Stay the Course in Tough Times

Posted: February 26, 2018 | Written By: Jay Hoffman, Form-A-Feed Nutrition and Production Specialist

As 2018 arrives, so do many new opportunities. However as many know, it also ushers in a period of lower milk prices. In these tough times, there is a real desire for strong communication between myself as a dairy nutrition specialist, and my clients. Being united as a team will bring answers to questions that will come up along the journey.

Conversations may include: “Are we spending money needlessly on products that we can do without?” “Can we fine tune our diets to our lactating groups to better fit a more strategic scope of animals?” “How can we streamline our employees and get more out of less?” “Is inoculant worth spending the money on?”

As you can see, there are many things to consider when tough times arise. There are no easy answers, but I do have some tips.

  1. Work closely with your Nutritionist. Make sure that decisions are based on what is best for the cow, and that the cows are telling us how they are doing.
  2. Stay the Course. If what you have been doing is working, don’t knee jerk react. This may cause a ripple in something that may not show for months to come but in the long run will cost you.
  3. Utilize all areas of expertise on your dairy. Including but not limited to: dairy records, culling guidelines, breeding evaluations, forage management practices and procedures, and veterinarian herd checks with proper follow up. Face your key financial decisions openly.
  4. Team up with a professional group that can help with the key areas on your dairy from tip #3, such as Form-A-Feed’s Sci Tech Consulting services team.
  5. Set goals, long term and short term, for both business and personal for you and your operation.
  6. Stay on top of new product offerings and services that are available. Making sure to use products that are research-proven and cow-approved.
  7. Connect with a peer or mentoring group. These groups will meet monthly and will not just talk about challenges, but will offer ways to help work through difficulties together. They also help you stay on the course.

These seven tips are listed in no order after #1. I do feel the relationship between a dairy producer and nutritionist is key to making many of the needed pieces on the dairy today work, and is number one for me and my clients. Timely forage sampling, walking the cows, reviewing dairy records, and seeing where we are compared to where we were being important for progress to be made both now and into the future. Utilizing Form-A-Feed’s services such as coaching and training, data and analytics, and feed and nutrition will help you stay on the path to success.

2018 will be another year full of opportunities. A good friend shared with me 20 years ago that these are not difficulties but opportunities to work towards a goal and stay the course. If animal agriculture is what your future holds, key in on your values. Like you, Form-A-Feed values Family, Relationships, Professionalism, Integrity, Innovation and Quality. Leverage Form-A-Feed’s values, services, and research and manufacturing capabilities that are FSMA, HAACP and Safe Feed/Safe Food Certified. We are here to help you reach your goals.

Furthermore, be prepared to tell your story. Sharing with others the good things, and the good people that we have in agriculture today to provide quality dairy products. With hard work and clear objectives, together we will be strong through this season in 2018, and move forward into the future. We are feeding the world together through professionalism, quality products, and innovative solutions.