15 May 1998

Dairy men act to stem losses

IMPROVED management and cheaper feed has seen dairy farmers partly offset lower milk prices. But losses are still considerable.

A drop in the rolling annual milk price of 3.69p/litre (-14.7%) works out at a £239 fall in margin over feed a cow, latest Axient Milkminder figures show.

But by increasing milk yields and feeding smaller amounts of cheaper concentrate, producers recouped a third of the drop in milk values, reducing the fall in feed margin to £157/cow. Yield from forage rose by 290 litres a cow, almost 11%.

Ayrshire dairy farmer Willie Campbell, who milks 85 cows, reckons he is £4000 worse off than he anticipated last November due to a steep fall in milk price and the latest green £ revaluation.

"My milk price for the year will be down 6.8p/litre or £28,800 in total and the green pound will cut income by a further £4400," he said. "I reckon my total feed and fertiliser savings will be £6900 which is £1700 more than my November estimate but still leaves my margin over feed and fertiliser £26,300 down on the year," he said.