Not all sunshine and roses this autumn
The year for spring milk producers is done and dusted and the overwhelming consensus is that it has been a very good year.
We had a good milk price and rain at the right time to keep grass moving. Obviously, the only downside has been the 56lb weight that the dairy industry has around its neck -- the milk quota regime.
I have been getting it in the neck at some discussion group meetings, as well as at the Ploughing, about my predictions on milk quota a few years back, principally in 2009.
I haven't gone back to check what I wrote but I would imagine it is there in black and white. To cut to the chase, I said I couldn't see the country filling its quota again. Well, I certainly was wrong on that score, but in my defence I am claiming that the pronouncements were made in the muck, water and depression of 2009.
The vibrant Irish dairy industry has stepped forward since May of last year and ever since the curve in milk supply has been up. We have, of course, been blessed with very good grazing weather in that period and the past spring gave us a great start to the year.
Dairy farmers have added extra cows and the dairy farmers in Dairygold and Glanbia were saved in the past by the co-ops along the western seaboard not filling their quota.
This changed this year as weather conditions gave the farmers in these areas the chance to graze cows uninterrupted for the vast bulk of the year. So, we are where we are, to use that awful phrase, and for some dairy farmers it is now a case of managing the risk. The silver lining this year is that all cow prices are good.
However, it has not all been sunshine and roses this autumn and rainfall has been uneven. In Limerick, where I live, we had 103mm of rain in September and to-date (last Friday) we have had 101mm for October. The corresponding figures for last year were 132mm for September and 72mm for October. However, the one thing I have learned from daily measuring rainfall is that we don't get the same level of rainfall in my part of Limerick, compared to farmers living in counties along the western seaboard.