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April 2018

Preliminary Report #3 – Dairy Farm Business Summary and Analysis Program

Jason Karszes, Ashley Howlett and Anna Richards, Cornell CALS PRO-DAIRY
As dairy businesses across New York analyze their financial performance using the Dairy Farm Business Summary and Analysis Program, supported by Cornell University, Cornell Cooperative Extension and PRO-DAIRY, the changes that occurred on farms from 2016 to 2017 can be reviewed. An important function of management is to compare how your farm changed from one year to the next, how this compares to goals, how this compares to the industry, and to ask the question why. 

The third preliminary progress report for the same farms for both 2016 and 2017 has been released. Along with providing information about all farms, the report also included information for farms in three different herd size groups.
Highlights from the DFBS Preliminary Progress Report #3:

  • Milk shipped per farm increased by 5%.  This was a combination of an increase of 6% in average herd size and a decrease of 1% in milk sold per cow.
  • Labor efficiency increased 3%.
  • Average cost per hired worker equivalent increased 6%.
  • Total cost of producing cwt of milk increased $0.43.
  • Total cost of producing cwt of milk in 2017 ranged from $17.31 to $23.33.
  • Net milk price increased $1.30 per cwt to $17.42.
  • Net farm income per cow without appreciation increased from $242 to $480 per cow.
  • Labor and management income per operator returned to positive levels, averaging $33,920 per owner operator.
  • Debt per cow was relatively unchanged, increasing from $4,093 to $4,102.

If you are interested in analyzing the performance of your business, please contact your local Cornell Cooperative Extension office to inquire about what resources are available to assist in this effort.

Farm Employee Compensation Benchmark

Would you like to know more about farm worker compensation trends? Do you want to compare and manage your compensation strategy with accurate, up-to-date, and relevant information? Then participate in the Farm Employee Compensation Benchmark. Individual farm data remains confidential. Reports will be issued in aggregated form. Contact Richard E. Stup, Ph.D., Agricultural Workforce Specialist, Cornell Cooperative Extension, at for more information.

Dairy Environmental Systems Poster on Anaerobic Digesters is Recognized

Ashley Stappenbeck, an environmental engineering student, class of ’18, placed second in a poster contest at the 2018 Advanced Energy Conference in NYC, with over 1,600 in attendance. Stappenbeck has interned with EnviTec Biogas and provides support for farm-based anaerobic digesters with the PRO-DAIRY Dairy Environmental Systems Group. Her poster featured the role of anaerobic digesters in New York State. The Western NY native says she has always been passionate about renewable energy, environmental management and the agricultural industry. “Thank you to the PRO-DAIRY Dairy Environmental Systems team for all your help and support,” she said.

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For more information about PRO-DAIRY, visit

Julie Berry, Editor | Tom Overton, Director | Facebook

Diversity and Inclusion are part of Cornell University's heritage. We are a recognized employer and educator valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities.

Low Price Margin Herd Health Do’s and Don’ts

Each time the dairy industry experiences low milk prices, managers start looking for ways to save money. This is smart and something that all good businesses do. If less money is coming in, how do we cut down on how much money goes out without hurting the business in the long run? These decisions can be pretty challenging when it comes to herd health expenses since the consequences of a bad decision in this area might not be seen right away. Rob Lynch, DVM, Cornell CALS PRO-DAIRY, has complied a few Low Margin Do's and Don'ts to consider as we all turn our attention again to reducing unnecessary expenses on the dairy.

Resources for Dealing with Spring Planting Delays

While the forecast still seems unsettled, we are hopeful for a break that will provide an opening to get caught back up on spring work. Joe Lawrence, Cornell CALS PRO-DAIRY, and colleagues at Cornell Cooperative Extension in 2011 summarized Resources for Spring Conditions, which covers a variety of topics relevant this year as you consider how to best tackle the work that needs to take place in a condensed time frame.

New Rules for Manure-Based Air Emission Reporting

The 2018 federal Consolidated Appropriations Act signed into law on March 23rd included a “Fair Agricultural Reporting Method Act” (FARM Act).

The FARM Act changes federal law by exempting farmers from having to report ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, dust, and volatile organic compounds emitted from manure-based sources under CERCLA.

National Milk Producers Federation and Cornell CALS PRO-DAIRY share this update on Air Emissions Reporting.

Looking at Leases: Part 1

Well-structured lease agreements can provide a number of benefits to a farm operation, yet many of the leased acres used in agriculture are still secured with a handshake deal. Written leases provide security for the operator and the landlord, as well as important liability protection, but may also allow the operator to receive tax benefits that neither party was eligible for in the past. Anna Richards, Cornell CALS PRO-DAIRY, provides tips in a series: Leases Part 1.

Cornell CALS PRO-DAIRY Wednesday Webinars in Spanish

Monitoring Fresh Cows
Monitoreo de Vacas Frescas

April 25, 2018 @ 12:30 pm - 1:00 pm
25 de abril del 2018

Presenter: Martín H. Zincola DVM, PhD Candidate, Department of Animal Science, Cornell University
Presentador: Martin H Zincola, estudiante de doctorado en Cornell University

are held from 12:30pm to 1:00pm. Registration is not required.
Los seminarios web son a los 12:30pm- 1:00pm. No hay que registrarse.

For further information, please contact Kathryn Barrett at or 607.229.4357. These webinars are supported by the New York Farm Viability Institute.

Advanced Dairy Nutrition and Management Shortcourse

June 4 - 7, 2018
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

This shortcourse is designed primarily for experienced nutritionists and allied industry professionals seeking a more in-depth exposure to selected topics of emerging and continued interest relating to dairy cattle nutrition and management.

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