Farmer Focus: Budgeting for a 4p/litre reduction

It’s been a fun year – far too many festivities.

What fantastic weather we’ve had in sunny Scotland in 2019. Nearly a tonne more grass with 50kg less nitrogen, although the general opinion is not to base future expansion plans on it.  

Can someone tell me why August turned into the wettest month? It really put pay to my extended grazing at Netherlands last year.

It really looks like we’re going to get Brexit done, but what does that mean for farmers? More likely a less protectionist, cheap food policy with a strong economy.

What this means for us is reducing cost and building a brand.

See also: Advice for reducing winter dairy costs

Cull cow prices are likely to be challenged as tariffs are likely on cow beef, which in turn pressures clean cattle as the cheap fillets are from cows.

We are budgeting for a 4p/l reduction in our milk price in 2020.

We are looking to push milk from forage to 4,000 litres across all herds with the same feeds and aiming to push yields up by 500 litres.

We need a stronger focus on per cow performance through milk records and improved fertility.

We will have more heifers, use vasectomised bulls and front load the heifers into the block. We also need more assessment of cow condition.

To be honest, I think this is a two-year target but it’s best to aim high.

We are investing in new fencing and water for the youngstock block which should allow easier 48-hour allocation of grass for spring calves to cut feed and achieve growth targets.

We need stronger branding to help our customers understand what we do (website, Facebook).

Community is important. We all need to support ours and create the communities we want, not what’s generic.

My three boys are at Kilmarnock RFC, the club is now at the top of the league and I’ve become a referee. I obviously understand all 38 rules for the scrum. Not.

I have to mention the Nuffield conference. It was awesome again.

I learned a lot about governance and marketing. I particularly enjoyed an inspired environmental policy paper.

It was about farmers delivering their own environmental solutions at a local level supported by government and science.

Who would have thought it? A Nuffield scholar did.


Read more about Ayrshire dairy farmer Wallace Hendrie