I am a list maker. I love the feeling of checking something off my list and never worrying about it again. Things such as laundry drive me crazy. Just when I check it off my list, there is another dirty sock and guess what is back on my list, laundry.
Many things on the dairy farm are like my family’s dirty laundry. The same jobs need to be done every day of the year. Most farms are good at managing the tasks that need to be done daily (milking, feeding, etc). There are also important jobs on the dairy that need to be done but don’t need to be immediately. However, if those less urgent items are never addressed or are addressed late, they will have significant and lasting effects. One example would be monitoring somatic cell count and reviewing somatic cell count changes in in the herd. While this task doesn’t need to be done on a certain day, if it never gets done, the herd’s milk quality can get to a point where it takes significant time, money, and culling to improve the situation.
As I have worked with dairy farmers over the last 15 years, I have noticed something about the most successful farms.
They consistently perform both urgent and non-urgent jobs with an attitude of quality and positivity.
Every farm has a culture. Like it or not, anyone who spends time on your farm quickly discovers that culture. Some farms have a culture of excuses while others have a culture of opportunity. I bet you can tell me what the culture is on successful farms. I can tell you that I know what to expect on both of those farms every time I visit.
I have been working with one particular farm for the last 12 years. I recently told him that every time I visit him farm (twice a month for 12 years) the sand in his freestalls is well-groomed and clean. EVERY TIME! Guess what his somatic cell count and new mastitis case rate is? Consistent performance yields consistent results. That is true for both consistently excellent and consistently poor performance. Sowing and reaping.
I am learning to let go of my list and embrace those dirty socks with a positive attitude. Life on and off the dairy farm is a journey that was made to be full of joy, despite circumstances. I encourage you to think about the culture on your farm, live on purpose, and make time for non-urgent but important jobs. Enjoy the Journey!