Longer Term Strategies:
- Raise more forage. Low cost-high quality forage has always been a key to profitable dairy production for confinement or grazing dairies. Keep labor and machinery costs low by sharing equipment and using custom operators. Use crop insurance.
- Reduce fertilizer costs and thus forage costs by applying manure strategically rather than applying on the most convenient fields. Cost savings more than $100 per acre are possible.
- Carry larger inventories of silage and hay. Building an extra pole barn or bunker may be the most practical way to control future feed price risks.
- With tight grain markets and rising forage costs one can't take the risk of buying at market prices when feed is needed. Start thinking and planning for feed needs eighteen months into the future, crossing two crop years.
Source: Joe Horner, University of Missouri Extension Dairy Economist