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Lowering feed costs starts with good feed

Cost-cutting should always start with the largest expense areas, and on dairies, that’s feed. Reducing expenses in this area has become more complex, though, as the inputs for growing and purchasing feed have risen over recent years. According to three farmers sharing their experiences at the Professional Dairy Producers (PDPW) Business Conference, controlling ration costs comes down to making good feed and closely monitoring its use.

Scott Brenner of Hunter Haven Farm in Illinois said that focusing on the quality of their corn silage and alfalfa allows them to reduce costs because they need to purchase less supplemental grain. Instead, they chose to invest in their own harvesting equipment, which Brenner called the best decision the farm ever made. That gives them the flexibility they need to ensure their 2,200 acres of crops are harvested at the ideal time.

Pico Dairy Group in Colorado doesn’t have that same control from seed to harvest because they buy all of their crops standing, but Shawn Kemp described that they work with their growers to meet the same goal of high-quality feed. “Silage is the best bang for our buck,” said Kemp, the group’s chief financial officer. Maximizing forage in the diet is how they aim to keep feed costs down while still delivering a quality ration.

Katelyn Allen

March 23, 2023



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