Quota position drives decisions

Glanbia see it as inevitable that they will be over quota for the year with a probable super levy bill of €8 - €10 million. It is each farmer’s responsibility to deal with his/her own quota management.

Glanbia see it as inevitable that they will be over quota for the year with a probable super levy bill of €8 - €10 million. It is each farmer’s responsibility to deal with his/her own quota management.

Everything must be done to hold on to the money that you earned last year. Farmers overproduced last year, because it was a good autumn and milk price was good. You will have to pay extra tax on these extra profits. If you end up paying a substantial super levy (28.5c/litre) then you will have lost on the double.

Consider some or all of the following options to minimise the problem:-

Reduce the protein in meal to 10 -12% with grass; Feed 2-4 kgs of meal while on good silage; Feed 2 kgs of meal (pulp or barley) if on grass for 5-6 hours per day; Feed 2 kgs meal if out full-time; Feed 9-12 litres of milk to calves, with a slow build up (add yoghurt)

Go for a 16:8 hour milking interval (8.00 a.m. and 4.00 p.m milkings) and feed the evenings milk to calves because it has 4.96% fat compared with 2.74% fat in mornings milk. This will increase your spring quota by 126 gallons for every 1,000 gallons you have left in March and it will also facilitate two three hour grazing bouts, particularly after evening’s milking,

Sell off extra cows – yes, as they are making good money. Milk cows once per day to reduce yield by 25% (suitable for thin heifers) and this worked last year for some farmers.

Use store milk plus, available from co-op’s, to store March milk for 20 to 28 days, thus enabling April use.

For the next 3 years, to make more money you must manage your quota efficiently. Match cows to quota and be more efficient, instead of excessive gambling.

Grass Is Profit

Grazed grass costs 6.0c/kgDM, silage costs 16.0c/kg DM, and meal, this spring, cost nearly 30.0c/kg DM. It is obvious that every farmer must use as much grazed grass as possible to make more profit this March. The message is to feed no silage and as little meal as is possible and ensure the first rotation lasts until 5th - 10th April.

To make an extra €2.70 per cow per day profit, Michael Donovan (Moorepark) has shown that on a grass allowance of 15 kgs DM/cow/day plus 3 kgs meal compared with a silage plus meal indoor system, cows will consume 3% more dry matter; produce the same milk yield; lower fat milk (-0.3%); higher protein milk (+0.3%) and gain more weight (0.2 v 0.03 kgs/day).

To maintain good grazing pressure (not leave much grass) allow cows 13 kgs DM/day of grass and feed 1-3 kgs of meal, depending on quota. Some farmers who are on or near quota should not feed any meal with this amount of grass, particularly if they have a scattered calving pattern (but must feed min/vit).

Using the Spring Rotation Plan will give you the confidence to go for this suggestion and not to be afraid of running out of grass in April. It will guarantee the 1st rotation will not end until 5th April at least. Paddocks must be grazed out tightly (less than 4 cms), if not you are feeding too much meal or silage. It is impossible to graze out paddocks correctly with silage (too much) in the diet. Try to feed no silage or at least have no silage in front of cow from midnight if only out by day. To have enough grazing grass in the cows’ diet on the 2nd rotation on the 5th-10th April, you must have 65% of the grazing area grazed by March 17th. To achieve this target cows need to be out full time from early March.

Milk Recording is Essential

Milk recording is essential to developing a profitable herd. It will clearly identify your good cows and your bad cows allowing you to select those from whom you should be breeding replacements. It will identify each cow’s EBI (Target €130); milk yield (target 1,300-1,400 gallons); fat % (target 4.0%) and protein % (target 3.8%). It will also tell you the individual yearly cow kgs of fat/protein (target 450-500 Kgs per year); lifetime Kgs fat and protein (target 3,000 Kgs); lactation length (herd target 290+ days); Calving interval (target 365 days); replacement rate (target 18%); survivability of cows (50% in 4th lactation). You will also get information on calving pattern, median calving date, SCC levels and the most suitable AI bulls to use on your cows.

It costs €7 -€8 per cow. Can you really afford to be without this information? Any farmer who does not milk record will not or cannot maximise his/her profits from their milk quota or dairy herd. Good decisions are made on facts.


Spring Cereals - At time of writing ground conditions are ideal for sowing. Beans, Wheat and Oats should be drilled from now on. Spring Barley should only be considered in very light land. Mid March to mid April is ideal for Barley, as it is not very tolerant of cold wet spells with no growth, unlike wheat and oats

Important Event

Forestry event

A Teagasc Timber Marketing Day will be held in the Abbeyleix Manor Hotel on Tuesday March 13th, 9.30am-1.30pm. This is a unique opportunity for forest owners to meet foresters, harvesting contractors and timber buyers and learn all you need to know when it comes to harvesting and marketing your timber. The event will include presentations and forest industry trade stands. All forest owners are welcome