August 22, 2008


New Zealand farmers should look at supplements as feed costs rise


New Zealand's milk marketing concern DairyNZ is encouraging farmers to do their homework before committing to some of the current increases in feed costs.


The recent increase in feed prices in the past few months would mean now would be a good time to review supplement strategies and effectiveness, DairyNZ farm system specialist Chris Glassey said.


Corn prices have more than doubled compared to a year ago and farmers would need to do their sums carefully before committing to purchases. 


To get the best value out of supplements, farmers need to get at least an additional 80 grammes of milksolids per kilo (kgMS). At a projected payout of US$7.00/kgMS, this 80 grams is worth 56 cents/kgDM.


Purchase of corn silage would leave no margin for other risks, he said.


DairyNZ recommends keeping supplement costs to five percent of payout or below, in this case, 35 cents/kgDM (at a $7.00/kgMS payout).


Choosing to feed supplements in response to high payout could provide farmers with more operating profit and a degree of insurance against difficult weather conditions, he said.

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