Continuous eye on improvement more important than ever

The latest Milkminder herds report indicates continual improvement in efficiency for the 12 months to January 2018, when compared to January 2017, with the average herd increasing yield per cow to 26.7 litres per day, and yield from forage per cow to 6.8 litres per day.

Despite this positive trend, Nigel Davies, Promar’s National Consultancy Manager is encouraging dairy businesses to continually set performance targets to influence on-going and future performance.

“Setting informed targets using data from previous months and years, and then adjusting them with an informed eye on overall profit is a beneficial management tool that will help ensure they’re still realistic in light of seasonal factors,” he explains.

“For example, the diagram below refers to an almost 10% difference in feed rates for the national Milkminder sample between April 2016 and April 2017,” adds Nigel.

“If April was a consistent month year-on-year, it would be appropriate for the average herd to aim for a feed rate somewhat less than0.29 kg per litre for the month of April this year.”

However, he points out that such a simplified target is likely to need re-thinking, factoring in the potential impact that the late spring could have on the optimum time for first cut, first cut quantity and quality, variable grazing platforms, and many other aspects that will affect cashflow.

“Taking this into account, climatic challenges may mean that the optimum feed rate needs to be higher than for the same month last year. Nonetheless, the business should still have a pro-active target to aim for,” says Nigel.

“This is especially critical in a scenario where conditions are more challenging, and particularly so for such potentially variable months as April.”

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