A good ration is vital in the dairy herd. It can be the difference in several litres or significant milk solid production. Nutrition is also vital to fertility performance and foot health. The dairy herd ration must be correct for these important production reasons, and at the same time control feed costs and maximise feed usage per litre. Excellent dairy herd nutrition compliments excellent dairy herd management to achieve the results dairy farmers need.

So dairy herd rationing is a challenge we work hard to get right across all dairy’s be that twice, three times a day or robotic milking; in a housed or grazed system. Good dairy rations are built on good information coming from accurate analysis and monitoring on farm. There is no shortcut to this, it involves getting on farm and amongst the cows to see, measure and assess.

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Precise Dairy Rations

FeedCo rationing is done using the latest Cornell Net Carbohydrate and Protein System (CNCPS). This model is the most up to date system there is, with such a volume of research behind it due to the industry leading work at Cornell University and elsewhere.

The capability CNCPS offers FeedCo produces benefits on South West farms in several ways; more precise balancing of energy and protein so neither is limiting or wasted, the ability to judge between different fibre sources on rumen degradability, greater starch understanding to be able to ration this vital nutrient in the most beneficial way, improved protein nutrition understanding so protein bypass characteristics are better utilised, and amino acid balance to maximise milk protein output. The CNCPS system gives us greater insight into what is limiting production on farm, as some existing models have fallen behind in the race to understand what is happening inside the modern, high production dairy cow. Interested in how your ration looks in CNCPS?

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Forage and Feed Analysis is Key to Building Accurate Rations

As with any system garbage in means garbage out. Good application of the CNCPS is built on the accurate analysis of feeds. Accurate forage analysis requires dry testing of forages. In this process the samples are oven dried to determine an accurate dry matter reading, then ground to a specified particle size before any testing is carried out. Removing the water and grinding to uniformity removes the largest source of inaccuracy in the testing process so generating much more reliable results.

UK forage analysis is based on fresh sample testing, where the moisture is not removed and the forage particles unprocessed. In this approach the water and sample variation contributes to much lower accuracy, sacrificed for the false benefits of speed and lower cost. FeedCo believes accurate results make accurate rations which make money for farmers and so compromising on the analysis is a mistake. Working with Cumberland Valley Analytical, FeedCo spearheaded the development of a dry forage testing service for UK farmers and nutritionists. Questions about forage analysis on your farm?


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Rationing Performance Review is the Hard Work of Making Dairy Diets Perform Through the Seasons

Monitoring performance on rations directs correct decisions on improvements. Changes in bulk tank litres or milk solid percentages are mostly the result of other changes in the feed or management inputs – it is these inputs in the previous days that we must be aware of in order to make the correct decisions.

The manufacturing adage ‘measurement of output does not lead to improvement in output’ is often true in dairy management – we need to know how the feed and management inputs have changed in order to bring improvements.  Our boots on the ground approach is to get to these input factors on farm and see where the changes are coming from. This on farm approach is backed up by the best analysis of milk records, feed costs and farm data software to inform our dairy clients to make the correct decisions on production and animal health.