UFAC-UK has reported that variable forage quality and volatile feed and input prices are putting added pressure on dairy producers this winter.
The company said, however, that 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.
Mr Chown continued: “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.
“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.”
Mr Chown added that regular monitoring and analysis will enable famers to balance forages and maximise efficiencies.