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September 2020

Factors associated with variations in earnings
Jason Karszes

Earnings on dairy farms across New York State continue to have a wide range. Understanding some of the factors that may lead to this range helps farmers understand the impact decisions may have on the farm and to identify potential areas for improvement. Factors Associated with Variations in Earnings: Comparison of Selected Measures and Costs by Quartile of Earnings evaluates factors associated with variations in earnings using data from the 2019 Dairy Farm Business Summary and Analysis program to sort farms into quartiles based on earnings and compare selected measures and costs. The highest profit group of farms tended to be larger, have the highest labor efficiency, crop the lowest acres per cow, ship the most milk per cow, have the lowest investment per cow, the lowest operating cost per cow, and the highest non-milk revenue per cow. With all these factors, the highest quartile of farms averaged 8.8 percent rate of return on all capital.

What does it cost to raise a dairy replacement?
Jason Karszes and Lauren Hill

The economic performance of the dairy replacement enterprise on dairy farms is an integral component of farm profitability and a significant area of cost and investment on dairy farms. A study was completed in 2019 with 26 farms participating in a project to determine the total economic costs associated with raising dairy replacements on their farms. This data was summarized to report what average costs and efficiency metrics were for the participating farms. While these numbers don’t represent an average for all farms in the northeast, they do provide a basis for comparison and identify key cost areas. This data can also be used to look at what factors impact costs. Some of the highlights from Dairy Replacement Program: Cost & Analysis Summer 2019 are:

  • The total cost to raise a dairy replacement averaged $2,355, with a range of $2,094 to $2,607
  • The average total investment in the animal, including a value at birth, equaled $2,505
  • Feed was the largest expense category, representing 46.1 percent of the total cost
  • Labor was the second largest expense, representing 13.2 percent of the total cost
  • On average, 36 heifers were taken care of with one labor hour, with a range from 21.7 to 51.1
  • Average age at first calving is 22.5 months
  • Average daily rate of gain equaled 1.87 pounds per day
  • 9 of the 26 farms utilized custom heifer growers to support their replacement program

Simple cost-benefit analyses of biogas use and tariff options for an existing anaerobic digester system on a New York dairy
Lauren Ray and Curt Gooch

PRO-DAIRY Dairy Environmental Systems has published a new case study: Simple Cost-Benefit Analyses of Biogas Use and Tariff Options for an Existing Anaerobic Digester System on a New York State Dairy Farm. New York State enacted the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act in 2019 that codifies aggressive targets including reaching 70 percent renewable energy generation on the electric grid by 2030, achieving 100 percent zero (carbon) emission electricity by 2040, and reducing 1990 level GHG emissions 85 percent by 2050. A case study of an existing on-farm anaerobic digester gas to electricity system using dairy manure was conducted to compare the electricity value received under the 2,000-cow farm’s existing electricity net metering tariff (no longer available for new installations) to the new electricity value stack tariff (optional for existing systems and required for new systems). The option of producing pipeline-quality renewable natural gas instead of electricity is also discussed.

Dairy manure odor perception and management fact sheet series
Odor and emissions from dairy operations are an environmental and societal concern. While addressing odor is a neighbor relations concern, emissions such as ammonia and hydrogen sulfide pose potential health, air quality, and regulatory concerns. Odor and emissions can come from three primary source locations on a dairy farm: animal facilities, manure storages, and land application of manure. The Dairy Manure Odor Perception and Management Series fact sheets assist dairy farmers in understanding actions useful to reduce the impact of odors and emissions from their farm.
Part 1: Manure odor basics
Part 2: The human sense of smell
Part 3: How are manure odors quantified?
Part 4: Mitigation options for manure-based odor control
Part 5: Employing anaerobic digestion for manure-based odor control
Part 6: Mitigation options for manure application
Part 7: Farm-based odors and neighbor relations

Calf and Heifer Management Online Course
When: October 16 to December 18, 2020
Where: All online!
Registration: $265.00 per person. Register before October 1 and receive a $25 discount!

Register for Calf and Heifer Management course online

The Calf and Heifer Management Online Course will cover basic calf and heifer management principles. It is led by staff from Cornell University and industry researchers and designed for dairy business on-farm personnel (owner or employee) who are seeking to increase their knowledge of calf and heifer management. Participants should possess a formal or informal background in dairy cattle management, but not necessarily in calf and heifer management. A certificate of completion from Cornell CALS PRO-DAIRY is awarded upon completion of the course.

Calf Nutrition Pre- and Post-Weaning, Replacement Economics, Colostrum Management, Inventory Management, Genetics, Calf Health, and Housing

Dr. Mike Van Amburgh, Cornell University, Department of Animal Science
Mr. Jason Karszes, Cornell CALS PRO-DAIRY
Dr. Kimberley Morrill
, CHR Hansen
Margaret Quaassdorff, Cornell Cooperative Extension, NWNY Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops Team

Dr. Heather Huson, Cornell University, Department of Animal Science

Dr. Rob Lynch, Cornell CALS PRO-DAIRY
Curt Gooch, PE, Cornell CALS PRO-DAIRY

PRO-DAIRY course facilitators
Dr. Rob Lynch, DVM, Dairy Herd Health and Management Specialist
Ms. Kathy Barrett, Dairy Management Education Specialist

​Price Risk Management for Dairy Farmers
When: November 3 an 10, 2020 | 7:00 to 9:00 PM EDT
Where: Online via Zoom
Registration: $10.00 per farm for both sessions

Register for Price Risk Management for Dairy Farmers online

Following the abrupt downturn in milk markets during the spring and summer of 2020, and nearly an entire year of lower-than-expected milk prices resulting from the global pandemic, dairy farmers have a renewed interest in managing the price side of the business. Join CCE Capital Area Ag & Hort Program’s Farm Business Management Educator Dayton Maxwell, FSA Executive Director David Holck, Crop Growers Insurance's Tristan Peterson and Cornell University's Dr. Chris Wolf, for an informative, fun, and educational program. Program activities are supported by and coordinated with Cornell PRO-DAIRY and NY Farm Net.

November 3, 2020
Dairy Margin Coverage – David Holck, Farm Service Agency
Forward Contracting and Such, Part 1 – Dr. Chris Wolf, Cornell University
Determining if Risk Management is Right for My Farm – Dayton Maxwell, CCE CAAHP

November 10, 2020
Dairy Revenue Protection – Tristan Peterson, Crop Growers Insurance
Forward Contracting and Such, Part 2 – Dr. Chris Wolf, Cornell University
Forward Contracting Dairy Farmer Experience – Dan Sheldon, Woody Hill Farms, Salem, NY

Coming soon: Online Feeder School in English and Spanish

Cornell PRO-DAIRY and Cornell Cooperative Extension are partnering to offer a two-day Online Feeder School that will be taught in English and Spanish. The program is free thanks to generous sponsors and pre-registration will be required.

Online Feeder School will be offered in English from 1:00 to 2:30 PM EDT on November 3 and 5 and in Spanish from 1:00 to 2:30 PM EDT on November 10 and 12. The program will be held online only and feature a combination of video demonstrations, presentations, and discussion. The same program will be offered in the English and Spanish sessions.

Bill Stone, DVM, Diamond V, will lead the school along with CCE regional dairy specialists and members of Cornell PRO-DAIRY. Dr. Stone has helped a multitude of dairy farmers feed their herds and will offer his expertise in troubleshooting mixer wagons and answer questions live during discussion.

The Online Feeder School is targeted to farmers, employees, and agriservice professionals who work as or with the feeder – the person responsible for mixing TMR, maintaining bunk silos, and communicating feed issues with other farm staff. The school will cover monitoring dry matter, feed bunk management, bunk face management, and troubleshooting mixer wagons.

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