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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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

2018 FW Awards: Sheep Farmer of the Year finalists

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…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Why a spring-calving dairy farmer has bought a feeder wagon

Most spring calving dairy farmers would grimace at the thought of buying a feeder wagon. However, some are spring systems are doing just that in an attempt to extend grazing…

BEEF

Couple makes success of farming on remote Orkney island

Healthy and efficient animals are a must for Neil and Jocelyn Rendall, who farm one of the most remote and smallest Orkney islands. The Isle of Papa Westray (“Papay”), one…

LIVESTOCK

How Co-op’s scheme keeps calves in the supply chain

Food retailer the Co-operative Group is expanding a calf scheme that integrates its dairy and beef supply chains. The scheme provides an outlet for all dairy/beef calves, including dairy bulls…

Forage wagon v precision chop for a multi-cut silage system

Switching from a three-cut silage system to taking smaller and more regular cuts of silage has lifted forage quality at a Welsh dairy farm. But recouping the additional costs of…

Practical advice

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FEED AND NUTRITION

Sheep health and nutrition tips in a heatwave

So far, the hot, dry summer, especially after a tough spring, is making it difficult for sheep producers to get lambs fit and off farm while keeping ewes in good…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Guide to feed planning and forage for finishing lambs

Too many sheep farms fail to produce a plan for finishing lambs, missing opportunities to maximise returns for the current crop and jeopardising ewe condition ahead of the next, says…

LIVESTOCK

4 steps to ensure heifers are on track to calve at 24 months

We all need to build more resilient businesses in this tough world of market volatility and the starting point on all dairy farms is the birth of the calf. What…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Complete guide to feeding newborn heifers

The first few hours of a calf’s life determine how that animal will go on to perform throughout its lifetime.   Calving by two years old is now deemed a…

LIVESTOCK MARKETING

6 ways livestock farmers can improve carcass eating quality

Carcass defects and poor eating quality of meat cost the livestock sector millions of pounds a year, yet simple steps could be taken on farm that would minimise losses. Research…

Insights

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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 MARKETING

6 ways livestock farmers can improve carcass eating quality

Carcass defects and poor eating quality of meat cost the livestock sector millions of pounds a year, yet simple steps could be taken on farm that would minimise losses. Research…

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…