Measure and monitor dairy farm performance with the DTM CORE
Operator's error Operator's error
Measure and monitor dairy farm performance with the DTM CORE Feed cost continues to be a dairy’s biggest expense in milk production. Current dairy economics result in very tight margins. A comprehensive and detailed analysis of TMR preparation and delivery often reveals ways to improve milk production while reducing feed refusal, fuel and labor costs.
The DTM CORE - Daily TMR Manager Software by Dinamica Generale can be an excellent source of feeding management information for herd managers, helping to lower feed cost and improve herd performance.
However, many dairies do not use their software to its full capability. Most use the following standard features:
• Intake tracking
• Feed cost measurement
• Feed usage measurement
• Tracking pen count
• Ration adjustments
These features are extremely valuable. However, there is much more to be learned from the DTM CORE.
The manager also can use the DTM CORE to monitor employee performance, particularly the performance of the feeder. When visiting with dairy owners and managers, we usually ask questions about their feeder, focusing on current feeding procedures, protocols and expectations. The key question is: “What kind of job does your feeder do?” The most common answer is, “He’s a good feeder.” When I ask what makes their feeder a good feeder, the common answers are:
• Shows up on time
• Cows have feed
• He is attentive
Rarely mentioned are the feeder’s performance on the job, or his personal accountability. A feeder is responsible for a very important area, which amounts to more than 50 percent of a dairy’s cost of production. Most herd managers regularly evaluate the expected performance for their reproduction program, fresh cow health and parlor performance. However, it’s rare to see routine feeder monitoring and training.
The feeder manages feeding equipment and ingredient inventories. In addition, of course, he is responsible for timely delivery of well-mixed rations to the dairy herd.
Communication breakdowns can occur easily among those operating and supplying the dairy: feeder, herd owner, nutritionist, ingredient and feed product suppliers, and equipment dealers. Their normal areas of daily communication include:
• Changes in animal pen counts
• Forage dry matter
• Ration and ingredient changes
• Changes in forage inventory and face management
• Managing ingredient delivery, storage and processing
• Managing feeding equipment and maintenance
Tracking activities with the DTM CORE can improve these normal areas of communication and lower the potential for human error. The dairy manager also can use the DTM CORE to monitor, communicate, manage and educate the feeder, who really is one of the most important members of the dairy team.
Operator performance graphs in the DTM CORE, to name but a few, enable the manager to monitor the feeder’s performance (see graph).