A case study of longitudinal trends in biophysical and financial performance of spring-calving pasture-based dairy farms
Ramsbottom, George | Horan, Brendan | Pierce, Karina M. | Berry, Donagh P. | Roche, John R.
The objectives of the present study were to characterize the trends in production and profitability temporally, when ranked by the proportion of feed purchased, and when ranked by average operating profitability (i.e., net profit/ha). A dataset of 315 Irish pasture-based dairy farms with complete records for 8 consecutive years was used in this analysis. The farms were characterized by expansion and intensification during the 8-year study period, as evidenced by the annual increase in milk fat and protein yield per cow (+15%; P o 0.001); mean annual pasture DM consumed/ha also increased linearly (+19%; P o 0.05); production costs increased linearly (Po0.01) while net profit was highly variable between years. When ranked by proportion of feed purchased, production costs increased (Po0.001) with greater reliance on bought in feed. When ranked by quartiles (highest to lowest) for 8-year average net farm profit/ha, the highest profit quartile contained, on average, smaller farms with greater technical efficiency, measured by greater milk yield per cow and grass utilisation, that when affected simultaneously by a combination of milk price reduction and adverse weather experienced a greater reduction but highest nadir and fastest recovery in farm profitability.Show more [+] Less [-]