Hitting 100: 7 Secrets of High-Producing Herds




There’s an art to producing 100 pounds of milk per cow, per day. Veterinarians and industry experts Dr. Nigel Cook and Dr. R. Tom Bass share seven management strategies used by elite herds they care for, below.

  1. More Milkings
    Statistics from the National Dairy Herd Information Association reveal that 3X milking pays off. Their research found farms who milk three times a day are 15 times more likely to achieve a 30,000 pound rolling herd average than 2X day milkers.


  2. Prioritize Cow Comfort
    Ensure cattle are housed in a clean, well-maintained environment. Be proactive in identifying and treating lameness and health issues. Ensure feed is available and pushed up consistently. Offer appropriately sized and adequately bedded stalls to promote laying.


  3. Ensure High-Quality Forages
    Milk production is dependent on the dry matter and fiber content of forages. To optimize milk production, ensure your forages are of the highest quality – make sure your feed is properly fermented, processed, and stored.


  4. Consistency is Key
    Producers should minimize any changes that can affect cow routine. Consistent feeding and milking times, along with unaltered feed quality and TMR rations, can help you reach your high production goals.


  5. Procedures Ensure Performance, Profitability
    Standard Operating Procedures ensure efficient, effective, and consistent cow care, regard of who is working with the herd. Establishing written procedures also boosts employee competency and allows for the proactive (rather than reactive) management of herd health issues.


  6. Don’t Overlook An Opportunity for Improvement
    It can be difficult to identify areas of improvement as high producing herds become more efficient. In order to successfully reach the 100 pound daily average mark, herd managers must be detail oriented and realize that an opportunity for improvement – no matter how small or seemingly insignificant – can add up to big bonuses in the bulk tank.


  7. Big-Bodied Bovines
    Cows with above-average body sizes are capable of higher milk production. Bigger cows tend to have larger rumens and higher feed intakes, resulting in the capability to produce more milk. 

Bass, R. Tom. “100-pound herds: What are the secrets to their success?Progressive Dairyman.


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