Invest wisely this Autumn
With milk price in a place that no one could have forecast at the beginning of the year, the returns on dairy farms will be equally as good as 2021. This is in spite of a rise in costs. Dairy Specialist Stuart Childs has advice on best value investments
Returns on dairy farms this year are projected to be as good as last year. This is despite the significant rise in costs associated with the dramatic increase in fertiliser, a lesser increase in feed costs and significant increases in fuel and energy costs. Consequently, with good returns likely, dairy farmers should plan to invest in the farm business to help ‘futureproof’ the operation. While we are currently experiencing a long dry spell, the rainy day will come. Investment in grazing infrastructure can cost a lot or a little depending on what you chose to do.
In simple terms, after ground conditions which obviously have to be appropriate to go grazing in the first place, the next most important element of grazing is access. This can vary from extra gate handles, which is a small investment, to spur roads and extension of existing roadways. This may be at the upper end of the scale in terms of cost. Investment in grazing infrastructure always pays so a wise area to focus some investment. Furthermore, many may have work to do on farm roads to align with nitrates derogation regulations. This is another reason to look at this area as a key priority investment area in 2022.
Another wise investment is lime. Increasing the efficiency of the fertiliser that you spread next year will be driven by this action. Given the weather conditions, one could expect that trafficability should remain good for the next while. This will allow for lime to be comfortably applied in a rotation if required. Consult with your soil samples to target lime applications but generally speaking if you haven’t applied lime in the recent past, 2t/acre will be required on most land. The target pH for grassland is 6.5 and is required to help drive fertiliser efficiency, as well as having a role to play in the establishment of clover in the future.
These are just a two items that could be considered as priority areas for investment for many in 2022. There will be other items relevant to individual farms but the most important thing is that you invest wisely.
Read more about grazing infrastructure here