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  • Dead thread or dead industry?

    Well 2018 is drawing to close. Thank heavens! This has been a horrible year for Wisconsin dairy farmers and I assume for all dairy farmers.
    Our milk prices are in the chitter. Cull cows and holstein feeders are worthless. There have been many many herd dispersals around here. Often the herd are shipped to an Auction site where on day a week is set aside for selling replacements or whole herds. Now even really nice milking cows or springing heifers or dry cows are not even being bought as replacements. Often times the entire herd winds up being sold for beef price or less,

    Will this ever turn around or has efficiency, sexed semen and changing consumer tastes destroyed our industry/

  • #2
    Things ALWAYS turn around, KH, but nobody knows how soon, and if it will be soon enough for any of us. Cheese plants don't need your milk when they can replace it with MPC's, milk protein concentrates, at less than a $9/cwt equivalent. They need the cream , which is keeping the butterfat prices decent. $14.00 milk doesn't cut it with too high taxes, wages, equipment, and living expenses. I'm scared to mention medical costs and drugs, the legal ones. Its tuff when you are grateful that a calf is stillborn, cuz new life is the most exciting part of farming. Guard your health, PLEASE keep your spirits up, and NEVER feel guilty for bowing out of a most worthy profession. This mess is NOT your fault.

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    • #3
      Some years ago there was an article in Hoard's Dairymen that stated there would some day only be 30,000 dairy farms in the USA. that is fastly coming true if not already here. no one wanted to believe that would be so. I'm glad we got out in 06, should have done it 5 years sooner. don't get me wrong the cows were very good to us, and enjoyed our years as dairymen. but it was time to move on don'e regret it one bit.
      grain prices haven't been that great either lately. but we find other niche markets that we try to utilize and willing to keep trying some new things. seems we always got something in the works.
      hope things work out for the dairy people and grain farmers as well
      positive things happen to positive people
      hope 2019 is a great year for everyone The Duke

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      • #4
        I don't know anything about the milking industry but is it basically the same thing as our crops, just too much production? I remember DR posting here about putting in robotic milkers. I hadn't even heard of them until I read his post. Is it like the pig industry, the big just get bigger and more efficient, the supply outweighs the demand, and the little guy can't compete. At least in crop farming mother nature can cause a reduction in supply. Too bad, whatever the reason.

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        • #5
          King the title of the thread pretty well summed it up , and it could be both . We sold our cows 10 years ago the 12th of January ( My God does time fly ) . The price for cows and milk was very good at the time . We just decided it was time to explore other possibilities as kids were not interested and we were getting older , but , were not so old we could not make some changes . Wasn't so sure that day , BUT , That was one of the best decisions we ever made in hind sight . We made changes . Got more into trucking . Still crop all the land we did 10 years ago but went to bagging corn for deer , raising sun flowers for tourism and bagging the seed ourselves for birds . We went forward with a smile , curiosity and interest of what lay ahead for us . We have had a few learning experiences (AKA Muck Ups ) . But we have also done O.K. , and smiled , laughed , and learned to , and really do enjoy life !

          Farmers , all farmers , are way to good at what they do . They get more milk per cow , more bushels per acre , more and better meat per hog or steer . Then we have college extensions and the government telling us the population is growing and we MUST produce more , more , more , with NO thought by farmers to the profitability of doing so . And , YES , consumers taste and lifestyles have changed . Farms and farmers need to learn to make changes also . People still eat and live , we just need to learn how to capitalize on what they want to eat and do . And Yes , I do realize change and making farm changes is not easy or quick . But it is always easier and better to make changes of your own decision than by being forced , whether by finances , health , or other circumstances .

          I do hope any farmer out there making a decision to change realizes , they can do it . Up till 10 years ago I milked cows every day of my life . I don't regret it , and at times , miss the way of life , BUT , we changed and are every bit as happy for it . Change is not the end of the world but the natural progression of life , and often for the better if they let it be .

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          • #6
            Dad is our primary buyer of feeder cattle he can sit in salesbarn and wait for the right deal to come along. That being said when we are paying less than fifty cents a hundred for 4-6 cwt holstien heifers that are in the barn because the guy milking the cows doesn't have enough money to feed the cows let alone young stock we do feel bad for the guy. Alot of dairies in our area are just using Angus bulls on the milkcows hoping to add value for th calf if it comes out all black.
            Don't get tripped by what's behind you

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            • #7
              Lot of the bigger farms are genomics to predict which heifers will produce the best offspring with the highest potential production. the highest 50 or 60 or 70% of genomic indexed animals are bred with sexed semen to produce the best possible offspring The rest are bred to beef bulls. They reduce the number of holstein bull calves and are gauranteed a supply of top notch heifer calves to maintain or expand their herds.

              I think sexed semen has really hurt dairy farming in the long run. We have way too many replacement animals. Plus when the average herd was 70 cows an expansion involved 10 or 20 cows. Now the expansion of a BTO IS 500 OR 5000 cows. A lot of small farmers are put out of business.

              Also our Milk Marketing board has been a disaster. Consumer desires change. Our MMB is still run by people who could NOT predict the next flushing after using the chitter

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              • #8
                Dairy is going the way of birds and hogs. Either you will produce at a loss or just work for the person selling the end product.

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                • #9
                  There are some end sellers processing their own dairy products like Walmart in Indianna Several Travel centres petrol ales are getting into the food business in big ways. so you may be correct iadave. but those who bought and ran dairy farms soon realized that businessmen never wanted to own the cows. It costs more to produce milk than you can buy it and ship it into Wisconsin.
                  Maybe Dan11 can better enlighten you on how to produce cheap Wisconsin cheese

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                  • #10
                    If you have a place to ship your milk to for processing, this would be a GREAT time to get into dairying! There are good,[maybe not beautiful] heifers and cows available at or below beef price. Bankers are forcing some operations to unload youngstock, and most sell for a song. The cost to build processing is so extreme that nobody wants to do it, especially in a market saturated by excess product. If overnight the USA produced only dairy products that were profitable to the folks who milk the cows, my guess?? 1/2 the cows would disappear overnight.

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                    • #11
                      I was having a discussion with a close neighbor who is still dairy farming. A local farmer with really good genetics has a group of heifers for sale after selling their milking herd. We were discussing the wisdom of culling some of the low end producers or health problem cows and buying the group of springing heifers.

                      Tough decision???

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                      • #12
                        DEPENDS!! The big issue, to me, would be price...the price of the springers vs. the price of cull cows. Doing whatever you can NOT to write a check in the next 6 months may mean your survival. If the neighbors make a deal that draws the payment out, if the springers are priced against the beef cow value, things like that, it could be a no brainer. The dairy business is so screwed up this time around, that a day old Holstein/angus bull calf is in more demand than those springers. If for some reason your 'close neighbor' doesn't have his bottom end culled out already, then that sweetens the pot. This week, right here, we compared a day old Holstein/angus bull calf's value to a Holstein heifer calf's value. I'm letting you guess for awhile!! OK??

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                        • #13
                          I guess the dairy discussion group hung on a lot longer than the livestock group..........it just doesn't pay to have anything with four legs around the farm unless you have a beef herd, something the beef meat industry hasn't been able to confine and control the supply of enough, or have enough capital to want to own and vertically integrate all the way to the cow. In chickens and hogs, the meat industry is deciding who and how the product is raised, contracting out more production than they can handle to insure that the supply remains high and prices low...................and the people and politicians really don't care because as long as corn, soy and wheat are supported, that covers the votes of 90% of the farmers.

                          would be interesting if you could only haul grain to an elevator or forward contract grain in 1000 or 5000 bu increments,,,,, if they would care much about the little guy.

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                          • #14
                            do remember that some of those cowboys thought they were being shorted because "everybody else" was subsidized..but then..mighty tuff to get buyers to smaller "farmer lots",
                            and it is a matter of economics that is even harder to eat...how long before the only beef you can buy is at a hamburger joint or grocery store...


                            just giving some places for flame throwers...

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                            • #15
                              The day of the 1,000 bu contract is already gone here. The buyers will tell you 5,000 but they will do 2500.
                              Also some have a no straight truck rule, although I see one once in a while.
                              They are also trying to do away with dealing with landlords and tenants. They just want the farmer to pay the landlord.
                              I hate to see that but I do understand. Landlords with multiple renters hauling in at the same time has caused problems before..

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