Dairy margins fall on higher feed costs

Dairy farmers’ margins fell by 12% in April, compared with the previous year, to £130 a cow, according to the latest figures from Kingshay consultants.

Although cow numbers increased by 2%, to average 174 in herds costed by Kingshay, yields fell by 7%, to 25 litres a day, said the report. With grass growth hampered by the cold spring, yields from forage dropped by a massive 31%, to 6.5 litres a day. As a result, producers had to feed more concentrates at a time when feed prices were £6/t higher, at £263/t.

On a per litre basis, purchased feed costs jumped by 39%, to 10.18p. Only a 6p/litre rise in milk price helped to buffer the drop in the average margin over purchased feed, which fell by 6%, to 19.53p/litre.

On a 12-month rolling basis, yields per cow fell by 5% to 7,654 litres. Butterfat averaged 4.11%, with protein content at 3.23% and cell counts at 182. Yields from forage fell by 21%, to 2,100 litres a cow, with purchased feed costs up by 18.6%, to 8.98p/litre. Margins fell by 4%, to 19.65p/litre.


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