Better is Better – February 2016

The Pine Creek Nutrition newsletters usually come about after conversations – this one is no different. “Better is Better” was discussed the other night with a fellow Penn State grad. We were talking about protein and energy for growing calves. The idea also applies while setting goals and expectations for the year.

Jason and I had some windshield time in Idaho and talked about “Better is Better” in reference to strat- egies during low margin/return years. What free things can you do better?

  1. Make lists. Lists of goals. Lists of projects. To do lists. Lists serve the purpose of keeping us on task.
  2. Do the exercise of setting goals and outlining expectations.
  3. Write your budget.
  4. Develop the operation’s 5-year plan. This will keep you motivated to get through the ups and downs.
  5. Can you do one thing a little bit better?
    • Push up feed more often. The last pound of dry matter intake yields up to 3 lbs more of energy corrected milk.
    • Reduce feed shrink with neatness in the feed area.
    • Depending on circumstances specific to your dairy, does adding a cost-cutting ingredient make the diet better? Even if you own plenty of silage, almond hulls may save you money, and improve the diet.
    • Groom free stalls more often.
    • Are heifers and dry cows bedded adequately?
  6. Review your SOPs. Are they really standardized?
    • Is everyone trained in humane handling skills of down/injured cows?
    • Is everyone milking consistently? Training to be consistent is free. Herds that consistently get milk quality premiums don’t spend more money. They spend more time training.
  7. Speaking of training; employees are motivated by many things. Near the top of the list is atten- tion. They want to know what is expected. How to do the work correctly. Motivate employees to be consistent during the tough times with training and attention.

Use these ideas as a starting point. “Better is Better” and doing one thing a little bit better will help you stay focused on improving.

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