Maximising Dairy Herd Margins

Insights from Our Dairy Farmer Workshops in the South West.

Maximising Dairy Herd Margins

Advanced Ruminant Nutrition recently held a series of maximising margins workshops in the South West. With an excellent turnout of Dairy Farmers from across the region they looked at a series of topics aimed at enhancing farm margins amidst ever evolving challenges in the industry. The meeting covered a variety of topics crucial for optimising farm performance, with insights from a variety of industry experts.

For those who hadn’t been introduced to the company, founder and Director, Bryn Davies opened the meeting. Bryn emphasised the importance of cow health as a primary objective to achieve success on farm. “We are not simply here to sell feed for dairy cows, prioritising cow health is at the centre of all we do, and our success lies in doing a better job for the farm business’s we work with,” commented Bryn.

Dr Sion Richards from Adisseso, delved into the significance of amino acids in dairy nutrition. He stressed that amino acids are often a limiting factor for milk protein and yield. By ensuring diets are properly balanced for amino acids, farmers can maximise returns from their milk contracts. Traditionally, crude protein was used to supply amino acids, however, we now have the pressure to improve nitrogen efficiency, reduce carbon footprint and manage feed costs. Sion emphasised, the need to adapt to modern challenges - balancing amino acids to optimise performance and efficiency.

Chris Walkland tackled the future landscape of the dairy industry, addressing political, legislative, and market-driven changes. He discussed the shifting trends in milk contracts, with a transition towards liquid contracts. Chris also emphasised the importance of understanding global markets and the role they play in determining milk prices, urging farmers to stay informed and adapt accordingly.

Alasdair Marshall BVSc (Hons) MRCVS, of Dairy Vet Services, who jointly hosted our Devon meeting, provided insights into managing the transition period. He underscored the pivotal role of data management, where he stressed, “The one thing worse than no data is inaccurate data!”  He elaborated on monitoring KPIs that highlight if the cows’ day is consistent, at the same time warning us of averages as they tend to hide the extremes. He also advised benchmarking KPIs against yourself.  For close up groups he advised that the key data to look at was the number of days dry and intakes, commenting, “you need to work out the reasons for outliers in order to improve.” He also talked about calf health indicators, looking at Total Proteins, death rate and DLWG. When monitoring Fresh cows he spoke about huge changes here equalling a vulnerable animal.  Lastly, he emphasised the importance of focusing on the basics and developing a successful team on the farm.

The workshops underscored the importance of prioritising cow health, optimising nutrition, and adapting to evolving industry dynamics. By focusing on fundamentals, leveraging data-driven insights, and fostering a culture of continuous improvement, dairy farmers can navigate challenges effectively and maximise their margins in the competitive dairy market.

If you’d like to talk to any of our nutritionists in more detail on any of these topics, then please just get in touch.


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