NEW Irish Dairy Farmer Magazine out now
The new Irish Dairy Farmer magazine is out now. Get your copy from all good newsagents in Ireland, or order it online

Irish Dairy Farmer magazine: The Labour Issue - ORDER IT ONLINE HERE

Labour is a huge issue facing Irish farming. The dairy industry is growing by around 8% per year - the shackles of the milk quota era are well and truly off. However, new constraints are emerging. Farmers are finding it increasingly more difficult to recruit people to work on and manage dairy farms.

Structures are in place to educate and train more young people in the skills of farming, but is farming an attractive career choice for young people?

This issue of the Irish Dairy Farmer magazine tackles the labour issue head on. We deal with it from the farmers’ side – profiling over 40 ways dairy farmers can reduce their labour requirements, while detailing 12 ways in which dairy farmers can improve their people management skills and make farms more attractive places for people to work.

In our ever popular farmer focus section, we profile farmers who are excellent at managing people and who at the same time, are running thriving dairy farm businesses. Labour is an issue facing farmers of all sizes – we profile farmers milking from 80 up to 4,500 cows.

Here’s a preview of what’s inside the Irish Dairy Farmer magazine:

Old Head on Young Shoulders: When David O’Sullivan told his parents not to sell the in-calf heifers as he was going to return from New Zealand after nine months, the whole dynamic of the O’Sullivan family’s farming business was to change.

American Cream: Aidan Brennan visits Rodney and Dorothy Elliott at their farm in the US - Drumgoon Dairies, to speak about their transition from dairy farming in Co. Fermanagh to buying a farm and establishing a super dairy in South Dakota.

Max Power: We meet the team behind a 900-cow farm at Moore Hill Farms, Tallow, Co Waterford.

Team Players: We see how two neighbours have joined forces and are now farming in partnership in Co Galway.

The Fabric of Change: This Coleraine farm, once a linen-production site, is a bit different to most farms in Northern Ireland. With a focus on block calving, the herd compromises a combination of British Friesian and New Zealand Friesian genetics.

Brave Hearts: We speak to the Young family who relocated from the Cowal Peninsula in the Scottish Highlands to Little Buds Farm in Co Westmeath.


The Irish Dairy Farmer magazine is available in 3,000 newsagents across Ireland or you can ORDER IT ONLINE HERE.

You can also purhcase the DIGITAL VERSION HERE

US agrees new Farm Bill
Politicians have struck a deal to pass delayed legislation that will maintain supports to US farmers.

European farmers already know that the CAP may face delays ahead of its 2020 renewal deadline, but US farmers have been without legislation to underpin their support schemes since September.

The impasse, prolonged by last month's legislative elections, could be about to end after Republican and Democratic members of the US House and Senate Agriculture Committee agreed on a new Farm Bill on Monday.

“America’s farmers and ranchers are weathering the fifth year of severe recession, so passing a farm bill this week that strengthens the farm safety net is vitally important,” said committee chair Mike Conaway.

Two years of discussions

The bill has been under discussion for the past two years and will continue insurance schemes and reference price levels available to US farmers for protection against market volatility. Analysis of the deal by US media shows that it will become easier for farmers to switch between different support schemes, while reference prices will increase by up to 15%.

"It also invests $300 million in the prevention and response for animal pests and disease," said committee member Collin Peterson. "More broadly, the bill invests in research, outreach to beginning and underserved producers, local and organic food production, bioenergy, and access to new markets. It also addresses broadband, farm stress and mental health issues, and the opioid epidemic in rural areas."

Read more

High farmer expectations for divided US Congress

Interview with Ted Mc Kinney, Under Secretary USDA

Watch: US cow prices at their lowest in 20 years
The Irish Farmers Journal visitedCalifornia for the Turlock Livestock Auction Yard sale of dairy stock on Friday 30 November.

Livestock markets in the US are depressed at the moment, with prices at their lowest level in 20 years. The dairy and beef industries have increased cull cow slaughter by 107,000 head and 237,000 head respectively over the last year, figures from the Livestock Marketing Information Centre (LMIC) show. In total cull cow slaughter is up 7.3%.

The latest prices reported by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service show that prices are at their lowest since October 1998.

For the quarter ending 1 October, 2018, the average cow price in the US was $1,230, (€1,077) a drop from the prior quarter of $90 (down 7%), according to the USDA figures. Year-on-year decline was $380 per cow (a drop of 24%).

Weak milk prices

“That price adjustment reflects what producers see as the drop in the income earning potential of a purchased cow due to weak farm-level milk prices,” aLMIC statement said.

Prices have not improved in any state, with just Arizona and South Dakota reporting no change to third quarter prices.

“Year-over-year, two states had a drop of larger than 30%, Minnesota [33%] and Ohio [31%],” the statement added.

Prices at Turlock

Prices for freshly calved heifers at the Turlock sale last week ranged from €600 to €1,100. Any heifers that had already calved were sold separately to their calves. Calves typically sold for in the region of $30 to $50 per head (€25 to €45).

This 785kg springing heifer sold for $1,125 (€992).

This 670kg springing heifer sold for $1,200 (€1,058).

This 580kg springing heifer sold for $950 (€838).

This 535kg springing heifer sold for $700 (€617).

This 435kg Jersey cross bred springing heifer sold for $825 (€728).

This 608kg springing heifer sold for $1,000 (€882).

This 572kg springing heifer sold for $900 (€794).

Arla cuts milk price
One of the largest dairy co-ops in northern Europe has announced a price drop for the coming month.

Danish-based Arla Foods will cut its on-account price by 1c/l from 1 December, the co-op announced this Friday.

When applied to the UK manufacturing price, this equates to a reduction of 0.89p/l, taking the UK price to 31.57p/l at 4.2% fat and 3.4% protein.

“While seasonal demand is in part enabling prices to remain relatively stable, European milk volumes are holding up better than expected and global volumes continue to grow, which has resulted in reduced market prices overall,” said Arla director Johnnie Russell.

One exception is organic milk, where the co-op still needs to increase volumes to satisfy growing demand.

The organic price will remain unchanged for Arla's continental farmers and increase by 1.79p/l in the UK.

Read more

Aurivo and LacPatrick drop October milk price

Milk price to drop below 30c/l next year – analyst

Arla cuts more jobs as part of €400m savings drive