Organic demand

Having completed the switch to organic milk production in July 2003, Stewart Jamieson’s milk price was just 21.5p/litre compared to a conventional price of 19p/litre.

“The market was oversupplied and prices have stayed depressed until last Nov.

We’re now getting an average of 24.5p/litre, but had it not been for the five-year Organic Aid Scheme we’d have suffered – it’s offered roughly another 1p/litre.”

The 220-cow pedigree Holstein herd has converted to organic production and annual yields are typically averaging 7800kg/cow.

“People said breeding would have to change, but it’s not been an issue.

We’ve encountered the usual problems, particularly with dry cow management, although use of temporary teat plugs has helped tremendously.

“But we need a good milk price.

The cost of organic concentrates is high – about £210/t – but successful use of red clover swards for silage and triticale for whole-crop halve the unit cost of bought-in protein and energy.”

Consumer demand for organic milk and milk products has increased and caught up with production, he explained.

“What we don’t want to see is another sudden rush in increasing the amount of organic milk with the inevitable impact on milk price,” he said.