A successful silage harvest comes down to people and analyzing performance.
During the Dairy Today’s Elite Producer Business Conference this past week Luciana Jonkman, nutrition and management consultant with Progressive Dairy Solutions, gave a presentation on maximizing silage to increase profitability.
Along with her nutritionist duties Jonkman also owns and operates a custom harvesting business with her husband in California.
“I believe that we can all properly process silage with the modern machines we have today,” Jonkman says.
Here are four tips Jonkman shared for attendees to improve their silage quality and profitability:
1. Sample your silage to identify how you’re doing.
“You can’t get to where you want to be until you know where you are,” Jonkman says.
When sending in the silage sample, be sure to get a kernel processing score. Jonkman recommends shooting for at least a 70 on the processing score.
Exploding the corn kernel during silage processing to help increase the surface area and release the protein matrix. That means harvesting with shredlage may not be the best idea because it does not maximize surface area.
“You want to know where you are today, and know where you want to go tomorrow,” Jonkman adds.
2. Who is in my triangle?
While most dairy producers don’t get into milking cows because they enjoy working with people, the relationship you have with the people you interact with is important.
“Everything happens through people,” Jonkman says. “We’ve got to find a way to deal with and overcome this struggle of getting our team on the same page.”
There are people in your “triangle” who enable you to be the strongest dairy producer possible. They include nutritionists, harvesters, veterinarians, etc.
Dairy producers should get together with those people who are in the triangle have conversations on what it will take to meet their goals.
“Identify who is on your team, and maybe identify who your winning coach is,” Jonkman says. That person may not be you. A dairy producer might be the strategist, while the nutritionist or veterinarian could be the head coach.
3. A focused intensity over a short window of time leads to great momentum and success.
Focus your triangle to find what needs changed. Leverage the strength of your team to help save money, and then shift those financial resources to areas that will increase profitability for the long-haul.
4. What does wining look like?
You decide what the end goals are for your silage harvest and feed quality.
“Is it 10% shrink? Is it a 75 processing score?,” Jonkman says. “Maximizing profitability is up to you.”