Plentiful silage stocks could curb milk production

Published 4 September 19

Silage stocks are sitting pretty this year, according to feedback at AHDB’s latest milk forecasting forum*. After the difficulties of last year’s hot, dry summer, grass growing conditions have, in general, been significantly better in 2019. This has allowed farmers to cut plentiful stocks, and initial silage analysis suggests the feed is decent quality.

While the improved forage availability will be a welcome relief after the difficulties of last year, the impact on milk production is expected to be downwards.

With the milking herd continuing to shrink, and further falls expected, overall milk production can only be maintained by a further increase in milk yields. However, milk yields through the autumn and winter last year were exceptional as farmers shored up low silage stocks with bought in feed.

While grain prices are coming under downward pressure, they remain historically high, and it is expected that farmers will rely on their silage stocks for feed, rather than buying in over the coming 6 months. As a result, milk yields are expected to be back at more normal levels, rather than the exceptional highs reached in 2018.

Our latest milk production forecast, as well as information on milk yields and the dairy herd are available in the milk forecasting forum pack that was shared with the group.

We update the milk production forecast on a quarterly basis, and the next update will be available later this month taking into consideration the feedback from the group.

* Twice a year, AHDB brings together key industry experts to discuss national milk production and the factors that could impact it over the coming 12 months. This group includes consultants, milk processors, farming unions and government officials.

Chris Gooderham