Dairy: Aiming for a 5c/l premium with 10pc milk solids
The opportunity to graze grass on heavy land has been exceptional during the month of October.
Milk price may have created an unsustainable long-term proposition, but fine weather for most of the month meant farm tasks placed on the long finger could be completed.
In addition milk production from grazed grass is still an option in late lactation with high solids. A farm visit to a client recently near Kinsale revealed milk solids close to 10pc in a spring calving herd.
This farmer was in receipt of an extra 5.2c/l above the average Dairygold milk price. This is where the profit margin lies in an otherwise unsustainable milk price.
This farmer runs a business where attention to detail pertains at all stages of the production cycle. In the first instance he has used the EBI system to create a genetic pool capable of grass-based milk production, average solids close to 500kg and survival rates of 88pc this year for a 14-week breeding period.
The outcomes described above should be foremost in any farmer's mind before any further expansion in herd size is considered. Expansion of herd size is not the answer for sustainable grass-based milk production.
Over 80pc of farmers visited by our company discussed plans to increase herd size during the lead-in period to milk quota abolition.
One year post quota, farmers are faced with issues such as constraints placed by super levy bills, tax bills from 2014's bumper milk price, available skilled labour, farm fragmentation, and a current milk price of 25c/l.