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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LIVESTOCK

How intensive grazing system brings resilience to uplands

As stewards for much of Britain’s most marginal land but also its most iconic landscapes, upland farmers are both the most vulnerable to Brexit and the great hope for delivering…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How beef farmer is achieving gross margin of £370 a cow

Running a profitable, low-cost suckler beef business is no mean feat, with AHDB Farmbench figures suggesting the middle 50% of producers are making a gross profit per cow put to…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

How Oxfordshire sheep farmers cut cost of production by 12%

Access to cover crops for winter grazing on nearby arable land has resulted in a 10% uplift in lambing percentage and helped to reduce finishing times by three weeks at…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

How sheep farmers can protect next year's grass covers

Closing 20% of sheep pasture in late October, rising to 80% by mid-December, will provide sufficient grass covers for grazing next spring, despite difficult growing conditions this year. Sheep grazing…

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…

Practical advice

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YOUNGSTOCK MANAGEMENT

Everything you need to know about automatic calf feeders

Many dairy farmers and calf rearers are moving to automatic milk feeders to reduce labour input. We look at what kind of management they require, how to get the best…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Advice on feeding pregnant ewes when winter fodder low

When there is pressure on flocks from a limited grazing season and subsequent winter fodder deficits, planning the feeding and management of pregnant ewes is more critical than ever during…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Advice on feeding this year's maize as stocks look tight

Initial samples show maize quality looks good, despite the unprecedented growing season during which crops were planted late and had to cope with drought conditions in the summer. Results of…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

How sheep farmers can protect next year's grass covers

Closing 20% of sheep pasture in late October, rising to 80% by mid-December, will provide sufficient grass covers for grazing next spring, despite difficult growing conditions this year. Sheep grazing…

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…

Insights

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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…

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…