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

How a dairy herd managed drought with 6.5p/litre feed cost

Strict control of parlour feeding and a tight autumn-calving block saw a Cornish dairy through the 2018 drought with a total purchased feed cost of 6.52p/litre. Because peak lactation happens…

FEED AND NUTRITION

How a Gloucestershire herd makes MOPF of £1,656 a cow

Producing quality silage and block calving in the summer are allowing a Gloucestershire dairy to hit a margin over purchased feed (MOPF) of £1,656 a cow (27p/litre). The crossbred herd…

WHATS IN YOUR LIVESTOCK SHED

What’s in Your Livestock Shed? visits a Gold Cup winner

What makes a Gold Cup winner? We look at some of the buildings and technology behind Washfold Farm’s success. Metcalfe Farms in Leyburn, North Yorkshire, is owned and run by…

BEEF

How a Salers herd aims to become carbon neutral by 2035

Mixed farmer Conor Colgan is using increasingly sophisticated methods and research to increase the efficiency of his farm in an attempt to become carbon neutral. Relatively basic improvements in herd…

BEEF

Why one farmer switched to Parthenaise beef breed

The Parthenaise breed is one of the oldest in France and has been refined over the past 50 years to produce high-quality beef. Its meat is some of the most…

SHEEP

How a Lincs sheep farm expanded and diversified income

A progressive approach to flock health, combined with hard work and savvy marketing, has seen a Lincolnshire couple expand their sheep business and income. Chris and Louise Elkington of Gelston,…

Practical advice

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FEED AND NUTRITION

Q&A: Growing and feeding drought-tolerant lucerne

Lucerne is a deep-rooted, nitrogen-fixing crop that has seen a surge in interest among livestock farmers looking for a drought-tolerant fodder option. Sam Lane technical manager at Cotswold Seeds and…

PIGS

How food and drink by-products can cut costs for pig farmers

By-products from food and drink manufacturing are helping to future-proof pig farms from rising feed costs. Co-products can cost as little as £1.20 per percentage (%) dry matter (DM) and…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

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…

FEED AND NUTRITION

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…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

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…

DAIRY

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…

Insights

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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 &…

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…