A recent study indicates the US milk market will continue robust growth over the next several years. A key driver will be a recognition by health conscious consumers of milk as a nutrient rich food. Presumably then, better quality (healthier) milk will be in higher demand as long as cost doesn’t become prohibitive.
This coincides with a couple of other trends which should be of interest to dairy producers: a demand for more locally sourced food, and technological advances which will allow consumers to reconnect with farms.
Smart dairy operations will be able to take advantage of each one of these trends. Here’s how a fodder system will help:
- A fodder-based diet in milk cows produces healthier milk. Normally, the omega 6 to omega 3 ratio in milk produced with a traditional grain and hay diet is unhealthy. Studies have demonstrated that a fodder-based diet flips that ratio to a much healthier omega 6 to omega 3 ratio to the point it can be marketed as omega 3 milk. Fodder is also produced in a FodderTech system without pesticides or chemicals. It will lower your feed costs and improve your herd health, reducing your vet bills and use of medications.
- If you are selling direct to consumers, a fodder system will allow your operation to be not just a local dairy which essentially produces the same milk the big dairies do, but a local dairy which produces milk in a healthier, more humane and environmentally friendly way than do the big diaries. Here, we don’t want to step on any toes, because the American dairy industry is incredibly conscious about the humane treatment of dairy cows, but a fodder-based diet will result in lower cull rates and better overall herd health. These are all things consumers understand and appreciate. We have seen with many products, such as organic produce, that consumers want a better product, but aren’t always willing to pay for the increased cost of producing it. It isn’t a concern with fodder. You will not spend more to feed your herd with fodder. You will probably be able to raise your prices, but you won’t have to do it to cover increased feed costs.
- A new app under development will allow consumers buying seafood to “meet their fisherman.” Scan a QR code on a package of seafood with your phone, and up pops information about the fisherman who caught it. It’s the 21st Century way of reconnecting consumers with food producers. Can dairy be far behind? Dairy farming is complicated, and there’s a lot of stuff consumers, who are only casually interested, will never understand, but as we’ve stated before, the fact that you’re feeding fresh, green sprouts, produced without pesticides or chemicals, and conserving water and land, while producing less waste is something that you can easily promote and that your customers can grasp easily and will prefer strongly.