By FWi staff

THERE is scope and potential for dairy farmers to profit despite the current uncertainty across the milk industry, farmers were told today (Monday).

John Allen, head of livestock for consultants ADAS, said the downturn in the dairy sector had thrown up “tremendous opportunities” for those who managed to stay in business.

Speaking at the Royal Show today, Mr Allen said the more extreme measures included boosting production and taking on extra farms.

But even small reductions in the cost of feed can make significant and immediate improvements in the bottom line, according to David Levick, ADAS dairy consultant.

About 25% of the cost of milk production is geared around feed, said Mr Levick.

“Feed prices are at an all-time low and we must exploit this to make more profit,” he said.

Many herds can achieve an average concentrate cost below 90/t without any compromise on quality to achieve high intakes and return high yields, he added.

A saving of as much as 1.5ppl could be made, equating to 7500 per year for a 150-cow herd.

“And people have moved dairy company for 0.5ppl in the past.”

ADAS claims many of the farmers it advises are already achieving these targets and those utilising the cheapest feeds have been quicker to adopt the principles of margin over feed.

They have been purchasing feed on relative feed value basis to meet both diet specification and maximise profit, said Mr Levick.

Many are using ADAS direct sourcing to ensure they get high quality, value for money compound feed designed by ADAS nutritionists.

But it was stressed that farmers must use home-grown forage as well as purchased feed.

“The whole message for action for profit is about increasing output per cow to feed,” said Mr Levick. “Feed cheaper but use quality feed to produce the profit.”