Grazed grass is the key to survival in the low milk price landscape
Published 13/01/2016 | 02:30
Last year was a rollercoaster for dairy farmers. Having started out in January with an acceptable milk price of around 30c/l we were immediately faced with the dreaded superlevy problem due to being 'over quota'.
This forced us along with a lot of other suppliers to milk the cows once a day till the end of March as there was no point producing milk if you did not get paid for it.
April 1, 2015 heralded a new era and brought an end to 30 years farming under the constraints of milk quotas.
There was great optimism that this would be a milestone leading to expansion of 50pc in dairy output over the next five years and the achievement of the government target in the 2020 food harvest report.
While the country has massively increased milk output perhaps by as much as 15pc in year one milk price has continued to collapse to its present level of 25c/l with no recovery in sight yet. Throughout 2015 we were told all the co-op's supported milk price and cushioned us from market reality but they have used up all their reserves in doing so. Having started at 30c/l it will come in at over 28c/l for 3.6pc fat and 3.3pc protein.
The grass growth in 2015 was exceptional due to higher than average temperatures and sufficient moisture at all times throughout the growing season.
Unfortunately the last two months have seen unprecedented levels of rainfall resulting in horrendous flooding countrywide so hopefully all the different bodies responsible for waterways in this country will come together and find a solution to the problem
We live in a small country and most of the flood water can get to the sea quickly if our rivers were maintained and a few new channels dug.