When to beef?
Oftentimes, you decide to cull cows based on hunches, gut feelings or the outward appearance of a cow. Factors such as the cow's age, body condition, health, and days open may also influence the decision. While these factors are important, the economics of selling the animals should be considered. In other words, you should put pencil to paper to prove your gut instinct. FULL STORY »
Does it pay to buy vs. rent?
About a year ago, I got a call from my brother-in-law. He had learned that his landlord, the University of Illinois, had received a cash-rent bid of $360 per acre on the 700-plus acres he had rented the previous year. This was an increase of about $160 per acre. FULL STORY »
Is my crystal ball broken?
I have spent the past 27 years in the dairy industry as a veterinarian and a dairy producer. At one time, I felt I had a commanding understanding of how a dairy farm should be operated. FULL STORY »
Lessons learned from an eventful year
Another year is nearing its close, and as we begin to reflect on what has taken place over the last 12 months, we should ask ourselves these questions: Has our way of life changed? Has our industry been affected by the tragedies of last September? Have we prepared ourselves for future bad times? Did we strengthen our financial positions while prices re-mained high much of the past year? FULL STORY »
Interesting interest rates
I am a fan of Mel Brooks movies, and am particularly fond of Young Frankenstein. One scene that comes to mind is where Dr. Frankenstein and Igor (not Egor) were in a cemetery digging up the body needed to create what would become the monster. FULL STORY »
Accrual accounting: A management tool for the '90s
Today's dairy manager must be aggressive in many different aspects of the dairy operation. Managers must be knowledgeable on such subjects as nutrition, health, and overall herd management. The one element of modern dairying that is quickly becoming more critical is financial management. FULL STORY »
Go east young man, go east
In what sounds like a reversal from the famous line in John Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath," California dairy producers are packing up their belongings, loading up livestock and heading back east. FULL STORY »
Get smart about production contracts
Production contracts are becoming commonplace in agriculture today. And a recent consulting project I performed demonstrates what can happen when a contract goes bad. FULL STORY »
It's time to change how we evaluate financial performance
While net income per cow and net income per hundredweight of milk produced are good measures of profitability, they don’t go far enough to truly compare the overall financial performance of an operation. FULL STORY »