5 hard but simple questions that every dairy farmer needs to ask
In less than a month we shall be in the thick of calving so now is the time to get set up for the year ahead.
All indications suggest that based on the back of a good milk price many farmers are also availing on the opportunity to increase in herd size.
Recently I was again exposed to 'Lean Management' principles after listening to a talk by Leading Edge Group.
One management technique that I felt was very applicable to dairy farming was the '5 Whys' - these are used to get to the core route of a problem.
If you are struggling repeatedly with the same problem on the farm, maybe you need to ask yourself some hard but simple questions.
Many farmers fall into the trap of cashflow shortfalls especially when the milk price is poor and rely heavily on a good year to recover.
- In this scenario, the first of the five questions is 'why do I always run short of cash'. One potential answer is because 'I fail to budget'.
- The second question is 'why do I fail to budget?' and the answer may be 'because it's time consuming and things change through the year which make the budget irrelevant'.
- The third is 'why is the budget irrelevant?' and the answer could be 'because I fail to monitor my income and expenditure through the year and update the figures'.
- This leads on to a fourth question: 'why do you fail to monitor income and expenditure'? Perhaps 'because it is difficult and time consuming when I'm busy on the farm'.
- And finally you may ask yourself 'why is it difficult and time consuming?' Is it because you I haven't found an easy way to get to the information you require?
The obvious solution is to find a management tool which simplifies the whole process.
Market sentiments suggest milk prices might start to fall in 2018.