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Lifetime Dairy




Mole Valley Farmers' Lifetime Dairy initiative is aimed at helping dairy producers to identify farm bottlenecks and increase the profitability of their herds.


Lifetime Dairy is a consultation-style service, which looks at the four main stages of the cow’s life; The calf, the heifer, the transition cow and the lactating animal. 


By asking specific questions about management at each of the four main stages, the Mole Valley Farmers team can offer advice on where gains in efficiencies can be made on an individual farm. This is supported by a range of innovative products and services designed to increase the productive life of the cow and farm profit margins.


Tom Hough, Head of Nutrition and Technical Services for Mole Valley Farmers says: 

We ask questions about key business drivers such as; could you reduce age at first calving? is calving interval under control? is the dry period well managed? could culling rate be reduced? and when do your cows break even? Only 23% of farmers achieve profit during the first lactation* so there’s huge scope for improvement."


Utilising a range of tools, including the ‘Lifetime margin calculator,’ farmers are able to clearly see the financial benefits from making specific management tweaks, with their performance benchmarked against the national average.


For example, reducing age at first calving to 24 months from the current national average of 27.6 month (NMR, August 2017), would bring a £312.83 per animal saving*.


By tweaking performance at every stage of the cow’s life, farmers will be rewarded with healthy, long-lived cows. According to results from a farmer survey run by Mole Valley Farmers in 2017, cow longevity - together with milk price and feed costs - is one of the main concerns facing UK dairy farmers.


With this in mind, Tom says all farmers could benefit from getting a fresh pair of eyes to look in detail at business performance and identify areas that will ultimately increase the productive life of the cow.


He explains:

2017 NMR figures show that the average UK dairy cow achieves 3.6 lactations, so there’s room for improvement on many farms. The ‘Lifetime margin calculator’ shows that adding an extra lactation to the UK average would bring an improvement of 32.1% in margin over purchased feed over the lifetime of the cow. In monetary terms, that’s about £1,361, whilst replacement rate could be reduced by 5%. “With milk price volatility set to continue, maximising farm efficiencies, together with cow health and welfare, is paramount, so anything that can be done to increase the productive life of the herd will bring huge benefits.”


Alternatively call Tel:  01769 576287 or email: [email protected] or go online to:

*AHDB & RVC, Economics of heifer rearing in Britain, Dr Alana Boulton (2013)



Source Details

Aly Balsom

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