Cheap ration may be false economy

2 October 1998

Cheap ration may be false economy

POTENTIAL exists for many producers to feed to meet their milk contract more appropriately, ensuring maximum returns.

Research at SAC Auchincruive funded by Trident Feeds has shown that focusing on the cheapest ration can be a false economy, said company nutritionist Matt Witt. "The trial used two rations, one for a fat and protein percentage contract, the other offering a flat-rate payment according to volume and independent of constituent levels."

On a constituents contract, feeding the wrong ration can reduce milk returns. Feeding a daily whitewater ration of 40kg silage, 5kg wheat, 0.3kg groundnut, 0.6kg hipro soya, 0.6kg molasses, 0.5kg oatmeal, 0.5kg wheatfeed, 4.2kg maize distillers and 0.3kg minerals, costing 5p/litre, to cows on a Milk Marque contract would achieve a margin over feed of only £4.06 a cow a day.

But when feeding a constituents ration of 40kg silage, 3.4kg wheat, 0.6kg groundnut, 1.1kg rapemeal, 2kg maize gluten, 3kg molassed sugar beet, 1.5kg hipro soya, 0.3kg sunflower seed meal, 0.6kg molasses and 0.3kg minerals, costing 5.4p/litre, margin over feed rose to £4.23 a cow a day.

"On a whitewater contract, the whitewater ration producers a margin over feed of £7.02 a cow a day, compared with only £5.67 for the constituents ration," said Mr Witt.

"This shows that it is not a case of choosing the cheapest feed ration. Look at what you are trying to achieve and whether that ration will help fulfil your contract, then consider price."

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