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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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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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In the history of milk production, a reoccurring problem for dairy farmers has been the capacity of producing more milk than can be utilized. This problem is complicated by the limited shelf life of milk. In the early 1900s, farmers dealt with this issue by fractionating milk into cream and skim milk. The cream was then churned into butter, and the buttermilk produced was used in baking. The skim milk was fermented into cottage cheese, and the whey produced was fed to farm animals. Consequently, fractionation of milk into its various components and creation of milk-based ingredients is not a new concept.

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As a dairy producer, you are faced with a dilemma: feed price increases typically precede milk price increases. That means your profitability and margins on your milk are squeezed when feed prices go up. Eventually, the higher input costs typically translate into a higher milk price and your bottom line margins recover. However, in the short run, it is a painful experience.

As we look out into the decade or two ahead of us, I expect substantially increased market volatility, substantially higher feed prices and the risk of substantial feed shortages. Why do I expect this volatility, higher prices and potential shortages? Because we are already using our feed inputs at a record pace. World demand for feed grains has been growing rapidly. The ending stocks-to-usage ratio is very low, increasing the risk of price volatility.

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The following article is the fourth 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.

Dr. Edward Deci of the Department of Clinical and Social Sciences at the University of Rochester tells us, “Motivation means you have energy to behave in a certain way and that you have a sense of direction for that behavior.”

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