16 October 1998

Milk output already up

MILK producers at last weeks South West Dairy Show have already increased cow numbers and output a cow, and intend to keep doing so to boost returns.

Farm business consultancy Laurence Gould questioned 36 producers, accounting for 4000 cows, on their attempts to tackle falling profitability and future plans.

According to Laurence Gould director Robin Hobson, 37% of producers questioned had increased cow numbers and milk yield a cow, while 45% intend boosting cow numbers in the next 12 months, and 53% will increase milk yield a cow.

"Despite the move to increased production, few mentioned acquiring more quota, so perhaps more consideration is needed before increasing output.

"Also, increasing production must be done efficiently. Its easy to fall into the trap of working harder but making no more money – you can end up giving any additional margin to whoever you are leasing from," warns Mr Hobson.

Few producers were considering expanding or developing other business enterprises, either on or off-farm. "It is good to be focused, but looking at areas other than food production could pay. Dont fall for the latest fad, but consider whether you could boost income from off-farm sources."