Options for Limited Forage Inventories
September 15, 2016
The hit and miss rain this past summer in Pennsylvania has left dairy producers with reduced forage inventories. Corn for silage within fields and farm is extremely variable in regards to plant height and corn grain fill. This will provide many challenges to the nutritionist in formulating rations that will remain consistent over time.
Do You Know Your Costs to Grow Feed?
August 30, 2016
Feed costs tend to be the largest expense on a dairy operation and managing those costs contributes to a dairy’s ability to be profitable.
The Penn State Dairy Heifer Diet Formulator
August 30, 2016
Precision feeding is a strategy for productive heifers and a healthy bottom line. The Penn State Dairy Heifer Diet Formulator (PSU-HDF) program encourages an approach to heifer feeding that is driven by the desire to precisely meet metabolizable energy and nitrogen needs of growing dairy heifers while still allowing farmers to meet their desired goals for growth, age at first breeding, age at first calving, and first lactation production.
A Double Whammy - Weather and Milk Price
August 16, 2016
The last several months Pennsylvania dairy producers have received less than $16/cwt for their milk. The average breakeven milk price on many farms hovers around $18 to $19/cwt, so right now producers are hurting financially. If that was not bad enough, many dairies are suffering through drought conditions. The following website http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/Home.aspx shows conditions in the U.S. and for individual states.
These are both situations producers have endured before however it never gets any easier. If not already, now is the time to be forward thinking. Forage quality and quantity could be issues and purchasing additional forage is a real possibility. What contingency plans are in place if the worst case scenarios play out: continued low milk price and low forage inventories?
Stay the Course
July 15, 2016
The dairy industry as with any commodity deals with the peaks and valleys of the markets. Other commodities are in a similar situation as the dairy operation and to stay in business they have to know their cost of production. They are constantly monitoring their business’s performance so changes can be made quickly to compensate for a downturn.
It can be depressing when the current income over feed cost is less than the breakeven number. Instead of focusing on how to cut costs, many times to the determent on animal performance, focus on making adjustments that improve upon what is already being done. Many times it is honing in on a small detail that can make a significant impact on milk income.
Penn State Extension Costa Rica Dairy Tour
June 27, 2016
The Penn State Extension Dairy Team is hosting an agricultural tour of Costa Rica in January 2017. Trip details updated! Registration deadline July 10th.
Thriving through Low Milk Prices
June 21, 2016
Future milk prices are looking (somewhat) better, but it seems like since 2008 no one has felt completely secure in the stability of the dairy industry. Being more cautious can be a good thing, but letting the milk prices and low milk margins get you down is not healthy for you, your family, or your farm in the long run. There is plenty of advice on how to manage your margins and your herd. Now, it is time to talk about how to manage your stress.