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Maintain Energy Intake Now to Ensure Return on Milk Solids

Maintain Energy Intake Now to Ensure Return on Milk Solids

Milk Volume:

Milk volume should decline at no greater than 2% per week or 10% per month. Volume declines of greater than this are an indication of poor energy nutrition. Once volume starts to decline it’s very hard to stop. This is especially true as we approach late lactation. After a production decline adding energy back into the diet is not guaranteed to give a volume increase. However, it will slow the drop back to a more natural rate.

To Maintain Energy Intake:

  1. Continue to utilise the best grassland management techniques

Maintaining quality grass in the diet for as long as possible guarantees your cos are getting access to the highest energy feedstuff


2. Be-wary of low dry matter grass

Wet grass has the potential to lower energy intakes by 30-50% on individual days.


3. Feed concentrates when and where appropriate

  • To build covers without affecting cow intake
  • When grass is very wet up the concentrate feeding levels to compensate for the lower grass dry matter intake


Economics of concentrate feeding autumn 2020:

In late lactation 1kg of concentrates can generate 1kg of extra milk. With concentrates costing c.€280-300/T and milk valued at 35-38c/kg (including higher solids value), every 1kg or 28-30c spend on concentrates is going to return 35-38c worth of milk. This is a c. 20% return on investment.

A 90-cow herd feeding 1 kg of concentrates will return €216-270 per month after the concentrate cost. Feeding concentrates must be done responsibly and in a balanced approach to maintaining grass quantity and quality on your farm. If you are feeding concentrates to the detriment of your grass quality this value will not be realised.

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