Last week, we discussed the “what, why, and how” behind precision feeding. Today, we’ll be focusing on the benefits of precision feeding and how you can best achieve them.
In Part 1 of this series, we listed the four areas that Dr. Mike Hutjens identified as opportunities to “take control” of variation in a feeding program: variation in the field, nutrient variation, mixing variation, and rumen variation. Then we posed this question:
Which of these areas has the greatest opportunity to improve profits?
Answer: MIXING VARIATION!
This Patz Model 800 Vertical Mixer helps control
mixing variation with its reliable 3-point scale
system that accurately measures ingredients.
To control mixing variation, attention should be paid to these contributing factors:
Filling of mixer (avoid overfilling).
Feed addition sequence.
Pre-mixtures (no feed added at < 2 lbs./cow).
Uniformity of feed along the feed bunk.
With precision feeding, diets are provided as formulated to improve nutrient consistency and reduce the impact of feedstuff variability. Plus, cows are given consistent access to feed.
What are the benefits of precision feeding?
Improved rumen health & fecal consistency.
Improved milk yield and components.
Reduced feed costs.
Control over the variability of nutrients excreted and impact on the environment.
Reduced labor and costs of sampling and analyzing forages.
Take-home message: Precision feeding can help increase your bottom line!
Source: “Precision Feeding” Hoard’s Webinar presented by Dr. Mike Hutjens, University of Illinois, on October 10, 2011.