Igniting milk production with focus on forage
Dairy Focus Consultant: Matt Leak
- Producing 6.23 pounds of components at 12.46 percent efficiency
- Testing forage for optimal moisture levels
- Using Cargill’s tailored recommendations and consistent service
For two consecutive years, Munk Dairy has been averaging over six pounds of combined fat and protein from their 850-milking Holsteins. However, this hasn’t always been the case for the dairy operated by the father-son duos of Sid and Braden Munk and Shane and Jason Munk.
When the Munks first started working with Cargill Dairy Focus Consultant, Matt Leak, they were going through the motions of forage production without really understanding its significant impact to quality. Matt took the time to explain how they could get to higher quality forage and how that higher quality forage could ignite their milk production.
“Before working with Matt, we just chopped corn silage and haylage and put it in our pit. He really took the time to help us understand the importance of testing and waiting for the best moisture levels. Now, we chop a lot drier than we used to.” says Braden.
Today, the Munks grow most of their feed and they buy the rest locally. They use the knowledge they gained for scouting fields and monitoring them close to harvest, giving them a lot of control over maturity. The dairy also improved their feed storage, making sure it’s properly shielded from the Utah elements to help maintain quality.
Not only has Munk’s milk production increased, Matt helped shift their focus to efficiency. This is critical for their current situation since their pounds of milk production is limited by their creamery to 2017 levels. While pounds of milk is a limiting factor, the level of components are not, making it the perfect time to hone in on component efficiency. With the dairy currently having to cut back their milk production, they are striving to improve their milk components the most economical way possible.
Braden continues on to say, “We trust Matt. He isn’t just a guy with a computer telling us what to do or hypothetically what should work. He is milking his own cows right along with us, and is constantly trying new things on his own herd and sharing the results. He really helps us make economic decisions that best fit our herd.”
Matt gives the Munks the personalized attention they were searching for, focusing on continuous improvement and exploring new possibilities. “I’m lucky to serve a progressive, leading dairy like the Munks,” says Matt. “They aren’t afraid to break barriers and maximize profitability.”
Feed quality isn’t the only thing the Munk’s keep close control over, they also raise all their own replacement animals to ensure careful care throughout their lifetime.
“I believe you provide the best care for your own animals. They won’t just become a number or a neglected calf that might miss out on reaching its full potential,” explains Braden. With 1,000 calves and heifers, Munks prioritize their replacement animals by feeding HerdFirst® and only using the best bulls to sire their operation.
As the Munks look to the future, they will continue to focus on how they can get better and keep their component efficiency as a main priority. Their dream for continual improvement is also hinged on sustaining their farm for the next father-son duos.
“We know the more nutrients we can pack in every pound of feed, the more milk and components we can make,” shares Braden. “Which is what will carry our dairy into the future and provide our young boys an operation to take over.”
If you’re curious about your herd’s component efficiency, check out our online calculator to receive your efficiency results and the opportunity to review them with a Cargill consultant.