Pilot study launched to help control feed waste

18 Dec 2018

A pilot study to assess the total level of feed waste on farm, which experts believe could total as much as 45%, has been launched by Alltech.

There are multiple areas where feed waste can occur, from in the field, during storage and feeding out, through to metabolic and environmental aspects when fed to the cow, according to the company’s Ian Leach.

Current estimates

“We can estimate that between 25% and 45% of feed is not being converted into yield, but it's not something that’s currently closely monitored or managed on-farm,” he explains.

To help producers take greater control of feed waste and profit margins, the company is carrying out a pilot study on several UK-based dairy units to assess the true scale of the issue.

Feed waste

The study will focus on the four key areas where feed waste can occur, measuring a variety of different critical control points at each stage. “We’ll be working alongside silage and grassland experts to monitor losses that occur in the field and forage clamps, as well as looking for potential inefficiencies during feeding-out,” says Mr Leach.

Rumen losses will also form a key part of the on-farm assessment, while the environment, cow health and fertility are also vital parameters.

Environmental factors

“The assessment will look at the herd’s environment including access to feed and water, ambient temperate, ventilation and light. Key health and fertility parameters will also be recorded.”

The pilot study results will be published in February, at Dairy-Tech 2019.