Even on a well-run dairy, there are always potential problems. The best way to stay ahead of the problematic trends is to analyze the data to know what is working… and what isn’t.
Whatever the reason, things happen, and they affect consistency… consistent diets, consistent feed times… and cows crave consistency. In fact, consistency is probably the biggest factor in dairy cow performance!
Each employee on a farm makes multiple decisions every day… and the thing about these little decisions is that they aren’t very obvious. I think that’s why I have this conversation so often.
The question is, if you manage a feed operation, how can you see the potential problems and stay proactive to continually improve your operation?
10-15 Minutes a Day
This is how I start the conversation:
There are several key items to look at in your feed management software… but you only need to spend 10-15 minutes a day doing it.
There are four reports in EZfeed that you can look at to keep you in the loop about how your feeders are performing their daily tasks. Sometimes people look at these reports like micro-management tools… but they aren’t. They are conversation starters. You’d be amazed at how much information a feeder can give you once you start asking the right questions.
As a manager, you should never start blaming first… instead always look at what is happening, then ask questions to figure out why the original plan isn’t working. The answers might surprise you… or they might lead to a simple training opportunity.
Here are the four reports about feeder performance to look at daily:
- Loading Deviations
- Unloading Deviations
- Feed Drop Time
- Load Status
Dry Matter Intake
The next thing to look at is what the cows actually ate. Recording and looking at what they didn’t eat is just as important as what was dropped.
You can discover a lot from this information… but simply you can know if your pen counts are off or understand that your feed dry matter percentages might need to change.
Here are three reports to look at daily about dry matter intake:
- DM Intake by group/ration
- Bunk Call Changes
- Refusal Percentage
The last thing is… you have to stay on top of inventory. If you run out of an ingredient, production is going to suffer. It comes back to consistency. If their diet isn’t consistent, the cows aren’t going to consistently produce.
And since this is everyone’s biggest expense, keeping track of inventory really affects the bottom line. Plus, you don’t want to be overcharged for deliveries or be charged for deliveries that didn’t even happen!
Here are four reports about inventory to look at daily:
- Daily Usage
- New Deliveries
- Inventory On-hand
- Ingredient DM Changes
If you are interested in talking more about these reports, you can contact me or customer support. There are many tools in EZfeed that are there to help save you money every day and a little extra knowledge will go a long way.
Learn more about this topic at the upcoming Herd Conference
To learn more about these EZfeed reports, sign up for the Session 4 Breakout Class: Controlling Your Feed Costs.