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of feed needed to support this yield by over 1kg DMI/day.” To help dairy farmers to improve the FCE


FEED COSTS Achieving even small improvements in Feed Conversion Efficiency (FCE) can help UK dairy farmers to lessen the impact of declining milk prices and increasing feed costs, according to the UK’s largest livestock feed manufacturer. “FCE is the weight of milk (kg) produced

for each kg of feed drymatter consumed and the ultimate measure of a dairy herd’s technical performance because it reflects the efficiency with which the cow converts the feed it consumes (forages, moist and concentrates) into milk. Achieving improvements in this Key Performance Indicator will therefore help dairy farmers to combat the impact of these margin-squeezing factors, without adversely impacting either milk production or herd health,” states Wyn Morris, Head of Ruminant Development for BOCM PAULS. He adds: “Although pig and poultry producers

have used FCE to benchmark herd and flock performance for many years the dairy sector has not yet followed their lead. We believe that this is set to change because feed is now the largest single expense involved in producing milk and has the greatest impact on herd profitability. Achieving even modest improvements can therefore have a dramatic positive impact on ‘bottom line’ financial performance. “Studies that we have conducted

wi th Richard Keenan and Company Ltd demonstrated a wide range in FCE performance, with average herds achieving a figure of 1.18 and the top-performers 1.66. These enormous differences demonstrate that there is potential for average herds to achieve significant improvements. Another study, by Promar, highlighted the range in performance at any given level of output. Farms feeding 3000kg of concentrates per cow per annum produced between 6000 litres and 9000 litres of milk per cow, a 50% difference. At 24 pence per litre this equates to £720 in additional milk income per cow per year for the same feed cost, or a massive £93,600 for the average 130-cow herd, a figure which is impossible to ignore. “FCE tends to improve with increasing

energy density and milk output because the proportion of the overall energy supply required for maintenance decreases relative to the total. Feed costs generally decline as FCE increases, but even at 1.2 kg of milk per kg of feed they vary from 6p to almost 10p per litre. Improving FCE from 1.2 to 1.3 therefore

increases the milk production of an 8000- litre cow by 8.5%, or reduces the amount


of their herds, BOCM PAULS has invested significant resources into developing its new Feed to Milk (F2M) programme, an easy- to-implement system which incorporates the company’s total approach to nutrition. F2M highlights current performance, tracks progression to target and takes into account parameters such as the number of milking cows in the group, milk quality and price, together with average daily production. It also includes the type, dry matter (DM) and cost of all feedstuffs (forages, blends, concentrates, moist feeds etc), ration details, and feed which is not consumed, which helps to determine current F2M efficiency and identify the potential financial value of improvements.

WOLDGRAIN ONE YEAR ON GAME Engineering Ltd a materials processing and handling engineering company based in Lincolnshire, have been working with WoldGrain Storage Ltd since January 2010 with respect to an integrated combined crop storage facility based at Hemswell, Lincolnshire. WoldGrain received grant funding

in May 2009 from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) to complete Phase 1. This is managed in the region by East Midlands Development Agency (emda). In Jan 2010 GAME were awarded the

Phase 1 contract to design, supply and install all the handling and processing systems. The project involved increasing the existing storage capacity to accommodate an additional 18,000 tonnes of combinable crops - including wheat, oilseed rape and malting barley. The upgrade involved increasing the intake capacity to 500 t.p.h, installing new handling and processing equipment rated at 100 t.p.h, and adding a new grain drier and blending system to maximize productivity. GAME Engineering was also responsible for all electrical and processing systems. GAME were able to provide the clients

with experience and a broad knowledge of the sector, demonstrate extensive project management, and more importantly understand the combination/cross-over systems involved in this crop storage facility. This provided the client with innovative new technology which controls the drying, cleaning, sorting and grading of the crops. Since the complet ion in June

2010, GAME has been in discussions with WoldGrain and Clugstons regarding Phase 2 of the project, planned to begin in Spring 2011. The second phase consists of another 9000 Tonnes of storage, a new high throughput drier along with a higher throughput conveying system to service the drier and increasing the throughput on within the existing system to allow for the

throughput increase. GAME will be responsible for the

planning and layouts of the new drier, storage silos and conveying equipment. GAME will also be responsible for the mechanical and electrical installation.


DAIRY HERDS A new set of targets for UK dairy herd performance is now available for producers and advisers thanks to a study published by the University of Reading. The study, ‘Key performance indicators for the UK dairy herd’ uses milk recording data from a cross section of 500 commercial dairy herds. The herds were selected at random from black and white herds who calve year round and carry out monthly recording with NMR. The study looks at the variation in herd performance for 25 parameters, covering production, fertility and health. The study presents the variation in

performance for each parameter and gives the level achieved by the ‘best’ 25% of herds as a realistic and achievable target. It also shows the performance level achieved by the ‘worst’ 25%. For example, while 25% of herds achieve somatic cell counts of 169,000 cells/ ml or better, there are 25% of herds recording 268,000 cells/ml or worse. Data from the study is used directly

by NMR’s InterHerd+ dairy management program. Through this program, producers, their vets and advisers can benchmark the individual herd’s performance for each parameter against those of the 500 study herds. The strengths and weaknesses of the herd can then be clearly identified. “All herds have a range in performance

with some high cell count cows, and some cows that take longer to conceive,” says James Hanks from the University’s Veterinary Epidemiology & Economics Research Unit (VEERU) and joint author of the study. “The key is to know at what level this becomes a cause for concern. Data from this study can provide the answers and give a great reference point for producers and advisers.” The ‘Key performance indicators for the

UK dairy herd’ report uses a much larger and more representative sample of dairy herds than has been possible in the past. “The herds are a true cross-section of commercial dairy herds which makes the data directly relevant to all dairy producers and of great benefit to the UK dairy industry,” adds Dr Hanks. “We plan to repeat this study annually.

It will continue the University of Reading’s strong tradition in livestock information from Dick Esslemont’s DAISY reports through to the University’s close association with InterHerd and Herd Companion.” The University of Reading report ‘Key

performance indicators for the UK dairy herd’ was written by Dr James Hanks and Dr Mohamad Kossaibati and can be downloaded from

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