7 steps to maximize income over feed costs

Posted on June 10, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Rod Martin
Evaluating feed costs is a double-edged sword.  Because it’s your largest expense, cost-cutting measures could be extremely significant in reducing cost of production.  On the other hand, milk production and components are the economic engine that drives cash flow.  Saving 20 cents per cow daily in feed costs while losing 50 cents in productivity is not a good economic tradeoff decision.  

Attention students: 10 tips to prepare for a career in agriculture

Posted on November 20, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Eliza Ruzic
Agriculture is an ever-changing field with endless opportunities for a variety of careers.  From accounting to research, and from sales to hands-on daily labor, young people considering a career in agriculture have plenty of choices for future careers. 

After speaking to an eighth-grade careers class recently, I started thinking about what students can do to prepare themselves for a career in agriculture.  Here are my top 10 tips to make yourself stand out as a candidate for a position.

How to focus on farm efficiency

Posted on October 12, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Peter Coyne
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are defined as measurable values that demonstrate how effectively a business meets its objectives.  Identifying and tracking a few simple, yet critical, KPIs can prevent farm managers from becoming bogged down in analysis and losing sight of what’s important to their operations.

Understand lending options

Posted on March 19, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Gary Sipiorski
Lenders of all kinds – banks, Farm Credit, credit unions, equipment manufacturers and others who make credit available to farmers – have many financing options. 

You may have heard many of the following terms, but it can be tough to understand what they mean for you.  Lenders live and breathe this terminology daily while farmers many only hear the terms once a year. 

Here are some of the more common lending “products” as they may be called by someone doing the financing.  Always remember, each lender will have his or her own policies, additional terminologies and methods.  In no way is should this list be considered complete.

5 steps to help your lender help you

Posted on February 26, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Gary Sipiorski
The relationship a dairy producer has with a lender is just as important as a strong balance sheet and cash flow.  The lender is the gatekeeper for tapping into future borrowings.

A dairy producers should take these five steps to maintain a healthy relationship with his or her lender.

Clear thinking with cloudy milk prices: 5 key ideas to see through the low-hanging price clouds

Posted on February 6, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Gary Sipiorski
Seasoned dairy producers have been through our cyclical milk price swings.  They recognize this low spot because they’ve been here before.  Those with less experience may feel more uncomfortable in the current situation, but that’s not to say any dairy producer is pleased with the prices.  Regardless, everyone must work through the low period. 

Here are five ideas to start the preparation process for however long it will take to get back to a higher milk price.  

The Right Focus: Vita Plus Dairy Summit 2017 Recap

Posted on January 8, 2018 in Dairy Performance

More than 330 dairy producers, Vita Plus consultants and industry peers came together December 6 and 7 for Vita Plus Dairy Summit 2017 in Madison, Wisconsin.  Follow the links in this post to access full event coverage, including speakers' PowerPoint presentations, articles, videos and more.

Want success? Take care of your people – Part 2

Posted on October 26, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Peter Coyne
As I mentioned in part one of this series, success on the farm starts and ends with good employees.  We discussed the qualities of good managers and how good management starts at hiring.  In this second article, we will talk about what managers can do to keep employees engaged once they are hired.

Want success? Take care of your people

Posted on October 16, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Peter Coyne
Employees are the most valuable asset on a dairy farm and managing those employees well is the true key to success on a farm. 

Set the expectations millennial employees crave

Posted on May 23, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Bob Hagenow
The workforce is currently made of three different generations:

  • Baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964)
  • Millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000)
  • Generation X (those born between these two generations)

Each of these generations approaches work and is motivated differently based on the life experiences that shaped them.

Involve these 3 people in farm transfer

Posted on April 3, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Gary Sipiorski
Transferring a dairy farm to the next generation can be complicated.  No one wants to make it difficult, but the process involves many details.  Written terms and agreements must be done properly. 

Taking on low milk prices

Posted on August 1, 2016 in Dairy Performance

By Rod Wautlet
The Class III futures are looking better than they were, but they still aren’t great.

The Impact of the Top 5 in 2016

Posted on February 16, 2016 in Dairy Performance

By Gary Sipiorski
Most agricultural products are commodities.  That means corn looks like corn whether it is grown in Iowa, Brazil or China.  Milk looks like milk no matter where in the world the cows are milked. 

The market price of commodities moves based on supply and demand.  As the supply and demand of commodities change - or worldwide cow numbers change – the result is a rollercoaster ride of income on the local farm.

Vita Plus Dairy Summit 2015: Stepping Forward

Posted on February 1, 2016 in Dairy Performance

Vita Plus Dairy Summit, held this past December in Baraboo, Wisconsin, brought together more than 450 progressive producers from across the Midwest as well as leaders in dairy research and management.

Deciphering dairy data

Posted on December 4, 2015 in Dairy Performance
By Randy Greenfield You don’t have to know me well to know I like to work with data. Many producers aren’t quite as likely to get excited about data and spreadsheets, but I think everyone can appreciate the value in tracking dairy herd data to best manage health and performance. We not only have sophisticated

The dairy dozen: 12 key financial indicators (Part 2)

Posted on May 27, 2015 in Dairy Performance
By Gary Sipiorski Think about your last check-up at the doctor’s office.  What questions did your doctor ask you?  How did he or she determine you’re healthy or uncover any potential risks or problems? Now it’s time for you to be the doctor for your farm’s finances.  Pull out your balance sheet and cash flow