Best forage sees higher profits for liquid milk producers

National Dairy Show 2013: Patrick Frawley showing the best mature cow in milk, Ridgefield Dundee Portea, owned by Patrick and Derrick Frawley, Rathkeale, Co Limerick, with Charles Gallagher of prize sponsor IHFA.

Milk herds
Liquid milk producers who utilise forage better and achieve high milk solids content are driving up their profit, said Dr Joe Patton, speaking at the Teagasc National Liquid Milk conference about the best measures for benchmarking herd performance.

The Teagasc liquid milk specialist said that examination of the data from over 150 liquid milk herds showed that milk yield per cow is a poor predictor of net margin.

The data demonstrated how EBI is having a very positive impact on fertility performance on liquid milk farms.

Dr Padraig O’Kiely, Teagasc Grange, stressed the importance of getting the basics rights, and making high-quality grass silage.

He said: “Silage quality is determined mainly by its digestibility, preservation and stability at feed-out.

“There are guidelines for consistently producing high quality silage that are working and being implemented on farms. Crucial to successfully fulfilling these guidelines is having an appropriate silage production and feeding plan in place.”

AIB agri advisor Patrick Butterly highlighted the benefits of farm-business planning and cash-flow management.

“It’s important that farmers invest adequate time and resources into farm business planning, to provide better control and understanding of their farm business.

“Efficient cashflow and cost management, in good times and bad, is essential to ensuring the financial stability of the farm business, enabling greater maximisation of future opportunities and, or, early intervention against potential challenges that may arise.”

The conference and farm tour took place in Co Meath. The afternoon session included a visit to the farm of Kevin Meade, Stackallen, Slane, where practical aspects of management for winter milking herds were debated.


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