Increased food efficiency vital to meet food demands

Dairy and beef producers could boost production by 30%, according to new research, revealed at a Global Dairy Feed Efficiency and Food Sustainability Summit, London, this week.

The study of 500 herds in France and the UK, which looked at a new approach to feeding livestock based on optimising physical nutrition, found on average, milk production increased by 1.9kgs of energy corrected milk (ECM) a cow a day, one year after adopting the new feeding approach.

In addition, herds on the Keenan Mech-Fiber system also experienced a reduction in dry matter intakes of 0.73kgs a cow a day, and an increase in feed conversion efficiency of 12%, with no notable changes in herd condition score. This efficiency gain improved daily margins by 0.75 euro a cow, which for a 100-cow herd is estimated at 22,875 euros a year.

Speaking at the summit, David Beever, emeritus professor of animal science at the University of  Reading, explained how increased efficiency was vital for meeting food demands, economically and in an environmentally sustainable way.

Iowa State University’s head of economics, Robert Jolly, also added that the ability to produce more meat and milk from the same resources could drive down costs and reduce the environmental impact.

“A 25% increase in efficiency could reduce the land area needed for dairy feed production by more than 51 million acres at a cost saving – at current feed prices – of nearly 37b euros. Increased feed efficiency would also reduce the environmental impact of dairy production through better land use and greenhouse gas emissions,” said Prof Jolly.

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