facili- ties or added new facilities. Respondents with larger CONCLUSIONS herds were associated with an increased reliance on nonfamily labor. Problems with labor management de- The 1999 Wisconsin Dairy Modernization Survey creased with increasing herd sizes. The most difficult compared production responses and producer percep- challenges for producers who modernized their opera- tions based on their modernization experiences. The tions were with labor management, financing and loan average herd in this survey experienced increased pro- procurement, construction and cost overruns, and feet Journal of Dairy Science Vol. 84, No. 3, 2001
  13. 13. OUR INDUSTRY TODAY 729 and leg health. Very few differences in difficulties with simulation study of large-scale dairy units in the Midwest. J. Dairy Sci. 80:205–214. expansion were found when respondents were summa- Bewley, J. 2000. The 1999 Wisconsin Dairy Modernization Project. rized by expansion type or herd size. M. S. Thesis, Univ. Wisconsin, Madison, WI. The results of this survey can be used by industry Bewley, J., R. W. Palmer, and D. B. Jackson-Smith. 2001. A compari- son of free-stall barns used by modernized Wisconsin dairies. J. professionals and producers who are considering mod- Dairy Sci. 84:705–716. ernizing their operations. Our use of large random sam- Buttel, F. H., D. Jackson-Smith, and S. Moon. 2000. A Profile of ple survey data identified some impacts associated with Wisconsin’s Dairy Industry, 1999. PATS Research Rep. No. 3. Program on Agricultural Technology Studies, Univ. of Wisconsin, changes in facilities or management practices that dif- Madison, WI. fer from those expected (based on the results of pre- Carmell, D. K. 1994. Good intentions gone bad: Animal disease consid- viously published case studies, controlled experiments erations in expansion. Pages 13–24 in Expansion Strategies for Dairy Farms, Ellicott City, MD. Penn. St. Univ., State College, and engineering models). These differences reflect the PA. effects of variation in farmer management ability, envi- Faust, M. A., and M. L. Kinsel. 1998. Culling, health, and biosecurity during dairy herd expansions. DSL-152. Iowa St. Dairy Rep., ronmental and economic conditions, and other intangi- Ames. ble factors. The experiences of farmers in our survey Fogleman, S. L., R. A. Milligan, T. R. Maloney, and W. A. Knoblauch. can be combined with other types of research data to 1999. Employee compensation and job satisfaction on dairy farms in the Northeast. RB 99–02. Dept. Agricultural, Resource, and provide a more complete picture of how modernization Managerial Economics. Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY. choices affect dairy farm performance. Further research Fulhage, C. D. 1997. Manure management consideration for ex- is merited regarding animal acquisitions, employee panding dairy herds. J. Dairy Sci. 80:1872–1879. Howard, W. H., R. W. Blake, T. O. Knight, C. R. Shumway, and M. management on large dairy farms, cost comparisons A. Tomaszewski. 1992. Estimating the effectiveness of extension between new and modified facilities, differences be- information systems using farm trials and subjective probabili- tween herd sizes, and the effects of using a bull as ties. Agric. Econ. 7:77–90. Management practices associated with high-producing U.S. dairy opposed to AI. herds. 1997. Natl. Animal Health Monitoring System. Dairy ’96 Info Sheet. USDA: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service: Veterinary Services, Fort Collins, CO. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Maloney, T. R., and S. A. Woodruff. 1989. Wages and benefits of full time non family employees on larger than average New York state The authors would like to thank the producers who dairy farms. 89–20. Dept. Agric. Econ. Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY. participated in the survey for the valuable information Norrell, R. J., and R. D. Appleman. 1981. Change of milk production with housing system and herd expansion. J. Dairy Sci. provided, AgSource DHI and Richland County DHIC 64:1749–1755. for herd summary data, the Professional Dairy Produc- Schwarzweller, H. K. 1999. Dairy farms in mid-Michigan: Structural characteristics, labor inputs, and operational efficiencies. Re- ers of Wisconsin for producer names, and the Program search Rep. 564. Michigan State Ag. Exp. Stn., East Lansing, MI. on Agricultural Technology Studies for assistance in Smith, J. F., and J. Harner. 1996. Planning a dairy expansion. MF- designing the survey. The authors also thank Doug 2318. Kansas State Univ. Agric. Exp. Stn. and Cooperative, Man- hattan, KS. Hemken, Social Science Microcomputer Laboratory, for Speicher, J. A., S. B. Nott, and T. L. Stoll. 1978. Changes in produc- his assistance in the statistical analysis of the data. tion, cash flow, and income with dairy herd expansion. J. Dairy This research has been sponsored in part by USDA/ Sci. 61:1242–1249. SPSS Base 10.0 User’s Guide. 1999. SPSS Inc. Chicago, IL. Hatch project number 1892 and the Wisconsin Center Stahl, T. J., B. J. Conlin, A. J. Seykora, and G. R. Steuernagel. for Dairy Profitability. 1999. Characteristics of Minnesota dairy farms that significantly increased milk production from 1989–1993. J. Dairy Sci. 82:45–51. REFERENCES Wisconsin Dairy Facts. 1995. Wisconsin Agricultural Statistics Ser- vice, Madison, WI. Bailey, K., D. Hardin, J. Spain, J. Garrett, J. Hoehne, R. Randle, Wisconsin Dairy Facts. 1999. Wisconsin Agricultural Statistics Ser- R. Ricketts, B. Steevens, and J. Zulovich. 1997. An economic vice, Madison, WI. Journal of Dairy Science Vol. 84, No. 3, 2001

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