Driving feed efficiency to cut costs? It’s not just feeding that matters

First published:

Length: 100 words; <1 minutes

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Poor feed efficiency is costing many milk producers 1.5-2.5ppl, yet recouping that loss requires both attention to detail and a focus that goes beyond feeding.

More efficiently utilising feed to support milk output and fertility can have a huge impact on margins. Correct feeding is important, but it’s other factors that often prevent cows reaching their full potential.

The most efficient cows are healthy, comfortable and relaxed. Minimise stressors that alter feeding behaviour and critically review working routines, the cows’ environment, farm layout, forage production and water access. Improve dry cow management and minimise the impact of heat stress.

“…it’s other factors that often prevent cows reaching their full potential.”

Key facts & figures:

  • 5% gain in feed efficiency could be worth £1,200-1,600/month across 200 cows1

  • Dry cow management critical in setting baseline for lactation performance

  • Poor cow comfort, health, feeding and water access all reduce feed efficiency

  • Cow comfort accounted for 56% of yield variation in a study across 47 herds

  • Correct use of rumen-bypass feeds (Goldenflake, SoyPass) will aid efficiency

  • KW SodaWheat and Vistacell can help reduce the impact of heat stress

1 Based on a 200 cow milking herd averaging 33 litres/day.

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