A Tale of Two Herds

Recently I visited two autumn calving dairy farms. The herds varied from 500 to 650 cows, yielding 8,500 – 11,000 litres per cow, milk from forage 0 – 4,000 litres per cow and cost of production 22 - 32ppl. There were a lot of commonalities but also huge differences.

The herd with the highest milk yield from forage was the lowest cost system at 22ppl (it was a very simple well-run farm with a plan and vision as to where it was going. Investment was focused on appreciating assets.

The lowest milk yield from forage herd was the highest cost system at 32ppl.

There is more variation within a system than between systems, which I regularly point out. The latter herd was complicated, high purchased feed, labour and machinery costs chasing milk production and eroding any potential profit. The highest milk price farm had the lowest profit and the lowest milk price had the highest profit!

Both herds had equal access to grazable acres and facilities in place to grow and use adequate quality forages. The difference was the management and decision making on how resources were allocated in producing the milk from the same system in two different ways.

The high profit herd benchmarks costs of production, attends an active discussion group, carefully allocates capital, budgets physically and financially business cashflow and continually challenges the business to simplify, but not at the expense of output. They also delegate successfully to trained employees and tend to have more stable teams employed resulting in more free time to think!

As farm consultants we are in the unique position to help improve farm profits as we understand the people and financials as well as the physical and technical drivers of dairy profitability.

Could you be making more profits with less stress and hassle? Why not challenge us to squeeze more profit out of your dairy business with minimum investment?

Contact Mark at markyearsley@fcgagric.com  or Tel 07984 785190 for more information.