Make technology your friend
As we are all aware, last year was a devil of a year. In a few articles last year, I monitored the performance of a discussion group, comparing last year's performance with that of 2008.
Obviously as last year progressed, the milk price figures looked as if Anglo Irish Banks was setting the milk price. So, how did our discussion group navigate their way through the choppy waters (floods) of the year from hell? The table (right) tells you all you need to know.
The milk price is down 12c/l (55c/ga), fat percentage remained steady, protein percentage is back 0.04pc, milk yield is down 213 litres (47ga/cow) and milk solids yield/cow is down 19kg.
The only item that went up was concentrate use per cow. This went from 651kg/cow in 2008 to 668kg/cow last year -- an increase of 17kg/cow.
The majority of this group are farming on soils that are reasonably OK so the drop in yield was not as severe as that which occurred on difficult soils. Nevertheless, the group lost 40ga of milk per cow and this is something I am sure they don't want to see happening this year.
In general, milk protein percent took a real hammering last year. Drops of 0.1-0.15pc were not uncommon among dairy farmers who had very good milk protein percent in any case. Our discussion group did exceptionally well to keep the dip at 0.04pc, even though one or two members of the group lost 0.1pc.
Fat percentage didn't rise for the group last year. At an average of 4.01, it's a strong figure in any case. However, it is important to keep this figure on an upward graph as it's a major component of milk price. The combined fat and protein percentage for this group is 7.48.