5 June 1998

Rational balance

BALANCING dairy cow rations more carefully for energy and protein content can increase milk output and decrease ration costs, while reducing the nitrogen level of manure.

Alice Pell says that dietary crude protein can be reduced from 19% to 17%, by improving ration balancing, and so reducing the nitrogen produced in cow manure and pollution risks.

This was proved to be worth an estimated £150 in feed costs and increased output in one 300-cow unit, averaging 11,000 litres, where the feeding model was tested. The only additional costs involved were for a more in depth forage analysis.