Breeding and grassland investment gave dairy farmers an extra €3m/week since 2004

Martin Ryan

Investment in breeding and grassland management over the past decade has been the significant contributor to increasing the value of production on dairy farmers by an average of more than €3m/week compared to 2000.

At a base price of 29c/L, the 2015 milk output was worth an extra €161m at farm level, compared to 2000.

This was worth an extra 3c/L to producers, farmers attending the Teagasc National Dairy Conference at Rochestown Park Hotel, Cork were told.

Laurence Shalloo and Patrick Gowing of Teagasc Moorepark outlined a number of factors and strategies that had helped to increase the resilience of the dairy business over the past number of years that facilitated its survival despite dramatic milk price movements.

These included the value of milk sold, cost reductions and increased output.

A focus on high EBI/crossbred cows within a system that maximises grass growth, while minimising investment had contributed to an overall low cost base that was leaving producers best placed to deal with volatility of milk price, Shalloo and Gowing told the conference.

Milk output on the average dairy farm had increased by 43.3pc between 2000 and 2015, while milk solids had also increased with protein content up from 3.83pc to 4.03pc and butterfat increased from 3.33pc to 3.50pc during the same period.

In 2009, the actual milk price of milk solids was €3.17/kg against a farm breakeven cost of €3.65/kg. 

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By 2015, the position had improved with break even cost at €3.78/kg, and the actual base price received at €4.10/kg.

However, the Moorepark duo warned that milk price volatility could put the survival of the farm at risk in a period of expansion.

“When a farm is expanding there are increased pressures on cash within the business. Coupling poor milk prices with an expanding business, and if there is not a focus on cost control, poor efficiency and productivity within the business can create  severe pressures on the liquidity of the business,” they pointed out.

Investment in breeding and grassland management over the past decade has been the significant contributor to increasing the value of production on dairy farmers by an average of more than €3m/week compared to 2000.

At a base price of 29c/L, the 2015 milk output was worth an extra €161m at farm level, compared to 2000.

This was worth an extra 3c/L to producers, farmers attending the Teagasc National Dairy Conference at Rochestown Park Hotel, Cork were told.

Laurence Shalloo and Patrick Gowing of Teagasc Moorepark outlined a number of factors and strategies that had helped to increase the resilience of the dairy business over the past number of years that facilitated its survival despite dramatic milk price movements.

These included the value of milk sold, cost reductions and increased output.

A focus on high EBI/crossbred cows within a system that maximises grass growth, while minimising investment had contributed to an overall low cost base that was leaving producers best placed to deal with volatility of milk price, Shalloo and Gowing told the conference.

Milk output on the average dairy farm had increased by 43.3pc between 2000 and 2015, while milk solids had also increased with protein content up from 3.83pc to 4.03pc and butterfat increased from 3.33pc to 3.50pc during the same period.

In 2009 the actual milk price of milk solids was €3.17/kg against  a farm breakeven cost of €3.65/kg. 

By 2015 the position had improved with break even cost at €3.78/kg, and the actual base price received at €4.10/kg.

However, the Moorepark duo warned that milk price volatility could put the survival of the farm at risk in a period of expansion.

“When a farm is expanding there are increased pressures on cash within the business. Coupling poor milk prices with an expanding business, and if there is not a focus on cost control, poor efficiency and productivity within the business can create  severe pressures on the liquidity of the business,” they pointed out.

Indo Farming


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