Member update: Dry weather conditions

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The dry weather we have been experiencing is increasingly taking its toll across the country.

Whilst the warm weather is welcome for many consumers, the continued dry spell brings its problems for dairy farmers across the country. Already reeling from a late spring which impacted milk yields (due to cows being housed for longer and going to grass late in the season), now crop yields are down, establishment of crops is difficult and yields are flagging as cows suffer heat stress.

We’re also concerned by the long term impact of this dry spell on the availability, cost and quality of feed and fodder this autumn.

Whilst this heat continues, farmers are advised to ensure that dairy cows have access to sufficient, clean water suppliers.

We are urging milk buyers to be mindful of the impact a sustained period of dry weather will have on their suppliers and work collaboratively with them to manage yield and quality challenges as they arise.

NFU dairy board chairman Michael Oakes said:

“Following an incredibly wet start to the spring, we have now gone from one extreme to another with one of the driest July's on record. I am now feeding full winter rations to my cows and am extremely concerned about the availability of fodder if we don’t get rainfall soon and the impact this will have on already depleted stocks for winter 2019."

"We are speaking to milk buyers, urging them to be mindful of the impact the weather we are experiencing is having on their supply base and the need to work with producers to manage yield and quality challenges as they emerge."

Key Resources:

  • Visit the NFU’s dry weather toolbox for the latest updates, advice and key resource links
  • Supply Contracts: this briefing outlines the use of force majeure clauses in commercial contracts in light of the recent dry weather
  • Freezing Point Depression (FDP): Following concerns over decreases in the FDP of milk and potential contractual penalties, AHDB have produced a report outlining top tips for tackling FPD at critical levels
  • Heat Stress: Find out how to handle heat stress in cattle here
  • NFU Fodder Bank In response to the dry weather this June, the NFU has reopened its Fodder Bank to help members’ source forage and straw. The Fodder Bank is a free service for NFU members. If you have or need animal feed or bedding, visit the page to view and post listings
  • Scenario Planning: Kite consulting have produced a technical update on the implications of the drought on milk supply setting out 3 different scenarios
  • The potential cost of drought” how dairy farmers overcame the effects of drought in ‘95

The NFU would like to hear from members who have been impacted by the dry weather. Please get in touch by emailing dairy adviser Verity Richards.

Last edited on: 27:07:2018

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