8 June 2001

AVOID HIGH FEED COSTS

With concerns over foot-and-mouth and a wet, cold spring causing a late turnout, feed costs are bound to be increased for this grazing season. While there is the compensation of a higher milk price and low quota costs, care will also be needed to avoid high feed costs in autumn and winter.

First cuts are now coming into store and with recent warmer weather crops have moved on quickly and a shorter growing season appears to be benefiting quality. But, with crops likely to be lighter than most years, balancing next winters forage requirement with grazing when taking a second cut will be a fine balance, according to a report in this Update.

It will be vital to make a plan and decide what alternatives need securing. Whole-crop, made by one producer featured, may come into play for many in this situation and it may be worth buying standing crops for this purpose, where possible.

When considering feeding policy it may also pay to take a look at milk constituent and hygienic quality produced against the requirements of your milk buyer. One consultant in this Update believes many producers have something to gain by taking a closer look at matching output with individual buyers contracts.

However, there will be many producers, affected by F&M, without stock this summer. One such producer tells us of his hopes for the future.