A good customer of ours is an independent dairy consultant, who balances his clients’ rations using DQ DAIRY.  As a DQ customer, he’s entitled to complimentary program services.  One day he mentioned to his Dawe’s Regional Manager that he had a prospect who milked 350 Holsteins, and whose business he had been trying to gain for some time.  Our Regional Manager (“RM”) offered to accompany him on his next visit to the prospect’s dairy farm.

The prospect welcomed our customer and our RM and gave them a tour, beginning with the free stall barn.  Our RM noted mentally how many of the cows were eating at the bunk and how well they were cleaning up their feed; how many cows were away from the bunk, resting, and how many were chewing their cuds.

To the RM’s eye, the barn’s ventilation was satisfactory and the cows’ condition appeared fair enough, but their weights were less than optimal for that stage of lactation.

Next the men visited the dry cow pen.  Here our RM was struck by the ration: Virtually no grain, and little silage, was being fed.  The diet seriously lacked energy.  Essentially the feed was poor quality grass hay that smelled musty.

Our RM suggested raising the energy level of the dry-cow ration two to three weeks before calving.  He encouraged the dairyman to increase silage and to use better quality forage.  If feeding is inadequate in the dry cow pen, the RM said, cow condition at calving won’t be what it should be, and the cow will be incapable of achieving her potential for peak milk production.

The tour continued, with our RM noting that the calves looked fine; and all the other facilities and equipment seemed to be in good shape.

It was a hot day.  The three men summarized the three-hour tour, drinking lemonade under a shade tree.  The dairyman admitted his dry-cow feed was not a very good ration, but he did not want to waste some of the feedstuffs he had on hand. 

Our RM complimented the dairyman on his top-notch facility. He encouraged him to match the quality of the diets to the quality of the facilities, and to begin by improving the dry-cow feed.  The dairyman listened, but was non-committal.

Then, two days later, the dairyman called our customer to tell him he was going to start not only on our customer’s dry-cow rations, but on all the feeds needed for his operation.

In reviewing the episode, our RM said, “Essentially I added two items of value on this call.  First, my approach was systematic:  I assumed nothing and made sure to take enough time to examine the entire operation.  Second, I was really just telling the dairyman what he himself already knew to be true about his dry-cow feed.  Sometimes it takes a stranger to get you past that tipping point.”