12 January 1996

Designer diets soon…

WITHIN five years, with the advent of more precise rationing know-how, dairy producers will be able to design improved diets.

Plans to develop a more accurate prediction model for calculating ruminant diets were unveiled at the University of Nottingham Feed Manufacturers Conference by the Scottish Agricultural Colleges Dr Cled Thomas (more reports page 39).

He claimed the metabolisable protein and energy systems currently in use for feeding ruminants are six to 10 years out of date.

The proposal to develop ruminant feeding, including a rapid cheap method of feed evaluation has been drawn up by ADAS, SAC and the Department of Agriculture for Northern Ireland.

Dr Bruce Cottril of ADAS Wolverhampton said it has the support of MAFF and the Milk Development Council, but industry backing is needed from those who will benefit from the research, such as feed compounders.

The research will consolidate current rationing work and develop this further to give producers a computer programme that predicts rations more accurately.