Costs are starting to ramp up on suckler and dairy farms as a result of delayed turnout due to poor weather conditions.

If we take the cost of a suckler cow grazing outdoors at €1.20/day and compare that to the cost of feeding ad-lib silage, 2.5kg of meal along with bedding the calf and feeding the calf 1kg/day of concentrates, at €3.42/day, that is a difference of €2.22/day or €15.50/week extra per cow.

On a herd of 20 cows it’s €311/week. Costs are also ramping up for weanlings that remain indoors.

If we take the cost of grazing a 350kg weanling at €0.70/day and the cost of feeding the same weanling indoors on silage and meal at €1.75/day, that’s an extra cost of €1.05/day.

On 50 weanlings that’s €52.50/day or €367/week.


The big one here is the foregone weight. A 350kg weanling will probably be doing well to be gaining 0.7kg/day indoors depending on silage quality.

Outdoors that weanling is capable of doing 1kg/day so every week that turnout is delayed you are losing over 2kg of potential cheap weight gain per weanling on a weekly basis.

Dairy farms

Feed costs are also high on dairy farms as most herds are housed full-time and being fed extra meal.

Putting a conservative value of €40/bale of silage, the total feed costs of feeding 12kg DM of grass silage, plus 5kg of dairy nuts costing €350/t, is €4.15/cow/day.

Alternatively, in a normal year cows would be out grazing day and night at this stage and eating 3kg of meal. Putting a value on grass at 10c/kgDM, the total feed cost in that scenario is €2.55/cow/day, a difference of €1.60/cow/day.

On top of this, milk yield per cow is back on most farms, as a result of the bad weather with many farms back 2l per cow per day on normal. At a received price of 40c/l, that’s worth 80c/cow/day in lost sales meaning the total cost of the bad weather is €2.40/cow/day.