Feed utilisation in dairy cows is one of the key performance indicators (KPI) influencing profitability because feed is usually the most significant variable cost on-farm, according to Kynan Massey, managing director of Massey Harpers Feeds Group.
Mr Massey says a clear understanding of their objectives is what sets progressive farmers apart, irrespective of their system.
“Progressive managers know their production objectives and are focused on achieving them at optimum cost.
They know the most important KPIs and the target level for each of them.
“They understand the importance of a close focus on nutrition and are looking for increased sophistication in both diet formulation and monitoring.
Knowledge of the function of the various components of a dairy ration and their influence on rumen health and milk production has advanced hugely in recent years and progressive farmers exploit this.”
The Massey Harpers Feeds Group comprises of Massey Feeds in the North and its subsidiary, Harpers Feeds in the South West.
Mr Massey says the group invests significantly in product development and is always looking to incorporate the latest research into its offering.
“One of the most significant developments in our dairy feed range was the launch of the UK’s first dairy compounds to fully integrate the findings of the industry-wide ‘Feed into Milk’ project.
“The research initially focused on the relative feed values of the various raw materials included in feed.
This demonstrated the relative contribution which the different types of protein made to the cow’s diet and rumen function.
“Based on these findings, our FiMLAC range ensured cows receive the right types of bypass protein in the correct ratio to energy.
“The dairy sector is blamed for contributing to climate change, yet we have some of the most efficient, progressive dairy farms in the UK which have the lowest carbon footprint.”
Over the years, this range has been continually refined, based on the latest research, so cows are obtaining the right macro and micro nutritional elements from their ration.
“We use the Trouw Nutrition NutriOpt Dairy system which is the most sophisticated dairy rationing system available.
We also recently reviewed and updated all our mineral specifications to reflect the latest research.”
Mr Massey says the business actively looks for new ingredients and approaches, to help customers further increase efficiency, recently adding Novatan to improve protein digestion and utilisation.
“We carry out our own trials, in partnership with research institutes and our farmers, so we have first- hand knowledge and evidence to demonstrate products do make a difference.
This allows us to tailor our feeds to the needs of an individual customer and his situation,” Mr Massey adds.
“We recognise all our clients operate very different systems, ranging from all-year-round calving herds which are kept indoors, to more extensive grazing herds, some of which are spring- calving.
Working closely with customers and becoming an integral part of the team allows us to supply exactly the right products and offer the best value,” Mr Massey says.
The industry is facing many new challenges and Mr Massey firmly believes the feed industry has a part to play in helping farmers face some of them.
“The dairy sector is blamed for contributing to climate change, yet we have some of the most efficient, progressive dairy farms in the UK which have the lowest carbon footprint.
“At Masseys we are actively assessing developments which can lower ammonia emissions.
Through our research programmes we are working to offer practical solutions to our customers to help them reduce emissions.”
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