Relentless rain has halted our slurry spreading plans
Most dairy farmers on the western seaboard will look back at 2017 as a good year that finished with a serious sting in its tail.
All was rosy on the farm until mid July with good milk prices matched by excellent grass growth and ideal weather.
Then the rain started to fall and now six months later it is still falling.
Grazing became very challenging on our farm throughout the autumn but for many it became almost impossible without damaging the ground repeatedly.
Ultimately this resulted in failed attempts to harvest silage along with earlier housing leading to increased inputs and costs as well as slurry storage issues. The good milk price has helped to cushion the problem by allowing farmers the freedom to purchase extra concentrates to mask the feed shortage. However for badly affected farmers this will impact significantly on what should have been a very profitable year.
This week our discussion group will meet to analyse our 2017 figures.
For us, it was an excellent year driven by increased output and high milk prices while the major costs - feed and fertiliser - were reasonable early in the year when we did most of our buying.
A preliminary look at my figures tells me our total cost per litre in 2017 was 25.2c. This figure also includes my labour as well as all land rent and depreciation.