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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DAIRY

How £2.5m dairy unit is improving dry cow management

Good management during the dry period is crucial to promote cow welfare and ensure the profitability of dairy cows in the following lactation. The College of Agriculture Food & Rural…

FEED AND NUTRITION

How supplementary milk can improve piglet and sow production

Advances in a sow’s genetic ability to produce more live born piglets are forcing farmers to look at ways to better support the sow and her offspring. With only 12-14…

FEED AND NUTRITION

How a farmer reduced prolapses with a self-feed silage system

A Welsh upland farm has slashed the number of prolapses at lambing by 75% since introducing a self-feed silage system for pregnant ewes.   John Parry put the system in…

FEED AND NUTRITION

How a Wiltshire estate produces 9,250t of maize a year

Keeping realistic yield targets and focusing on good clamp management has allowed a Wiltshire estate farm to integrate maize successfully into a mixed farming system. Maize plays a critical role…

ASSESSING PERFORMANCE

How share-farming sheep venture is aiming for low-cost system

A large-scale sheep enterprise has identified key performance indicators (KPIs) it can improve to lift flock performance and profit. Rhys Williams is a partner in a sheep production joint venture…

FEED AND NUTRITION

How a farm gets 8,000 litres a cow from 94% home-grown feed

A combination of persistence, innovation and working with nature has helped one organic dairy farmer achieve averages of 8,000 litres a cow from an almost entirely home-grown ration. John Pitts…

Practical advice

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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…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

6 ways to prevent stale dairy cows

Getting into the habit of giving cows numerous chances to get pregnant can lead to more animals with extended lactations and a negative fertility cycle that is hard to break.…

FEED AND NUTRITION

How to identify and overcome cow issues in the dry period

A leading expert on cow management believes on most farms there is a failure in the transition period, with almost 65% of problems occurring in the dry cow/fresh cow period.…

FEED AND NUTRITION

How to match nutrition to layer potential

Over a modern laying hen's lifetime it will produce many multiples of its bodyweight in eggs, and as genetic selection improves, so too does the length of the bird's productive…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

How to manage soil and grassland for an early turnout

Managing an early spring turnout successfully could be hugely beneficial in years where farmers need to stretch out winter feed stocks. If soils are particularly compacted from the previous year's…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

Beginner's guide to rotational grazing beef suckler herds

If you already know your rotations from your residuals and your cover from your wedge, then you probably need to read no further. This guide is for beef suckler farmers…

Insights

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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…

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…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Latest feed science trends for poultry production

Yeast-based dietary interventions are effective at significantly reducing the level of natural campylobacter spp colonisation in the broiler caecum. The study, carried out at Alltech’s European bioscience centre in County…