Ten steps to more efficient rations that lower feed costs

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Length: 110 words; <1 minutes

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Poorly designed and presented rations can lose milk producers as much as 1.5-2.5ppl, yet with greater attention to ration detail much of that can be regained.

Any reduction in ration digestion and utilisation efficiency will cut milk yield, milk quality and fertility. Forage quality should therefore be as high as possible, with ration dry matter and energy density adjusted to achieve the energy intakes needed for efficient production.

Correcting the balance of energy and protein release in the rumen, plus fine-tuning starch, sugar and fibre levels, can help reduce feed costs per litre, as can improvements to drinking water access, mineral / vitamin supplementation and ration structure.

“Poorly designed and presented rations can lose…as much as 1.5-2.5ppl…”

Key facts & figures:

  • Losing 2.5ppl will cost a 200-cow herd £15,000 in first 100 days of lactation

  • Typical feed costs on most dairy units range between 12-15ppl

  • The most efficient Holstein Friesian herds have total feed costs under 10ppl

  • Include Traffordgold or Molale to help ensure intakes of 22-25kg DM/day

  • Consider rumen-friendly starch sources like Soda Wheat and maize meal

  • Correct use of ProtoTec rumen-bypass protein can cut protein costs per litre

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