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Time to plan

Karen Lee Published on 02 January 2014

I don’t care for the snow and cold of winter much, but I do love this season because everything seems to slow down a bit more than usual.

Of course, the cows still need to be milked and the calves fed, but the hustle and bustle of fieldwork has ceased for a short while.

This pause allows for time to be spent in planning. Winter is a great time to step aside from busywork to sit down in a warm office or around the kitchen table and determine what direction to take your farm business in the coming year.

In this issue, we focus on business management with a variety of topics that will help you take a closer look at different areas of your business.

As you pull together your financial statements for the year, JJ Degan provides some financial ratios to help you monitor the progression or regression of the business. In the article, Degan helps you to understand how this information can be used to change your performance. To read the article click here.

Perhaps as you sit down to take a closer look at your farm numbers, you’ll discover an area or two where you are losing money.



There are several areas on the farm where profit drains, as David Greene refers to them, can easily be overlooked throughout the year. Greene provides a few of these examples to help you identify some problems and determine how to stop or lessen the leak. Click here to read the article.

For those that claim to be big-picture thinkers, I advise you to read the article by Jim Whitt. He offers another way to look at long-term planning.

Instead of going through the strategic planning process, Whitt encourages dairy producers to give his pioneering process a try. He does caution, “Pioneering has never been for the faint of heart,” so it may not be for everyone. Click here to read his article.

If you are thinking of trying or starting something new in the new year, you may want to read about precision dairy technologies and what makes them worth the expense. Click here to read.

Or, if it is a business you are starting or rearranging, take a minute to learn about how a formal partnership can be applied and what you would need to know in terms of tax planning. Robert Fischer explains this, click here to read his article.

Winter is usually a good time for planning your cropping strategy. Our forage topics in the back of the magazine offer something new to consider.

Could planting corn in twin rows instead of single rows yield more silage? Find out the results of a Wisconsin-based trial, click here to read.

Are you consistently running short on forage? Click here to learn how a cover crop could potentially provide some high-quality forage.

Our plans
At Progressive Dairyman, we’ve been busy planning, too. First of all, we plan to offer this magazine to you on a more-frequent basis this year.


You will now receive 12 issues a year, one per month. Not only will this provide a more regular delivery schedule for you, but it also means you’ll receive more of the content you desire.

I also want to let you know that we’re upgrading our website. The site still has the same comprehensive content for which Progressive Dairyman is known and offers the same core functions, it just has a slightly different look, and it will better accommodate visitors who access the site on mobile devices.

Please feel free to email me with any feedback. I hope you enjoy it.

A very happy New Year to you and best of luck to you as you plan your business’s future.  PD

Karen Lee
Karen Lee
Progressive Dairyman magazine