Dairy Specialist Responds to Dairy Profit Concerns

Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension
Iowa State University

Title of Success Story

Dairy Specialist Responds to Dairy Profit Concerns

Extension Lead(s)
(name, position, counties served, contact information)

Larry Tranel, Dairy Field Specialist, SE Iowa
14858 West Ridge Lane
Dubuque, IA 52003    563-583-6496, tranel@iastate.edu

Desired Changes
Complete objectives for all that apply

Learning – to learn how to financially analyze their dairy farm business and to teach various production techniques to improve milk quality and efficiency of feed, labor and facilities.
Actions – to do financial analysis and to make profitable changes to improve milk quality and efficiency of feed, labor and facilities
Conditions – to survive unprofitable economic conditions through astute use of financial analysis and efficient use of feed, labor and facility resources

Relevance (Maximum 250 characters)
(Issue: Why is it important to address this with education?  What are the desired changes?)

Low milk prices and high feed prices in 2009 combined to give losses on the average dairy between $500 - $1,000 per cow causing both negative cash flows and losses of equity position.  Dairy producers needed to fine-tune their financial and production management or risk going out of business.

Response (Maximum 250 characters)
(from Outputs: activities, numbers reached, publications, products)

The ISU Dairy Team initiated meetings around the state on the Dairy Financial Crisis and also presented the issue at 7 Dairy Days. Follow-up farm visits were done to help 55 struggling producers survive the current financial crisis by better managing their herd, their facilities and their finances. 

Results – desired changes (Maximum 250 characters)
( specific changes that occurred in Learning, Actions, Conditions)  Describe how outcomes were measured.

Surveys show actions taken profited $217/cow; $45/acre; or $90,000/ farm. Milk production increased 9 lbs/cow/day; 250,000 lbs/FTE/yr; 2,167 lbs/cow/yr; SCC’s decreased 145,865 cow; feed costs decreased $.70/cow/day or $.50/cwt. for  total impact of $1,182,191 for the 36 surveyed.

Public Value (now or future) (Maximum 150 characters)
(Impact:  Who benefits beyond participants and how?  What conditions changed?)

Each dairy cow generates $17,000 of economic activity per year in local communities.  Maintaining equity and cash flow during unprofitable times is crucial to rural jobs.


Global Food Security and Hunger
Ensuring Profitable Producers
Helping Rural Iowans Prosper
Natural Resources and Environmental Stewardship
Climate Change
Sustainable Energy
Food Safety
ALL of the above apply

Fiscal Year


Major Partners or Collaborators

ISU Dairy Team 


Last updated: June 22, 2011
Page maintained by Julie Honeick, jhoneick@iastate.edu