Controlling the Uncontrollable
October 17, 2016
Dairy profitability seems to be a constantly moving target. Producers are dealing with the highs and lows of milk prices and feed costs. Some fixed and variable costs stay about the same regardless of what is happening in the markets. Producers are working with biological units (crops and cows), which are subject to external forces making crop yields and milk production unpredictable. Can dairy producers control what appears to be uncontrollable?
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?