‘Milk quality bonuses boosting dairy incomes’

Dairy farmers in the Cork area are receiving up to 4c/L above base price on the back of the extra milk solids their cows are producing at the present time, according to Teagasc dairy advisor Pat Cashman.

“It has been a brilliant back end,” he said.

“Grass availability remains excellent. Producers in the Cork area are currently receiving up to 17% above base price on the back of the enhanced butterfat and protein in the milk they are supplying to the co-ops.  On average, cows are getting 2kg of meal in order to get this level of performance.

“Our most recent figures also indicate that the extra milk volumes which farmers are now securing, is helping to offset the reduction in price that has been a feature of the market over recent months.

“In fact, there is a strong likelihood that many farmers will not incur a drop in turnover, year-on-year, due to the extra milk and quality bonuses that are now kicking in.

“Milk volumes are up 15%, compared with this time last year. Cows are not being dried off early, as would have been the case in 2014. This is a key and very tangible benefit that is associated with the abolition of milk quotas.”

The Mallow-based advisor confirmed that the extra litres now available may only be an autumn windfall.

“The outlook for milk price next Spring remains quite downbeat.” He said.

“And this is a time of the year when farmers have to feed quite high levels of concentrates in order to maximise output per cow.”

Cashman said that dairy farmers in his catchment area have up to three weeks’ grass availability ahead of their cows.

“Some farmers are buffer feeding baled silage in order to maximise the length of this year’s grazing season. But we are strongly advising farmers to have 60% of their paddocks closed off by the end of October, in order to maximise grass output levels next spring.”

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