11 September 1998


Identifying areas for cutting costs and improving management has helped many dairy units contend with the lower milk price, but there is still potential to improve efficiency, according to

some producers.

Thats heartening news after this

summer. Continued wet weather in much of the north has kept cows inside though July and August; when silage is

eventually cut and picked up, quality will leave much to be desired; and concerns over Milk Marques selling rounds

has compounded worry.

The risk that the milk price wont improve, coupled with the fact that it will be a long winter for many, means yet more poring over budgets to identify areas where costs can be shaved.

No one claims its easy, but articles in Update could provide food for thought.

One Berkshire producer interviewed is convinced that better heat detection has meant savings of £2000 in his 110-cow herd. Thats been achieved without

compromising an eight-week block

calving, and he now believes that

intervention and fertility treatment is a costly and often unnecessary procedure.

Also in this Update, we look at the way labour costs are monitored on a Sussex unit, which now costs its system in

seconds a litre. The estimated national average is 20 labour seconds a litre, so improving efficiency and meeting a

target of 10 labour seconds a litre

could prove a challenge, but at least its a fresh approach to costings.