Maintaining profitability in a low payout year

Chapman-calves

“SealesWinslow have analysed over 500 herds using a milk prediction software programme, which compares a farm’s actual production to its target production to identify any deviations as the season progresses". 

September 8, 2014

maintaining profitability in a low payout year

Dairy farmers are already feeling the pressure of a lower payout this year and are now on the hunt for strategies to cut costs.

However, James Hague, consultant nutritionist to animal feed producer SealesWinslow, points out that there are opportunities to increase profitability even when times are tough.

“It is all about finding the most effective and efficient way of turning feed into milk. As a part of Ballance Agri-Nutrients we are focussed on helping farmers with this process so they can achieve the best results for their farm.

“We have access to a range of tools which help us to compare a farmer’s potential milk production to their actual production, identify the gaps and then then come up with the approach for filling those gaps so that production and profitability are optimised.”

SealesWinslow have analysed over 500 herds using a milk prediction software programme, which compares a farm’s actual production to its target production to identify any deviations as the season progresses. They have found that the average farm could achieve an additional 30,000 kgMS based on their peak production.

The results are noteworthy, says Mr Hague. “At a $5.00 payout, that’s an additional $150,000 worth of gross income.”

Any gains to be made are not just down to adding purchased feed into the mix. Ballance offers a full package, which includes maximising the benefits of home grown feed in combination with looking at where improvements could be made so that a balanced diet is on offer.

“There is a good amount of forage already grown on the farm that gets wasted. The waste isn’t underfoot, it’s within the cow. Some purchased feeds do little to improve the utilisation of grass and silage, so we look at balancing the diet to help extract as much feed value as possible from the whole diet.”

SealesWinslow offers a free service to help farmers to crunch the numbers using their expertise and a range of different tools. To ensure that the diet is profitable the team looks closely at returns on dollars invested in feed. Margin is a key measure and needs to be sufficient to translate down to the bottom line and fit in with cash flow.

Farmers looking for help with balancing their herd’s feed supply with demand to maximise production and profitability can call the SealesWinslow team on 0800 287325.

 

PANEL:  Assess your own feed quality

One simple, practical way to gauge the quality of a bought in feed, is by assessing your herd’s dung. If a purchased feed is not well processed, or the diet is out of balance, then you will see runny, bubbly dung. It is an indication that feed is passing through the digestive system too fast and as a result there is inadequate fermentation and feed value is being lost.

Poorly fermented feed will pass into the lower digestive tract where it tries to ferment again, this is known as “hind gut fermentation”. As this fermentation produces acids it can damage the gut lining and the cow’s system will have to work hard to repair the damaged tissue. This is unpleasant for the cow and uses up valuable energy that should be used for milk production.


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