24 March 2000

Increased grazing % reduces milk costs

MILK production costs on one Devon farm, due to host a Kiwi Agritech Roadshow early in April, have fallen by 7p/litre by increasing the % of grazed grass used in cow diets.

Host farm manager, Richard Griffiths, Home Farm, Newton St Cyres, Exeter, says that when milk price was 27p/litre the farm had production costs of 22p/litre for the 2.3m litres a year produced.

But faced with a falling milk price, production costs for the herd, which now has 350 Holstein Friesian cows, had to be cut.

"Our costs are now 15p/litre and falling," says Mr Griffiths.

Cow diets are now 60% grazed grass compared with 10% when costs were higher and a complete diet was fed. This has allowed silage use to be halved from 13t a cow to 6t, and now cows self-feed. "Now we have got better organisation, a simpler system and more scope to expand."

Home Farm is one of two English, one Scottish and three Irish dairy units hosting New Zealand profit from grass roadshows in early April. On each visit two local producers will be available to explain how they have adapted their units for low-cost production.

Dairy Farmers New Zealand chairman, Charlie Pedersen, will also speak on Kiwi grassland management for higher profits and how New Zealand agriculture survived the complete removal of government subsidies.

lFor further roadshow details contact Tom Daly at Tradenz (020-7973 0380, fax 020-7973 0104). &#42