3 Steps to Feeding Success

Feeders play a large role in the success of any dairy farm as their feeding methods impact herd health, milk production, and, ultimately, the bottom line. In a recent issue of Hoard’s Dairyman, Felix Soriano identifies what he refers to as the three “PAC drivers of success” for feeding dairy cows: Precision, Attention to details, and Consistency.
1. Precision
Evaluate the following on feeding software reports:

  • Check the loading error by feeder by ingredient with the goal of less than 1 percent error.
  • Look at the feeder work cost error report to determine how his loading and handling of ingredients are affecting the bottom line. The right of amount of each ingredient must be fed every time, especially with today’s high feed costs.
  • Check mix time by date and batch of feed prepared. *Feeders must be able to focus on loading and mixing without distraction. 
  • Review the feeder drop error which should be less than 0.5 percent error per pen. 
2. Attention to Details
  • Ability to identify TMR variations between days or within pens before herd health and milk production suffer. 
  • Alert to changes in cow feeding behavior or manure consistency.
  • Keep feed, commodity, and forage storage areas clean and organized.
  • Maintain all equipment in excellent condition. 
3. Consistency
  • Keep feed starting time and pen feeding order the same. Aim for plus or minus 5 minutes variation.
  • Mixing times should always be the same – check mixing time per load on reports.
  • The feed delivered should be the same as that on the nutritionist’s feeding program.
  • Push up feed at the same time and same number of times each day.
Source: “Three key drivers of feeding success” article by Felix Soriano. Hoard’s Dairyman, April 10, 2011 issue.


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