Challenge your dairy business goals this summer

Published 1 May 09

Dairy farmers in the South West can find out how to feed cows with confidence and test different business scenarios with expert consultancy by taking part in DairyCo's 'What If?' workshops this June.

Scheduled to take place at Coldrenick Farm, Helland, the workshop is built around a revolutionary interactive computer program that offers farmers an opportunity to examine the impact of change on their own business - whether it be financial, feeding strategy, herd size or production system.

The course is running throughout the UK and has already proven highly successful with those who have taken it, many who have attended find that the workshop helps them to focus on the really important issues for their individual farm, and to think differently about their business.

Somerset dairy farmer Stuart Bacon found the workshop a highly valuable experience, "I was really able to see the benefit to the business. "What If? makes you look at the nutrient value of grass and the costs associated with grazing, you can then gauge the true value of it to your business."

DairyCo extension officer for the region, Rachael Grigg says the workshops have much to offer dairy farmers seeking to improve their businesses and invariably leave participants with a more positive outlook.

"The computer program at the heart of the 'What If?' experience provides individual farm analysis at an unprecedented level and takes a fresh approach to cost calculations and nutrition in particular.

"It allows individual farm businesses to challenge their current position with hypothetical changes and assess the impact of these prior to making any necessary investment. Once an effective strategy is confirmed this can then be pursued in reality with far more confidence and effectiveness.

"The combination of excellent consultant support during the sessions and clear business direction make the whole experience very worthwhile."

Exeter dairy farmer, Richard Davies, agrees. He attended a "What if?" workshop in February 2008 and says: "The four consultants, all with different information and points of view, meant we had great discussions and there was a real pool of knowledge. It was great to be able to look at a whole raft of scenarios for your business, and at the potential effects of changes without actually having to do it."

DairyCo's "What If?" workshops require preparation time to input farm data onto the program, for which help is available, then involve a total of three days off the farm, including the first two consecutively and a third day the following week. There is a cost of £295 + VAT for the first person from a dairy farming business and £60 per person for additional attendees from the same business.

The What If? workshop takes place over three days, on 24, 25 June and 2 July at Coldrenick Farm Offices, Helland, Bodmin PL30 4QE. Farmers need to sign up for the workshop before Friday 22 May.

To register, or for further details contact Kate Cross on 01285 646500 or extension officer Rachael Grigg on 07976 980759.


Date 1 May 2009

For further information:
N: Helen Bond
T: 01285 646510

Notes for Editors:

DairyCo Limited was set up in April 2008 following a fundamental review of agricultural levy boards by Defra. The five existing levy boards (including the Milk Development Council) were replaced by one statutory levy board, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

Reporting in to AHDB are six sector companies - DairyCo will cover the milk sector.

DairyCo is funded entirely by milk producers, via a statutory levy on all milk sold off-farm, at the rate of 0.06p per litre. This provides an annual income of around £7m.

DairyCo's current focus is on improving the profitability of dairy farming by focusing on four specific areas:

  • The provision of a world-class information service
  • Helping dairy farmers increase their profits while meeting regulatory and environmental requirements - through better business management.
  • Helping promote the positive perception of dairy products and dairy farming with the general public
  • The development of DairyCo towards a self-sustaining model.

DairyCo co-funds the industry's nutritional and issues management resource - The Dairy Council - with the processors' trade body Dairy UK.