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Organic farmland area up, but feed shortages loom

The amount of land in organic farming production has increased for the first time in more than six years, government figures show. The statistics issued by Defra reveal the UK’s organic land area rose by almost 2% in 2017 to 517,400ha. That figure includes 32,600ha of land that is in conversion from conventional production. It is in this category where the overall area increase has been driven. Between 2016 and 2017 the conversion area increased by 29.4% or 7,400ha to […]

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How to feed dry cows to prevent negative protein balance

Feeding adequate metabolisable protein and amino acids at calving is essential in order to prevent negative protein balance – something that is just as common as negative energy balance. According to Jim Drackley, professor of animal science at the University of Illinois, and Mole Valley Feed Solutions’ head of nutrition, Chris Bartram, protein deficiency is an area that needs to be brought into sharp focus. Dr Bartram said: “For the past 25 years, we have talked about negative energy balance […]

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Expert advice on creep feeding calves

Keeping a tight grip on feed costs is a priority for every beef farmer, but creep feeding suckled calves can be a good return on investment. Maximising the calf’s efficiency at this early stage is becoming much more important with modern market requirements for younger, lighter carcasses. The feed conversion efficiency of calves pre-weaning is the highest it will be at any subsequent period – on average every 3.5-4kg of dry matter feed a calf consumes will result in 1kg […]

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4-step guide to pig feeding and rations

Feed accounts for about 60-70% of the cost of pigmeat production. It is, therefore, important to get the formulations and rations right at each stage of growth. Feeding diets that are appropriate to each stage of production can help capture gains in performance and efficiency, and this makes all the difference when net margins are tight. Pig nutritionist Phil Baynes gives his advice on selecting rations that match a pig’s nutrient needs and intakes, from the suckling and newly weaned […]

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Lely unveils robotic milker and enhanced feed pusher

Dairy machinery manufacturer Lely has unveiled its new Astronaut A5 milking robot and an enhanced Juno feed pusher. The Astronaut A5 milking robot now comes with an “arm” that follows a cow’s movements during milking and adjusts to remain close to the udder. Lely says this means faster milking, and tests carried out by the company across 30 farms and more than 2m milkings have revealed a 20% reduction in energy use. Other new features include better hygiene thanks to a […]

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US-China trade war could affect pork and feed

UK and EU pork exports could gain from the developing US-China trade war. However, oilseed prices fell on the news earlier this week as China announced the imposition of import taxes or tariffs of up to 25% on more than 100 US products in retaliation for similar US action on 1,333 Chinese products. The trade measures have alarmed many US farmers, with soya bean exports most vulnerable, alongside pork and many specialist products such as US-grown ginseng. China imported £28.6bn […]

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Compact feeding lifts milk yields by 1.6 litres a cow

A feeding system that prevents dairy cows sorting concentrates from forage in a total mixed ration (TMR) has been shown to increase average daily milk yield by 1.6 litres a cow during a Farming Connect trial. Compact feeding, which involves soaking concentrates in water and pre-mixing, was trialled in the dairy herd at Llysfasi College, a Farming Connect innovation site. The unit manages its herd of year-round-calving Holstein Friesians in two groups of 100 cows in line with its a2 […]

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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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