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

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FEED AND NUTRITION

Why farmer is using orange peel to seal his silage clamp

Innovative farmer Henry Tyrrell has used 60t of orange peel as a novel way of covering his silage clamp while reducing plastic and providing fibre for his cows. The 24-year-old,…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

How organic farmers plan to become more efficient

Edryd and Glenda Davies are making more from marginal mountain ground by mob and rotational grazing to improve grassland so they can operate a low-cost forage-based system and finish lambs…

LAYERS

Rearer's advice on getting pullets off to a good start

Modern hybrid hens are genetically sophisticated and achieving their productive potential will only be possible if the development period from chick to hen is carefully managed. Attention to detail is…

SHEEP

How an Oxfordshire sheep unit sells 1.92 lambs per ewe

An early-lambing flock is achieving feed conversion rates of 2.5:1 and is selling 1.92 lambs per ewe. Michael Priestley visited Warborough Farm with the Nuffield Beef and Sheep Group to…

DAIRY

How a low-cost system helped Cornish dairy treble herd

Developing a low-cost, grass-based system has brought two key benefits for a Cornish family that is on course to quadruple cow numbers in six years. Not only does the grass-based…

LIVESTOCK

Durham farm saves costs with grassland focus and weighing

Measuring and recording grass growth and weighing livestock more frequently has opened up cost-saving opportunities on an upland grazing farm. David and Joyce Monkhouse of Low Houselop Farm, Tow Law,…

Practical advice

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MAIZE

Maize Watch: Advice on reducing soil erosion post harvest

Initial maize yields look good, with big cobs which have matured well and green leaf still on the plants, latest Maize Watch growers report. Good weather has allowed harvest teams…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Eight ways to lift dairy feed efficiency

A list of eight ways to improve feed efficiency on dairy units has been released following a series of on-farm trials. Alltech consultants piloted a free-of-charge farm efficiency consultancy programme…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Advice on cutting dairy ration costs this winter

Farmers could save money on purchased feed this winter by making the most of plentiful stocks of good-quality forages. Analysis of first- and second-cut grass silage carried out by Trouw…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Advice on assessing maize maturity as harvest fast approaches

The August heatwave has accelerated maize maturity and with harvest now fast approaching, growers are being advised to check crops. Following the drought of 2018 more maize has been planted…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Options to protect cattle feed from starlings in the autumn

Starlings can be a pest to livestock farmers, especially during autumn months, when wintering flocks arrive in the UK. The birds' consumption of maize in cattle feed can reduce milk…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Eliminating winter housing for cattle: options compared

An end to direct farm subsidies in some UK regions post Brexit has focused farmers’ minds on cutting winter housing costs. It costs between £1.20-£1.50 a head a day to…

Insights

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FEED AND NUTRITION

Why structural fibre is essential for fresh cows

Ensuring structural fibre is available to fresh cows in very early lactation could ease transition by reducing metabolic issues and stabilising rumen function. This is according to NWF head of…

DAIRY

Oregano-based additive cuts resistant bacteria in waste milk

Reading University researchers have used a plant-based feed additive to achieve major reductions in antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) bacteria found in waste milk fed to calves. The additive is formulated from 100%…

FEED AND NUTRITION

How feeding wholecrop to dairy-beef steers can cut costs

Diets made up mainly of wholecrop wheat can offer a suitable alternative to bought-in cereals for finishing cattle, a recent study has found. Research at Harper Adams University found that…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Research shows benefits of pair housing calves pre-weaning

Pair housing calves before weaning can help them adapt better to different situations as they mature, leading to improved concentrate intakes and higher growth compared with those housed alone. Professor…

FEED AND NUTRITION

100% organic poultry rations: Challenges and solutions

Organic poultry production has long had a challenge in getting feed rations right. Farmers adopting the system accept that bird performance will be lower but, in theory, birds reared under…

FEED AND NUTRITION

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…

FEED AND NUTRITION

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,…

FEED AND NUTRITION

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…

FEED AND NUTRITION

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…

FEED AND NUTRITION

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 &…