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Michael Marsden, Technical Manager

Using a moist feed during the summer will help support margins

The squeeze on margins can actually increase during and after the summer months, warns KW senior nutritionist Mark Scott. Producers looking to cut costs can make incorrect feed choices as they try to rely solely on parlour compounds or fail to offer sufficient feed alongside grazed grass. Consequent weight loss in the herd and high feed supplement costs can eat away at margins. But by investing in a cost-effective, all-year-round alternative moist feed during the coming summer months you can actually bolster your Margin Over Purchased Feed (MOPF).

Grazed grass-only diets do not meet all of the nutritional needs of many modern dairy herds to maintain optimum fertility and milk production for the entire grazing season. Despite having high energy and protein content, fresh grass is a very dilute form of nutrients (grass is 15-22% dry matter) and cows simply cannot consume adequate nutrients to support milk production and body condition due to time and physical constraints (daylight hours and physical capacity for example). During the grazing season this can result in a loss of body weight with subsequent reduction in production and fertility being most common, both of which reduce MOPF in the short, medium and longer-term.

Supplementing throughout the grazing season with a dry compound feed is both an expensive solution and nutritionally compromising for the cow (high parlour feeding levels are detrimental to rumen balance and can result in acidosis/sub-acute ruminal acidosis (SARA)), but by investing in a better value, nutritionally balanced moist feed as part of a buffer feeding strategy alongside grass, producers can keep herds productive, healthy, fertile, and more profitable all summer.

“Feeding the correct moist feed during the grazing season helps maintain production at lower costs, leaving you with improved margins.”

Moist feeds are more cost-effective than compound dry feeds and will not reduce forage intake and utilisation, helping to maintain production and fertility at lower costs, and leaving producers with improved margins.

Financial benefits for all-year-round feeders using an alternative moist feed

C✰Traffordgold® is an all-year-round moist feed with a palatability and nutrient profile that makes it an ideal complement to any forage. By supplementing a grazing diet or replacing dry feed with C✰Traffordgold®, significant benefits to MOPF can be achieved:

  • An increase in MOPF of 0.65ppl of milk* can be achieved by feeding an all-year-round moist feed such as C✰Traffordgold® in addition to grazed grass and instead of dry feed. *This is based on feeding 5kg of C✰Traffordgold to replace 2.75kg of parlour compound at average prices.
  • A feed investment like this can achieve an increase in MOPF of around 4% or conversely reduce purchased feed cost per litre by 9% (based on financial data averages up to March ’16 from Promar Milkminder Dairy Costings - National, published May 2016 on AHDB website).
  • Research shows that a cow that loses 0.5BCS during the summer through under supply of nutrients (from a reliance by the producer on the intake and nutrient supply of fresh grass) will take approximately 3 months to regain that BCS during which time she uses nutrients intended for milk production to do this. The energy required to regain that weight over 3 months is equal to the energy required to produce 1.9 litres of milk per day so giving a loss in income. To counter this and avoid weight loss in the first instance a producer need only feed 1.5kg of C✰Traffordgold  per cow per day at a cost of around 11p* per cow. This is approx. £10-£13** per cow to maintain the weight enabling the farmer to make a potential profit of around £20-25 per cow (based on 18ppl milk price). With no requirement for the cow to regain weight there is no loss in energy and the consequent 1.9 litres milk every day for 3 months, amounting to 170 litres more milk per cow and £31 - £36.50*** more income covered by £10-13 cost.

*based on prices at time of writing

**cost depending on delivered price on farm

***based on 18-21ppl milk price

 CTraffordgold® Value

  • C✰Traffordgold’s palatability and nutrient profile is the perfect supplement to forage. It’s a balanced protein and starch distillery product made from processing British wheat to make four key ingredients: starch, glucose syrups, vital wheat gluten and alcohol, and is a unique 50% dry matter, no run off, stable and easily stackable moist feed. It’s produced at one traceable source at the Cargill Plc processing facility in Manchester and can be easily stored or ensiled
  • Proven product, rigorously trialled at UK universities (including SAC) and on farm to demonstrate value over dried feeds
  • Energy content (proven by Harper Adams University College) is 13.4 MJ/kg ME. This sits between barley and wheat and 11% more than maize gluten feed
  • 15% higher metabolisable energy than brewers’ grains
  • Consistently more than double the dry matter of brewers’ grain with no run off post delivery
  • Provides additional starch when compared to brewers grains with starch known to drive milk yield
  • Brewers grains can supply an excess of rumen degradable protein which if unutilised is excreted as urea, in a process requiring energy so reducing the amount of energy available for milk production, fertility or growth
  • 10% higher dry matter than other comparable energy and protein content distillery feeds
  • Consistent, repeatable, manufactured product with composite samples tested by NIR everyday

Benefits Analysis

  • Reduces dry concentrate feeding costs (compounds and dry feeds)
  • Replaces up to 4kg/cow of compounds in the parlour with 8kg of  C✰Traffordgold
  • Reduces rumen negative effects of high pulse compound feeding rates in the parlour
  • Increases diet energy density and help drive overall dry matter intake in beef and dairy
  • Sole concentrate in simple and flexible straw and/or silage feeding systems for young stock
  • Good palatability
  • Increases income over feed costs for milk production
  • Reduces beef finishing and heifer replacement costs
  • Increases carcass yield in beef animals