Monday, December 29, 2008

Feedstuff's Editor Misses the Boat

Sarah Muirhead is Editor and Publisher of Feedstuffs, a weekly hardcopy and for-fee Internet publication that focuses on the animal agriculture business, especially feeding those animals. An article by Ms. Muirhead was recently published in Farm Futures, a "sister" publication to Feedstuffs. The article is entitled "Higher Costs Unfold as Dairy Tech is Removed", and Ms. Muirhead says the following:

"Options for increasing total milk production for safe, wholesome, nutritious diets are to either (1) increase the number of cows milked, or (2) improve productivity through technology."

Ms. Muirhead says in effect that the recent decline in overall milk production was due in large part to dairy producers not using the bST product, Posilac. Well, some producers have used less Posilac, but your ways to increase milk production misses one key option. That option is the opposite of what is historically done when feed prices get high.

The third option is that dairy farmers can feed more concentrate and milk production will go up. This isn't a new concept. The relationship between feed prices and total milk production is strong and negative. As prices of concentrate feeds rise, and they certainly did that in 2008, dairy farmers don't feed their cows as much. Anybody associated with the industry knew that.

If you don't feed cows as much protein and energy concentrate feeds, like corn grain and soybean meal, then then don't milk as much. Everybody associated with the industry knows that.

Ms. Muirhead, I'm sorry, but with the focus of your publication being feeding animals and with your role as Editor and Publisher you should have not missed this direct cause and effect relationship.

Hope that helps


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