21 March 1997

Sussex unit saw

it all coming…

MILK price reductions of 2.25p/litre have already been included in one west Sussex producers farm budgets.

Jim Harrison anticipated the fall in milk price – the result of more producers selling on direct contracts to dairies, so weakening Milk Marques price, he claims.

However, he admits it will be difficult to reclaim all the loss in price. A quarter of it will be recouped through cheaper feed next winter, he claims. Rapemeal has been bought forward £25/t cheaper than last year and maize gluten should also be £20/t less for his 750 cows averaging 6000 litres.

"We will also try to extend the grazing seen to make further savings," he says. "The last two years have been poor for forage. Last winter we bought in 30 acres of standing maize which wasnt cheap, and straw, but our feed stocks were low. Not buying in forage will save another quarter of the milk price loss."

Yields and concentrate use will not be pushed this year provided there is enough forage, he adds.

Last year was the first year he leased quota – previously it was purchased to cover the increases in cow yields and slow increase in cow numbers. This year any quota purchase or leasing will depend on price.

Sussex producer Jim Harrison:"We will try to extend the grazing season to make further savings."