The Rural Economy of New England: A Regional Study

By John Donald Black | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 18
Dairy Farm Management
Problems

This chapter will proceed at once to deal with the management problems which confront the individual dairy farmer. Problems that concern the dairy industry in its relation to the market are reserved for the chapter following. It will not be possible to analyze any one of these management problems in any detail. What follows is rather more a statement of them than an analysis. Surely this must be true of the treatment of the first of these problems, the rate of feeding.


PROBLEM I. RATE OF FEEDING

The dairy herds of almost any part of New England are being fed at rates that give average annual yields per cow ranging from less than 3000 to more than 8000 pounds of milk. S. W. Williams found 50 herds averaging less than 3500 pounds of milk (4.0 butterfat equivalent) out of the 448 which he surveyed in the Champlain Valley of Vermont in 1932, and 10 of them producing more than 8000 pounds.1 These differences are popularly believed to reflect differences in the "quality" of the cows, but they are due fully as much to differences in farmers' ideas or habits as to rates of feeding. Quality itself is mainly capacity to eat feed and convert it into milk. With dairy breeds, it is the amount of feed consumed that determines the amount of milk produced. On 40 of these Vermont farms, the cows received less than 400 pounds of grain per year; and on 43 of them, more than 2000 pounds. It may be that the first 40 farmers were feeding poor cows up to their capacity, but this is extremely doubtful.

____________________
1
Vermont Bulletin 479, 1941.

-316-

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