Despite milking over 500 cows this German dairy farm is not making a profit
Nicole Winkelmann is the finance director of a 500-cow farmers’ co-op farm near the German/Polish border. She is one of 37 local co-op members who own and farm the 2,300ha farm, which has a 500-cow unit and the remainder in tillage.
Despite its size, on its own the dairy unit is just covering costs for the farming group.
Current milk production price Germany is hovering around 32c/L for commercial farms in Germany. However, the cost of production is 32c/L on this co-op run farm, but it does include all labour.
“Our costs of production and our farm gate price are the same, we’re getting 32c/L,” explained Nicole.
Although the farm devotes 2300ha for tillage, the focal point for the farm is milk production, where 525 Holstein Friesian herd produce over 5m litres of milk annually, supplied to the local dairy processor.
Some 700ha of the tillage ground is producing fodder for the dairy herd. The main diet of the cows being silage, maize and Lucerne, some of 30-35pc of the diet is meal.
All cattle are fed through a diet feeder, from a conveyor belt system. There are seven conveyor belts to feed the cattle, which are indoors all year round.
There are 11 people working full-time on the dairy farm full-time, which has 950 cattle – including the dairy herd, the remainder being calves or replacement heifers. Males are sold for veal at 14 days of age.