Lowland suckler herds

Key points



  • Data from 49 lowland suckler herds showed an average net margin (excluding non-cash costs) of -£164.37 a cow in 2005/06, the first year since the removal of direct headage subsidies. (Based on an average herd size of 67 cows).
  • Comparing the top third net margin with the bottom third shows a difference of £304 a cow. This gap appears to be widening.
  • Top third performance is down to optimising output and better total cost control. Variable and replacement costs were similar for the average and top third group, but about £30 a cow lower than the bottom third.

Lowland suckler herd costs



  • Fixed costs of the top third group were £112 or 38% a cow lower than average. Lower overheads and paid labour contributed to almost one-third of the difference. Even when the value of unpaid family labour is considered, total labour cost on top third units was still significantly lower than average.  
  • For bottom third units calves were 20kg lighter at sale compared to the average despite higher feed and forage costs.
  •  Fixed costs for the bottom thirdwere £128 a cow higher than average and £240 a cow higher than the top third. The main differences were on power and machinery repairs and machinery depreciation and fixtures. While paid labour was £11 a cow higher than average, the value of their own labour was significantly higher than average and more than double that of top third producers.

weight of weaned calf



  • In 2006/07, while feed and energy costs are expected to be higher, output should benefit from higher suckled calf values and cull cow values.
     













































































































































































































FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE 2005/06 [£/COW]

 

Bottom third Average Top third
Number of herds in sample 17 49 17
Average herd size (head) 56 67 69
       
OUTPUT (£/COW)      
Calf output after valuation changes 262.37 279.23 294.30
       
VARIABLE AND REPLACEMENT COSTS      
Replacement costs 37.72 30.71 33.07
       
Variable costs 58.81 32.06 17.43
Total concentrates 22.58 16.00 17.32
Other feeds 13.62 11.90 11.15
Forage 40.93 34.69 33.06
Total feed and forage 77.13 62.59 61.52
Veterinary 25.76 18.99 15.97
Bedding 20.53 21.45 23.11
Other costs 16.73 13.53 11.81
Total variable and replacement costs 177.87 147.27 145.48
Gross margin 84.50 131.96 148.83
       
FIXED COSTS      
Gross margin 16.73 13.53 11.81
Paid labour 177.87 147.27 145.48
Power and machinery repairs 94.94 83.77 46.15
Administration 93.43 57.54 36.12
Property charges 45.27 30.49 20.50
Quota leasing 11.81 7.11 6.88
Land resource costs (eg land rent) 32.85 33.16 24.46
Machinery depreciation and fixtures 87.32 52.21 32.54
Total fixed costs excluding non-cash costs 424.42 296.33 184.08
Net margin excluding non-cash costs -339.92 -164.37 -35.25
       
NON-CASH COSTS      
Value of unpaid family labour 157.01 109.96 65.49
Rental value of owned land 44.22 36.14 32.68
Interest on working capital 45.06 41.09 38.24
Total non-cash costs 246.28 187.19 136.41
Total costs 848.58 630.79 465.96
Net margin including non-cash costs -586.20 -351.56 -171.66





















































































PHYSICAL PERFORMANCE 2005/06
  Bottom third Average Top Third
Barren cows per 100 8.9 8.0 9.7
Calves born alive per 100 90.0 90.4 90.4
Calves died per 100 3.2 3.5 2.6
Calves reared per 100 87.3 87.1 87.9
Calving period [weeks] 17 20 22
Return per calf[£/head] 286.98 313.56 328.50
Calf price [£kg lw] 1.08 1.10 1.08
Weight per weaned calf [kg] 264 284 301
Daily liveweight gain [kg] 1.10 1.06 1.04
Purchased concentrates [kg] 86.8 90.4 143.2
Home grown concentrates [kg] 96.9 60.8 53.5
Total concentrates [kg] 183.7 151.2 196.6
N Fertiliser use [kg/ha] 113.3 64.0 62.2
Stocking rate [livestock units/ha] 1.1 1.1 1.1
Note: Figures may not add to totals due to rounding
Source: Promar International



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