Liquid Milk Flows to UK
23 October 2008
The most profitable farms on a per acre basis in the world are those close to the large urban centers producing basic food needs and that includes all year round milk. Speaking at the Teagasc National Liquid Milk conference Tom Clinton, County Meath dairy farmer, said that he was certain that in the present crisis nobody will cut back on their consumption of basic foods – milk, eggs, potatoes and bread. The Teagasc National Liquid Milk conference, which is sponsored by Ulster Bank, is taking place in Dublin today, Thursday, 23 October.
Tom Clinton also pointed out to liquid milk producers attending the conference that for the past two months one million liters of milk per day is being shipped from Ireland to England, because UK milk production is running 15 per cent under quota this year. Due to the reduction in milk supplies in the UK, liquid milk consumption now accounts for 65 per cent of production there and hence the flow of milk to England from Northern Ireland and the Republic.
Despite the fluctuations in milk price, Ulster Bank has reiterated its confidence in the future for milk producers in Ireland. Speaking at the Ulster Bank sponsored National Liquid Milk Conference, Dr. Anne Marie Butler, Agricultural Manager, Ulster Bank said “We are open for business across all farming enterprises and will asses each application on its own merits. Our business with dairy farmers has been steady and we have worked with many who are expanding their herds and developing their facilities with grant assistance under the farm waste management and farm improvement schemes.”
Teagasc Moorepark researcher Joe Patton said that producing milk in excess of contract requirements during the winter months is a costly exercise. He said that control of herd fertility is essential to manage the calving pattern correctly as August and September calved cows are the most expensive to feed. He pointed out that differences in variable costs between winter and spring milk producers is mostly due to higher feeds costs for winter milk farms.
Nutrition advisory specialist with Teagasc, Siobhan Kavanagh pointed out that relative to 2006, production costs for grass, grass silage, maize and whole crop wheat silage, have increased on average by 22 per cent. She said that grazed grass remains the cheapest feed and its utilization should be maximized in Irish dairy production systems. The competitiveness of alternative forages is reliant on achieving high yield of high quality material and a transparent system of evaluation should be employed in farm to farm trading of feed stuffs.