Let us start talking about IOFC – Income Over Feed Cost, instead of merely feeding cost. The feed can have a return instead of just being a cost.
Feed is, as we all know, one of the biggest costs on a farm. It can be tempting to feed less concentrate because farmers send a big part of their income to feed mills every month. Maybe even more so, now that the prices for feed have been rising to new records at the beginning of 2021.
Overlooking your feed-cost and trying to cut them down is always a good manner. However, we must prevent it from lowering our income on the other side. For example, if we drop concentrate with 1 kg, that would save 20 cents, this could be profitable if we only lost about 0,5kg of milk as an effect of this. If the cows drop more, we are losing more money than we are saving by lowering the concentrate. Focussing on IOFC (milk income per cow- feed cost per cow) on a day-to-day basis is a good manner to manage and prevent farmers from spending more than they are saving on feed.
This IOFC-equation will furthermore provide a good variable to overlook and discuss your day-to-day farming manner with other farmers. It will not only show the feed cost but more importantly, the return on those costs. This is because milk is not only a product of the feed itself but just as much a product of the management, providing it. To focus on your own IOFC-variable is a great way to evaluate both milk production and the cutting of costs at the same time. Focusing on merely one or the other will often tend to lead you no further than you already were.
This means that an organic farmer can start comparing his farming practice to his conventional neighbour. Even though the price of the milk and the feed costs are on different levels, the goal for both farmers is to make milk as efficiently as possible which means making the most milk at the lowest cost. To achieve this efficiency on-farm, the farmer will have to start monitoring their IOFC-variable every day. By evaluating your IOFC-variable and setting new goals, it is possible to improve your efficiency. Monitoring the things you do, and the way you are doing it, is important to improve your IOFC-variable – If you want to learn more about incorporating IOFC in your farming practice, you can read about one of our farmers and his struggle to reduce his feed costs and the benefits he gained by monitoring his IOFC-variable.
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You can read more here: Managing Income Over Feed Costs