Good cow fertility and maximising milk production from forage are the two main influences on profitable dairy farming, according to consultant John Crimes.

Mr Crimes, a dairy consultant at CARA Wales, said the top 25% of dairy farmers get the simple things right and fertility and forage were central to this. “Fertility is one of the most important building blocks on a dairy farm and so too is milk from forage.

“The most profitable farmers we work with get their cows in calf every year and are achieving 3,119 litres from forage,” he told farmers at the South Wales Dairy Conference in Carmarthen.

CARA benchmarking, which uses actual not imputed costs, reveals that the worst performing farmers get only 54% of their cows in calf.

The CARA benchmarking system also shows a significant gap in profitability between the best and worst performing. For farms achieving outputs of between 1.8m and 2.1m litres, the profit difference is £190,000. Profit ranges from a high of 11.20p/litre to a low of 0.66p/litre.

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