In a recent issue of the Georgia Dairyfax, Lane O. Ely, professor emeritus, University of Georgia, discusses five areas to focus on in 2013:

  • Use your resources wisely. If you have adequate supplies of forage, maximize their use in the ration. Know the quality of your forage and designate higher-quality forages to cows in the first half of lactation.
  • Balance rations and feed for production. "One of the biggest mistakes that producers make is feeding for 80 pounds of milk but only getting 60 pounds of milk," Ely says. "This is not only inefficient but contributes to a poor cash flow."
  • Milk cows that contribute. "With cull cow prices where they are today, low-producing cows that are not covering their feed cost need to be sold or dried off if they are close to calving. An extra 30 days in the dry lot may be cheaper than 30 days on the lactating ration," Ely says.
  • Harvest nutrients in your forage.
  • Spend money to help you make money. "In tight economic times, people often quit paying for testing and records by either dropping programs or not having people record data. An old saying, 'If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it,' could also be 'If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it.'"

For more details, read “Hoping for a Better Next Year,” on page 4 in the October, November, December 2012 issue of the Georgia Dairyfax.