Dairy Farmer of the Year – Neville and Sue Loder

Looking back at 2017, we’ve learnt that the way we have set up our grass based dairy business is very resilient to milk price volatility.  Even when the milk price is low we are still able to make a profit and reinvest in our business. This has been achieved by a tight 10 week calving block, with a 5% empty rate over 10 weeks breeding, growing and using more quality grass to reduce feed costs to 3p litre.

Looking ahead to 2018, we are starting milk recording to identify the cows that are less profitable due to either poor milk solids or yield.  Our aim is to have a herd of cows weighing 480 kgs and producing 480 kg of milk solids from less than 500kgs cake fed per cow.  We aim to achieve this by culling out the bottom 10% of the herd for the next few years.

The exciting thing about our farming system is that we can see a lot more scope to improve.  We are continually challenged by our consultant, Gerard Finnan and our discussion group, Gillingham Grazers.  In fact we have our annual physical and financial benchmarking meeting at the end of January to review and compare our 2017 performance with our peers.

While looking to continually improve our existing business we are looking at options of expanding and doing more of what we do best, turning grazed grass efficiently into milk solids, which are required by our milk buyer.

Happy New Year and here is to an even more successful 2018.

Posted in Business Management, Dairy & Forage, Sherborne.