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Different Dairy Business Options

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I'm new to the dairy game and I have some questions on what people can do in their business.
Please correct me if I'm wrong but I'm seeing two main groups of dairies. Are there more?

Group 1: Rearing Heifers. Farmers raise replacement heifers and sell them to milk producers. I assume this group has a stock of mothers for producing the replacement heifers and has the option to buy semen or have some bulls on the farm for getting them pregnant

Group 2: Milk Producer, Farmers buy replacement heifers, get them pregnant and start milking a week or so after the calf is born. (Does the calf also get milk or do they feed the calf replacement milk?)
 

Son of Butch

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Group 1: No stock of mothers for calf production, they either buy heifer calves or grow heifers on contract for
other dairy farmers.

Group 2: Farmers rear their own or buy replacements usually bred heifers and start milking the same day as calving.
The milk is bottle fed to her calf and other calves for 2-3 days then the cow's milk goes into the bulk tank with the
rest of the herd and calves are switched to milk replacer or pasteurized waste milk. Calves may suck on mother for
first few hours after calving, but most want to measure calf intake to make sure they get enough colostrum, so they
measure it by bottle feeding or by esophageal feeding the calf's first meal.
 
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That's interesting. So when Group 2 starts milking a heifer that's just given birth, the calf ends up under the care of the farmer contracted to raise the heifer right?

Also do farmers usually sell the milk to the dairy cooperatives and the cooperatives market and distribute it to milk processors and the milk processors market and distribute to stores?
Or do farmers sell the milk straight to the milk processor?
And are there some farmers who process it themselves and sell to stores themselves?

Is there a Seedstock group of Dairy Farmers?

Are there any other groups of dairy farmers I'm missing?
 

molbadger

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The answer is: All of the above. Most farms raise their own replacement (female calves from their herd) for quality control purposes (control of the health and nutrition, controlling the Genetics and breeding of the Heifer, not bringing in outside pathogens to the farm, etc). Farms that lack facilities or feed will send their replacements to a custom raiser who usually receives a fee per head per day but the original herd receives their own cattle back before calving. Some farms sell their calves and buy back Springing (pregnant) heifers but I would say this group is a minority.

Some farmers sell their milk to cooperatives and some sell directly to processors. Some cooperatives resell the milk to other processors while some own their own processing plants. There are some farmers that process the milk themselves but very few do this. Farming and processing are both very capital intensive systems.
 

Son of Butch

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Many milk processors are cooperatives and most farmers sell straight to a milk processor which may or may not be
a cooperative.

Yes some farmers process and market their own milk.
Specialty cheese production would be a good area to explore, few farms do it on any scale, but would seem to me
to have high $ potential.

There are no real Seedstock dairy group of farmers, as all high genetic dairy cattle producers are also dairy farmers
shipping milk.
 
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So Group 1 will usually not have any bulls right? Or are bulls dispersed in both Groups?

Yeah I was reading up on alot of the different types of cheeses, some even produced by Beef breeds. I'll have to do more research on that.
 

molbadger

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All milk producers are trying to get cows pregnant. That's how they get milk production. If you have a dairy cow, you're going to milk it and while milking it try to get it pregnant. So almost every milk producer has baby calves born on the farm.

Like I said, most milk producers raise their own replacements. Some contract out raising and will move the Heifer at some point, usually somewhere between a few days old up to weaning age. If the milk producer is selling the calves and buying replacements, they generally will sell a few day old calf and buy back a pregnant Heifer.

Heifer raisers could, in theory, raise up a Heifer, breed it, freshen it out, keep the calf and sell the cow to a milk producer. But this is rare, most raisers and producers would rather move the Heifer before it calves.

Somewhere between 70-80% of the dairy herd is bred using artificial insemination. The rest use bulls.

There are some farms that focus on seedstock. They breed for high end genetics and are the ones most likely to use genomic testing, be registered with their breed association, and travel to high level dairy shows to compete. They sell not only cattle (both females to other dairy producers and males to bull stud companies) but also embryos that can be implanted into any other cow. They do milk the cows they have and advertise production numbers but the majority of their revenue comes from genetic sales.
 

ddd75

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keep in mind when raising dairy cattle you are supporting RAPE to women according to PETA>.

liberal mindset.
 

ddd75

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Son of Butch":2h2ehdbr said:
Why would any knowledgeable person give a whit about P.E.T.A. let alone keep in mind inflammatory comments?


these are the comments being advertised all over to city people.. who drink milk and buy beef.

yes I will pay attention, as I am dependent on them to buy my beef.
 
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molbadger, thank you so much. That's literally what I needed to know to move forward, I appreciate your input.

Personally I don't understand why more people don't use genomic testing, it's scientific, peer reviewed evidence that allows us to breed for whatever we want. We aren't a seedstock ranch and we use PrimeStock Genomics for multiple benefits. Breeding horns out of our herd, knowing which calves to keep and which to sell off, producing the most tender and marbling filled beef that we can. The most awesome benefit to us is we can just take our best heifers and implant their embryos into our worst heifers and get an entire generation of great calves, rather than a mixture of good and fair. A great investment.

I'm going to look into what benefits PrimeStock can do for my future dairy herd.
 

francismilker

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My advice, FWIW, Breed your cows using AI and keep a very well bred cleanup bull on the primisis. Do your diligence and heavily cull anything that's not what it should be. Be equally critical when culling both AI and pasture bred calves.

If you need to keep subpar cows to have enough replacements for the year put her offspring on a "Do not keep" list from here on out.

It can take years to do so, but culling your herd based upon production, health, and fertility will pay off in the end.

If you want diversity in your income try something bold. I know one milker who split his wet cow pasture into two tracts. He rotates the two tracts out every other year and uses the used one for raising marketable vegetables and does quite well. It's amazing how well that green stuff can grow veggies!
 

Son of Butch

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HonoredCattlemen":1wingz1y said:
molbadger, thank you so much. That's literally what I needed to know to move forward, I appreciate your input.
We aren't a seedstock ranch and we use PrimeStock Genomics for multiple benefits.


I'm going to look into what benefits PrimeStock can do for my future dairy herd.
Who/what is PrimeStock?
My quick google search only turn up a genomics company doing business for sheep production in the United Kingdom.
Where are you located?
Given the simplistic nature of your basic questions and wrong assumptions regarding how the dairy industry works in the USA, I would suggest enrolling in a college level Dairy Animal Science class to learn more. (No disrespect intended)
 

cbcr

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Son of Butch":1w0cnfz3 said:
HonoredCattlemen":1w0cnfz3 said:
molbadger, thank you so much. That's literally what I needed to know to move forward, I appreciate your input.
We aren't a seedstock ranch and we use PrimeStock Genomics for multiple benefits.


I'm going to look into what benefits PrimeStock can do for my future dairy herd.
Who/what is PrimeStock?
My quick google search only turn up a genomics company doing business for sheep production in the United Kingdom.
Where are you located?
Given the simplistic nature of your basic questions and wrong assumptions regarding how the dairy industry works in the USA, I would suggest enrolling in a college level Dairy Animal Science class to learn more. (No disrespect intended)

I think that this is the genomics that he is mentioning: http://www.primestockgenomics.com/

I have not heard of them and haven't checked with them yet as to their offering.

When it come to dairy genomics there are some different options. The genomic test that are available depend on the breed. We have a good breakdown of the tests that are available by breed, what traits are tested with each test.

Many of the tests for some of the breeds are further processed by the USDA. There are only a handful of providers that are nominators to the USDA / CDCB. For females, there is typically no fee charged. Bulls can vary. On our website, if a test is for submission to the USDA / CDCB there is a link to the CDCB for the fees that are charges.

Please visit our genomics information at http://dairycattleregistry.com/genomics/
 
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Son of Butch":30iivv81 said:
Given the simplistic nature of your basic questions and wrong assumptions regarding how the dairy industry works in the USA, I would suggest enrolling in a college level Dairy Animal Science class to learn more. (No disrespect intended)

No your 100% going in the right direction. I don't know if I'll make the time for a college level class, but I'm going on a local dairy tour this weekend at a friend of a friends farm and heading to the World Dairy Expo next week and they've got some virtual dairy tours I'm real excited about.

francismilker":30iivv81 said:
My advice, FWIW, Breed your cows using AI and keep a very well bred cleanup bull on the primisis. Do your diligence and heavily cull anything that's not what it should be. Be equally critical when culling both AI and pasture bred calves.

If you need to keep subpar cows to have enough replacements for the year put her offspring on a "Do not keep" list from here on out.

It can take years to do so, but culling your herd based upon production, health, and fertility will pay off in the end.

If you want diversity in your income try something bold. I know one milker who split his wet cow pasture into two tracts. He rotates the two tracts out every other year and uses the used one for raising marketable vegetables and does quite well. It's amazing how well that green stuff can grow veggies!

Thanks for the input, I'll keep this in mind.

I don't like the Igenity test, I feel like that billion dollar company just views us as a cash dispenser and their customer service wasn't very helpful when I was asking them about their test.
 

cbcr

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I don't like the Igenity test, I feel like that billion dollar company just views us as a cash dispenser and their customer service wasn't very helpful when I was asking them about their test.

It depends on who you talk with at GeneSeek as to how helpful they are and how knowledgeable they are about the products they offer, but they are a leader when it comes to genomics. Some of the other companies use genomic chips and tests that were developed by GeneSeek.

Some of the other companies doing genomics only do so for Holstein or Jersey. GeneSeek offers more offerings for other breeds.

With confusion about what tests are available for dairy owners for the breeds is why we worked with a couple of sales reps so that we could put the information on our website. Also contributing to some of the confusion is that some breed associations have genomic tests that have been developed for them and the fee structure is different as those breed associations also make money off of the tests.

Since we started using GeneSeek for their genomics, we have seen the price of many of the test come down in price. We continue to try to offer the best solutions that we can to producers at an affordable price for the best results. Databases with other breeds have to be built up and takes close to 1,000 animals to have enough data to use to make improvements. We do know that other countries are seeking the opportunity to be able to do genomics. Our "Red" breeds can take advantage of the Ayrshire genomic test. With the Fleckvieh (Germany and Austria, primarily), Montbeliarde and Normande from France, these countries have genomics for these breeds, but they will not do genomics on animals outside of their country. So we have to utilize the test that are available and GeneSeek has the best option available right now for genomics of these breeds. With Germany and France refusing to test these breeds is to protect their market and semen sales.

Also the USDA is supposed to be working on a crossbred genomic test, but it is not a priority.
 

Highpoint

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ddd75":3t4xop6v said:
Son of Butch":3t4xop6v said:
Why would any knowledgeable person give a whit about P.E.T.A. let alone keep in mind inflammatory comments?


these are the comments being advertised all over to city people.. who drink milk and buy beef.

yes I will pay attention, as I am dependent on them to buy my beef.
I viewed their site and could counteract all their claims about raw milk with research. I brought my daughter out of stage 4 cancer my husband with heart disease and COPD and realize some of their items are true especially about factory farms. I tell everyone about raw milk bringing children out of asthma and protecting their teeth also however cattle cannot be fed GMO for this to work.
 

Turkeybird

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If that were true then no one would have gotten cancer or had heart problems 50 yrs ago
 

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