The New direction for the focus of future work with dairy farmers will be based around two production systems – block-calving and all year round calving.
That was the news from AHDB, this week, which claimed that the two systems will help farmers compete better in the market place when the UK eventually leaves the EU.
“The industry needs to be in good shape to deal with future challenges and our new focus will enable farmers to compete in this rapidly changing world,” said Tom Hind, AHDB’s chief strategy officer.
“Our sense is that those dairy farmers that have made a conscious choice about their production system tend to be more profitable. They know the key performance drivers and the numbers they need to hit to be sustainable.”
The levy board aimed to change its delivery to highlight what the best performers are doing under either system and identify the KPIs that are critical to performance.
FarmBench will be rolled out to the dairy sector in the New Year and the field-based team will offer specialist support for each system.
“We are asking farmers to understand their current system, judge their performance by holding a mirror up to their business and make a conscious, strategic choice about the system that is optimum for them.”
Evidence shows that block-calving herds typically have lower overall costs of production. AHDB Dairy said these systems are often simpler to operate and bring lifestyle benefits but can be limited by farm buildings, location and contract.
Data also shows the best all year round producers can achieve competitive production costs and managed well can be as profitable as the best block calvers. This system usually delivers a higher output with a greater income but it can be complex to manage, making it harder to spot weaknesses in performance.
“The key point is the dairy industry needs to approach 2019 with open eyes and prepare. The last thing anyone wants is for the industry to sleep walk into Brexit,” concluded Mr Hind.