Slice of Life

Well that's it. It's been more than a week and the deadline has come and gone and I'm still looking at a blank page. Of course I have plenty of ideas and topics I could expound upon, but this time, it just seems harder. It's probably because I've been nursing a really bad toothache for about ten days. Despite a cocktail of colourful pills, the pressure on this damned tooth is stronger than the one pushing me to write this text. Let's just say that my concentration level is not at its highest!
I wonder: should I again talk about strategies that will generate better farm revenue? Or should I go back to providing examples of great performances? How to improve certain management aspects or why fall milk wasn't part of the farm's schedule? What if I switched it up for once and simply talked about what I thought was interesting over the past few weeks?

I recently attended fall expos in St-Hyacinthe and Toronto. It was amazing to see the quality of animals being presented and, more particularly, the exceptional results obtained by our clients. In fact, this created an amusing dilemma: we would love to advertize all of the incredible results achieved by producers and cattle owners supplied by La Coop network and part of the various championship events, but we would need more than two full pages in a cattle breed magazine! That is proof positive that heifer breeding and the Goliath program have pride of place.

By the way, we are re-launching the Défi Goliath in 2014. But how can this contest get your attention when it is designed to recognize more than breeding performances? The objective is to promote improvement in the breeding phase of (nearly) every type of herd. It's a question of cash. For example, an animal's first calving still occurs at an average of over 27 months. Improving the average calving age of a 50-head herd by 2 months represents savings that exceed $3,500 per year, and that's year after year. I started thinking about those numbers: dairy supplements have been expensive over the past two years and everyone would love to see prices drop, so just imagine this 2-month improvement in calving age producing the same outcome as 80 dollars less per ton of dairy supplements for lactating cows. When looking to save some money, some management decisions will have a significant impact on the cost-effectiveness of the farm and many of you have long understood this concept.

Finally: my dentist discovered where the pain was coming from. I will now be able to go on with my life without being bothered by the pain and I can think about writing my next article! Some major challenges are facing us as we begin 2014. I wish you all a very good year, filled with health and happiness!

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