Charles Hutchison, Stephens, Matthew F., Van Osdell, Mary Ann | 6/13/2008 7:48:39 PM
GRAND CANE – Milk prices have moderated from unprecedented highs of 2007, an LSU AgCenter dairy specialist told farmers at a dairy field day here June 12.
Dr. Charles Hutchison said feed prices continue to escalate, but replacement heifer costs have decreased somewhat. “The milk-to-feed ratio is at an all-time low,” he said.
Feed prices, which represent the highest expense in milk production, will depend on how much of the corn crop will go to ethanol production, how much of U.S. crops will be exported, weather conditions and trade issues, Hutchison said.
“Get a handle on the financial situation and know the cost of production,” Hutchison told the farmers.
Nutrition requirements to produce 60 pounds of milk are the same today as they were 24 months ago, he said. “It is important to feed a balanced ration.”
He said dairy farmers can reduce costs by feeding high-digestible fiber sources and grouping cows with their feeds.
“The production and feeding of high-quality forage to the right cows pays dividends,” Hutchison said. “Cheating on starch levels may cost less than saving on feed costs.”
Matt Stephens, LSU AgCenter LSU animal waste agent, said poultry waste is a valuable resource that is increasing in use as fertilizer.
He noted, however, that proper neighbor relations are important.
“It is in your best interest to inform your neighbors when you put out litter,” Stephens said. “Stay away from property lines, schools, churches and playgrounds.”
His suggested keeping piled litter covered to prevent nitrogen loss and refraining from spreading when heavy rain is approaching or before a holiday when people will be outdoors.
Stephens said those considering fertilizing with chicken litter should ask what type of flock it came from (broiler and layer are better than pullet), how long it has been in the chicken house (it is best that the litter has been raised on five flocks) and where it has been stored (covered is best).
Ask if the bedding was shavings or rice hulls, Stephens Stephens. “You want shavings.”
He offered caution in sharing uncomposted litter with neighbors for gardening. “Be careful of that,” Stephens said. “It still has some pathogens in it.”
Contact: Charles Hutchison at (225) 578-2410, or firstname.lastname@example.org
Matt Stephens at (318) 644-5865, or email@example.com
Writer: Mary Ann Van Osdell at (318) 741-7430, ext. 1104, or firstname.lastname@example.org