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Management Opportunities for Improving Profitability of South East Dairies: Where are the Real Dollars?

25 November 2014

When trying to increase revenue on Florida dairy farms, the emphasis should be on the team of specialists all doing their job, a conference has heard.

Dr Bruno do Amaral, Purina Feeds, made several practical suggestions for increasing revenue on Florida dairy farms, starting with increasing TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More) work.

He said: “Owner, nutritionist, veterinarian, herd manager, feeder, pusher, milker, everyone at the farm is equally important to the success and profitability of the business."

"All employees should have training, know what is expected of them, what they are accountable for and the farm goals which should be discussed at team meetings.” Next area to make real $$: Abating heat stress on dry cows.

Yes, they are not producing milk while they are dry, but if they are hot, their calves end up with lower birth weight and long term, those calves actually produce less milk if their mother was too hot while dry, explains Mary Sowerby for the University of Florida Dairy Update. 

Cooler cows while dry produce more milk themselves the following lactation too, they peak higher and their lactation curves stay higher throughout their lactation.

Dr do Amaral suggested SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound) goals for producers to strive for, including:

1. Optimizing feed efficiency to a range of 1.4 to 1.8 pounds of milk per pounds of dry matter consumed. He noted, “Forage quality, days in milk, age, growth, changes in body condition score, body weight, feed additives, and environmental factors will impact feed efficiency.”

2. Grouping cattle for more precise ration formulation by:

a. Fresh heifers

b. Fresh cows

c. High group

d. Middle-low pregnant

e. Far off

f. Close up

3. Striving for first lactation cows to peak at 85 per cent of mature cows’ peak.

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