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Management

Manage dairy employees, establish farm protocols, take on milk marketing, and become more confident in your farm financials.

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Despite the fact that the United States has the safest food supply in the world, food safety has become a high- profile issue. Media attention related to livestock diseases, food recalls and foodborne illness has heightened consumer awareness and concern. E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria have become household words. Consumers want to protect their families from these and other contaminants that may find their way to the dinner table.

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Owners and managers should have a job description, and there are differences in what should be in that job description. The first item should be putting a title on your job and getting key elements included in the description. For many dairy operators, this may involve making a significant attitude change in their thinking. Most consider themselves “farmers.” Historically, farmers think of themselves as “doers.” Farmers do things. The change needs to include the idea that farmers also manage.

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Traditionally, veterinarians working with milk quality and mastitis control programs have used records to some extent but have relied mostly on farm and milking time observation for evaluation and diagnosis and problem solving. However, in recent years, developments in computer handling of data along with newer techniques for bacterial culturing have provided a set of tools that allows diagnosis and monitoring to be done more easily and accurately.

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By now you may have seen that preliminary incubation count (PIC) for raw milk is not just a laboratory recreational activity, but it is a number that affects your milk price. The fluid milk processing industry has recently taken a big interest in this number because it believes two things:

1. PIC is a good predictor of shelf life, and extending shelf life reduces the milk dumped from store shelves.

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The “true type” cow for the progressive dairy producer is the “four-event” cow – a cow that freshens, gets bred, is confirmed pregnant and later is dried off. Cows that only have these four “events” in a given lactation are the cows that generate profit for the dairy enterprise.

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The following article is the fifth in a series of articles summarizing the “Supervisory Skills for Managers” DVD collection produced by Jim Henion. The series provides helpful management hints for owners and managers working with employees on dairy operations.

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