Can You Work 20 Hours Per Annum Per Cow?

Do you know how many hours you work in a year?  How does this compare to your peers?  Is your work rate good or bad, efficient or not?  These are key questions you should be asking yourself when assessing your business and its efficiency.  With increasing demands on business owners, time not just from within the business, but also from the family, focusing on reducing the hours you spending working has to be key.
The top dairy farmers are spending around 20 hours per annum per cow.  This includes all tasks, both physical and financial/technical.  So for every 100 cows that is 2000 hours.

So how do they achieve this?  These are some key areas that the top 5% focus on:

• Simple grass based systems, not necessarily spring calving, but focusing on maximising output from grazing and grass silage.
• Focus on fertility, large amounts of time are wasted spotting cows bulling for the second, third, fourth time, not to mention the extra time serving them and the extended lactation requirement additional management time.
• Look at your cow flow both around the buildings/parlour and around the farm.  Imagine it from a cows’ point of view.  How can you reduce time wasted waiting for cows to move or chasing cows into the parlour?
• In a recent survey 33% of a farmers time is spent milking cows, what can you do to speed things up?
• Interestingly, farmers with larger numbers of staff appear to work better as there is peer pressure to relating to completing tasks.
• Having a simple system that does not rely on one particular member of the team to operate.  Could you go away for two weeks and be confident the farm would run at the same level as if you were there?

Like with all things each farm is different, with its own limitations. These should however, not be used as excuses for not changing and improving.  Reducing your work load by half an hour per day can gain you seven extra days per annum, that’s a holiday!

If you would like to look at your system and opportunities to create more time and improve your lifestyle, please contact Phil at or your local FCG office.


Posted in Business Management, Dairy & Forage, Sherborne.