Feed and labor top cost concerns for dairies

A Michigan dairy farmer says after the extreme volatility in markets during the pandemic, his farm is doing more to protect its margin through risk management.

“I think that’s just kind of opened everybody’s eyes to what this volatility can really do, and you have to look at ways to mitigate as much of that risk as you can.”

Kris Wardin of St. Johns tells Brownfield that has meant using hedging strategies and insurance products to insulate both feed and milk prices.

“It’s great to see a little higher milk price out there and it’s great to see maybe some of these negative PPDs [Producer Price Differentials] that we’ve seen in Michigan look like they’re going to get minimized and maybe even come closer to going away this year—so that’s a positive sign,” he says.  “We’re just hoping all that revenue doesn’t get chewed up in feed and labor costs.”

Wardin says while competition for labor remains high, weather in his area has been beneficial to crops and he’s hoping for grain and feed prices stabilize.

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