CHASING EXTRA litres by feeding a more expensive diet is rarely profitable and producers would be better fine tuning rations to maximise margins from current yields, warns Promar International”s Derek Gardner.

Costings results show peak yields are down by about two litres a day compared with the previous year and many forages have failed to live up to expectations, reports Somerset-based Mr Gardner.

He feels some producers may be tempted to push output because the country is producing below quota. “They believe poor yields make quota even more unlikely to be achieved,” he says.

“But pushing yields in the first quarter of 2005 could lead to a greater spring flush and that”s exactly what the market doesn”t want.” This could even bring milk prices down, he warns.