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.

AHDB resource

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Case studies

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FEED AND NUTRITION

5 ways a Cheshire dairy has reduced ration costs

Cheshire-based dairy farmers Tom and Karen Halton have reduced ration costs by 0.5p/litre in their 530-cow herd and lifted milk from forage by 500 litres to 3,000 litres a head.…

FEED AND NUTRITION

How Welsh beef farm is in top third for low carbon emissions

A Welsh beef farm is achieving carbon emissions that are 17% lower than average. Paul and Dwynwen Williams run a herd of 60 suckler cows and intensively finish 120 dairy-bred…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Fodder beet proves cost-effective for spring-calving herd

Nick and Liz Haines have been firm believers in growing fodder beet to feed dry cows over the winter. The couple, who have recently come to the end of their…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

Zero grazing helps dairy goat farmer to reduce concentrates

Zero grazing has allowed Irish dairy farmers Haske Knippels and Marion Roeleveld to increase milk production by 100 litres/day while reducing bought-in feed costs. Together, they milk 200 British Saanen…

ASSESSING PERFORMANCE

How EID is helping beef finisher identify poor performers

Beef producer Geraint Evans finishes about 400 cattle annually using electronic identification (EID) technology to hit target market weights and specifications. Mr Evans aims to achieve an average daily liveweight…

FEED AND NUTRITION

How Welsh dairy farm cut concentrate costs by 3.1p/litre

Taking more frequent cuts at shorter intervals has improved silage quality at a Welsh dairy farm, lifting margin over purchased feed by 11%, or £350/ha. Father and son Hugo and…

Practical advice

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FEED AND NUTRITION

Why new maize seed treatments require extra safety measures

Maize growers switching to alternative bird-repelling seed treatments this spring following the Mesurol ban are being advised to observe extra health precautions when handling seed. Respiratory health warnings accompany the…

FEED AND NUTRITION

6 tips to avoid mycotoxins in silage ahead of harvest

The presence of mycotoxins in silage can cause huge repercussions for livestock producers, with issues ranging from reduced feed intake to abortion often a result of a mycotoxicosis infection. However,…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

How multi-cut can deliver profits of £333/ha

Cutting grass more frequently can deliver better-quality forage capable of delivering £333/ha profit above a traditional three-cut silage-making system. Dairy nutritionists Volac compared a five-cut system to a three-cut system…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

Advice on establishing and grazing herbal leys

A herbal ley is a diverse sward that includes different grasses and species, with varying rooting depths, properties and drought tolerances. They have a positive effect on soil health, structure…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Painful 2019 harvest delivers valuable maize-growing lessons

The importance of preserving soil structure and exercising patience in harvesting a maize crop are among a Nottinghamshire maize grower’s key lessons from the painful 2019 harvest. Last year’s autumn…

BEEF

Canadian learnings: 4 ways UK sucklers could improve profits

Beef production is a major enterprise in Canada, with more than 90,000 producers in the country. However, with harsh winters and hot summers ⁠— as well as the increasing population…

Insights

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FEED AND NUTRITION

How maize silage analysis can reduce fertiliser spend

German growers are using maize silage crude protein levels to gauge the next year’s fertiliser requirements, resulting in reduced leaching and input costs.   Crude protein levels of 8-8.5% in…

MAIZE

Rain puts pressure on maize with tricky harvest

Prolonged rain has made maize harvesting difficult in recent days, with some suffering with flooding and high rainfall. Maize maturity has already been slowed by rain as green plants have…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

How to profit from forage-based dairy-beef system

Forage-based dairy-beef systems are profitable even in extreme weather conditions, a two-year study at Harper Adams University has concluded. The project investigated whether it was feasible to finish dairy-bred beef…

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…