LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE…
MILK producers have plenty to weigh up as they contemplate the future.
Immediately, the winter feeding period lies ahead. While low feed prices are welcome, forage quality is dubious, and rain has frustrated plans to extend the grazing season.
Milk prices teeter at levels barely adequate for the survival of many enterprises. The stand-off between heavyweight buyers and their largest supplier, Milk Marque, continues. The co-ops rock-bottom producer price offers a painful test of commitment.
Farmer-funded generic promotion for milk is again under debate. Can it pay off without the full-hearted support of processors and retailers?
Further down the road lies the uncertainty of Agenda 2000 proposals, with lurking concern that UK dairying could fall hostage to political trade-off with EU partners manifestly more committed than our own government to the security of a vital industry as our report on the support enjoyed by Italian dairying shows.
Older producers must question whether they really want to spend the rest of their lives tied to a cows tail, just to stay in business.
But scratch a dairy farmer, and youll generally find an optimist. As reports in these pages reveal, there is much that can be done to ensure a secure and profitable future. The lights are not about to go out.
Farmer Focus 3/4
Feeding this years maize silage 6
Profitability conference 8
Heifer rearing – does it pay? 12
Condition scoring for better health 14
Grazing benefits 17
Italian dairying – on-farm 18
Italian dairying – breeding 20
Milk marketing dilemma 22
Wilts farm progress 24
FW/Axient profit challenge 26
Scours – reducing the risks 29
Quality assurance schemes 30
Robotic milkers – cow care 32
Bulk milk urea study 36
Bedding your herd – the options 39
Feeding for better fertility 41
Shorthorns – better than Holsteins? 42
Edited by Emma Penny and Jessica Buss