With the explosion of new technology and computerized records, many farms find themselves drowning in data.
For instance, there are daily milk weights, conductivity readings, milk components, rumination times, dry matter intakes, milking times/flows, genomic scores, body weights, pregnancy rates, calving intervals, and so on.
Which are the most important?
It depends, says Randy Greenfield, a Waupun, Wis.-based consultant for Vita Plus. “It’s going be different for every dairy.”
At the recent Vita Plus Dairy Summit, Greenfield zeroed in on a few of the parameters.
For instance, when it comes to monitoring profitability, he recommends using income over feed cost. Use accurate feed costs and a relatively stable milk price — a 12-month average with component values built in. Pounds of fat plus pounds of protein per cow is an important number to know, especially in component markets.
He also likes a good breakeven milk price and operating expenses as a percentage of gross income.
He calls pregnancy rate “the ultimate measure of reproductive efficiency.”