Dairy cow feed production reaches record high

Published 26 February 19

Production of feeds for dairy cows in 2018 reached the highest level on record, according to the latest data released by AHDB. Total production of blends and compounds for dairy cows in 2018 reached 2.98 million tonnes, up 3% (78,600 tonnes) compared to 2017 levels.

Production of feed for dairy cows

This is not unsurprising given the extreme weather experienced during the year, and the resultant increase in demand for purchased feed from dairy farmers.

The increased usage of purchased concentrate feeds is evident in the Promar Milkminder results, as concentrate use per cow has been elevated throughout the season so far. It is likely that increased use of concentrate feeds has pushed milk yields to record high levels.

Whole and flaked maize usage in animal feeds* was significantly higher throughout the year, with overall usage up by nearly 50% compared to the previous year. A key reason for this rise is the price competitiveness of imported maize relative to domestic wheat and barley prices in recent months.

Year-on-year change in usage of raw materials

Meanwhile, usage of wheat in animal feeds also increased in 2018, to 3.73 million tonnes, 6% more than in 2017. Conversely, usage of barley has fallen by 7% to 1.04 million tonnes. A global tightness in supplies supported domestic barley prices, and as a result, the discount to wheat in the UK was minimal, which may have contributed to the reduced inclusion rate.

UK ex-farm grain and imported maize prices

*Excluding integrated poultry units