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Pioneering service to help farmers cut waste and drive profit margins

November 13, 2019

Dairy farmers across the UK can now benefit from Alltech Navigate, a pioneering advice service that aims to increase profit margins by a minimum of 1.2 pence per litre through reducing feed waste and optimising input utilisation.

Presenting at UK Dairy Day, Ian Leach, Alltech retain programmes lead, explained that results from the latest Alltech feed waste reduction and utilisation on-farm pilot study, which looked specifically at higher-efficiency UK dairy herds, highlighted that feed waste could be costing as much as £216.00 per cow, per year.

"However, the reality is that this figure could be much higher depending on the system in place. For example, results from our first pilot study2, which assessed a broad spectrum of dairy farms, revealed that the average waste value per cow sat at £522.44 per annum," he said.

"Based on a 200-cow herd, this could lead to financial losses of up to £105,000 over 12 months. Tackling feed waste therefore offers a huge opportunity to boost the bottom line and while it is a challenging area, there are practical steps that can be taken."

Alltech Navigate aims to support the dairy industry on the journey to higher business resilience.

"The advice service, which is free to access, involves a simple three-step process: assess, analyse, action. A two-hour on-farm assessment looks at detail into the four key areas where feed waste can occur, including; in the field, during storage, at feed-out and inside the cow," explained Ian.

"Data collected during the assessment is then analysed using the programming tool in order to produce percentage losses, and monetary values, to illustrate the financial pinch-points," he added.

"Finally, a concise report, containing actionable recommendations, is generated to help farmers make well-informed strategic decisions on what steps, and potential investment, is required to help reduce feed waste and optimise input utilisation."

Andrew Henderson from Independent Feeds, who has experienced the impact of Alltech Navigate first-hand, believes the advice service is fundamental to the future of the UK dairy sector. 

"Feed is the single biggest variable cost on farm," he said. "It's therefore key that farmers are taking steps throughout the entire feed process to manage factors that can be controlled, such as forage quality, cow health and fertility, and feed conversion efficiency (FCE).