Fix your winter feeds
NOW is a good time to take some cover for winter feed requirements, suggest dairying consultants.
Prices have firmed in the past week, with rape at about £90/t and soya between £135-£140/t, says Andersons regional dairy business consultant Mike Houghton.
"While this should not panic producers into making a decision, it is worthwhile locking into some prices at these levels. After all, this maintains a reasonably favourable milk price to concentrate ratio and at least you will know the cost of concentrate for the winter."
ADAS head of dairying and livestock, John Allen, also advises fixing now, and taking advantage of cheap prices. "Fix your foward winter feed prices, they are now cheaper than they have ever been. It would be a shame to miss that opportunity," Mr Allen adds.
Midlands based ADAS senior nutrition consultant Tim Davies also urges producers to think carefully about the relative cost of forage compared with alternative feeds. "Look at alternative by-products in terms of cost of dry matter and unit of energy, and source those feeds which are cheapest/unit energy."
Midlands producers are looking at alternatives all the time, he adds. "They can buy by-products for far less than they can make silage – for example, brewers grains is £14/t or £58/t on a dry matter basis – which is far cheaper than silage, which costs from £90-£120/t DM depending on yield achieved." *