The cost of supporting yields through the summer

Published 19 September 18

According to the latest data from Kingshay, milk yields per cow per day held up reasonably well through the hot, dry months of May, June and July. However, this was only achieved by farmers using silage stocks, and an increasing amount of concentrate feed.

In July, the percentage of milk achieved from forage was down 7% compared with the same month last year and 5% below the 5-year average. The decline was not unexpected following the exceptionally high temperatures and lack of rain this summer, resulting in the driest soil moisture conditions on record, for the UK as a whole.

 Yield from forage per cow

In order to support milk yields, farmers needed to turn to increased concentrate usage per cow, which were up from May to July by 3.3%, 2.2% and 5.5% respectively compared with the previous year.

 Concentrate use per litre of milk

This led to an increase in purchased feed costs in July of more than 1.3ppl. It should be noted that this cost does not take into account the additional use of home-grown forage to replace lost grass. The cost of silage is likely to show up later in the year when additional silage is cut or has to be bought in.