LFA suckler herds

Key points:



  • Data from 41 LFA suckler herds showed, on average, a net margin (excluding non-cash costs) of -£170.09 for 2005/06, based on an average herd size of 67 cows.
  • Comparing the net margin of the top third to the bottom third shows a £253 a cow difference – similar to the 2004/05 results.

LFA suckler costs



  • Total cost management emerged as the key driver behind top third performers, particularly the balance between herd size and total labour costs. While output was slightly lower than average, more targeted use of feed and less bedding costs meant variable and replacement costs were £18 a cow lower than average and £54 a cow less than the bottom third units.
  • Fixed costs of top third units were virtually £90 a cow or 28% lower than the average. Lower paid labour was one of the major contributors along with machinery and depreciation costs.
  • Fixed costs for bottom third units were £131 a cow higher than average and almost double that of the top third units. Paid labour on these units was nearly double that of the average. Even taking account the value of family labour, total labour costs on the bottom third units was still £50 a cow higher than the average and almost £100 higher than on the top third units.

LFA suckler Labour



  • Higher finished cattle prices during 2006 are expected to boost suckled calf returns for the coming year.













































































































































































































FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE 2005/06 [£/COW]

 

Bottom third Average Top third
Number of herds in sample 14 41 14
Average herd size (head) 50 67 90
       
OUTPUT (£/COW)      
Calf output after valuation changes 323.64 314.51 300.17
       
VARIABLE AND REPLACEMENT COSTS      
Replacement costs 39.08 38.31 36.98
       
Variable costs      
Total concentrates 21.35 19.80 18.69
Other feeds 38.07 24.24 21.29
Forage 43.77 34.49 25.70
Total feed and forage 103.19 78.51 65.68
Veterinary 23.74 19.26 19.26
Bedding 18.91 12.98 9.25
Other costs 7.49 7.10 6.88
Total variable and replacement costs 192.42 156.16 138.06
Gross margin 131.22 158.35 162.11
       
FIXED COSTS      
Gross margin      
Paid labour 152.49 81.88 42.65
Power and machinery repairs 82.47 70.11 59.06
Administration 36.70 33.00 24.91
Property charges 48.01 30.54 24.26
Quota leasing 5.49 6.41 7.40
Land resource costs (eg land rent) 56.77 53.95 45.62
Machinery depreciation and fixtures 77.82 52.55 32.89
Total fixed costs excluding non-cash costs 459.75 328.44 236.80
Net margin excluding non-cash costs -328.52 -170.09 -74.69
       
NON-CASH COSTS      
Value of unpaid family labour 158.05 184.65 175.39
Rental value of owned land 39.48 28.54 26.10
Interest on working capital 46.30 42.11 39.37
Total non-cash costs 243.83 255.31 240.86
Total costs 895.99 739.00 615.72
Net margin including non-cash costs -572.35 -425.39 -315.55





















































































PHYSICAL PERFORMANCE 2005/06
  Bottom third Average Top Third
Barren cows per 100 5.3 6.8 7.5
Calves born alive per 100 93.5 92.8 92.9
Calves died per 100 2.0 2.3 2.4
Calves reared per 100 91.5 90.5 90.5
Calving period [weeks] 16 22 23
Return per calf[£/head] 350.82 336.58 315.83
Calf price [£kg lw] 1.22 1.19 1.15
Weight per weaned calf [kg] 290 284 277
Daily liveweight gain [kg] 1.04 1.04 1.04
Purchased concentrates [kg] 153.0 146.9 130.5
Home grown concentrates [kg] 28.5 14.8 16.3
Total concentrates [kg] 181.5 161.6 146.8
N Fertiliser use [kg/ha] 48.2 50.3 57.0
Stocking rate [livestock units/ha] 0.6 0.7 0.7
Note: Figures may not add to totals due to rounding
Source: Promar International



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