Tremendous turn out for Teagasc Liquid Milk conference
Large numbers of dairy farmers from all parts of Ireland are attending today’s Teagasc Liquid Milk conference, taking place in Navan, Co Meath. The event has been organised against a growing expectation at farm level that milk production has a bright future, given the current state of world dairy markets and the abolition of quotas in the Spring of 2015.
A key theme to the conference was the need for dairy farmers to maximise milk output from grazed grass and silage. Specifically, this means establishing high quality swards and ensuring that fields are grazed and cut at the most appropriate times. Those attending the event were actively encouraged to assess the feeding value of their swards on an on-going basis. In this context, specific reference was made to the fact that swards currently supporting large levels of autumnal growth must be managed carefully so as to ensure that only fresh, high quality forages are ensiled and grazed next Spring.
At his presentation, Teagasc liquid milk specialist Dr Joe Patton spoke about the best measures that must be considered by dairy farmers when benchmarking herd performance.
He said that after examining the data from over 150 liquid milk herds, it shows that liquid milk producers who make better utilisation of forage and achieve high milk solids content are driving up their profit. Patton also said that milk yield per cow is a poor predictor of net margin. The data also demonstrates how EBI is having a very positive impact on fertility performance in a liquid milk context.
Dr Padraig O’Kiely, Teagasc Grange, stressed the importance of getting the basics right and making high quality grass silage.
He said: ”Silage quality is determined mainly by its digestibility, preservation and stability at feedout. 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.”
Speaking at the conference on behalf of sponsors AIB, Patrick Butterly, AIB Agri Advisor, 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 cash flow and cost management, both 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,” he explained.