Grazing delays costing €1,000 per week for average 100-cow herd
10 days of good weather needed before many farmers can get cows out
Delays in getting cows out on grass is costing dairy farmers dearly in terms of extra feeding and general herd management.
Teagasc puts the benefit of early grazing at €2.70/cow/day on the average dairy farm.
This means that a 100-cow dairy unit with 50 cows calved so far is facing additional costs of around €135/day or almost €1,000 per week where cows are still housed.
And with the number of calved cows increasing by the day, dairy advisors cautioned that the challenges and costs facing milk suppliers are mounting.
Teagasc dairy specialist George Ramsbottom said that the increased feed bills were only one element of the additional costs farmers were now facing.
He said reduced milk yield, lower milk protein levels, and the impact of late turnout on grass management and utilisation through the year would all hit farmer margins.
In addition, Mr Ramsbottom said there was the potential for increased incidence of conditions such as mastitis.
Aidan Doyle of Summerhill Veterinary in Nenagh said there was no indication to date of a serious mastitis problem on dairy farms but he cautioned that it was an increasing danger as the number of calved cows which remained housed grew.