For every dairy farm enterprise to be successful and profitable there are many details the farm owner and/or manager and employees must take into consideration. Optimizing forage quality, cow comfort, transition cow health and time budgets are factors which should always be taken into account.
This is the foundation for our Dairy Nutrition Advisor (DNA) Program. We understand the role nutrition plays in supporting your herd’s performance, but nutrition may not be the largest opportunity on your dairy. Our nutritionists and sales representatives are given training and coaching to evaluate more than just nutrition, bringing more value to our customers.
In the DNA program, our team is trained to uncover key opportunities on your farm that will make your operation more profitable and productive. Our people participate in several courses that range from records analysis (Lactanet and Dairy Comp 305) to a farm walking tour and interviewing the farm management team to determine the goals for each dairy business.
This training is delivered in different formats including:
- e-learning, which allows an individual to learn at their own pace,
- conference calls, where the opportunity to ask additional questions and get clarification on specific pieces of information is provided, and
- coaching in the field to assist with implementation.
We conduct yearly workshops, allowing each person to apply their knowledge, receive feedback and develop plans to improve their skills in a practical environment.
Our DNA approach does not offer cookie cutter solutions but rather ones that are customized and unique for each farm business. Every farm will have opportunities that are unique to them and the strategies and recommendations will be unique to the farm as well. For example, on one farm the key opportunity may be herd replacements while on another it may be cow comfort. In these situations if we only focused on a diet our success and the farmer’s success would be compromised.
Combining all the information collected via records, walking tours and interviews with the producer allows the sales representative to determine the key opportunities for the respective farm. In determining these opportunities, the sales rep compares the farm to industry benchmarks and assesses the potential financial impact. Then, based on the farm’s goals, short and long-term strategies are developped and recommended, resulting in the farm’s own personal development plan.
It is important to remember that for every opportunity on a given farm there are generally multiple causes. For example if the pregnancy rate is low in a herd, it could be a result of poor transition cow health, lameness or poor heat detection. The solution to correct the low pregnancy rate will depend on the cause.
Utilizing the DNA process ensures that not only will the opportunity be determined, but also the most logical cause and the best strategy to correct the problem will be identified, ensuring a higher probability of success and greater profitability. Nutrition is important, but by evaluating the total operation and prioritizing areas that may need attention we can enhance the overall success of the farm and the value your farm service person can provide.