The drop of rain we’ve had so far has only served to green up grass and unfold curled maize leaves, and maybe given a window to desperately sow a little N in the hope, in part, of making up some lost ground.
But however strong your beliefs in Nature’s restorative powers, the bald truth is we have lost seven precious weeks of prime growing time and that can never be made up. However warm the ground stays, the days are increasingly getting shorter and growth inevitably declines.
Despite all this, milk production is only just starting to tail off, principally because producers have been feeding winter supplies which will inevitably catch up with them later at the turn of the year.
Some will have been off-setting this loss of grass production with the purchase of extra silage, but those bills too will have to be reconciled somewhere along the line.
Even NFU Dairy Board chairman Michael Oakes reports he has just spent £40,000 on buying additional feedstuffs, mostly standing wholecrop, off his neighbour, to make up his shortfall. And he says more will be needed before the year end.
Most will have been driven to grazing second and probably third cut as well, and some have been forced into reducing stock numbers by culling the also-rans, so they have less mouths to overwinter.
But whatever the producer reaction, prices remain fairly steady as buyers see no immediate need to panic as supplies keep on coming but, sooner or later, forage stocks will have to be rationed.
Ultimately, more concentrates will have to be fed for those tied to committed supply, and the figure being put on this extra cost of production is 3-4ppl.
Which may be alright for COP producers, but for others the big question must be will processors even care about your cost of production if milk keeps rolling in?