BARLEY at €185 to €200 next spring will be the benchmark for dearer livestock feeds, predicted nutritionist Cathal Bohane of the Keenan feeder wagon company.
He warned that increases in feed costs of €40 to 50 per tonne could erode profitability, particularly on dairy farms carrying significant debts.
But dearer grain could leave beet attractively priced, even when transport and extra work are taken into account. Beet works very well in winter milk diets, or is an excellent alternative to grass silage in a spring calving scenario, said Mr Bohane.
If maize crops deliver the expected bumper crops, the possibility of surplus maize could offer livestock feed savings.
Or on-farm grain storage could bring feed cost savings of up to €30 per tonne. Soda treated and alkagrain wheat and barley are excellent feeds which can be stored easily on farms, said Mr Bohane.
He said dairy farmers can gain more than 5c per litre by searching out the best value feeds, and managing diets for optimum feed utilisation and cow health.
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