Extra milk production throughout the country again this spring means some milk cooperatives have introduced quotas for milk production. That combined with low milk prices have farmers in a tight spot looking for new options.

A recent Penn State Extension article from Virginia Ishler described what the goals of a farm in this position might be for milk production and component levels.

“A new strategy is striving for a higher milk price by improving milk components while maintaining flat production,” she explained. “Some have talked about 7 pounds and others have used 6 pounds of components (both fat and protein) as a goal. The problem that is surfacing — is this an achievable benchmark?”

If you are a producer in this situation, what type of component production are you trying to achieve?

The Penn State group put together the table below that exhibits pounds of milk and components that equate to a 6-pound goal.

“Assuming a Holstein herd, it is nearly impossible for cows averaging less than 80 pounds of milk to achieve 6 pounds of components,” Ishler said. “The real opportunity is for operations currently averaging over 80 to 85 pounds of milk.”

Whatever the operation’s current production and component level, there is opportunity to improve component production through management strategies. That being said, costs of doing so must also be considered if the bottom line is going to benefit.

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March 12, 2018
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