Precision feeding key to dairy margins this winter - UFAC UK

Precision feeding key to dairy margins this winter

Forage analysis, cow management and monitoring are key to making nutrition work

Variable forage quality and volatile feed and input prices are putting added pressure on dairy producers this winter, but providing the right amount of essential nutrients through precision feeding can help improve performance, efficiencies and margins.

“The adage ‘if you look after your animal, your animal will look after you’ has never been more relevant,” says Mike Chown, ruminant technical manager at UFAC-UK, “This is particularly true if we want to achieve the optimum yield from silage this winter.”

However, with forage and silage quality so variable this year, not just from farm to farm, but clamp to clamp, selecting the right forage for the right animals is key to optimise production. Forages should be analysed monthly throughout the winter, as the analysis will change as you move through the clamp.

“To maximise forage DMIs, we need to know what we are feeding, and balance rations with the correct nutrients, such as structural fibre, sugar, starch, rumen protein, by-pass protein and rumen inert fatty acids,” explains Mr Chown.

“We must ensure speed of break down in the rumen is matched, while at the same time, paying attention to acid loading and rumen pH. This will optimise rumen microbes to promote fibre digestion and intakes, most cost-effectively,” he adds.

Once microbial protein and VFAs (volatile fatty acids) from the rumen have been optimised, Mr Chown says adding ‘little bombs’ high in the specified nutrients, such as rumen inert/bypass proteins and fatty acids, will help meet the cow requirements. Forage rations are typically low in these.

“When doing this, it is important that every purchased feed is most cost-effective for the nutrient it is contributing to, for example, not just looking at crude protein, but also looking at the cost of rumen degradable and rumen undegradable protein such as amino acids,” continues Mr Chown.

Regular monitoring and analysis

Regular monitoring and analysis will enable you to balance forages and maximise efficiencies.

“However, we should remember that no computer model will be as accurate as the cow. The cows will tell us how they are performing,” says Mr Chown.

“They will be giving you the clues and pointers to make sure you interpret forage analysis properly. Using these signals will help to ensure we balance rations correctly with the appropriate amino acids and fatty acids,” he adds.

These adjustments and additions to dairy diets can have a big impact on performance, health and fertility, and therefore margins.

 

cows-eating

Top tips to get the most from forage this winter

  • Understand the quality of forage through regular analysis
  • Feed according to the stage of lactation
  • Provide the right environment at the right stage of lactation
  • Ensure optimal rumen performance
  • Monitor performance and revise the diet as required
  • Check the dung for effective fibre and starch digestion, also watch for dung consistency, are there signs of SARA or Mycotoxins?
  • Check cud score and rate

Related Stories

cows-eating

Precision feeding key to dairy margins this winter

Forage analysis, cow management and monitoring are key to making nutrition work.

By UFAC in Latest News

What is the ideal fat supplement for your dairy cow?

Find out how different fat supplements affect dairy cows and the primary differences between rumen-inert, rumen-active and rumen-protected fats.

By UFAC in Latest News

New palm-free fat supplement increases milk yields and helps lower carbon footprint

Launch of envirolac has the potential to transform dairy sector performance and enhance sustainability credentials

By UFAC in Latest News

Row of cows eating food

UK Heatwave: Protecting dairy herds from heat stress

As the dry weather period continues across the UK, it’s not only heat stress that our industry needs to contend with. According to the latest report by GrassWatch, grass growth rates are falling and are well below the last 6-year average.

By UFAC in Latest News

News

Stay up to date with our latest news & product updates
cows-eating

Precision feeding key to dairy margins this winter

By UFAC in Latest News



What is the ideal fat supplement for your dairy cow?

By UFAC in Latest News



New palm-free fat supplement increases milk yields and helps lower carbon footprint

By UFAC in Latest News

Row of cows eating food

UK Heatwave: Protecting dairy herds from heat stress

By UFAC in Latest News

Five dairy cows grazing in a field on a sunny day

Precision feeding can help extend grazing period

By UFAC in Latest News

Seven brown cows feeding on grass in a field

Palm-free fat supplementation research results revealed at DairyTech 2022

By UFAC in Latest News

Head and shoulers shot of man smiling, Robert Jones, UFAC.

UFAC-UK announces CIEL supported ruminant research partnership project with University of Nottingham

By UFAC in Latest News

Head and shoulers shot of man smiling, Nigel Bateson, UFAC.

UFAC-UK joins forces with the industry to help promote sustainability of dairy farming

By UFAC in Latest News

Large male orange cow. Standing in front of Harrison and Hetherington backdrop.

Key component of bull ration helps achieve top price

By UFAC in Latest News

Two cows beside UFAC dynalac product.

Palm-free alternative for optimum dairy performance

By UFAC in Latest News