1 February 2002


January has been a month of good and bad news for milk producers. On the positive side for potential members is the proposal for the merger between Zenith and the Milk Group.

However, there is bad news too. As, once again, milk prices have come under pressure, with many announcements of cuts effective from early January.

Although stronger co-ops could help in the battle for a sustainable milk price, perhaps it is unrealistic to expect a stable milk price in future. It may be time to face what happens in other countries where support has been reduced; frequent fluctuations in milk price, as we report in this Update.

The task of survival will be easier for businesses which plan well and reduce risks, such as high finance costs by considering any investments carefully. We find out in this Update how it may prove possible to erect new housing for far less than it has traditionally cost or to improve cow performance without rebuilding a unit to suit a mixer wagon.

However, cows will still dictate success to some extent and their happiness and health should not be forgotten when drawing up business plans. A unit which affords them comfort and a breeding policy which ensures a long healthy life, remain vital.

Farmer Focus 3

Prepare for more ups and downs 6

Task Force report: 8MDC plans action

Plastic housing for cheap 10expansion

Dedicated approach to meet 12early turnout date

Happy cows, make more milk 16

Milk business news 19

Knowledge to help fight mastitis 20

Achieving top margins, 24without mixing

Hardy cows needed to suit 27tough environment

Machinery: Pasture topper 28pros and cons

Breeding: World need for top type 30

Edited by Jessica Buss

Next issue: Mar 1

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