Arm & Hammer Animal and Food Production
dairy cows eatting

5 strategies to successfully navigate high feed costs.

Posted January 10, 2022 by Dr. Joel Pankowski, Ruminant Technical Services Manager

The dairy industry has been faced with consistently high feed costs over the past year—a challenge many producers have had to confront. Rising prices have been attributed to a variety of issues, including supply chain disruption, increased labor costs, increased input costs, and unfavorable weather. While these high feed costs may be out of your control, there are management techniques you can implement to overcome challenges caused by high feed costs—without sacrificing productivity and your bottom line.

  1. Create consistency. The most important thing to remember when dealing with high feed costs is consistency, consistency, consistency. Cows love routine. Consistent and predictable management on your operation not only makes for the ideal environment for your cows, but for your people too.
  2. Stay the course. Don’t put pressure on your nutritionists to make short-term changes due to high feed costs. While those short-term changes might seem small, they can have big long-term impacts on the health and productivity of your herd. You’ll end up paying for that cheaper deal in the long run.
  3. Be strategic. If you’re in a bind and you must do something to reduce feed costs, pick a subset of cows with the most potential for minimal long-term impacts, such as cows on the downward tilt of their lactation period. Avoid making changes on fresh cows and high cows, which could have far more detrimental effects on long-term viability.
  4. Manage for high quality forage. Forage makes up the majority of your herd’s diet. By closely monitoring your forage quality and keeping it consistent, you can make your nutritionist’s life easy and keep you herd’s health in good shape.
  5. Develop and follow standard operating procedures. Developing and following SOPs will help you lower variability and lower your probability of wasting money. By training your employees how to follow these procedures and making sure they understand why they are important you will help overall herd health and your bottom line.

Remember, at the end of the day, consistency is key. The more consistency you can add to your cows’ lives, the happier and healthier they’re going to be. By implementing these techniques at your operation, you can ensure you’re making the best decisions for your cows and your bottom line.

To learn more about managing through high feed costs, be sure to listen to Dr. Pankowski’s recent episode of Food Chain Chats or contact your ARM & HAMMER representative today.



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