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The optimum feeding rates to complement grass supply

Head of Dairy Knowledge Transfer, Joe Patton, joins Emma-Louise Coffey on this week’s Dairy Edge podcast to discuss optimum feeding rates to complement grass supply.

Joe reviews the feed supply situation on farm and while average farm cover and growth rate looks healthy at 219 kg per cow and 60 kg DM/day, respectively, the scenario on individual farms is variable due to localised soil moisture deficit and resulting restricted growth rates.

Where growth rate and grass supply are restricted, Joe explains that meal is being fed to replace grass that is unavailable and therefore there is no increase in feed intake and milk production.

Where grass supply is equal to or exceeds demand, Joe explains that meal is being fed in addition to grass which is plentiful.

In this scenario, the first 2 kg meal fed achieve a good response of 0.8-0.9 kg milk per kg meal. However, feeding 3-5 kg the response falls to 0.5 kg milk per kg meal.

Financially, milk price is at 60 c/kg and concentrate is 0.41-0.42 c/kg. Taking milk price and the cost of concentrate into account, a response of 0.5 kg of milk is not sufficient to justify higher meal feeding levels where grass is in plentiful supply on farm.

For more information: Fodder Survey Results - July 2022 (PDF)

For more episodes from the Dairy Edge podcast go to the show page at: www.teagasc.ie/thedairyedge

The Dairy Edge is a co-production with LastCastMedia.com