With summer coming to an end and more rain to deal with, many farmers in the UK will be looking ahead to the colder months. This can bring big changes, especially for grazing herds. The cold means grass does not grow as quickly so it increases the pressure to provide animal feed to supplement it. This becomes even more important when animals spend more time in housing.
The problem is the cost. It can get very expensive for farmers if they need to buy all the feed. However, there are a number of ways to save on this. We want to have a look at them here.
Understand the nutritional needs
Firstly, before you commit to any feed or supplements, you need to be clear on what the animals need. The nutritional needs can vary massively. If you have cows for spring calving, you need to look at the gestation period. They will need more nutrients during late-gestation and early lactation.
You also need to consider activity levels here. Animals typically do less in colder months. That is especially true if you keep them in housing for the majority of the time rather than out-wintering. The drop in activity means their energy needs are also lower. As a result, you can reduce their feed.
Choose the right products
When it comes to animal feed, there will be a tendency to choose the cheapest products. However, that can lead to all kinds of problems and a lot of money going to waste. It is better to ensure you choose good quality feeds, particularly hay. The crucial thing is to look at the total digestible nutrients (TDN) and protein. It can also be a good idea to test it to determine the feeding value.
It is also worth considering corn as an alternative to hay. Grazing cows can happily eat the stalks, leaves and husks. This can save the need for supplements because the corn can contain all the protein and TDN the animals need. There has been an increase in corn production in the UK in the last few years because of the warmer summers, so it could be great news for cattle farmers who want cheaper feeds.
Use bunk feeders
Minimising waste is also a great way to save on feed costs. The key thing here is to use bunk feeders. They keep the feed off the ground and prevent it from getting soiled and trampled. As a result, you can ensure the majority will be eaten.
Speak to us if you want to order animal feed
JS Hubbuck Ltd has been supplying and delivering vital agricultural products for generations. Today we offer everything from fertiliser to different feeds and much more. Everything will be high quality, and we can even share our expert knowledge.
So, get in touch if you need to look at animal feed. We can give you recommendations for various situations, including winter feeding for cattle.