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Farmer Focus: Multicuts and compact feeding working

I went to Dairy Tech last week. It was refreshing to see the event had been given a lot of thought and there was plenty of interesting items on the agenda. One talk I was interested in was the Welsh government-funded project at Gelli Aur College. They have been investigating the ability to separate slurry into a solid product, leaving water clean enough to be introduced to the watercourse.  Although this is some way off, it has to be considered […]

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Robotic feeder slashes labour costs

A new type of robotic feed pusher – the Joz Moov – has been launched into the UK to help farmers cut labour costs and keep their cows happy. Developed by Dutch manufacturer Joz, the feeder’s path is outlined by tiny transponders – similar in size to a rawl plug – which are installed below the surface so they aren’t visible and can’t be damaged by machinery. These transponders guide the rotating Moov along the feed line to push rations […]

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Follow the ‘five Cs’ for success with automatic calf...

No matter what style or brand of calf feeder you have there is a simple five-step protocol for maximising its use.  Remembering the “five Cs” of automated feeders can help farms tap into the benefits of automatic feeding and reduce the chance of disease transmission, say researchers at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC). Considerable labour savings (up to 10 minutes a calf a day) and a move towards group calf housing has helped the adoption of automated calf feeders in recent […]

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Feed wheat market stays lethargic after festive period

UK feed wheat prices remained largely unchanged in the week to 10 January, with the average just 20p/t up week-on-week to £136.40/t ex-farm for spot movement. The market remained stagnant after the holiday period, said traders. See also: All the latest market prices and trends In global markets, prolonged freezing conditions in the US during the Christmas period have led to increased concerns of winter kill in the winter wheat crop. Though snow cover often protects much of the crop, […]

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Feed wheat prices stagnant at £135.80/t

UK feed wheat prices remained stable in the week to 20 December. At an average of £135.80/t ex-farm for spot movement they were just 10p/t up on the previous week. Very few areas reported movement in the run up to Christmas, and globally, wheat markets appeared to be similarly stagnant, said traders. Global estimates for wheat production in 2017-18 have been revised up to a record 775.2m tonnes, according to the December US Department of Agriculture world supply and demand […]

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Global vitamin shortage sparks feed supply fears

Livestock farmers should prepare for higher feed prices amid a global shortage of vitamin A and E due to manufacturing complications overseas, industry experts warn. Early indications suggest a small price lift on finished feed, with one source expecting a £2-£4/t increase, Farmers Weekly has learned. A European Feed Manufacturers’ Federation warning stated some feed mills will have to drop inclusion rates as stocks dry up until March or April 2018. See also: What to do if feed is running […]

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Ayrshire farmer suffers sky-rocketing feed prices

Winter feed costs have more than doubled on one Ayrshire farm which found itself at the epicentre of the summer deluge this year. The rain hit Low Holehouse Farm, Galston, Ayrshire, just as dairy, beef and sheep producer Willie Campbell prepared to make first-cut silage. “It rained as we were getting ready for first cut and it kept on raining throughout June,” Mr Campbell said. See also: What to do if feed is running low on your farm A brief […]

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Farmers face forage shortages and soaring feed costs

Farmers in south-west Scotland are desperately short of forage and face soaring feed costs after silage making in the summer was hit by torrential rain. Met Office figures show the bad weather first struck in late May just as many farms north of the border were planning to make first-cut silage. June had the highest rainfall on record and the rest of the summer was dogged by sharp downpours which topped up already saturated fields.  Other areas such as north […]

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What to do if feed is running low on your farm

Many farmers across the UK are desperately short of forage after silage making in the summer was hit by torrential rain. This forced early housing of animals and prevented farmers from making adequate supplies of silage. Below, Kite consultant David Keiley gives advice to farmers running low on forage.  We have also compiled a list of numbers of organisations that can help and spoke to Forage Aid to find out why they are not helping at this stage.  See also: […]

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BvL expands self-propelled feeder range

German company BvL has beefed up its range of self-propelled diet feeders with a large-capacity model to rival the likes of Keenan and Strautmann, which both launched new products earlier this year. The company already has a smaller model – Vmix Drive Maxxis Plus –  in its ranks that has only one mixing auger. However the new model – Vmix Drive Maxxis Plus 2S – has two augers with bigger mixer loads of 17-21cu m able to feed between 100-155 […]

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Farmer Focus: Late silage feeding surprisingly well

Last time you heard from us, we mentioned our fourth-cut silage. Considering it was made in such bad conditions, it is surprising how well it is feeding. We have finally had the hedges cut at the farm, so the place is looking a lot tidier. However, afterwards we found 13 thorns in the bike tyre, meaning we had to get a new one – tyre, not bike. We have also perfected our reversing skills recently, while we have been laying […]

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Selecting for feed efficiency could raise beef profits 39%

Including feed efficiency in the genetic selection indices of beef cattle has the potential to increase farm-level profit by 39% and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 22%. Preliminary results from an AHDB and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) project, measuring the feed intake records from 1,200 cattle, has found daily feed intake can vary considerably between the progeny of different sires growing at the same rate. See also: Beef breed launches first ever feed efficiency breeding value Although the programme has […]

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High-protein calf feed cuts finishing times by one month

Embracing the North American strategy of feeding a high-protein pellet to calves has been part of a ration rethink that has knocked one month off finishing times for rose veal calves at Warren Hill Farm, Dorset. With the support of Mole Valley Farmers nutritionists, Chris Bartram and David Balls, last year the Cox family asked to trial a new approach to protein feeding by comparing performance on a 24% pellet, versus their usual 17% protein pellet fed in the first […]

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Export push for southern feed barley

Feed barley prices remained relatively unchanged in the week to 8 November, gaining just 90p/t on the previous week to average £122.50/t ex-farm for spot delivery. At that level they were £7.70/t above prices in the same week last year. While domestic trade was steady, a big discount on values in the North meant all focus was now on exports from ports further south, said traders. See also: Virtual Farm – better results from harvest 2017 but 2018 budget shows […]

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Precision feeding could cut feed costs by 20%

Feeding pigs individually tailored diets through automated feeding systems has been shown to reduce both feed cost and emissions by 10-20%, a conference heard on Thursday (2 November). However, much developmental work is required before strategies are adopted in the wider industry, the Society of Feed Technologists annual pig conference was told. Jean-Yves Dourmad of INRA (French National Institute for Agricultural Research) told the conference that precision feeding could cut production costs and nitrogen and phosphorous excretion. See also: How […]

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Feed supplement that cuts livestock methane emissions launched

A feed supplement, made from fruit and vegetables, that can reduce the greenhouse emissions of livestock has been launched. UK researchers, together with European universities, funded by Swiss company Zaluvida, have developed Mootral, which can instantly reduce methane emissions from ruminants by at least 30%. “What is unique with Mootral is we have taken the original concept of plant extracts and moved it forward and that the effects are repeatable and reliable and highly potent,” says Jamie Newbold, professor of […]

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Dorset farmer opts for old-school auto-feeding silage tower

It’s not unusual to see ranks of tower silos standing across the rural North American skyline, but the sight of one in Dorset is far more rare. Tower silos started in the USA and came across to the UK in the early 1960s, offering farmers the chance to automate feeding while taking up far less space than a conventional clamp. Many are still in use across the USA today and, although they enjoy an enduring legacy across the pond, dairy […]

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Feed wheat prices rise £4/t in a week

UK feed wheat prices found strength in the week to 4 October, gaining £4.40/t on the previous week to average £137.70 ex-farm for spot delivery and £16.60/t higher than the same week last year. Wheat values were supported by a weaker sterling against the euro, as well as the lack of liquidity in the market and not many farmers selling, said traders. UK imports of wheat across the 2016-17 season (July to June) were almost 390,000t greater at 1.83m tonnes […]

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Organic pig and poultry farms need feed derogation extension

Farm leaders are warning the organic pig and poultry sector will face severe consequences unless the EU extends two derogations due to end on 31 December. Under current arrangements, farmers are allowed to feed their pigs and poultry up to 5% non-organic protein because of tight supplies globally. If organically reared pullets are not available, poultry producers are also allowed to buy in non-organic pullets up to 18 weeks old, provided they have been managed under the organic feed and […]

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Barley used in animal feed at all-time high

The amount of barley used in compound and integrated poultry unit (IPU) animal feed production hit an all-time high in July this year. According to the latest Great Britain animal feed statistics, released by Defra on 7 September, 95,000 tonnes of barley were used to produce compound and IPU feed. AHDB analyst James Brewster said that was an increase of more than 33,000t on the same month in 2016. The figure represents a 54% rise year on year, Mr Brewster […]

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Feed wheat prices gain as farmers hold back from selling

UK feed wheat prices found strength in the week to 6 September, gaining £2.30/t on the previous week to average £132.20/t ex-farm for spot movement. This is £18.70/t higher than the same week last year. This increase was driven by a combination of the slow harvest and a lack of farmer selling, said traders. Meanwhile, milling wheat values also found support, averaging £147.60/t – up £3.20 on the week – with prices varying between £151/t and £142/t ex farm, depending […]

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UK feed wheat prices dip slightly

The UK feed wheat market fell slightly in the week to 30 August, losing £1.10/t to average £129.90/t ex-farm for spot movement. The dip, which enabled the UK to remain export competitive, followed losses in the French market caused by the strengthening of the euro to more than US$1.20 on Tuesday (29 August), said grain traders. See also: EFA rules – changes and options explained Group 1 milling premiums remained fairly stable on average, at £14.50/t over feed, down just […]

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Growing clover helps sheep farmer cut feed costs

Feeding clover to ewes pre-lambing has resulted in savings of £1.68 a head in bought-in feed as well as improving soil fertility while reducing the need for chemical inputs. Pearce Hughes planted a 6-acre trial plot of balansa – an annual clover native to north-eastern Mediterranean regions – to establish how it performed in UK conditions. Mr Hughes is an Innovis multiplier and runs a flock of 1,250 Lleyn, Aberfield, Abermax and Abervale ewes at Llyn Rhys near Wrexham, a […]

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How a beef finisher keeps winter feed costs at 48p/day

A Scottish beef-finishing operation has used forage-only finishing and in situ fodder grazing to freeze costs and build a resilient business. First-generation farmer Michael Shannon has held summer and winter costs at 29p a head a day and 48p a head a day respectively for almost a decade on his store cattle enterprise. Controlling variable and fixed costs has been essential since Mr Shannon started farming full time at Thankerton Camp Farm, Biggar, in 2007 after moving over from Northern […]

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Keenan launches self-propelled feeder

For dairy farmers in the market for a self-propelled diet feeder the options are rapidly increasing this year, with a second manufacturer launching a new, high-capacity machine. Following close on the heels of Strautmann, Keenan is the latest to join the party. The Altech-owned firm has teamed up with Italian manufacturer Storti, which builds the chassis, running gear and loading arm for the new machine, so all that’s left for the Irish manufacturer to do is bolt its Mechfibre mixing […]

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