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Dairy farmers can make 'serious' money

Despite the huge increase in feed prices, dairy farmers can make money, and 'serious' money, milking cows if they pay more attention to the feeds and actual price of feeds used.

Speaking at the Genus Farming for the Future Conference, at Murrayfield on Tuesday, Derek Gardner of Promar Interenational, said that while feed bills have increased 44% over the past year, and are likely to remain high until the next harvest, next autumn, the top 25% of dairy farmers are achieving profit margins of £949 per cow or 11.2p per litre. This compares to the average of £548 per cow or 6.7p per litre.

According to the Promar figures, the average specialist dairy farmer with 200 cows, produces yields of 8141litres with bought in feed costs working out at £717 per cow with forage costs of £109 per cow to give an operating profit of £548 per cow or 6.7p per litre. This figure has been worked out before subsidy income, rent, finance and depreciation expenses.

In contrast, the top 25% of producers by milk sales per litre per cow had 230 cows yielding 9602litres with bought in feed and forage costs working out at £894 and £116 respectively giving an operating profit of £670 per cow or 7.0p per litre. And, the top 25% by profit per cow milked 184 cows yielding 8500litres with bought in feed and forage costs of £674 and £101 per cow respectively, giving an operating profit of £949 per cow or 11.2p per litre.

See this week's The Scottish Farmer for the full story, out November 24.

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