March 2019 Newsletter

Milk price, TBC testing, reseeding after Brassicas, milk recording, Carbery share requirement

3 April 2019

Milk Price

The milk price for the month of February is unchanged at 34.53 cents per litre (156.97 cents per gallon) at 3.60% butterfat and 3.30% protein, including Winter Somatic Cell Count (SCC) bonus of 0.88 cpl and VAT at 5.4%.

The average price paid for the month is 37.88 cents per litre. This is based on the average butterfat of 4.18% and protein of 3.43%, including SCC bonus and VAT.

TBC Testing

Carbery lab is upgrading their TBC testing facility. The new machine will have the ability to TBC every collection. Drinagh will then relay the TBC results to each supplier after each collection similar to the other quality tests. The new regime will assist suppliers to identify any TBC issues earlier and will benefit Carbery by reducing overall TBC levels.

The Society changed the way TBC penalties are applied in 2018. In the event of a TBC failure the fine is no longer across the months milk supply, instead the penalty is applied to the volume collected on that day only. Please see TBC bands and the penalty per litre outlined in the table below. Penalties will continue to apply to each collection until the standard is met. For more information please see the Drinagh Milk Quality Standard.

TBC band (‘000) Penalty (Cent per Litre) for milk collected on the day
0-50 Base Price
50-75 4
75-100 6
100-200 8
200 -300 10
>300 12

It is expected that the new machine will be fully operational by the end of April 2019.

Reseeding after Brassicas


The next step for land that was set with brassica crops last autumn is to get it back in to producing grass. However, ground where cattle were outwintered can often take longer to dry out in the spring/ Early summer. Once conditions are suitable – reseed at the earliest opportunity.

  1. Spraying (burning off) – if there is large number of weeds present then burning off will be required but much of the time spraying off isn’t required as there is very little vegetation in the field.
  2. Cultivation - the objective is to produce a fine, firm seedbed. If the field is well broken up after the crop, then very little cultivation may be required.
  3. Apply fertiliser N P K and lime as required.
  4. Select the most suitable seed mixture for the indented use i.e. silage or grazing. All Drinagh grass seed mixes are formulated using the best grass seeds available.
  5. Roll to consolidate the seedbed and ensure good seed to soil contact.
  6. Monitor closely for a pest attack
  7. Follow up with a post emergence spray approximately 5-6 weeks later – this spray will be essential to control seedling weeds.

Milk Recording

herd production profile
Some of the information available from milk recording

The most important piece of performance data that can be collected is cow milk yield and quality (fat, protein & SCC). Milk recording enables you to track the best and worst producing cows in your herd. This helps to decide which cows are underperforming and suitable for culling. It will also identify the most productive cows in your system that are suitable for breeding replacements.

Approx. 45% of the cows in the Drinagh area are milk recorded each year. The table below displays some of the key production differences between milk recording and non-milk recording herds in our area. Based on 2018 data the most standout statistic is that herds milk recording are on average producing 50kg milk solids per cow more than herds that are not recording. At €5 per kg of solids this can be worth an extra €250 per cow per year.

Regular milk recording will also track the SCC of each cow. Identifying and managing repeat offenders correctly will help reduce SCC and avoid high cows passing on infection low SCC cows.

Looking ahead, the use of selective dry cow therapy and reducing the use of milking and dry cow tubes on farm will make milk recording a critical management tool on every farm. Milk recording will be required to show which cows have had low SCC levels during lactation and do not need dry cow tubes, but it may equally as important to show which cows had a mastitis infection and need dry cow therapy to treat the infection.

Munster Cattle Breeding Group offer milk recording services and are contactable at 022 43228.

Milk Recording Avg Kgs
Milk Solids
Avg Herd
Herd EBI Avg SCC Avg Calving
Interval days
6 Week
Caving rate
Yes 412 89 €102 153 382 66
No 360 64 €92 192 393 60
Average 380 74 €96 177 389 63

Carbery Share Requirement

Suppliers that did not purchase the required Carbery shares or processing notes during the latest trading window in February 2019 will now be assigned processing notes. This is required for anyone who did not respond to meet their minimum share requirement for 2018 milk supply.

Carbery will request payment from the Society who in turn will charge the cost of the processing notes to the individual supplier’s accounts that did not respond. The individual accounts will be charged later in the year.

If you wish to spread the cost of the processing notes out over several months instead of having the full cost charged in one month please contact Seamus Daly, Tim Regan or Darren Lynch.


  • New TBC machine will test every collection
  • Consider starting milk recording in 2019