PRESS BULLETIN 132
Florida Agricullural Experiment S lalion
KEEPING DAIRY RECORDS
BY JOHN M. SCOTT
It is doubtful if there are half-a-dozen dairymenin Florida who can tell
what it costs them to produce a gallon of milk, or whether every cow in the
herd produces enough milk to pay for the feed given it. These are, however,
two important questions, and every dairyman ought to be able to answer
them. It is just as important to know the cost of producing a gallon of milk,
as it is to know how to combine feeds so as to get the best results. Without
the knowledge of the cost for each cow, failure will often follow. The only
way to know this is to keep a daily record of the feed given and the milk pro-
duced. The excuse given by most dairymen for not keeping a complete re-
cord of their herd, is that they cannot afford to do so, because it takes so
much time and because labor is scarce.
FAILURES IN DAIRYING
To make a fair profit, milk must be produced at the lowest possible cost.
To do this, the dairyman must know the returns from each cow in the herd.
It is not enough for him to know how much milk each cow produces, but he
must also know the amount and cost of the feed eaten to produce this milk.
If the dairyman fails to get this information, he is not likely to find dairyirg
as profitable as he had expected. The result will often-be that he will con-
demn the business, and say that Florida is no place for dairying, as there is no
money in it. The real cause of the failure is, however, the poor method of
conducting the business.
Any commercial enterprise, if not conducted on business principles, will
sooner or later become a failure. The first question the business man asks is,
"Will it pay?" If he is convinced that a change in his methods will pay, he is
apt to make the change. Dairying is just as much a business as is manufac-
turing or mercantile work, and it requires just as close attention to details, if
the dairyman is to make a fair profit.
The following are the records of a herd of seven cows on the Experiment
Station farm. These seven cows are only average dairy cows, and the results
here given can be duplicated by any good dairyman in the State. All the
December 4, 1909
cows were fed the same feeds, namely, 7 pounds of bran, 3 pounds of cotton
seed meal, 25 pounds of sorghum silage per day, in two equal feeds. No sil-
age was fed after April 1, as the cows had good pasture after that date.
In ihe six months from January 1 to June 30, cow No. 10 produced,
3338.25 pounds of milk, at a cost of 7.3 cents per gallon; cow No. 5 gave
3281.75 [pounds at a cost of 8.6 cents per gallon; cow No. 2 produced 3029.5
pounds of milk, costing 9.3 cents a gallon; cow No. 13, 2633 pounds, at a cost
of 10.7 cents per gallon; cow No. 4 produced 2058.25 pounds at a cost of 13.7
cents per gallon; cow No. 7, 1949.25 pounds, at a cost of 14.5 cents per gallon;
and cow No. 8, 1805.25 pounds, at a cost of 15.6 cents per gallon. The aver-
age cost per gallon for the herd was 11.3 cents. The average cost per gallon
for the best four cows was 8.9 cents, and the average cost for the three poor-
est was 14.6 cents, showing a difference in the cost of production of 5.7 cents
These results show plainly the need of keeping a daily record, and in this
way weeding out the unprofitable dairy cows.
The total amount of milk produced by these seven cows in six months was
18625.25 pounds, or 2165.72 gallons. With this herd of cows, it cost $244.72
for feeds to produce this amount of milk. If all the cows in the herd had
been as unprofitable as cow No. 8, it would have cost $337.85 to produce that
amount of milk; but if all had been as profitable as cow No. 10 it would have
cost only $158.10, or less than half as much. Had the entire herd been as
good milk producers as the best four cows, the 2165.72 gallons of milk would
have cost $192.75, while if the entire herd had been as unprofitable as the
three poorest cows, the milk would have cost $316.20, an increase of $123.45,
or $17.63 per cow.
These figures should be convincing enough to show the profits to be ob-
tained by keeping a daily record of each cow in the herd.
State papers please copy.