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Eight ways to lift dairy feed efficiency

October 18, 2019

A list of eight ways to improve feed efficiency on dairy units has been released following a series of on-farm trials. Alltech consultants piloted a free-of-charge farm efficiency consultancy programme on 50 commercial dairy farms.

Results from the farm trials found even farms in the top 25% for performance could save £216 a cow a year by cutting feed waste.

8 common factors that can prevent dairy feed efficiency

Ensure feed space of 65cm a cow

Look at ways to reduce sorting down the feed barrier

Offer cows enough lunging space against walls – the aim is 90cm

Make sure cows have water trough space of 10cm a cow. Farms with good water flow (20 litres/minute) and clean troughs could cope with 7cm a cow. Farms with 5cm a cow or less should increase water space

Optimise lighting. Lactating cows require 16 hours of 16LUX lighting, while dry cows need 16 hours of very low lighting.

Discuss mastitis and lameness issues with your vet. Mastitis is the biggest driver of health cost on farm and lameness is second.

Consult your nutritionist if undigested fibre and grain is found in the manure, as this reflects sub-optimal rumen function.

Monitor pregnancy rate and services per conception – are these optimal and hitting industry targets?

Read the full article here