Feed Management

KPI alphabet soup: Defining acronyms of high-performance dairies

Four KPIs that have considerable impact on dairy productivity and profitability are income over feed cost, dollars per pound of dry matter, energy-corrected milk efficiency and money-corrected milk.

Interpreting dairy key performance indicators (KPIs) have you feeling like eating an alphabet soup sandwich? While there are hundreds of ways to slice and dice dairy metrics, this article will define and explore several KPIs that have a substantial impact on dairy productivity and profitability. Don’t let the ostensible letter jumble deter you – the following KPIs can serve as a quick gauge and provide clarity to a mishmash of dairy data.

Feed efficiency gains rule the day

Business-focused dairies are wired to think in terms of controlling costs per hundredweight. This mindset is no different than those managing businesses that manufacture tractors, air conditioners, or sneakers. Producing more is irrelevant if we’re not economically efficient in doing so.

Pricing standing corn silage: What is a reasonable price?

Pricing standing corn for silage can be challenging. There are no widely quoted market prices for this particular crop and values are often based on relative feed value or comparison to other crops, such as corn grain or hay. 

Pricing of corn for the seller should take into account the value of grain, the fertilizer cost incurred and harvest costs saved. Corn silage in the field can be valued at eight to 10 times the price of corn per grain bushel. 

Assessing the True Cost of TMR Variability

Total mixed ration (TMR) variability: We know it exists, but evaluating the true extent and impact of this phenomenon can be a daunting task. Cows love consistency, so when looking at inherent TMR variability, we may often wonder about the impact on animal performance.

Tips for Transitioning a New Corn Silage Crop into the Diet

Hopefully corn silage harvest is finished or proceeding smoothly. Transitioning new corn silage into the diet can impact milk production and cow health. The following are three tips to help make the transition a smooth one.

Pile Guide: silage surface and face management

When it comes to silages and drive-over pile building, Peter Robinson, a UC – Davis extension specialist, believes there is a preference for dairy producers to leave silage oversight to the custom operators who come in and build the piles.

Maintain Quality and Consistency in Your Feeding Program

A dairy operation’s ability to deliver a quality and consistent diet, day after day, has become an increasingly important goal for many nutritionists and producers. Why? Because the consistency of the ration, and feed and nutrition management, have influential impacts on the health of your herd and the operation’s bottom line.

Evaluating feed costs during times of high commodity prices

Increasing ingredient costs have wreaked havoc across the dairy industry, leading to elevated ration costs not seen in many years. Feed costs per pound of dry matter (DM) are rising as much as 20% or more as corn and soybean meal prices climb, minimizing farmers’ profit margins.

Impact of starch digestibility rates on nutrition model predictions

Undigested starch is useless to the dairy cow. Especially when corn prices are high, one goal should be to minimize starch losses in manure. The first step usually taken to reduce starch loss is to evaluate corn grain particle size and most likely, to grind it finer. But, for greater success, more changes may need to be made.

How you feed matters too

Feed costs make up nearly 50 percent of your total cost of milk production, and that is assuming your cows are getting the correct nutrition at the right time. Not mixing TMRs correctly or not delivering them on time will cost you milk which will bump up feed cost per unit of milk.

Feed Mixer

Feed mixing and delivery: The importance of maximizing accuracy

Feed mixing and delivery is one of the most important activities on the dairy. Mixing and feeding a total mixed ration (TMR) is a multiple-times-per-day activity. Doing this job accurately and consistently time and time again, batch after batch and day after day is critical to production, animal health and overall farm economics.

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