Net margin the top tool for 50pc
Dairy farming has traditionally been one of the most profitable of farm enterprises. But how do farmers measure the performance of their enterprises? The survey found the net margin per cow or per hectare was the measure of choice for 50pc.
Milk yield per cow was the preferred performance tool of 23pc of the farmers surveyed, while grass cover was used by 20pc of farmers. Other measures used were farm cashflow 13pc, milk quality 9pc, herd health 7pc, milk price 7pc, herd size 5pc and quality of stock or EBI 5pc.
Winter housing and slurry storage were the most popular choices for those farmers who invested in their holdings over the past three years. Forty per cent invested in winter housing or slurry storage, 38pc in new milking parlours, one fifth of farmers invested in farm roadways, paddocks or water systems, while 15pc invested in increased cow numbers.
The importance of an identified successors was highlighted by the survey. For farmers aged over 50, those with a family successor were twice as likely to have invested in their business over the past three years as those without. The figures stacked up as 66pc compared to 32pc.