• Seasonality and Costs of Production on Irish dairy farms from 1994-2008

      Smyth, Paul; Harte, Laurence; Hennessy, Thia (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2010)
      Previous research has highlighted the economic advantages of spring calving in countries such as Ireland that have a long spring/summer grazing season. However, the widespread adoption of such a production system leads to a highly seasonal milk supply and a range of problems that are associated with seasonality. The objective of this paper is to use historical data to quantify the economic benefits of a spring calving system. Data from over 400 dairy farms in Ireland over a period of 15 years is examined. Fixed, random and between effects panel models are estimated to test the significance of calving season on production costs. The results show the effect of calving season is significant at lowering production costs. These models returned results suggesting that high compact early Spring herds have significantly lower costs than over seasons. However the fixed effect model demonstrates little difference between production costs in different seasons suggesting individual effects such as the ability of the farmer may play a role in reduction of costs. Herds that are calved over a shorter period tend to have lower production costs.