The Kingshay organisation in the UK are an independent consultancy that provide advice to dairy farmers. They produce an annual report based on the data collected from their client farms. The “Dairy Costings Focus” can be ordered online from their website. I have collated data from the last three reports to compare the milk sales per cow minus the price of all purchased feed per cow on farms with different levels of production. The original Kingshay charts are at the end of this article, there is over 200,000 cows in the herds that the data was collected from. Milk price and concentrate costs varied over the three years but the trend still remained consistent, higher yielding cows left a bigger margin.
The herd that was producing under 6,000 litres per cow has and average MOPF of €1059 in 2017 whereas the 9,000 litre herd had a MOPF of €2,137 or a difference of €1,078 per cow. There will be other extra costs with higher yielding cows and Kingshay also point to approx. 5% higher replacement rate for the 9,000 litre herd compared to the 6,000 litre herd.
Milk price 2015 €0.36 per litre Average concentrate price €281
Milk price 2016 €0.29 per litre Average concentrate price €253
Milk price 2017 €0.27 per litre Average concentrate price €247
Data taken from Kingshay Dairy Costings Focus report 2015,2016 & 2017.
All figures have been converted from UK pound into euro using a conversion of €1 = £0.83 .
Is it possible to achieve this level of production nationally?
Would our farms be more environmentally friendly if we reduced cow numbers and increased output per cow? Would we reduce the workload on our farms if our cows produced twice as much milk? Would this be more profitable than milking more cows?
Denmark about 200km more northerly than Ireland and surrounded by water has a climate that is not too dissimilar to Ireland. Holstein yield per cow in Denmark is 10,939 litre 4.06% fat and 3.44% protein or 820kg milk solids per cow.
Denmark’s achievements are not an overnight success. The Scandinavian breeding index incorporated management traits from the 1980’s, 20 years before the rest of the world. Danish farmers have embraced modern technology to drive genetic improvement, 96% of all semen used in Denmark is from genomic tested bulls. Denmark has also invested heavily to satisfy the demand for sexed semen, 21% of inseminations in Denmark are with sexed semen.