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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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6 ways to reduce maize losses from harvest to feeding

Maize looks set to be early this year as a result of favourable weather conditions.   Grainseed technical director Neil Groom and University of Nottingham Professor Mike Wilkinson consider the six key areas where maize losses occur happen from harvest to ensiling and feeding and give farmers tips on how to reduce them. 1. Target the right dry matter at harvest To get the best silage quality, harvesting the maize crop at the right dry matter (DM) is essential. The […]

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Maize silage ready to feed in two weeks with new inoculant

A new inoculant ensures maize silage is ready to feed just two weeks after ensiling, it is claimed. Typically, maize silage takes six to eight weeks to mature in the clamp, but Realistic Agri, which has released Bonsilage Speed M, says that silage will be safe to feed after two weeks when using the new inoculant. The product contains a bacteria strain called Lactobacillus diolivorans, which is reported to reduce maturing time in the clamp. See also: How to select […]

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Feed wheat price slips as milling price rises

UK feed wheat prices dipped in the week to 2 August, losing £1.80/t on the previous week to average £134.30/t ex-farm spot. In contrast, the price for full-spec breadmaking wheat rose by £1.40/t to average £146.10/t, as widespread rain increased concerns over potentially deteriorating quality, said traders. Global wheat output forecasts slipped slightly during July, pulled down by poor weather and lower yields. The International Grains Council (IGC) cut its global 2017-18 wheat output estimate by 3m tonnes to 735m […]

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Huge feed barley shipment bound for Spain

It will take more than 900 truckloads of feed barley to fill the holds of the Federal Cedar, which began loading for Gleadell Agriculture at Great Yarmouth on Wednesday (2 August). This is the first large vessel of the firm’s export campaign. It will head for Spain on 8 August, carrying 26,250t of new crop barley and helping to meet good demand from the Continent. The cargo drew on grain from Norfolk, Suffok and beyond, said Gleadell trading director Jonathan […]

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New crop feed wheat loses value as rain slows harvest

New crop feed wheat values fell slightly in the week to 26 July, losing £1.45/t to average £136.10/t ex-farm spot, as wet weather halted combines. Compared with the same period last year, prices were £26.10/t higher and the highest level for the time of year since 2014. Current values had fallen despite the pound hitting its lowest level against the euro since 2 November 2016, worth just €1.1159. See also: BPS 2017: How to apply With the wet weather shifting the […]

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Liquid feeding weaners improves pig finishing performance

Pig farmer Matthew Rathbone says changing to feeding liquid feed has cut ration costs and improved performance on his 240-breeding sow unit in Rugby.  The third-generation farmer, runs 80ha (200 acres), finishes 5,550 pigs annually for Morrisons, and produces barley, wheat and fodder beet as part of an arable enterprise.  Previously, Mr Rathbone was feeding a dry ration, but decided to move over to liquid feeding when a new unit was built and it was fitted with a state of […]

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'Contaminated feed likely source of continuing BSE cases'

Exposure to old feed contaminated with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) is the most likely explanation for the continuing cases of the disease in cattle, EU scientists have concluded. Incidence rates are now low. Out of 73 million cattle tested between 2005 and 2015, just 1,259 were found to be positive for the disease, spread across 11 countries. And of these, just 60 were found to have been born after the EU introduced a total ban on meat and bonemeal in […]

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Video: Cumbrian dairy farmer patents feed invention

A Cumbrian dairy farming family has secured a 10-year patent on a feed cover designed to reduce waste, save on labour and help support dry matter intakes. Frank Morphet and the team at Swarthmoor Hall Farm, Ulverston, have designed and patented the swingover feed cover after a four-year wait. Back in 2013, the Intellectual Property Office began a global research procedure to determine whether the simple but effective counterbalanced-pivot design was unique. See also: What’s in your livestock shed? Sushi-style […]

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Feed chopped straw to increase starter pellet intakes

Offering calves chopped straw alongside starter pellets and avoiding feeding long straw in racks pre-weaning is the best way to maximise concentrate intakes and growth. That’s according to Alex Bach from the Department of Ruminant Production of IRTA in Spain, who was speaking at the Mole Valley Farmers Calf Conference in Exeter on 12 June. Dr Bach highlighted a trial that provided calves with 80-100g of straw chopped to 2.5cm, along with pellets. This increased starter pellet intakes by 30%, from 860g […]

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Why feeding more milk to calves is more cost-effective

Farmers will be rewarded with lower overall rearing costs, improved efficiencies and better first lactation yields by feeding calves higher levels of milk. This was one of the topics raised at the recent Mole Valley Farmers Calf Conference in Exeter by US dairy consultant, Dr Bob Corbett and Dr Alex Bach from The Department of Ruminant Production of IRTA in Spain. They highlighted the need for farmers to shift their attention away from feed cost per head pre-weaning and instead […]

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Feed changes considered as caustic soda price rockets

A twofold increase in caustic soda prices has forced many dairy units to reassess dairy rations ahead of harvest. Depleted stocks of the chemical (sodium hydroxide) has doubled the cost of treating wheat as “soda wheat” from around £13/t last year to around £25/t, leaving other alkalisation processes looking “favourable”.  Feed industry experts believe the price increase of caustic soda – up from around £450/t 12 months ago – is due to China and Indonesia using up their own stocks and a weaker […]

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