Why do we as farmers feed dairy cows concentrate instead of just using silage and grass and what do we want from Animal Feed? Surely it would be a cheaper option to just use the land we have to feed our animals and not buy any outside products?
I’d like to show you how we could make you more money and also save you money in the long term.
Lets look at it in more detail shall we?
Dairy cows have a high energy requirement to produce milk, carry a calf and maintain body condition. They have a lot of work to do and need a diet that will allow them to do these jobs well. If we do not provide all the energy that she requires she will mobilise the meat from her back to make milk and maintain her calf. While in the short term this is fine the long term effects of thin cows have huge costs associated with them. The only way to improve a thin cow is to feed her and it costs twice as much to bring a thin cow back than it would to maintain her in the first place.
A cow on a pure grass based diet will survive fine in the short term but where will she get her balance of minerals and vitamins that she needs for long term good health? Grass is a very poor source of minerals and indeed can contain high levles of iron and molybdenum which lock up the copper in a cows diet meaning she coan become clincly deficient in copper very fast on a pure grass diet.
Grass is a fantastic source of protein and cows love to be out in the field in the fresh air with plenty of space to move around in. One of the best weapons in the Irish farmers armory is the consumers image of cows out on lush green grass and enjoying life.
Unfortunatley with Irish weather too often good grass and grazing conditions can be hard to come by. Remember cows dont eat to taste, they eat to fill their gut. Once their gut is full they must wait till they have digested their food to take in more. Here lies one of our Irish problems!
Grazing wet grass leads to the the cows gut filling without the adequate volume of dry matter to maintain her. Grazing hungry cows tight in poor grazing conditions leads to high intake of parasites, loose cows, thin cows and worse again sick cows. All of which cost a lot of money to cure along with the cost in time lost in production.
Feeding our Animal feed provides a guaranteed source of energy and protein to ensure the cow does not lose body condition. It costs at least twice as much to put body condition right as it does to maintain it so its an economic no brainer.
Feeding our Animal feed will provide the essential minerals and vitamins that a cow cannot even dream of getting on a grass based diet alone. This leads to a higher performing cow, a healthier cow and one better able to fight of sickness and disease meaning less expensive vet bills!
Feeding our Animal feed provides the cow with a balanced diet containing digestible protein and fibre to keep her Rumen working efficiently so as not to waste the valuable inputs that the farmer puts in. A cow with a balanced Rumen will digest silage and grass more efficiently and convert it to energy for use in milk production and maintaining body condition.
Feeding our animal feed even at todays high raw material prices is a far more economic alternative to buying questionable fodder for storage over the winter in the hope that it will be in good order when needed in the springtime. We all have heard the horror stories of expensive Bales of silage being bought and paid for only to discover when opened to be poorly preserved and of little or no feeding value.
Feeding our Animal feed will help ensure a healthy calf, a sucessful calving and also that the cow will be in good condition to go back in calf again. Thin cows or cows without a balanced diet will be slower to go back in calf and may miss out altogether. The cost of carrying an empty cow for a year does not bear thinking about. Ask yourself how did your breeding go last year? Most of our customers found that cows went straight back in calf with very little problems due to the fertility minerals booster we include in our Dairy feed at and before breeding. The most sucessful Breeders were those which had been getting consistent feed and minerals throughout the year. Remember a hungry cow at calving time is a weak cow and can lead to problems during calving.
Pretty much every dairy farmer has seen over this year that cow condition had been excellent due to the levels of feed all year. It would be a terrible waste for that excellent body condition to be lost now over the next few months as it will need twice as much feed to regain it in the spring.
Contact us for more info and help in planning your feed requirements over the winter.