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'Profits are falling' warning as Dairy Show begins

Judging will be taking place at today's Dairy Show, the region's biggest farming event

There's a warning about the state of the dairy industry, as a major regional farming event gets underway at the Bath & West showground.

Research by Old Mill and the Farm Consultancy Group says profits have fallen in the past year.

On average each milk cow is now making £141 pounds in profit down from £383.

The research, by Andrew Vickery the head of rural services at Old Mill, reveals 'comparable farm profits fell from 5.9p/litre (£383/cow) to 2.69p/litre (£141/cow) in the year to 31 March 2019'.

He said: "This was mainly attributable to the very dry summer, which hampered milk production and required producers to buy in extra feed, pushing costs of production up from £2,186/cow to £2,411/cow."

"It has been a challenging year, and many farms are sitting around the break-even point, with a need to rebuild profitability next year.

"Producers should now have enough information to budget accurately for the coming six months, and must act quickly to put their businesses on a sound footing no matter what Brexit throws at them."

Today there'll be more than 300 stands at the annual one day dairy show which is the biggest farming event in the region.

This year’s seminar programme will be focussing on housing design and internal features, which can 'make or break animal welfare and productivity'. 

Speakers include Louise Clarke, ruminant manager at Alltech, who will explore how £1 in every £3 spent on farm is wasted - whether through feed losses from field to rumen, poor fertility, or poor housing design. 

Duncan Forbes, dairy research director at Kingshay, will be discussing how technology can enhance stockmanship and optimise cow welfare and productivity, with delegates invited to see the recently opened South West Dairy Development Centre adjacent to the showground.

Matt Sellers and Mike Bryan from the Galebreaker Group will be exploring the importance of providing natural ventilation and controlling humidity within livestock buildings.

Concluding the programme will be Mike Steele, director of technical services at Micron Bio-Systems, in a talk examining the factors influencing average age at first calving, and what this means for future milk value.

Head of shows Alan Lyons said: "As a forward-looking show, it’s only right that we recognise the brightest and best dairy vets for the future. 

"It's equally vital to celebrate the experienced movers and shakers who contribute so much to the industry. 

"This is a fast-paced sector and it’s more important than ever to network with leading farmers, manufacturers and consultants who can help to put your farm on the map."

For more about the show click here

Click play to hear Phil Cooper, from the Farm Consultancy Group, speaking to reporter Tom Owen at the showground

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