Forage yield boost helps farmers improve margins

Dairy producers boosted cows’ yields from forage to help overcome rising feed costs and improve margins in April, according to data from Promar.

Although concentrate prices increased by £31/t in the year to April, to average £218/t, farmers cut concentrate use by 2.8t compared to April 2010. And they managed to boost yields from forage from 8.3 litres a cow per day to 10.8 litres. However, the higher feed costs outweighed the reduced usage, with total feed costs rising from £7,198 to £7,754.

Milk yields increased by 0.7 litres to average 27.1 litres a day in April, and herd size grew by three cows, to 174. With a 10.3% higher milk price, at 26.8p/litre, farmers therefore managed to boost margins over purchased feed to 20.53p/litre, up from 18.16p/litre last year.

In May, the UK dairy herd produced 1.245bn litres of milk, 2m litres more than last year and the highest since 2007. Cumulative production for the 2010-11 milk year stood at 13.332bn litres – up by 4% on the year and the highest since 2006-07.

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