Is The Cost of Grazing Going Up?
By Ian Wickham Part 1 – October 2022
Let’s be clear right from the get go!
The answer is both YES and NO! It all depends on how you measure the cost.
If you want an historical cost based on my farming experience and expressed in that obsolete but still popular terminology of dollars per week for a dairy heifer May to May, it has gone from $3.00 per week to up to $20 per week over the past 40 years. That’s a factor of about seven times. During the same period, Milksolid payout has gone from $1 per kg MS to about $9 per kg MS. That’s a factor of nine times.
So YES the price per week has gone up, but the price RELATIVE to payout it has NOT.
As the owner of dairy heifers, the big difference is what you get for your money. 40 years ago $3.00 per week would get you what we now know to be severely undergrown heifers entering the herd that could not express their genetic potential to produce milksolid until they were near maturity – if they lasted in the herd that long because there was a high chance they could not become pregnant during their first lactation. Also during the grazing period you would be paying all the animal health and expecting about a 5% death rate.
For $20 per week you would now have the very best result money can buy with a very successful herd entry and your total cost recovered within the first lactation.
If you want to know more and pay less than $20 per week, go to www.grazing.nz and contact your nearest North Island Service Manager.