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Dairy Conference Review

16 Jan 2018

Mole Valley  Dairy Conference 2017:

Global experts provide advice at the inaugural Mole Valley Dairy Conferences held in November at Ayrshire and Somerset.

Leading US dairy business consultant Matt Lange (MBA) from Wisconsin- based Compeer Financial urged farmers to take greater control of their costs structures especially forage and labour costs. Mr Lange stated farmers need to monitor costs of production and seek to increase forage value.

Using information from Compeer Financial data-sets, he stated the top 25% performing farm businesses had reduced costs of production and increased forage value.  Mr  Lange also urged farmers to consider six business separation points including depreciation, owing to animal losses.

He said: “Cows that last five, six or seven lactations are the most

profitable animals in the herd. Farmers cannot afford to rear a heifer at a cost of  £1,500  and cull the animal  in her first or second lactation. The business will be looking towards an £800 depreciation loss. It takes at least two lactations for an animal to pay for itself and these accumulative losses have a negative impact.

“Cows need to survive into their third to fifth lactation and remain fit and healthy. The top herds with the lowest death losses were more profitable and farmers should target 4% - 5% death loss or lower. Somatic Cell Counts are

another indicator of profitability. The top 33% of herds have cell counts below 196,000, whilst the lowest third had cell counts of 239,000 or more.”

Mr Lange also emphasised age-at- first calving should be targeted at 23 months and farmers should focus on energy corrected milk values; increasing pregnancy rates, net herd replacement

costs and heifer survival as key indicators of dairy farm profitability.


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