Archive for Milk Production

Don’t Blame Your Cows for Lack of Production…

Maybe you’ve seen this happen.  You’re so confident in yourself and your milking team that you consciously or unconsciously have started skipping a few steps.  Or, you have gradually taken on new staff – perhaps a family member or someone selected from the wider community — and you assumed that you didn’t need to review or test their understanding of milking basics because, after all, they know all about it. Then suddenly you’re presented with proof of low milk production and you don’t know how it happened. It just sneaks up on you. Fortunately there’s always a reason.  In this case, it’s up to you to find both the cause and the solution to declining milk production.

Are Your Records Measuring Up?

You have to start with your records.  If you cannot clearly identify the problem, you will find it doubly hard to come up with a way to solve it. Ideally, your milking team is well aware of the benchmarks you are targeting.  Check your records and see if gaps have developed in the achieving the following goals:

  • SCC UNDER 200,000. Evaluate the herd for a high incidence of subclinical or clinical mastitis.
  • CMT: 70% of the herd with linear score of 1 and 2
  • TEAT HEATH: 80% of the herd with no teat end problems. Erosion, eversion, cuts or sores dealt with on a scheduled basis.
  • AVERAGE DAILY PRODUCTION: minimum of 70-75 pounds of 4% fat corrected milk.
  • PEAK PRODUCTION: Set parameters so that you know if heifers and second lactation or older animals are reaching peak production.
  • LACTATION LENGTH: 290 to 310 days with an average length of 296. Anything less than 270 days is considered a short lactation.
  • DRY PERIOD:  Check to see if dry cows have had a dry period of not more than 6 weeks.

Testing. Testing.

  1. Re-check milking procedures. Double check for efficient milk practices.
  2. Take milk samples and run culture and sensitivity tests.
  3. Screen rations or individual feeds for molds and mycotoxins.
  4. Test milking equipment. Poor letdown can be caused by extremes in vacuum.
  5. Test rations and forages to identify deficiencies or imbalances.
  6. Test to find toxicities from chemicals, fluoride and other chemicals.
  7. Test water for impurities or anything that might lower intake.
  8. Stray voltage should be examined when other obvious factors appear normal.

There are obviously other tests that can be performed based on your individual goals and strategies.  The point is not the number of tests. It is about the quality of the data that you have for informed decision making.

Don’t Assume You Always “Know” Best of “Do” Best.

Faulty milking practices always contribute to lower milk peaks and shorter lactations.

  1. Let-down: Poor milk letdown obviously has a negative effect on milk production.  There are many causes that can be determined and managed.  Some cows need a second stimulation to fully let down their milk.  This needs to be recognized, recorded and allowed-for in the milking routine SOP.
  2. Timing:
  3. Too soon or Too Late. When the milking machine is attached is very important.  After proper prepping, milking should be within 0.5 to 2 minutes. Being put on too soon or too late after preparation causes problems.
  4. Too long. When the milking system requires more than six minutes of machine time per cow, problems can arise.
  5. Sanitation:

In the dairy business, you must keep constant vigilance to avoid bacteria.  You don’t want it to infect the milking cows.  You don’t want it in the milk. It’s false economy to save time or money by skipping cleaning procedures.  In the end, you could be facing a problem that is not only hard to eradicate once it has set it, but in some cases could mean the loss of cows.

Back to Basics to Turn Around Low Milk Production

Now that you have some numbers to work with, it’s time to go back to the beginning. It’s like baseball, which I love.  Batters (especially the good ones) are known for stripping down their swing and rebuilding it. However, the rebuild has to have a foundation.  It’s not enough to continuously tweak something here, and something else there just because your stats are “suddenly” showing that you are striking out more often. When you do that, you get so far from the foundation that it becomes all miss and no hits!  Batters (and their coaches) start at the beginning, rebuilding piece by piece, doing the hard work of getting back to the basics. They do the hard work of rebuilding by grinding through what was once simple, all over again.

Here’s the Secret

Make sure you have your Standard Operating Procedures in place, and that everyone knows what is expected. The secret to success isn’t about making your own rules.  It’s all about rules that are effective and that everyone completes properly – every single day – exactly the same way.  On dairy operations, there is a risk of slippage (or suddenly being faced with low production) the moment we think we no longer need the foundational elements that made us successful milk producers in the first place.

Nine Basic Steps that should be Part of Your Standard Milking Procedures

  1. Dry-wipe dirt and debris from the first cow’s udder.
  2. Pre-dip all four teats with the green dip cup.
  3. Strip two squirts of milk from each teat and observe for abnormal milk. (*You should have a SOP in place for dealing with abnormal milk.)
  4. Return to the first cow and thoroughly wipe with a clean towel.
  5. Attach the unit to the first cow and adjust.
  6. Repeat steps 5 and 6 with the second and third cows in the side.
  7. Begin at step 1 with the fourth cow on the side and repeat procedure with each group of 3 cows until all 12 units are attached.
  8. When all units have detached, post dip all cows and release.

Once again the perfect SOP is not necessarily these exact eight steps.  The best SOP for milking procedures at your dairy is the one that is developed by your milking team, practiced, revised and performed daily, and that gets the best production from the milking herd.  No surprises!

Eat Well! Live Long! Milk Often!

As discussed so far, there are many little things that can add up to the significant problem of declining milk production. If none of the preceding scenarios are contributing to your situation, maybe it is time to look at the age of your cattle, the nutrition provided for your herd and finally, milking frequency.  Consider this three-point proposition: 1. Cows who live longer milk more. 2. Cows who eat more give more milk. 3. Cows who are milked more often give more milk.  After all, cows need optimum health and energy to produce to optimum levels. With the right nutrition in place, then check your system to reduce the stress and strain.  More frequent milking can be another way to enhance udder health, increase production and extend the milking life of your cows.

Time to Test Again!

Perhaps you have come full circle in your strategic review, with all of your staff involved, and you are certain that all the SOP procedures are being followed by all milking staff.  At this point, any problems in milking performance that are discovered must be a result of a more severe deficiency either in the design of your SOPs or with the health of your herd.  Call in your consultants: nutritionist, veterinarians, feed suppliers or other dairy peers whose opinion and objective viewpoint can give you a different perspective. It’s never too late and getting the best data is the place to start. Information is the key.  So once again in addition to the testing previously outlined, the following information should be tracked and posted:

  • Somatic cell counts
  • Standard plate counts
  • Preliminary incubation counts

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Don’t blame your cows. Consistently good milk production is all about doing the simple things. It is built on the foundation elements that we know we should do, over and over, day after day. Success means following a few of the most simple rules and following them correctly and consistently.  It isn’t glamorous but perfecting the basics works whether you’re goal is hitting home runs or milking a high producing dairy herd. Remember don’t blame your cows for lack of production…you’re the problem, and you can be fixed!




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Global Warming and Its Effect on Dairy Cattle

Over the past few weeks we have certainly seen some extreme weather conditions around the world.  Those on the east coast of North America have been hit by record cold temperatures.  At the same time, those in Australia have been experiencing record hot temperatures.  These extreme weather conditions have many wondering what effects “Global Warming” will have on the dairy cattle  There has been lots of coverage in the media about  dairy cattle and their alleged contribution to greenhouse gases and how that is contributing to Global Warming.  Very little has been addressed about the effects extreme weather conditions have on the dairy cattle themselves.  One thing appears certain.  Extreme heat waves and cold fronts are the new ‘normal’.

As producers know, cow and calf comfort is one of the most important factors in milk production and growth.  As more and more producers are experiencing extreme temperatures, keeping their animals comfortable is becoming harder.  Drastic increases or decreases in ambient temperature affects animal production systems by affecting the health, reproduction, nutrition etc. of the animals and thereby results in poor performance, inferior product quality, outbreak of novel diseases, etc.  Dairy cattle are   more susceptible to increased ambient temperature than other ruminants, because of their high metabolic rate and the poor water retention mechanism of their kidney and gastrointestinal tracts.  Young stock are not immune to these weather stresses either.

Greater temperature shifts and shifts that are more frequent seem to be the most obvious weather changes that will have effects on dairy cattle.  It is forecasted that we can expect even greater atmospheric temperature changes.  Therefore these issues are going to come to the forefront.  The following are the five major impacts   that global warming will have on dairy cattle.

  1. Ambient temperature’s effect on Dry Matter Intake (DMI)
    When cows are stressed their Dry Matter Intake (DMI) decreases.  As the heat rises DMI decreases.  Feed consumption by dairy cattle starts to decline when average daily temperature reaches 25 to 27 Centigrade  (77 to 81 Fahrenheit) and voluntary feed intake can be decreased by 10-35% when ambient temperature reaches 35 C (95 Fahrenheit) and above.  Conversely, cows that are experiencing extreme cold weather conditions increase their DMI intake drastically, but instead of the consumption being converted in to milk production, a much larger portion of their energy is committed to their maintenance energy requirements.  Thermal cold stress conditions result in 20-30% more maintenance energy requirement and an ensuing reduction in the amount of net energy available for growth and production.
  2. Increased respiratory rate
    When dairy cows experience increased thermal stress, their heart rate rises.  The heart rate of the animal under thermal heat stress is higher to ensure more blood flow towards peripheral tissue to dissipate heat from the body core to the skin.  This increased effort takes much needed energy away from milk production.  Respiration rate of the animal can be used as an indicator of the severity of thermal load but several other factors such as animal condition, prior exposures to high temperature etcetera should be considered to interpret the observed respiration rate.
  3. Decreased conception rates
    As weather stress increases, dairy reproduction function decreases, resulting in decreased conception rates.  This is a result of thermal stress that causes imbalance in secretion of reproductive hormones.  High ambient temperature has also been reported to increase incidence of ovarian cysts.  Plasma progesterone levels in animals under high ambient temperatures are low compared to animals that are experiencing thermal comfort.  It has also been reported that high ambient temperature causes poor quality of ovarian follicles resulting in poor reproductive performance in cattle.  Fertility of cattle is also reduced due to low intensity and duration of estrus caused by reduced luteinizing hormone (LH) and estradiol secretion during thermal stress.  In addition, thermal stress also causes decreased reproductive efficiency by increasing the calving interval. Calves born from dams under thermal stress were found to be of lower body weight than those from normal cows.  Additionally the dams had reduced lactation performance due to the carryover effects of thermal stress which occurred during the prepartum period.
  4. Decreased Metabolic Responses
    Under heat stress metabolism is reduced, which is associated with reduced thyroid hormone secretion and gut motility, resulting in increased gut fill.  Plasma growth hormone concentration and secretion rates decline with high temperature (35 ºC / 95 ºF).  Ruminal pH is typically lower in heat stressed cattle
  5. Decreased Milk Production
    Reduction in milk production is one of the major economic impacts of climatic stress upon dairy cattle.  Decrease in milk yield due to thermal heat stress is more prominent in Holstein than in Jersey cattle (Read more…).  Decreased synthesis of hepatic glucose and lower non esterified fatty acid (NEFA) levels in blood during thermal stress causes reduced glucose supply to the mammary glands and results in low lactose synthesis, which in turn leads to low milk yield.  As mentioned earlier, reduction in milk yield is further intensified by decrease in feed consumption by the animals to compensate for high environmental temperature.  Actually 35% of reduced milk production is due to decreased feed intake while the remaining 65% is attributable directly to the thermal stress.  Other factors resulting in reduced milk production during thermal stress are decreased nutrient absorption, negative effects on rumen function and hormonal status and increased maintenance requirements.  These all mean that there is reduced net energy available for production.

To combat heat stress check out these articles (Read more: Are you feeling the heat?  and Heat Stress on Dairy Cattle) and to combat cold stress (Read more: COMMON SENSE, COWS and the UN-COMMON COLD of 2014!“COLD CALVES” – The Next Drama Coming to a Calf Pen Near You! and Cold Weather Effects on Dairy Cattle)

The Bullvine Bottom Line

There is no question that the world’s temperatures are changing because of atmospheric pressure changes caused by Global Warming.  Warming or cooling of the climate system of the earth has multifaceted effects on animals.  Intensification and increased frequency of thermal stress due to global warming has the most prominent impact on dairy cattle and causes   different physiological, metabolic and production disturbances.  The importance of responding to thermal stress has been increased for dairy farmers in tropical, subtropical and even in temperate regions of the world due to atmospheric warming.  As these effects increase, it will be increasingly urgent for the milk producers of the world to provide environments that are able to combat these effects and offer the greatest comfort for their cattle.  Global Warming is actually Global Warning for the dairy industry.


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The Dairy Industry – Past, Present and the Future

Like many Bullvine readers I grew up on a small dairy farm, took part in 4H clubs and fell in love with a breed of cows.  I attended college and studied animal agriculture. I graduated during the Green Revolution, not green like we know it today, but green in the fact that the developed countries felt that they could ramp up production and feed the world without the need for developing countries to produce their own food.  And since that time animal agriculture has focused on animals producing more and more. Well the truth is that both of these models where animals produce more and more and where only developed countries need to produce food are broken. We ignored factors such as a country needing a strong agricultural base to be successful and more and more milk per cow leading to poor and poorer reproduction rates.  Furthermore the idea that the majority of the world’s population growth would occur in the developing nations never even crossed our radar screens back then.  How could we have been so wrong in our thinking? Are we thinking any clearer in 2013, when it comes to dairy feeding people in the years ahead?

Today’s Dairy World

Few of us are aware that India is the country that has the most cows (48 million) kept for milk production purposes. The production of India’s cows is low (1,200 lbs per year) but through improved husbandry there is great potential. China’s rapid growth as an importer of dry milk powders (whole and skimmed) is predicted to grow in 2013 by 12% and 18%. The USA in 2013 is exporting the equivalent of 15% of its annual production where just a few years ago it was thought that USA milk prices were too high for significant exportation to take place. USA cheese exports in 2013 will be double the exports in 2008 and that will make it the largest single exporting country for cheese. Cheese is the darling child of milk products when it comes to exports and EU countries which export almost half of the cheese globally are looking for new customers. To say the least, the world is hungry for dairy products. The demand for dairy is expected to increase at a rate faster than the world’s population growth. (Read more: “Got Milk” is becoming “Got More” and MILK MARKETING: How “Got Milk?” BECAME “Got Lost”)

Tomorrow’s World       

We have all seen the prediction that there will be 9 billion people by 2050. That is a 25% increase. If dairy is to fill more of the average global diet the world will need 30 to 35% more milk to be produced in 2050 than there is produced today. The rapidly expanding middle classes in China and India will consume more milk products as will consumers in Africa, SE Asia and Russia. At the processing industry level, expect new products (including low lactose and ingredient enriched milk products) and more uses for milk. At the farm level the rate of applying technology will be at an ever increasing rate. But the dairy industry does not exist on a vacuum.

Over the past few years besides population growth and environmental concerns, the major issue before all countries has been trade. (Read more: Why the Future of the North American Dairy Industry Depends On Supply and Demand) Trade is important in the EU which once had production quotas but where now farm prices are no longer guaranteed and narrower on-farm margins are resulting in increased herd sizes in order to efficiently apply technology and provide critical mass. In the future no country will be an island onto itself when it comes to producing milk and trading in milk products. Canadian dairy farmers are facing that matter after the Canada and the EU signed a tentative trade agreement last week in which more EU cheese will have access to the Canadian market.  Read more: (Read more: Canada, EU close to sealing trade deal with concessions on cheese, beef and Canada’s dairy farmers ‘angered and disappointed’ by EU trade deal that would double cheese imports)

Agenda: Theirs, Yours and Ours

Feeding the growing world population, the application of technology, the elimination of duplication and waste and the best use of all resources will be on every country’s agenda. Are these issues too big or too far away? We lose if dairy is replaced in the diet. All things dairy lose if we think too small, only nationally or only about self preservation. All dairy agendas are inter-related.

Tear Down the Silos. Ramp Up the Herd.

It is paradigm shift time. The big picture question is how can more milk be efficiently produced to feed a hungry world?

Are farmers, their organizations, their service providers, the milk processors and the global traders thinking in terms of mutual (collective) benefit or individual benefit? The survivors will be in supply chains that can provide a quality product at a price that consumers are willing to pay. Quality is the watchword. For those that are not prepared to work with others it will not be Who Moved My Cheese but who replaced my cheese with their product.

What will that look like? At the farm level the list of changes needed will be extensive but in the immediate future it is likely to include larger herds to take advantage of technology, information and critical mass. At the industry level our organization leaders will need to dismantle and re-create new organizations and structures to provide the best and most relevant services dairy farmers will need. If you are looking for an example read the announcement in the Bullvine last week to merge Dairylea Cooperative Inc. and the Dairy Farmers of America in the USA (Rad more: Dairylea announces proposed merger with DFA).

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Everyone in the dairy world will need to think collectively and globally. The rewards will go to those that can adapt, adopt and act. Cattle breeders in just ten years will be using technology and information that is hardly on the researcher’s bench just now. If you are looking for an example we need only to remember back five years to 2008 when we asked each other how to pronounce genomics. Today it is an important tool in breeding dairy cattle for the future. Will you and your farm be part of dairy’s future or part of its history?

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Dairy Nutrition. The K.I.S.S. of Wealth!

Thinking of our personal health and hearing the term ‘nutrition’, you might be motivated to eat more vegetables.  That’s simple and we all like the K.I.S.S. (keep it sweet and simple) principle.

Dairy Breeding is Simple Too

All you have to do is pick the right dairy breed, the right dairy genetics and, at least occasionally, manage to have Mother Nature and the marketplace somewhat on your side and it follows that you will produce buckets of milk and be the proud owner of a sustainable dairy business.  And that’s exactly why we more often face the O.U.C.H. syndrome – Overworked Underproducing Cattle Herds. Why is it that, with all the technology, science and passion at our fingertips, we are missing something?
nutrition consultant scott b

They Are What They Eat!

Cows eat every day.  Cows are milked every day.  It would seem to follow that those simple, daily actions could be the key to simplifying our dairy success.  Perhaps dairy breeders are missing opportunities and should seek expert help from nutrition consultants. After all, meeting production, herd health and economic goals directly affects the profitability of every dairy herd. The tricky part is that every dairy operation has unique issues that must be considered as part of the nutrition solution.

Why Bother With a Nutrition Consultant?

Scott B_ppAn effective nutrition consultant will investigate and analyze all the issues impacting your cows and thus impacting your success.  The Bullvine went to Dr. Scott Bascom to get some insight on the value of working with a nutrition consultant.  Dr. Bascom is the Director of Technical Services at Agri-Nutrition Consulting, Inc. (ANC) (Read more articles about animal nutrition by Dr. Bascom). He confirms “nutrition consultants can design a customized feeding program to meet their client’s specific goals and make the best use of the resources they have on the farm, and are skilled at feeding cows, heifers, and dry cows in a manner that will keep them healthy and highly productive.”  However his years of experience starting at college have given him a wider viewpoint.   While in college he attended a lecture given by Dr. Paul Chandler.   Chandler shared,  “There are many reasons beyond economics that a nutritional consultant provides value.” He feels that one of the best resources that a good nutrition consultant can develop is in maximizing the human side. “You have days when you are also a financial advisor, psychologist, marriage counselor and a loyal friend.” He continues, “At the time I didn’t comprehend what Dr. Chandler meant but now I recognize that he was telling us we would have to go beyond our skill in nutrition to develop a high level of trust with our clients if we were going to be successful.”

Not Just a Quick Fix. And BORING is good too!

The very nature of dairy breeding has conditioned breeders to the fact that any process we implement or change we make must be undertaken not as a short term fix but with a view to profitability for many years to come.  Changes are both feared and welcomed. Feared because they’re never easy.  Welcomed because of the potential for improvement. Dr. Bascom has a somewhat unconventional view of change as it relates to nutrition. “With my clients I am striving for BORING.  I want a boring ration that never changes because we feed the same thing all the time.  I want cows that are BORING because they are healthy, comfortable and get bred in a timely fashion. I want my herd visits to be BORING because we have no major issue to consider. My point is the goal is to get our clients to a place where we are meeting our goals and rarely need to make any big changes.  At this point we make very minor adjustments when we need to make a change.  The cows are happy, the producer is happy, and I am happy.”

From the Bunker to the Bank!

We spend research dollars to identify a cow’s genes to the smallest snippet.  We spend millions of dollars on the cow with the best dairy conformation. But we can’t agree on what to feed her at the bunker. Dr. Bascom feels that dairy nutrition is economically imperative. “The producer that isn’t working with a nutritionist has a lot as risk financially.  The value of feed fed to a lactating cow can be $8 or more per day. For a 100 cow herd the value of feed fed in a year is well over $250,000!  With feed costs so high, optimizing income over feed cost becomes critical. He backs up the statistics with personal experience. “When ANC picks up a new client that was not using a nutritional consultant prior to me, it is not unusual for us to increase income over feed cost by $0.25/cow/day. This adds up to a significant increased annual income.”

Keep Your Money Growing Just for You

“Another significant reason to work with a nutritional consultant is that they can bring new ideas to the farm.  Consultants are exposed to a diverse range of information including what we learn from other clients, trade shows, continuing education, and other people in our support network.  Part of our job as an advisor is to filter through all this information and bring back to our clients what is most applicable to their situation?”

How to Increase Milk Production

As I write this, I begin to see that the practice of nutrition is like the practice of medicine.  Being blessed with both an animal nutritionist and a medical doctor in the family, it is increasingly clear to me that the really good practitioners in either field are the ones who not only understand the science but can put it into practice.  Dr. Bascom readily is a storehouse of working examples derived from dairy nutrition consulting. “Let’s talk about increasing income over feed cost. Often this includes increasing milk production.   However, too often we can fall into the trap of pushing for higher milk production in a way that isn’t profitable. When we decide that higher milk production is the key to increasing income over feed cost then we look at forage quality, cow comfort, facilities, and a variety of management factors to decide how to reach this goal.   The answer is different on every farm.    For example if I have a client that has average days in milk of 250 days then we are not going to increase milk production until we improve reproduction.  On the other hand, a client that is overstocking their facilities might experience an immediate increase in milk per cow and total milk shipped by culling out some of their bottom end cows thus improving cow comfort for the rest of the herd.”

What Does Quality Cost?

In polling dairy breeders who do not use consultants, the number one reason given is that either the consultant or the feed program will be too expensive.  Dr. Bascom appreciates the opportunity to answer this concern. “Again, we start by talking about income over feed cost!  Sometimes decreasing out –of-pocket costs drops income over feed cost! The answer to this question is to look for ways to make the best use of the resources available on the farm.   We ask questions like, are we getting the most value out of the forages we are feeding? Are we feeding commodities that are competitively priced? Are we wasting feed?” Too often we measure financial success by decreased input dollars.  Sometimes we have to spend a little to make more.  A key learning to internalize is that you can waste money just as easily on excessive quality as you can on deficient quality.  Optimum quality is the goal.

Let’s Ruminate on Components!

“In most cases increasing components will increase income over feed cost.  The exception would be in markets that don’t pay premiums for high component milk. Low components could be an indication of cow health issues.   So fat and protein tests are something I watch closely.

The first step in high component milk is about feeding a healthy rumen. Forage quality is paramount.   We need high quality forages to optimize rumen health. So the first step is to make sure forage quality is optimum.  We also balance carbohydrates and degradable protein to encourage rumen health. The rumen bugs produce very high quality protein that drives both milk yield and components. After we have designed a diet for optimum rumen health and to maximize the production of high quality protein by the rumen then we look at additives. These would include bypass protein sources and rumen protected amino acids.”

Beyond the Basics to Practical and Personal

One of the most rewarding aspects of being connected to the dairy industry is hearing stories such as the ones Dr. Bascom shared with us.  “Years ago I worked with a dairyman in the southeastern part of the US that told me I got more milk for him than anyone else. I was only able to get his cows to 50 lbs. of milk but he was close to 30 when we started. This won’t get me on the cover of a major dairy magazine but to him it was a really big deal.”  Of course there are times ANC’s client’s success has meant rising to a challenge. “One of my ANC clients challenged me to feed as much forage as we could feed to his cows and maintain healthy cows, production at 75 lbs. of milk, and high components.    We were able to get the diet up to 82% forage as a percent of dry matter.   We maintained milk at 75 lbs., fat test over 4.0%, protein at 3.3%, cut purchased feed costs, cow health improved, and reproductive performance improved.  I didn’t think we could take the forage to this level without losing milk!”  Every client has different goals, says Bascom. “Several years ago I started working with a new client that markets embryos.   The goals were to maintain fat test at 4.0%, protein at 3.4%, and cut purchased feed cost. We made adjustments to the diet to feed more of their homegrown forages to cut purchased feed cost. We also added a liquid feed to the ration and made some adjustments in how the TMR was mixed.  Not only did we save money but the cows came up in both protein and fat test. This put more money in the milk check and also made more cows in the herd eligible for the foreign embryo market.”

ROF is Good. Return on Relationship (ROR) is Great.

It doesn’t matter what facet of the dairy industry you work in, you’re going to find passionate people.  Dr. Bascom is one of them. “I love cows,” says this ANC consultant and adds, “Following a career in nutrition allows me to be around cows and people who love cows.”  And that is a key motivator for him. “The cow success stories are rewarding but perhaps the most rewarding experiences are the people success stories. I have celebrated weddings and the birth of children with my clients. I have watched their children grow-up and find their way into the dairy operation. I have cried tears at the loss of their loved ones. These experiences are just as rewarding as celebrating high rolling herd averages, the sale of bulls into AI, All-American nominations, and high classification scores. This is very much a people business and it is so rewarding to gain the trust of my clients in a way that they want to share good times and the hard times in life with me.”

The Bullvine Bottom Line

We can all identify with the passion that makes a career in dairying the focus of our daily lives.  However, we can’t let rose colored glasses cause us to limit our dairy herd success.  Dairy nutrition consultants help us to investigate and discover ways to overcome unnecessary or unseen obstacles.  So that leaves the Simple Question: “Why bother with nutrition consultants?”  And leads to the Simple Answer:  “You can’t afford not to.”

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