Milking on

More heavy rain this week has put the boot into autumn grazing on many farms. Cows are housed on a lot of yards, and they won’t see grass again until 2024. In other cases a few dry days will let cows out again, but in all cases winter is closer than it should be.

The mood among farmers is low, but the thing to keep in mind is that everyone is in a similar boat, and the challenges are the same across all farms.

With milk price low and costs still high, plus cows milking less than normal and farmers tired from a tough year, does it pay to milk on as normal or should farmers consider once a day or an early dry off date?

The surprising thing for me is the small difference between milking twice a day and once a day when labour costs are considered.

Drying off early will reduce margin, but probably not by as much as you might think, especially when labour costs and silage use is considered.

Where there is hired labour it will be paid whether cows are milked or not, but that still doesn’t justify drudgery. I would think that for many farmers an early dry off would be the best thing to do, even if it means leaving some money behind.

Dairy Day talks

Preparations are ongoing for Dairy Day on 23 November in Cork. There will be two stages, with talks and seminars taking place throughout the day. Topics being covered include the following;

  • Highlighting ways to cut costs in light of falling milk prices and stubbornly high costs.
  • Navigating through the changes in the Nitrates Derogation – what it means for farmers on the ground.
  • Actions for positive PR – what farmers can do to protect the image of dairy farming and arm themselves with the facts on dairy.
  • What will the Irish dairy sector look like in 10 years’ time? We ask key leaders in the industry for their vision.
  • Is anaerobic digestion a runner in rural Ireland?
  • With such an export driven dairy sector, what happens internationally is critically important in Ireland, and with this in mind, Jack Kennedy will delve deeper into what is happening to dairy supply and demand across the world with experts from Bord Bia and Ornua.
  • Assessing different investment options for dairy farmers at different stages of development.
  • Educational paths for new starters to dairy farming and the dairy industry.
  • Dragons Den style presentation of new product innovations that can utilise technology and make farmers more efficient and more sustainable will be demonstrated.
  • What makes a family dairy farm work? We meet two well-known farm families who discuss the highs and lows when family and farming are combined.
  • Entry is €20, but all Irish Farmers Journal subscribers and readers will get a complimentary ticket when they present three tokens.”