Adapting to Thrive!

We’ve all heard the saying “the early bird catches the worm.” However, a more modern interpretation for our society should be “the bird that can adapt catches the worm.”

In fact, we are living in an ever-changing world, where everything moves at lightning speed. Regardless of when we get up, there are events to which we all need to adapt: the weather, a difficult calving, a mechanical breakdown, etc. These contingencies obviously change the day’s schedule. Avoiding them is impossible, but we can at least make ourselves less vulnerable to their consequences. 

In professional sports, the ability to adapt is more important than natural talent. A fraction of a second taken to make a decision can change everything. Think about car racing or even team sports. The course of the sport forces the player to change his or her initial game plan. In the farming world, it’s not about a fraction of a second, but we still need to know how to make decisions at the right time. The difference between a good and an excellent performance, both in the technical and financial spheres, is the capacity to adapt. Your expert-consultants and other interveners travel across La Coop network’s territory to provide you with the best advice possible. It is then up to you to either apply our suggestions or not. However, the right choices must be made to reach your objectives. Can athletes even consider being part of the Olympics if they don’t train every day? Not only must they train, but to improve their performance they also need to improve their training program and depend on their coach’s recommendations. The same principle applies to your farming business. How can we think about improving results if we don’t adjust our work methods?

It’s so easy to say “it’s not my fault, this and this happened…” The past summer is the perfect example. The stress caused by periods of excessive heat and humidity resulted in lower dairy production almost everywhere. However, the gap between various producers is highly interesting. Some farmers recorded radical drops in milk production while others didn’t. And yet, the heat and humidity were everywhere. Why were there such gaps? Adaptation of course…

“Well, add humidity to the 35°C and it’s completely normal that cows eat less!” sorry, but the best producers didn’t experience such phenomena. I’ve seen it for myself. In a single day I could visit a barn where I could barely stand to breathe in the hot, stale air (I can just imagine the heifers) and then move on to another barn where a light jacket would have felt nice. In extreme weather, animal comfort becomes a very good indicator. In a well ventilated barn, breathing is easy, cows stay clean and feed consumption barely waivers and the same goes for dairy production. If we want to keep the cows inside 12 moths per year, we need to adapt the building accordingly. The huge variations experienced from one farm to another are not related to the feed ration served, but rather to how ration and herd are managed. There is theory and there is practice; then comes the capacity to adapt.

It’s true; some, more than others, have the innate ability to make the right decision. And we all know that we can make bad decisions sometimes. But one thing is certain: the more decisions we make, the better we are at making them and adapting!


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