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

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…

FEED AND NUTRITION

How a dairy farmer cut the use of soya bean meal in rations

Buckinghamshire dairy farmer Richard West has reduced the amount of soya bean meal fed to his herd by two-thirds. Historically, soya bean meal was the main source of protein in…

SHEEP

How upland Easycare flock is rearing 170%

An upland flock has increased productivity by lifting scanning rates from 150% to 180% and used Beltex terminal sires to produce fast-growing lambs within supermarket specification. A raft of changes…

LIVESTOCK

How outdoor lambers lifted twinning rate to 67%

Close attention to ewe body condition score and a strict culling policy in a two-flock system has helped lift twinning rates 12% at a Wiltshire farm. Stonehill Romneys – the…

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…

Practical advice

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FEED AND NUTRITION

5 steps to managing your flock's forage at winter

Sheep producers should have a strategy in place to maximise forage over winter, especially following a trend for high energy (>11MJ ME/kg DM) silages. This is the advice of SAC…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Tips on reducing feed waste on your dairy

There are four key areas where feed can be wasted and underused: in the field, during storage, at feed-out and inside the cow. Results from the latest Alltech on-farm pilot…

FEED AND NUTRITION

5 key considerations when feeding minerals to dairy cows

The fine line between cow requirements and the maximum tolerable limit for certain minerals means they should be given the same level of attention as any dietary nutrient. This is…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

How to avoid mid-lactation milk fever in your herd

Mid-lactation milk fever is increasingly being noticed in high-yielding herds, causing vets and nutritionists to remind farmers of the importance of mineral balance and good dry matter (DM) intakes. Milk…

ASSESSING PERFORMANCE

Why farmers should assess costs before changing sheep breed

Sheep farms should fully cost their flock profit margins and assess the impact of small gains in technical performance before looking to change breed or system. This was the message…

FEED AND NUTRITION

How to calculate your Feed Conversion Efficiency

Farmers should monitor feed conversion efficiency (FCE) this winter to maximise feed input and profitability. A 0.1 change in FCE can affect milk yields by as much as two litres…

Insights

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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…

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,…