Source: Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
Dairy Cost Study
‘Enrolment is now open for the next Dairy Cost Study program beginning January 2022,’ says Pauline Van Biert, research analyst with Alberta Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Economic Development.
‘A prime objective of any business is to have a good understanding of how well it is performing. Important parts of measuring that performance include tracking revenues, expenses, and profit margins.’
The Dairy Cost Study is an annual program where dairy farmers provide farm information over the course of a year. This information is compiled, creating a business analysis on the cost and returns of producing milk at their farm. This analysis is a tool to help identify and start the thought processes and conversations on how to manage costs.
The data of all the participating farms is then combined to produce an Alberta benchmark document called the Economics of Milk Production.
‘Farming is becoming more complex, and there is a need to go back to the basics to really know how your business is performing. It is important to know the details. Only once you have a complete picture of your business can you better manage its opportunities. Annual budgeting and planning are better when you use your own numbers. Having your own numbers in front of you helps assess farm management options.’
Van Biert uses these questions as some examples that the Dairy Cost Study final farm analysis will help answer.
- How will the dry conditions of 2021 and increase in feed, fuel and electricity prices affect my cost of production?
- How will the proposed increase to farm gate milk price affect my income?
- My total vet costs are higher than I thought. Why? What can I do about it?
- How much are my cows producing? Is this satisfactory, or should I try to up my production to fill my quota or buy some more cows?
- What is my cost per kilogram of butterfat?
‘Being in the program and receiving your detailed farm analysis is free. The cost is the investment of time, and the payback can be huge.’
Van Biert adds a current participant found that the time invested in the program is well spent and the results are useful when making decisions. This participant has been in the program every year for over 10 years and continues to get value from the analysis.
‘Whether you join for one year or stay for many, you will get that value too,’ says Van Biert. ‘I will come out to the farm and explain the details. We make it as easy as possible to provide the requested farm information. I can work with the farm’s accountants or feed providers to fill in some of the blanks.’
Find out more and sign up for Dairy Cost Study.
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