Dairy Farmers Go to Cow College | VideoRetha Colclasure | 2/1/2011
Some dairy farmers are going to dairy cow college today to find ways to help improve the bottom line.
While grain farmers are enjoying the rising prices they get for selling their crop, those same costs cut into the bottom line for a dairy farmer.
Randy John took a day away from milking his herd of 65 dairy cows to go to dairy cow college.
"The economics haven`t been good the last two years," said John. "It`s been tough to make a profit."
That`s putting it lightly.
"It`s been brutal for dairy farmers over the last few years. We went from $20 hundredweight milk to $11 hundredweight milk. In the meantime feed costs have continued to rise," explained J.W. Schroeder with the NDSU Animal Sciences Department.
That means farmers need to keep every dollar they can make. The best way of doing that is what they`ve been trying to do all along.
Iowa State University Dr. Jan Shearer said: "Producers take care of the animals, the animals take care of them. That`s how it`s always been and how it continues to be."
One challenge many dairy farmers face when caring for the cows is keeping them comfortable on concrete. After awhile, standing on concrete in a barn can make the cows lame.
"One thing they can do to mitigate it is to make sure their cows are comfortable, they have a comfortable stall to lie down in. It`s important to not overcrowd certain groups of animals," added Shearer
John says it`s important for him to take care of his animals, because without them, he`s out of a job. "If they`re not healthy and happy, they won`t make us a profit, and we`re not in business," he said
And with profit margins so tight right now that`s more important than ever.
Schroeder is putting on five dairy cow colleges in the state this week. He says they`re a good opportunity for dairy farmers to get together and exchange ideas, as well as talk about what`s going on in the industry.