9 February 1996

Milkminder boosts margins

IMPROVED genetics and management have raised milk yields and led to record results for farmers using Genuss Milkminder costings.

Latest figures show an average margin over purchased feed among the 4000 farmers of £1304 a cow in the 12 months to December 1995.

This is the highest figure achieved by the group, and represents a 19% increase on the year before when it stood at £1098 a cow.

Partly responsible has been higher yields (see table), and in particular yields from forage which have given farmers an extra £30 a cow, according to Genus product manager Mark Woodall.

Over the year, butterfat levels fell 0.03% to 4.10%, and protein increased 0.2% to 3.26%. The improvements in milk quality have mirrored the trend in consumer taste, says Mr Woodall.

Higher yields have also helped farmers in the ADAS Milk Cheque costings system.

Heading this list is ADASs own Bridgets-based Blueprint herd. It achieved a margin over purchased feed of £2041 a cow (19.7p/litre) in 1995.

Average ADAS results also increased to over £1300 a cow, in particular due to a dramatic increase in milk proteins, according to ADASs Ian Powell. "The recent increases in the price of protein feed will have an effect on margins, but many of our farms bought on forward contracts, so we expect the overall effect to be fairly modest this winter," he said.

But higher yields throughout the industry and a "false sense of security" following last summers drought have left producers facing a huge potential super-levy bill, cautions Genuss Mr Woodall.

Dairy farmers may not be so far over quota as they were this time last year. But at least last season they were already taking action by Christmas to cut deliveries. This year, the same steps had not been taken and December production exceeded quota by 4.7%.

Farmers should review their personal quota situation, and that of their buyer, and act accordingly, advises Mr Woodall. &#42

Genus Milkminder and ADAS Milk Cheque

12-month rolling results

Dec 1994Dec 1995


Conc use (kg/litre)

Total conc (kg/cow)1722171617101856

Conc price (£/t)140139138137

Yield (litres/cow)6013585661876252

Milk price (p/litre)22.5122.0925.1825.22

Margin/feed (p/litre)18.2617.9021.0821.00

Margin/feed (£/cow)1098104613041310