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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Case studies

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How ewe liver tissue tests are helping to fine-tune rations

Taking liver biopsies from breeding ewes is helping Welsh sheep farmers to establish the mineral status of their flocks and fine-tune rations. Testing tissue samples from the livers of live…


How sheep dairy new entrant has doubled size of flock

A new entrant to dairy sheep farming has doubled his flock size less than a year after buying his first ewes, amid strengthening demand for milk. Huw Jones secured a…


3 simple adjustments to improve cow health and yield

When George Allen took on the family’s Abbey Farm, in Whitchurch, last year, he was eager to put new ideas in place. But as a young farmer without much capital,…


Farmers Weekly Awards: Grassland Manager finalists 2020

Excellent grass growth and use is a common theme across all three finalists, who are each running very profitable businesses by making the most from grass and quality forage.  See…


How a suckler farmer is achieving six-week calving

Good nutritional management, a high bull-to-cow ratio and attention to detail is enabling a Pembrokeshire suckler beef enterprise to halve its calving period from 12 weeks to six and calve…


How to work out ewe efficiency and what it can tell you

Calculating ewe efficiency can help inform fundamental flock management areas such as mature ewe weight, feeding management and weaning date.   SAC Consulting sheep and grassland specialist Poppy Frater says the process of calculating ewe efficiency…

Practical advice

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How to work out your flock’s trace element requirements

Trace elements are minerals such as copper, selenium, cobalt, iodine, manganese and zinc that are essential for life. Optimal flock performance depends on them being supplied correctly. But how do…


5 steps to make the most of maize in feed

Seven out of 10 livestock farmers are concerned about the possibility of tighter availability or higher prices for certain bought-in feeds this winter – based on factors of Covid-19 and…


Alternative feeds for beef cattle and what to consider

Alternative feeds, or co-products, are usually derived as a by-product from food or drink manufacturing, and can offer a relatively cheap source of nutrients. But quality can vary widely, and…


Guide to feeding newborn calves colostrum

The target of all good dairies should be to minimise mortality, and providing calves with enough good-quality colostrum as quickly as possible after calving is a vital first step to…


How to prevent and treat scours in calves

While disease can be a trigger for calf scours, so can early calf nutrition, with the concentration of milk replacer having a direct effect on gastrointestinal environment. Osmolality is a…


Advice for buying rams and observing quarantine protocols

More rams are likely to be sold direct off-farm this year due to the cancellation of some breeding sales under Covid-19 restrictions. That means asking for a “bill of health”…


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Scientists developing EBV for lower methane emission

Farmers could be selecting cattle bred to produce lower methane emissions in the near future, according to a leading scientist. Methane is an important greenhouse gas, with 28-times the potential…


Everything you need to know about poultry feed additives

According to the British Poultry Council’s latest report, overall antibiotics use on UK poultry meat units fell by more than 80% between 2012 and 2018, to a total of 16.2t.…


Study shows how calcium can affect dry cow fertility

Increasing calcium in pre-calving diets can improve postpartum uterine health and fertility, a recent study has revealed. The study, which took place at the University of Illinois, examined feeding dry…


How maize silage analysis can reduce fertiliser spend

German growers are using maize silage crude protein levels to gauge the next year’s fertiliser requirements, resulting in reduced leaching and input costs.   Crude protein levels of 8-8.5% in…