2020 Year End Wrap Up

2020 Year End Wrap Up

Here we are, the final day of the year 2020. This has been a year full of challenges for everyone. A worldwide pandemic has taken a toll on us all physically, emotionally, and economically. As schools, restaurants, and slaughter houses closed the volatility of cattle prices, milk prices, and availability of employees to work has created a lot of uncertainty for farm operations all over the world.

Although there have been many challenges, unprecedented times give us the opportunity to step back and to evaluate all we do. We are given the chance to focus on what is most important, and be creative in our processes as we set new goals and put protocols in place to achieve them. I urge you to sit back and think about one way the year 2020 has challenged you and encouraged you to improve your operation.

Maybe due to decreased income from milk you culled heifers to decrease the cost of raising young stock. Now focusing on only raising your “best” animals as replacements. Maybe with the drop-in cattle prices you decided to keep your bull calves and raise them as beef. Awaiting the time when they will grow to a finished product and the beef price is more sustainable. Maybe you found creative ways to keep expenses down, and focused on better protocols to decrease incidence of disease. Or maybe you decided to focus on longevity in your milking string, making each cow more profitable as she stays in the herd longer. All of these decisions could be looked at positively in the midst of market upheaval.

Possibly one of the greatest gifts of 2020 was the opportunity to utilize technology for our own communications and learning. Many in person conferences and trainings, such as the DCHA Annual Conference, Healthy Calf Conference, and The Dairy Girl Network Conference had to move to virtual platforms, which allowed for more participation than ever! Individuals who were never able to leave their farms before, could take part by listening to presentations from their computer or mobile devices at home! Presentations were also recorded and used for further learning and training purposes at a later date. Although it will be nice to someday meet in person again, hopefully technology will continue to be utilized so that those unable to travel will continue to have the learning opportunities provided through virtual attendance.

Here at Calf Distinction, our goal has always been to decrease the incidence of calf illness. In 2020 we passed a milestone of supplementing 3,000,000 calves!  Our customers have seen a 30% decrease in calf treatments, and saved over $24,000,000 on antibiotics! In addition, we have launched our website, and started writing our blog!  As we enter 2021 our goal is to continue to improve calf health, and become a resource of knowledge to all who raise calves. 2020 brought a lot of challenges, 2021 will also have challenges. May the coming year encourage us to move forward, to reach our full potential, and to become more efficient in raising our calves.

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