Increased volatility in the dairy industry is a concern to dairy producers and their nutritionists alike, writes Sarah Schuling in the "Alumni Corner" of the William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute Farm Report.

"Buying feeds based on their nutritive value, improving feed management, and maximizing feed efficiency are all ways that you can manage through the volatility with your nutritionist," Schuling says.

She shares this advice in the February 2013 Farm Report:

Opportunity Costing. Consider utilizing programs that provide price comparisons for feeds based on digestible or metabolizable nutrients for dairy cows.

Feed Management. Other than selling feed, there are two ways feed is generally removed from the dairy: 1) It is consumed by cattle and converted into milk, body tissue (including fetal tissue), and manure or 2) It flies away in the form of dust and starlings. Reducing the amount of feed removed via the second option will improve income over feed costs.

Feed Efficiency. With current feed prices, increasing energy-corrected milk output per pound of dry matter consumed is a relatively easy way to capture more margin on the dairy farm.

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Source: William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute February 2013 Farm Report