Optimising milk from forage in order to increase margins requires precision feeding

Latest Trouw Nutrition silage watch indicators suggest dairy farmers have an ideal opportunity to increase milk margins

Latest Trouw Nutrition silage watch indicators suggest dairy farmers have an ideal opportunity to increase milk margins by applying precision feeding, according to nutritional supplement manufacturer UFAC-UK.

According to Trouw, although this season’s early maize silage has analysed well, in general there is reduced digestibility, affecting the energy available to the cow. With considerable variation in samples analysed also, it is critical to balance each diet individually.

“With plenty of forage on most farms this year of variable quality, it provides an ideal opportunity to increase margins by ensuring optimal DMI of available forages, hence increased milk from forage,” explains UFAC-UK ruminant technical manager, Mike Chown. “To do this we must balance the forage correctly, remembering ‘feed the rumen, the rumen feeds the cow’.”

Line of feeding Holstein Friesian cows in a feeding shed.

Mr Chown explains that to maximise forage DMI, the first step should be to regularly analyse all forages being fed and balance them with correct nutrients, including sugar, starch, fibre and protein.

“We need to ensure they are matched in speed of break down, and we need to pay attention to acid loading and rumen pH. This will optimise rumen microbes, to promote fibre digestion and intakes, most cost effectively,” he says.

It is also important that every ingredient is contributing, and not just a filler such as Wheatfeed, Malt Residuals, Soya Hulls and Palm Kernel, which can restrict forage utilisation and DMI.

Mr Chown adds, “Once we have achieved microbial protein and VFA (volatile fatty acids) from the rumen to meet the cow requirements, we should add ‘little bombs’ that are high in specific nutrients, such as rumen inert/bypass proteins and fatty acids, since high forage rations are typically low in these.

“For example, rumen inert dynalac, fed at 500gms/head, provides enough energy for 2.5 litres of milk, whilst providing the cow with essential omega 3 fatty acids to keep her healthy and fertile,” advises Mr Chown.

dynalac is a palm-free fat supplement, with a unique combination of fatty acids, including essential omega 3 fatty acids, that provide the same and additional benefits as alternative palm-oil based supplements such as calcium soaps.

With growing pressure on dairy producers, from processors and retailers, to remove or reduce palm-oil and its derivatives in feeds, dynalac therefore represents a high performance, fatty acid supplement that also aids sustainable milk production.

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