Feed costs represent a large part of the production costs for milk, so dairy farmers are on top of losing as little feed as possible. A commonly used term in the dairy industry is ‘shrink’, meaning the loss of feed ingredients, labour and time associated with feeding and loss due to reduced accuracy of feeding. The raw materials that a farmer buys or harvests are not the same weights or volumes that are actually being fed to the animals. Shrink can therefore be seen as the loss of resources that never have the potential for economic return.
Without shrink management losses mount quickly
“Its impact often goes unnoticed because the operation does not have systems and protocols in place to measure or monitor shrink. However, if the operation is not actively managing shrink, then what starts out as an abnormal loss becomes commonplace and part of the routine cost of doing business,” explains David Greene, Technical Services Specialist at Diamond V. He adds: “Without shrink management, losses can mount quickly. For example, for a farm with a 1,000-cow herd, where feed cost is US$ 7 per cow per day, figure a cost of $ 25,550 per year for every 1% shrink. At 8% shrink, that’s additional cost of $ 204,400 annually for the herd.”