Should we buy more cows for the Hoard farm?

Hoard's Dairyman: 

Should we buy more cows for the Hoard farm?

Date: 
Thu, 11/18/2010

There is always something going on at the Hoard’s Dairyman Farm. This week, one of the irons in the fire has been looking at the impact of buying 35 Jersey cows.

Here’s how we approached the issue: First, our Jerseys are eating 40 pounds of dry matter, which we value at 9.6 cents per pound or $3.84 per cow per day. For the group, feed cost would be $134.40 per day.

The additional labor cost for milking and other cow care would be $27 per day.

We figure we will spend an extra 1-1/2 hour per week handling manure with the additional cows (3x scrapping with daily haul). Rental on the tractor and spreader would be $100 per hour (an extra $150), plus 1-1/2 hour of $10 labor. Total manure handling: $23.57 per day for the 35 cows.

Semen would be $3 per day . . . 2.1 services per conception, $15 per unit.

Teat dips would be $2.10 per day . . . 6 cents per cow per day.

Sand use would be $1.08 per day. (We figure we would need another four skid-steer bucket loads [2,400 pounds] every 10 days. That’s 1.2 tons of sand at $9 per ton. That’s $10.80 every 10 days or $1.08 per day.)

We assumed $26.55 per day (76 cents per cow) for vet supplies, herd health, foot trimming, and other herd-care items.

Total additional daily expenses were $217.70. ($134.40+$27+$23.57+$3+$2.10+$1.08+$26.55)

On the revenue side, our basis (mail box price less the Class III price) runs a little over $4 per hundredweight when milk prices are lower. Class III futures for January, February, and March are just under $14, so a net price of $18 is about the best we can hope for in the months ahead.

We would expect the cows to tank 60 pounds of milk each or produce 21 hundredweights per day. Additional milk income would be $378. We would expect to make $160 a day on the additional cows. That looks good, providing we can buy the cows at a decent price.