dairy management

  1. Cutting costs on your dairy farm

    Oct 19, 2017

    A penny per hundredweight trumps a dollar per cow in 2016

    For the country’s dairy farmers, there doesn’t appear to be anything “sweet” to anticipate in ‘16. On the contrary, slimming down production costs is essential. With a 4-year average total cost of production of $19.66 – which is already adjusted for bull calf and cull cow income –there is a yawning chasm between production costs and milk income per cwt.

    Where to start slimming? First, let’s determine “what is”. What are the big players in the list of costs?

  2. Don't cut your dairy profitability

    Oct 19, 2017

    How is your time best spent? Trying to cut expenses by a dollar per cow or a penny per hundredweight? For every hundred cows you milk, you will save $100 for every dollar you cut in production costs per cow. If each of those cows are putting 24,000 lbs. of milk in the tank each year, finding one cent per cwt in savings will save $240 per year. A penny per cwt. trumps a dollar per cow in 2016.

  3. Dairymen, who has your back?

    Oct 19, 2017

    During this year of financial challenges, it is easy to feel alone. Fact is, you shouldn’t. Dairy farmers and dairy support businesses you don’t even know are feeling challenged right along with you.

    With the June Class III likely to settle around +/- $13.20 per hundredweight, the good news is that will be around 50 cents higher than May’s $12.76 Class III.

    Currently, milk prices trading in the futures market for the rest of the year are looking more positive, although still below many farms’ full cost of production.

  4. Are you prepared for a disaster?

    Oct 19, 2017

    Watching the national news Sunday evening — not something I get to do very often — a story came on about flooding in Iowa.

    The clip showed a number of homes that were already flooded to the eaves. Heartbreaking.

    Meanwhile, crews of citizens were busy filling sandbags and building dikes to protect areas that were projected to flood later this week as the river continued to rise.

    While the story focused on the people in towns and cities along the rapidly rising Cedar River, as a dairy farmer you have to wonder what is happening in more rural areas.

  5. Farm tax liability a double whammy this year

    Oct 19, 2017

    2016 will not go down as a stellar year for many farms in Ohio. It has been an equal opportunity year — not particularly good for dairy farms, crop, beef, swine, or poultry farms.

    There have been multiple ways for it to be unstellar: wet weather, dry weather, low prices and noxious weeds.

  6. The only thing for certain is change

    Oct 19, 2017

    A tattered 1979 paperback edition of Webster’s New World Dictionary defines context as “-noun, the parts just before a word or passage, that determine its meaning.”

    Hop ahead to 2016, and Webster’s on-line definition adds “the situation in which something happens: the group of conditions that exist where and when something happens.”

  7. Dairy farmers suffer financial pain in 2016

    Oct 19, 2017

    Like 2016, 2015 was not a kind year for many Ohio farms. The Class III milk price averaged $15.80 per hundredweight (cwt). The Federal Order 33 Producer Price Differential added another 44 cents per cwt to the price received by farmers shipping Grade A milk (the majority of Ohio milk is Grade A,) resulting in an average statistical uniform price of $16.24 for the year.

  8. Reality: Dairymen are hurting

    Oct 19, 2017

    The December 2016 final milk check, which will be deposited in cash-starved farm checking accounts this week, brings some small relief to Ohio’s dairy farmers.

    With the Class III milk price announced at $17.40 per hundredweight (cwt.), the negative 61-cent Producer Price Differential brought the Statistical Uniform Price (SUP) in at $16.79 per cwt.

    The good news is that both the Class III price and the SUP were record highs for 2016. The bad news is that both the Class III and SUP were record highs for 2016.

  9. Measure your farm's financial health

    Oct 19, 2017

    Exactly two years ago, we knew we were heading into a down cycle in the dairy industry following the major high of 2014.

    How well each farm would fare through the coming years of substantially lower milk prices would be heavily influenced by the financial health of the farm going in. Cash or near-cash reserves would be tapped.

  10. Balancing income, expenses challenges dairymen

    Oct 17, 2017

    How much are you paying for the privilege of milking cows?

    Since 1999, I have kept a spreadsheet for Federal Order 33 milk prices. For each month, the Class III milk price and Producer Price Differential are listed and then added together to calculate the Statistical Uniform Price. Monthly MILC payments were listed from 2002 through 2014, with MPP margins taking their place in October 2014. Annual averages for each item summarize each year’s data.