continued from page 16
4) Reduce ration cost
5) Maintain cow health by increasing for-
ages in the ration
Vincent is the first to admit that the first year
was challenging. “We needed everyone to know
that individual responsibilities still existed, but
we were all there to ensure the recommenda-
tions worked together,” he said.
Over the next three seasons, the consulting
team settled on several key recommendations:
• Choose one or two corn hybrids to
reduce silage variability, selecting the top-per-
forming hybrids for starch content and overall
tonnage. • Treat all corn silage and haylage with a
top-quality L. buchneri inoculant to improve
fiber digestibility, reduce shrink and stimulate
• Look for hybrids better suited for the
growing environment, reducing comparative
relative maturity (CRM) to ensure all forage is
harvested before the first frost.
• Increase the percentage of forage in
the ration and use all home-grown forages to
reduce ration costs and improve cow health.
• Implement a two-step bunker cover
system to reduce spoilage and add a second
packing tractor to increase density.
The consulting team still meets every fall
to review the current program, walk through
new issues that arose during the last season and
discuss Vincent’s herd goals. Vincent is thrilled
with the success his operation has had over the
past four years, including surviving 2009.
The operation now has 1,650 cows. Across
the entire herd, milk production has jumped 13
lbs. per cow, with the high group averaging 132
lbs. of milk per day. The ration is now 55% for-
age with all forages grown on the farm. Starch
levels have gone up dramatically with samples
averaging 36% and overall tonnage per acre has
The team approach continues to foster
streamlined farming and dairy operations. Plus,
Vincent cited some unexpected results from this
big-picture perspective, such as the reduction
in the number of fresh-cow issues and greatly
improved milk components.
“I believe cows are healthier, the whole
operation is more efficient and I receive the
best recommendations out of my entire team,”
Bilow reported. “We address the operation’s
dynamics through conversation with everyone
working toward the same goal. I spend less
time facilitating each area of my operation and
more time planning new goals for the future of
The next goal at Bilow Farms is to expand
the milking facility to accommodate three-
times-a-day milking. Working with his team,
expansion and efficient management are an
easy transition. p
Each month, DairyBusiness
Communications will check
the case files of lead dairy
‘investigators’ to uncover
another ‘CSI-Dairy’ mystery.
Episodes are archived at www.
dairybusiness.com. John F. Ellsworth
Our most focused and successful clients use the Success Strategies Advantage™
to increase their business satisfaction through a process that maximizes their
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reach continually higher objectives.
18 April 2012 EASTERNDAIRYBUSINESS