Low Milk Price Case Study

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Here at Crecora Mills we are getting lots of questions on farms as to what dairy farmers options are at the moment.

Lets look at an average Case study of a Herd of 100 cows.

We will assume that calving will be starting in early January and running on into late March.

Option 1. Dry off all cows on November 1st

Option 2 Dry off all cows in December 1st

Option 3 Dry off the 60 cows on December 1st that will calve early and keep 40 late calving cows milking till Jan.

Option 1 Dry off all cows on November 1st.

Note: Zero dairy income after November.

“Sure there is no point milking on at this level is there?”

“I’ve never done it before because I was always over quota”.

The advantages:

  • A little less work although he will still have to feed silage, clean out sheds and all other farm work etc.
  • He is sick of being paid a low milk price all year and wants to throw his hat at it. All the neighbours are talking about drying off, doom and gloom prevail.

The disadvantages:

  • The Milk cheque stops coming in.
  • Reduced Cashflow.
  • Some cows facing into a 4 month dry period that will result in fat cows and difficult calving and Vet bills.
  • They will still have to be fed and looked after.

Option 2 Dry off all cows on December 1st.

” I need a break from Milking”

“Sure it wont pay me to keep milking now on small volumes.”

Assuming cows milking only 14 litres at high milk solids probably 30 cent per litre. 100 cows will milk €12,600 worth of milk. Assuming a feed level of high quality Crecora Mills feed at 5kg per cow for the month of November at €250 euro per ton( or less depending on what feed you select from Crecora Mills) means it will cost €3,750 in feed.

That’s a Minimum profit in 30 days of €8,850 over farmer who dried off in November. (He could well afford to get a relief milker in for November if he needed a break)

The advantages:

  •  The farmer gets a 2 month break from milking but all other farm work has to be done.
  • The cows that are due to calve early will be dried off in good body condition

The disadvantages:

  • Reduced cashflow as the milk cheque stops coming in after December.
  • Some cows will not be due to calve till March get a 4 month dry period
  • Fat later calving cows will be almost guaranteed to cause expensive problems at calving.
  • Cows still have to be fed silage and minerals.

Option 3 Dry off 60 Early calvers in December and keep late calving cows milking till January

“The milk cheque might be small but it is keeping the whole show going”

“Sure I have to be out working on the farm anyway I may as well milk along a few cows”


  • A little extra farm work, although he will still be feeding them silage. Cows have to be milked ( you could get a Farm relief milker)


  • Early calving cows get a decent dry period but not too long.
  • 40 Late calving cows will be on high solids and should leave at least €3500 profit after concentrate feed costs.
  • 40 late calving cows will go into calving with a shorter dry period and should be in better body condition.

These 40 cows should milk 13 litres at high milk solids (30 cent/litre) if they have been looked after all year. 40 cows in December will produce €4,836 worth of milk on 6.2 kgs of Crecora Mills feed at 5kgs feeding rate. That’s a maximum feed cost of €1550 (assuming €250 euro per ton depending on which of our feeds are used it may be considerably less) Profit from those 40 cows alone for December will be €3286 euro. The farmer could surely get a relief milker in for December to milk 40 cows if he/she needed a break from milking.

Interestingly the profit difference between the Farmer that dries off in November and the farmer that the 40 cows going till January is €12,136 for 2 months work. I know i would milk cows twice a day for that kind of money! The other often forgotten but arguably more important advantages are that the farmer can control and manage body condition better in the parlour. Less fat cows has a hugely positive effect on:

  • The ease of calving

  • Subsequent milk yield

  • Subsequent milk volume

  • Reproduction

  • Cow health

All massively crucial milestones in cow nutrition and health.

Remember to only “Mix with the Best” and use Crecora Mills Feed.

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