Maximize Dairy Production and Profitability

horizontal ruleOur Performance Analysis is a tool we use to standardize our client’s herd performance in order to help them maximize dairy production and profitability.  Many clients ask us what are the benchmarks on the performance analysis.  The answer is ‘It Depends on the goals of your farm’.  For example, it’s easy to recommend a benchmark for DMI (25-30 kg), or for milk fat yield (1.6-1.8 kg), but this is not relevant for all farms.  Therefore, the benchmarking on the PA depends on YOUR farm and YOUR goals.  Here are common examples that clients bring to our attention.

Goal:  To Minimize Grain Purchases

Pay attention to concentrate cost per kg of TPQ. This tells us the money spent on grain to produce 1 kg of TPQ.  While this number can vary significantly based on diet, i.e. robot herd vs. traditional TMR, the goal should be to keep this cost as low as possible.  Ways to reduce this number through forages include cutting haylage at a low ADF (30) (before heading) and increasing the starch content in the corn silage by cutting high or growing BMR type corn.  Continually price shopping your commodities, i.e. booking canola below $400/T in the fall, will also minimize costs.

Goal: To Maximize Returns, but you have a full barn

The best number to look at is Income Over Feed Cost per cow (IOFC) expressed as dollars per cow daily.  Farms with high production and Feed Effiiciency Rate (FER) have the best numbers in this area.  Ensuring your diet is consistent, palatable (no sorting) and cows are comfortable will improve intake and production.  The other number to look at here is the total kg of fat and protein shipped per cow.  Aim to increase both of these numbers while obeying the SNF:BF max allowed ratio of 2.35 in some provinces.  The top farms are around 1.6 to 1.8 kg, and 1.2 to 1.35 kg of fat and protein daily.

Goal: To Maximize Returns, but you are meeting monthly quota already

Say you are meeting daily quota (and incentives, etc), but want to further improve returns. Look at reducing grain cost and improving forage quality first.  Also, look at all ways possible to improve milk protein percent and yield so that you can maximize the SNF:BF ratio towards 2.35.  The best farms seem to have a high fat (4.0 to 4.2) with protein around 3.35 to 3.55%.

Other Benchmarks to Watch

Top FarmAverage farmWays to Improve
Dry Matter Intake28kgs24kgsImprove TMR ingredient quality. Ensure appropriate particle size. Push up more often. Avoid heat stress. Ensure stalls are well bedded. Reduce ailments such as ketosis and mastitis.
Feed as a % of sales27%31%Decrease cost by improving forage quality and price shopping commodities. Improve components and milk yield.
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