Maintaining Margin

Do you have strategies in place to cope with market changes? We discuss improving efficiencies on farm...

Maintaining Margin

We’re all getting better at, and are now trying to adapt to, the current market volatility which seems to be a constant, whether Covid, Brexit, currency, milk price or currently feed raw materials. Steep price rises are have an impact on milk production costs, with no let-up likely in the immediate future, we’re advising our customers to build strategies to cope with any future downturns. Driving efficiencies has never been so key and relevant within all of our businesses. 

Driving efficiency comes through improving animal health and protecting fertility. As a starting point, we’re advising our customers to monitor their herds and to:-

  • Regulate costs where possible
  • Manage lameness
  • Manage BCS
  • Improve grazing and forage
  • Look at how you can do things differently

Regulate costs
With raw material prices rising, it’s tempting to cut out concentrates but that would be ill advised. Animal health is central to profitability and cutting concentrates will certainly lead to a dip in production output, potentially costing you more in the long term. Instead speak to your Ruminant Specialist to devise a way of keeping costs at a level to maintain animal health.

Manage lameness
Simply if a cow is struggling to walk effectively there will be no motivation for her to make it to the feed trough. Reduced intake means less yield and possibly a deterioration in her body condition. I’d suggest reviewing the foot trimming and foot bathing policy to reduce lameness incidence across the herd. Our team are all on the Register of Mobility Scorere, qualified to assess lameness across your herd should you require.

Manage BCS
Keeping cows at the correct BCS can help to improve health and productivity. Paying particular attention to the variation in scores across the lactation, including dry cows is important. Hitting the right scores during the lactation helps to keep the animal balanced and in good health, otherwise scores below the required level could contribute to a poor immune system and resultant health issues. Good lameness management will also help contribute to maintaining BCS throughout the lactation.

Improve grazing and forage
Look at your plan for grazing across the year and its impact both on the cow’s diet and forage potential for the rest of the season. A consistent quality source of grass silage is an essential part to any base diet. To ensure you are getting the best quality and quantity of silage, please talk to your Ruminant Specialist. Consider the use of silage additives not just to preserve but to boost energy levels too. It is shown silage additives reduce dry matter losses, meaning more in the clamp to feed.

Look at how you can do things differently
Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference and it doesn’t always have to cost you a lot of money. It could just be a tweak to the cow’s environment that improves production.

If adversity doesn’t beat us, it leaves us more resilient, more efficient, more adaptive and better placed to remain profitable throughout. We should never stop trying to improve, cut out waste, optimise output and drive efficiency. 

Advanced Nutrition are always here to offer our advice whether you need help with your forage or just a different viewpoint, then just give us a call.


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