1 October 1999

Viable option to go organic

ORGANIC milk production is a viable alternative to intensive dairy systems, according to new figures released by farm business consultants Andersons at the Dairy Event.

They show that organic systems could return a profit of almost 9p/litre before rent, finance and quota costs compared with 5p/litre for low input systems, and just 2.6p/litre from high input systems.

Although the figures are based on organic milk gaining a 10p/litre premium over conventional supplies, even if fears of a 50% cut in bonuses within five years are realised the system would still out perform high input units.

However, there remains some uncertainty over organics future, said Andersons Tony Evans. While conventional prices are currently below the EU average and unlikely to fall much further, organic prices remain open to downward pressure.

That will be of concern to the 250 dairy farms the company believes are in full or part conversion to organic status.

"The determining factor will be whether these farms converted because they can produce organic milk at a low cost or see the premium as an incentive." &#42