Throw Me to the Wolves…

I recently read a quote from the famous playwright & philosopher Seneca that stated:

“Throw me to the wolves, and I will return leading the pack.”

As we discussed in my last blog/article, our industry is currently at an “Inflection Point.” Essentially, that means that we are a point of major change, one that completely alters the way in which we must think and take action. As a result, we must take positive steps in order to avoid being “run over.”

Thirty years ago, a producer could survive (please note that I did not say “thrive…”) by doing a solid job of breeding and managing cows for maximum production. Feed costs were quite reasonable, and while a dairyman didn’t necessarily get rich, he could pay all of his bills and service the mortgage successfully.

Forty years ago, many people held the same jobs for their entire career. There was job security for life… Today, job descriptions are constantly changing, we see lower levels of company loyalty, and many change careers regularly, either out necessity or a desire to seek new opportunities.

Realize that many factors have changed, both within and outside of our industry. Thus, our best approach to succeed is to follow the advice of the Boy Scouts and simply, “Improvise, Adapt and Overcome!” We absolutely need to come to grips with reality and prepare for constant change.

What changes do you need to consider?

  1. On Labor Efficiency: Have you considered the positive benefits of Robotic Milkers, Robotic Feed Pushers or other forms of automation? Have you considered their cost vs. their effectiveness & efficiencies?
  2. Your Marketing Program: Do you have an effective Marketing Program for selling your milk at a price that provides you with a positive profit? Consider the Dairy Margin Coverage Program (DMC) or the Dairy Revenue Protection Program (DRP) for your business.
  3. On Reproductive Efficiency: Are you using the tools that are available to you to ensure that your Pregnancy Rate runs in the 25-30% level? Synchronization and Double Ova-Sync programs can help you maintain your Days-In-Milk (DIM) at a level that is consistently in the 160-165 Day range. That’s where the “money” is!
  4. Knowing Your Break-Even Levels: Do you really know your operation’s Break-Even levels for Milk Price, Feed Costs & Milk Production levels? If not, take steps today to grasp a better understanding of this information. It can guide you to greater profitability!

Returning to the Seneca quote above, we need to realize that we all get “thrown to the wolves” occasionally. That is almost a given in life today. The variable is how you deal with this process. Do you adjust your course or just give up out of frustration? Make the changes suggested above, and I believe you’ll thrive as you move forward. Our industry is changing very rapidly, so don’t delay. Take action now! I wish you the best of success!

If I can assist you in any way, please let me know at or 209-988-8960.

 “Throw me to the wolves, and I will return leading the pack.”

                                                            Seneca, Playwright & Philosopher

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