The New Year isn’t just a great time for setting personal goals; it’s the perfect time for business goals too. If you run a goat or sheep dairy farm, goals can help you to drive your business forward this year. This is an ideal time to evaluate your farm over the last year and think about what you want to continue and what you want to change. Each dairy farm’s goals will be different, as no two dairy farms are exactly alike. However, we have some general guidelines and ideas that you can use to find inspiration and advice.
Simply setting a goal is a meaningful first stem. However, not all goals are created equal. You want your goal to motivate you throughout the year, and for that, you need goals that are specific, measurable, and scalable. The more specific a goal is, the easier it is to hold yourself up to it. For example, instead of saying “I want to improve milk production,” choose a number that’s an improvement on your milk production from last year. Ideally, the goal will also be measurable, something you can track your progress on throughout the year. It also helps if your goal is scalable. For instance, you might have a goal to earn a certain amount of profit. You can divide that number into quarters or even months and then evaluate your progress in both the short and long-term. These kinds of goals will hold you accountable and help your dairy farm to thrive.
Here are some of our ideas for cow, sheep, and goat dairy farming resolutions:
Improve your Herd Health
Did your herd have any health problems over 2015? Make a goal to work on it in 2016, whether that means focusing on lamb and kid health, changing your feed, adjusting your supplementation and vaccinations, or something else.
The reproduction rate is going to be important to any dairy farm. If yours is behind a target you’d be happy with, work on improving it in 2015. The key to high reproduction rates is genetics, which you can improve through intelligent breeding. The Israeli Dairy School can help you develop customized breeding strategies to improve reproduction.
Build Up Production
In order to attain peak production, your animals need to be healthy and comfortable. You can revamp your feed, nutrition, milking, and housing strategies in order to keep your herd at optimal production levels. You may wish to consult with an outside expert in order to get unbiased feedback on your farm’s practices.
Enhance Your Cooling System
Global warming means that weather is getting more extreme, and temperatures are rising all over the world. This is having an affect on everything from melting icecaps to forest fires. For dairy farmers, it means keeping herds comfortable in healthy in higher heat. When animals get too hot, their production rates go down. If you don’t have an effective cooling system, make 2016 your year to change that. Misting and fanning systems can keep your herd comfortable and healthy even in high temperatures.
Look to the Next Generation
When you’re setting goals, it’s a good idea to think about the future. What do you want for your farm in the long-term? Take some time to think about the big picture: how can your dairy farm adapt in a changing future? Do you want to pass your farm on to your children? Work on including the next generation in your farm now, and give them incentives to get involved.
Follow through with Dairy Training
In order to accomplish your goals, your entire staff needs to be on board. They also need to have developed the necessary skills to move your dairy farm forward. This may mean that you need dairy training. The Israeli Dairy School offers a wide range of seminars and on-site training to bring your staff up to speed and help your dairy farm to improve.
You’ve heard our ideas, now what are yours? What goals do you have for your dairy farm? And what’s worked for you in the past? How have you set goals and then stuck with them? What goals are the most challenging for you? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.