Success in a Downturned Dairy Market

As with most other product markets, dairy producers go through times of downturned markets. Two questions many producers may have in mind during this time are: With the dairy market declining, how can I find success and be competitive in the market? How can I increase my animals’ performance in a down market?

History has shown that the dairy market always faces hardship in the summertime. With the heat, things like milk fat will drop back. Therefore, keep in mind that production will always decline in the dead heat of summertime.

Another aspect I have noticed while visiting farms, is that the transition from cessation of lactation, completion of fetal development, birth, and commencing a new lactation cycle is a metabolic and physiological stressful period for the cow (this perhaps goes without saying when you consider everything happening within a couple of months). The lactation phase for a cow is very long, and what happens at the beginning of the lactation cycle determines the slope and shape of the well-defined milk production curve. The milk production curve explains how much milk will be produced.  Dairy farmers sell milk – hence, this is of huge importance to them.

Drying off is cessation of milk production, this is happening naturally along the milk production curve. Dairy producers use a few tricks with diet and management practices to halt lactation when they need to. When drying off, dairy farmers like to see a 65–70-day dry period for first calf heifers after their first lactation and second lactation and beyond 55-60 days before calving. I have seen where a first calf needed more time to dry, or they don’t do as well on 2nd lactation. This is sometimes called the sophomore slump. As part of drying off, a formulation should include mostly forages and a few nutrient-rich, quality ingredients like ExPress® Soy Meal. This helps with the cow’s weight concern, while providing key nutrients and preparing for another round of lactation.

Another important component dairy producers should keep in mind is instead of producing more products, they should prioritize cost savings. They also need to use nutrient dense, quality ingredients. Insta Pro’s ExPress® Soy Meal is a great solution to this. Some of the major advantages to ExPress® Meal are:

  • Cost effective ingredient (other ingredients may not be needed)
  • Higher nutrient digestibility for cow and rumen
  • High quality (it is nutrient dense), more nutrients with less moisture
  • Improved milk production by 1 Liter per head per day


In conclusion, farmers should keep in mind that during the intense heat of summer, production will decline. They also need to keep in mind the length of the lactation phase for a cow and that what happens at the beginning of the lactation cycle determines the milk production curve. They also need to ensure their cows are meeting the requirements for drying off. Finally, by using ExPress® Soy Meal, dairy producers can avoid some of these hardships they may be facing in the dairy market.

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