Milk Yields Continue Their Upward Trend
Byline: JAMES MORRISON
Milk chek figures show that physical performance on N Ireland dairy farms continues to improve despite the significant leap forward in milk yield per cow during the last quota year.
With the general feeling that there will be no super levy during 2001/2002, farmers continue to push for more milk output per cow by feeding higher levels of concentrates and milking three times per day. Older cows that are still performing well have been retained to further boost cow numbers and milk output.
However despite a slightly higher milk price the margin per cow has only increased by pounds 10 per cow from March to July and margin over feed and fertilizer (MOFF) per litre is actually slightly lower. The financial performance is going to come under more pressure this autumn and winter as milk prices must come under pressure with recent auctions running about three pence per litre below last year. Table 1 illustrates what has happened on Milk Chek farms during the last two years.
The most recent monthly figures are for July. These illustrate that cow numbers continue to increase, which is also reflected in the June census figures, and that milk yield increases have slowed up compared to a year earlier. The July comparisons are illustrated in Table 2.
In July this year farmers have fed two tonnes more concentrates per farm for an extra 5161 litres of milk. There has been lower production from grazed grass and lower margins on each litre of milk produced compared to last year. During September and October it is important to focus on maximising returns before housing especially as milk price is unlikely to increase any further.
Managing autumn grazing and setting up for the following spring:
Can you put autumn grass to good use? You must aim to optimise the amount of grass utilised by the herd through autumn and finish the grazing season close to target closing average cover so as to set the farm up for the following spring grazing. …