What area of your dairy received the most scrutiny as you looked to tighten your budgets?
That was the question posed to Hoard’s Dairyman DairyLivestream listeners during the August 5 webcast. The picture below shows the poll results. Far and away, nutrition was the No. 1 area on the farm targeted for financial cuts.
“To your poll question, the easiest thing to do is beat up the nutritionist and tell him, ‘Hey we have to do things differently because the price is this and things are bad,’” described New York dairyman John Mueller. “You have to be careful what you take out, what you put in, and what you don’t take out. We’ve done it all ways and you go back to your basics and you try to reduce costs to the minimum without hurting your herd.”
A few of the nutritional components targeted for removal from the diets at Mueller’s Willow Bend Farm were additives, and specifically, binders. Rations were also an area of immediate scrutiny for Wisconsin dairyman Gordie Jones. On his Central Sand Dairy, the list of additives they left in rations included monensin, ionophores, and bicarbonate. They also reviewed the whole feeding process from forages to feedbunk.
“When we started this review for COVID-19, we were looking for what was happening with procedural drift. We looked at our feeder and asked if he was on target and not creating waste. That included waste that doesn’t get to the feed wagon or waste that goes through the feed wagon — how accurate is he?” explained the veterinarian turned farmer.
“We reviewed the scales, we reviewed his procedures, we reviewed face management, and then like John said, it was grabbing the feed company and our nutritionist. We looked to see if we were on target or had hung too many ornaments on the ration. Have we hung too many additives?” Jones continued.
An ongoing series of events
DairyLivestream will air twice each month for the remainder of this year. The next broadcast will be on Wednesday, August 19 at 11 a.m. CST. Each episode is designed for panelists to answer over 30 minutes of audience questions. If you haven’t joined a DairyLivestream broadcast yet, register here. Registering once registers you for all future events.