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Having read the link below: Farmers reaping milk price benefits

This is an example of supplying a specialist market that requires high protein milk. You can increase the milk protein with high cost milk production. Keeping the cows indoors (intensification) on high starch diets is the way to do it and growing an expensive maize crops and feeding it 365 days of the year will ensure cows pump out the desired "quality" milk that is required for this particular market which I assume is for cheese production.

Isn't it interesting to see that the article talks about an annual production of 182,000 litres (40,000 gallons). This is a herd of about 30 cows producing a modest 6066 litres a year. If they produced at my level of 8400 litres it would be less than 22 cows. My guess is that the average herd in Ireland must be about 40 to 45 cows do between 4000 and 4500 litres a year per cow.

So how come these farmers are still in business at levels of "efficiency" that the UK was forced to leave behind in the 1960's? These are typical figure for most of Europe and they are still in business because unlike the UK, they are heavily subsidised (at the expense of the UK and Germany).

The UK's farmers are supported but with the Euro, which has been devalued against the Pound by over 25% BUT also under our funding arrangements with the EU we only receive 20% of the subsidies that other EU countries get. (82% is clawed back by the EU).

This is probably because we had the most efficient agriculture industry in Europe at the time and it was decided we could live without the same level of support. We have had to go on increasing our efficiency to survive EU imports from inefficient farmers subsidised with UK and German money. It is like being forced to pay for the bullets so that your enemy can shoot you!


Farmers 'reaping milk price benefits'

The Irish Examiner

By Ray Ryan

FARMERS taking part in Teagasc's intensive dairy advisory programme are reaping the benefits of increased milk prices, lower costs and higher profits. Dermot McCarthy, chief dairy adviser with Teagasc, said higher milk protein levels are the biggest contributors to profit enhancement.

"The top performing dairy farms in the Teagasc programme are now receiving almost 2.5 cent per litre more for their milk than those at the bottom. This is due almost entirely to higher milk protein levels."

Mr McCarthy said this is the equivalent of 6,500 in additional net profit per annum for a dairy farmer with a milk quota of 182,000 litres (40,000 gallons).

He was speaking at the announcement of the National Milk Protein Awards 2002, organised by Teagasc and sponsored by ACC Bank in association with the Irish Farmers Journal. The awards, which honour the top milk protein farms in Ireland, have a prize fund of 5,000 and prestigious trophies.

Mr McCarthy said protein, as well as being a vital determinant of profitability in dairying, also plays a crucial role in expanding the range of value-added products produced by the Irish dairy industry, thereby maximising export returns and ensuring a more internationally competitive industry.

The Teagasc intensive advisory programme aims to increase average protein levels in Irish milk, from 3.2% to 3.5% over the coming years. The best performing dairy herds have already surpassed the 3.5%.

"The key to increased protein is superb utilisation of grass and animal breeding. This year, our top performing milk protein farms had cows out on grass in February, despite difficult weather conditions."