Dairy producers boosted cows’ yields from forage to help overcome rising feed costs and improve margins in April, according to data from Promar.

Although concentrate prices increased by £31/t in the year to April, to average £218/t, farmers cut concentrate use by 2.8t compared to April 2010. And they managed to boost yields from forage from 8.3 litres a cow per day to 10.8 litres. However, the higher feed costs outweighed the reduced usage, with total feed costs rising from £7,198 to £7,754.

Milk yields increased by 0.7 litres to average 27.1 litres a day in April, and herd size grew by three cows, to 174. With a 10.3% higher milk price, at 26.8p/litre, farmers therefore managed to boost margins over purchased feed to 20.53p/litre, up from 18.16p/litre last year.

In May, the UK dairy herd produced 1.245bn litres of milk, 2m litres more than last year and the highest since 2007. Cumulative production for the 2010-11 milk year stood at 13.332bn litres – up by 4% on the year and the highest since 2006-07.

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