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convincing financial data to back up his arguments, the base
milk production on many farms producing `marginal milk',
is, in effect, subsidising the production of that marginal milk.
The higher the production costs of the marginal milk and the
higher the volumes or kilos of that marginal milk produced
on the farm, then the lower the average profitability until it
tilts into a loss-making proposition. John Roche's conclusions
are straightforward: "There is increasing evidence that
milk produced from using supplementary feeds in grazing
systems is expensive. Furthermore, in general, it is more
expensive than the revenue for the marginal milk. In other
words producers are subsidising the production of marginal
milk with the profit coming from the milk produced from
pasture. Supplements used to manage unplanned and short-
term deficits may be profitable, depending on the milk price.
However, the marginal milk produced in a system designed to
import large amounts of feed, upwards of 500 kg DM/cow, is
almost always more expensive than the milk price."
Speakers from the first session of the Irish Grassland Association (IGA) Dairy
Conference that focused on Dairying for high profit along with Ciaran Lynch
IGA President and Eva Ross Yara.
Matt Dempsey Irish Grassland Association (IGA) Lifetime Merit Award recipient
and Irish farmers Journal interviewing Jason Hawkins CEO of the Carberry
group at the IGA networking evening sponsored by Yara Fertilizer Ireland
Quotes from the IGA
Dairy Conference
Mike Brady, agricultural
"The grass based systems of
milk production in Ireland are
conducive to producing highly
profitable dairy farmers and farm
businesses. The combination
of high Net Profit per hectare
and owning a lot of hectares
will produce dairy farmers
with multiple units in future
years. This will mean fewer
dairy farmers but more dairy
cows unless environmental
legislation halts the progress."
Denis O' Donovan,
Rosscarbery dairy farmer:
"There is no margin in driving
the stocking rate above what the
farm is capable of growing, plus
500 kg of meal fed strategically,
mostly in Spring and Autumn."
"The market is telling us very
clearly that the future will be all
about sustainability including
water quality and quantity.
Access to water to grow animal
feed is going to be our biggest
competitive advantage. We need to
protect our social licence to farm."
David Fogarty, Manager
Greenfield dairy farm:
"The fundamental of the
Greenfield farm will remain
the same for the remainder of
the project to achieve high
levels of grass utilisation
season after season."
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