ZISKapp Simplifies Dairy Risk Management
March 15, 2021
After working with dairy producers for nearly two decades, Dr. Kevin Hoogendoorn was alarmed and frustrated by the complexity of milk marketing tools, and the negative affinity most of his clients had toward them. So, he decided to do something about it.
Hoogendoorn, a dairy veterinarian, nutrition and management consultant based in northwest Iowa, created the ZISKapp. It’s a smartphone application that monitors milk and feed prices, and projects a dairy’s profits for the next 12 months.
“I’ve seen too many dairy producers lose sleep, equity, and sometimes their businesses, because they were not well versed in risk management,” said Hoogendoorn. “In fairness, most milk marketing tools are not user-friendly. Many producers avoid them because they find them confusing and scary, or because they tried them once and got burned.”
“ZISK” is a Polish word for profit, which the veterinarian chose as a positive moniker for a tool that helps dairies monitor and protect their financial futures. To use it, producers enter a few simple metrics specific to their enterprises, including:
Number of cows in the herd
Average daily milk production
Average basis (mailbox price minus Class III price)
Based on these three statistics, the app displays the farm’s projected profits for the next 12 months. With multiple algorithms incorporated into the app’s programming, it factors in the expenses of running a dairy. Market data directly from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange for milk, corn and soybean meal also updates within the app every 10 minutes.
Users can set limits to trigger alerts so the app will send a notification when prices hit a specified threshold. It also will reconfigure profit projections based on input of potential commodity contracts. By entering the month, year, quantity and price of a hypothetical contract, users can see a quick calculation of how that contract would affect their 12-month profitability.
“In recent years, we’ve seen a lot of wild swings in both the milk and feed markets, and I don’t think those days are over,” noted Hoogendoorn. “By providing dairy producers with a simple, easy-to-understand tool, I hope to help them navigate future market gyrations and keep their dairies on an even keel of profitability.”
The ZISKapp is funded by advertisers, and is free for download by dairy producers. It can be accessed via both Apple and Android devices. More information on the app, along with dairy industry news and a quick tutorial, can be found at https://www.ziskapp.com/.