Find out how much your cows really cost

DairyCo 'What If?' is a computer programme that enables dairy farmers to test different scenarios for their business and see the relationship between production systems and costs, and the outcome of these in terms of profit.

"Farmers make hypothetical changes and assess the impact of these on their business," explains Kate Cross, DairyCo product manager. "Once farmers have seen an effective strategy and confirmed it is appropriate they can start to put it into practice in reality with far more confidence and effectiveness.

"It's a valuable course, and the combination of excellent consultant support during the sessions and clear business direction make the whole experience very worthwhile."

Dairy farmer Malcolm Tucker agrees: "'What If?' taught me that nitrogen is cheaper than concentrate and that there was a place for grazed grass within my set up.  We now use a paddock type system, top dress a lot more and make sure we have the right quantity and quality of grass to feed the cows.

 "I'd say that after a summer of trying it out the cows are milking better on this paddock based system. We are getting better milk yields and consistently higher milk quality results. 

"The course was also an opportunity to look at what other producers are doing and pick their brains for ideas. It taught me about the core cost of the cow and to look closely at the true cost of producing a litre of milk, the kind of information that can help you make real business decisions.

"I'd definitely recommend going on a 'What If?' course if you have an opportunity to go. It's good to get a break from the day to day grind that dairy farming can become and it's a chance look at things completely differently."

The 'What If?' workshop takes place over three days. To find out more contact Kate Cross on 02476 478686 or email kate.cross@dairyco.org.uk.

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