17 January 1996

Dairy appeal in EGermany

SETTING up a new dairy business in East Germany could cost as little as 80 to 90p/kg of milk, Fanja Pon told conference delegates.

Ms Pon, formerly from Holland, has managed two dairy units in east Germany for the last four years.

The 90p/kg of milk would buy an existing barn, and machinery, and allow you to build a new parlour. It would also cover the cost of renting the land for feed on a farm with good access, good soil and close to west Germany, she claimed. Cheaper businesses could be started, but would mean housing cows in tie stalls and would be nearer Poland.

Land cost up to £3855/ha (£1560/acre) depending on the soil type and situation, she said. This was attractive to Dutch farmers.

Quota was not a commodity in east Germany, but it was necessary to apply for a milk delivery right.

When setting up the two Koupon units, Ms Pon claimed that it was important to use local people to become accepted by the community.

However, the cows were bought in West Germany so that they were IBR free. In the two herds she managed there were 480 cows, with one herd yielding 8000kg a cow and the other 9100kg a cow.

"The aim is to make the most money, not the highest yield," she said.

"This year the planned cost is 20.3p/kg of milk including machinery depreciation. Next year we will aim for 18.8p/kg for the commercial herd."