THE DANISH DILEMMA; DESPITE UNCERTAINTIES, DANISH DAIRIES INCREASE ORGANIC OUTPUT

January 2000

Dairy Today by Candace Krebs candacejk@aol.com

Five years ago Bjarne Krog, who owns a 175-acre farm west of Copenhagen, Denmark, made, according to this story, a production shift increasingly common all over Europe by going organic.

The story says that so far, margins are "a bit less" than what he earned during 16 years as a conventional farmer despite receiving premiums of 20% on his milk and 10% to 20% on his Holstein­Danish Red slaughter cattle.

The story adds that farming without fertilizer has decreased his grain yields by 30% to 35%, while his cows are producing 10% less milk.

Organically grown feed, which is scarce, costs more than double conventional prices. Housing, grazing and labor requirements also create demands.

Regardless, organic milk now accounts for 22% of Danish production and is expected to reach the one-third mark within four years. With limited opportunity to expand due to environmental regulations, many Danish dairy farmers, the story says, see it as a way to enhance prices instead.

But the countryıs large dairy co-op, MD Foods, which, the story says, handles an overwhelming share of Danish milk production, says it is now receiving more organic milk than it can market effectively. The co-opıs 20% organic price premiums arenıt guaranteed beyond the current year.

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