Farmer Focus: Milk price crash cuts deep

This is my last article of the year. It has been another one of highs and lows and we are waiting to see if there is the slightest chance of a Christmas present of a price rise.

Well the truth is we have already had a price rise, but unfortunately that was from suppliers. Everything is crossed for a positive start to the new year as it is essential for survival, but sadly I notice the big supermarkets have started once again with the dairy price discounts. Are we so far down the importance ladder that we are to reach the bottom rung?

I have thoroughly depressed myself today looking at our financial analysis, as the milk price cuts are really starting to bite.

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I was moaning to the lady who helps make ice-cream and she pointed out the rainbow’s end was in the cow house, so perhaps things will start looking up. Fingers crossed.

All my Danish reds have calved and so far, so good. The pure bull calf made a reasonable price at market, which was a plus. I have enquired about getting a couple more. The milk quality is good and there is a decent residual value at the end of the cow’s milking life.

We have been busy getting ready for the dreaded November winter internment of stock. It is particularly important for producers of milk for quality to get the winter silage and rations correct. Our aim this winter is to achieve an average quality of 5.5% fat and 4% protein with an average yield of 19-20 litres a cow a day.

November brings with it the start of our local dairy study group monthly meetings. I look forward to the second week in each month when we meet at a chosen member’s farm. It is great to get off the premises, meet up with other farmers and find out they all moan as much as I do. Unfortunately, the drawback is that our farm always appears to be sadly lacking on my return.

Adrian Harrison farms 81ha in partnership with his father Maurice in Wensleydale, Yorkshire. He runs 130 pedigree Jersey cows with 70 followers.