Livestock

Milk prices mean tough times for Steve Brown

Thursday 18 October 2012 06:30
Steve Brown

A dairy farmer gets 29p a litre of milk. This falls to 27p for four months, then increases to 29.5p. How long must it remain at that price to recover the lost income?

Is it just me who finds the answer quite depressing, and does it perhaps highlight how further the price we receive must increase to make up for lost ground?

Factor in reduced milk output at increased costs and it points to tough times ahead, I'm afraid. So I for one am not getting overexcited about the latest milk price announcements, that coincided with the late September floods and cows being housed for the third time this year.

However, it could be worse, we only have 10ha of straw getting soaked, not half the house flooded, which according to the local news, is the case for many. The only stock still out in tonight's downpour are the ironically named dry cows.

Back to milk price, and while we got our fair share of media coverage regarding the milk crisis, I still would have liked a television programme with someone such as Jimmy Doherty highlighting the problems of who gets paid what in the dairy industry. The celebrity farmer was in the Caribbean with a "whale whisperer" last week, for goodness sake. Very interesting I'm sure, but it said nothing to me about my life or indeed that of the British consumer, although to be fair, it was probably a more appealing trip to him and the programme makers.

Now we are back to farmer bashing, thanks to Brian May banging on about badgers.

Steve Brown farms 200ha in County Durham, in partnership with his parents. The family's 200-cow herd is run at Hopper House, with replacements on grass at a separate unit.

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