Strategies for a tough year

By Dairy News

ECHUCA BASED consultant, Tom Farran, presented some essential take-home messages after looking over the Victorian Dairy Farm Monitor Report.

Although there was a distinct focus on northern Victoria, some of the points he raised at a recent workshop are timeless.

Key lessons from 2018-19

  • Careful and early planning;
  • Carefully compare different options;
  • Too many young stock were a burden;
  • Buy feed based on value for money rather than just price per tonne;
  • Maintain reasonable cow numbers and milk production;
  • Do the basics well.

Buying in feed

  • Need to compare feeds on cents per MJ of energy and dollars per kg protein;
  • Factor wastage into feed budgets;
  • How is the feed gong to be fed out (in the paddock? Feed rings?);
  • Factor in costs of feeding out (labour, fuel);
  • Do you have machinery to do it?;
  • Make sure the diet is balanced and it will produce the milk required;
  • Make sure the fibre content of the diet isn’t too high or they wont be able to eat enough;
  • Take care not to put “all eggs into one basket” in feed sourcing;
  • If not irrigating in autumn, make sure feed budget goes until August 2020.

Best bet strategies for 2019-20

Milk price is providing the dairy farms in the region with a chance, therefore:

  • Cutting cow numbers may leave the farm worse off;
  • Reducing milk production is likely to leave the farm worse off;
  • Only rear the number of young stock required;
  • Carefully put together a feed budget and begin to secure feed;
  • Plan early and be flexible with options;
  • Consider if farming through this year is the best option;
  • Think about the impact decisions this year will have on the future of the business; and
  • Look after yourself.