Happy New Year to you all. It’s time again to plan for a successful New Year on your dairy and give thanks that 2010 is gone. This time of year is a good time for planning, not only for this year but the future. This means how do we continue to improve the things we do well and what do we change or eliminate the things we don’t do well.

1 Revisit your business plan. Make sure you can take advantage of upswing of the economy, where can you reallocate your resources to increase your profits. Continuing with cut-backs may not be the most profitable plan.

2 Set new performance goals for all the enterprises or areas of your dairy. These should have employee inputs also as this is the road map for success. These will then set the goals for your employees to strive to meet the whole dairy’s performance and safety goals.

3 Implement some sort of employee retraining program to insure they understand their responsibilities in this quest for improvement to reach your goals.

4 These performance goals then are translated to employee job descriptions and compensation for their part of meeting the dairy’s goals. These are to be explained at the employee performance review.

5 Do only what you can do well. If you can’t raise calves, use a calf raiser or buy replacements. If you can’t grow crops, buy them or have custom grown and or harvested.

6 Go visit other dairies in the country and go to Extension and other dairy meetings. You might get some new ideas and reconnect with people you have not seen in a while.

7 Replace out-dated, worn out milking equipment. If maintenance had slipped last year, the milking system is the only thing that makes you money on your dairy.

8 Milk clean dry udders and dip teats.

9 Dig out the back of your freestalls, add new sand.

10 Keep cows as clean, cool and comfortable as possible.

11 Inventory your blind quarters, replaced missing leg bands, apply new bands to new found blind quarters, and cull those 2 quartered beauties. Nothing builds employee satisfaction like milking a bunch of 2 quartered cows!

12 Hire help with more teeth than tattoos.

13 If you get out of breath tying your shoes, lose weight or wear pull on boots.

14 Keep a smile on your face, people will wonder what you are up to.

15 Keep mycoplasma at bay, pasteurize your calf milk.


Source: David R. Bray, University of Florida Extension