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Agrimarketing : March 2015
FOCUS ON: MARKETING TO DAIRY PRODUCERS/continued from page 16 European Union (E.U.). Recent reports of drought in New Zealand sent dairy futures contracts limit up in February. “But China is the dragon in the room,” says Bozic. USDA expects China to cut back its purchases of whole milk powder as much as 12% in 2015, due in part to a substantial build-up of stocks from its huge buying spree last year. Russia is the third wild card. It banned dairy imports from the E.U., the U.S. and Australia in retaliation for sanctions those countries imposed on Russia due to its Ukraine adventures. The ban is scheduled to end August 1. It’s anybody’s guess, given current tensions, whether it will. And then there is E.U. dairy quotas, which ended April 1. E.U. dairy quotas were imposed in 1983, locking many European dairy farms into a Rip Van Winkle-like slumber that lasted not 10 years but three decades. Ireland and Scotland are poised to increase milk production by as much as 50% in the next decade. The Netherlands, too, could increase output somewhat. But high land and labor costs and choking environmental constraints will limit E.U. production growth. “I expect more of a soft landing than a sudden explosion of European milk production,” says the University of Minnesota’s Bozic. All of this adds up to tons of uncertainty for U.S. dairy farmers. In other words, situation normal. NEW TECHNOLOGIES by the Dairy Star editors www.dairystar.com management style by allowing automated machines to milk their cows. Robotic milking can offer many advantages to both the producer and the cows. Integrating robotic milking technology into a dairy operation takes a significant investment but can also present a labor savings. The dairy producer can reduce labor management and focus on other areas of the dairy operation. Robotic milkers give cows the option of being milked multiple times a day and can be used to monitor the cow’s health. The dairy producer can be alerted of any changes in cows’ eating habits, activity and physical well-being. A similar technology, automatic calf feeders, allows dairy producers to reduce manual labor needed to raise calves. The feeders allow calves to drink multiple times a day and gathers information on a calf’s health and activity. Perhaps some of the most interesting technology available to dairy producers is the technology that is available at the palm of your hand. Companies today are developing advance cow monitoring systems designed to collect and analyze data — from activity to rumination – on every cow. These systems allow producers to collect health and nutrition data right to a handheld device. Activity monitors are capable of tracking rumination (how many times per day a cow chews her cud); cows with reduced rumination are flagged for examination as this can be a sign of illness. Monitors can also indicate when The dairy industry is becoming more and more competitive so producers need maximum efficiency on their dairy operations. New technology can help save labor costs, improve animal performance and provide hands-on opportunities for herd management. More and more dairy producers are choosing to adjust their dairy 18 Agri Marketing s March 2015 a cow is ready to be artificially inseminated. Data collected from each cow wearing an activity monitor is compiled and presented to the producer through software programs that can be available through a desktop computer and handheld device. This technology increases the precision with which producers are able to manage their farms. Beyond technological machines and devices, dairy genetics has also made large strides in recent years. Using genomics to evaluate bulls for A.I. companies can generate high-quality sire options in a shorter amount of time. In turn, dairy producers could have the potential to have more rapid genetic progress. Have a better genetic evaluation of a herd also allows dairy producers to advance their top end cows while making breeding and culling decisions for cows on lower genetic spectrum of their herd. Cow comfort is an important aspect of dairy animal performance. There is technology available to maintain facilities at a comfortable, well-lit and ventilated environment. LED lighting continues to be a viable option for dairy producers who are looking to improve light quality as well as reduce energy usage. To keep cows comfortable, venti- lation systems allow producers to create a uniform airflow throughout the entire facility by controlling the speed of all the fan motors at the touch of screen. Variable speed drives with a touch screen interface allow producers to customize environments in facilities and allows real-time monitoring on how the system is performing. OUTLOOK by Dave Natzke Editor, Dairy Herd Management www.dairyherd.com Their weight may change, but key factors affecting dairy’s outlook remain pretty much the same. Increasingly, however, there are international influences. According to USDA’s latest Natzke outlook, 2015 U.S. production is projected at about 211.1 billion lbs. If realized, that would be up about 2.5% from 2014, and comes on the heels of a similar increase in 2013-14. Combined 2014-15 production would be the largest two-year increase in terms of both percentage and volume since 2005-06. As dairy supplier and service marketers, you’re probably looking at three other key numbers: 1) herds, (more on page 20)
January February 2015