UK – Despite the damaging summer of 2012, the dairy industry has a bright future, providing supply chain cooperation can coexist with passionate producers, according to RABDF Chairman Ian Macalpine in his opening address at Livestock 2013.
Overall, the message from the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) was clear - growth can only happen with generating opportunity for young people in the sector.
“I think and wholeheartedly believe that the industry should work together to grow,” stated Mr Macalpine. “This is because growth will only happen with producer enthusiasm and drive for efficiency. Growth will only happen with the supply chain working together.”
“It’s one thing having the ideas and the markets but if you haven’t got the farmers producing then the industry will not grow,” he told the conference.
However, the effects of market stress on average price per litre will be felt for a long time to come he stressed, underlining 3 pence per litre margin drops last year as cause for concern.
Such price shortfalls came to light at the RABDF NMR Gold Cup which gave Mr Macalpine the opportunity to look at costings of some of the best performing herds in the country.
“I judged the RABDF Gold Cup recently and looking through the costings of these top performing herds there was commonly a drop in margins of between 2.5 ppl to 3 ppl,” said Mr Macalpine.
This equates to £60,000 to £90,000 off the bottom line, he explained.
Mr Macalpine stressed that this figure relates to the period after the price cuts were rescinded after the action of the Dairy Coalition.
Above all, passion and enthusiasm are required to take the sector forward. RABDF is clear that this will encourage young and dynamic people to enter the industry and get involved with British dairying.
Around 60,000 people will be needed to maintain the sector over the coming decade, added RABDF Chief Executive, Nick Everington who is proud of the involvement of the RABDF in initiatives aiming to help aspiring dairy farmers start out.
“Each initiative will contribute towards reducing the shortage of new entrants,” stated Mr Everington.
“We are about 2 billion litres below quota at the moment. This represents some fantastic opportunity.”