IDF 2015 - Update 5

Published 23 September 15

Patty Clayton and Jon Parry from AHDB Dairy, report back from the marketing and dairy farming session at the IDF conference. 

The morning sessions focussing on marketing challenges have been heavily weighted towards looking at the impact of the Russian ban on markets, both those who have lost and those that have gained, including Russia. 

Overall, the ban has meant previous suppliers have had to find alternative markets by matching market requirements to product characteristics. Russia's industry has benefited from the extra demand for domestic milk while Belarus has been able to use its good trade relationship with Russia to grow exports, although it needed to import milk to achieve this. 

The final presentation discussed the importance of regional marketing in India due to the geographically diverse nature of milk production. 

Structure of farms session

Presentation from IFCN, re-confirmed the position that globally farms are increasing in size and yield per cow is also increasing only 13 countries in the world currently have an average herd size above 100. 

This was followed by presentations on the current position and future ambition of dairy farming in the Baltic states and Belarus.

In the morning sessions of the Dairy Farming – Challenges and Risk Management session, Dr Erwin Koenen from CRV in the Netherlands spoke on genomic developments. He highlighted the leading role the UK, USA and the Netherlands played.

Professor Larry E. Chase from Cornell University USA talked about ‘Feeding the Cow of the Future – Nutrition, Management and Environmental Considerations’. He was confident that yield per cow in the US would continue to rise, while environmental impact decreased. He cited examples of many farms which are already averaging over 13,000l/cow/year and predicted this would be the average US yield by 2025. He asserted that only 15% of the increase would be attributed to ration improvements and the rest was down to improved management and genetics. He stressed there were no secrets to increasing yields; all the information required was already available, farmers need to find the info and then use it. Finally, he advised that farmers need to spend time observing their cows.    

Professor Serhii Oliinyk from Stravropol State Agrarian University in Russia spoke on developments in dairy farming in Russia where they are concentrating efforts on improving the herd genetics and nutrition of cows.

The final presentation was from Lithuanian agricultural advisory service on approaches they use to help share best practice, through on farm meetings and a technical information web site. Stressing that farmers need to be open to new practices and have a "creative mood" to innovate.