Know How / Feed and nutrition

See the latest thinking on dietary requirements for dairy and beef cattle, sheep and pigs, from ration formulation, minerals and supplements to forage preservation. Advice on selecting maize varieties, silage analysis, getting colostrum quality right, fodder choices and finishing rations.

Case studies

See all


How farmer gets 11,000 litres from grazed Holstein herd

Wiltshire farmer Robert Mallett and his wife Maria are defying convention by producing nearly 11,000 litres of milk from their autumn-calving herd of grass-fed cows. Like most high-yielding herds, Mr…


How next generation are learning to farm without subsidies

The sheep enterprise at Glynllifon Agricultural College has undergone radical change as it braces itself and its students for the uncertainty that lies ahead post Brexit. Farm manager Rhodri Manod…


How Hampshire dairy has climbed to top 5 for milk production

Consolidating cow numbers has helped one Hampshire herd shoot up 14 places in the NMR annual production report, to clinch fifth place. In what was a tough year for dairy…


How a pig feed system is helping cut costs

Installing a new feed system has allowed a pig producer to tailor feeding to individual pens and maximise Feed Conversion Efficiency (FCE). Vet and pig farmer Charlie Thompson took the…


Why a mixed farmer is phasing out his suckler herd

Shropshire mixed farmer Lee Preece is phasing out his suckler herd in favour of finishing black-and-white beef bulls for rose veal. Mr Preece believes the venture is delivering better profits of…


How a 93% calf sold figure helped carbon efficiency

A calving percentage of 95% and a mortality rate of 2% are helping Robert, Bob and Lucy Forrest, Preston Farm, Duns, manage greenhouse gas emissions in their beef herd. By…

Practical advice

See all


How to improve crude protein levels in silage

Grass yields may be rising but crude protein levels in silage are still relatively low across most of the UK. Environmental regulations, lower fertiliser use and selection of unsuitable varieties…


4 areas to focus on when rearing broiler chicks

Chick start has been proven time and again to be the most important element of broiler production. Birds reaching at least target weight by seven days are more likely to…


Advice for farmers on multi-grazing hybrid brassicas

Demand for hybrid brassicas reached unprecedented levels in 2018 as livestock farmers sought solutions to meet forage shortfalls caused by the drought. Bred in New Zealand and first grown in…


4 ways top dairy farmers produce 1,000kg of MS a cow

Recent figures show the top 15% of Kite Consulting’s clients are producing between 840-1,000kg of milk solids (MS) a cow a year. Genetic data and management strategies were assessed from…


6 ways to prevent stale dairy cows

Getting into the habit of giving cows numerous chances to get pregnant can lead to more animals with extended lactations and a negative fertility cycle that is hard to break.…


How to identify and overcome cow issues in the dry period

A leading expert on cow management believes on most farms there is a failure in the transition period, with almost 65% of problems occurring in the dry cow/fresh cow period.…


See all


5 zinc oxide alternatives for pigs compared

In less than three years, UK pig producers will need to know how to prevent post-weaning diarrhoea in piglets without using zinc oxide. The European Union has ruled that from…


Trial shows high iodine cow diet can hinder colostrum uptake

A survey of iodine supplementation in beef herds has revealed that over supplementation pre-calving can negatively affect calves’ ability to absorb colostrum. A collaborative research project between Moredun Research Institute,…


Is it worthwhile feeding supplements to produce more milk?

Feeding supplement to grass-based dairy cows can be profitable but only in a year with high milk prices, a trial in New Zealand has shown. However, feed prices must be…


7 first choice varieties added to British maize list

Seven new first-choice varieties and one second-choice variety have been added to the British Society of Plant Breeder’s forage maize descriptive list. NIAB’s forage crop specialist Ellie Sweetman said that…


Cattle bounce back after poor fodder beet growth rates

A project at Harper Adams is investigating if it is feasible to finish dairy-bred beef calves on forage alone.  The project, led by Adas and funded by AHDB Beef &…


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…


What are the benefits of milk replacer for calf rearers?

More than half of all dairy and beef farmers in Great Britain now rear their youngstock on calf milk replacer (CMR) instead of whole milk, with potential disease risks a…


High-protein diet worth £56 a head to heifer margin

A trial comparing two levels of protein (160g of crude protein/kg DM or 125g crude protein/kg DM) in maize silage-based finisher rations showed the higher protein diet to be worth…


Promising weight gains made from grass in dairy beef study

Last October, work to investigate the feasibility of a low-cost dairy beef production system was launched at Harper Adams University with the aim of maximising output from forage and minimising…


Moving drinkers next to hoppers doubles pigs' feed intake

Placing drinkers near hoppers doubles pigs’ feed intakes, an experiment has found. Feeding habits were monitored 24-hours a day across six batches of pigs – 420 in total – using Farmex data…


Benefits of switching to a multi-cut silage system

Many dairy farmers are now looking to lift milk solids production as they move to manufacturing contracts. In a new four-part series, Farmers Weekly will be examining how fat and…


How reducing maize seed rates could save money

Cutting maize seed rates by 5-10% has the potential to lift starch levels by 2-3% and bring harvest date forward by three to five days, according to John Burgess, maize…