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Dairy SPR: Real Data Compares Peers without Peer Pressure

Brothers Wade and Amos Benedict, Franklin County, enrolled in AgChoice’s Dairy Success and Profitability Review (SPR) program for similar reasons. “I’m always looking for ways to improve my farm’s financials,” shared Wade. “And I’m not a numbers guy,” Amos added. “I try to avoid financials, but by participating in Dairy SPR, it gives me accountability. Dairy SPR appealed to me as a way to keep better track of my financials.” Wade and Amos each own a farm and partner on cropping operations with their brother Ivan. 

Dairy SPR is a benchmarking 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.

“The biggest benefit of the program from my perspective is seeing the net cost of production,” said Wade, a four-year participant who milks 80-cows. “The report is revealing because you know your price of milk and you can see what’s left after deducting your costs.” 

“I also like to see the milk price variation across a group of dairy farmers,” he continued. “The key benchmarks show you where you are at and where you should be.”

A two-year participant with his 84-cow dairy, Amos is looking for initial trends. “Are we making progress in our weak areas? I am reading the report from an efficiency standpoint,” Amos noted. “I want to maximize our current facilities, labor and our homegrown feed. It’s encouraging to see our purchased feeds start to decrease year over year.” 

Wade agrees that the benefit of several years of Dairy SPR participation is seeing more trends and direction. “It’s easy to compare and control costs over time, even little things such as production per cow,” Wade explained. “The report showed me that I’m on the high side on feed costs. It’s helpful to see real comparisons with other farms and I know I can do better.”

“Every farm is made of strengths and weaknesses,” continued Amos. “The Dairy SPR report shows areas we need to work on if we are willing to face the facts. It gives us real data and a picture of where we are in comparison to our peers without the peer pressure.”

Dairy SPR is free for AgChoice loan customers. Producers who do not have loans with AgChoice but participate in AgChoice business management services (accounting, records, tax, payroll, business consulting or crop insurance) can enroll for $150. The program fee for all other producers is $300. Registration in the 2021 Dairy SPR program is open until April 16. To learn more, call 1-800-998-5557.

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