Scheps dairy in almena, wis., awards the feeders a monthly cash bonus if they meet the dairy’s 3-percent feed-refusal rate on a consistent basis during the month. If the refusal rate falls between 2.26 percent and 3 percent, the feeder earns a bonus. However, if there is no refusal, or the refusal rate tops 4 percent, there is no bonus.

“It’s a very tight range,” admits owner Dan Scheps. However, during the past two years, there have been only two or three months when the feeders haven’t achieved a bonus. “It’s a bonus for us, too, because purchased feed is our biggest expense,” he adds. A bonus program would be hard to implement without feed-management software.