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.

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GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

How a sheep farmer increased grass stocking rates sixfold

Sussex sheep farmer Jeremy West has increased stocking rates sixfold by using temporary grass leys. Since coming out of Higher level Stewardship (HSL) last year, he is integrating temporary grass…

BEEF

How Wagyu beef scheme gives farmers stability

Growing demand for Wagyu beef has resulted in the formation of a unique business model, which sees dairy farmers, rearers and finishers paid a guaranteed price for breeding and finishing…

FEED AND NUTRITION

How non-chemical weed control helps self-sufficiency in feed

Oxfordshire farmer Miles Saunders is using allelopathic weed control to suppress weeds on his organic dairy farm. The principle of allelopathy is certain plants release molecules (called allelochemicals) which affect…

SHEEP

How a Welsh hill flock improved market returns and cut costs

Making sweeping changes to management systems on a hard hill farm was out of the question for the Jones family when considering how to add value to their flock. Instead…

ASSESSING PERFORMANCE

How sheep farmer finishes and sells lambs in five months

March-born lambs reared on a dense clover ley at Duncan Nelless’ 566ha mixed organic farm achieve liveweight gains of 400g/day and the whole crop is sold within five months. Thistleyhaugh…

SHEEP

FW Awards: Sheep Farmer of the Year finalists 2018

Each of the three finalists in the 2018 Farmers Weekly Sheep Farmer of the Year category are well-positioned to meet the challenges of Brexit. They have developed profitable and sustainable…

Practical advice

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FEED AND NUTRITION

Lower-protein dairy feed could cut costs and ammonia emissions

Farmers are overfeeding dairy cows protein and instead need to look at amino acids in much more detail, according to new research.  “Protein has been overfed. It has been too cheap and used…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Replacing cereals with forage can increase beef gross margin

Replacing some cereals in the diet with a high energy forage for finishing beef steers can increase daily liveweight gain and increase gross margin by £115 a head. Researchers at…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Advice for balancing winter rations based on latest forage analy...

Latest forage analysis results show first and second cuts are good quality with high levels of energy and protein, but farmers do need to watch out for high acid loads…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Early maize harvest presents forage crop opportunities

The early maize harvest in most areas gives growers the opportunity to grow extra forage for utilising early next spring, believes Neil Groom, technical director for Grainseed. “In most areas…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Expert tips for reducing feed waste on your pig farm

Feed accounts for around 70% of costs on pig farms but producers could trim this if they tackled wastage from inefficiencies and poor feed management.  An AHDB Pork study estimates…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Advice on winter feeding dairy animals amid forage shortages

Dairy farmers face potential feed deficits this winter as the dry spell continues to hamper grass growth rates. But it is not to late to bridge those gaps. Many farmers…

Insights

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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 &…

LIVESTOCK

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…

FEED AND NUTRITION

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…

LIVESTOCK

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…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

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…

FEED AND NUTRITION

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…

LIVESTOCK

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…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Why more livestock farmers are growing maize

The UK maize growing area has increased by 14% in five years as the crop continues to gain popularity among livestock producers, a survey suggests. The survey of 340 farmers…

PIGS

Alternatives to antibiotic growth promoters for pigs

Since the use of antibiotic growth promoters (AGPs) was banned in the EU in 2006, there’s been growing interest in alternatives that can reduce the impact of pig disease and…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Challenges ahead for insect protein in poultry diets

It is with increasing frequency that news comes from an enthusiastic start-up claiming the insect protein problem has been cracked. The idea is certainly an attractive one: turn waste products…

LIVESTOCK

Better silage allows for soya strategy at lambing

Producing an 11ME silage can allow ewes to be fed a sixth of the amount of feed three weeks pre-lambing through supplementing rumen-protected soya, saving £3-£12 a ewe. This is…