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Dairy Farmer: Benchmarking "Will Pay Off"

For Wayne Frye, Hopeway Dairy Farm, Westmoreland County, annual benchmarking helps him better understand his business. A participant in AgChoice’s, Dairy Success and Profitability Review (Dairy SPR), Wayne explains that, “I think there’s more value in Dairy SPR the more years you are in it. The real value in SPR is sticking with it. Don’t give up and it will pay off.”

Dairy SPR is a tool for producers to evaluate their financial performance and make proactive management decisions for the future. The program includes an easy-to-understand report highlighting a farm’s most pertinent information on a total dollar, per cow and per hundredweight basis.

When Wayne’s children joined the family business and they formed an LLC, the Dairy SPR reports were key. “It was a big help to my transition team to review the history,” Wayne recalled. Now a few years into the new LLC, Wayne’s children also grasp the value. “If you want to see and understand your numbers, I recommend enrolling in the program,” shared Wayne.

Wayne also points to an example of change implemented on the farm because of the Dairy SPR report. “We tried to keep every cow because we thought we could save them all,” he said. “So as a rule, with that mindset, we would lose more cows. We think we’ll fix the cow, but it gets too late.” Wayne’s Dairy SPR report revealed the farm was at 8% mortality.

“Today, we don’t try to save every cow,” Wayne continued. “We will work with the cows for two to three days and if they aren’t turning the corner, we will send them to market.” Wayne and his children have reduced their cow mortality to 6%.

Summing up his experiences in the benchmarking program, Wayne said, “The more knowledgeable you are about your business, the better you will be.”

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