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Managing Dairy Cows For Profit

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Managing Dairy Cows For Profit

  1. 1. Managing Dairy Cows for Profit The devil is in the details Gale Bateman, Ph.D.
  2. 2. Goal of successful managers <ul><li>Maximal profit </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not maximum milk yield </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not maximum milk components </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not cheapest feed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not . . . </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Maximum profit is a function of all of the above factors plus many more! </li></ul>
  3. 3. Herd Nutrition Management <ul><li>How often do you sample feeds for nutrient content? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you sample things other than forages? </li></ul><ul><li>How often do you “tweak” your ration? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you monitor feed intake? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you monitor forage DM content? </li></ul>At $15/CWT, 1 lb of milk loss is $54/cow/year
  4. 4. Herd Health Management <ul><li>Are the cows enrolled on a herd health plan? </li></ul><ul><li>Is someone responsible for looking at the cows to observe disease? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you screen for mastitis? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you vaccinate? </li></ul><ul><li>DO YOU HAVE A BIOSECURITY PLAN IN PLACE TODAY? </li></ul>Cost of mastitis estimated at > $100 /case
  5. 5. Mastitis Management <ul><li>How is your stall maintenance? </li></ul><ul><li>What is your mastitis monitoring program? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you use mastitis vaccines </li></ul><ul><li>Do you segregate clinically infected cows? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you culture problem cows? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you routinely culture the bulk tank? </li></ul>
  6. 6. Labor and Economic Management <ul><li>Do you manage labor or do they manage you? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Job descriptions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reporting and evaluation structure </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Do you have comprehensive accounting procedures in place? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Record keeping system more than shoe box of receipts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Calculate production cost and break even points for new enterprises </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Transition Cow Management <ul><li>Is there a transition program? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the calving area clean and dry? </li></ul><ul><li>How are the close up cows monitored? </li></ul><ul><li>How are the fresh cows monitored? </li></ul>Milk fever estimated to cost > $300 / case
  8. 8. Reproduction Management <ul><li>Is there a bull on the farm that is more than 6 months old? </li></ul><ul><li>Who is responsible for checking heats? </li></ul><ul><li>Is semen tank maintenance up to date? </li></ul><ul><li>When was the last refresher for insemination technique? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you confirm pregnancy? </li></ul>Cost of 1 missed heat > $60
  9. 9. Facilities Management <ul><li>Are your barns in “working order”? </li></ul><ul><li>Has the milking equipment been serviced recently? </li></ul><ul><li>Have you had scales calibrated? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you routinely evaluate your facilities in terms of potential limitations? </li></ul>
  10. 10. Environmental Management <ul><li>Is the water source clean and adequately sized? </li></ul><ul><li>Is shade available during heat stress and wind breaks available during cold stress? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the ventilation in your barns adequate for both hot and cold times? </li></ul>Survey from Washington State University indicated that 45% of dairy farms have not cleaned their waters in > 12 months
  11. 11. Calf Management <ul><li>What is your level of calf mortality? </li></ul><ul><li>What is your level of calf morbidity? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the quality of your calf feeds at least as good as you would offer your own child? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you vaccinate your calves? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you follow a written procedure for processing newborns? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you monitor growth of the heifer? </li></ul>Errors in milk feeding result in > 5% loss in calf gains
  12. 12. Feeding Management <ul><li>Do you weigh feed into and out of the bunk? </li></ul><ul><li>How often do you clean your feed bunk? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you make an effort to exclude rotten/moldy feed? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you “push up” feed frequently? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you check to see how close the content of refusals are to what was offered? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you only use additives when necessary and proven to work? </li></ul>
  13. 13. Genetic Management <ul><li>Do you have a plan for your genetic selection? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you understand a bull proof? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you have a breeding plan? </li></ul><ul><li>Are you willing to purchase improved genetics when available? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you use young sires? </li></ul>
  14. 14. Producer Health Management
  15. 15. Annual rates of fatal occupational injury in the agriculture, forestry, and fishing industry and the private sector. Agriculture Private sector
  16. 16. Occupational injury rates in the agriculture, forestry, and fishing industry and the private sector. Agriculture Private sector
  17. 17. Producer Health Management <ul><li>When was your last physical? </li></ul><ul><li>When was your last vacation? </li></ul><ul><li>When was the last time you took your spouse on a date? </li></ul><ul><li>Do your children recognize you when you come home during the day because it is raining? </li></ul>
  18. 18. Managing Dairy Cows for Profit The devil is in the details

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