Focus on feed cost per litre not cost per tonne or risk further loss

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Making the wrong move when cutting feed costs in reaction to lower milk prices could knock a further £35,000 or more off the income from a 200 cow herd, warns KW nutritionist Dr Anna Sutcliffe.

“Feed costs are going to be a target on most dairy units this spring,” she states. “But get it wrong and any gains will be quickly overtaken by losses in cow performance, health and fertility.”

“Failing to retain the balance of the ration at turnout can lose another 0.2ppl…”

Missing peak yield by 4 litres due to compromised nutrition can cut 800 litres off total lactation yield, for example, and lose a 200 cow herd with a 415 day calving index £35,000/year, even at 25ppl. Failing to retain the balance of the ration at turnout can lose another 0.2ppl for every 0.1% fall in butterfats, depending on contract details, worth £333/month for the average 2 million litre producer.

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Moist feeds like Traffordgold offer better value for money than their dry equivalents.

“The long-term impact on fertility from cows losing body condition is also well known, as is the high cost of mastitis if stressed cows succumb to more infections,” Dr Sutcliffe adds.

“Focus instead on switching to feeds that lower the cost per litre by delivering nutrients more cost-effectively, and formulating rations to optimise feed efficiency and maximise the milk produced from every kg fed. Both will increase margin over purchased feed without putting income at risk.”

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