15 September 2000



All milk producers want to secure a better milk price, but it is increasingly looking as if that is not going to be easily achieved.

It makes sense that producers should aim to follow basic business principles; taking control along the supply chain as far as possible, building partnerships – success comes from scale – and cutting out as many middle men as possible. These middle men often add unnecessary overhead costs and are more likely to add paperwork than reduce it, through a lack of real understanding of what needs to be done on a dairy farm.

Producers should also accept responsibility for their own future and find a solution that will work for their farm, whether that means investing in processing through producer groups such as UMP, buying shares in Unigate or one of the supermarkets, or marketing and distributing your own milk locally.

In this European Dairy Farming Event supplement, we find out how one producer stopped selling his milk to a single buyer in favour of starting a doorstep delivery business for organic produce. He says his family farms future now relies on their own skills, rather than those of others.

But any of these options requires investment outside the dairy unit, which is a change of culture for milk producers. That type of investment has always been seen as a luxury for those with money to spare: Perhaps it should now be seen as an essential part of any dairy business that is going to be successful in the future.

With its impressive line-up of key industry figures and well qualified researchers, the dairy events Spotlight on Profit forums may provide some interesting solutions for milk producers that are keen to survive the current crisis. Check the forum timetable in this supplement.

If you are serious about a future in dairying the Spotlight on Profit seminars and other event exhibits will give you plenty to think about, so be sure to attend.

Event plan and whats on 4

Spotlight on Profit forum programme 6

Andersons challenge for second Gold Cup win 8

Opportunities for young in dairying 10

Learning from the past 12

Robotic milking focus

Optimising cow flow to robot 14

Costing robot milking option 16

Making grazing merge with robot 18

Amazing milk marketing success 20

Starting out: France v UK 22

Business survival at 16.75p/litre 24

More pressure on genetic selection 26

Edited by Jessica Buss and Marianne Curtis

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