6# Plus Club

Are you a member of the 6# Plus Club? No, this isn’t made of people who gained 6 lbs. between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day—otherwise many of us would qualify! Rather, the # identifies an area of performance in the dairy world that I encourage all producers to think and talk about.

When you hear a rumor that someone is generating 95# milk, you may not be getting the whole picture until you add the butterfat and milk protein together. Are they 95# at 3.4% butterfat, or 95# at 4% butterfat?

The 6# Plus Club is calculated by adding your butterfat percentage plus milk protein percentage, then multiplying it by the pounds of milk. For example, a 4% butterfat plus 3.2% milk protein equals 7.2# times the herd milk average (let’s say 90#).

7.2 x 0.90 = 6.48#

This number is similar to a classification score on a registered cow. If she were a 92 point cow, many of us would have a pretty good idea what she looked like. The same holds true if your herd were performing at 6.48#. Those of us with this mindset can visualize a herd that’s doing a great job putting milk and components together in the tank.

I am continually surprised to meet producers who aren’t asking what it takes to get these types of results and if those results are worth obtaining. I’ll be bold and say that if you’re not at or above 6#, it’s going to be tough to stay in dairying for long.

In the past few months, the opportunity to optimize for milk protein has been appreciably greater than in recent years. By adjusting herd rations to stimulate higher solids output, producers can achieve up to a 5:1 return on certain input ingredients. When we’re all getting charged for hauling, we might as well try sending more solids every day for a greater return.

The return on investment for adding certain ingredients may vary, so it’s important that we stay aware of how our creameries are paying. For example, during most of the past year we couldn’t afford to chase milk protein because we weren’t getting paid enough for the added investment. That started to change late summer when milk protein value notably improved. Those who adjusted rations with the market enjoyed good basis returns.

Adisseo, an industry partner, has a handy app (milkpay.com) that allows you to calculate how changing milk, butterfat, or milk protein from one scenario to another will pay you back for your efforts.

If you’re not part of the 6# club, I believe you need to be. If you’re not sure if the ration you’re feeding is designed to best take advantage of the market, I encourage you to contact your Landmark nutritionist team for assistance. Your Landmark staff, along with our many industry partners, are committed to helping you profitably achieve 6# Plus.