Earlier turnout in 2012 could pose an even greater challenge to dairy farmers if they are to maintain butterfat levels and avoid a serious dip in profits, according to specialist supplement manufacturer Ufac-UK.

Rain and mild weather has resulted in lots of lush grass but while grass is rich in rapidly fermentable sugars, it has insufficient functional fiber to maintain chewing and cudding to promote healthy rumen function and prevent butterfat depression, said Robert Jones, managing director of Ufac-UK. “Defra confirms that the situation is as serious as ever with milk fat expected to drop by up to 0.2 per cent below the annual average this spring,” said Jones. For a dairy farmer producing 1 million liters per annum on a compositional contract, this could mean £4,000–£5,000 loss in milk revenue, he said.