Easy Being Green

November 1, 2011 06:40 AM

JeremyVisser 049Jeremy Visser

Sumas, Wash.
Visser milks 3,200 Jerseys and Holsteins near the Canadian border.





I believe it was the Kermit the Frog who said, "It’s not easy being green." I disagree. For today’s dairy producers, it is easy to be green.

Through careful management and application of nutrients, we can protect water quality by preventing runoff. It is curious that we even have regulations to ensure that we utilize all of our nutrients. After all, it is economically beneficial for us to maximize and protect all of our resources. I don’t think I need the government to tell me how to maximize my resources.

Responsible use of dairy nutrients can help improve crop yields and reduce fertilizer input costs. The value of dairy nutrients has never been higher. With high feed prices, having enough nutrients and applying them at the right time and volume is key to being able to cut fertilizer expenses and maintain superior yields. As we all know, growing more feed will give you more flexibility.

We have made the investment to own much of our own manure-handling equipment. In addition, we depend on custom applicators to help us cover all the land in a timely manner when the crops need the nutrients.

Another practice that we have chosen to adopt is the use of in-vessel composters to reclaim and re-use bedding. This has reduced expenses and resource use, as we no longer haul in as much sand and sawdust for bedding. With high fuel prices, it seems crazy to me to haul in bedding to the dairy, then turn around and pay to haul it out. The cows love the bedding, and I love keeping trucks off the road. It’s a win-win.

We have found that the most profitable practices in dairy and its related forage production promote long-term viability of the farms and sustain the land they occupy.



Visser's October Prices  
Milk (net mailbox for September) (3.5% bf, 3% prt) $20.11/cwt.
Cull cows $36/cwt.
Replacement springers $1,300/head
Alfalfa hay (milk cow) $310/ton
Corn (rolled) $308/ton
Canola $265/ton
DDG $275/ton
Soymeal $430/ton


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