Reduce feed cost in dairy cows

The surge in inputs weighs on livestock costs. Idele advisers take stock of the rationing of dairy cows for the coming months with the aim of limiting costs.

Maize ration + nitrogen corrector, or grass + cereal-based energy concentrate: to each his own system. But “when the meal prices and cereals fly away concomitantly, as is again the case today, it is therefore all the French dairy workshops that risk paying the consequences. This is what the Livestock Institute fears, which estimates an increase in production costs of 15 to 61 €/1,000 l depending on the evolution of the economic situation.

The greater the share of maize in the SFP and the higher the level of stocking (LU/ha), the more the fertilizer purchase item weighs heavily in the production cost of the workshops.

“The current outbreak of commodity prices will have a greater impact on the income of the least autonomous farms. With this in mind, Benoît Rouillé from Idele has listed a few ways to control your food costs:

At the end of winter, limit the concentrate

“Encourage the ingestion of fodder and limit waste” is the first piece of advice. And it starts with the harvest by mowing young, rich grass. And the silo must be well maintained (removal of mold, clear cut of the front, maintenance of the tarpaulin, etc.), as the trough must be clean (refusals removed daily).

He explains: “In a mixed ration balanced, whose desired nitrogen level is 110 g PDI/UFL, a reduction of 10 g PDI/UFL corresponds to a saving of 1 kg of soybean meal or 1.5 kg of rapeseed per cow per day. The price ratio between the nitrogen corrector and the milk will be decisive in assessing the economic interest of this adjustment. »

Ways to reduce the quantities of concentrates:

Ration of the moment Reduced production concentrate Decrease in nitrogen corrector
Dominant pasture – 0.8 to – 1 kg milk/DV/d per kg of raw concentrate/DV/d Lever cannot be mobilized because nitrogen corrector not distributed
Pasture + preserved fodder – 0.5 to – 0.8 kg milk/DV/d per kg of raw concentrate/DV/d

From a balanced ration:

– 1.7 kg/DV/d for – 1 kg of soybean meal

– 5 kg/DV/d for – 2 kg of soybean meal

(equivalence: 1 kg soy for 1.5 kg rapeseed)

100% preserved fodder ration – 0.5 kg milk/DV/d per kg of raw concentrate/DV/d

betting on the grass

Good management of pasture is paramount to getting the most out of weed. The expert recalls that “young and leafy grass covers the production of a herd with 25 kg of milk”. And the effects of concentrates are very limited: “The supply of 1 kg of concentrate to the pasture has an average efficiency of 0.8 kg of milk and can reach 1 kg of milk under optimal conditions, but never more! » This contribution (energy concentrate only) must be reserved for high producers and not exceed 2 to 3 kg.

Who says grazing says transition: this is valid for putting out to grass but also in the event of complementation fodder combined with grassland (allow 5 to 10 days for transition). And Benoît Rouillé completes: “When grazed grass constitutes more than half of the ration, it is not necessary to correct the supplementary forage in nitrogen, that provided in excess by the grass ensuring the correction. With an intake of maize silage greater than half a ration, this will be corrected in terms of nitrogen. »

Integrate co-products

The co-products can also be a one-off or long-term solution if the price is attractive (it can be calculated). Benoît Rouillé nevertheless calls for vigilance: “it will be necessary to control the nutritional value of the co-product purchased (via analyses) and the price of interest compared to other raw materials. »

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