May 2015 Newsletter

Milk price & supply, SDAS, Score Calf Feeds, quality milk, supplier login, boom sprayer course, Carbery shares, stocking rate (SR) and mean calving date and rate

20 May 2015

Milk Price & Supply

The milk price for the month of April has been reduced by 0.75 cents per litre. This brings the price for April to 30.97 cents per litre (140.79 cents per gallon) at 3.60% butterfat and 3.30% protein, including a bonus of 0.5 cents per litre for a Summer Somatic Cell Count of less than 200,000, an SDAS bonus of 0.15 cents per litre and including VAT at 5.2%.

The average price paid for the month based on the average butterfat of 3.83% and protein of 3.32%, including SCC, SDAS bonuses and VAT is 32.00 cents per litre.

The milk supply for the month of April was 21,247,575 litres (4,673,905 gallons). This represents an increase of 1,631,161 litres (358,812 gallons) on supply compared to April 2014.

SDAS Update

Over 45% of all milk supplied in April was eligible for the SDAS bonus. Total SDAS bonuses paid out by the Society in April was over €14,000. All suppliers are encouraged to have their audit and become certified at their earliest convenience.

Score Calf Feeds

To further improve our quality Score Calf Feeds range, we are incorporating a Greenline Calf mineral package into all our calf diets.

Greenline Calf contains optimum levels of mineral and vitamin supplementation including biotin and high levels of Vitamin E as well as natural products such as yeast.

The addition of Greenline Calf mineral to our diets will

  • improve calf health by removing bacteria from the gut wall and reducing the risk of scour
  • act as an aid to digestion and minimise risk of digestive upsets
  • stimulate rumen development leading to improved nutrient absorption and growth

Grass seed Flyer now out

Grass seed Flyer

Drinagh Grass seed brochure is now available at your local branch. Pick one up to see what mixture will best suit your needs this year.

Quality Milk Suppliers

The top three milk suppliers nominated for the 2014 Carbery Milk Quality Awards by Drinagh based on butterfat, protein, T.B.C. and S.C.C. results are

James Young, Derryclough, Drinagh

Jeremiah O’Sullivan, Dunscullib, Leap

Liam O’Connell, Currabeg, Skibbereen

The overall winner of the competition will be announced later in the month

Supplier Login

The Society launched its Online Log In facilities earlier this month. Milk suppliers and trade customers can now access all their milk supply and trading account information online @

Feed Mill Extension

Ground works are progressing well at the Drinagh Feed Mill extension.

Boom Sprayer Course

As part of the Sustainable Use Directive (SUD) all farmers who apply pesticides, irrespective of method of application or quantity applied must register on the Department website as a professional user.

Any farmer that registers as a professional user is required to

  • complete a FETAC level 5 Boom Sprayer Course
  • have their sprayer tested by 26th November 2016
  • keep all records of sprays applied on their holding

A farmer who purchases sprays but gets a contractor who is a registered Professional User to apply them on their behalf does not have to register.

Drinagh is facilating the tractor mounted/ trailed boom sprayer FETAC level 5 courses for any farmer interested in completing the course. The course will be run over 3 days and will cost between €150 -€180. Anyone interested in the course should complete the Boom Sprayer application form enclosed with this months accounts.

Carbery Shares - Reminder

The trading window that suppliers can buy and sell Carbery shares closes on the 31st May 2015.Each share is now valued at €2.21.

Why are stocking rate (SR) and mean calving date and rate so important?

To capture the maximum benefits of grazed grass, the most fundamental management practice must be to have the correct number of cows calving compactly at the beginning of the growth season. Stocking rate is widely recognised as the major factor governing productivity from grass and previous research indicates that, while milk production per cow is reduced, milk production per hectare will tend to be maximised at higher SRs as increased animal demand drives more efficient grazing practices and improved sward utilisation. While delivering superior per hectare productivity, increased SRs place added pressures on winter feed supplies and may result in increased feed and capital costs (associated with accommodating and feeding increased numbers of animals). It is therefore recommended that the overall SR of the farm is closely aligned to the individual farms grass growth capability. The optimum stocking rate should allow relatively high individual animal performance but also relatively high grazed grass utilisation to be achieved.

Calving date influences both the milk productivity of the dairy herd (lactation length) and also the requirement for supplementation at grazing. In general, the herd should be calved as early as possible, provided that it can be fed adequately from a predominantly grazing diet throughout the lactation. While highly dependent on the individual farm characteristics, the optimum herd mean calving date will allow high individual animal performance to be achieved by aligning animal feed requirements with spring grass growth to realise high individual animal performance over a 285 day lactation length. Calving too early, in particular at higher SRs, will lead to underfeeding or a requirement for increased supplementation as grass growth rates will be unable to match herd demand in early spring. A spread out calving rate or delayed calving date will lead to reduced grass utilisation as insufficient numbers of dairy cattle are available and grass is wasted. While there is no ideal mean calving date that will be appropriate to every farm (due to differences in ground conditions, grass growth rates, SRs, etc.), a mean calving date of February 15th to25th with 90% of the herd calved in 42 days appears to be generally appropriate for most Irish dairy farms in comparison to the current average mean calving date of March 15th.The current average national SR (1.9 LU/ha) and mean calving date (March 15th) of Irish dairy farms differs considerably from dairy research herds (SR = 2.5 – 3.3 LU/ha and MCD = February 15th) and indicates that there is considerable scope to increase productivity on Irish dairy farms post quota.