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Hidden Valley Dairy continued from page 8 As a graduate of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, Trevor has brought some fresh ideas back to the herd from his various collegiate experiences. “I definitely think college broadened my perspective about what tools are useful to use on the dairy,” Trevor said. “I’ve done a lot trying to pencil daily feed cost to daily milk. So we can see if we do this and it gets us this much more milk, is it that much more profit- able? What is our breakeven point, where can we maximize profit?” In addition to time spent in the classroom, Trevor attributes some of his education to the North American Intercollegiate Dairy Chal- lenge competition. “Growing up on this place and being here every day, you don’t exactly see all of the flaws,” Trevor said. “When you learn how to view everything objectively, as Dairy Chal- lenge teaches us, it helps keep your eyes fresh.” Trevor embraces technology as a means for monitoring herd health, financial viability and looks for areas to improve. “I keep up on the reproductive data, keep an eye on our culling data, milk production, health traits and other benchmarks, so we use these numbers as best as we can,” he ex- plained. “We’ve changed a few things because of the data. If you can’t monitor what’s hap- pening and how it’s affecting you, it’s more difficult to see the need to make an improve- ment. “We also have a feed program that we can input our current feed prices and calculate shrink,” he continued. “Tying our herd re- cords together with spreadsheets and our feed program, there’s a lot of data to calculate our income over feed cost, cost per hundredweight and other pieces of information. Those are some of the numbers I use to analyze our business.” With all this information, it becomes easier to see areas of opportunity on the dairy. The first step in making any protocol changes is training. Over the past few years, the Nutcher family has invited herd health professionals to the dairy to help train employees in milking and feeding protocols, cow comfort and tran- sition protocols. One of the greatest areas of improvement was in udder health. “We’re seeing less rough teat ends,” Trevor said. “It wasn’t awful, but we were having some inconsistent prep times on the udders 10 Trevor Nutcher embraces detailed records and technology as a means for monitoring herd health and financial viability. The dairy uses the Pocket Cow Card program on their PDA, in conjunction with Dairy Comp 305, for ease in keeping records, sorting animals and inputing information on the dairy. and culling cows with really bad teat ends. It was very frustrating.” By introducing more standard procedures, monitoring herd and business data and adding more training to the mix, Hidden Valley Dairy has seen herd health improvements and cost savings. “I really enjoy crunching numbers and analyzing the herd,” he said. “It’s good to see it on the computer, but it’s definitely important to look at facilities and animals. I like to look at the bigger picture and figure out how to bet- ter tie everything together with feed, manage- ment and efficiency.” p August 2013 DAIRYBUSINESSWEST
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