A NEW study by the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers has revealed for the first time the true cost of family labour on UK dairy units.

Launched on Friday (Jan 21) the detailed figures show that family input on a well-run, average-sized farm is worth £42,241, equivalent to £271 a cow or 3.81p/litre.

On a 150 to 200-cow unit this pushes the total labour bill including hired staff to 5.5p-6.0p/litre.

RABDF chairman Tim Brigstocke said: “We have been concerned in the past about statements saying producers could make a profit and have sufficient cash to re-invest at a milk price as low as 16p/litre.

“We investigated those figures and found that the crucial value of labour had not been recorded in the accounting process, therefore farmers themselves were subsidisng the true cost of production.

“The study quanifies for the first time the true labour value of farmers and their families and we are now urging them to inclusde these substantial figures as an item in their dairy costings.”

For full details of the study, its implications and industry reaction read the Jan 28 issue of FARMERS WEEKLY.