Culverden farms benchmarked

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The Lincoln University Dairy Farm’s (LUDF) latest season performance compares favourably to other high performing Canterbury farms.
Once again the farm’s management presented its 2015/2016 season results benchmarked against other ‘‘wellrespected and highly profitable’’ Canterbury dairy farms, during a series of winter focus days held throughout Canterbury, including Culverden, earlier this month.
The other farms included two from Culverden, Alan and Sharron Davie-Martin and Dry Creek farm.
LUDF produced the highest amount of milk per cow with 522kg of milk solids, used the least nitrogen at 179kg/ha and fed out the second lowest amount of imported feed at 0.4 tonnes/ha.
But the farm came fourth for production per hectare, with 1812kgMS/ ha.
The next highest per cow production was achieved by the two Culverden farms, the Davie-Martins and Dry Creek, which both scored 512kgMS/cow.
Canlac Holdings (Dunsandel) came out on top for production per hectare with 2082kgMS/ha, with the Davie-Martins third with 1891kgMS/ha.
LUDF milked 555 cows at peak on a 160ha milking platform, with the other seven benchmarking farms ranging from 507 to 2662 cows milked at peak and 140ha to 715ha milking platforms.
When it came to profitability per hectare LUDF came fifth of the eight farms with an operating profit of $1182 per hectare from a total farm income of $8098/ha.
Canlac Holdings came out on top with $2592/ha (from a total farm income $10,615/ha), with the Davie-Martins fourth on $1341/ha ($9192/ha).
LUDF’s production costs of $3.82/kgMS (or a break even of $3.47/kgMS when stock sales and other non-milk income was factored in) compared favourably, with only Acton Dairy (Rakaia) producing lower costs of $3.40kg/MS.
Canlac Holdings was just behind LUDF at $3.85/kgMS. The remaining farms all had costs in excess of $4kg/MS.
However, the focus day handout warned that it was ‘‘possible to overanalyse’’ the data.
‘‘Low farm working expenses don’t always equal low operating expenses (and vice versa), particularly if there are significant adjustments in feed inventory, livestock numbers from the start to the end of the year, or labour adjustments.
‘‘High profitability can occur with higher expenses, providing income is high, while low operating expenses can also contribute to high profitability.
‘‘The highest profit per hectare was achieved at Canlac Holdings, which had the highest income and second highest operating expenses per hectare, while the highest profit per kilogram of milk solids occurred at Acton which had the lowest operating expenses per kilogram of milk solids.’’
LUDF’s production costs of $3.82/kgMS gave it an operating profit of $0.65/kgMS, which placed it 6th of the eight farms.
Acton’s low production costs helped it achieve an operating profit of $1.47/kgMS, while Canlac Holdings achieved an operating profit of $1.24/kgMS