As outlined by Teagasc’s James Dunne this week, average concentrate feed costs have increased by 20% over the last few months.
For many farmers, the differences in meal costs this winter compared to last winter could be in the magnitude of 30% to 40% higher now.
While the price of milk has increased, it hasn’t kept pace with this level of price inflation.
There’s no doubt that higher input costs are dark clouds on the horizon, especially for winter milk herds with a high reliance on silage and meal.
f high input costs stick, I think we will see a resurgence in wholecrop arable silage utilising legumes such as beans and red and white clover as a lower cost way of increasing protein content in forages from next season on.
The other thing was the importance of feeding the herd
The key point from James Dunne’s article is to choose what ration is purchased carefully and buy on energy rather than just protein content. The difference in performance potential between the two rations in the example is stark and oftentimes the difference in price might not be that great.
The other thing was the importance of feeding the herd, not the top cows in the herd. In his example, the average yield was 27kg of milk per day, whereas only 9% of the herd was doing over 35kg of milk per day.
Some nutritionists/salespeople will target rations for the 9%, which is overkill for the 91%. This cost is borne by the farmer.
Implementing three or four of these little things that add 3% or 4% to performance can quickly add up to 15% or 20% increases in overall output
In my own piece this week, I take a look at the factors affecting intake. These are all fairly simple things, but they can have a huge affect on performance.
Implementing three or four of these little things that add 3% or 4% to performance can quickly add up to 15% or 20% increases in overall output. Of course, there are costs to implementing some of these measures, so it comes down to a cost benefit analysis as to whether you can afford it or not.