Farm Ireland

Wednesday 21 March 2018

Feed costs put heat on milk margins

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

A 50pc surge in feed costs this year has undermined margins on liquid milk farms.

IFA liquid milk chairman Teddy Cashman said feed price increases have pushed the cost of feeding up from 5- 5.5c/l on average to 8c/l this year.

Teagasc liquid milk expert Joe Patton said the feed bill for the 120-cow Johnstown Castle liquid milk herd would be between €18,000 and €20,000 higher than usual this year.

Speaking at the national liquid milk conference at Johnstown Castle on Thursday, Mr Patton said this would equate to 4c/l in additional costs on the farm.

It has been a similar story on Mr Cashman's farm.


"The cost of concentrate feeding on my own farm has increased from €230/t two years ago to €350/t this year," he explained.

Mr Cashman said the higher input costs meant that an annualised milk price of 40c/l was vital for the 2,000 liquid milk producers in the country.

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Speaking at Johnstown Castle, Teagasc nutrition expert Siobhan Kavanagh urged farmers to get their forage analysed in order to make informed decisions about supplementary feeding.

Ms Kavanagh said analysis of silage stocks had shown dry matter digestibility (DMD) figures ranging from 52DMD to 80DMD and dry matters ranging from 15pc to 61pc.

Crude protein levels ranged from 7pc to 14.4pc.

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